I'm on Team Katniss. I can't decide, so I'll just let the boys figure it out.

Merlin: The Wicked Day
Oh, it's wicked, all right.
Merlin: The Darkest Hour, Part 2
Arthur sacrifices himself for Camelot... almost.
Merlin: The Darkest Hour, Part 1
Morgana unleashes a ghost army on Camelot.

Star Trek: The Original Series Episode 03 - Mudd's Women

Original Airdate: October 13, 1966

Synopsis
The Enterprise comes across a small ship, acting like it's fleeing the law. Jim's suspicions are raised and he pursues. The chase is on, and it burns up the little ship and burns out most of the Enterprise's "lithium" crystals. (Perhaps those crystals regulate the brain chemistry of the "dilithium" crystals the ship will run on in the near future.)

Harry 'Leo Walsh' Mudd
The captain of the other ship sends out a distress signal, and Scotty beams him aboard. We see a large man with a bad Irish brogue, and he's dressed a bit like a pirate space clown. He calls himself Leo Walsh, and says that he wanted to be cautious about letting his crew be beamed aboard, but ultimately gives the go-ahead to beam them. Just as Scotty gets their signal, the other ship breaks apart.

Three sultry women in sparkly gowns stand vamping it up on the transporter pad. Scotty and Bones are entranced and stuttery, Spock is not. The ladies step off the transporter pad and hipsway down the hall to the turbolift. Spock escorts them to Jim's quarters, and Capt. Walsh tells the women not to bother practicing their wiles on him – he's a Vulcanian and can turn off his emotions at will. In the real world of course, they were still working out the rule book of what they wanted to do with Spock/Vulcans. Within the show, it's obvious to me that Leo Walsh has sort of dimly heard something, kind of, about them there Vulcanians.

The vampy ladies? Are an overdressed, well-coiffed and made-up slightly above average. I will go into this later.

When they arrive, Jim orders that the women be given quarters; "Leo" tells the captain that he's responsible for the destruction of his ship, driving him into an asteroid belt as he did, and calls Jim "hard-nosed." Jim, in response, calls "Leo" a liar, and tells him that he'll convene a hearing shortly.

Scotty grows more concerned about the lack of crystals, and the inability to take care of the worsening lack of power in-house. Life support is running on batteries, for God's sake. He and Spock explain this to Jim and the decision is made to head to nearby Rigel XII to the lithium mines for more crystals.

"Leo" goes to the women after his talk with Jim, and even though there are two security officers in the room, the women start calling "Leo" Harry. They are very upset, and "Leo" tells them to remain calm, to tell the truth if asked anything, and not to submit to a medical exam. I certainly hope the security officers paged somebody after that and told them that medical exams might prove interesting. From the way McCoy acts later in sickbay, it's obvious they didn't, though. These guys don't know their jobs.

At the hearing, it is revealed that "Leo Walsh" is actually "Harcourt Fenton Mudd," a smuggler who's had his license revoked. The ladies, Evie, Ruthie, and Magda, flirt with the Starfleet officers, but to no avail. Nobody's dropping charges against Harry, who sets off the lie detector every time he opens his mouth. He explains that he is recruiting wives for settlers, and the women concur – where each of them is from, there is a distinct lack of available, suitable men, and by the way, they are heading off course now, and will never reach their intended husbands, and doesn't Captain Kirk care about them? Their pleas fall on deaf ears, because Mudd is going to be handed over to the authorities at the first available opportunity, and there's a momentary brownout just then and the urgency of needing to go get a power source is rammed home. They're going to Rigel XII. Sorry, ladies.

Harry, left alone with Evie, Magda, and Ruthie, tells them that all is well, because hey! Lithium miners are rich, rich men. They'll all be filthy rich, beyond their wildest dreams of avarice! The girls brighten at this.

Ruthie then simmers into sickbay and behaves seductively with McCoy, who, to his credit, still manages to retain a little higher brain function. Only a little, though. She walks in front of a panel and sets it to bleeping, which he finds curious. He asks if she's wearing an unusual perfume or perhaps something radioactive. They part, each having learned something; he learned there's something a little hinky going on and she learned from him that there are three dilithium miners on Rigel XII; one for each girl.

Jim walks into his quarters to find Evie stretched out on his bed. He starts unhappily and she explains that the men of the crew were leering and making her uncomfortable, so she just had to duck in there to feel safe. She flirts and seduces and tries to pump him for information, but then kind of throws her hands up and says that she really does like him and can't go on with this bullshit. She leaves, and he's left wondering what the hell just happened and what Harry's up to now.

