A lot of episodes of Star Trek were pretty progressive for their time (some are even progressive for this time). This episode ain’t one of them.
So, we open with a captain’s log explaining that the Enterprise is in pursuit of a mysterious vessel. We cut to the bridge, where Sulu confirms that they’ve caught up with said vessel, and that it’s still trying to get away from them. Kirk tells him not to lose the ship, and gets up to take a closer look.
He asks Spock it’s an Earth vessel, and Spock responds that it’s hard to say, since it’s not sending out a registration beam. Scotty points out that it’s engines are going to overload, and Spock confirms that whoever’s on the ship is pushing the engines too hard. Sulu advises the captain that the vessel is changing course again, and that “[he] knows we’re after him all right.”
Kirk orders Sulu to stay on him, and asks Uhura if the other ship’s tried to communicate. In a bit of a change up, Uhura is wearing a gold uniform rather than her typical red one.
She reports that whoever’s on the other ship isn’t answering, though she brings up the possibility that he’s not receiving the signal. Kirk says’ that “[he’s] receiving us, all right,” which is kind of a weird echo of what Sulu had said earlier.
At any rate, Spock reports that they’re entering an asteroid field, and Kirk orders Farrell (the crewman sitting next to Sulu) to put up the deflectors. Sulu says that the other ship has noticed the asteroid field too, and Kirk repeats his order to stay with the other ship, pointing out that they’ll try to lose them in it. Spock says that the ship’s a cargo ship, and that the engines are now overheating.
Kirk tells Spock to warn the other ship, but Farrell pipes up that the engines are gone, and Sulu adds that it’s drifting into the asteroid field. Farrel reports that the other ship is toast unless they throw their deflector shield around it; Scotty objects that he’s too far away and they’ll end up overheating their own engines if they try. We get a moment of very tense music as Kirk ponders his options, before ordering Farrell to cover the other ship. He then tells Spock and Scotty to stand by in the transporter room. Farrell complies, but says that the deflector won’t hold for long. We then cut to an alarm flashing before going to credits.
After the credits, we get a shot of the Enterprise making its way through the asteroid field, before cutting back to the bridge. The engines’ temperature is starting to pass the danger line (not to be confused with the danger zone). Farrell says that the deflector shield won’t be able to protect the other ship for much longer. There’s an electrical short, and the lights on the bridge go out for a moment before coming back on. Sulu explains that it was one of the lithium crystal circuits. Kirk tells Scotty (who is in the transporter room) that they need to get the crew of the other ship aboard, but Scotty can’t lock onto anyone and they’re still not answering. The lights go out once again as another circuit blows. Kirk moves towards Uhura, who says that she’s getting a distress call from the other ship. Kirk tells this to Scotty, and Scotty reports that they’re able to get a lock. They then manage to beam aboard one of the most ridiculously dressed people I’ve ever seen.
He proceeds to ask, in an accent that makes me think they’re after his Lucky Charms, exactly where he is. McCoy, in his deadpan fashion, responds that he’s on the USS Enterprise. He comes off the transporter pad and starts talking about how it’s “really a beautiful ship,” before introducing himself as Captain Leo Walsh, which is totally his real name and not a pseudonym at all.
Spock, giving that exasperated-with-humans look we know so well, gets right to the point and asks how many are in his crew. Walsh states that there’s just a few more, and Scotty says that the ship is breaking apart and they need to get them over to the Enterprise right now. Walsh explains that he couldn’t be sure that they were friendly, but the other three on the ship should be in position to be beamed out.
We cut back to the bridge, where another circuit has blown. Sulu reports to Kirk that they’re supplementing the circuits with battery power. Kirk asks Scotty how many they beamed on board. Scotty replies that they’ve got one aboard, and are locked onto three more. Back in the transporter room, Scotty is trying to beam them aboard, but is having some issues, apparently related to the three circuits that blew out. Spock responds that the process takes longer on battery power, and McCoy, curmudgeon that he is, says he never trusted the transporter in the first place.
Walsh’s ship is then promptly hit by an asteroid and explodes.
Kirk explains this to the group in the transporter room, and asks if they got the crew aboard. Scotty responds that they don’t have them yet, but he’s “hooked onto something.” Spock pulls down on a lever and manages to beam up three women who look less like they were just snatched from the jaws of death, and more like they’re on the runway of the most sixties fashion show ever.
