Sunday, April 19, 2009

Star Trek Initiation: What Are Little Girls Made Of

Busy day today! Which must mean there's a something I should be doing otherwise...I don't know why I ever thought The Road would be a fun and interesting book to read. But I digress. I've finally got a new episode of the old Star Trek to review for you here!

The first six episode that I watched were on Netflix, which has the digitally remastered version with new special effects. This time, however, I watched it on the new YouTube "Shows" feature, which is basically a ripoff of Hulu. Anyway, the YouTube version does not have the new special effects. It does give the show a different feel. I suppose I like them both equally. I'd have to try watching both versions of the same episode and comparing them.

And now, on with the show! This week, the Enterprise is looking for a Dr. Roger Corby (wasn't he a film director in the sixties?) who was last seen on the planet Exo-III. Mr. Spock noted at the beginning that, while the gravity and atmosphere are comparable to Earth, the surface temperature is -100. After making contact with Dr. Corby, Kirk beams down with Corby's wife Christine. Neither of them was wearing a sweater or a hat and mittens. Haven't they ever heard of parkas? Especially with that skirt Christine was wearing.

But apparently the cold is not the main problem here; it's the tall, dark, and creepy bald guy running around and pushing the expendable characters off of cliffs. The first time he showed up, I swore he looked familiar. When I saw him again, I decided that he reminded me of Lurch from "The Addams Family." Then I realized that it was, indeed, Ted Cassidy.

It turns out that Dr. Corby discovered an ancient android, Ruk, (Cassidy) as well as the technology for creating his own androids. He's created a lovely female assistant, much to Christine's dismay. She basically asks him if he was cheating on her with the robot, and he assures her that it wasn't possible. He meant emotionally--the robots supposedly can't feel love--but I don't know if he meant physically as well...anyway, he tells Kirk that they can't go back to the ship yet, because his creatures are misunderstood and they'll be destroyed and this new technology can really be used to save mankind. Kirk doesn't buy it, and when he tries to run off, Ruk captures him.

Meanwhile, in the abandoned robot factory, the nefarious Dr. Corby has our hero, Kirk, strapped to a machine that will create a perfect android replica. They never explain how this technology is supposed to work, but if I can get over that it's actually quite creepy: the androids look, act, and think exactly like the real people do. Right before his memories are transferred to the android, Kirk says several times, "Mind your own business, Spock. I'm sick of your half-breed meddling." This will be important later.

Kirk's android replica is good enough to fool even Chrisitine. We do learn that the androids don't eat, so I'm wondering how Corby expects to begin replacing people with androids a la "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" if he's overlooked that little detail. Corby's lovely assistant Andrea has prepared the meal. It's amazing what one can do with Play-Doh in the kitchen these days...I don't know if that's supposed to be space food or what, but I wouldn't eat it.

Android Kirk is sent back to the Enterprise, where Spock is alerted to the danger after Android Kirk tells him, "Mind your own business, Spock. I'm sick of your half-breed meddling." Meanwhile, Kirk finds out that Ruk and the other ancient androids destroyed their creators, and the same thing is bound to happen to Corby if his plan continues. If we ever start creating robots, we'd better make sure we don't make them smarter than us. Or give them free will.

Of course, the big twist at the end is that Roger is also an android, and has been one for some time now. I'm not sure exactly who turned him into a robot--was it Ruk?--but he naturally insists that, while the other androids don't have real feelings, he is completely human. In the end, all of the androids (including Corby) are vaporized. I think Corby might have vaporized himself, but I'm not sure. He was kissing Andrea when it happened. Christine and the real Kirk head back to the ship, and Andrea decides to stay on the Enterprise. I wonder if she'll show up in any future episodes.

And the moral of our story is: Robots are bad news. Also, make sure your best friend can tell you from an android replica. Hooray for Spock saving the day!

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