The title already says a lot about this episode: Mudd’s Women. It’s raw , crude, and it goes straight to the point, a bit like the plot of the episode itself. There is an abyss between the previous The Enemy Within, intelligently written by Richard Matheson, and this Mudd’s Women written by a naive (at least in this case) Gene Roddenberry.
Here’s the plot. Kirk acts like a space policeman and pursues a spaceship traveling without respecting the galactic navigation rules. In order to stop it and save it from destruction in an asteroid field, the USS Enterprise sacrifices two of its precious lithium crystals and must set course to the planet Rigel XII to refill its crystals’ stock. Meanwhile, Kirk discovers that a man with some improbable mustaches (Roger Carmel) was the captain of the pirate ship and that he was carrying a cargo of… three beautiful women (played by Karen Steele, Maggie Thrett, and Susan Denberg). During the trial in which an advanced lie detector is used against the accused, it is discovered that Mudd, that is the name of the slaver, is a well-known criminal and therefore he should be escorted to a penal colony. But in the meantime it turns out that there are just three male miners on the whole Rigel XII, and Mudd has three beautiful women to be used to negotiate his freedom…
So this is the plot. It’s not good, but it’s not the end of the world either. However, the worst thing is probably the take home message: the moral of the story seems to be that men shouldn’t choose their women based solely on appearance, but they should rather decide based on their abilities to cook, sew, cry, and have needs that only men can satisfy. And a secondary message is that if a woman believes in herself she can be beautiful and charming under any circumstances. It remains a mystery how some colored jellies can substitute for a kg of makeup and can even comb hair stormed by the infernal wind of an inhospitable planet, but, hey, this is the power of self-confidence!
And then, when the episode ends, we realize that Captain Kirk has become co-responsible in a slave trade by using the three women as money for the lithium crystals. The three girls are left in the hairy arms of the rude miners of Rigel XII! And as if all this weren’t enough, the moral of the episode is suddenly denied by the behavior of the chief miner, Ben Childress (Gene Dynarski): his intention is to kick out the newly acquired partner, but then when he discovers that she can be beautiful without the need for any drug, he decides to keep her with him! Well done.
But since this is the first episode that I judge as a complete failure, I don’t complain too much and I hope to find the time to watch the seventh episode soon. Ciao!
PS: It’s a bit stupid for Mudd to use a false name, Leo Walsh, when the title of the episode already gives away the fact that he’s called Mudd. Moreover, the character hides his true name in such an awkward manner that it seems that we are watching a Scooby-Doo episode rather than a Star Trek one! In short, there’s nothing good in Mudd’s Women…
Previous episode: The Enemy Within
Next episode: What Are Little Girls Made Of?