Walsh gives them a significant look, while Scotty and McCoy are practically drooling. Spock mostly looks confused. Kirk calls down for a report as the three women and the dudes all stare at each other, Walsh reassures the not particularly distraught women that they’re “in good hands.”
Back on the bridge, Kirk tries to call down to the transporter room again. Farrell reports that they’ve cleared the asteroid field, and Kirk tells him to shut of the deflectors to conserve power. He calls the transporter room yet again, and we cut to the transporter room to show that they’re all still staring at each other. Jesus Christ, you’d think that they’d never seen women before. Kirk asks Scotty if he’s reading him, and asks how many they got off. Looking at Spock, McCoy, and Scotty, I’m guessing at least two.
Scotty manages to shake off his reverie enough to finally answer the captain, and reports that they got four total. Kirk, understandably displeased, says that he wants the captain of the destroyed ship to meet him in his cabin immediately.
Walsh, with a shit-eating grin on his face, remarks, “That fellow sounded a mite upset, didn’t he?” I wonder why that could be. McCoy, who is still staring at the women and didn’t get the question, responds, “Yes, yes they are.”
Spock look at McCoy and remarks, “Curious,” before asking Walsh if that was everyone on board. Walsh responds that they were it, and starts to explain that the women aren’t actually crew. Spock, however, cuts him off and tells him he can explain it to the captain. He and Walsh walk off while Scotty and McCoy are still staring at the women as they walk off with Walsh and Spock. Yes, they’re hot, we get it. Can we move on please? Scotty remarks, “Aye,” and McCoy responds, “Amen to that, Scotty.” And then I threw up a little in my mouth.
We cut to Spock, Walsh, and the three women walking down the corridors, distracting various crewmen as they make their way down the ship. Walsh remarks to Spock that, “men will always be men, no matter where they are.” Great, we have the whole “boys will be boys” bullshit to contend with now. Spock just gives him this withering look as the five board the turbolift on their way to meet the captain.
On the turbolift, Walsh remarks that Spock’s part Vulcan. Spock, ust responds with “mmm.” Walsh remarks that “a pretty face doesn’t affect you at all, does it.” Spock doesn’t respond, and clearly does not want to be having this conversation.
Walsh says that the girls can “save it” since Spock can “turn himself off from any emotion” as they disembark. Then we finally get to hear one of the women speak, the one in the pink dress, whose name is Eve. She apologizes on behalf of Walsh, and points out that he’s used to buying and selling people. Walsh rather brusquely cuts her off, saying that he’ll do all the talking.
We get to see them walking down the corridor some more, and then they make it to the captain. Spock announces Walsh is there to see him, and Kirk starts demanding an explanation as he turns around. And oh God, they just brought tree women in skimpy outfits to see Captain Kirk.
Eve says hello, and Kirk (who is clearly more capable of professionalism than Scotty and McCoy are) slightly incredulously asks Walsh if they’re his crew. And then I beat my head against a wall, because Walsh replies that they’re his cargo.
We then get a captains log explaining the “strange magnetic effect” the women have on the ship’s dude contingent, and we cut to the women and Spock leaving the cabin, with Spock tossing the captain a little smirk.
After they leave, Walsh starts complaining that he didn’t know the Enterprise was a starship. That’s odd, because it’s a ship, moving through the stars. I’m thinking he meant he didn’t realize it’s a Starfleet vessel, but it’s still sounds weird.
He says that Kirk had exceeded his authority by forcing them into an asteroid field and he continually refers to the women as his cargo. Despite what I wanted to happen, Kirk doesn’t punch him, but tells him that they’re going to hold a hearing about Walsh’s little stunt, and that Spock can give him any information he needs to mount a defense. Walsh calls the captain a “hard one,” and Kirk just calls him a liar before having security escort him to his quarters
We then cut to the bridge, where Spock is currently in the captain’s seat. Farrell and Sulu come off the turbolift, and apparently Farrell’s a bit weak-kneed, since he has to lean against a wall for support.
