Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, May 19, 2014

Season 2, Episode 41 "I, Mudd"

"I, Mudd"
Production Number: 41
Air Order: 37
Stardate: 4513.3
Original Air Date: November 3, 1967



Spock and Bones are in the corridor pre-credits, and pass a Blue Shirt, who greets them cordially before moving on.
"That dude is weird," says Bones. "I know he's new, but he never smiles, or talks about himself - only about work."
Spock walks away, all butthurt.
Bones runs after him like a husband who has admitted that his wife does indeed look fat in those jeans, and he needs to now fix it if he doesn't want to sleep on the couch.
"C'mon, baby. You know I didn't mean it like that." Then he adds, "Your ears are super-sexy today."
"Blow me," says Spock. But it's an insult rather than an invitation.
"That weird guy missed two physical exam appointments," muses Bones.
"He's probably terrified of your beads and rattles," Spock deadpans before walking away.

The aforementioned Blue Shirt (Norman) enters Auxiliary Control and takes out a Gold Shirt. Then he alters the course of the ship.


On the bridge, Sulu alerts Kirk to the fact that they are changing course. The controls are jammed. Kirk sends a trio of Reds to Aux Control, who find the Gold and put out an alert for an intruder.
Norman then goes down to engineering, quickly Chuck Norrises all of the Reds working there, and gives the E some gas.
"Going pretty fast," reports Sulu. "Can't do a thing to change it, either."

Hey, look. It's Friday again.

"This is BS," says Kirk.
He starts to run off to catch the intruder himself, but the lift opens, and Norman steps out.
"We need your ship," he tells Kirk. "We don't mean you any harm, but we totally put a bomb in the system, and if you try to alter course or slow down or drop below 55 mph, everyone will die."
It's the real deal, too. No freaking corbomite this time.
"Who's this we?" asks Kirk.
And Norman opens a panel in his abdomen, revealing a bunch of circuitry. 
Dramatic music! Commercial break!


Kirk's Log 2513.3 "That new crewmember Norman is an android. He hijacked the ship, and we've spent the last four days en route to the planet that we are currently orbiting."
 When they reach their destination, Norman comes out of hibernation and his screen saver turns off. He then specifies an away team: Kirk, Spock, Bones, Chekov and Uhura.


They beam down with Norman, and are immediately shown into a throne room. Hey, look who it is! Pirate-carny!


"WTF, Harry Mudd?" demands Kirk.
"Dude, I'm king of the androids! Cool, huh? I have 500 Alices!"
Ooh, let's talk about Alice(s). They're wearing shimmery peach fabric with foil flowers. It's draped so that it's one-shouldered, with one long sleeve. Then we get short-shorts, with a sort of pant-skirt on one side. The whole thing is literally tied together with silver rope that starts in her hair, crisscrosses the chest, circles the waist, causing a tripping hazard by winding behind the knee, and ties around the left wrist.  It's accessorized with iridescent tights and fucking Lucite kitten heels. What the hell is up with you and those Lucite kitten heels, Star Trek? Does your costuming department only own one pair of shoes? Those are the epitome of vomitous. Also, ditch those short-shorts. Make the bottom half a long skirt with a slit up the side. No more sparkly tights, rope belt only, and please lose those foil flowers.

I wondered: multiples, or split-screens? Both. One set of twins, with Twin #1
playing Alices 1-250, and Twin #2 playing 251-500. And you can totally
see the split-screen here.

So Mudd tells Kirk that he got caught selling alien tech to other cultures, and was jailed and awaiting the death penalty when he escaped in a stolen spaceship. The ship was damaged in the getaway, and he limped through space until he landed on this android planet.
"Here's the thing," he says. "They won't let me leave, and I'm fucking bored. So I got them to bring your ship here. You guys will stay behind so the androids will have humans to study, and I'll take your ship and fly away."
Good plan, dude. I bet you can fit hundreds of space hookers in the E with you. And more if they're dead!
Just to underscore how certifiable Mudd is, he shows them the android copy he had made of his naggy wife Stella, a woman he thoroughly hates. Because she's a machine, he can just tell her to STFU, and she has to obey.

And yes, that is one of the actresses that played Aunt Hagatha
on Bewitched.

