So, I'll admit it--before I started watching TOS, I thought the same things about Kirk that so many other people do. I believed him to be a testosterone-driven skirt chaser who couldn't keep it in his pants and thought women were only good for sex and eye candy. I believed it...because I had no reason not to--I was a teenager, had never seen a full episode of the original series, and had heard it from all corners of pop culture that this was indeed James "T for Tomcat" Kirk.
The major turning point? Slash. I got into slash completely by accident. I can't remember my first slash story or even fandom, though I suspect it was through Smallville, looking for C/L, which turned out not to be Clark and Lana (oh, gag, the horror in retrospect) but Clark and Lex. Whatever the beginning, because slash lives in the subtext, between the lines, I began to pay more attention to my shows, looking for slash, and as an end result, I also started paying more attention to characterization in general.
Then came K/S, which I only got into in the first place because I wanted to write a masters thesis on slash--and how could you do that without being familiar with the granddaddy of them all? I watched what episodes I could online (at the time, I think I found "Miri," "The Cage," "The Man Trap," and part of "Mirror, Mirror"), but quickly decided that I needed to own the DVDs--I was hooked that quickly.
The more I watched these episodes, the more convinced I became that every preconceived notion I'd had about Kirk was wrong. Far from being the testosterone-driven skirt chaser, James Kirk is extremely respectful of women, more so than pretty much any other man on the ship, does not fall in love at the drop of a hat (excepting of course instances of poor third season writing), does not indulge in one-night stands of his own volition (not onscreen at least), is quite the gentleman who enjoys the courting process, and only really outright seduces women when his or his crew's lives are at stake.
But you shouldn't just take my word for it, and I won't ask you to. In honor of the inestimable Bill Shatner on his birthday, I've gone through every episode of the original series, taken enough notes to make my fingers cramp, and recorded pretty much every significant interaction Kirk has with a woman during the course of the show.
Now, at this point, I'm just trying for an accurate read on Kirk's interaction with women, so I've been trying not to let my slash goggles get in the way, but there are times when I use Kirk's relationship with Spock--and with McCoy and others--as a measuring stick by which to analyze how Kirk interacts with women. Fair warning, though, there are going to be times ahead where I honestly cannot make sense of Kirk's reactions without taking into account at least a degree of K/S, but I'll send up a flare when I get to those points.
I want to make clear that I'm not trying to deny that Kirk is interested in women. On the contrary, I believe very much that he finds women attractive, that he has been in love with women in his life. I'm just trying to correct the widespread misinterpretation that Kirk is some kind of callous horndog who treats women as his natural inferiors.
Also, I don't want anyone to think that I'm trying to talk down to or be patronizing of anyone, because I'm going to go through this as step by step as I can, and I'll probably be repeating myself, simply because similar circumstances recur within the show itself. I just want to be as detailed as possible and leave as little out as I can.
I'll be going through the episodes in the order that they came up on my DVDs, so first out of the gate...
"The Man Trap"
Lady of the Hour: Nancy Crater
--The first aired episode, and there's no romantic interest for Kirk in sight. Sets a good precedent, actually...
--Anyway, when we meet Nancy Crater, we already know that she is "that one woman in Doctor McCoy's past," thanks to Kirk's log. Interesting phrasing for a man who supposedly goes through women like politicians through tax money.
--The most interesting aspect of Kirk's interaction with Nancy is in the introductory scene, when Nancy enters the Craters' home to find McCoy, Kirk, and Crewman Darnell waiting for her. Now, it's clear that all three men see Nancy how they wish to see her. McCoy sees her as she was ten years ago, when they were in love, young and fresh and vital. Darnell sees her as a hot young blonde woman--not in any way, shape, or form Nancy--a girl he left behind on Wrigley's Pleasure Planet.
So, how does Kirk see Nancy? As some sexy thing he met carousing on shore leave some time? As the young, beautiful woman she was? Either of those we would certainly expect, given Kirk's reputation. But no, Kirk sees Nancy as a handsome, middle-aged woman, gray strewn in her hair and wrinkles lining her face. Kirk sees Nancy as she would have been at that time.
