Production Number 04
Episode Air Number: 6
Air Date: October 13, 1966
This episode opens in an action scene, with the ship pursuing an unidentifiable vessel which won't respond to hails. (My guess is that the vessel is drug-running in a bad part of the galaxy. You can tell because they added after-market parts and rave lights to the underside.) The little vessel that couldn't ends up overheating its engines, and at the risk of doing the same to the Enterprise, Kirk orders that the deflector shields be placed around the other ship.
|Like so many classic cars, the Enterprise has a "dummy light" that goes off whenever anything is wrong. I swear this light is used for deflector shields, engines, life support, angry Klingon in the vicinity, ect|
When we return from the opening credits we find out that the Enterprise has blown two lithium crystal circuits. They lock onto a life signal from the other ship and beam aboard a guy who is dressed like a pirate. Or a carny. He introduces himself as Captain Leo Walsh. He's very nonchalant as everyone else panics about the possibility of his ship blowing up. Just as it's about to go, Scotty locks onto three more life-forms and beams them aboard. So... those life-forms weren't detected previously or what?
I kind of don't get beaming. Is it that your chances of successfully transporting go up if you're standing on a pad? We already know that you can beam with a pad on just one end, otherwise they couldn't beam to the surface of unexplored planets. Is that why they couldn't detect said other life-forms onboard the other ship? But if that were the case, you could only detect how many people were standing on the transporter pads. And if they could detect four, why not just beam over all four?
Oh, never mind. I'm wondering how they eat and breathe, and other science facts. I'll repeat to myself “It's just a show – I should really just relax.”
It's more difficult to beam these new people aboard because the Enterprise is mostly on battery power, but Scotty manages to get all three just as the unidentified vessel is hit by an asteroid and blows up.
The group beamed aboard are females and the show employs what I call Girl-O-Vision. The girls are filmed in a soft light with a Vaseline-smeared camera to make them seem... I dunno... more desirable or something? It's always accompanied by music that seems to want to convince you that this girl is worthy of being stared at. It's as though the producers are holding up audience-direction signs, but instead of saying “applause”, they say “get boner now.”
The trio on the transporter pads are certainly looking for attention. Hair and make-up are all done up, and because that sort of thing is appropriate for space travel, two of them are wearing glittery floor-length gowns. The third is wearing what I swear is a sequined poncho.
Scotty looks stunned. McCoy is sporting a creepy blissed-out smile. Spock doesn't give a shit either way.
Irate at the lack of verbal response from his crew, Kirk demands via intercom to see the asshat captain that caused them to blow two circuits, and the girls follow the pirate-carny out of the transporter room. They're accompanied by burlesque music that includes heavy drumbeats with each sway of the hips. And because that's not enough, there's a gratuitous ass shot added in. They might as well have broken out the stripper poles and space dollahs.
When they get in the lift with Spock, Walsh asks the science officer if he's part-Vulcanian (I find that added suffix to be weird), and then tells the girls that they can turn off the charm because it won't work on Spock. The blonde in the pink dress apologizes for her captain's remark. A pretty girl with gumption on a 60's TV show... this chick is a unicorn among goats. Her captain tells her to just stand there and look nice.
Spock takes them to the briefing room, and looks ridiculously amused as he alerts Kirk to their presence. Kirk intends to tell off Walsh, but the Girl-O-Vision kicks in with the music, and he fumbles things. Walsh admits that the girls were the cargo, not crew, of his ship. The girls leave, and Spock looks as though he's barely holding in a smart-ass remark about human endocrine systems. Kirk tells Walsh that he's going to hold a ship's hearing against him, and he's confined to quarters while on ship.
Captain's Log 1329.2: Kirk says that he is concerned because he and the male crew members are all twitterpaited.
The hearing is convened and the computer calls all of Walsh's bullshit. He's actually Harry Mudd, which is rather apropos, and he's got a laundry list of past charges, which includes “crimes against fashion” and “fake-ass accent”. Kirk decides to charge him with operating an unlicensed vessel, and demands to know what Mudd is doing. Mudd tells them that he recruits wives for settlers. Awesome. He's the OKCupid of the stars. Not fully believing him, Kirk orders the computer to scan the girls. It returns no reading on the girls, but reports that the male crew members present are all sporting wood.
Evie, the blonde in the pink dress, assures Kirk that they've gone willingly with Mudd in order to get husbands, and now the Enterprise is keeping them from new lives. Kirk replies that he's only charging Mudd and that girls are free to pursue their weird arranged marriages.
Sulu tells Kirk over the intercom that Rigel XII, where they can get more lithium crystals, is two days away. Kirk leaves and Mudd nearly wets himself with glee, as this presents access to rich husbands. I wonder how Mudd gets paid... first by the girls, then by the husbands? Does he make anyone put down a deposit or down payment?
|No, really... pirate or carny?|
Ruthie, the brunette, announces her presence in sick bay with GOV and boom-boom music. She hits on McCoy in an effort to ask him how many miners are on Rigel XII and if they're young and healthy. She sets off his medical scanner, and I wonder if this is the reason why they weren't beamed aboard right away. Because they're clearly mutants, or aliens or something. Bones asks her if she's wearing an unusual perfume or “something radioactive” (...seriously?), and she purrs, “No, I'm just me” before leaving.
