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TOS 1.3: Mudd's Women

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This episode seems like it would be a good opportunity to get really indignant and lambast the Enterprise crew, its sexist, womanizing captain, and its short-skirt wearing, hostess female officers, but I can't seem to do other than really enjoy everything about it. So please don't read this expecting a really deep feminist critique, because I fail so badly at that.

Space! The Enterprise is in pursuit of a vessel that refuses to pull over. Sadly, this pursuit is neither high-speed nor involving a white bronco. It does look like an orange service dish. As the camera pans across the bridge, it catches a glimpse of Bailey's replacement. The navigator's poosition is beginning to be like the drummer in Spinal holy mother of god what is that? Is that a man, or a hideous demon in the navigator's chair?

Scotty has joined the usual suspects on the bridge. As far as I can tell, they are pursuing the ship because it has no registration beam and it refuses to answer any hails, just flies in the opposite direction. It's actually kind of interesting, seeing Kirk and company doing some everyday-type of space business. Scotty and Spock agree that the smaller ship's inferior engines will soon overload. The small ship enters an asteroid belt, but Kirk follows undaunted. He refuses to be ignored! This asteroid belt isn't nearly as cool as the one Darth Vader entered in an effort to track down the Millenium Falcon so he could use the occupants as bait to lure Luke Skywalker into a trap so he could chop his arm off and have a few words of him. (Warning: spoilers for The Empire Strikes Back.) THAT asteroid belt was full of asteroids. This is full of neon orange popcorn. Comparing the two asteroid belts shows what a few years and a few million dollars can do for special effects work.

They finally get close enough for Spock to do a sensor probe. He smugly reports that the ship is "super-heating." Kirk, fairly, is ordering Uhura to hail the ship and warn them, when the engines do overload, leaving the ship drifting helplessly through the asteroid field. Kirk orders the Enterprise's deflector screen be put around the smaller ship, despite the strain it creates on the Enterprise's engines, and sends Scotty and Spock to the transporter room. "We're protecting him, sir. We won't be able to hold it for long," says the hideous monstrosity in the navigator's chair. I'll just call him Brian Peppers, Nature's Abomination. The engines begin overheating almost immediately. The light I thought was a proximity light begins beeping, and the urgent boop boop boop takes us into the credits.

Starring Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock!

Bridge. As Brian Peppers is warning Kirk that the deflector screen can't keep it up, there's an flat electronic zap, and the lights flicker out. A moment later, they come on again. "That was one of our lithium crystal circuits, sir," Sulu says. Kirk calls the transporter room and tiredly asks them to hurry up with the champagning. Scotty's excuse is that the other ship remains uncooperative and refuses to answer their calls. As he is speaking, another zap reverberates through the bridge and the lights flicker again as another lithium crystal bites it. Kirk walks over to Spock's computer so he can bathe in the blue light in produces, and suddenly the other ship wakes up and sends a distress signal. Hurrah, the Enterprise is saved.

Transporter room. Spock, Scotty, and Bones champagne in a man whose attire is almost beyond description. He's wearing an oversized belt and buckle like a Pilgrim, a buccaneer's blouse in orange, a cowboy hat askew to properly show off the Christmas ornament he's wearing as an earring. He has a bumper crop of chest hair escaping from his shirt and decorating his lower neck, and a huge walrus mustache. I can't make out the pants here, but it looks suspiciously like he's wearing Indian-beaded chaps over blue, creased trousers. It looks like he dressed himself by grabbing the closest items of clothing in a Halloween costume store, but knowing that this is Star Trek means that this outfit is deliberate! Not only did somebody plan this, but someone else had to look at it, nod, and say seriously, "I think that's a good idea."

Scotty, Spock, and Bones are almost as put out by this outfit as I am. Oh, god, and he has an accent! "Meanin' no ingratitude, gentlemen, but just wherrrre is it I find meself?" It's ... Irish or something! Affected, whatever it is. Obviously this Gay Space-Pirate-Cowboy is used to putting on airs and trying to appear more couth than he is. Bones explains to him where he is, and the Gay Space-Pirate-Cowboy admires the transporter room and introduces himself as Captain Leo Walsh, extending his hand. No one makes a move to take it."How many more in your crew?" Spock asks, unamused. I should point out that the other ship is in grave jeopardy, and the Enterprise isn't doing too hot either. Walsh is so calm about his brush with death, I wonder if he has an adrenal gland.

"Your vessel's breakin' up, man!" Scotty says, sounding surprisingly like a teenager. Walsh excuses his general uncooperativeness as doubts about the Enterprise's motives, though he seemed perfectly friendly and trusting from the moment he rematerialized. Oh, yeah, and the souls aboard his other ship. There are three more "in position." I thought that the transporter could beam things from any point to any point. I guess not? Still, every bit of champagning has been done from or to the transporter pads to a point where there was no set-up available, such as a planet surface or another ship. Even if they need the transporter pads on one end of the transaction, they are beaming the other ship's crew from their ship to the pads, so why do they need to wait for the other people to get "in position"?

