Mudd's Women

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"Mudd's Women"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 6
Directed by Harvey Hart
Teleplay by Stephen Kandel
Story by Gene Roddenberry
Featured music Fred Steiner
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 4
Original air date October 13, 1966 (1966-10-13)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"The Enemy Within"
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"What Are Little Girls Made Of?"
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Mudd's Women" is an episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek that was first broadcast on October 13, 1966, and then repeated on May 4, 1967. This is the sixth episode of the first season, and written by Stephen Kandel based on a story by Gene Roddenberry, and directed by Harvey Hart. It is the first of two episodes to feature Harcourt Fenton Mudd, a galactic con man, who is transporting a cargo of female humans, i.e. Mudd's Women.

Plot[edit]

On stardate 1329.1, the Federation starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, is in pursuit of a J-class cargo spaceship. The ship overloads its engines in an escape attempt through an asteroid field. Kirk orders the Enterprise '​s shields extended around the other spacecraft to protect it until the cargo ship's occupants can be transported aboard the Enterprise. This action destroys all but one of the lithium crystal circuits in the Enterprise '​s spacewarp engines.[note 1]

The Enterprise beams the cargo ship's passengers (three women) and its captain (one man) aboard, just as an asteroid impact destroys their spaceship. In the transporter room, the man introduces himself as "Leo Francis Walsh". The three women who accompany him are stunningly beautiful, and they distract many of the male crew members of the Enterprise, including ship's surgeon Dr. McCoy and Chief Engineer Scott. The women are destined to be wives for settlers on the planet Ophiuchus III and are introduced as Ruth Bonaventure, Eve McHuron, and Magda Kovacs.

Kirk has Walsh taken into custody and then convenes a ship's hearing. With Walsh in the spotlight of a truth verifier scan, he is forced to reveal his true name, Harcourt Fenton Mudd, a criminal wanted in several star systems and with a long rap sheet of crimes, as the final lithium crystal fails. Meanwhile, in the Sickbay, Dr. McCoy notices a strange reading on his medical panel when Ruth walks in front of it.

As a result of the burnout of the lithium, the Enterprise must limp on reserve power to the storm-plagued planet Rigel XII to obtain new lithium crystals. Mudd steals a communicator device, using it to communicate with Rigel XII; he convinces the head miner, Childress, to exchange lithium crystals for Mudd's women and Mudd's release. Taking one look at the women's stunning beauty, Childress and his fellow miners (Herm Gossett and Benton) excitedly agree.

Kirk refuses this deal. The Enterprise's remaining battery power is insufficient to maintain the ship's orbit, threatening a fiery reentry into the planet's atmosphere. Kirk is forced to allow Mudd and the women to beam down to the planet. Childress is so distracted by Eve that he forgets about the plight of the Enterprise.

Eve becomes dissatisfied with being treated as a sex object. She runs away in anguish, enduring harsh dust storms, and Childress pursues her. Using ship's sensors, Kirk tracks Eve and discovers the secret to the women's startling beauty. Mudd has been giving the women the illegal "Venus drug", which creates an illusory beauty. Without the drug, the women appear to be plain. Childress confronts Mudd over the deception.

Kirk gives Eve a dose of fake Venus drug, which she believes to be an authentic one; the placebo effect grants her self-assurance and reveals her inner beauty, impressing Childress. Mudd's women decide to marry the miners after all. Mudd is handed over to be arrested, and Captain Kirk gets his lithium.

Reception[edit]

Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an 'A' rating, describing the character of Harry Mudd in particular as "a familiar character type, but an enjoyable one."[1]

Production[edit]

The story was one of three submitted for production as the second pilot of Star Trek: the others being "The Omega Glory" and the selected episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before".[2] It was filmed as the second episode of the first season, after "The Corbomite Maneuver".[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The term dilithium was not yet in the Star Trek vernacular during this episode.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Handlen, Zack (January 22, 2009). ""The Enemy Within"/"Mudd's Women"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  2. ^ Whitfield, Stephen E and Roddenberry, Gene (1968). The Making of Star Trek. Ballatine Books. 
  3. ^ Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman (1996). Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-00974-5. 

External links[edit]