Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 6

Mudd's Women

Aired Unknown Oct 13, 1966 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
224 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Enterprise picks up a intergalactic conman, Harry Mudd, and three incredibly beautiful women who harbor a dark secret.

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  • Mudd is good, the rest is shoddy

    Star Trek gives us its first "space pirate", complete with buccaneers clothes and a lovable personality that's a precursor to Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow, in this memorable episode that takes female trafficking, performance enhancing drugs, and a western inspired frontier planet and mixes them all together for a fun story with a poor conclusion.

    Guest star Roger C. Carmel brings a child like quality to con man Mudd, and the female guest stars bring the sex appeal (and then some). It's actually surprising that a network show in the sixties could get away with such overt sexuality and drug use, not to mention the banter about Mudd being a "jackass". As the story winds its way through the first few acts, it's easy for any red blooded male of appropriate age to feel the same way as the Enterprise crew, thanks to the ladies, William Theiss's creative (and revealing) costumes, and Jerry Finnerman's cinematography.

    Meanwhile, director Harvey Hart proves capable and gives the episode a nice pace, though his slowness behind the camera, causing the shoot to run past its deadline, doomed him to be a one-time director. (In an audio goof, you can actually hear his voice saying "lights" to cue the studio technicians following the failure of the last lithium crystal.

    Following the previously produced episodes that use a makeshift planet setting as needed, this episode introduces the permanent planet set the series would continue to use throughout its run. With its cyclorama sky capable of reflecting any color, it proves quite versatile and effective at setting the mood, beginning here as barren wasteland.

    The problem arrives when Kirk pulls a fast one to escape his dilemma. The idea of him tricking his way out of a problem is fine and will become Star Trek staple; but in this case, the big reveal is a non sequitur. The supposed true magic behind the women's appeal doesn't make any sense with how the women are presented. It's as if the make-up artist and the cinematographer are setting up a drug withdrawal story but the script writer wants to cheat his way out of it. The climax also veers into an odd sequence where two characters, well played by guest stars Karen Steele and Gene Dynarski, play house and get into an odd debate about whether women should look good or be good at cooking and sewing. (To be fair, in 1966 it was progress to admit that women could be valued as more than a trophy wives, and this is more or less what the script is trying to do. But in trying to make the point that women should be appreciated for their housework, the meaning comes across today as

    But Carmel's performance somewhat supersedes the disappointing end, with Harry Mudd so well received, he becomes the first Star Trek character to inspire a sequel episode ("I, Mudd"). (William Shatner deserves credit for Mudd's popularity as well, giving the con man the perfect adversary and expertly setting up Carmel's best lines; with a firm handle on the captain's personality, it's one of Shatner's best performances early in the Still, with a better ending, perhaps bringing a resolution to the performance enhancing drugs rather than sweeping them under the rug, "Mudd's Women" could have been even more special.

    Remastered: Along with updated shots of the Enterprise, the CGI wizards get to work on Mudd's ship, an asteroid field, and a planet, correcting the latter's color to match the established surface and throwing in a more detailed establishing shot of the mining colony.

  • Another episode with a lot of emphasis on women

    Good episode. This starts off with Kirk trying to communicate with a vessel and they attempt to flee him and wind up in an asteroid belt. Kirk uses his ships power to create a protective barrier around their ship which causes him to overload his own energy crystals. Kirk manages to beam all the crew aboard before their ship is destroyed. The crew consists of a man named Harry Mudd who seems to be a man who sells women to men on lonely planets. He has with him 3 very attractive girls. But the catch is that they really are ugly but Mudd has some illegal drugs which enhances their beauty. Kirk and the Enterprise stop by a mining planet to get new crystals and Mudd introduces his women to the 3 miners. In the end one of Mudds women takes what she believes to be one of the illegal pills but really is just a placebo and still turns attractive. The 3 women stay with the miners and Harry Mudd goes with Kirk to attend trial on the charge of ignoring a communication from a starship.moreless
  • Not one of the better episodes saved on by the character of Harry Mudd.

    I left this episode on my remastered box set till last as its not one of the best episodes in my opinion. I will say that Harry Mudd is a great character and I'm glad he returned for another episode. The women though great to look at are portrayed as pretty one dimensional characters with stereotypical womens needs! The end is quite silly in that the main lead female becomes beautiful after not taking the Venus drug. Though in defence of the writer it could be argued that she had taken so much of it over the years that it's still in her system so she temporarily becomes beautiful. I think the Venus drug could be a metaphor for alcohol in that members of the opposite sex can appear to be alluring until we meet them sober the next morning! Lolmoreless
  • An interesting mix of 1960s attitudes and futuristic trappings, the main asset of this installment for me is atmosphere.