Bridge. Another lithium circuit goes. Sulu turns on the batteries. Kirk looks into Spock's computer, squinting dramatically in the blue light as he calls the transporter room for an update.

Transporter room. The materializing isn't going well. The trio crowds over the transporter controls, in a typical male attitude, all trying to fix it at the same time. "With those three lithium crystals gone - " Scotty says. "It'll take longer on battery power," Spock says. "Never did trust this thing in the first place," Bones says. Meanwhile, the second ship hits an asteroid and explodes in an orange mushroom cloud. Kirk takes the opportunity to squint, dramatically, and again radio the transporter room for updates. He's getting a little obsessive with those.

The crew hasn't arrived yet, but I guess they were dematerialized in time and are stuck in the beam in space or something. Spock and Scotty work the controls like duet concert pianists, and the three remaining crew members appear in special pink champagne-y bubbles. But, wait! These are not crewmen! It's three bodacious babes! Yes, Walsh is a Gay Space-Pirate-Cowboy-Pimp! On the left is a blonde with big hair and conical boobs, in a dazzling pink number that flashes a little leg. In the center is big-bottomed brunette, wearing a slinky green number. And on the right is an adorable blonde with a boy-cut, a pair of hot strappy boots, and nothing under her one-shouldered blue poncho. They pose like they're in a department store window.

As Kirk continues obsessively calling them, Walsh looks knowingly at the military men. Spock, instead of answering Kirk, looks from Scotty and Bones as if clinically studying their reactions. Scotty is taken in by Green, and looks like he's having a religious experience. Meanwhile, Pink has caught Bones's eye, and I think he's going to cry. Poor Kirk is still trying to do his job, but no one will pay attention to him!

Finally, Spock gives Scotty a look, and, coming to himself, he reports to Kirk that they got four out of the ship. Kirk snaps that he wants the captain to his cabin whether he's ambulatory or not! "That fellow sounded a mite upset, didn't he?" Walsh comments idly, to Bones. "Yes. Yes, they are," Bones murmurs in reply. I swear his eyes are welling, and if his smile was any wider, it would split his face in two. Spock pronounces Bones's boner "Curious," ala Alice in Wonderland, and returns to business, confirming with Walsh that these were all aboard and that they aren't actually the crew, which one could gather from their getups. Spock leads Walsh to his eventual scolding at Kirk's hands, and the girls stroll out to some honest-to-goodness bow-chika-bow-bow music. "Aye!" Scotty moans. "Amen to that, Scotty," Bones says fervently. You know what's sad? The most intense erotic experience they've ever had consisted of three marginally-scantily-clad women doing nothing, Spock, and the transporter consol.

The Threesome get plenty of looks in the hallway. Walsh amuses himself by making smalltalk to Spock, when they get on the lift. "You're parrrrt Vulcanian, arrrren't ya?" Spock just makes a noncommittal noise, probably because the preferred term is "Vulcan." Maybe "Vulcanian" is a slur, the way Scottish people hate being called Scotch. Anyway, this is the first actual mention of Spock's species, so there you go. Vulcanian. From Vulcania. Speaking Vulcanian. Also, "part"? How did Walsh know that Spock had human blood? Perhaps he was just guessing. Or perhaps Spock's behavior gives it away. Or perhaps Walsh assumed that no full-blooded Vulcan could put up with these Enterprise idiots. This line is very interesting, is what I'm saying.

Walsh's next line reveals his real character: "Ah, well, then, a pretty face doesn't affect you a-tall, does it? Uh, that is, unless you want it to! Yew kin save it, girrrls. This type can turn himself off from any emotion." I don't really think that's right. Spock's suppression of his emotions doesn't mean that he can comfortably experience them when he wants to. But mostly this shows how Walsh sees the women, as having no value to someone who isn't attracted to them sexually. I told you he was a pimp. Also, Walsh has just said the one thing that will make Spock absolutely irresistible to them. Sure nuff, Pink steps forward to apologize for Walsh's behavior. "He's so used to buying and selling people!" she starts, but Walsh shuts her up and shoves her out of the lift. I told you he was a pimp!

Captain's Quarters! "Commander of the transport to see you, Captain," Spock says, smugly. He looks like he can't wait to see Kirk's reaction to the lovely ladies. Yup. He's speechless. His jaw goes slack. He seems to like Pink the best, which is odd because she's the least attractive of the three. Kirk demands if this is Walsh's crew, and Walsh replies, "Well, no, captain. This is me carrrgo." I told you he was a pimp! Kirk stares slackjawed, probably wondering why they can't have cargo like that on the Enterprise, and swallows. Hard. Act break.

