In which Lurch is a terrible butler, Kirk shows us why he deserves to be captain, and we see how many times I can use the phrase ‘sex-bot.’ It’s 10, by the way, including this first one.
We’ve gotten to episodes that I no longer recognize by name, so maybe we’ve also gotten past that awful patch near the beginning. Any of you like long odds? Incidentally, I’m doing this as a stream-of-consciousness kind of thing and not looking at the synopses whenever possible, and only going back to write the synopsis and correct typos. So if my rantings seem disjointed in any of the episodes I don’t know by heart, that’s why. It’s an integrity thing. Totally not a laziness thing.
We open on a blue planet, and nurse Chapel waits on the bridge, anxious for news of oh no she’s pining for a dude.She apparently gave up an illustrious career in biomedical research so she could get on a starship so she could try to find her man. Damn it. Double damn it.
What the fuck is Archaeological Medicine, exactly? Digging up alien cures in the ruins of lost civilizations? Apparently the Enterprise will succeed where two other expeditions to find Chapel’s beau failed. And he’s hailing them by name despite them never sending out a hail.
So why are there so many ruins out in the galaxy? The M113 ruins and this planet, and this one apparently hides discoveries of such an earth-shattering magnitude that Roger Corby requests Captain’s Eyes Only, but couldn’t be bothered to talk to either of the other two expeditions sent to find him. I mention this again because it seems like the kind of little detail that hints at the dark secret which hides just beneath the surface of this blue marble, and therefore will be glossed over completely by the emotional scene when Christine Chapel is united with her onetime fiance.
Those miniskirts. I mean, I can’t say I’m particularly sad about Nichelle Nichols underbutt, in this context it’s still just weird. Corby hasn’t shown up to meet Kirk, so Kirk, sensing a trap, calls for some ablative armor. And tells one of them to stay there,
alone and easily picked off. To be fair, their reputation for being utterly and completely expendable hasn’t been cemented yet, but even the people reading this just to watch one man’s journey into the heart of madness know what it means to be a Redshirt. Ask anyone on the street what happens to Ensign Ricky when he, Kirk,and McCoy beam down to a planet. And there he goes – an offscreen scream and some Lurch-looking motherfucker in a collar up to his head creeping away. Nobody seems particularly bothered.
Corby’s assistant is definitely not right in the head.I might know what’s coming at this point. I’m guessing malevolent murder-bots. Kirk, meanwhile, tells the other redshirt that his bunkmate just died, so of course he turns his back on the giant creepy hallway. And Corby’s assistant tells us that Christine Chapel was Corby’s student before she was his fiance. Oh good, that’s not creepy. These hold up so incredibly poorly to modern sensibilities. These costumes. My god. Did light just work differently prior to the ’70s, or did people experience that color as vomit green and actually enjoy it?
Oh good, here comes the conflict. The best way to gain the trust of a starship captain is to pull a gun on him, and then give him a hostage. Kirk shoots Douchebag Assistant Guy and oh hey. Malevolent murder-bot. Thus beginneth our case studies in the Federation’s hate-on for Artificial Intelligence. I guess it came up in Mudd’s Women, when Mudd calls the shipboard computer a soulless machine, but we could assume that was Mudd just throwing prejudices at the wall to try to get out of jail time. Here we’re going to get a whole episode on the dangers of AI.
The Lurch Robot (whose name is Ruk) is doing impressions, and Kirk manages to use Corby’s feelings for Christine to program in “Chapel gets to order the murder-bot around.” So that was a fun episode, good thing the problem is solved now.
I think that actor may actually be Lurch. It’s comforting, though, that at least he can disobey orders and lose track of time. It’s really good to know that murderbots can go insane. Corby’s been on this planet for five years and convinced Ruk to make some assistant robots. Well, one assistant and one sex-bot. Chrisitne even gets it, and Corby isn’t making it better. You will not convince Christine that you didn’t make a sex-bot by having your sex-bot sex-bot at the captain.
Corby takes Kirk to the Murderbot lab. Apparently you make an android by sticking a play-doh man on a turntable with a naked dude and spinning them around really fast. This kind of begs the question – Where did the sex-bot template come from? It’s concenient, at least, that the transition from ballistics-gel-mannequin-covered-in-shaving-cream to RealDoll only happens when they’re moving too fast for the camera to have to capture a terrible effect. No seriously, where did the Andrea sex-bot template come from.
Kirk is really pretty clever. When he hears the android is going to be a mental duplicate, he tries to overwrite his throught patterns with ones that will distinguish the android from himself. This makes, like, the third plan he’s come up with to break the androids. Kirk gets a bad rep as a bit of a cowboy, but we should not forget that this is the same guy who beat the Kobyashi Maru by fighting the test, not the simulation.
Andrea is “now programmed to please you also.” But she’s totally not a sex-bot. Chapel is now sitting down to dinner with Kirk. I think I’m supposed to be surprised when it turns out that this is the android. GASP. Okay, so the endgame here is that Corby wants to give humans immortality in a robot shell. Sign me up, except that part of the package is that you let someone else program your mind. Here again is Star Trek preaching anti-transhumanism by bundling in very legitimate nightmares with the dreams. I’m not going to sit here and defend Corby and his methods, but we’re going to see a lot of this whole ‘humans flaws are their greatest virtues’ crap as the show goes on, and it behooves us to try and decide whether that’s actually a valid approach.
Okay, payoff for Kirk Victory Plan #1: Chapel ordered Ruk not to harm Kirk, and beause Corby ordered Ruk to obey Chapel, Kirk is not thrown off a cliff.
Payoff #2: Kirk’s sabotaging of the mental transfer has alerted Spock to something going wrong.
So apparently Kirk’s final plan is to emote the androids to death. I will say this – an AI you don’t properly align with your values is inimical to human life. It’s a valid concern. I don’t know who originally said it, but “the machines do not hate humanity. They do not love humanity. But humanity is made of matter that the machines could be using for something else.”
Oh my goodness Corby was an android this whole time. I am so shocked that operation “Tile the universe in robots” was not the plan of the original. We can hope, at least, that the original Corby would have come up with a plan that involved more safety measures.
Also, there was never a good place to work it in, but Kirk totally molested the sex-bot into falling in love with him. Thanks, Star Trek. That’s exactly how that works. Well done.