This is some of the most telling evidence towards Kirk's true feelings about women--the salt creature is probably pulling these images and expectations right from the three men's minds. Both McCoy and Darnell wish to see an object of love/lust. Kirk simply wishes to see Nancy as she is. He is not an all-sex-all-the-time thinker like he's so often portrayed. In fact, Kirk chastises McCoy later for "thinking with [his] glands," for allowing his emotions and desires to get in the way of his common sense and duty.
Lady of the Hour: Yeoman Janice Rand
--Kirk is set in direct contrast with Charlie as far as interacting with women--Jim is the mature, knowledgeable adult, as opposed to Charlie, the inexperienced, insensitive adolescent. After all, would McCoy be so keen to get Jim to instruct Charlie in the ways of adolescence if he saw Jim as on the same emotional level as Charlie? (Well, besides just wanting to pawn the birds and bees stuff onto someone else.) For McCoy, Jim is a role model towards which Charlie can aspire.
Yeoman Rand seems to agree. When Charlie acts inappropriately with her, Rand hesitates not a whit to go speak with Kirk about it, to get him to intervene with Charlie. Rand would never have gone to Kirk if she were receiving any kind of similar treatment from him, if she didn't see Kirk as a consummate professional and gentleman. In fact, it would have been more proper to go to Spock, since as executive officer, he would be in charge of personnel, but her trust is so great in the captain that she approaches him with the issue.
--In speaking with Charlie, Kirk advises going slowly with women:
KIRK: You go slow. You be gentle. I mean, it's not a one-way street, you know, how you feel and that's all. It's how the girl feels, too. Don't press, Charlie. If the girl feels anything for you at all, you'll know it. Do you understand?
Kirk's not telling Charlie to go for the one-night stand here, not instructing him in the ways of seducing women. He wants Charlie to take into consideration the woman's feelings, too, wants him to know that it is improper for Charlie to force himself on Rand.
--That Kirk would never force himself on anyone, not in his right mind (or whole mind), is important to keep in mind for later. It's a key element in Kirk's interaction with women that will come into play in later episodes, helping to explain some off screen action. Kirk may flirt, but he will never take it further unless he is welcome.
"Where No Man Has Gone Before"
Lady of the Hour: Dr. Elizabeth Dehner
--A short tidbit at the beginning: Kirk does not remember the name of the yeoman on the bridge, calling her Jones before she corrects, "The name's Smith, sir." Considering how often we see yeomen rotate on the bridge and that this is probably not Kirk's personal yeoman, it's not unusual that he wouldn't remember her name. That he acknowledged her at all, since he was headed towards the discussion with the department heads, speaks more towards his feelings toward his crew in general, that he values them, even if there are so many he can't always remember their names.
--Kirk, though brusque, was completely respectful when addressing Yeoman Smith, without a trace of sexual interest. You may assume that this is his normal bearing when interacting with female crewmembers if I do not mention it specifically--I'll make note of any variance.
--One of the elements of note in the episode is, like in "Charlie X," Kirk stands in direct contrast to someone else as far as treatment of women. Here, it is Gary Mitchell, who is much more the womanizer that Kirk is accused of being. I'm not one hundred percent sure if Gary is flirting or just mocking Dehner when he makes mention of her "improving the breed," but when she shuts him down rather handily, he makes a completely subjective derogatory comment ("Walking freezer unit") in full hearing of Dehner and others on the bridge. Additionally, Gary is in a close enough relationship with Yeoman Smith to hold her hand all through the barrier breach, but that does not stop him from putting the moves on Dehner. Kirk gets into a variety of situations with women over the course of the series, but we never see him entangled (even possibly) with two women in the same episode.
--We learn a little of Kirk's history at the Academy. Gary's recollection of Kirk is of "a stack of books with legs," as a very tough instructor. Gary does not recall a love 'em and leave 'em ne'er do well, but a serious student and professor at whom Gary had to aim a little blonde lab technician in order to lighten him up.
Also, Kirk states that he almost married that technician. She was not a fling, but a serious relationship, an early indication of Kirk's tendency towards long-term committed relationships.
--As in "The Man Trap" with McCoy, Kirk (though more indirectly this time) admonishes Dehner for allowing her burgeoning romantic feelings for Gary to interfere with her objectivity and duty to the ship by interrupting her criticism of Spock's attitude towards Gary. Kirk simply does not approve of romantic entanglements getting in the way of duty--we'll see him check himself later when he commits the same act.