Back from the break, Kirk updates his LJ about Walsh and the "three unusual females." "These women have a mysterious magnetic effect on the male members of my crew, including myself." More like a mysterious magnetic effect on their penises! Kirk sends the women out of his quarters. Spock checks them out as they exit, then waggles his eyebrows and follows, looking for the world like he's about to get some sugar.

Walsh and Kirk confer. Walsh is annoying, and full of BS. Kirk tells him that he's "convening a hearing" on Walsh's traffic infractions, and that Spock will be his legal advisor. That strikes one as unfair, considering that Spock and Kirk are so close, but then one remembers that Spock is Spock, and it suddenly seems perfectly fair. "You're a hard-nosed one, Captain!" Walsh complains. "And you're a liar, Mr. Walsh! I think we both understand each other," Kirk replies. I love his snap. Oh, and when Walsh takes his hat off, he reveals his male-pattern baldness. It just adds to his general skeeve.

Bridge. Spock has the commander's chair. Sulu and Brian Peppers, Nature's Abomination, stumble back into the bridge, obviously after an encounter with the ladies. Sulu looks as cheery as Spock was, and at least as unaroused. By contrast, Brian looks devastated, as if he looked into such beauty and only then realized how badly he had been cursed with such horrible disfigurement. I should point out that Sulu's instinctual reaction, upon seeing an aroused male, is to stand very close behind him and grasp his arm. I really hope that no one was that surprised when George Takei came out of the closet.

Anyway, as Sulu enjoys dragging Brian to his post, Scotty leans on Spock's chair and looks serious. Surprisingly, the trouble he wishes to discuss is not related to the women. The last lithium crystal was cracked. Spock suggests he "rig a by-pass circuit," and Scotty replies "Can't," instantly. I swear that guy is just a slacker. There's no way the Enterprise's engines could always be so near to destruction as Scotty makes them out to be.

Conference room. The women are huddled together, whispering. Walsh enters, with a couple of redshirts, and tries to shut the women down before they give anything away. He can't get rid of the guards, so he does that movie thing when you speak quietly to the person in front of you, and occasionally raise your voice for the benefit of the person listening. He tells the women not to lie, and not to submit to a medical exam. (Dun!) The women are worried about something in particular, but he shuts them up before they spill it. Pink snaps that they have no ship and they're heading away from their destination. She accidently calls him "Harry" and he nearly loses his temper correcting her. "So lovely!" he yells over his shoulder at the guards. "Lovely, aren't they? If they'd only think lovely thoughts!"

Bridge. Kirk meets Spock and Scotty for a talk about the lithium crystal situation. Scotty blames Leo Walsh, and Spock demurely examines his nails as the human men bitch about him for a moment. "But it's frustrating! Almost a million gross tons of vessel depending on a hunk of crystal the size of my fist!" Scotty complains. Hey, Scotty, here's a tip: if the fundamental design of the engine frustrates you, then don't become an engineer. Geez. It's like those annoying Mac users who work with Windows and spend most of their time complaining about it.

As usual, Spock already has a solution: a lithium mine on Rigel 12, less than two days away. Kirk okays this plan, and they set off, once again leaving the viewer wondering if Kirk is necessary.

Stardate 1329.2! Maybe if I start paying attention to the Stardates, they'll start making sense to me. Kirk's voice-over is, as usual, unnecessary. In the conference room, Walsh's hearing is getting underway. "Start computer," Kirk orders Spock. Spock flips a couple of switches, and the computer starts up with a grind that sounds a lot like a projector to me. I bet some geek has edited the Windows startup sounds into that. One display monitor has our old friend the soundwave on it! Walsh cheerfully states his name for the record, and the computer replies, "Incorrect." "Your correct name," Spock prompts. God, I love him. Walsh - or is he? - tries to appeal to court's pride as organic beings and emplores them to trust him above a mere computer! Spock sighs. "State your correct name for the record," he repeats. Oh, God, I love him so much! "Harry Mudd," "Walsh" admits. The computer thinks that's incorrect as well, so he expounds, "Harcourt Fenton Mudd." Thank god, because I was tired of pretending I didn't know his real name. The title kind of gives it away, anyway.

Harry Mudd lies that he has no prior offenses, and the computer drones, "Incorrect." "Blast that tin-plated pot!" Mudd growls. Mudd's record and mugshot come on screen, and I regret to inform you that the earring seems to be a permanent feature with him. He was convicted of smuggling, but his sentence was suspended. Likewise, he was convicted of transport of stolen goods and using counterfeit currency to buy a ship, but he was only sentenced to "psychiatric treatment (effectiveness disputed)." I'm not sure if the effectiveness of all psychiatric treatment or just his was disputed, but both are pretty funny. The computer spooks the women, and Green growls, "If it can read our minds, too ..." Mudd reassures her that the computer is limited to the records.

