I, Mudd

Summary

"I, Mudd" is the eighth episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by Stephen Kandel (based on a story by Gene Roddenberry[citation needed]) and directed by Marc Daniels, it was first broadcast on November 3, 1967.

"I, Mudd"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 8
Directed byMarc Daniels
Written by
Featured musicSamuel Matlovsky
Cinematography byJerry Finnerman
Production code041
Original air dateNovember 3, 1967 (1967-11-03)
Guest appearances
  • Roger C. Carmel - Harry Mudd
  • Richard Tatro - Norman
  • Alyce Andrece - Alice #1 through #250
  • Rhae Andrece - Alice #251 through #500
  • Kay Elliot - Stella Mudd
  • Michael Zaslow - Jordan
  • Mike Howden - Lt. Rowe
  • Roger Holloway - Lt. Lemli
  • Bob Orrison - 1st Engineer
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Catspaw"
Next →
"Metamorphosis"
Star Trek: The Original Series (season 2)
List of episodes

The crew of the Enterprise has a second encounter with the conman Harry Mudd (Roger C. Carmel), first seen in the season one episode "Mudd's Women". Mudd is now the supreme ruler of a planet of androids who cater to his every whim.

Although Kandel is the credited writer on the episode, David Gerrold performed an uncredited rewrite. The final script was heavily revised by the staff, and Gerrold admits that only one original idea of his made it into the final episode.[2] He also claims producer Gene L. Coon offered to put the matter of credit up for Writers Guild arbitration but that he declined.[3]

PlotEdit

The USS Enterprise is hijacked by Norman, an android posing as a Starfleet lieutenant. Norman seals off engineering and redirects the ship to an unknown planet, warning that any attempt to undo his tampering will destroy the ship.

When the crew arrives at the planet, Captain Kirk discovers that Harry Mudd, an outlaw whom Kirk has encountered previously, is the "ruler" of the androids who populate the planet. Mudd, or "Mudd the First", as he calls himself, informs Kirk that he and the Enterprise crew can expect to spend the rest of their lives there.

Mudd then recounts his recent adventures. Having broken out of prison and stolen a spaceship that was damaged during his escape, Mudd crashed on this planet and was taken in by the androids. He says they are very accommodating, but refuse to let him go unless other humans are provided for them to serve and study. The Enterprise crew is to serve that purpose.

McCoy notices a darkened glass panel, which Mudd says is a "shrine" to his wife Stella. The shrine contains an android which nags Mudd as his wife did, but stops instantly when ordered to "shut up". Mudd points out the similarity between Kirk's present position and hers.

In response to Kirk's questions, the androids tell Kirk they were built by a people from the Andromeda Galaxy, who were destroyed by a supernova, leaving the robots to fend for themselves. First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) discovers there are over 200,000 of these androids, and concludes that there must be some central control mechanism.

The crew are brought down, replaced by an android crew. They find much to like about the androids' world. Scotty is fascinated by the engineering knowledge they have to share, Ensign Chekov (Walter Koenig) finds the idea of living on a planet full of compliant female androids not too bad, and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) is tempted by the offer of immortality in an android body. Kirk will have none of this, however, and reminds them of their duty.

Mudd plans to depart aboard Enterprise after a final farewell to the Stella android. However, the androids refuse his orders to beam him aboard. They have a different plan: they will leave the planet themselves and offer their services to humanity, with the eventual goal of bringing the greedy and aggressive human race under their control.

As the Enterprise crew discuss their predicament, Spock notes that all of the androids belong to various named series, except for the one named Norman. Kirk relates that one android called on Norman to "coordinate" the analysis of an "illogical" statement. Spock concludes that Norman is the central locus of a composite android mind, and Kirk suggests that "wild, irrational illogic aimed right at Norman" could be a potent weapon against that mind.

The crew then attempt to confuse the androids by means of contradictory statements and a series of bizarre theatrics. For the finale, Mudd and Kirk pose the liar paradox to Norman: Kirk claims everything Mudd says is a lie; and Mudd says to Norman, "Now listen to this carefully, Norman. I am ... lying." Unable to resolve the contradiction, Norman burns out, causing the other androids to shut down as well.

The androids are reprogrammed to return to their original tasks of making the planet productive. Mudd is informed that he has been paroled to the android population as an example of a human failure, and that a special android has been programmed to see to his needs as an incentive to Mudd to work with the androids and not exploit them. Mudd is grateful until he discovers that this android is the Stella android, and there are now at least 500 copies of her – none of whom respond to his command to "shut up".

Production and receptionEdit

The producers liked the script resulting from Gerrold's work on The Trouble with Tribbles so much that Gerrold was later tasked with re-writing the script for this episode.[4]

In 2009, the AV Club called it "goofy, but charmingly surreal", "infectiously silly" and "a treat," giving it an A− grade.

In 2014, Charlie Jane Anders at io9 ranked "I, Mudd" as the 79th best episode of Star Trek in a list of the top 100 Star Trek episodes.[5]

In 2016, Syfy noted this episode for actress Nichelle Nichols presentation of Uhura, as having her fifth best scene in Star Trek.[6]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Gerrold, David (1973). The Trouble with Tribbles: The Birth, Sale and Final Production of One Episode. New York: Ballantine Books.[page needed]
  2. ^ Gerrold, David, 1944- (1973). The Trouble With Tribbles: The Birth, Sale, and Final Production of One Episode of Star Trek. New York: Ballantine Books. pp. 249, 250. ISBN 0-345-23402-2. OCLC 988275.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Trek Writer David Gerrold Looks Back - Part 1". Star Trek. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  4. ^ Gerrold (1973): p. 269
  5. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane (October 2, 2014). "The Top 100 Star Trek Episodes Of All Time!". io9. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  6. ^ Roth, Dany (December 28, 2016). "The Top 10 Uhura Moments from Star Trek". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved July 24, 2019.

External linksEdit