    The Enterprise encounters a shady smuggler who is willing to up the ante to maintain his business.

    There are some real strengths to this installment, I especially like the idea that it explores the lives of people in space who don't connect to Starfleet and what they do. Harry Mudd is best served here, as deceptive and droll but also as dead serious when it comes to his livelihood. I also like the spare but effective scenes on the planet, the howl of the winds and the sullen attitudes of the Lithium miners work well to paint a picture.

    Unfortunately, this episode falls into the same trap that many others do - while "Star Trek" was good at examining issues like racism, sexism, the march of technology, and counter-culture - it rarely rose above the issues themselves and suggested new ways of addressing them. In this case, the 23rd century seemed to have plenty of room for woman serving aboard stars ships, but the plot here assigns little value to woman even when the sham of the "Venus drug" is exposed. There is almost a deliberate attempt to portray Mudd's woman as "returning to beautiful" rather than having the male characters think about their attitudes in any depth.

    Which is all fine, TV is not often "cutting edge" in these matters, it just seems like a little more thought to the script would have made the story more effective.moreless
  • The Enterprise picks up colourful galactic conman Harry Mudd and his beautiful female "cargo". But in the rescue, the ship's lithium crystals are damaged; replacements lie on a mining planet where Mudd hopes to sell his women. Not one of my favourites...moreless

    Although not bottom-of-the-barrel, this is generally one of my lesser favourite episodes.

    It is mostly a comedy, but beyond the flamboyant Mudd himself (more of him in a moment), it's not really laugh-out-loud material, and not a patch on some of 'Star Trek's other more light-hearted episodes.

    The presentation of the women, who survive on their looks, is very dated, and works against the episode. The theme of the mail-order brides could have been cutting edge and ahead of its time, but sadly things don't rise much beyond the basic and predictable.

    The best thing about the episode is undoubtedly Roger C. Carmel as the roguish intergalactic conman Harcourt Fenton "Harry" Mudd. The character was popular enough to return in the second season episode "I, Mudd", as well as 'The Animated Series' episode "Mudd's Passion".

    The plot of Mudd having his women on drugs has darker implications than the episode presents; it is seen on-screen as merely to make his "cargo" look better and raise a higher price; and Mudd is presented more as a scoundrel than the drug-peddling pimp that he might have been.

    I also wasn't convinced in the whole "believe in yourself" resolution of the story.

    Other than that, the plot is pretty simplistic, and, in places, very slightly dull. It could have done with a separate b-plot to beef things up a bit (these didn't really become common until 'The Next Generation').

    Don't get me wrong, this isn't bottom-of-the-barrel, and it does very much end up as a colourful, kitsch example of the 1960 (well, it's set in the future, but you get what I mean). But this episode just sadly doesn't do that much for me.moreless
Roger C. Carmel

Roger C. Carmel

Harcourt Fenton "Harry" Mudd

Guest Star

Karen Steele (I)

Karen Steele (I)

Eve McHuron

Guest Star

Maggie Thrett

Maggie Thrett

Ruth Bonaventure

Guest Star

George Takei

George Takei

Lt. Hikaru Sulu

Recurring Role

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Lt. Nyota Uhura

Recurring Role

James Doohan

James Doohan

Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (22)

    • Trivia: Mudd's record notes under Sentences: Psychiatric Treatment... Effectiveness Disputed. His Future Police Record Code is X731248.

    • When Spock orders Farrell to set a court for Rigel 12, Farrell's insignia is missing.

    • When the women beam on board, the brunette is in the back. then there's a reaction shot of the three women standing abreast. Then in the next shot the brunette is in the back of the transporter chamber again.

    • Trivia: According to Scotty, the Enterprise is almost a million gross tons.

    • During the hearing, the picture of Harry Mudd on the desktop viewscreen is reversed. Harry's earring is in his left ear, but in the photograph, it is in his right ear.

    • Since this episode is set fairly early in the first season and the backstories are still a little inconsistent, the Enterprise is being powered by lithium instead of dilithium and Harry Mudd calls Spock "Vulcanian" instead of "Vulcan."

    • At one point Kirk returns his quarters to find Eve laying on his bed. Eve says something about she got tired wandering the ship and ducked into the closest room. You would expect crew's quarters to be off limits to those other than the ones assigned to them, or maintenance/etc. people as needed. Even if the general crew's quarters weren't secured surely the captain's quarters would be. How did Eve get in?