--As we will often see in future episodes, Kirk wins Dehner over to his side at the end by appealing to her reason and basic sense of humanity, not by trying to seduce her:
KIRK: You must help me before it goes too far.
DEHNER: What he's doing is right for him and me.
KIRK: And for humanity? You're still human.
DEHNER: No, I--
KIRK: At least partly you are, or you wouldn't be here talking to me.
DEHNER: Earth is really unimportant. Before long, we'll be where it would have taken mankind millions of years of learning to reach.
KIRK: What will Mitchell learn in getting there? Will he know what to do with his power? Will he acquire the wisdom?
DEHNER: Please go back while you still can.
KIRK: Did you hear him joke about compassion? Above all else, a god needs compassion. Mitchell! Elizabeth.
DEHNER: What do you know about gods?
KIRK: Then let's talk about humans, about our frailties. As powerful as he gets, he'll have all that inside him.
DEHNER: Go back.
KIRK: You were a psychiatrist once. You know the ugly, savage things we all keep buried, that none of us dare expose. But he'll dare. Who's to stop him? He doesn't need to care. Be a psychiatrist for one minute longer. What do you see happening to him? What's your prognosis, Doctor?
DEHNER: He's coming.
KIRK: Then watch him. Hang on to being a human for one minute longer.
Kirk speaks to her as an equal, a colleague, asks her to remember her profession and interpret the situation through those eyes (an approach we can contrast directly to Lawrence Marvick's rather offensive appeal to Dr. Miranda Jones in "Is There No Truth in Beauty?"
MARVICK: So now you want to help me. Now I know what a mere human male has to do to get a reaction out of you. Make you think he's a patient. The great psychologist. Why don't you try being a woman for a change?)
There is a high level of respect for Dehner and her profession evident in the plea Kirk makes.
"The Naked Time"
Lady of the Hour: none
--Under the effects of the virus, it becomes clear Kirk doesn't have very much optimism in him when it comes to love, that he believes we'd be better off without it. It's not a surprising thought coming from him, considering how many times he's loved and lost or just been flat out burned in the past: Carol Marcus, Ruth, that little blonde technician, Janice Lester.
However, even after saying that, Kirk admits to a deep loneliness, a yearning for companionship:
KIRK: I have a beautiful yeoman. Have you noticed her, Mister Spock? You're allowed to notice her. The captain's not permitted--
Perhaps, on some level, Kirk does desire Yeoman Rand. However, their interaction in other episodes (particularly in "The Corbomite Maneuver" and "Miri") would indicate that Kirk has no romantic feelings towards Rand whatsoever. It seems that, rather than the focus of a particular desire, Rand represents a general idea, that as captain, Kirk cannot permit himself romantic entanglements with his crew, cannot even allow a relationship that could possibly lead to a romantic entanglement, and as such, Kirk is isolated on the Enterprise, completely devoted to his ship and crew, but held separate from them by the same duty that ties them together.
It is from this speech that we know that Kirk would never enter into a romantic relationship of any duration with a crewmember, at least a crewmember below command level. It is a self-imposed restriction, as we learn in "Space Seed" that "there aren't any regulations against romance," brought about by Kirk's desire to maintain a healthy working relationship with his crew (because if he is afraid that love will inevitably be lost, he will not allow for a situation in which a failed relationship would interfere with his duty).
"The Enemy Within"
Lady of the Hour: Yeoman Janice Rand (sort of, considering she's not actually in most of the episode)
--This is one of those episodes often pointed to as "proof" of Kirk's interest in Yeoman Rand, "proof" that Kirk deserves the skirt chaser moniker. This is problematic on many different levels.
Yes, Bad!Kirk tries to force himself upon Yeoman Rand. What is often neglected is that Good!Kirk shows less than zero sexual interest in her when he discovers her waiting in his quarters. Since the entire crew regards Good!Kirk as, essentially, the "real" Kirk, why should we believe Bad!Kirk's reaction to Rand reflects more of Kirk's true feelings towards her? (Besides that, we see Bad!Kirk beat up on his own crewmembers--should we assume that this is revealing of Kirk's true nature, too? Of course not; Kirk would never hurt anyone under his command, without good reason, just as we know from "Charlie X" that Kirk would never force himself on someone. I'm rather inclined to take nothing that Bad!Kirk does as revealing of Kirk's "true" feelings).