Kirk charges Mudd with a bunch of traffic crap, including operating without a license. Mudd says he does own one, and computer dings him on that again. Mudd comes clean. "Well, very simply, Leo Walsh, who was to be my captain on this trip, pass away suddenly." Oh my god, he killed him, didn't he? He totally did. As he babbles, the women decide to turn on the charm, and start twinkling at the men across from them. Kirk doesn't seem to be affected, probably because Pink, who seemed to be assigned him, is doing a lousy twinkling job. Kirk asks for destination and purpose, and Mudd replies, "Planet Ophiacus-3. Wiving settlers." I told you he was a pimp! Kirk is like, come again? And Mudd is like, I find wives. For settlers. Kinda self-explanatory.

The computer scans the women, but doesn't have any data on them. Kirk asks for another scan, and the computer replies, "No decipherable reading on females. However, unusual reading on male board members. Detecting high respiration patterns, perspiration rates up, heartbeat rapid, blood pressure higher than normal." Kirk stops the computer before it gets to the erect penises part, and orders Spock to strike it from the record. What, he can do that? Cheater.

Mudd doesn't present his pimping service as a pimping service, of course, and emphasizes the "wives" part of the bargain, saying that the women will help the lonely men find companionship and start families. "Gentlemen, I look upon this work as a sacred public trust. I've devoted me whole life to it." "Incorrect," the computer replies. "Well, I'm about to start devoting my entire life to it!" Mudd snaps. The women seem to have sign up for it, anyway. Green comes from "a palagic planet - sea ranchers," while Blue comes from "the helium experimental station." Pink suddenly breaks into Mudd's monologue, describing life on her home planet, and how much it sucked, and the total lack of males not related to her. "Fine, Evie, Fine," Mudd says, and I think Pink deserves to be referred to by her name. "No, it's not fine!" she says. "We've got men willing to be our husbands waiting for us, and you're taking us the opposite direction! Staring at us like we were Saturnius harem girls or something," she complains to Kirk. Well, maybe you should have thought of that before you signed up to be a Saturnius harem girl, or something. Hmph. Kirk again asks Mudd for his defense. "Only heaven's own truth, which I've just given you," he replies. Sadly, the computer does not say "Incorrect."

Kirk pronounces Mudd guilty, and they start to walk of the conference room. Evie grabs Kirk to plead for his help, though not in a sexy, twinkly, Mudd's women kind of way. As Kirk is prying her hands off him, the lights flicker and there's a buzzing noise again. Scotty runs back into the room to inform Kirk that was the last crystal. Kirk, listening to the engine room report that they're on battery power, unconsciously holds Evie too close to him, and then has to make a show of pushing her away, as he tells Spock to call the miners about the lithium crystals already. In retrospect, he will probably wish that he didn't say this in front of Mudd, who brightens as he and the women are left alone once again. "Oh, you beautiful galaxy! Oh, that heavenly universe!" he says. That's nice; I think I'll make that my sig. He quickly explains: lithium miners are typically rich and horny, like the miners in the Californian gold-rush. Like the Californian miners, however, they also must have nowhere to spend the enormous riches they have acquired, and probably live lives no more civilized than the girls's home planets. Mudd doesn't mention this, and promises the women they'll be duchesses and queens, while he will settle for taking the Enterprise from Kirk. I should mention that he says all this in front of the guards, who don't seem to care. Oh, god, now that he's put his boots on the table, I can see that his pants are actually capri-length blue trousers with beaded leather chaps. Help.

Act break.

Stardate 1330.1. Still fourteen hours away from Rigel 12. While Harry Mudd is confined to his quarters, they let the women go anywhere. Blue seems to have been assigned the unfortunate position of getting close to Brian Peppers. Pity poor Blue.



And Green seems to have been assigned Bones! Oh, good, I love seeing Bones get nookie, for some reason. "May I come in?" she calls from the door, a-twinkling away. Bones begins grinning like a fool again. An orderly gives her a look, and Bones snaps at him, "Connors, are you finished?" in such a way that even under Green's spell, the orderly hustles out of there. As Green vamps about, she stands beneath the medical panel, and it lights up and beeps, even though it isn't even turned on. Bones is started out of his happy place. "It's fascinating," Green whispers, speaking of the medical wing, running a finger down Bones's shirt, but even that vampery doesn't distract him from this medical anomaly.

"Would you walk past my panel again, please?" he says. Is that what the kids are calling it these days? What's funny is, Green's facial expression shows that she's thinking the same thing I am. "Why? You're not giving me an examination, are you?" she laughs, mindful of Harry's earlier warning. Bones assures her that he has no intention of giving her an examination, as "I wouldn't trust my - my judgment, believe me." Ew. Green decides that, hey, medical men have strange fetishes, and does some "The Price is Right!" poses in front of the scanner, which lights up again. Bones is perplexed. Green casually asks about the miners on Rigel 12, moving away from the scanner and fiddling with the insignia on his shirt. Bones falls back into his trance, and Green extracts the information from him that the Rigel 12 miners are in excellent health, and there's only three of them. Convenient, that.

