by Laura Goodwin
Kirk gets his ship stolen AGAIN! Kirk and crew get kidnapped AGAIN! Harry Mudd is back AGAIN! Kirk outwits a computer, AGAIN! Both Spock and Kirk seem frankly Gay AGAIN, and this despite the prominent presence of lots of gorgeous dames. This episode also throws a spotlight on Kirk's "creative" (some might say peculiar) problem-solving methods, AGAIN.
In the beginning, McCoy tells Spock that he thinks the new guy, Mr. Norman, is weird.
McCoy turns out to be right. Norman visits auxiliary control, karate-chops the operator into insensibility, and re-directs the ship. He booby traps the controls to prevent tampering. Then he takes a nap -standing up like a horse, in the middle of the bridge - for 4 days.
They ultimately find themselves in orbit around an uncharted planet populated by androids... and one human.
The human turns out to be Harry Mudd (whom we met before in Mudd's Women). He has escaped from jail (where Kirk left him), and it seems that he somehow became the "ruler" of the androids. He gleefully shows off his many gorgeous female android servants. One particular model he has 500 copies of.
"That seems rather redundant." Spock dryly remarks.
"I have a fondness for this particular model, Mr. Spock, which you, unfortunately, are ill-equipped to appreciate."
[NOTE: There he goes again. He noticed at once in Mudd's Women that Spock was unlikely to be charmed by lovely women, and his opinion about Spock obviously remains unchanged.]
Mudd tells them that after escaping jail he wandered aimlessly in a damaged ship until he miraculously found himself here, where a huge population of bored masterless servant androids couldn't wait to start fulfilling his every wish and whim.
One of his whims was very odd. He had the androids create an android replica of his nagging wife Stella. It apparently amuses him to tell her to shut up, and have her actually obey.
Mudd is being studied by the androids, who enjoy serving him so much that they refuse to grant him his freedom. Mudd is bored with his gilded cage, so he ordered the androids to find someone to replace him -and so they brought him Kirk and company. Mudd explains that Kirk and his party should make themselves comfortable, since they will probably be trapped here for life.
[NOTE: Gee, trapped in a world where they are surrounded by gorgeous, obedient female androids who live to serve and please. You'd think that horndog playboy Kirk would be thrilled, but he's not.]
The androids tell Kirk that they were built by people from the Andromeda galaxy. However, the civilization which constructed them was destroyed, and so the androids were left with no one to serve. Mudd was a Godsend to them: he has given them a renewed sense of purpose.
OK, very interesting. Kirk asks the gorgeous girl androids to take a powder.
"Why should we leave you?" two identical brunettes simultaneously ask.
"Because we don't like you." Kirk bluntly explains.
[NOTE: Gee, Kirk seems as ill-equipped as Spock is to appreciate the big dollies.]
Once alone with his comrades in the apartment that is their new prison, Kirk brainstorms with his people. Of course they start plotting their escape right away. Spock has a theory that there might be a central unit that controls the androids. Kirk turns them all loose to find out all the facts they can about their captors.
Spock finds Norman in a back room with two other male androids, and Norman has his hands on a frankly phallic-looking thing that projects forth from a console. Spock asks Norman a couple of sensitive questions about his activities and gets rebuffed.
We next see Mudd with Kirk and Uhura, and they are being given a tour of Mudd's collection of favorite toys.
"I must say I like the styling" Kirk says of the Barbara series, with tepid enthusiasm.
[NOTE: Is he only trying to be polite?]
Mudd gloats happily about his Barbara series, his Maizie series, his Trudy series, his Annabelle series, etc.
"Don't you believe in _male_ androids?" Kirk asks.
"Male?" Mudd replies, flummoxed.
[NOTE: apparently Mudd is ill-equipped to appreciate the beauty of the male form.]
"I suppose", Mudd continues after a beat, "They have their uses..." He shakes his head, indicating pretty clearly that he personally has no use for them.
[NOTE: which explains why all the male androids have been banished to that lonely little back room. You remember: the room that Spock was magnetically attracted to the second he and Kirk went their separate ways.]
Uhura is intrigued to learn that she can claim a kind of immortality, if she allows the androids to give her an android body to replace her natural one.
Next we see Kirk and Spock together again. Just as Spock is about to dump a truckload of dirt about the androids, several things happen:
1) McCoy runs in and breathlessly tells Kirk that he's in love with the local research facility.
2) Scotty is brought in and he tells Kirk he was forced to abandon ship.
3) Kirk is informed by Mudd that his entire crew has been brought ashore, and androids have taken their place aboard the ship.
Kirk freaks out. He attacks Mudd, grabbing him by the throat and slamming his ass up against the wall. But then he releases him. Mudd has the upper hand, and Kirk sags as he accepts that there's nothing he can do about it.
