I, Mudd

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"I, Mudd"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 8
Directed by Marc Daniels
Written by
Featured music Samuel Matlovsky
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 041
Original air date November 3, 1967 (1967-11-03)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"I, Mudd" is a second season episode of the original American science fiction television series Star Trek first broadcast November 3, 1967 on NBC, and repeated April 5, 1968. It is episode #37, production #41, and was written by Stephen Kandel, based on a story by Gene Roddenberry and directed by Marc Daniels. David Gerrold performed an uncredited rewrite, but little of his material was used.[1]

Set in the 23rd century, the series follows the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew of the Federation starship Enterprise. In this episode, Captain Kirk has a second run-in with the conman, Harry Mudd (Roger C. Carmel). Mudd is now the supreme ruler of a planet of androids who cater to his every whim. The Enterprise's first encounter with Mudd was in the early Season One episode "Mudd's Women".

Plot[edit]

On stardate 4513.3, the Federation starship Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, is hijacked by an android who has been posing as Mr. Norman (Richard Tatro), a recently assigned crewman. The android seals off engineering and redirects the ship to an unknown planet at Warp 7. The planet is discovered to be populated with other androids built to serve humans.

When the crew arrives at the planet, Captain Kirk discovers Harcourt Fenton Mudd, an outlaw whom Kirk has encountered previously, is the apparent "ruler" of the androids. Having previously escaped incarceration for his crimes, Mudd explains that he crashed his (stolen) spaceship on the planet, and the androids took him in. He says that they are very accommodating, but refuse to let him go. During his stay on the world, Mudd has acquired thousands of android women as servants (in groups of 500 identical units), and an android version of his wife Stella (Kay Elliot), although the robot Stella does not constantly nag him, and shuts up when she is told.

The androids tell Kirk they were built by a people from the Andromeda Galaxy, but their creators were destroyed by a supernova, and the robots were left to fend for themselves. They have also been studying Mr. Mudd for an unrevealed purpose. First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) makes inquiries and discovers there are over 200,000 of these androids, and that they may be controlled by some as yet unseen central operator.

Mudd orders the androids to beam up to the Enterprise to fetch the rest of the crew. The crew are rounded up and brought down; Ensign Chekov (Walter Koenig) finds a pampered existence by the service of hundreds of beautiful android women (who are "fully functional" at physical pleasure), to be not such a bad idea. Even Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) is impressed when she finds that she can live immortally here. In the meantime, Mudd secretly plots to escape by taking over the now deserted Enterprise, but is stopped from carrying out his plans by the androids, who will do anything for their master except allow him to leave.

The androids finally reveal their plan. They tell the Enterprise crew that they believe humans are too destructive and should be kept under control. The androids plan to leave their planet by means of the Enterprise, and will expand outward and take over the galaxy. Not only will they police mankind forever, but will also be loyal servants who will take care of their masters' every need. How they intended to deal with the various neighbouring intelligent species was unrevealed.

Spock notices that almost all of the androids have been issued in numbered sets. There are many "Alices", "Oscars", etc., but only one Norman. Spock speculates Norman is the central coordinator, and that the crew should concentrate on him when attempting to escape. They manage to tranquilize Mudd, who plays along with the escape plan, and explain to the androids that they must return to the Enterprise in order to revive him. The androids are about to authorize the request, but Lt. Uhura pretends to reveal that this is just a ploy to escape. She claims her motivation at betrayal is the promise to make her immortal. This is a ruse to provide the androids with the "escape attempt" they presumably expect.

The crew then engage in a series of illogical and clownishly silly activities in an attempt to confuse and overload the Norman android. For example, Spock confronts two identical female androids and says to them, "I love you, but I hate you." The one responds "But, we're absolutely identical!" Spock responds, "Yes, that's why I hate you." The illogic of that causes both of the androids to go into lockup loops. The finishing blow comes when Mudd and Kirk pose Norman the Liar paradox, where Mudd claims he is lying and Kirk claims everything Mudd says is a lie. Short circuiting at this imponderable logical contradiction, Norman finally shuts down. Without a controlling leader, the other androids freeze up and stop working. This allows them to be reprogrammed to return to their original task of making the planet habitable. Mudd is officially and indefinitely paroled to the android population, which he finds acceptable until he realizes, to Kirk and his crew's amusement, that not only has the nagging android Stella been reprogrammed not to respond to the command "Shut up!" but there are now at least 500 copies of her.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gerrold, David (1973). The Trouble with Tribbles: The Birth, Sale and Final Production of One Episode. New York: Ballantine Books. [page needed]

External links[edit]