Sulu points out that they’re on duty now, so Farrell has to come back to reality. Farrell starts talk about how “you can feel their eyes when they look at you,” and asks Sulu if he noticed. Sulu said that he has, as he escorts Farrell back to his post.
Scotty then approaches Spock and says that they’ve got some problems, basically related to the fact that they only have one lithium circuit left. Spock suggests rigging a bypass, Scotty says they can’t, since that would overload some technobabble device, which apparently would be bad. Spock calls Kirk to the bridge as Scotty goes back to his station.
We then cut to Walsh being escorted to another room, where the women are waiting, and they begin frantically asking him where he was. He tries to calm them down, and asks the security officers to leave. Naturally, they can’t. He basically tells them not to submit to any medical exams, which is interesting. The woman in the green dress (whose name is Ruth) starts to wonder what would happen if they ask about something, but Walsh interrupts saying they won’t. The woman in purple (Magda) says that they’ll notice they’re different in some way. Walsh says they won’t, and they’ll get where they’re going. Eve interrupts him and points out they’re currently on a vessel going the wrong way. He rebuffs this by telling them that if they “think lovely thoughts” and “smile,” things will turn out all right.
We then go back to the bridge, where Kirk has answered Spock’s summons, and goes to speak with Scotty and Spock. Spock tells him that they’re running all the ship’s power through one lithium crystal. Kirk says to switch to bypass circuits, and Scotty points out they were all burned out during the rescue mission. Scotty in particular is not happy with “that jackass Walsh” for getting them into this situation in the first place.
Kirk tells Scotty, “If it makes you feel better, Engineer, that’s one jackass we’re going to see skinned.” Scotty responds that he’s just frustrated with the whole situation. Kirks asks Spock for suggestions, and Spock says that there’s a high-quality lithium mining station on Rigel-12, which is less than 2 days away.
After another captain’s log, we cut to the briefing room, where Kirk is convening the aforementioned hearing, along with Spock, Scotty, McCoy, and Farrell. Walsh, Ruth, Magda, and Eve Spock starts up a console and the hearing begins.
Spock asks Walsh to state his name for the record. He states is as Leo Francis Walsh, and the computer says “incorrect.”
Walsh looks surprised, and Spock smugly asks him for his real name. “Walsh” starts sweating a bit at this point, and asks if they’re going to take the word of a device over a flesh-and-blood man. Kirk’s expression at this point says that’s exactly what they’re going to do.
Spock gives an exasperated sigh, and tells him again to state his real name. He states it’s Harry Mudd, but this is flagged as incorrect until he gives his full name: Harcourt Fenton Mudd. Spock asks if he’s had any past offenses. Mudd responds that he hasn’t, and that he’s just a simple businessman. The machine has his number, though, and Mudd isn’t too happy about that. The computer then pulls up some more information on him.
Ruth asks if the machine can read their minds, and Mudd responds that it can only pull up information about him in the system. Oh, those silly, superstitious women.
Kirk brings up the charges: traveling without a flight plan or identification beam, as well as failing to respond to a starship’s signal, “thus effecting a menace to navigation.” Mudd tries to brush off the last part, but Kirk very seriously points out that Mudd is also charged with operating a vessel without a master’s license. Mudd protests that he does have a license, but the computer will not be deterred and points out that the license was revoked.
At this point, Mudd starts spinning some tale about how Leo Walsh was supposed to be the captain on this voyage, but he passed away suddenly so he took him name as a kind of memorial and oh dear God the women are trying to seduce Scotty and McCoy again.
Kirk goes on and asks where Mudd’s going and why. Mudd responds that he’s heading to Ophiuchus-3, and that he’s “wiving settlers.” Basically the three women he keeps calling his “cargo” are basically mail order brides.
Kirk asks Spock to pull up more info on Ruth, Magda and Eve, but the computer pulls up nothing on them. Kirk tells the computer to go into sensor mode. It doesn’t read anything unusual about the women, but is able to pick up McCoy, Scotty, and Farrell’s boners.
Kirk says that’s enough as Mudd looks on smugly, and has Spock strike the last bits from the record. Mudd starts waxing poetic about how he’s devoted his whole life to making sure settlers have wives, which prompts another incorrect, and he amends his statement saying he’s about to dedicate his life to this.
