Season 1, Episode 6 (Production 4), Story 6
Written by Steven Kandel (story by Gene Roddenberry); Directed by Harvey Hart
PLOT: A smuggler feeds women drugs to make them hot and uses them to engineer his escape.
SUBPLOT: The Enterprise doesn’t keep a box of lithium crystals in reserve?
KIRKISM: “There’s only one kind of woman.”
HEADER QUOTE SPOKEN BY: Eve
Every once in a while when I write these reviews I come across a story I don’t want to write about. It’s not usually because the story is bad, but sometimes it is. That’s MUDD’S WOMEN, an excruciatingly bad story about a magic pill that makes women beautiful.
It’s so stupid it’s hard to imagine that it ever got approved.
It’s a front for a deeper story, of course, and that’s one thing that Star Trek does very well. MUDD’S WOMEN is really about who you are and what you want out of a relationship. When Eve and Ben (the miner she is supposed to marry so she can, I don’t know, get rich or something) argue as her pill-induced looks start to fade, she asks him: ”Is this the kind of wife you want, Ben? Not someone to help you, not a wife to cook and sew and cry and need, but this kind. Selfish, vain, useless. Is this what you really want?”
It’s a completely false dichotomy – as if women can either be gorgeous and selfish or plain and caring. Why can’t you be both?
Remember Shallow Hal, that awful Farrelly Brothers movie? Wait, that’s not nearly specific enough. Let me try again: Remember Shallow Hal, that awful Farrelly Brothers movie with Jack Black and Jason Alexander? In that movie, Jack Black was hypnotized by Tony Robbins to see inner beauty expressed as outer beauty, so Fatsuit Gwyneth Paltrow looked like Actual Gwyneth Paltrow.
Terrible, unfunny movie, but I always liked how Hal’s gorgeous neighbor (I don’t remember her name) stayed gorgeous the entire film. I liked that, and that’s what MUDD’S WOMEN is missing – something to cut through the phoniness of hot/shallow and ugly/nice. It’d be nice if the show (Uhura) had someone (Rand) to play off these women. If they did, they could have shown the female reaction to these pilled-up beauties instead of watching all the men stand there and look at the ladies with such lascivious awe that they’re liked guys at a 7th grade dance, standing against the wall and watching people dance, only to have a Sasha Grey film break out.
As is, however, I just don’t care about any of it.
The only good part of the episode is Harry Mudd, who comes across at first like a big, gay, Irish pirate, but turns out to be just a conman. He’s funny and his plans are daring, making him a perfect foil for Kirk.
Con men rely on leverage and Mudd uses the Enterprise’s need for lithium crystals to get him women to a mining colony on Rigel XII. It’s a clever move – he frees himself and completes the con, but Kirk and the meddlesome crew thwart his plans.
And that’s really all I want to say about this dreadful, dreadful episode. As enjoyable as Mudd is, however, the whole episode is just dumb and I don’t want to talk about it anymore.