Kirk enters his quarters to find Evie lying on his bed. She simpers that she ducked in there to escape the leering of the crew. She starts talking about loneliness and how lonely he must be as a starship captain. She tries to kiss him, but then backs out, saying that she likes him, but that Harry Mudd is an asshole, and she leaves. I like Evie. She has a backbone.
Magda The Other Blonde enters Mudd's quarters and she and Ruthie give him the info about the miners that they wheedled out of the crew members. They remind him that they're trapped on the Enterprise. Evie stumbles in and yells at Mudd for being a douchebag.
On the bridge, Kirk and McCoy ask each other if these girls are actually beautiful, or if they just act that way. Or if they're actually an alien illusion. Personally, I'm blaming the Girl-O-Vision and the Pavlovian music that makes their shorts drool. In the meantime, Magda steals a communicator and Mudd contacts the miners.
The Enterprise enters orbit above Rigel XII and contacts the miners. Spocks says that they have three days' worth of battery power in which to get the crystals, more than enough time if all goes well. Yeah...
In Mudd's cabin, the women are looking decidedly older, more tired, and less cute. In truth, they mostly look like the same girls with no make-up and ratty sex hair. Mudd frantically searches for something that he hid when he came on board. Apparently, he's forgotten in the two hours or so that they've been there. The women are flipping out. Then at last he finds his little red pills. Of course they're red. Ruthie and Magda gulp them down, but Evie insists that it's cheating.
The miners come on board and say that they're willing to trade Mudd's women for the crystals. They've told Mudd that, in exchange, they'll get the charges against him dropped. Kirk laughs. “You're fucking with me, right?” (On a side note, how do these random miners out in BFE Space have any authority to get those charges dropped?) But Ben Childress, the head miner, says that it's the girls or nothing. Mudd parades in with his cargo and there's more Girl-O-Vision shots and stripper music.
With little choice, Kirk, Spock and Mudd beam down with the girls and the miners. An awkward mixer starts, and the miners dance with two of the girls while Evie stares out the window at the desolate landscape. When she refuses to dance with Childress, he cuts in on Ruthie, and a fistfight starts. In an emo teenage moment, Evie shouts, “Why don't you just hold a raffle and the loser gets me?” before running out into a nasty magnetic storm. We managed to go from ST:TOS to Harry Potter 5 in one line. Angst, angst, angst.
Kirk and Childress run after her, but when they turn up nothing, Kirk and Mudd return to the ship, where the captain chooses to use the ship's equipment to search through the storm and expend all but 43 minutes' worth of power. They spy a heat signature coming from Childress' quarters, and Kirk and Mudd beam back down.
Childress had located Evie and brought her, unconscious, back to his bed before collapsing on a bench to sleep. Now, Evie is up and cooking. Childress gets up and makes snide remarks about her food. They bicker like an old married couple. After a while, Evie sits down to play cards (round, because this is the future), and Childress bitches about how she's gotten homely. Honestly, I think her “homely” moments make her look like Frances McDormand more than anything else.
Kirk and Mudd burst in and tell Childress that Mudd gave the women Venus drugs (see, told you that vessel was carrying illegal drugs), which exaggerates their feminine attributes. The other miners have married the other girls by sub-space radio, but Kirk tells Childress that they can get out of it because the marriages are frauds. Evie gets pissed and takes a pill. The Girl-O-Vision returns and she asks Childress if he wants a fake wife. Then Kirk declares that she took a placebo and that what those pills really gave her were confidence. Evie and Childress decide that they'd like to talk things over, and Kirk takes Mudd back to the ship so he can be turned over to the authorities.
|I'm pretty sure those are fruit snacks.|
Wait – WTF? An episode that features a pirate-carny who buys and sells people has a moral about self-confidence? I mean, don't get me wrong - “believe in yourself and you can do anything” is a good moral. But it seems weird that it would be paired with consensual human trafficking.
And frankly, now I have to question what I actually watched. Because on that last go, Evie takes the red placebo pill and the audience sees her go from “homely” to “bombshell”. Girl-O-Vision, music, the works. Her hair goes from ratty to styled, and she “develops” make-up. Does the viewer have Saurian brandy goggles on as well? Her glamor came out of nowhere and it was supposedly all in her head this time. Did it actually happen? Did we just imagine it? Did Kirk and Mudd see her physically change the way Childress, Evie, and the viewer did? … or are we living in Evie's head?
...I'm going to go sit in a corner and mutter to myself about solipsism. Feel free to let yourself out. I'm pretty sure you can check out anytime you'd like.