Kirk asks if the three came voluntarily. Mudd, affronted, answers that of course they did. Basically, as Mudd and Eve explain, the three of them are from a planet where there are no eligible men. Eve expresses displeasure that they’re still going the wrong way, and how everyone’s “Staring at us Iike we were Saturnius harem girls or something.” Mudd tells her that’s enough, and Kirk reiterates that Mudd’s the one on trial here. He asks Mudd if he has any defense to offer, and he responds, “Only heaven’s own truth.” Kirk and Spock give each other a look. He closes the hearing and announces that Mudd will be turned over to the authorities ASAP. The board then get up and starts leaving.
Eve doesn’t seem too happy about this, and goes up to Kirk, asking what’s going to happen to them and begs him for help. Kirk gently tries to extricate himself as the lights flicker again. McCoy, Farrell, and Scotty come back into the room, and Scotty says the last crystal is out. Sulu calls down to inform them that life support is now running on battery power. Kirk tells Spock to call Rigel-12 and request that they have lithium crystals ready on their arrival.
Mudd, naturally sees an opportunity: instead of the original plan, he’ll marry the three women off to the miners. He starts trying to convince them of how rich they would be, and basically plots to take over the Enterprise. OK, I don’t think that’s going to work, if only because Kirk wouldn’t give his command up without a fight, and I’m pretty sure he could take Mudd.
Then there’s another captain’s log stating that they’re still 14 hours from the lithium mine, and that if they don’t get the lithium crystals soon they’re screwed. Also that the dudes are all still unusually hot for Ruth, Magda, and Eve, and Mudd’s confined to quarters.
Ruth comes into sickbay, much to McCoy’s delight. She says that she was wondering what sickbay looked like, and stands in front of a scanner, which starts lighting up. She moves away and McCoy, staring up at the panel, asks her to walk past it again. Ruth flirtatiously asks him if he’s going to give her an examination. McCoy responds that he wouldn’t trust his judgment, and repeats his earlier request. Ruth complies, posing, and McCoy bemusedly states that the scanner isn’t supposed to be doing what it’s doing.
Ruth, still posing, asks him if he’s going to examine the miners on the planet; McCoy distractedly responds that he will if they need it. Ruth then gets all touchy-feely with him, and asks if the miners are in good health. This gets his attention, and he tells her that all three of them are in excellent health. McCoy, returning to the subject of the scanner, asks her if she’s wearing perfume or has something radioactive on her. She chirpily responds, “No, I’m just me,” as she walks off, leaving McCoy to wonder why the scanner’s acting up.
We then cut to Kirk entering his quarters…to find Eve waiting for him on his bed.
She tells Kirk she hopes he doesn’t mind that she’s there (he does). She goes on, explaining that she’d ducked into his quarters to avoid being stared as. Kirk says that he’ll talk to the crew about it, and laughingly explains that they don’t usually do that. Eve responds that they’re probably lonely, which is something she understands. Kirktries to dismiss her, but the two end up having a conversation about the loneliness of being a ship’s captain before she moves in ot kiss him. However, she stops herself, saying she can’t do it, before walking out of the room
We then cut to Magda sauntering down the corridor, naturally with all the dudes staring at her because there’s no way a man can control himself around a hot chick. Eventually she enters Mudd’s room, where he’s speaking with Ruth.
Ruth recaps the conversation she had with McCoy, and Mudd asks Magda if she’s managed to speak with one of the communications officers. She says she has, and that the miners’ names are Childress, Gossett, and Benton, and that they’ve been there alone for at least three years. Mudd seems to be pleased with this information, plus the fact that lithium crystals are worth a lot doesn’t hurt either. As Ruth and Magda point out, however, there are some issues: namely they’re stuck on the ship and Mudd is under guard. Mudd, however, isn’t particularly shaken up by these facts, saying that he has one more job for them. At this point, Eve walks in, visibly distraught.
She tells Mudd that she doesn’t like him, but isn’t too fond of herself right now either. Mudd brings up how she’s been looking at Kirk, and Eve retorts that they’re supposed to notice the men. She leans against a wall, saying that she doesn’t feel well, cryptically stating that it’s time for something.
