Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 6

Mudd's Women

Aired Unknown Oct 13, 1966 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

out of 10
226 votes
  • 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.

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