Star Trek: The Original Series

"I, Mudd"

***

Air date: 11/3/1967
Written by Stephen Kandel
Directed by Marc Daniels

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

An android commandeers the Enterprise, taking it to a planet inhabited by androids—which is also where the devious Harry Mudd (Roger C. Carmel) now resides. Prohibited from leaving the planet by the androids unless he finds them new subjects to observe, Mudd intends Kirk and his crew to replace him. Unfortunately for Mudd, the androids decide to still prohibit him from leaving, finally forcing Kirk and Mudd to team up in an attempt to escape.

"I, Mudd" is a lighthearted comic romp featuring the lively scoundrel in a far more entertaining episode than "Mudd's Women" from season one. Mudd and Kirk's verbal jousts are right on target; Mudd's handy-to-muzzle "wife android" is a funny gag; and an ending where Kirk & Co. engage in ultra-bizarro behavior to overload the androids with illogical slapstick and circular reasoning is amusing through its desire to go for broke. Goofy, yes; believable, not really—but I laughed, and that's the only test probably required in this case.

Previous episode: Catspaw
Next episode: Metamorphosis

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13 comments on this review

Strider
Tue, Jun 19, 2012, 9:56am (UTC -5)
Why is it always so easy to take over the Enterprise? I mean, even Harry Mudd can just an android to snatch command away from Kirk. It just shouldn't be that easy.
Moonie
Fri, Nov 15, 2013, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
I'm finding it really, really difficult to get through season 2. Sigh.

Chris
Thu, Feb 6, 2014, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
I, Mudd was just late 60's sexist tripe. I didn't laugh once because it was ridiculous in a badly written kind of way.
redshirt28
Wed, Apr 9, 2014, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
Usually one has to be in the presence of others to feel embarrassment, I was embarrassed at myself just to be watching it alone. The slapstick sequence was the worst trek ever produced, actors/characters nearly desroyed any credibility for me to continue enjoying this show.
I kindly give this zero stars.
William B
Mon, Aug 4, 2014, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
I'm more with Jammer on this one than the commenters. Definitely the episode is sexist, particularly in the contrast between the method of seduction for Chekov (hot chicks forever!) and Uhura (you can be a hot chick, forever!). However, while obnoxious, I think the sexism in the portrayal of the androids themselves comes straight from Mudd himself, who is a scoundrel whose self-worth is tied to how many women he has around him whom he can treat as objects. Mudd is viewed as a lowlife, and one who is easily and quickly recognized by the androids as a poor specimen of humanity. The "seduction" of McCoy and Scotty, on the other hand, is through technology -- labs, engineering -- and so there is some breadth in the android society giving them what they want.

I enjoyed the lightheartedness with which the crew launched their assault of irrationality on the androids, and I think there was some amount of meta-joke in there somewhere -- the way they point their fingers and make phaser whirring sounds, for instance, is only marginally more difficult to accept as "real" than the plastic guns with low-quality special effects they normally do. But anyway, creativity, humour and play are useful weapons against the threat of technological servitude, right?

The episode is inessential; we've already had a look at what 24th century pimp/bastard Mudd is like ("I, Mudd"), episodes about massive computer control ("Return of the Archons"), Kirk Outsmarts The Computer With Logical Paradoxes ("The Changeling"), the crew is stranded on an apparent paradise and has to give it up for freedom! (lots...I guess "This Side of Paradise" most notably) and so on. But I find it fun -- a low 3 stars seems fair to me.
William
Tue, Sep 9, 2014, 12:08am (UTC -5)
I love William B's use of "assault of irrationality." That's what it was.

Just to see the crew burst into a Cossacks dance ritual for a few seconds was worth one star. I low 3 stars from me too.
mike
Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 9:16am (UTC -5)
Absolutely tedious. Watching Kirk and company merely confuse the androids to death was like watching high school improv. How could androids understand that humans were illogical and irrational but yet so easily mind-f*cked by them? I felt like I was the one whose brain would short out.
Gul Sengosts
Tue, Aug 18, 2015, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
A plain zero from me. Even worse than the first Mudd episode, it fails on every level, I don't want to summarise because it would take hours and would be pointless. It's just plain bullsh*t and nonsense from start to finish. On top of that, it's so tedious, it just won't end. It feels longer than any Star Trek feature film.

This is rock bottom, one of the very worst moments in Star Trek history, and that's saying something.
DutchStudent82
Wed, Oct 14, 2015, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
I would rate this one at two stars, somewhat fun but far from great.

this eposide was at least somewhat plausible, unlike most TOS episodes, st least the writers came up with a decent story that was possible-ish.

What looses it points is :

VERY much sexism, one thing I generally hate about TOS

Kirk outsmarts the computer [TM] AGAIN!! please that gets old to fast!

and again they destroy one species.. and a perfect opportunity to actually learn something (more advanced = new gadgeds + prime directive)

Maq
Thu, Dec 10, 2015, 7:20am (UTC -5)
Now reviewing all TOS in the proper sequence I had my doubts if I really shoud watch another Mudd story. I did not like the first one so much. Luckily I did. I had 50 minutes of funny entertainment. A complete contrast to the Domesday machine. Still it worked. It is good that not every episode tries to be comic but every now and then something in this style is refreshing.

Sexsistic, yes ! But it is funny and partly reflect the time in which is was created.

What really puzzled me was how they came back on the ship again. As I understand someone must man the Transporter and all staff was transferred to the planet.

Emma
Mon, Jan 25, 2016, 10:51am (UTC -5)
Well, from a purely nostalgic point of view, this was one of my favourite episodes when I was a kid watching the re-runs in the 80's. As an adult I'm currently re-visiting each episode with fresh eyes and it's remarkable to realise how much goes over your head in your youth! ;) :D Yes, this is a silly episode but somehow fun and let's not forget that TNG, DS9, Voyager episodes etc...did sometimes also have their moments of comic relief too - thank goodness! :D
SouthofNorth
Mon, Aug 1, 2016, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
Okay ... okay ... it's silly and all that but really, how can you hate an episode with the line:

"Scotty! Scotty's dead! He had too much happiness; but now he's happier because he's dead!"

I give it 3 out of 4 just for that.


Baron Samedi
Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 11:46am (UTC -5)
This was hilarious. Not "good" in a strict sense but so ridiculous that I'd recommend it. I feel like it went through a cycle where it was amusing when it came out, then became dated and "bad-bad", and now is "good-bad" due to the campiness and ludicrous dialogue. The acting throughout was hysterical by the whole cast - including the regulars and the guest actors. I love the earnestness of TOS, as well as each episode's attempt to tell a unique story. The fact that the episode is trying to be lighthearted and funny makes puts this in a separate class from something like "Spock's Brain", which I always felt like I was laughing at rather than with.

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