Bones stops her as she begins to walk out, asking "Are you wearing some unusual kind of perfume or something radioactive, my dear?" Are radioactive earrings normal in Star Trek? 'Cause I don't think that's very healthful. "No. I'm just me," Green replies, batting her eyelids, and slinks out. "Wonder what makes it do that," Bones says to himself, staring at the panel. Good acting from Montgomery in this scene. I think I could watch a show of nothing but him.

Captain's Quarters. Kirk runs in to find Evie stretched out on his bed. He stares like all the blood in his head is rushing downstairs. She and Kirk have a conversation through this romantic grate in his room. Evie's excuse is that she was so bothered by the stares of the men that she was forced to take refuge in his room. "Yes, I'll have to talk to them about that," Kirk says, staring. Heh. Evie shrugs it off as loneliness. "Yeeeeeees," Kirk says, staring some more. Heh. And ew. He tries to get away again, and Evie stops him with some prattle about his great responsibility and the lonely life of a starship captain who seems to get laid an awful lot! Kirk is most and demure, which makes him seem even more smug. Guy can't win. "I read once that a commander has to be a paragon of virtue. I never met a paragon!" Evie blondes. Kirk laughs, thinking, "Isn't that an extinct earth bird?" "Neither have I," he says. Evie moves in for the kill, but just as they are about to make the beats with two backs, she backs out. "Oh, no! Oh! I just can't do it. I don't care what Harry Mudd says," she says. At first I thought that she was implying that Kirk is so unattractive that she can't force herself to sleep with him even under dire circumstances, but her next line ("I do like you, but I just can't go through with it!") makes it clear that she is in wub. Oh, barf. Kirk looks cheated. He has this erection now and nothing to do with it! "I hate this whole thing!" she cries and leaves Kirk for some ... well, alone time. If you know what I mean.

Bam-chicka-bow-wow music takes us to Harry Mudd's room. He and the girls are convening, and we find out why Blue, who has very few lines in all, has had very few lines in all: she has a thick German accent. Not coincidentally, she is also the best looking of the girls, and Evie, who does all the acting, is barely pretty at all. Apparently the production company could only afford women who were pretty or women who could act, not both. Well, the girls have found out that the miners are ideal husband candidates, and as he reassures them that he has a way to control Kirk, Evie rushes into the room, and collapses against the wall, crying. Are those heaves of disgust because you boinked Kirk, or heaves of disgust because you almost boinked Kirk? "I don't like you," she says to Mudd, and then adds, "and I'm not very happy with myself, either." "Well, I'm not really surprised," Mudd says, and for a moment I thought he was making a very astute comment on the black hole of negativity Evie has been from the first moment, but he's actually talking about Evie's failure to seduce Kirk, which he chalks up to her feelings for him. He doesn't seem disappointed, so maybe he recognizes that her sincere show of emotion will work as well, or maybe better, than sex would have. Evie starts to yell, then weakly falls against the bulkhead. "I don't feel very good. I think it must be near the time." DUN!

Bridge. Lusty thoughts distract Brian Peppers. Kirk is mad that no one is taking the current crisis seriously but him.

Kirk and Bones step aside. Bones reports that the women won't be examined. "Well, come on! You're the doctor," Kirk says. Hee! Kirk thinks that maybe they're just "tired" (read: horny) and the women are beautiful. Bones wonders if they just "act beautiful." "No, strike that, strike that," Bones says. Spock seems very amused by this conversation.

Now comes the paranoia. Kirk asks what they are. Bones is like, you mean are they alien illusions? "I asked you first," Kirk says. Spock is no longer amused and looks disturbed, as if Kirk and Bones were admitting that they heard voices and that the shower head was really a hidden holographic camera. Bones doesn't think that an alien illusion would mess with his medical scanner, so no, but he has no other ideas.

Mudd's room. Mudd uses a stolen communicator to reach the miners.

Bridge. They've reached Rigel 12, but they only have enough power for a three-day orbit.

Mudd's rom. Mudd is desperately searching his room for some pills, for - and this is the big reveal you've wanted, folks - the women are really, secretly, ugly! Green has a nasty-looking series of veins going, and her hair hangs like a witch's. Evie looks like a cracked-out homely farmer's wife. Blue pretty much looks the same, but with her hair messier. Blue was always the prettiest of the girls, too, which probably explains why the producers were so willing to hire an "actress" with a heavy German accent. "Give uz zey pills, Harry!"