Norman and two Alices escort the away team to some quarters, and Kirk asks about Norman's creators. Norman says that they all died out eventually, but that he is one of the original androids from that time period. They're kind of grateful to Mudd because his stupid commands give them purpose, which they need. The Alices tell the humans all about the wonderful facilities they have, and then Kirk gleefully tells the to take a hike.
Left alone, Kirk turns to his team for ideas. Spock suggests that there is one central intelligence ruling over the androids, so it must be located somewhere. Everyone splits up to look for a way to get off the planet.

Spock heads for what seems to be the control room. Norman, now wearing the typical male android outfit, sports the number One, and gropes some kind of glowing crystal. He confirms to Spock that the crystal is the central control system, and that there are more than 200,000 androids on the planet, but when Spock asks if the crystal controls the androids, he gives the old "I am not programmed to respond in this area" that they all give when asked something they shouldn't answer.


Mudd and a pair of Alices show Kirk and Uhura another android series, and once again, they're chicks in slinky, sparkly dresses. Mudd declares that he designed several series of female androids. When Kirk asks him about designing males, Mudd fumbles around the fact that he really can't fap to male androids as easily. Alice 263 tells them that human brains are placed in android bodies, which then function for 500,000 years. Uhura seems thoughtful, which appears to worry Kirk, but the skeevy Mudd silkily tells her that she could remain young and beautiful forever.


Kirk and Spock are conspiring quietly in their quarters when Bones and Mudd stumble in. Bones is excited because their science labs are awesome. Kirk starts to tell Bones not to get comfortable when another Alice pitches Scotty into the room. Scotty says that an Alice forced him into a transporter beam, and then Mudd admits that he's been quietly replacing the crew with androids, beaming the Starfleeters down onto the surface. (Okay: wait. How were they beaming up in the first place? "Hey, Enterprise. This is an android. Beam me up. Your captain said it was cool.") Kirk goes Homer Simpson on Mudd.



Mudd points out that he'll totally get away with stealing the E, because he has an army of loyal androids, and the E can outrun everyone, even other Starfleet ships.
Kirk finally says, "You're an asshole," and lets Mudd go. Mudd and that last Alice slink out.
"This sucks," Kirk tells the others. "The entire crew is down here, and this place is awesome. The androids here are programmed to give the humans anything they want, in whatever amount. All they have to do is ask."
So of course there's a cut-away to Chekov on the throne. He chats up a pair of Alices, who give him the old "fully functional and programmed in multiple techniques" speech. He realizes that that perv Mudd programmed them, and decides that life would be grand as the cream filling in a Chekov-android Oreo.


Kirk returns to their quarters to find that his bridge crew is thinking that staying on the surface is a great idea. He's angry that Mudd has been pimping out the planet to make it more appealing to the crewmembers. Chekov has clearly gotten a healthy serving of cookie. An Alice comes in to ask if they want anything.
"I want my ship," says Kirk.
"A ship is not a want, a ship is a machine," she replies.
Kirk roars at her that the E is not a machine, but a beautiful lady. Welcome back, Kirkerprise. It's been a while since Kirk shipped himself with the ship.
"I'm unhappy," he tells this Alice.
She is confused, and asks for the meaning of the word unhappy. When he gives it, the number medallion that she's wearing flashes and beeps, which indicates confusion. She asks for help from Norman, and after a while, she replies that the androids need to study the word "unhappy", before exiting.



Kirk and Spock go into the throne room with Mudd. Mudd asks Alice One to put his bags on the the E, and the androids all steadfastly refuse. It seems that in studying humans, the androids determined that they were destructive and needed to be stopped. The new plan is for the androids to take the ship, abandon the humans on the planet, and go out into the universe, finding humans to control. How will they control the human tendency to destroy? By offering themselves up as servants. Subversive, behind-the-scenes control, and the humans won't suspect because they love being waited on.
That's actually a really great plot twist. Kudos, Star Trek.



In their quarters, the group hatches a plan. Spock believes that Norman controls the hive mind of the androids, seeing as how there are lots of other series of androids, but only one of him. The flashing of the medallions is the hive mind thinking. Kirk thinks that the androids will expect an escape plan from them. Bones hypos Mudd, and Kirk summons Alice One to tell her that Mudd is dying and needs to be treated in sick bay. Uhura interrupts.
"He's lying. It's a ruse to escape," she tells Alice One.
"Uhura, WTF?" demands Kirk.
"I want an android body," she tells him. "I want to live forever."
"Ooh," says Alice One. "You guys are so denied access to the Enterprise. Mudd's sorry ass can die. The pretty chick helped us. We're gonna make her a kick-ass body before we leave."
Alice One sashays away, and Kirk turns turns angrily to Uhura. Then he grins. It was a ruse, yo. A ruse within a ruse. Ruse-ception. (Yeah, okay. Sorry for that. Couldn't resist.)



