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"Mudd's Women" is an episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek that was first broadcast on October 13, 1966, and then repeated on May 4, 1967. It is the sixth episode of the first season, and was written by Stephen Kandel based on a story by Gene Roddenberry, and directed by Harvey Hart. It is the first of two episodes to feature Harcourt Fenton Mudd, an interstellar con man, who is transporting a cargo of female humans, i.e. Mudd's Women.
|Star Trek: The Original Series episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Harvey Hart|
|Story by||Gene Roddenberry|
|Teleplay by||Stephen Kandel|
|Featured music||Fred Steiner|
|Cinematography by||Jerry Finnerman|
|Original air date||October 13, 1966|
On stardate 1329.1, the Federation starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, is in pursuit of a J-class cargo spaceship. The ship overloads its engines in an escape attempt through an asteroid field. Kirk orders the Enterprise's shields extended around the other spacecraft to protect it until the cargo ship's occupants can be transported aboard the Enterprise. This action destroys all but one of the lithium crystal circuits in the Enterprise's spacewarp engines.[note 1]
The Enterprise beams the cargo ship's passengers (three women) and its captain aboard, just as an asteroid impact destroys their spaceship. In the transporter room, the man gives his name as Leo Walsh. The three women who accompany him are stunningly beautiful, and they distract many of the male crew members of the Enterprise, including ship's surgeon Dr. McCoy and Chief Engineer Scott. The women are destined to be wives for settlers on the planet Ophiuchus III and are introduced as Ruth Bonaventure, Eve McHuron, and Magda Kovacs.
Kirk has Walsh taken into custody and convenes a ship's hearing. With "Leo Francis Walsh" in the spotlight of a truth verifier scan, he is forced to reveal his true name, Harcourt Fenton Mudd, a criminal wanted in several star systems, with a long rap sheet of crimes, as the final lithium crystal fails. Meanwhile, in the Sickbay, Dr. McCoy notices an anomalous reaction on his diagnostic display when Ruth walks in front of its scanner.
As a result of the lithium crystals burning out, the Enterprise must limp on reserve power to the storm-plagued planet Rigel XII to obtain new crystals from the planet's high-grade ore. Mudd arranges for Magda to steal a communicator, using it to contact with Rigel XII and negotiate with the crystal miners there. He convinces the chief miner, Ben Childress, to exchange the lithium crystals for Mudd's women and Mudd's release. Taking one look at the women's stunning beauty after they beam aboard, Childress and his fellow miner (Herm Gossett) excitedly agree.
Kirk refuses this deal, but the Enterprise's remaining reserve battery power is insufficient to maintain the ship's orbit for more than a few days, threatening a fiery reentry into the planet's atmosphere and Mudd knows it. He points out to the captain that sooner or later he will have to deal for the crystals the ship needs. Kirk is forced to allow Mudd and the women to beam down to the planet. Childress is so distracted by Eve that he forgets about the plight of the Enterprise.
Eve becomes dissatisfied with being treated as a sex object at an impromptu party with the miners. When they begin fighting over the women, she runs away in anguish into one of Rigel's fierce magnetic dust storms, and Childress pursues her. Using the ship's sensors, Kirk tracks in on Eve. Fortunately, Childress had found her and brought her to his quarters. The captain also discovers the secret to the women's startling feminine pulchritude. Mudd has been giving the women the illegal "Venus Drug," which creates a transient, illusory beauty. Without it, the women's appearance is plain. Kirk and Mudd beam back down to the planet to deal with Childress.
In his quarters, Childress confronts Mudd over the deception. Eve snatches a dose of fake Venus Drug from Harry, which she believes to be the real thing. The placebo effect restores her self-assurance and reveals her inner beauty, impressing Childress. Mudd's other women have married the other two miners. Captain Kirk gets his replacement crystals, and the ship is restored to full operational capability.
Mudd tries to persuade Kirk to leave him behind on Rigel XII, assuring the Captain that being stranded on so stark a frontier world would be punishment enough. Kirk replies, "I can't do that, Harry, but I will appear as a character witness at your trial — if you think that'll help." A look of pain passes over Harry Mudd's face and he says, "They'd throw away the key ..."
The Enterprise proceeds on her way, presumably with Harcourt Fenton Mudd in the brig.
The story was one of three submitted for production as the second pilot of Star Trek: the others being "The Omega Glory" and the selected episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before". It was filmed as the second episode of the first season, after "The Corbomite Maneuver".
- The term dilithium was not yet in the Star Trek vernacular during this episode.
- Handlen, Zack (January 22, 2009). ""The Enemy Within"/"Mudd's Women"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
- Whitfield, Stephen E & Roddenberry, Gene (1968). The Making of Star Trek. Ballantine Books.
- Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman (1996). Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-00974-5.