41 "I, Mudd"

(airdate: November 3, 1967)

Writer: Stephen Kandel
Director: Marc Daniels

Harry Mudd: Roger C. Carmel
Alice #1 through 250: Alyce Andrece

Norman: Richard Tatro
Alice #251 through 500: Rhae Andrece

Stella Mudd: Kay Elliot

Stardate: 4513.3

Captain's Log: The Enterprise is taken hostage by a crewman named Norman, who is in fact a sophisticated android. Norman takes the ship to an uncharted planet, where the crew discover that they've been brought there by Harry Mudd, now calling himself the ruler of this planet. The planet is populated by over 200,000 androids, and Mudd has agreed to bring them a starship and its captain so that the androids can study humanity, in exchange for his freedom. However, the androids refuse to let anyone, including Mudd, leave; they've decided that humanity is too reckless to roam the galaxy unchecked, so they're going to offer their services as servants. This, they believe, will leave people happy but also controlled, with no need to spread any further through space. However, the androids are not programmed to ignore illogical behavior, and through close observation the Enterprise crew determines that Norman in fact is the locus of the hive mind that the androids form; thus, the crew and Mudd perform a series of bizarre and illogical actions in order to confuse the androids, ultimately causing Norman to shut down. The crew is able to reprogram the androids to fulfill their original purpose of preparing the planet for productive use, and Mudd is paroled to the planet for as long as he continues to be a less-than-outstanding example of humanity - with 500 android versions of his nagging wife Stella to keep him company...

Whoops!: Really nitpicky, but the Andrece twins' credited split (1 to 250, 251 to 500) doesn't always hold true. [For instance, in the first scene one is 66 and the other is 99.]

Classic Lines: Kirk: "Did you pay royalties to the owners of those patents?" Mudd: "Ahh. Well, actually, Kirk, as a defender of the free enterprise system, I found myself in a rather ambiguous conflict as a matter of principle..." Spock: "He did not pay royalties."
     Chekov: "Harry Mudd programmed you?" Alices 118 and 322: "Yes, my lord." Chekov: "That unprincipled, evil-minded, lecherous kulak Harry Mudd programmed you?" Alices: "Yes, my lord." Chekov: "This place is even better than Leningrad."
     Mudd: "Human beings do not survive on bread alone, you poor soulless creature, but on the nourishments of liberty. For what indeed is a man without freedom? Naught but a mechanism trapped in the cogwheels of eternity."
     "Captain, the kind of a wholesome, antiseptic galaxy that these androids would run would be purgatory for a man like me."

Cringe Lines: Norman: "There is a word. Among us there is no corresponding meaning, but it seems to mean something to you humans." Kirk: "And what is that word?" Norman: "Please."
     Mudd's description of his wife Stella, as well as all of their interactions.

Don't Wear a Red Shirt: Norman knocks out Ensign Jordan in auxiliary control, an engineering person in a red jumpsuit in emergency manual monitor, four more engineering personnel in red jumpsuits in Engineering proper, and Mr. Scott himself. None of them appear to be permanently injured, however.

