STARDATE: 1329.8

We join the Enterprise as the ship begins a standard orbit on Planet Exo-III. As the ship maneuvers into position, Captain James T. Kirk begins a small conversation with Nurse Christine Chappell who openly wondered if her fiancé Roger Korby was still alive on the planet’s surface. Kirk appeared to be in doubt, as he told her that it had been five years since his last message.

Mr. Spock informed the captain that there was little that Starfleet did not know about the planet and that it may have been inhabited once. But the star at the center of the system has been failing for a half million years. This lack of solar energy means that the planet’s surface is 100 degrees below zero (F).

Dr. Roger Korby, known far and wide as the “Pasteur of Archeological Medicine” was responsible for translating some Orion medical technologies. As Kirk says that he wished to meet Korby, Spock turned off the monitor, as to say that Korby was probably dead.

Just as Uhura reported that she tried to contact him on all frequencies for the second time to no avail, her equipment crackled to life with Dr. Korby’s voice.

Kirk and Chappell then beamed to the coordinates in caverns below the planet’s surface. When Korby was not there to greet them, Kirk had Spock send two security personnel down as well. He ordered Crewman Rayburn to stay behind, and the Mathews to join he and Chappell.

The three started down the maze of corridors and finally found Dr. Brown, Korby’s assistant. As they greeted Brown, Crewman Mathews fell into an abyss. Brown said there was no bottom and no stairs to find their man either. Meanwhile, a gigantic humanoid silently moved away from the scene of the accident unnoticed.

Just as Uhura reported that she tried to contact him on all frequencies for the second time to no avail, her equipment crackled to life with Dr. Korby’s voice.

Chappell began to ask Brown why he doesn’t remember her — but after a moment he remembers her first name. Kirk then radioed to Rayburn to have a full security party standing by. As Rayburn spoke to the captain, the towering figure approached from behind… and grabbed him by the face to crush him.

Ruk
The android Ruk, played by Ted Cassidy. Courtesy of CBS / Paramount

As Brown took Kirk and Chappell lower into the caverns, he explained that the inhabitants of the planet moved underground when their star began to dim. He said that they “replaced freedom with a mechanistic culture.” Brown went on to say that Korby’s research on the dead culture will revolutionize the universe once it was freed from the caverns.

As Brown led Kirk and Chappell into living quarters, a young woman, wearing a revealing version of Brown’s garb presented herself. She said her name was Andrea, and she seemed to know Chappell and Christine. Chappell said that he did not ever remember Korby mentioning Andrea.

Korby finally stepped forward and began to address the captain… and stopped suddenly to embrace Chappell. As Korby straightened up, Brown told how Mathews died from the fall into the pit.

Korby apologized. Kirk then attempted to reach Rayburn, but when he was unable, Brown held up a phaser and told him that there would be no communications. Korby apologized again but said that there were things in the caverns that were unknown and important, that Kirk should not be allowed to send more crew to the planet.

Brown ordered Andrea to Kirk, but as she approached him, he disarmed her and pointed her phaser at Korby. Kirk tossed Andrea aside, then rolled up behind some furniture. He ordered Brown to drop the weapon and shot him. Just then, the giant entered the room. He grabbed Kirk like a doll and pushed him into the ceiling.

Chappel screamed as she looked at Brown’s body… and all of the fried wires and electronics that had been exposed.

Korby said that Ruk had been maintaining the machines for millennia when he arrived. Even Ruk lost track of the total number of years that he had been alone on the planet. With Ruk’s help, Korby built the Brown android.

Later, the Enterprise received contact from the captain, who stated that he had established a connection with Dr. Korby. Spock asked if Kirk was indeed alright. The giant Ruk, in Kirk’s voice, told Spock that he was indeed fine.

Korby told Kirk that he just wanted to talk. Korby then demonstrated the ability of Ruk, as he imitated several voices, including his own. Korby stopped Ruk when he imitated Chappell’s voice and ordered him never to harm her. He then asked Kirk to give him 24 hours to convince him — to not report on his findings immediately.

Korby shared that Ruk killed Rayburn as well, but that was totally against his wishes. Ruk had been programmed to protect Korby. The captain asked if Ruk too was an android, like Brown. Ruk said that he was much more complicated than Brown and that he had been left “by the old ones.”

Korby said that Ruk had been maintaining the machines for millennia when he arrived. Even Ruk lost track of the total number of years that he had been alone on the planet. With Ruk’s help, Korby built the Brown android.

Kirk told Korby that he had convinced him… that he was dangerous. But, as before, Kirk could not escape from Ruk, who tossed him into a wall.

At this same, Andrea entered the room and asked why Chappell was unhappy. “Why does it bother you when I use the name Roger?” asked Andrea.

Korby ordered Andrea to call him Dr. Korby from that point forward. He then explained that Kirk would not be harmed and that there were things that he needed to show them before he contacted the Enterprise. Andrea revealed herself as an android as well. Korby stated that Andrea had warmth and a pulse, just like a real human.

