10 December 2016

Less Westworld, More Pestworld (Review, 'Star Trek', 2.8, "I, Mudd")

The disco at the Orphan Black convention wasn't as busy as hoped
Now while I generally wish violence on few real human beings, there are a good number of fictional characters that I would merrily punch in the mouth. This episode contains the unwelcome return of one of them... but is surprisingly rather good in spite of it.


A new crew member turns out to be an android and takes control of the Enterprise, sending it to an uncharted planet. The planet is filled with androids and under the rule of an old acquaintance of the crew... who would rather like to have the Federation starship for his own.


Harry Mudd is back. Yes, the campest conman in the Alpha Quadrant, a man who a Ferengi would find over the top, has ended up in control of an entire planet populated with over two hundred thousand human facsimiles. Dressed in a very loud uniform more associated with petty tyrants who think they have a grand army when in reality it would crumble at the first sign of a US Marine Expeditionary Force.

(Speaking of the US military, Sulu's time in this episode is limited and he won't be back for a while as George Takei was on the other side of the US filming John Wayne's The Green Berets in which he played a South Vietnamese officer, one of the very few examples of a Vietnam war film that was in favour of the US involvement there)

Mudd, to absolutely no-one's surprise, has used his desire to create a very large number of attractive female robots; many of them identical and capable of functioning as 'human females do'. That's right, he's built an army of sex robots. Unfortunately/fortunately, none of them have full self-awareness and certainly nothing like the range of emotions as portrayed in the Westworld series. Mudd in himself is greatly irritating and the episode is better when he is not

The androids were played by pairs of twins and the use of split screen to get as many of them as possible on screen at once. Of particular note is the Alice series (played by Alyce and Rhae Andrece) who resembles Zooey Deschanel, although that lady had of course not even been born yet. Well, if that's you like..

The 'robots' are pretty robotic and intentionally so; they in fact have their own agenda, predating Skynet by over a decade.

In order to defeat them, the regulars (Chekov and Spock stand out here) decide to engage in one of the strangest ways to drive a bunch of androids insane I have ever seen. It involves imaginary explosive, the crew making phaser noises and crazy dancing. It makes a recent episode of The Librarians, in which a bad guy is defeated by a group rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" look sane.

Mudd gets his comeuppance and suffers a fate that you wouldn't wish on your own worst enemy... let's just say that I am sure some people would sympathise with him.



Despite having one of the most irritating characters in the whole of Trek by a country mile, this actually ends up being a very good episode. Completely crazy at times mind you, but nonetheless, very good.


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