Library Computer: The androids' planet (which Harry Mudd named "Mudd", after himself) is reddish-brown and white [brownish yellow in the remastered version, with a ring added for no obvious reason], and it was an uncharted planet until Harry Mudd found it. It is a K type [i.e., class K] planet, which means it's adaptable for habitation by humans with the use of pressure domes and life-support systems. There was a such a habitat on the planet (probably at least partially carved into the surface, based on the rock walls), created by the androids. The androids had initially come from the Andromeda galaxy; their makers were humanoid, but in their culture robots were common, and the development of androids allowed them the freedom to form what Norman described as a "perfect social order". However, the makers' home sun went nova, destroying their planet and leaving only a few exploratory outposts to survive, such as the one that Mudd found. In time the surviving makers died out, leaving the androids alone. Their initial purpose was to adapt the planet for productive use, but as time passed and the makers died that was no longer necessary, and so the androids were left without a purpose. [We think; we're inferring things a bit here.] When Mudd discovered the planet, the androids were fascinated with him; he provided them with a purpose and they provided for his every need, but they refused to let him go, as they wanted to study him.
     At the time of the Enterprise's arrival, there were 207,809 androids on the planet. Mudd had had a number of different androids created to his own specifications, with 500 of each model; this included the Alice series, the Barbara series, the Maisie series, the Trudy series, and the Annabelle series. In addition, there were many other series, including an Oscar series and a Herman series, as well as a single Stella Mudd android (although the Enterprise subsequently increased production of that model to at least 500). [Interestingly, all the androids appear to have dark hair.] Mudd had programmed his series of androids to function as real "human females". [This is almost certainly meant sexually.] Controlling all of these was a single Norman android, who used a central control complex to help delegate functions (although this complex was little more than a simple relay); ultimately, however, the androids functioned as a single hive-like mind. The androids wore necklaces with numbers on them, to indicate which member of a series they were. These necklaces lit up when the combined mind was processing information, and they remained lit when a particular android had gone offline, due to (for instance) a logical fault. The androids themselves were constructed using a self-renewing plastic covering a beryllium-titanium alloy skeleton, along with various electronics. They were very strong; one of them could easily crush a communicator with one hand. An android body had not yet worn out; however, the estimated lifespan was 500,000 years. In addition, the androids claimed to have the ability to place a human brain in a "structurally compatible android body", essentially giving someone eternal beauty and a vastly extended lifespan. Norman [and presumably the other androids, although we never see proof] had an access panel in his stomach, and he, like the other androids, talked with an oddly inflected, slightly halting speech pattern. The male androids were dressed in white, tight-fitting utilitarian jumpsuits, while the females were dressed in long flowing yet somewhat revealing dresses, with rather elaborate hairstyles. The androids could provide people with [virtually] unlimited supplies of anything they asked for (including fully furnished labs and things like a handworked device with microvision and a nanopulse laser), while they themselves were perfect in almost every regard, with no vices, fears, or faults [well, except for the "illogic causes overloading brains" thing]. The androids had decided that they could not permit a race as "greedy and corruptible" as humanity to expand through the galaxy, so they were going to control people by offering themselves as servants who would provide for their every need and whim; this would thus make humanity dependent on the androids, and therefore the androids would ultimately have control over humanity. The androids were working on a calculation that, according to Spock, would "inevitably lead to a total description of the parabolic intersection of dimension with dimension." After the androids' captives were able to overload the androids' minds, Spock was able to reprogram them to resume their task of adapting the planet.
     Kirk had last seen Harry Mudd in jail, where he had been dropped off following the events of "Mudd's Women", but Mudd was able to secure his own release somehow. He then set up a technical information service which brought "modern industrial techniques to backward planets, making available certain valuable patents to struggling young civilizations throughout the galaxy." However, he did not pay the patent owners of those techniques royalties, and when he sold the inhabitants of Deneb V all the rights to a Vulcan fuel synthesizer, the Denebians informed the Vulcans, and then sentenced Mudd to death for fraud. Mudd was able to steal a ship and escape, but the Denebians damaged his navigation in his escape. He thus wandered out into the unmapped reaches of the galaxy and found the androids' planet. Mudd set himself up as the ruler of the planet, Mudd the First, and created an android version of his wife Stella, who he considered to be something of a nag, so that he could tell her to shut up and thus get the last word. [How enlightened of him.] Harry Mudd is still dressed rather flamboyantly, but he's exchanged his puffy shirt for an open-necked blue shirt trimmed with gold and large red gems, a large fake red flower on the left breast, and large epaulettes. He's also wearing a large medallion. He had the Enterprise brought to his planet by sending Norman to the ship and having him bring it back so that the androids would let Mudd leave, but once they had more humans they still refused to let him go. Mudd helped Kirk and the others successfully shut down the androids, but Kirk paroled Mudd to the planet, to remain until he was no longer an "irritant". Kirk also programmed at least 500 copies of Stella, which could no longer be shut down by Mudd.
     The penalty for fraud on Deneb V is death, although the guilty party can choose the manner of execution, including electrocution, gas, phaser, or hanging.
     Auxiliary control on the Enterprise is on deck 8, while the emergency manual monitor is located in Engineering.
     At some point in the future, St. Petersburg is renamed Leningrad again. [Well, maybe. It's always possible a different city is created which is named Leningrad.]

Final Analysis: "You are correct, Captain. Harry Mudd is flawed, even for a human being. We recognized this from the beginning but used his knowledge to obtain more specimens. Your species is self-destructive. You need our help." The idea that humanity will be curbed by the androids via indolence is an interesting one, but it doesn't really get much consideration, in favor of giving the cast an opportunity to act silly instead. The cast all seem to be enjoying themselves, which does help, but there's also a lack of ambition and subtlety that makes this less satisfying than, say, "The Trouble with Tribbles". It's also a bit disappointing how they've softened Harry Mudd: the Mudd of "Mudd's Women" was definitely a con man, but there was also an undercurrent of danger to him that made him a well-matched opponent for Kirk; here, however, he's simply in full "lovable rogue" mode - and it doesn't help either that all the stuff with Stella has aged rather badly. Star Trek's first foray into comedy is thus something of a qualified success; it just wants to be broad, silly fun, and it largely succeeds at that - it's just a shame they set their sights so low.

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