It’s time for fun with Androids…and the return of an old friend on the episode that originally aired on November 3, 1967. This is I, Mudd.
Captain’s Log Stardate 4513.3
After an android posing as a crew member takes over the ship, threatening to destroy Enterprise if they oppose him, the crew is taken to an uncharted planet where they discover an old friend.
After fleeing authorities Harry Mudd has become ‘king’ of an android filled planet, but there is a small problem. They wont let him leave unless he can provide other humans for them to study. In order to fix that problem, he instructed his androids to go get a Starship and that starship happened to be Enterprise.
The stranded crew soon find delight in having their every desire taken care of, which concerns Kirk. Soon he and McCoy are able to subdue Mudd and confront the Androids to let them all go. The Androids reveal their diabolical plan to make humans dependent on them so they can control them over time. Spock decides the best way to counter the logic of the machine race is to use inanity causing the Androids to malfunction allowing the crew to free themselves.
After reprogramming the Androids, they agree to keep Mudd on the planet ‘on parole’ but he had no control over them. Mudd soon realizes that this means he will have to deal with hundreds of Android duplicates of his ex-wife and pleads for Kirk’s mercy. Kirk and crew leave Mudd to his fate.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Sometimes episodes are made just to have a moment of levity and that is exactly where this one comes in. I mean, the moment you find out that Harry Mudd is back at his antics, it’s pretty clear it is going to be a fun, if not down right silly, instalment and that is really okay because ‘Mudd’ actor Roger C Carmel is an absolute delight in all he does.
While the episode is very much one that is played for laughs, especially the end with the androids of Mudd’s ex-wife being his jailer, it does bring up an interesting conundrum that was, regrettably, never explored further during the Next Generation era. The conundrum? A Planet full of Androids.
During Star Trek the Next Generation it is firmly established that Data is the most advanced android to exist. In fact, the series goes great lengths to make it known that there really are no other even remotely like Data, but that isn’t exactly true. While this android race isnt as advanced as Data at the time of the episode, 100 years later it is ever likely that they had evolved into something ‘more’. I have to admit, I was a little surprised that STNG never explored or so much as mentioned the possibility that this android race still existed. Even in the more recent Picard series, with the revelation of a whole other planet full of Soong Androids, there was still no reference to these. Could this be a gross oversight or possibly something more sinister at work?
Think about the fact that this android race had plans to take over humanity by making humans, and other biological life, dependent on them. What other species does something similar in the future? The Borg of course. Could this species be one of the originators of the Borg themselves? The idea isn’t the most farfetched as it is very possible that, in 100 years time, some of these androids grew restless with the idea of servitude and ventured off world to look at other ways to make biological life dependent on them. What a better way than to blend biological and technological life into a truly dependent species. I know, it’s a stretch, but it’s still fun to speculate.
Overall, this is really an episode that is worth watching simply for the pure enjoyment of it. It’s nothing world changing or continuity challenging, just a solid and fun story. That being said, There is one thing that really bothers me about this episode though, how the heck did an android get a station aboard the flagship of the Federation to start with? I mean, is Starfleet security really that bad that someone could just jump into a uniform and ‘get transferred’ to the ship without any question? Seems to be a pretty significant plot hole in an otherwise pretty fun entry.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We learn that this is the first time that Chekov has met Mudd, bringing into question if he was indeed aboard Enterprise during the first season…even though Khan swears he was later on.
- It is mentioned by one of the Androids that they can place a human brain into an Androids body giving someone immortality. This is never referred to again but poses some interesting possibilities for future Trek series.
- This is the last we see of Mudd in the original series but he does return in both the Animated series and some pretty great episodes of Discovery.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: The Trouble with Tribbles
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Late To The Game 3/4/2022
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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