The women aren't just ugly, they are freaking out, except for Evie, who remains a wet blanket, albeit a wet blanket going through withdrawal. She says that he will never find the pills, and even if he does, they are a cheat, a dirty lie, etc. Mudd, still searching but getting to the heart of the situation, snaps that Kirk will never be into Evie because "ship's captains are already married, girl - to their vessels." I suspect Mudd is trying to squash Evie's sense of self-worth so he can control her, but he's also right. Mudd finds the pills, and the girls quaff them, throwing back their heads and closing their eyes in orgasmic bliss. Wow. I can't believe this was on TV in the sixties. As the other women return to their soft-focus glamour world, Evie clutches a pill and cries a little.

Conference room. Spock admires the burned up lithium crystals, saying that destroying them was a shame. Kirk flippantly replies that it was no shame at all to sacrifice the crystal for Mudd's ship, which wasn't what Spock meant at all and he can just shut up now. Two miners, balding, normal-looking guys come in, but they don't want to sell the lithium crystals. The head miner, Ben Childress, explains that they want to trade them. For Mudd's women. Oh, and also they want Harry Mudd released. Kirk finds this ludicrous, but the miners are serious and there's not much he can do about it.

At that moment, the master of diplomacy, Mr. Mudd, enters with the chicks. Evie locks eyes with Childress, and Green leaps on Childress's sidekick. Kirk, mad that nobody is paying attention to him, yells "It's still no deal!" The lights flicker. Half power for the batteries, Spock says. Well, I guess they do have a deal, after all.

Honestly, I don't see why Kirk hates this idea. The women want to do it, the miners want to do it; Mudd is a petty criminal; what's the harm?

Rigel-12. The whole happy group beams down and has a mail-order-bride-delivery party! There are three women and three miners, so everybody is happy except for Kirk, who can't get his lithium crystals from Childress. I suspect Childress wants to hold out until he's sure they like the women. What's the return policy on mail-order brides? Spock is gnawing on a knuckle. He looks worried, but I suspect he's covering up a giggle. "We don't have the time to spare, Captain," he reminds Kirk, who snaps, "You got a better idea?!" Spock cocks his eyebrows and hides his giggles.

Evie is looking all emo-like out the window, so Childress start talking awkwardly about the weather. It's sandstorms every hour of every day on Rigel-12. Basically everything on Rigel-12 is as miserable and poor as it was on the planets where the women grew up, and Evie has just realized this is another of Harry's lies. She excuses herself from dancing with the fakest coughing fit ever, which makes Harry snarl, "That's the way it is on Rigel - all the time!" like he thinks she thinks he's too god for her. Then he pulls Green off of the miner she's dancing with without so much as a by-your-leave. Miner Sidekick is too dumb to be angry and tries to cut in on Blue and her hulking troglodytic partner, who tells him to sod off. Miner Sidekick is clearly the last car on the gay train here on Rigel-12.

Anyway, a fistfight breaks out, Kirk and Spock break it up, and Evie runs out into the sandstorm crying because nobody will fight over her. Yes, really. She's so strange. Kirk runs after her, yelling for somebody to get the damn crystals already as he disappears into the sandstorm.

Then we have a brief acting duel, starring Guest Star Evie vs. William Shatner vs. Guest Star Ben Childress. The challenge? Stand in front of an industrial fan blowing little bits of polystyrene about and pretend you're battling the elements! Guest Star Ben Childress wins by far.

Space! "Captain's log - Have transported aboard the Enterprise to implement search with infrared scanners and sensing system." In other words, Kirk had his ass kicked by the natural elements. He, Spock, and Mudd haven't bothered to bathe since beaming up, but the search equipment isn't working because of the magnetic storms.

Scotty reminds Kirk that the searching is using up their batteries as well. "If only we had those crystals!" Scotty's constant whining inspired Kirk to unleash his Shatner. "Butwedon't! Ididn'tgetany. Ishouldhavefoundaway. Satisfied, Mr. Scott?" Kirk feels bad and apologizes.
Scotty is unmoved. Somehow I suspect that he is exaggerating about the battery life. He's the Wally of the Enterprise.

Rigel-12. All that sophisticated equipment fails, and Childress rescues Evie without any help at all. Hee! I mean, of course he could, he knows the planet. Childress carries the unconscious Evie into his home, lays her on his bed, stares at her with unmasked lust, then immediately falls asleep on a bench. He's kind of strange.

Space. Later, though it doesn't feel like it. The Enterprise has been searching for Evie for seven hours straight, and Kirk still hasn't taken a bath. They finally read a heating unit, like a cookstove, from Childress's cabin, and Kirk decides to beam down with Mudd. Then he utters something so indecipherable even the closed captioning is stumped. Sounds like, "Inmeninus game." Or "The name of this game." Or "The nemesis came."