Back on the bridge, Kirk terselt tells Farrell that he ordered a pre-orbital course. Farrell shakes himself and complied, and Kirk says that’s the last time he’s giving the same order twice. He points out to Scotty that their batteries are running low, and Scotty responds that they’ll get there, but “it’ll be a shaky orbit.” Kirk says that they just need to be there long enough to get six crystals. He then moves over to McCoy, grumbling about the ridiculousness of their situation. He then asks the doctor if he’s had a chance to examine Eve. McCoy states they she refused. Kirk then asks for his opinion on the three women.
McCoy asks if they really are more beautiful, or if they just think they are because of their behavior, but stops that train of thought. Kirk asks what they are. McCoy responds by asking the captain if he thinks they’re alien illusions, or something like that. McCoy doesn’t think so, because “an alien smart enough to pull this could also keep my medical scanner from going ‘bleep!’” Kirk says that he doesn’t get it, and McCoy says that he doesn’t either. OK, that exchange got a bit of a chuckle from me, if only for the way McCoy says “bleep.”
Back in Mudd’s quarters, Mudd uses a communicator given by him to Magda to contact the miners, telling them that he has a proposition for them. The camera briefly cuts to a rather upset-looking eve.
Cutting back to the bridge, we see Rigel-12 on the viewscreen. Sulu reports that the power curve is still dropping, and Farrell says that they’ll make a temporary orbit. Wait, wouldn’t any orbit for them be temporary? Anyway, Kirk gives the order to proceed, with Spock reporting that they have enough battery power for three days. Kirk says that should be plenty of time, and has Uhura reach out to the miners.
We then cut to Mudd looking for something, with a fairly haggard looking Ruth looking on. Magda, who’s looking equally rough, angrily tells Mudd to give them “the pills.” Eve tiredly tells Mudd that he won’t find the pills, calling them a cheat. Ruth and Magda complain some more about being ugly, and Ruth asks why Mudd hid the pills. He responds that he just put them someplace safe in case they searched. Magda tells him again to find them, and then he remembers where he put them: his mattress. He gives them to Ruth and Magda, who quite happily take them, then goes to give one to Eve, telling her it’s a miracle, not a cheat. Eve reluctantly takes a pill from the jar, and looks over to Ruth and Maga, who are quite happy to be pretty again. Eve looks down at the pill, which is sparkly for some reason, and makes a fist around it.
We then cut to Spock’s hand holding a burned out lithium crystal, as he waxes poetic about how they’re still pretty when they’re all burned out. He says that destroying it was a shame as he hands it to Kirk. Kirk feels otherwise, and points out that the choice was between burning the crystals or letting another ship be destroyed. A security guard then informs Kirk that Chldress and Gossett, representatives for the miners, are there. Kirk says to show them in, and introduces himself and Spock as the miners enter.
Childress, wasting no time, points out that they have the crystals they need. Kirk says that he’s authorized to pay them a fair price, and Childress says that they might prefer a swap. Kirk asks what they had in mind, and Childress responds that he want’s “Mudd’s women.” And for about the 50th time during this episode, I threw up in my mouth a little.
Gossett interjects that they’d “like to have a look at them first, of course,” like they’re buying fucking horses and not talking about human beings. Childress literally asks Kirk to “trot them out.” I hate this episode.
Childress continues that he’s agreed to have Mudd released with the charges dropped. Kirk does what I probably would have done here and starts laughing at him, asking if that’s all. Childress, very seriously, says that they have no choice, since they have something they need. Kirk drops the smile and says they have no deal, and counters that the miners are going to need things like cargo runs and medical supplies.
At this point, Mudd butts in with the women, and introduces himself to Childress. Ruth gets all up in Gossett’s business, which he seems to appreciate. Childress, staring at Magda and Eve, says, “One thing I’ll say for you, Mudd, you’re not a liar.”
Kirk says there’s still no deal, and the lights flicker again. Mudd says that he’s heard they only have three days of power left, and eventually the sad truth is that eventually he will deal, or the ship is screwed.
We cut to the planet’s surface, with Kirk explaining they’re beaming down. Kirk, Spock, and Mudd then beam down to the very windy planet.