Sending them out to seduce the crew out of all the information possible about the miners, that's what. Magda even got a communicator and the frequency to use! Magda wins! Harry uses the communicator to call the head miner, Ben Childress.

Spock smirks
The crew (well, the male contingent) is acting like a bunch of punch-drunk fools because of these women. Jim remarks that they certainly are very beautiful, and McCoy hits the nail on the head with his response, wondering if they really are all that, exactly, or is it that they just act beautiful. He sheepishly retracts that, but he was on the right track.

Spock, by the way, has spent the entire episode smirking at these goofy humans. It's pretty amusing.

Evie
Evie, Magda and Ruthie look like hell all of a sudden. No, really. Ruthie looks 20 years older, and the other two look like they haven't slept in a week. This is because Harry has lost the pills, the necessary precious sweet pills, and has mounted a search of the group quarters to find them, while the girls yell at him for being so stupid. He finally finds them under a mattress and gives each girl one. Evie fights taking hers; she feels it's just a cheat, but Harry talks her into it. Instantly, we see the importance of the sparkly pink pills; the women transform back into well-rested, perfectly coiffed and made-up versions of themselves.

In a very nice segue, we flash from the pill in Evie's hand to a 'lithium crystal in Spock's hand as he says, "Even burned and cracked, they're beautiful."

Drop the charges??
Two of the miners come up from Rigel XII to talk to Jim about the crystals and instead of payment, they demand the charges against Harry dropped… and they want the women too. Jim laughs out loud and tells them no deal. They say fine, no deal and try to drive a hard bargain, but Jim reminds them that they're very far out all by themselves, and will need cargo shipments, starship protection and medical treatment, so they shouldn't be so hasty. He's got the upper hand for a nanosecond and then Harry & the girls burst in right as the power flickers, and just like that, the miners win.

Jim and Spock and Harry beam down into a magnetic storm, and enter a building that looks like an Airstream trailer with radar antennae. There is a party in full swing, and Jim finds Ben Childress and tells him he wants the crystals. Childress brushes him off with "not now, we're busy" and wanders over to Evie. They speak in a friendly manner for a bit and he asks her to dance. She coughs, and politely declines – she doesn't seem to be feeling well. He walks off in a snit and she begins to cry.

We get a bit of ugly scene as one miner, Ben I think, cuts in on another dancing with Magda and a fight breaks out. Jim and Spock try to break it up as Harry looks on unhappily. Perhaps he's a little concerned about the lives he's leaving these women to live. Evie runs to the door, and like an angst-filled teenage girl at every party ever, yells "why don't you just have a raffle and the loser gets me?" and runs out into the storm crying. Jim and Spock look startled for a moment, perhaps reflecting on how very long ago high school must surely have been for Evie, and then Jim starts out after her.

He looks for her for a while, and then we cut forward to the ship, where he's beamed back and the search has been on for some hours, using the sensors. Eventually, at the seven hour mark, Ben staggers back into his house with Evie. He puts the unconscious woman on the bed and then he collapses on a bench. When he awakens, she's wearing one of his shirts, the house has been tidied a bit, and she's cooking. He is displeased, because he's a gruff, ill-mannered jackass with no social skills at all, and because she has dared tidy. She tells him she did it because she ate some of his food and repaid him in chores, then sets some food down in front of him. He acts like a child and pouts that he prefers his own cooking, but he secretly likes what she made. She also gives him a free housekeeping tip – sandblast your filthy pans, dumbass – which he takes her up on. He comes back in after only to see her playing cards and looking haggard. They start bickering about the card game and he actually says "You're plain as an old bucket. What happened to your looks, anyway?" What a dick. He follows that Hallmark card sentiment with "You're homely! I've got enough in crystals already to buy queens!" WHAT THE SHIT.

Before she can hit him with say, the stove, Jim & Harry burst in. Harry says (with surprising tenderness) "thank heaven you found her." Jim makes Harry tell Ben about the illegal Venus drug he's been giving the women. Harry says, "it gives you more of whatever you've got. It makes men more muscular, women rounder. Men become more aggressive, women more feminine." Ben asks rudely if the other girls look like she does. They do. He asks about what happened to his fellow miners, because evidently plain women will eat you.

Well, subspace radio weddings, that's what happened. Childress lunges at Harry when he hears that. Jim hauls him back and Childress rants about their hard, hard lives evidently meaning they are entitled to some kind of goddesses. Evie cuts him off with "You don't want wives, you want this!" and takes the Venus drug. She transforms and Jim watches, smiling. "Quite a woman, eh, Childress?" he asks. Ben replies "a fake, pumped up by a drug."

"By herself," Jim answers. "She took no drug." Evie protests that she did too take it, but Jim informs her that what she took was colored gelatin and Harry confirms it. The Venus drug was taken from him and replaced.