It could be argued that Bad!Kirk retains all of Kirk's lust and sexual desire and that Good!Kirk is, as a result, asexual; however, I would argue in return that Good!Kirk's interaction with Spock after his shower is decidedly flirty, considering that Kirk seems to be displaying his attributes like a peacock.
It's almost as if Kirk's sexuality has been split in half--Bad!Kirk attempts to rape Rand, and Good!Kirk flirts rather outrageously with Spock (at least, I'm not really sure how to else to explain Kirk's body language and facial expressions in the scene)--which is rather strong evidence to indicate that Kirk is bisexual.
--(Sorry, this part will be a bit off topic, but I can't let it go.) There is further evidence to hint at bisexual themes in this episode. There is a very strong parallel between the first meeting of Spock and Good!Kirk and Rand and Bad!Kirk. In each case, both enter a room in which a Kirk is already present. Both then broach conversation with similar questions:
SPOCK: Is there something I can do for you, Captain?
RAND: Is there something that you...? Can I help you, Captain?
Then after a similar approach towards the camera,
the Kirks proceed to interact with both of them in a sexualized manner, flirting with Spock and the attempted rape with Rand.
There is also the conversation that Kirk has with himself in Engineering,
GOOD!KIRK: You can't hurt me. You can't kill me. You can't. Don't you understand? I'm part of you. You need me. I need you.
which sounds very like a conversation one would have with oneself when struggling to come to terms with a newly discovered bisexuality.
Lady of the Hour: Eve McHuron
--After the three women are beamed onboard, Kirk seems less affected by them than any other man on the ship, including Spock. (Granted, they were still in the early stages of developing Spock's character at this point.) Compare Kirk's reaction to that of McCoy and Scotty in the transporter room, who stood goggle-eyed and slack-jawed and unresponsive for quite some time, whereas Kirk is able to get right down to business after only a brief period of discombobulation, thereafter almost completely ignoring the women. Kirk does feel the women's effect--he says so in his captain's log. He is just better able and more willing to control his responses to them.
--In the briefing room, again, Kirk is clearly less affected by the women than the other men. Eve is working her mojo on him (as we can see from her eye line), just as Ruth and Magda are doing to the others, and Kirk still remains completely professional and in possession of his faculties.
--Kirk is all business when Eve makes her personal appeal to him at the end of the hearing in the briefing room. Eve is pretty much all over Kirk--granted, in supplication rather than desire--but Kirk only ever tries to extricate himself from her grasp, never returns it.
--Kirk never makes an attempt to seduce any one of the women during the episode--rather, the reverse is true. It is Eve who, at the command of Harry Mudd, invites herself into Kirk's quarters--into his bed--and she turns her Venus mojo up to full blast to try to seduce him into compliance. With a perfectly willing (sort of), technically irresistible woman waiting on his bed, what does Kirk do? He hides behind the room divider, voice sounding actually really damn scandalized, like he's someone's maiden aunt, after the following exchange:
EVE: Captain? I hope you don't mind.
KIRK: As a matter of fact, Miss McHuron, I do.
Kirk never once makes an advance on Eve while she's in his quarters, in fact repeatedly tries to resist her. Though he keeps being sucked in by the effects of the Venus drug, he keeps breaking back out of her thrall, body completely rigid and unresponsive as she embraces him, as she tries to bring him down for a kiss.
--Kirk recognizes that his behavior towards Eve is out of character and goes looking for an answer for why he's so helplessly drawn to her:
KIRK: Did you examine them? Did you examine Eve?
MCCOY: She refused.
KIRK: Well, come on, you're the doctor. What is it? Is it that we're tired, and they're beautiful? They are incredibly beautiful.
MCCOY: Are they, Jim? Are they actually more lovely, pound for pound, measurement for measurement, than any other women you've known? Or is it that they just, well, act beautiful. No. Strike that, strike that.
KIRK: What are they?
MCCOY: You mean are they alien illusions? That sort of thing?
KIRK: I asked you first.
Despite what seems to be assumed fact about Kirk, that a woman is the Pavlovian bell to his dog and he can't help his mouth watering, Kirk himself knows that this behavior is actually atypical and therefore must be the result of some outside influence.
