Star Trek: I, Mudd   Rewatch 
April 4, 2015 10:23 AM - Season 2, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Harry Mudd returns to the Enterprise with a plot to take over by stranding the crew on a planet populated by androids under his command.

"I, Mudd" was first broadcast November 3, 1967 on NBC, and repeated April 5, 1968. It is episode #37, production #41, and was written by Stephen Kandel, based on a story by Gene Roddenberry and directed by Marc Daniels. David Gerrold performed an uncredited rewrite, but little of his material was used.

In this episode, Captain Kirk has a second run-in with the conman, Harry Mudd (Roger C. Carmel). Mudd is now the supreme ruler of a planet of androids who cater to his every whim. The Enterprise '​s first encounter with Mudd was in the early Season One episode "Mudd's Women".

Memory Alpha Link

The episode can be viewed on Netflix and YouTube.
posted by Benway (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Harcourt Fenton Mudd, what have you been up to?
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:07 AM on April 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

This episode has some great performances, fun dialog, and memorable taglines; but it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
  • We never hear how "thereby hangs a tale" gets Mudd from "I left you in custody" to "I organised a technical information service . . . making available certain valuable patents to struggling young civilisations throughout the galaxy."
  • Harry persuades the androids that they need to get a better human to study, and their strategy is to hijack a starship? Won't that, like, call attention to their program of galactic domination? Wouldn't starfleet come looking for it? Wouldn't it have been easier to just kidnap Kirk (or Decker, or Tracy or . . . )?
  • If serving humanoids was their thing, why did they have to wait for Harry Mudd to show up? Wouldn't they build some ships and start looking? Or maybe, I dunno, use one of the ships that got them to this planet in the first place?
  • If they can build anything you desire -- except a ship -- and Harry's ship was disabled, how'd Norman get off the planet?
  • How'd Norman infiltrate Starfleet without being exposed as an android, or at least as someone with absolutely no past? Did he actually acquire an officer's commission somehow, or did he somehow successfully impersonate an officer and get himself assigned to the Enterprise despite having no past, no records, no references, acquaintances or connections in society, being unable to allow himself to be medically examined in any way, possessing limited knowledge of how society, institutions, etc. actually work, and being forced to fall back on "I am not programmed to respond in that area" to any difficult questions? I don't think Normal could get himself a gym membership or board an airliner in 21st Century society.
  • Why'd they send Norman? How is he going to "Nor Man Co Ordinate" the android population of Planet Mudd when he's hundreds of light years away, hacking into Starfleet?
Alice: The last one, lord.
Kirk: What does she mean, "the last one"?
Mudd: I beamed a few dozen androids up to your ship. They've been sending your crew to the surface for the past couple of hours. They're all down now.
  • Ummmm. So where are they? Kirk confounds the androids with just Mudd, Scotty, and the bridge crew (minus Sulu, who's left during the opening credits to go "kill all the stinking Cong" with The Duke). The other 425 crewmembers are not to be seen and are apparently superfluous to the massively parallel effort to overload the androids' Liar's Paradox subroutine.
  • Kirk The Fascist -- cop, judge, jury, and executioner-- makes an early appearance. Later this season in another 'humor' episode, we'll see him summarily sentence a man to 17.9 years labor for selling dangerous pets.

posted by Herodios at 8:34 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

For years before I started working for him, my boss would get the shutting-down-Stella-robot's "... thing ... thing ... thing ... " stuck in his head. One day, shortly after I started working for him, he said it aloud to himself, and so I said "The robot version of Harry Mudd's wife shutting down! From I, Mudd!" He was confused at first, but it all came back to him after I launched into the "Harcourt Fenton Mudd, what have you been up to?"
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:30 AM on April 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Harry Mudd might have made yet one more appearance on Star Trek later the same season, as David Gerrold had originally intended to have Mudd be the one who brought the tribbles to Deep Space Station K7.
posted by briank at 9:01 AM on April 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

That would have been pretty fitting! Instead, he doesn't show up again until The Animated Series.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:08 AM on April 5, 2015

Now I'm wondering what the best examples of Mudd/Jones fanfic are.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:50 PM on April 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wait, Mudd wasn't responsible for the tribbles? Somehow I'd convinced myself that he was.
posted by moonmilk at 8:37 AM on April 6, 2015

Wait, Mudd wasn't responsible for the tribbles?

Cyrano Jones
"He is a licensed asteroid locator and prospector. He's never broken the law, at least not severely. For the past seven years, with his one-man spaceship, he's obtained a marginal living by engaging in the buying and selling of rare merchandise, including, unfortunately, tribbles."

Harry Mudd
Smuggling. Transport of stolen goods. Purchase of space vessel with counterfeit currency. Sentences, psychiatric treatment, effectiveness disputed. Operation of a vessel without a master's license . . . master's license revoked . . . "Harcourt Fenton Mudd, thief, swindler and con man, liar and rogue. He belongs in jail, which is where I thought I'd left you" . . .
posted by Herodios at 9:48 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

This was much better than I remembered it. First, Roger C. Carmel seems to be having a great time. But then, the "robots needing humans to serve" was more nuanced than I remembered, as well as vaguely Ian-Banksian, since the androids were going to protect us from ourselves. It could have been a great episode if the writers had thought a little harder.
posted by acrasis at 2:55 PM on February 6, 2021

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