Star Trek: TOS – S02E08, I, Mudd

imudd4I, Mudd is not a good episode. Not only because it re-uses a rather embarrassing character from a mediocre episode of the first season (Mudd’s Women), but also because for the umpteenth time it recycles an idea already seen before in the series, in this case twice already (in The Return of the Archons and in The Changeling)! Once again, the theme is that of the excessive coldness of artificial intelligence and the need for emotions to live lives worth living.

It must be said that the intent of the episode is humorous, as it’s evident from the sketches involving Mudd and his android-wife (Kay Elliot), and from the over-the-top acting by Roger C. Carmel once again playing the funny (so to speak) and mustached fatty. This, however, doesn’t justify a recycled plot and an endless series of sexist clichés which, although understandable given the era, come across as a little cringeworthy.

The plot is as follows: an android infiltrates the USS Enterprise (Norman, played by Richard Tatro), manages to take control of it, and takes it to a planet where Harry Mudd is treated like a king and is surrounded by beautiful women. Soon enough, Kirk and the others understand that Mudd is reigning over a population of androids that quickly replace the crew of the Enterprise with the objective to replace humanity because they consider it imperfect.

The androids aren’t evil: in fact, they promise great things to their prisoners, and in particular beautiful women to Chekov and eternal beauty to Uhura (talking about sexism). The solution will be, as it often happens lately, Kirk outsmarting the androids as he did with Landru and with Nomad.

In short: we had already seen Mudd and there was no need to see him again. Kirk defeating a computer by demonstrating its illogicality is beginning to feel tiresome, also because it goes hand in hand with the episodes in which Vulcan logic is questioned (as in The Galileo Seven): after all, it’s always the same theme. The result? I, Mudd is a forgettable episode, at least for me! Ciao!

Previous episode: Catspaw

Next episode: Metamorphosis


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