--As far as Kirk's demeanor towards the women, he is consistently gentlemanly and respectful, not treating these women as the commodities Mudd seems to. This is most clear on the planet, as Kirk radiates disapproval at the miners' behavior around the women. Kirk is completely disdainful of Childress's superficiality, that he is so preoccupied with how women look that he would rid himself of Eve simply because she no longer looks as polished, even though she has demonstrated other more useful skills. At the end, it's Kirk who stresses that it's what's inside that makes a person beautiful.
KIRK: There's only one kind of woman.
MUDD: Or man, for that matter.
KIRK: You either believe in yourself, or you don't.
--Kirk's behavior towards Eve in the scenes on the planet merely reflect Kirk's concern for humanoid life. He chases after Eve when she runs into the storm because he doesn't wish harm to come to her. He asks her if she wants to stay with Childress because he doesn't want her to be kept against her will. All this is done out of basic human compassion and concern for another's welfare, not because Kirk wants to bone her.
"What Are Little Girls Made Of?"
Ladies of the Hour: Christine Chapel (just dawned on me--is her name inspired by the Sistine Chapel? Anyone?), Andrea
--Kirk's behavior towards Chapel is completely professional throughout the episode. If Kirk does initiate physical contact with her, it is either to offer stability next to the abyss or to offer comfort. (Chapel herself does the latter for Kirk after the redshirt falls off the stairs.)
--Kirk is not especially happy to see Andrea at her introduction--he has on the same pleasant and diplomatic expression as when he greets Dr. Korby--despite what the "hey, pretty girl" music would have us believe.
--As we will see in later episodes, Kirk's perception of women as his equals extends into battle situations. Kirk is perfectly willing to use Andrea as a shield--she is allied with those that have proven a threat to Kirk and his crew, and as such is an enemy combatant. As we will also see, in this episode even, there is very little Kirk will not do to ensure the success of the mission and the safety of his crew.
--It is Andrea who kisses Kirk first, at the command of Dr. Korby, and it is this exchange that inspires part of Kirk's plan later in the episode. We see on Kirk's face from the moment Andrea enters the room that he has a plan that he is about to put in motion.
Kirk kisses Andrea for the same reason that he baits Ruk with questions about human contamination--he is manipulating these two towards his desired end, gaining control over the situation by forcing Andrea and Ruk into predictable actions. We can see that Kirk seems to be taking absolutely no pleasure in kissing Andrea--his body remains tense and rigid, and it's evident he's not willing to be in contact with her in any way that's not necessary.
--Something else that's interesting to note: the Kirk android is an exact duplicate of Kirk, even in attitude and emotion (with the exception of the planted slur about Spock), except that this Kirk does not have a crew to worry about or any mission to carry out. Even then, with no pressing reason not to (and plenty of reason why he should if James Kirk were all pop culture made him out to be), the Kirk android flat out refuses to kiss Andrea:
ANDREA: I will kiss you.
KIRK ANDROID: No.
ANDREA: You...you will not?
KIRK ANDROID: It is illogical.
and even pulls out the Spockian "illogical" to emphasize his disinterest.
Ladies of the Hour: Miri, Yeoman Janice Rand
--Okay, I'm going to say this right up front. Anyone who tells me that Kirk is trying to hit on the prepubescent girl gets a smack in the teeth. That's gross and goes against Kirk's rule of not forcing himself on those unable to give consent (which would include minors). Kirk is trying to earn Miri's trust, to win her over so that he can learn what occurred on this planet--it's a strategy he will use many times: flattery and meaningless flirting to put someone at ease and get them to talk. Kirk is quite startled later to learn that Miri is crushing on him, is even capable of crushing on him.
RAND: One thing, Captain. If she were a wild animal ever since she's been a little girl, how do you explain that she wants to stay with us?
KIRK: Loneliness? I don't know, curiosity? I think children have an instinctive need for adults. They want to be told right and wrong.
SPOCK: There may be other emotions at work in this case, Captain.
MCCOY: She likes you, Jim.
SPOCK: She's becoming a woman.
Kirk's attitude towards Miri is not unlike Kirk's attitude towards Charlie in "Charlie X," kind and generous, indulgent up until he can no longer afford to be.
--After her tantrum, Rand tells Kirk:
RAND: I'm upset, so upset. Back on the ship, I used to try to get you to look at my legs.
