Star Trek "Mudd's Women" (1966.10.13)

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Star Trek "Mudd's Women" (1966.10.13)

Postby Capes (Optional) » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:48 am

Star Trek (1966) season 1, episode 6
In Review

"Mudd's Women"

TELEPLAY: STEPHEN KANDEL
STORY: GENE RODDENBERRY
DIRECTOR: HARVEY HART

AIR DATE: October 13 1966

CONTAINS SPOILERS!

The Enterprise chases a small cargo ship as it fails to respond to repeated hails. As its engines begin to overheat it strays into an asteroid belt. Scotty manages to beam the captain and his 'crew' to safety, but the swashbuckling captain confirms that the three beautiful women are not actually his crew. They are his cargo.

So begins the latest episode of Star Trek. "Mudd’s Woman" was originally presented as an option to be used as the second pilot but was turned down due to its risqué storyline. The fact that the episode actually aired at all in the mid-1960’s is remarkable in itself. The story deals with the selling of women who use an enhancement drug to make themselves more attractive and irresistible. Harry Mudd is presented as a likeable rogue, and has been regarded as such since the episode originally aired, but should he be? He is a slaver of the future trafficking human beings.

This is the first of two episodes to feature Harry Mudd, the next being "I, Mudd". Three, if you include an episode of the animated series, "Mudd’s Passion". The episode was novelized by J.A. Lawrence as Mudd’s Angels in 1978.

Six episodes in and there are still some oddities to be found throughout the episode (of course, it is the fourth episode chronologically which helps explain some of the 'settling is' problems). There are also some great points of interest worth indicating to those who may have missed them previously:

The standard station uniform colours had no yet been established. Uhura wears command gold in this episode.

Harry Mudd refers to Spock as being part Vulcanian, rather than Vulcan. How Harry can tell by sight that Spock is 'part' Vulcan is unknown. Perhaps the original intent was to have full Vulcans have a different appearance or perhaps Harry is somehow familiar with Spock’s history in some fashion. In any case, the comment remains a mystery.

There is a window in Kirk’s quarters, although this does not appear to be his regular quarters. This room is on deck 12 rather than deck 5.

We learn Lieutenant Farrell's first name when Sulu calls him Johnny. At one point during the episode, Farrell's uniform is missing the emblem, which is a shot recycled from "The Enemy Within".

Harry Mudd’s police record indicates that he was previously arrested to smuggling but the sentence was suspended. He also purchased a space vessel with counterfeit currency. His sentence was for psychiatric treatment but the effectiveness is disputed. His police recode code it X731248.

After Harry's trial, the last of the lithium fails. A keen ear can hear the director call out "Lights" right before they are flashed.

Kirk's middle initial 'T' is spoken by Harry in this episode, although what the 'T' stands for will remain unknown until the animated series. It was very briefly seen outside his quarters in "The Enemy Within".

In a creative piece of direction, Eve’s hand holding the Venus drug is cut to Spock’s hand holding a piece of lithium ore ( the ship's source of power is prominently referred to as lithium rather than dilithium. Spock’s also makes an unVulcan-like comment about the lithium being beautiful.

Spock's anatomy is clarified slightly by McCoy at the end of the episode by indicating that his heart is located on his left side under his arm, approximately where the human spleen is located.
This episode is generally regarded as a fan favourite, and although I always found if somewhat unsettling even as a child, I must admit that is was always a favourite of mine as well. In retrospect it is easy to see how Harry Mudd has always been considered a loveable rogue, but this is mainly due to Roger C. Carmel's acting. The idea that the crew of the Enterprise actually helps the woman find husbands in return for lithium is somewhat baffling. Is human trafficking legal in the future? Perhaps Harry is operating in 'international waters', so to speak. Given that the women do want to settle down, the minors do want wives to keep them company, and Harry doesn't actually profit from the transaction in the end does make it all more acceptable. Oh, and the placebo effect of the Venus replacement on Eve near the end of the story? Ridiculous drivel, of course, but I'll take it. I'm a sucker for a sappy ending.

3½/ 5

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