"There's only one kind of woman," Jim tells Ben. "Or man, for that matter," Harry throws in. Jim finishes, "you either believe in yourself or you don't." Ben agrees to pay up with the lithium crystals and says presumptuously that Evie will stay. She agrees. Harry, for his part, would like to stay too, but Jim can't allow that. He will, however, be happy to be a character witness at his trial … if Harry thinks that will help. (He doesn't.)

Notable Moments

Nice nails
  • The women, as I mentioned early on, are average to slightly above in looks, but they drive the menfolk crazy, they "act beautiful," and at least Evie doesn't need the pills, in the end, to do this. I've always liked the message of this episode; if you have confidence, if you believe in yourself, you do transform. If you think you're ugly or without worth, you behave like you're ugly or without worth, and people will treat you accordingly. If you think you're likeable and attractive, you carry yourself differently, you behave with more confidence, and it's a lot easier for people to find you charming. And while we use crutches and props to help us along (makeup, this one perfume I have … Venus pills… whatever), in reality, we don't need them. Just the confidence.

  • So, beaming down into a magnetic storm (and back up later) – I know it's not an ion storm (and won't those make using the transporter fun later) but does that seem wise?

  • Evie has a great manicure. Love that white '60s polish.

  • At the hearing, Harry says something stupid, and Jim & Scotty shoot Spock a "bitch, please" look that Spock returns with a smirk. It's pretty amusing.
  • bitch, please

    They'll throw away the key!
  • I have a friend who loves the original series, but watches it as a comedy. I was kind of surprised at first, but I get it – over-the-top, unintentionally hilarious dramatic moments aside, Bill Shatner has a wonderful gift for comedy, and Leonard Nimoy makes a great straight man. As a matter of fact, I think that Shatner does "reaction" comedy even better than Bob Newhart. Newhart's stammering dryness is unrelenting, whereas Shatner's got more variety. This episode's a fine example; Jim's sense of humor, and hilariously low tolerance for exasperation both begin to come forward as he puts up with Harry Mudd. Shatner's also just got a knack for delivery. The bit near the end where he tells Harry he'll be happy to be a character witness – if he thinks that'll help – is amusing enough, but the smirking afterward is cute, too.


  • Best Line of the Episode

    McCoy: "Are they, Jim? Are they actually more lovely, pound for pound, measurement for measurement, than any other woman you've seen? Or is it that they just … act beautiful?"

    Sex Appeal Moment
    Evie, Ruthie, and Magda

    Well, there's Jim's burst of laughter, shown above (yes, I find laughter sexy sometimes) otherwise the only sex appeal is on the women's side this week, and it's at least in part courtesy of the Venus drug. This might also count as a gorgeous visual, because I love the colors of their dresses together and the frost of their makeup.


    Mid-century Design Moment

    The miner's home base, the aforementioned Airstream with radar antennae.

    Airstream


    Gorgeous Visuals

    great color

    The scene shown here (to poor effect) that plays out underneath a Captain's Log voiceover; skinny navigator guy shows Magda his shiny communicator as they walk a corridor together. The white of her hair, the lavender and silver of her dress, the gray mesh in the foreground, and the changing colored light on the walls behind, make this short, simple scene surprisingly pretty.

    more great color

    There's also this scene during the miners' party; Childress and Evie talk about the storm. The blocking makes for nice composition, and both these pictures show off something I've always loved about TOS: there is very often a soft wash of multicolored light going on the background of shots, for no reason other than to suggest otherworldliness, presumably. It's simply beautiful.

    She Canna Take Anymore Captain
    As the ship's power keeps flickering alarmingly, Scotty grows increasingly agitated.

    Trek 101
    As I will continually use these abbreviations, and they're used everywhere, we might as well get this out of the way.

    ST:TOS = Star Trek: The Original Series, 1966 - 1969
    TAS = The Animated Series, 1973-1974
    TNG =The Next Generation, 1987-1994
    DS9 = Deep Space Nine, 1993-1999
    VOY = Voyager, 1995-2001
    ENT = Enterprise, 2001-2005

    And the movies

    TOS cast movies
    TMP = The Motion Picture, 1979
    TWOK = The Wrath of Khan, 1982
    TSFS = The Search for Spock, 1984
    TVH = The Voyage Home, 1986 (AKA The One With The Whales)
    TFF = The Final Frontier, 1989
    TUC = The Undiscovered Country, 1991

    TOS & TNG cast movie
    Generations, 1994

    TNG cast movies
    First Contact, 1996
    Insurrection, 1998
    Nemesis, 2002

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