She tried to get Kirk to look at her legs, meaning that he didn't. With few exceptions, Kirk simply does not look at any member of his crew that way. That would break his personal code of not getting involved with crew. It could go deeper, though, that Kirk specifically doesn't look at Rand that way. He certainly seems awkward when he tries to comfort her, his stiff and seemingly reluctant physical contact reminding me strongly of those "OMG girlparts! What do I do?" macros I've seen.
Even later, when he is still ostensibly comforting Rand, after learning of the possibility of a cure, Rand is not the one who holds his attention--rather, it is either Spock or McCoy with whom Kirk seems to be keeping eye contact.
"Dagger of the Mind"
Lady of the Hour: Dr. Helen Noel
--Kirk does not recognize Noel's name when McCoy first mentions it on the bridge, indicating that their association had been brief and stunningly unmemorable for him.
--Kirk does recognize Noel when he sees her in the transporter room, and he is very clearly dismayed that she's his expert. Kirk gets progressively more annoyed as the scene wears on and Noel remains persistent in her attempts to remind him of their meeting at the Christmas party and to entice him into furthering their association.
When Noel starts recalling the circumstances of their meeting, Kirk very clearly wants nothing more than for her to SHUT. UP. for reasons beyond the fact that she is being terribly unprofessional at the moment, as if he's embarrassed by the story she wishes to relate or really doesn't want present company to know about what occurred at the party.
Kirk is so displeased with Noel's presence that he believes this to be the result of McCoy getting back at him for not wanting to investigate the situation with Van Gelder:
KIRK: Mister Spock, you tell McCoy that she had better check out as the best assistant I ever had.
--After beaming down to the planet, Kirk admonishes Noel for acting in an unprofessional manner while on duty:
NOEL: Perhaps it would be simpler if you called me Helen, Captain, since--
KIRK: This is another time, another place, and another situation.
It's interesting to note that it's Noel who's pulling the classic "womanizing" maneuvers here that Kirk is so often accused of, trying to ingratiate herself with Kirk, implement informality between them, making repeated unwelcome overtures to him.
--Kirk takes hold of Noel in the elevator to steady her as it speeds along. It is basic concern for the welfare of a crewman under his care, and he quickly lets her go once the danger's passed.
--What is remarkable about Kirk is that even though he's feeling this annoyance and disdain for Noel, he does not allow it to affect him in mixed company. In front of Dr. Adams, Kirk puts his personal feelings completely away, not allowing them to interfere with his duties in the least. They are on duty, and therefore, Kirk treats Noel with the respect her position as expert aide deserves.
--There is at least one fundamental reason why Noel and Kirk would never be able to make a go of it. Noel is aware of and supports the procedure of shifting the memory patterns of the mentally disturbed, allowing them to forget painful memories, and is almost condescending about it towards Kirk. Kirk, as we know from V needs his memories, needs his pain, and to a certain extent cannot respect those who would take the easier way and simply erase them.
--Noel keeps protesting against Kirk's wanting to see the neural neutralizer after he's clearly stated his interest, and though he could probably cite her for disrespect (because this is just one of several instances), he uses gentle humor stick to his guns, like he's done with Spock or McCoy.
ADAMS: Ah. I was afraid you would ask about this, Captain. One doesn't like to talk about their personal failures, you know? It was just an experiment that went wrong, I'm afraid.
KIRK: May I see it?
NOEL: Captain, if something hasn't worked out and therefore has no scientific fact--
KIRK: Shall we leave it up to the doctor?
NOEL: Since you brought me down here for advice, Captain--
KIRK: One of the advantages of being a Captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.
That Kirk wants to see the neural neutralizer is just a mark of Jim's trust of his instinct, not that he doesn't respect Noel's knowledge or opinion. After all, Kirk respects Dr. Adams as well, as he has said, but is perfectly willing to question him.
--Kirk admonishes Noel for her mistakes (speaking out of turn and harshly to Spock) the same way he did with the male transporter tech at the beginning of the episode, with gentle but firm correction through pointed remarks. There is no distinction between male and female for him, or even between active dislike and complete neutrality:
With the transporter tech:
KIRK: Having trouble, gentlemen?
BERKELEY: I just don't understand the problem, sir.