Childress's quarters. The cookstove is indeed operating. Evie is cooking, wearing one of Childress's shirts to protect her from grease splatters. Childress wakes up, looks about the room, impressed despite himself, then sourly remarks that he had the furniture where he liked it. Dude, when you get married you say good-bye to that. Evie says pleasantly (for once) that she paid for some food she ate by cleaning. Still doesn't count as a legal transaction if he didn't consent to it. Childress grumps that he does his own cooking, which must be some kind of sexual joke, then tries to take credit for the fact that he didn't rape her in her sleep. Which is good, but not raping somebody is not quite enough to get you brownie points.

Evie has to make Childress eat her food, and after making fun of her, he likes it. He won't admit it, though, so he claims he's "tasted better - by my own hand!" And that's simply GOT to be a sexual joke, people. What is with this dude? He goes to great lengths to secure wives for him and his men, then he complains about Evie's presence and general existence. Evie later claims that he doesn't want a wife, he wants a living blowup doll, but Childress, though he seems attracted to Evie, he's made no move to get close to her physically except ask her to dance. As it is, I'm stuck between exclaiming that Evie and Childress are horrible people and exclaiming that they're perfect for each other.

For example, Evie complains that Childress's cookie utensils are filthy and encrusted with old burnt bits of food. Childress complains that there is no water with which to wash them. Evie is like, you stupid sod, have you tried hanging them out in the sandstorm to be scoured cleaned? Childress can't come up with a come back, so he eats extra angrily.

Later, Childress implements Evie's pot-cleaning system. When he comes back inside the house, Evie is playing cards and the magic pill has warn off. Childress looks at her like, did she get a haircut or something? He knows something's different but he can't put his finger on it. He tries to tell her how to play cards, but he only knows the rules to solitaire and she's playing double jack. "You're not only plain as an old bucket, you're not even good company!" Childress complains, then realizes that that's the difference in her looks. "I got tired of you. I slumped," Evie says. Damn, she's cold. But Childress is an asshole, snarling that he can buy queens "by the gross!" So why would he waste his crystals on her?

Just then Kirk and Mudd enter. Again, Childress wants the world to know that he has not raped and/or beaten Evie. You doth protest too much. Kirk makes everyone sit down for some relationship therapy. Meanwhile, the Enterprise is spinning dangerously close t the planet.

Kirk makes Mudd show Childress the Venus drugs. Yes, those mysterious pills that are responsible for the women's good looks. Mudd explanation is that the drug enhances femininity in women and masculinity in men. Kirk sucks his stomach in, thinking, "Thank God I have no need for such enhancements, being a fine specimen of maleness myself!" I wonder what they would do for a transgendered person. Mudd claims it has no unhealthy side-effects, and though Evie looks shocked, we never hear otherwise. Childress realizes that that means that his mining buddies have hooked up with uglies. "They're married," Kirk says. "Subspace radio marriage." That would be a good name for an album. Childress is more mad about this than he was about Evie and tries to strangle Mudd, which reinforces my beliefs about the miner's gay train, but Kirk pulls him off and reassures Childress that they miners can easily get their marriages nullified on the grounds of fraud - if they want to.

Childress gets very emo, and makes a little speech: "A man goes out and fights, almost dies. We all almost die. We should have, but we didn't. And now that we've got the good life in our hands, you bring us women for wives - "

Evie interrupts with the "You don't want a wife, you want a real doll!" speech I mentioned earlier, grabbing a pill and yelling that he wants that male fantasy. She pops the pill in her mouth, and after a few seconds, goes back to soft-focused glamor-girl. The Venus drug apparently gives your hair more volume. "Is this the kind of wife you want, Ben? Not someone to help you, not a wife to cook and sew and cry and need, but this kind: selfish, vain, useless. Is this what you really want?" I would like to say that Childress has learned his lesson, but I think all his blood is rushing to his other brain and he hasn't heard a word. Anyway, that speech is a little messed up. I'm not talking about the "cook and sew and cry" part, because they are, essentially, frontier people, and this gender division of labor is probably the only reality they have ever known. No, it's the part where she insinuates that good-looking women are selfish and useless. Or maybe she meant drug addicts. Well, whatever. This episode is almost over.

Kirk, looking his usual smug self, asks Childress how he feels. "A fake ... pumped up by a drug," Childress says, looking at her boobs. Not kidding. Kirk says, no, that was all Evie - for lo, they had replaced Mudd's miracle drug with colored gelatin! The Placebo Effect strikes again! (The Placebo Effect would be a good name for a supervillain.) "But that can't be!" Evie says. I agree. I know self confidence does wonders, but can it fluff up your hair like that? Kirk and Mudd deliver the final message together: self-confidence! For in the end, Kirk and Mudd are the same. They fly the galaxy, find unsuspected young women, and shove this self-esteem down their throats. Only difference is, Mudd is actually a pimp.