They walk into one of the colony’s structures, where the women are talking to the miners like they’re at a mixer. Kirk and Childress take a second to glare at each other as Kirk walks over. He tells Childress that he’s won, so he’ll take the crystals off him now. Childress says that he’ll get them when they have time and walks over to Eve, who looks like she’d rather be elsewhere. Spock tells the captain that they don’t have time for this, and Kirk asks if Spock has a better idea.
We cut back over to Childress and Eve, who is looking out a window. Childress tells here that it “blows like that all the time,” referring to the wind. He tells her that “you can get lost a dozen feet from your doorstep” when the wind comes up like that. Well, that doesn’t sound threatening at all.
Magda walks up to a miner and asks her to dance with him, while Mudd looks on smugly and I pray for someone to punch him. Childress asks Eve to dance. Eve refuses, coughing and saying the dust is making her feel unwell. He angrily tells her that it’s that way on Rigel all the time, then cuts in on Ruth. We briefly cut back to Eve, who looks very, very unhappy. Like, on the verge of tears unhappy.
Gossett tries to cut in on Magda and the other miner, who doesn’t take to kindly to this. This leads into a fistfight, which Kirk, Spock, and Mudd try and break up. During this distraction, Eve runs to the door and shouts, “Why don’t you run a raffle and the loser gets me?” before running out into the storm.
Kirk and Spock go after her. Childress tries to stop them, saying they’ll be killed if they go out. Kirk responds by throwing Childress’s hand off his shoulder and tells Childress to have the crystals ready when he gets back before running out.
We then cut to Eve on the plane’t surface, not having a particularly good time. We see Kirk going after her shouting her name, before cutting to Childress, who apparently grew a pair and joined the search.
We get another captain’s log, explaining that they’ve beamed back aboard to use the ship’s sensors, but the magnetic storm is interfering before cutting back to the bridge. Farrell calls out some coordinates, which Sulu scans, but isn’t getting much. Scotty reports that the scanning is draining the batteries further, and that this wouldn’t be a problem if they had the crystals. Kirk rounds on him and angrily tells him that they don’t, and that he should have found a way, and asks Scotty if that satisfies him.
Uhura reports that the magnetic storm is getting worse, and that they’ve lost communications with the miners. Kirk asks if Childress has reported in yet, and Uhura responds that Childress and Eve are still missing. Kirk turns back to Scotty and apologizes for his earlier outburst, and asks how much power they have left. Scotty responds that they have about five hours.
We cut back to the planet, where Childress has found Eve and brings her back inside. He carries her over to a bed and walks to a bench, which he promptly lays down on.
We then get another log, where Kirk explains that they currently only have 43 minutes of power left, but the storm is easing up. On the bridge, Spock has Sulu check some coordinates, which Sulu identifies as Childress’s quarters. Spock points out that there’s a heating unit that could probably be a cookstove operating, and Kirk says to have Mudd meet him in the transporter room, which, much like myself, Spock clearly questions.
We then cut to Childress’s quarters, where Eve is busy cooking. Childress wakes up and looks around, and complains that he had things where he wanted him. Eve responds that she ate some of his food, so she paid for it by tidying up the place. Instead of thanking her, he tells her he does his own cooking before burning himself on the stove. He also tells her he hasn’t laid a hand on her and that she should remember that. Eve’s not playing this shit, though, and just rolls her eyes at him, and starts talking about how you can go halfway across the galaxy, but you can’t escape the male ego. She then asks him if he’s going to eat or talk.
Childress sarcastically replies that he’s supposed to be swooning or having a woman cook for him again before sitting down to eat. He then says that he’s had better by his own hand. Eve retorts that some if it is by his own hand, since she couldn’t scrape all the crud off the pan. Childress responds that if she can find a well with water good enough for cleaning, then they’ll talk. Eve exasperatedly asks him why he doesn’t just hang the pan outside and let the sand blast the dirt off of it. Childress grumpily continues eating.
The scene then fades to Childress outside, hanging a bunch of pans from a clothesline. He shrugs, then walks back inside, where Eve is playing a card game. He tells her that it might work, and it looks like the beauty pills have worn off.
He walks over to her and asks if she’s playing solitaire; she says it’s double jack. He tells her that the red eight should go on the black nine, but she tells him that’s not how it works in double jack. He responds to this by saying, “You’re not only plain as an old bucket, you’re not even good company.” And I think at this point, I hate Childress more than Mudd.