KIRK: You're beaming cargo down to a penal colony, Mister Berkeley.
BERKELEY: (dawning realization) Their security forcefield, sir.
KIRK: USS Enterprise to Tantalus colony.
WOMAN [intercom]: Rehab colony. Come in.
KIRK: Request opening in your forcefield for beaming down of cargo.
WOMAN [intercom]: Enterprise, affirmative. Our security cover is now open.
KIRK: Energize. Any incoming cargo?
BERKELEY: Just one item, sir. Some research material bound for the Central Bureau of Penology at Stockholm.
WOMAN [intercom]: Tantalus cargo ready to beam up.
KIRK: Oh, Mister Berkeley, you might refamiliarize yourself with the manual on penal colony procedures.
BERKELEY: Immediately, sir.
KIRK: I think you can take the time to lock this up first.
BERKELEY: I'll get a vault assignment.
SPOCK: Van Gelder is extremely agitated, Captain, and warns that you are in danger.
NOEL: Oh, that's foolish.
SPOCK: Please repeat, Captain. I didn't receive that.
KIRK: (pointed) Tell McCoy the technical expert he sent along with me insists that any concern is unjustified.
--When Kirk swings by Noel's quarters after hours, though Noel suspects/desires that he's come to visit her for personal reasons, Kirk is very much all business. He barely glances at her upon entry into her room, like he wishes she were anyone else, but will not allow his personal feelings to impede upon the business at hand. He needs someone off of whom to bounce ideas, and with the forcefield up, Noel is his only option.
--We see that although Kirk might dislike Noel personally, he trusts and respects her ability enough that he entrusts the safety of his mind to her as he tests the neural neutralizer.
--Kirk asks Noel to pick an unusual suggestion, something that did not--would not--happen in actuality, and Noel chooses a scenario in which Kirk swept her off her feet (literally) at the Christmas party.
We finally learn that all the two of them did at the party was dance and talk about the stars--now, while that might be a romantic subject for some, it's not necessarily so for Kirk. His love of space is so great that it's not surprising that talk of the stars would come up in casual conversation. However, this might be what so embarrassed Kirk about their encounter--maybe he got a touch maudlin about the stars, or was a little deep in his cups and expounded at length about them.
What also is perceived as untrue about Kirk, because it is seen in the suggestion fantasy--which is deliberately built on falsehoods--is that he would manufacture a story just to get a woman into bed and that he would sleep with a woman he just met:
NOEL: Captain, if your crew saw you carry me here.
KIRK: My crew is sworn to secrecy.
NOEL: But my reputation. I mean, just having met like this. Of course, it would be different if you cared for me.
KIRK: You want me to manufacture a lie, wrap it up as a Christmas present for you?
NOEL: No, I prefer honesty.
--The "love" that Kirk feels for Noel after Adams' interference is so based on the planted emotions that Kirk phrases it in the same terms Adams introduced: "For years I've loved you."
--Kirk is secure enough in his manhood that he is not afraid to ask Noel to help him open the grate. This is again something that we'll see in later episodes, that Kirk does not find himself emasculated if beaten by or receiving help from a woman.
--(And because I can't resist a such a sweet K/S moment after all this "het") Jim looks absolutely devastated at the end of the episode as he speaks about loneliness, clearly reliving his experience in the neural neutralizer:
MCCOY: It's hard to believe that a man could die of loneliness.
KIRK: Not when you've sat in that room.
However, Kirk glances briefly at Spock, and just that is enough to make him smile and settle back into himself, as if he realizes that he'll never be alone with Spock there, a theme that's very sweetly picked up again in "And the Children Shall Lead" and V.
"The Corbomite Maneuver"
Lady of the Hour: none
--Before we begin, let us all take a moment to appreciate this lovely picture, which I call "Mmm, Jim hip."
--A quick note on the continuity of how Jim instructs his junior officers, regardless of gender:
BAILEY: Sir, we going to just let it hold us here? We've got phaser weapons. I vote we blast it.
KIRK: I'll keep that in mind, Mister Bailey, when this becomes a democracy.
Kirk does not outright condemn the suggestion, although it is poorly thought-out. He listens, he makes a pointed, slightly humorous remark that corrects without making a big deal out of it, then asserts his prerogative as captain.
