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|Series :||The Original Series||Rating :|
|Disc No :||2.2||Episode :||42|
|First Aired :||3 Nov 1967||Stardate :||4513.3|
|Director :||Marc Daniels||Year :||2267|
|Writers :||Stephen Kandel||Season :||2|
|Guest Cast :||
|Plotline :||Spock and McCoy encounter a recently arrived crewmember, Crewman Norman, in the Enterprise corridors. McCoy notes that something bothers him about the man. Not only is he avoiding a medical exam, but he seems unemotional and detached from the rest of the crew. Spock, taking this as a jibe against himself, dismisses the complaint.
Norman goes to the auxiliary control center, overpowering the personnel there and taking control of the ship to lock it onto a new course. He rapidly goes to the emergency manual monitor and engineering, effortlessly defeating multiple crewmembers and resetting the ship's systems to lock out any change in the course he has laid in. Finally he proceeds to the bridge where he points out that his alterations have connected the matter-antimatter pods to the main navigational bank with a trigger relay, meaning any attempt to change course will destroy the ship. He also opens a panel in his stomach, revealing that he is an android.
The ship spends four days at Warp 7 heading for an unexplored Class K planet. Norman remains dormant throughout, standing motionless on the bridge. On arrival he demands that Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura and Chekov to beam down, threatening to destroy the engines if they refuse. They beam to a facility on the surface where None other than Harry Mudd reveals himself to have been behind their kidnapping. Mudd declares that he is now Emperor Mudd the First, and that the crew of the Enterprise will remain on his planet for the rest of their lives and there is nothing they can do about it. Mudd is accompanied by multiple robots, many of them identical to one another. He reveals that after his last encounter with the Enterprise he managed to escape from prison and engaged in further petty crime, including reselling patents. He was caught on Deneb V and sentenced to death, but again managed to steal a ship and escape. After wandering for a while he chanced on this planet and explored it, finding the facility there along with androids running it. The facility is equipped with fantastically advanced technology, capable of building massive numbers of androids to any specification, along with almost anything else one could want. Mudd, of course, stocked the place almost entirely with hundreds of female androids.
Although it seemed like a paradise at first, Mudd soon grew bored with the planet. He decided to leave, but the androids are so determined to serve him that they refuse to allow him to leave the planet. Mudd eventually told the androids about the Enterprise and asked them to capture the crew so they would have other Humans to serve, and so allow him to leave. He tries to convince Kirk that it won't be so bad, demonstrating some of the pleasant aspects of the place - including an android replica of his own wife who nags him specifically so that he can have the pleasure of yelling at her to shut up. The androids reveal that they were built by a species from the Andromeda galaxy which is now long gone.
Spock conjectures that the androids do not operate independently, but must function via some kind of control control system which guides them all. He tries to quiz them on the subject but they politely decline to answer his queries.
The androids begin trying to tempt the officers to remain. They tell Uhura that an android body will last for some half a million years. Since a human brain can be installed in one, this would give the person almost perpetual youth and beauty. Chekov finds himself enjoying the prospect of being surrounded by beautiful female androids, whilst Scotty is intrigued by their incredibly advanced engineering technology. Meanwhile the androids have forcibly removed the crew from the Enterprise, putting an android crew aboard to run the ship. There seems to be no way to stop them.
Kirk is increasingly annoyed by the situation, and when an Alice series android promises him that they will do anything to make him happy he states that he cannot be happy without his ship. Alice seems confused by this and asks Norman to "coordinate" a response, before leaving.
Mudd prepares to depart, but the androids refuse to let him leave despite their earlier deal. They reveal that they plan to export vast numbers of androids to all Human worlds, giving them the same life of complete luxury as exists on their planet - along with the same lack of freedom.
Spock notes that there are hundreds of each model of android on the planet, with the exception of Norman. There is only a single Norman as far as anybody knows. This, combined with the way the Alice asked Norman to coordinate a response when she was confused, makes Spock speculate that Norman may be the control system he spoke of earlier. Since illogic seemed to confuse the Alice, they wonder if they might not be able to overload Norman's ability to command the androids if enough strange and inexplicable behaviour is presented to the androids.