He goes on to ask her what happened to her appearance, and she responds that she slumped because she got tired of Childress. This pisses him off, and he stalks over to her, ranting about how she’s “homely,” and how he has enough crystals to by himself a queen. He the proceeds to scatter her cards and grab her by the shoulders.
Thankfully, he’s interrupted by Kirk and Mudd before this can escalate further. He says he didn’t touch her, which is a lie, since I’m pretty sure he wasn’t giving her a hug earlier. Anyway, Mudd is relieved that Childress found Eve, and Childress responds that “She’s been bubbling with gratitude ever since.” And I pray for someone to kick him in the junk.
Kirk tells Mudd and Childress to sit, and tells Mudd to tell Childress about something called the “Venus drug.” Childress says that he’s heard of it, but thought that it was just a story. Kirk says that it’s real, and also illegal. Mudd starts in with this whole spiel about how it’s relatively harmless, at which Eve scoffs. Mudd goes on, saying that it basically makes women more feminine or rounder, and men more muscular and aggressive. Kirk then says Mudd gave the drugs to the women before they met the miners.
Childress asks if that means the other women are the same, and Eve just flat out answers that’s exactly what it means. Childress asks in horror what happened to his partners, and Kirk responds that they got married via subspace radio. Childress then goes after Mudd, because apparently marrying an ugly chick is simply the worst thing that can happen to a guy. Kirk pulls him off Mudd, and says they can get out of it.
Childress turns to Eve and asks her why. Mudd tells him he can’t condemn the women, and Childress responds that he can, basically because he risked his life for Eve and how dare she turn out to be ugly. Eve, who again, doesn’t play this shit, pulls out a handful of pills and gives the following speech:
You don’t want wives, you want this. This is what you want, Mister Childress. I hope you remember it and dream about it, because you can’t have it. It’s not real!
At this point, she takes one of the pills and gets all hot again before continuing:
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? All right, then. Here it is.
Kirk remarks, “Quite a woman, eh, Childress?” Childress responds that she’s a fake, “pumped up by a drug.” Kirk responds that she didn’t take any drug, pointing out that the pills were switched with colored gelatin. Eve is incredulous, and Kirk responds that there’s only one kind of woman: one who believes in herself or doesn’t.
Anyway, Kirk is done playing: he wants Childress to hand over the lithium crystals now. He calls Spock and tells him to stand by, and asks Childress if he should beam down a search party. Childress says that the crystals are there, and they can go ahead and take them. Kirk tells Spock to stand by again, and that they’re coming back aboard with the lithium. Spock asks how many, and Childress says Eve will stay (without asking her, I might add), and says that they want to talk. Kirk does ask Eve, who responds that Kirk has the Enterprise. Kirk calls Spock again, and says that it’s only going to be himself and Mudd going back to the ship. Mudd nervously asks Kirk if he could “accidentally” leave him behind. Kirk says no, but he’ll be a character witness at his trial, if he thinks that’ll help. Mudd responds, “They’ll throw away the key.”
Back on the bridge, McCoy tells that captain, “That must have been quite a talk you made down there,” and asks him if he’s considered going into the medicine patent business. Kirk responds, “Why should I work your side of the street?” Spock says that he’s just glad the whole thing’s over, and that it was “A most annoying emotional episode.” I agree that the episode was annoying at least. McCoy and Spock banter a bit, as the ship moves out of orbit.
So, in my last Star Trek post I talked about how parts of “The Enemy Within” pissed me off. If those parts were removed, it would have been a decent episode. In this case, if they cut away the bad, there’d be nothing left.
Because holy shit, the blatant sexism on display here. First, there’s the whole mail order bride thing, which is just fucking gross. This is just compounded by how Mudd keeps talking about the women like they’re property. Plus, the whole “real beauty comes from within” message falls a bit flat when you have Eve looking exactly the way she did on the pills.
There’s also the fact that Eve seems to be the only one of the three women with any kind of personality or agency. Even with that, though, her whole spiel towards the end of the episode still plays into traditional gender roles and stereotypes, which humanity is supposed to be beyond at this point.
Next time, we take a look at “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”