Chappell said that he created himself a “mechanical geisha” who she asked if he loved. Korby pushed back, saying that she had had no capability for love. He then ordered Andrea to first kiss and then hit Kirk. She is a logical computer.

Korby and Chappell. Courtesy of CBS / Paramount
Korby and Chappell. Courtesy of CBS / Paramount

But, Kirk asks, why did your robots kill two of my men and try to shoot me? Korby said that he would answer all of Kirk’s questions.

The scene cut to show Ruk placing a sludgy humanoid form into some sort of template on a rotating platform. Korby explained to Chappell that this was how an android is created. The platform slowly spun to reveal that Kirk was naked and pinned down to the platform.

As the platform spun, Korby promised that Kirk was not being harmed. Chappell asked Korby how he’d changed.

Soon, the platform slowed, revealing two identical Kirks. Korby asked Chappell to decide which was the real captain. She was unable to determine which was which. Korby said that the internal organs had been duplicated, as well as the mental patterns. The scientist said that the android captain would even have the same memories as its human counterpart.

Double Kirks! Courtesy of CBS / Paramount
Double Kirks! Courtesy of CBS / Paramount

Later, as Chappell sat down at the lunch table, Andrea told the nurse that she now had been programmed to serve Chappell as well. Kirk joined Chappell at the table. Chappell said that she was puzzled, telling the captain that he still was the Roger Korby, no matter what he was doing now.

Kirk asked Chappell was she would do if he gave a direct order to betray Korby. She asked the captain not to make such requests — she’d rather die the same way that Mathews did. Chappell said that was not hungry, but encouraged Kirk to have some of the food.

“Androids don’t eat, Ms. Chappell,” he said.

Kirk said that it was merely control — not unlike what Caesar, Genghis Khan, Hitler, Ferris, and Maltuvis had offered in their day.

The apparent “real” Kirk then walked out with Korby and Ruk. The human and android then bantered back and forth on the merits of eating. The human asked the android about his memories, in particular about Sam.

“George Samuel Kirk — your brother,” the android replied. “Only you call him Sam.”

The android knew details from Kirk’s memory so precisely that the captain realized there was no point in competing. Korby dismissed the android and told them that what they saw was only a machine, and only half of what he planned to accomplish, which was to transfer Kirk’s consciousness or “soul” into an artificial form. Korby asked them if they understood what he was attempting to do for humanity.

Kirk said that it was merely control — not unlike what Caesar, Genghis Khan, Hitler, Ferris, and Maltuvis had offered in their day.

Korby argued that the human mind transferred to the body of an android would be perfectible. That new being could be free of hatred, jealousy, and greed. “No one need ever die again,” he said. He offered Kirk a practical heaven — if only the captain would agree to help him.

Korby said that he needed transportation from the planet to an Earth colony with stores of raw materials. As Korby made his request, Kirk began to unravel a portion rope from the wooden chair leg in which he sat. Kirk played along with Korby as he continued to work at the string.

Kirk then shot up with the rope and tied it around Korby’s neck before Ruk could react. He then flung Korby toward Ruk and ran out of the room. Korby ordered Ruk to “protect.” The enormous android left in pursuit of Kirk. Chappell ran after Ruk telling him to stop, and that he must obey her commands.

Kirk found a large stalactite and broke it off of the cavern ceiling. Ruk began to imitate Chappell’s voice as he called for Kirk. The captain realized what was happening and called back to Ruk, but prepared his weapon. Ruk quickly overpowered Kirk, who toppled into a pit — but Kirk grabbed the edge just before fell. Ruk grabbed Kirk’s hand and lifted him to safety.

Onboard the Enterprise, the captain strode quickly down a corridor. Mr. Spock did his best to catch up to speak with Kirk, who told him that he was tired of Spock’s “half-breed interference.” Spock pondered that exchange for a moment, then ordered that the landing party join him after the captain beamed down to the planet.

Back on the planet, Korby and the android Kirk spoke on the plans ahead. Kirk confided that he felt comfortable onboard the ship.

Meanwhile, the human Kirk laid awake in his cell when Andrea entered with food. Kirk then asked her to kiss him, which she did so after an odd struggle. She pushed back, saying that she was not programmed for Kirk. He attempted to follow Andrea out and was met at the door by an angry Ruk. Kirk asked the android if he was not happy with Chappell ordering Ruk to save his life.

“To maintain your existence would be illogical,” Ruk said. Kirk asked him what happened to the Old Ones. Kirk wondered aloud if the Old Ones created their race of androids too well, and the androids grew tired of their illogical orders.

Ruk and Andrea. Courtesy of CBS / Paramount
Ruk and Andrea. Courtesy of CBS / Paramount

Ruk agreed and said that the Old Ones began to turn the androids off. Kirk posed that Korby was much like the Old Ones — illogical, full of emotions and unpredictable. Ruk realized that Kirk was correct and that his survival countered any orders from Korby.

