TOS Final Rewatch 6 - Mudd's Women

"Mudd's Women"
Season 1, Episode 6



That's The Way It Was
Roguish Harry Mudd turns up with a cargo of ravishing space bimbos. That's about it - except for the standard "ship in peril" subplot.

Space Dames
The men on the Enterprise have apparently never seen women before. This is particularly the case with McCoy and Mr. Scott, as the trio of space dames are revealed for the first time.

Exactly what quality do these women have that makes the Enterprise guys trip over their tongues and run face first into walls? They're attractive, sure, but come on.

And doesn't every man ultimately just want "a wife to cook and sew and cry and need?" What about barefoot and pregnant?

In the end, Eve McHuron turns out to be a sympathetic character who manages to combine a measure of brains with bimbo. Alas, we never do find out the fate of her two companions.

Does Not Compute
Computers in the future must speak in a harsh robotic voice. Although there's a TOS episode coming up where this dictum will be subverted.

Mudd's interrogation scene, with the computer contradicting him at every turn, is worth the price of admission.

Say Say Say
"I asked you first." Kirk to McCoy.

"Oh, the sound of male ego." Eve to Childress.

Credits
Aside from his appearances as Harry Mudd, Roger Carmel's most substantial recurring role was probably in "The Mothers-in-Law," a late Sixties outpouring of TV zaniness, in which he played a scriptwriter who's married to one of the title characters.

Miscellany
Harry Mudd. Space pirate? Space buccaneer? Space gypsy?

How convenient that a lithium mining planet should turn up just about the time the ship's lithium crystals go haywire.

Uhura foregoes her usual red micro-miniskirt for a gold one.

In Conclusion
As I recalled it, Harry Mudd was a more whimsical character than he seemed to be this time around. Yes, he's kind of buffoonish and provides a few good moments of comic relief. But there's a dark undertone to many of his interactions and, after all, he is a convicted criminal who's not averse to profiting off of those who might be more unfortunate. On the other hand, as one of the women notes at one point, their options for the future on their home planet were no great shakes.

As noted, the scene with Harry Mudd being foiled by the computer is a great one and the interactions between Eve and Childress are not bad either. Compared to most of the other episodes thus far, it's not so bad. The exception would be "Charlie X," which gets my vote.

TOS Final Rewatch 5 - The Enemy Within

"The Enemy Within "
Season 1, Episode 5




Dr. Kirk and Mr. Kirk
So people have a good side and a bad side. Or a dark side and a bright side. Or a raging, sweaty side and a wimpy, dry side. Or something like that. Kirk and a weird little space unicorn dog prove this thesis by going through the transporter while it's on the fritz and being split into two halves.

In the meantime, Sulu and the rest of a landing party are stranded on a planet and night's coming and it's getting dangerously cold and the clock is ticking.

Beam Half of Me Up
Five episodes in and I don't recall that McCoy has launched into any of his anti-transporter tirades yet. Maybe this is the incident that will set him off. And maybe he has a point about having your atoms scattered all over the universe and whatnot. Pretty impressive technology, this transporter doohickey. And yet it is rendered useless by a mysterious yellow powder.

Overactors Anonymous
From the moment he appears, Bad Kirk is nearly bouncing off the ceiling with the sheer force of his overacting.

The transporter accident somehow results in Bad Kirk having more eye makeup than Good Kirk. Did I imagine this?

Good Kirk's performance - not so bad.

The captain's quarters happen to stock theatrical makeup suitable for covering up those nasty scratches on Bad Kirk's face.

Bad Kirk sweats like he's sitting in an electric chair, while Good Kirk is surprisingly fresh and dry. Talcum powder?

Miscellany
Poor little space unicorn dog. Was the Humane Society on hand? Is humiliating a dog a form of mistreatment?

Can anyone on the ship enter (Bad Kirk) someone else's quarters (Yeoman Rand's) at any time? No need to be buzzed in? No lock? Latch?

The gang - even Spock, the great thinker - are slow to put the pieces together, even after encountering Good Space Unicorn Dog and Bad Space Unicorn Dog.

"God forbid I should have to agree with Spock." Good one.

Should landing parties perhaps carry emergency gear that's appropriate to the place they're going?

Dead. Jim.
RIP, weird little space unicorn dog. No humanoids die in this one. The death toll throughout the series thus remains at 18 crew members. No lowdown on where the weird little space unicorn dog came from and since it's not part of the crew it's not included in the tally.

Just Yuk
"The impostor had some interesting qualities." Spock has the final word here, delivering this bewildering and quite inappropriate comment to Yeoman Rand, complete with creepy smirk. I nominate this as the weirdest moment of the first five episodes. Does Starfleet have a human resources department and don't they cover things like this when they have those "don’t be weird to fellow employees" meetings?

Judgment Day
The pop psychology nearly overwhelms the proceedings here. We get it. Good side and bad side. We've all read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or seen an adaption or at least are familiar with the concept. The other major drawback - Bad Kirk's Herculean feat of overacting.

If you can somehow ignore these fairly significant points, it's probably at least a tolerable episode. Yes, one can't help but wonder how a finely tuned instrument such as a transporter can be thrown off the rails so easily or wonder exactly how it separates someone's good and bad side and spits them out, but I guess you can allow a little bit of dramatic license in these matters.

