May 29, 2018
Star Trek (TAS) “Mudd's Passion” (part 5 of 7)
Back on the bridge, Spock is adamant about leading a landing party to rescue Nurse Chapel. McCoy points out Spock is not really acting like himself. This gets Spock even more fired up, and he insists to Kirk that he be allowed to beam down. Then, as if anyone asked, he adds, “Christine! I can’t stand the thought of any danger to her! To the woman I love!” Hmm. My official diagnosis? Out of his Vulcan mind.
Everyone is gobsmacked that Spock is in love. “Yes,” he coos. “I want to protect her! Hold her! In my arms…” Well, now this is just great. My head has just exploded into a million itty bitty pieces. Hear this dialogue for yourself. Spock wants to hold her, squeeze her, never leave her? Does he know that Chapel gets weary, wearing that same old shabby Starfleet uniform?
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Kirk, finally seeing there’s no talking Spock out of going down to the planet, just decides to go with him. Yeah, it’s just a crewman under the effect of a mind-altering drug. What’s the big deal? McCoy points out this isn’t such a good idea and Kirk says, “Try and stop ‘im!” Yeah, Jimbo, you’re just the captain of a starship. What could you possibly do to control your first officer?
Scotty’s on the bridge too, and he’s also amazed that Spock is in love. Apparently he, along with everyone else on the bridge, has forgotten the events of “This Side of Paradise”, where those crazy spores did a number on Spock’s head and made him fall in love with Charles Bronson’s wife. So, wouldn’t it stand to reason that he’s currently under the control of some other outside influence? Why is everyone totally blindsided by this turn of events?
Also in disbelief is Lt. M’Ress, who, like Lt. Arex, is another crew member added specifically for the animated series. For the most part, M’Ress was a pinch hitter for Lt. Uhura, and usually sat at the same communications station. And yeah, in keeping with the “wild stuff they could never do on the original series” angle: M’Ress is basically a bipedal, human-sized cat [!], complete with obnoxious purring at the end of every sentence. And, I should mention, she’s also voiced by Majel Barrett. So for those keeping score, TAS characters voiced by Mrs. Roddenberry: two. Walter Koenig? Zero.
Anyway, M’Ress’ keen feline nose is detecting an aroma, and as you’d probably expect, cartoon wisps of vapor are floating out of a nearby ventilation shaft. Then we cut to a suddenly blissful Scotty, who inhales deeply and says, “Love.” [?] Why, yes. I hear it’s exciting and new. By the way, didn’t we establish that you have to be touched by someone to fall in love? Guess not.
And then things gets even weirder, because after all this, there’s a lengthy pan across the bridge, and then a lengthy shot of the Enterprise in orbit, and then all of a sudden the music rises to a crescendo and we fade to commercial. Now that’s some shoddy editing right there. I occasionally wonder if, for whatever stupid reason, the acts on TAS had to be an exact length, right down to the second. That’s really the only explanation I have for some of the random, sloppy build-ups and segues you’ll see on this show.
When we get back, a supplemental captain’s log catches us up on the situation. Brief shots of Mudd and Chapel in the shuttlecraft follow, and then we cut to more of Sex-Crazed Spock, still being unendingly entertaining. I don’t know about you, but I could watch this guy all day.
This time, he’s in the transporter room. “Come on,” he yells at Scotty, while pounding on the transporter console. “Hurry!” Then his tone gets downright menacing as he grumbles, “If he’s harmed one hair on her pretty head…” For god’s sake, man, calm down. Hey, you know what would be really funny? Suppose they found out the crystals did absolutely nothing, after all? I mean, what if this was all Spock, and he was just waiting for any excuse to turn into a raving, sex-crazed lunatic?
McCoy enters with some remnants of the love crystals, saying they were found near the “ship’s air system grill”. Kirk says, “Lucky for us they don’t work!” What?? Is he for real? What does he think happened to Spock? I mean, the guy is not all there, Jim, for the love of all that’s holy, open your eyes. Spock is coloring with a box of 63 crayons, if you get what I’m trying to say.
McCoy even points out some other crew members are acting just as strange as Spock. Yeah, total coincidence. Those love crystal things couldn’t possibly work! As if to underscore the willful denial going on here, Spock is already up on the transporter pad, all “Please, Captain!” Completely normal behavior for Spock, huh?
Scotty, who was just there in the transporter room, has instantaneously jumped back onto the bridge, so he can hear M’Ress report that Mudd has landed. And I think this low growl that Majel uses for her M’Ress voice is probably supposed to be “feline”, but to me it sounds like M’Ress just has a bad hangover.
Scotty responds with a line that’s totally incomprehensible, except for the last part, where he refers to “our ever-lovin’ Mr. Spock!” And then he has a big hearty laugh at his own joke. Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe it would be funny if I were drunk. Wait, I am drunk. Still not funny.