Kirk goes into the throne room and takes a seat. A pair of Alices ask if he requires something. The door opens, and Scotty and Bones come in, playing imaginary musical instruments. Then Uhura and Chekov dance in.
"They are celebrating their captivity," Kirk tells the androids. "Isn't the music great?"
The Alices are confused. When Chekov and Uhura finish dancing, she backhands him "because she likes him." Kirk orders Chekov to get up and stand perfectly still. So Chekov gets up and begins dancing again. The lights on the medallions flash, and the Alices freeze. Bones scans them and says that they're totally preoccupied.



Spock is down in the lab with two other Alices. He attempts to pinch one, but it doesn't work, so he tries another tactic.
"I love you," he tells one. He turns to the other. "But I hate you."
"But we're the same," protests the hated android.
"Yeah, I hate you because you're the same as her," Spock replies.
These Alices also freeze, and Spock walks away.

The scene that follows is awesome. The away team (plus Scotty and Mudd) goes into the control room to talk to Norman and a pair of Alices. Only they don't talk. They launch into a series of theatrical skits that make zero sense, but basically get the point across that humans are unhappy simply being served. At one point, they all aim finger guns at Scotty and whistle as he falls. Bones pronounces him dead.



This whole scene reads like terrible, hilarious improv. The medallions on the confused androids light up, and Spock tells Norman that logic is a wreath of pretty flowers that smell bad. There's a bit with an invisible bomb that Mudd pretends to tee off like a golf ball, and the Alices finally freeze up because of all of the WTF? in the room. Kirk marches up to Norman and announces that Mudd always lies.
"I'm lying now," says Mudd cheerfully.
Norman attempts to determine if Mudd is lying about lying, and appeals to Kirk concerning the logic of the problem.
"I'm not programmed to respond in this area," says Kirk sarcastically as smoke pours from Norman's ears. The android turns off.



Everyone is once again in the throne room, androids and all. Kirk tells Mudd that the Enterprise is leaving without him, that he's been sentenced to probation on this planet, and that the androids have been reprogrammed to not treat him like a god. In fact, they've been taught to hold him as the worst of humanity, and to learn from him in that way.
"Well... that was kind of a dick move, Kirk, but I am still surrounded by gorgeous, partially-dressed female androids, so I guess it's not so bad," admits Mudd.
"Cool," says Kirk. "I got you an assistant to keep you on track."
Of course it's Stella. Mudd protests loudly over her yelling, but his voice is drowned out by the second and third Stellas, who surround him. The medallion on the third reads "500". The away team exits to the sound of Mudd protesting.




I was totally looking forward to this episode for the prime reason that it's funny. When Star Trek goes out of it's way to be funny, it really does a good job, whether it be awkward funny, sarcastic funny, or just silly in general. I also really liked the plot twist used here, which seemed more original than others I've encountered, and the fact that they used the same old tired "give the sentient machine an existential crisis" in a new way. Rather than tell the androids that they aren't behaving logically, the humans convince them that the humans are in fact behaving logically, and that the androids themselves were not making the connection. A new twist on an old Star Trek theme is definitely welcome.



Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 0
Red deaths this season: 12
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 6
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 1
Total crew deaths this season: 19
Total crew deaths thus far: 35

Random IMDB story: Gene Rod was having trouble locating identical twins to play the parts of Alice. Nearing his deadline one night, he spotted Alyce and Rhae Andrece walking along the sidewalk. He pulled over and said something to the effect of "Guess what? You're gonna be on tv." Fortunate that Gene Rod wasn't a total creep.
*******

Roomie brought home a case of Canada Dry Sparkling Green Tea Ginger Ale this week. I had to try it, of course. Those are two of my favorite things. But like any time items are mixed like that, I was cautious. It could either be awesome or awful. Turns out it's more in the middle. I was concerned that the green tea or the ginger ale was going to be overpowered by the other taste, but neither was. I feel like you taste a bit of the green tea first, and it finishes with the ginger ale. Not overpowering on either end, and actually kind of a nice complement. As always, though, it's canned, which means it tastes like tea flavor rather than tea.


Seems like it's available in some places more readily than others, and according to some places on the interwebs, it might be discontinued soon? Oops.







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