    • Exactly how and when did Kirk learn of the girls using the Venus drug? Before Eve fled into the storm Harry was pretty much running the show and hadn't told any of the crew. Harry apparently returned to the ship to help look for Eve (or to watch to make sure they did the search correctly) but he didn't appear to be in custody. The next time we see Kirk and Harry is in Childress's quarters after Eve's Venus pill has worn off. Somehow in this time Kirk managed to find out that Harry was using an illegal drug (something Harry wouldn't have admitted to voluntarily) and replaced it with colored gelatin. Also in this time he has gotten Harry to cooperate with him in pretending to give Eve a placebo.

    • Even with the power on emergency batteries and no lithium crystals left the crew continues to use the transporter to get back and forth between the surface and the ship. This is likely because the writers hadn't dreamed up the ship having shuttle pods yet.

    • Although Harry and the girls are beamed over just in time before their ship explodes, their belongings seem too have made it as well. Harry searches through several drawers of clothes while hunting for the Venus pills as well as picking up and looking in a knick-nack type object.

    • There is major confusion about when power will run out and when the ship will crash. The ship can continue in a normal, non-decaying orbit as long as it has power to make course adjustments. Once the power is out the orbit will start to decay. Likely the Enterprise had another 2-3 days before it would crash. However, life support would fail before the ship crashed, but there would be enough breathable atmosphere on the ship to last at least for many hours if not a day or more.

    • Right before Ruth comes into sick bay to visit McCoy and find out the health condition of the miners, McCoy switches off the diagnostic panel. Yet when Ruth walks by and stands in front of it the two middle lights start flashing erratically. No wonder he was surprised!

    • In the scene in which Leo Walsh/Harry Mudd and his "cargo" are under guard in the conference room and he is briefing the women on how to handle the impending interrogation, he calls one of them "Rose". The three women are named Magda Kovas, Eve McHuron and Ruth Bonaventure.

    • Also on the McCoy uniform business. The close up of him in his medical uniform is also used later when one of the women (the one dressed in green) enters the sickbay, that close-up is also used there. Presumably to save money from either another episode or just using the same close-up twice.

    • Kirk's says that it is Stardate 1329.8 in his opening log entry when the ship is in pursuit of Mudd's vessel. But after Mudd and the women have been brought aboard, Kirk's next log entry says that it is Stardate 1329.1.

    • Why doesn't Uhura or anyone at the communication board pick up that Harry communicates with the miners? It's later determined that Enterprise crew can detect someone sending transmissions off the ship.

    • The Venus drug not only rejuvenates, it supplies makeup and false eyelashes.

    • When Harry gives the women a supply of the Venus drug, the box he takes it out of does/doesn't/does have a lid in successive shots.

    • Kirk tells Spock at the end that he's coming back with Harry and the crystals they desperately need...then he walks out with Harry and leaves the crystals behind.

    • Kirk confines Mudd to his quarters with a security guard, but later when Kirk meets with Childress, Harry just wanders in. What happened to the guard?

    • While Mudd discusses his plan to marry off his Women to the miners in the briefing room and get the upper hand on Kirk, the two security guards stand at the door but apparently don't hear a single thing despite Harry's loud boasting.

    • As Mr. Scott beams the three women aboard, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy are with him in the transporter room. When they are beamed aboard, the three men begin to stare. The camera pulls in tight on each officer's reactions. When they shoot a close up of McCoy, we find that his uniform has changed to his sickbay medical frock and the wall of Sickbay is behind him. Then, when they pull back out and show all three men again, McCoy is back in standard uniform.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Spock: I'm happy the affair is over. A most annoying emotional episode.
      McCoy: Smack right in the old heart. Oh, I'm sorry. In your case, it would be about here.
      Spock: The fact that my internal arrangement differs from yours, Doctor, pleases me no end.

    • Harry Mudd: You're a hard-nosed one, Captain.
      Kirk: And you're a liar. I think we both understand each other.

    • Kirk: Computer, go to sensor probe. Any unusual readings?
      Computer: No decipherable reading on females. However, unusual reading on male board members. Detecting high respiration patterns, perspiration rates up, heartbeat rapid, blood pressure higher than normal.
      Kirk: Uh, that's sufficient. Strike that from the record, Mr. Spock.

    • Ben: I guess I'm supposed to sit, taste, and roll my eyes. "Ooh, female cooking again." I've tasted better, by my own hand.
      Eve: You're tasting some of it. I couldn't scrape your leavings out of that pan.

    • Kirk: But I will appear as a character witness at your trial... if you think that'll help.
      Mudd: They'll throw away the key.

    • Kirk: (to Eve and to Ben Childress) There's only one kind of woman.
      Mudd: Or man for that matter.
      Kirk: You either believe in yourself, or you don't.

    • Eve: Oh, that sound of male ego. You travel halfway across the galaxy and it's still the same song.

    • Mudd: Men will always be men -- no matter where they are.

  • NOTES (5)


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