2/12/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Mudd's Women"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S01E06
Air Date: October 13, 1966
Written by: Stephen Kandel
Directed by: Harvey Hart

Premise
Intergalactic space pimp, Harcourt Fenton Mudd, hitches a ride on the Enterprise to sell his "cargo" at a nearby mining facility.

Review
It starts with the Enterprise doing what they do best: saving a ship from certain doom. In the process, however, they damage their own dilithium crystals. They use the transporter to beam up a fat dude with a gaudy earring and he immediately instructs them to beam aboard his women, Ruth Bonaventure, Eve McHuron and Magda Kovacs. They aren't his crew, they aren't his passengers... they are his cargo.

You see, Harcourt Fenton Mudd is a space pimp. He sells sex. And business is, apparently, booming. But we're not initially privy to this information. After they beam everyone aboard, the cargo ship explodes from overheating. But now Kirk wants to get to the bottom of things, so he holds an investigation. The investigation does not go well for Mudd. You see, he had introduced himself as Leo Walsh. But the computer easily recognizes him by his true identity. After which time Mudd says that Walsh was the former registered captain of the cargo vessel who had died "unexpectedly" and he took Walsh's name "en memorandum."
Riiiiiiiiight
 Meanwhile, Mudd's women are running amok all over the ship distracting the male crewmen and being the sluts that they are. They're really very distracting, though I can't imagine why.
Ladies and gentlemen, director Harvey Hart.
During Mudd's investigation, it's brought to light that he is wanted for many crimes, but before Kirk can convict him, the lights flicker. Well, all the damage that took place during the rescue requires the Enterprise to go in for repairs, so they set course for a mining colony to fill up on lithium. Turns out, there are three men on the Rigel XII mining colony, just the right amount for Mudd to sell his women.

Before they get there, Mudd manages to tap into their communication frequencies and tell them all about his wares. So when Kirk finally gets a hold of them, they ask for a trade. They'll give them lithium if they can have Mudd's women. Well, there's no way the Enterprise can do anything else without the lithium, so they hand over the women and drop all charges against Mudd, as per the deal.

Ben Childress, one of the miners, hooks up with Eve. And the morning after, discovers that she had turned into an old hag. Why? Because she's all out of curiously strong Venus pills.
Someone get this woman a Talosian, STAT!
Turns out these Venus pills, while highly illegal because of their harmful and addictive nature, turns average-looking women into gorgeous sluts. Perfect for pimps of all planets. After spending the night back on the Enterprise making repairs, Kirk beams back down to inform Childress of the Venus pill discovery and Childress is less than pleased that Eve's perceived beauty isn't natural. Kirk then gives Eve a handful of fruit snacks and says they're Venus pills. She appears to grow more beautiful, but then Kirk reveals that she'd just ruined her diet by eating Gushers.

So true beauty comes with confidence! The more you know!

Overall Thoughts
"Mudd's Women" was originally pitched to be the pilot episode, but Paramount wasn't too keen on the idea of opening the series with an intergalactic space pimp, so they pushed it back to later in the season. Then they actually wrote the script from Roddenberry's treatment and it turned out to be kind of a filler episode. Sure, there was a lot of eye candy, and Mudd himself is pretty amusing, but it just kind reaches the brink of being a good story without actually crossing over. Perhaps it was the lack interaction between our lovable crew mates. In any case, not the best Original Series episode, but certainly not awful, either.