The doctor entered the cell. Ruk immediately turned against Korby, saying that Korby brought the inferior, evil ones back. Korby ordered Ruk to stop — when he did not obey, Korby shot him with a phaser. He now used this weapon to order Kirk and Chappell out of the cell. As soon as they passed through an opening, Kirk wheeled around and attacked Korby.

Korby repelled Kirk but was injured. The skin on Korby’s hand peeled away to reveal circuits and metal. Korby assured Christine that he was still “here” and inside of the android. This showed that Korby had transferred his consciousness into an android form.

Meanwhile, Andrea messaged that there were new visitors on the planet. Korby ordered her to get a weapon and deal with them. Andrea got a phaser and walked into the caverns, where she encountered the android, Kirk. She offered to kiss him, and he said “no.” Because he denied her, she fired her phaser at him.

Andrea walked to where Korby, Kirk, and Chappell were. Andrea told Korby that she followed the instructions. Kirk argued that this was Korby’s perfect world, where perfect beings kill each other.

Korby then said that he was not a computer… but could only express himself in mathematical terms. Kirk challenged Korby — if there was any humanity left, then he would turn over the phaser. Korby did. Kirk then asked Andrea for her phaser… but she said that she would not and that she must protect Korby. When she reached to kiss the doctor, Kirk grabbed her phaser and disintegrated both Andrea and Korby. Chappell crumbled in grief. Moments later, Spock and the security team arrived. Spock asked with Dr. Korby was.

“Dr. Korby was never here,” said Kirk.

As the ship left orbit, Chappell told Kirk that she would stay with the Enterprise moving forward. Spock confronted the captain about the term “half-breed,” to which Kirk responded that he would remember Spock’s thoughts the next time he found himself in a similar situation.

TREK REPORT SUPPLEMENTAL:

So we have yet ANOTHER second Kirk episode. The count now, from the start, is three episodes featuring Shatner playing a good Kirk and a doppelgänger version. I had no problem with this episode and found many echoes of plotlines that would be explored in ST:TNG with Data. But I wonder why the show’s producers seemed to line up so many “Double Kirk” episodes back-to-back. Fascinating.

This installment was entertaining, and different from the others, thus far. We dealt with beings that reminded me both of H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” and The Terminator franchise. The Time Machine had people who were there only to serve their masters, who lived underground, and evolved differently due to their centuries-long separation, while the Terminator has machines who rise and attempt to kill all humans. Both of these elements played out in this episode, and it was interesting to get a Trek take on the themes.

It was also the first time we got to meet Nurse Chappell, who was played by Majel Barrett. She appeared in the original Star Trek pilot as the Enterprise’s first officer, known only as “Number One.” Chappell would be in many TOS episodes, TAS episodes, TNG episodes (as Troi’s mother), and would appear in the Trek original cast movies as well.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

NOTE

Ted Cassidy, who played Ruk, would appear in the TOS episode, “Arena,” and is best known for his role as Lurch on the Addams Family series.

CREDITS

Directed by: James Goldstone
Written by Robert Bloch
Created and Produced by: Gene Roddenberry
Associate Producers: Robert H. Justman, John D. F. Black
Director of Photography: Jerry Finnerman
Production Designer: Walter M. Jefferies
Theme music by: Alexander Courage
Music composed and conducted by: Fred Steiner

STARRING

William Shatner as Kirk
Leonard Nimoy as Spock

GUEST STAR

Michael Strong

CO-STARRING

Sherry Jackson
Ted Cassidy

and

Majel Barrett as Christine Chappell

FEATURING

Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
Harry Basch as Brown
Vince Deadrick as Mathews
Budd Albright as Rayburn

Film Editor … Frank P. Keller, A.C.E.
Assistant to the Producer … Edward K. Milkis
Assistant to Director … Michael S. Glick
Set Decorator … Carl F. Biddiscombe
Costumes created by … William Theiss

Post Production Executive … Bill Heath
Music Editor … Robert H. Raff
Sound Editor … Joseph G. Sorokin
Sound Mixer … Jack F. Lilly
Photographic Effects … Westheimer Company
Script Supervisor … George A. Rutter
Music Consultant … Wilbur Hatch
Music Coordinator … Julian Davidson
Special Effects … Jim Rugg
Property Master … Irving A. Fenberg
Gaffer … George H. Merhoff
Head Grip … George Rader
Production Supervisor … Bernard A. Windin
Makeup Artist … Fred B. Phillips, S.M.A.
Hair Styles by … Virginia Darcy, C.H.S.
Wardrobe Mistress … Margaret Makau
Casting … Joseph D’Agosta
Sound … Glen Glenn Sound Co.

A DesiLu Production in association with the Norway Company

Executive in Charge of Production … Herbert F. Solow