Kirk is like, now that we've got that sorted out, LITHIUM CRYSTALS! Or I might beam down a search party! Geez, should have made that threat earlier. (Childress always claimed that the crystals were unfindable.) Childress is like, okay, whatever, take 'em. We grind them up and use them for toilet paper, anyway. Childress tentatively invites Evie to stay for a while, anyway, and Evie says good-bye to Kirk: "You've got someone up there called the Enterprise." This seems kind of forced because Evie and Kirk didn't seem all that interested in one another.

As Mudd and Kirk leave, Mudd pleads to be allowed to stay. He points out that it would be sufficient punishment to be confined to Rigel-12. Kirk says no, but offers to be a character witness for Mudd, which Mudd graciously turns down.

Enterprise. Bones suggests Kirk go into the "patent medicine business," presumably hawking placebos. No, no, no, it's the PIMPING business Kirk wants to go into. Spock, unsolicited, opines that it was "annoying" and "emotional." Bones mimes being stabbed in the heart. Then he corrects himself and stabs himself in the underarm, where the Vulcanian heart is apparently located. He manages to make this racist. "The fact that my internal arrangement differs from yours, doctor, please me no end," Spock rejoins cheerfully. More Bones! More Spock! More racism!

The ship working fine with the new crystals in place, they pull out of orbit and journey on to new adventures. End credits.
Current Location:
Rigel-12
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On February 6th, 2007 05:00 am (UTC), recapsule commented:
hahaha, i loved this! and i don't know if you've seen the star trek inspirational posters, but in case you have not:







the others can be found here
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On February 6th, 2007 05:09 am (UTC), redcoast replied:
Oh, yeah, I've seen those! I would love to work where these could actually hang on the wall. My favorite is "Herbert" because I actually don't know what it is (and don't explain it to me! Spoilers!).
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On February 6th, 2007 09:55 am (UTC), recapsule replied:
hahaha, i won't. don't worry. as a person who got into star trek 5 years later than expected just because someone spoiled one of the movies for me...

and those actually have continuity! it wasn't like, oh this episode will no longer be good for you.

but, er, i'm over it. absolutely.
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On February 6th, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC), recapsule commented:
There are three more "in position." I thought that the transporter could beam things from any point to any point. I guess not? Still, every bit of champagning has been done from or to the transporter pads to a point where there was no set-up available, such as a planet surface or another ship. Even if they need the transporter pads on one end of the transaction, they are beaming the other ship's crew from their ship to the pads, so why do they need to wait for the other people to get "in position"?

Just a note, they need coordinates to beam people up without pads at the other end, and people beaming down need coordinates so they don't just end up in space. Thus, the easiest way to beam from one ship to another with no coordinates is transporter pad to transporter pad.

This is only semi-consistently adhered to, though, like most things in Star Trek.
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On February 6th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC), redcoast replied:
Obviously they would need coordinates even when somebody was on the pads, so I assume that the pads automatically transmit the coordinates, thus easing the process. I also assume they can find remote coordinates via scanning, for if they have sensors which can sense the location of a remote object and the lifeforms within, then they can also pinpoint the location of those lifeforms.

In any event, the precaution of using pads could be set aside if the ship is in as much jeopardy as the Enterprise and Mudd's ship were at that time. In fact, had the crew dispensed with the pads, they would not have blown the lithium crystals and the episode would be very short.

But I'm going to stop because this is beginning to sound like a discussion about feminine hygiene equipment.
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On February 6th, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC), recapsule replied:
I think you're right, but I don't understand now-science really, let alone fake-future-science. I'm a recapper, not an engineer.

Also, my favorite scene in this episode is when Spock brings the women into Kirk's kwarters with this great "oh this will be classic" expression on his face. Too adorable.
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On February 6th, 2007 11:01 pm (UTC), redcoast replied:
Oh, yes.
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On February 6th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC), redcoast replied:
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On February 19th, 2007 08:35 am (UTC), ardys_the_ghoul commented:
There's no way the Enterprise's engines could always be so near to destruction as Scotty makes them out to be.

You're right. Scotty exagerates everything. Also, the Enterprise is his baby.
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On February 19th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC), redcoast replied:
He's just a slacker who exaggerates his estimates so he has more time to play Scrabble. Sorry, but I've developed a dislike for him.
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On February 19th, 2007 08:40 am (UTC), ardys_the_ghoul commented:
Also:

This episode seems like it would be a good opportunity to get really indignant and lambast the Enterprise crew, its sexist, womanizing captain, and its short-skirt wearing, hostess female officers

All I can say is, at least they have female officers. It was the sixties--baby steps, you know.
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On February 19th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC), redcoast replied:
True, which is one reason why I didn't get all indignant and lambast-y. Much.
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On July 8th, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC), felis_daemonis commented:
This was great! I remember the episode... so... full of unlogic... and over-dramatic :D
But... Kirk didn't rip off his shirt! OMG!
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