Reasoning that the androids will expect an escape attempt the crew stage a mock one, with Uhura turning traitor and telling the Androids about it so that they can foil the plan. Now hoping to have them at their ease, the crew begin their real campaign. They each challenge the androids with surreal behaviour, spreading confusion and illogic amongst them. Spock informs two of the Alice series that although he loves one of them, he hates the other - stating that he responds to them so differently because they are identical to one another. The illogic of the statement causes both androids to shut down.
The crew begin to target Norman directly, making him more and more confused until Kirk finally informs him that Harry Mudd is a liar, and everything he says is a lie. Harry then informs Norman that he is indeed lying - prompting Norman to realise that if that is a lie then Mudd must be telling the truth, but that if he is telling the truth then he must be lying. Finally overwhelmed, Norman shuts down and all of the other androids shut down with him.
With the crew back aboard the ship and control restored, Kirk decides what to do with Mudd. He will be left on the planet, stranded with the androids to look after him. Mudd is pleased that his imprisonment will at least be pleasant - until he finds that Kirk has had at least 500 copies of his nagging wife constructed, all of them designed so that they will ignore any order to shut up. Harry is thus left to indefinite imprisonment under the eternal nagging of the woman he most hates.
|Analysis :||A fun little episode, all in all. It's nice to see Mudd back again - he's a good character, just the right balance of overblown self importance and ego combined with just a little menace. The android planet is a nice honey trap - you can see the appeal of the place, but you can also see just how horrible life there would be after a while. The whole idea of overloading them with illogic is kind of mixed. It's a fairly silly idea on the face of it, but it's a staple of Trek that intelligent machines can't cope with this kind of thing. How it's done is a mix of the good and the silly. I love Spock's deliberate illogic toward the Alices, but all the silly over-acting and imaginary nonsense by the rest of the crew is a bit much for me.
And I have to wonder whatever happened to Mudd. Surely Kirk didn't just fly off and leave him there forever?
|Guest Reviews :||
|YATI :||If Norman is the head android and none of the others can function without him, how did they function when he was light years away taking over the Enterprise?
And if the androids beam down the whole crew, and then the crew shut down all the androids, how did they get anybody back on the ship? Wouldn't they all be stranded there on the planet forever?
|Great Moment :||Spock talking the 'Alices' into destroying themselves.|
|Body Count :||Several thousand androids.|
|Factoid :||This episode features the return of Harry Mudd from season one episode "Mudd's Women".
The original script had the Enterprise taking a lot longer to reach Mudd. David Gerrold did a rewrite to speed up the early section, and then declined any screen credit for the work so as not to take away from Stephen Kandel.
Identical twins were employed to give the illusion of multiple copies of the androids, along with split screen techniques.
Outside of the main cast and recurring Enterprise crew members, Roger C. Carmel's Harry Mudd was the only recurring character in the whole of the original series.
|Quote :||"Spock, you're going to love it here. They all talk just the way you do." - Mudd to Spock
"She urged me on into outer space. Not that she meant to, but with her continual, eternal, confounded nagging... Well, I think of her constantly. And every time I do, I go further out into space." - Mudd to Kirk regarding his wife.
"Knowledge, sir, should be free to all." - Harry Mudd to Spock.
"What is man but that lofty spirit, that sense of ... enterprise. That devotion to something that cannot be sensed, cannot be realized, but only dreamed. The highest reality" - Kirk
"Human beings do not survive on bread alone, you poor, soulless creature, but on the nourishments of liberty. For what indeed is a man without freedom, naught but a mechanism, trapped in the cogwheels of eternity." - Harry to Norman
"Logic is a little tweeting bird chirping in a meadow. Logic is a wreath of pretty flowers which smell bad. Are you sure your circuits are registering correctly? Your ears are green." - Spock on logic.
|Copyright Graham Kennedy||Page views : 159,959||Last updated : 9 Jun 2013|