Well, I guess someone disagrees. “You’re funny,” M’Ress purrs. “And very attractive for a human!” [!!] Damn, this whole ship was waiting for an excuse to turn into one big drug-fueled orgy. She steps closer to him and puts her hands on his shoulders. Awwwww yeah! Nothing like gettin’ your freak on with a human-sized cat. Close-up on Scotty, who in response, just stares. Yeah. I guess a facial expression wasn’t in this week’s budget.
Cut to the rocky desert surface of the Class M planet. Mudd is dropping off Nurse Chapel, confident she’ll be found soon. He’s feeling so confident, in fact, that he even calls her “poppet”. He says he’ll be long gone by the time Kirk and Friends come to rescue her, because he’ll be implementing his latest audacious plan: He’s going to make a living on this planet [!], which Chapel reminds him is a desert with absolutely no traces of intelligent life.
Undeterred, Mudd says, “They’re always a market for an ingenious man!” You’d have to be pretty damn ingenious to make money on a planet where money doesn’t even exist. But still, he recalls once making a profit by selling a race of people “their own oceans!” Chapel once again points out the fundamental flaw in this logic, like, hello, the 900-pound elephant sitting in the room is the no intelligent life thing.
Mudd laughs that this simply means there’s “no danger!” And as he says this, we get a shot of a large rock that looks conspicuously like some kind of gigantic rock creature. But, I must be seeing things. I mean, it’s like looking up at the clouds and seeing Dudley Moore dressed as a rodeo clown, right? Certainly, it would be ironic if that’s a gigantic rock creature, right after Mudd said there was “no danger”, but of course, there’s no possible way that could be the case.
After more Chapel-Mudd banter, we have a long pan across the desert, and then that rock formation opens its eyes. Dunh-dunh! Who would have guessed? Right. Me, and you, and everybody else watching this.
Back aboard the Enterprise, Kirk and Spock are just now beaming out. What the hell took them so long? Spock probably passed out of pon farr, and entered another pon farr in the time they’ve been loitering around the transporter room. After they beam out, we zoom in on a ventilation shaft below the transporter pads, and see the cartoon wisps, and these wisps may or may not be an indicator of coming hijinks. Now, you’re probably thinking Kirk and Spock beamed out just in time to avoid the effects, but apparently, that’s not at all the case.
For sure, however, there’s one crewman who hasn’t avoided the effects: Good old Lt. “Eight Arms to Hold You” Arex, who’s sitting at the helm, now strumming a bright green lyre [!] with two of his three hands and humming along. Wow, any guy with three hands must be able to totally shred on the guitar. The name “Arex” already sounds like a thrash metal band, so he’s halfway there.
He eventually stops playing to ask, “By the way, anybody keeping a trace on the captain and Mr. Spock?” By the way, anybody keeping an eye on the temperature in the reactor? Again, I’m entertaining the notion that he’s not really under any kind of chemical influence, and just a really shitty officer.
M’Ress assures Arex she’s keeping tabs on the boys, and reaches a furry paw over to switch on a viewscreen. And then we immediately cut to Kirk and Spock materializing on the planet. I think the idea is that they’re monitoring the two guys as they beam down, but when did they start doing that? For one thing, what exactly would be filming Kirk and Spock so that their images could be transmitted back to the ship? And two, why wouldn’t they monitor landing parties all the time, considering the sheer number of occasions that away teams have gotten into trouble? But, apparently, these are just two of the rougly 5,643 things we’re not supposed to think about while watching “Mudd’s Passion”.
Anyway, Kirk and Spock beam down, and immediately one of Spock’s boots sinks into the ground. Brace yourselves, because this is easily the most stunningly bizarre moment of a stunningly bizarre episode. Kirk catches Spock, grabbing his arm before he can fall over.
Spock turns to Kirk. “Thanks, Jim,” he says, all smiles. “It’s good to have a friend like you.”
“Strange,” Kirk says, “That’s the way I feel about you, too. My dear friend Spock.” [!!]
Holy cow. So, remember when Mudd said that the crystals produce love between man and woman, but between two men, or two women, it creates intense feelings of friendship? So, what you’re now witnessing is the Hetero Power of the love crystals at work. Meanwhile, I’m wondering what would happen if someone tried these crystals on, say, RuPaul, or Siegfried and Roy, or Richard Simmons, or hell, even George Takei. Now there’s a Fab Five I would love to see sit down together and drink beer, watch football, and talk about tits.
And if all of this is not batshit insane enough for you, cut to Kirk and Spock putting their arms around each other [!!]. Oh, man. They had to go and do it. They had to go and keep the slashfic writers fired up for at least another thirty years.
What I find truly amazing is how this Hetero Power thing, which the writers took such great pains to establish earlier in the episode, has now backfired on them in the most spectacular way possible. I suspect a subversive mind at work. I mean, if you’re the type to look for proof that Kirk and Spock are gay lovers, would you really have to look any farther than this episode?
Anyway, after they finish mutually respecting and admiring each other, hot and heavy, they’re off to find Mudd and Christine.