--Of interest is the scene in which Yeoman Rand is introduced in the episode (and would have been introduced in the series, had the airing order followed production order).
RAND: Excuse me, sir. It's past time you had something to eat, sir.
KIRK: What the devil is this? Green leaves?
RAND: It's dietary salad, sir. Doctor McCoy ordered your diet card changed. I thought you knew.
MCCOY: Your weight was up a couple of pounds, remember?
KIRK: Will you stop hovering over me, Yeoman?
RAND: Well, I'll change it if you don't like it, sir.
KIRK: Bring some for the doctor, too.
MCCOY: No, no. No, I never eat until the crew eats.
KIRK: Thank you, Yeoman.
RAND: You're welcome, sir. (leaves)
KIRK: When I find the headquarters genius that assigned me a female yeoman...
MCCOY: What's the matter, Jim. Don't you trust yourself?
KIRK: I've already got a female to worry about. Her name's the Enterprise.
First of all, isn't it rather curious, if Jim is willing to jump anything in a skirt, as is so often said about him, that he would bemoan to McCoy the fact that he has a female yeoman? One would think at the very least that Jim would be giving her the eye, especially given this exchange from "The Man Trap," regarding Rand:
REDSHIRT: (referring to the meal she's carrying) Hey, Janice, is that for me?
RAND: Don't you wish it was?
BLUESHIRT: How about that?
REDSHIRT: Yeah, how'd you like to have her as your personal yeoman?
These two men would have no problem with Rand being their yeoman, so isn't it odd that Kirk would, were his reputation believed?
Given Kirk's respect of his female crewmen in general, it seems likely that Kirk's dislike of having a female yeoman at all is due some kind of past history--perhaps a past yeoman who developed an inappropriate crush on her captain and allowed it to affect her performance (at the very least, this will in fact happen with Rand)--combined with the overbearing mothering that Rand exhibits in the scene. We all know even at this early point that Kirk will call a person down for allowing personal feeling to interfere with doing one's duty and remaining professional (McCoy in "The Man Trap," Dehner in "Where No Man Has Gone Before," himself in "Mudd's Women," Noel in "Dagger of the Mind"), and it's Rand's proclivity towards mothering that's is interfering with her professionalism here--she treats Kirk more like a husband or brother than a superior officer, and that seems to rub Kirk the wrong way, to the extent that his preference not to have a female yeoman would be quite understandable.
Kirk also seems to find McCoy's quip about Kirk not trusting himself in poor taste, if the look he snaps McCoy right after is any indication.
After all, Kirk takes his stance on avoiding romantic entanglement with crew quite seriously. However, after recognizing that McCoy is in fact joking, we see Kirk's face relax, and he jokes back.
"The Menagerie" (both parts)
Lady of the Hour: none (well, Vina, sort of)
--There is really only one moment of note in these two episodes, at least as far as the purview of this essay:
MENDEZ: Oh, have I introduced Miss Piper, Jim? This is Captain Kirk, Miss Piper.
PIPER: I recognized the captain immediately. A mutual friend described you, sir. Lieutenant Helen Johansson.
KIRK: Helen described...
PIPER: She merely mentioned she knew you, sir.
During the exchange, Miss Piper seems to be a little smug and flirty, and Kirk seems almost horrified, which is an interesting reaction, certainly atypical of the player Kirk is supposed to be.
It raises questions as to who this Lt. Johansson is and what her relationship with Kirk had been. Certainly she could have been a past fling, but we see Kirk react to women with whom we know (or have reason to suspect) he had romantic ties--Dr. Janet Wallace ("The Deadly Years"), Lt. Areel Shaw ("Court Martial"), Ruth ("Shore Leave"), Janice Lester ("Turnabout Intruder")--and there has never been an indication of embarrassment or horror, even with Lester, which seems to have been his most dysfunctional relationship.
Kirk's reaction here has much more in common with his reaction to Dr. Helen Noel in "Dagger of the Mind," with whom he merely danced and talked at a Christmas party once and who apparently developed inappropriate feelings as a result and made certain assumptions about their relationship, which Kirk clearly did not agree with. That both women are named Helen is more than likely a coincidence, but could also be a very subtle hint that Lt. Johansson, like Noel, is a woman with misplaced feelings that make Kirk feel awkward.
Season 1, Part 2