TOS Final Rewatch 4 - The Naked Time

"The Naked Time"
Season 1, Episode 4




What It Is
The "space madness" (uh oh) episode. This is a rare strain of looniness that might make you really angry or perhaps make you cry or long for love. Or maybe it will enhance your Irishness or help you to unleash your inner swashbuckler. Who can tell?

Set Dressing
The false snow or frost on the planet does not convince. One does not get the impression that this it's a cold place.

3-D checkers in the rec room?

Butter knives don't kill people. That's not a slogan - they really don't.

Stylish black T-shirts for Joe Tormolen and Spock. Is Joe the first redshirt to appear in a black shirt?

On "Space Madness"
According the McCoy's explanation, everyone is just kind of drunk?

Everyone lays it on a bit thick with the madness hijinks. Riley and Spock deserve a special merit badge for overacting.

Spock and Nurse Chapel's scenes would probably have been rejected by any self-respecting soap opera for being way too much.

Missed Opportunities
Riley shuts down the engines. The ship is about to fall from orbit and take to a dive to the planet - unless someone can save it. Which seems like a perfect opportunity to have a ticking clock or timer (preferably with a large red readout) that will stop at one second. Or, for added dramatic effect - a fraction of a second.

They're Dead
Thanks to Mr. Scott's trick with antimatter, ship and inhabitants go back in time and have three days to live over. Except for Joe? I bet going back in time will not bring him back from the dead.

Poor Joe Tormolen is the only known casualty here, apparently due to having lost the will to live. Which is a common side effect of getting "space madness" and then getting really angry.

Four episodes down and the Enterprise has already lost 18 crew members.

Miscellany
The first appearance of the Vulcan nerve pinch. Methinks.

Should you be able to run down to auxiliary and "hook everything through the main panel," thus taking over every function on the ship? If yes, shouldn't this access be limited to the highest ranking officers? None of whom have an override command for this?

Closing Time
If watching actors put the pedal to the metal and act themselves into a frenzy is your kind of thing, then this is an episode for you. But it's not for me.

The sheer over-the-top-ness of it all is kind of tiresome, the premise is not necessarily a bad one, although not so well-executed and I would gladly have fired a photon torpedo at Riley to get him to stop singing.

TOS Final Rewatch 3 - Where No Man Has Gone Before

"Where No Man Has Gone Before"
Season 1, Episode 3




What's Going On
Almost indestructible Godlike Beings behaving badly...again. After running into an energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy, two crew members are zapped and become Godlike Beings who can read really fast and stuff and who don't know how to play nice with the other children.

Throwing Back
I'm watching TOS in the order it was broadcast, the way viewers in the day would have (minus the giant refrigerator box console TV and rabbit ears of a fifty-foot antenna on the roof). Viewers who watched the first two episodes must have been thrown off by this one, which was produced much earlier. Get a load of those turtleneck uniform shirts, women in pants, a sinister-looking Mr. Spock, a different chief medical officer, and so on.

Style Council
As noted, pants for the women. Which seems sensible in the professional setting of a starship. But those miniskirts probably attracted more viewers.

I am totally on board with the decision to get rid of the turtlenecks.

Is that a dye job for Mr. Scott, with his impossibly jet black hair?

Glitter eyes. Unsettling, but effective.

Personnel Department
Sulu and Scott are on board for this one. No sign of Uhura and McCoy.

Spock forgets how to use his indoor voice and the eyebrows are pointing almost due north.

The Stuff
That phaser rifle is not a masterpiece of design.

Are those rock outcroppings made of fabric? Paper? A painting? They're certainly not rock.

The conference room littered with colorful floppy disks?

The galaxy's edge is a pleasing shade of pink. The real galaxy probably has no distinct or visible edge, but it's a nice touch.

The Godlike Beings Must Be Crazy
Is it a requirement that Godlike Beings behave badly? Yeah, probably.

How about those blank stares Dehner gets from every single person in the conference room when she argues in favor of Godlike Beings?

Even before going off the rails, Godlike Gary seems like a butthole. "Like a walking freezer unit" and that sort of thing.

Godlike Charlie ("Charlie X") behaves badly but is sympathetic. Godlike Gary is not sympathetic and when Spock suggests bumping him off, it's hard to argue.

Godlike Gary's first shot at paradise on Delta Vega - a drinking fountain and strangely colored plants - isn't much. But you've got to start somewhere.

Casualty Report
Nine dead in the incident at the edge of the galaxy. Three more down before it's all over. Five crew members dead in "The Man Trap." That's 17 crew lost in three episodes.

Miscellany
The supremely logical Mr. Spock is again defeated at chess by logic-deprived Kirk.

Kirk to Godlike Elizabeth - "Nobody but us chickens, Doctor." Come again?

What is your ESP quotient?

Godlike beings engage in a zap battle. Kirk and Godlike Gary do a good old-fashioned, rock 'em sock 'em fistfight. Now, that's entertainment.

The Lowdown
This is an interesting take on what TOS might have been. But the version that came to be works better for me. Maybe just because it's so familiar.

It's hard to know exactly what to make of this episode. There's really not much to it. Godlike Being goes off the rails and is defeated, as he must be. The preceding episode ("Charlie X") did this so well that the current episode suffers by comparison. Godlike Gary is so unlikeable (is it just me?) that the viewer can't help be relieved when he is gone. Although, how a pile of rocks can hold down a Godlike Being, even one in a weakened state, is a question that lingers.