Meanwhile, Chekov seems delighted to learn that the female androids have been programmed to perform *all* of the more pleasant functions which human females traditionally perform. He at least seems equipped to fully appreciate the positive aspects of his captivity.
Mr. Scott is astounded by the machine shop, hidden away in a remote corner of the compound, which the androids have provided him. Not only does he have unlimited use of the most advanced technology imaginable, but he's surrounded by helpful, handsome, strong, compliant male androids...
Hey, here comes Kirk! Wonder what he's doing here? Guess he felt like maybe doing a little tinkering too, huh!?
[NOTE: Maybe you are surprised, but me, I just knew he'd find his way here eventually.]
Well, now that Kirk has satisfied his curiosity about the, um, facilities, he returns to his apartment to rendezvous with Spock and the gang.
A beautiful Alice android asks Kirk if he wants ~anything~ and he most emphatically says no. Then, he changes his mind, and tries asking for his ship back. No good.
[NOTE: Kirk looks right at this gorgeous dame who'd do any nasty thing he asked of her and gives her the air. He is unequivocally NOT INTERESTED IN HER AT ALL. Kirk shows zero mammalian interest in any female, android or human, in this episode. You may think that's unusual for him, but actually, it's not. He was the same way with Mudd's first gaggle of human goils. This is a consistent pattern of behavior with Kirk. It's also consistently true about Spock, as Mudd rather obviously points out in *both* of his TOS appearances.]
[NOTE: For those of you who prefer to think that this is just Kirk being focused on his duty, consider this: it would be easier to believe that he triumphs over temptation _if we saw any sign that he actually is tempted_. As it is, it doesn't seem to be much of an effort.]
"The Enterprise is not a want or desire", the android informs Kirk, apparently thinking he is only confused. "It is a mechanical device."
"No!" Kirk retorts "It's a beautiful lady, and we love her!"
[NOTE: He still calls her an IT, though. Bear witness to the fact that Kirk is employing the royal "we" in this sentence. He is presuming to speak for many, specifically, he is speaking for the whole crew. He is not speaking only of his own love of the Enterprise. He is certainly not saying "I can't do nasty sexy things with you, android-girl, because I'm really in love with my ship!", so shaddap.]
Android Alice is momentarily discombobulated by Kirk's metaphor, which both Kirk and Spock think is highly encouraging. They have discovered the android's weakness.
Harry is poised to escape in the Enterprise with his beautiful crew of sex-slave androids, but at the last second he learns that they refuse to carry out this crucial final part of his plan. The big daddy android Norman now explains that they have learned enough from observing Harry Mudd, etc. to have reason enough to take over the galaxy. They think that humans are too corrupt for their own good, and plan to control them by making them all dependent on android service.
Kirk tries to explain that humans would rather take care of themselves, but to no avail.
In the next scene, Spock divulges that there are many copies of Alice, of Trudy, of Herman, of Oscar, etc., but there is only one single Norman.
[NOTE: We don't need Spock to tell us that there are a gazillion Alices. We've seen a gazillion Alices, and we've seen a scant few Hermans, but where is this elusive OSCAR series? Kirk would probably like to know.]
Spock believes that Norman is the central coordinator, (maybe the big NUMBER ONE on his label was a helpful hint) and he suggests that they all focus their efforts on him.
They begin by staging a clever faked escape attempt - reasoning that the bots would be expecting that - and now that it's happened the androids will presumably assume that the budding rebellion has been successfully quelled.
[NOTE: Why THAT seems necessary is never properly explained.]
[NOTE: Minefield of Klassic Kirkisms dead ahead. The series of completely ridiculous scenes that now are played out for the benefit of the androids were all KIRK'S IDEA. This is never stated explicitly, but it's a safe bet. You can see his trademarked signature style all over all of it. Some highlights...
1) They celebrate their captivity with music and dancing...
2) Uhura shows Chekov she likes him by knocking him on his ass...
3) Kirk praises Chekov for disobeying a direct order...
Need I go on?
It's impossible to do full justice to the extremely nutty bits which now follow, one after the other. Let's just say it's like the gang are trying out for Rowen And Martin's Laugh-In.
Remember Rowen And Martin's Laugh-In? If you are much younger than I am, probably not.]
Long story short: their wildly illogical misbehavior completely unhinges Norman, and the humans regain control of their freedom and fate, hoorah, hoorah.
In the end, Kirk leaves Harry on the planet with his android pals, but he has given the androids new, more wholesome, programming.
As a special parting gift for his fine hyper-heterosexual friend Harcourt Fenton Mudd, Kirk leaves behind a small army of spanking new nagging Stella XPs- only Mudd can't shut up this upgraded special edition version.
Hey, Harry, just keep telling yourself, "It's not a bug, it's a feature!"