The Great Star Trek Rewatch: I, Mudd

When new crewmember Mr Norman takes control of the Enterprise and forces it to travel to a planet full of androids, the crew are surprised to find that the man in charge of this scheme is none other than interplanetary conman Harry Mudd. Harry plans to skip town aboard the Enterprise, leaving the crew down on the surface where the androids can study human emotions. Can Kirk best both the wily Harry Mudd and the eminently logical androids?

Continuing in the vein of Catspaw, we have another quite silly episode here, which starts off with the annoyance that is Harry Mudd, and culminates in a massive display of random, illogical behaviour designed to confound the pure logic of the androids. In the right mood, it’s mildly amusing, but largely it’s not only ridiculous, but a warning that anyone programming androids should put a lot of try/catch blocks in their programming so that logic exceptions don’t cause them to blow up. Also, the denouement turns out to be “oh look, Harry is stuck on a planet with 500 copies of his nagging wife”, which is hardly a blow for feminism.

If I Were in Command of Starfleet

  • The new crewman “Mr Norman” turns out to actually be an android who has snuck on board purely to divert the Enterprise to his android planet. How did he get into Starfleet in the first place? Was there not proper vetting carried out? Or did he forge ID and transfer papers to get on board the Enterprise – in which case, why didn’t Enterprise security thoroughly check him out before he got on board?
  • I guess it’s difficult to stop androids with superior physical strength and advanced computer skills once they’re already on board, but given that the Enterprise is used to dealing with more powerful enemies, they should have come up with some safeguards. I still stand by my idea of increasing the artificial gravity to prevent intruders from moving freely.
  • Going all the way back to the Doomsday Machine, given how often the transporter room malfunctions or breaks, why aren’t there secondary transporter rooms, or backup circuitry?
  • It seems like, after the Enterprise leaves the planet, the androids are left to their own devices. Why not forge an alliance with them to gain access to some of their advanced technology? To be fair, one could even just reprogram them to serve the Federation, although this would go against the high morals of (most of) future humanity.

Notes and Observations

  • The androids’ creators came from the Andromeda Galaxy – does nothing originate in our galaxy any more? The Milky Way is pretty huge in its own right.
  • Although in general I’m not a fan of the remastering, I did like the new, yellow look of the android planet.
  • This is the first mention of Class K as a planetary designation, meaning suitable for humanoid habitation within protective habitat domes (and likely terraformable to Class M, suitable for humanoid habitation with no adaptations).
  • We don’t see much of Sulu in this episode – indeed, since George Takei was off filming something else, we won’t see him again for a while.

Summary – I, Mudd: Let’s move away from the silly episodes for a bit, shall we?

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