Stardate: 4978.5 (2269)
Original Air Date: November 10, 1973
Writer: Stephen Kandel
Director: Hal Sutherland
“A few moments in love, paid for with several hours of hatred.
Your potion is scarcely a bargain, Harry.”
The Enterprise is on a mission to the Arcadian star system in an effort to locate an “old friend” who turns out to be none other than Harry Mudd (reprised by Roger C. Carmel). The mining planet is named “Motherlode.” There they find Harcourt Fenton “Harry” Mudd selling a love potion to a band of metal miners by using a deceptive illusion –namely a Rigelian hypnoid. Kirk says notes that they left Mudd on the robot planet permanently (i.e the events from “I, Mudd”), however Mudd says he stole a spaceship and found haven on Ilyra VI which he sold for enough credits to get to Sirius IX and then he acquired a love potion which he has been using to swindle various groups of people.
At any rate, they arrest Mudd where he is left for medical testing with Nurse Chapel. While alone with her, he attempts to lure her with the love potion which can be used on Spock. The potion evokes friendship among men, but love between men and women. At first, Nurse Chapel claims that she will simply conduct a laboratory analysis of the potion, however she is quickly convinced of winning over Spock’s heart in a moment of weakness. And in time, Spock falls head over heels for her (regularly referring to Nurse Chapel as his “darling”).
Meanwhile, the Enterprise arrives at a craggy Class-M planet and Mudd steals Nurse Chapel’s ID badge in order to create a faux ID badge of himself in its place. He then attempts to escape in the shuttlecraft bay with Nurse Chapel as the potion begins to take effect on Spock. Next, the crew realizes that Mudd’s “love crystals” were released through the air vents causing havoc. The crew all begin acting strangely, and then a pair of rock monsters suddenly appear on the craggy planet surface. Kirk and a landing party arrive, they escape the rock monsters before being beamed back aboard the Enterprise with Nurse Chapel and Mudd, as well. The potion’s effects wear off as Scotty remarks, “I’ve got a hangover to shame all previous hangovers, but I didn’t touch a drop of scotch.” Spock reassures Mudd that he will surely receive rehabilitation therapy, and Mudd whimsically states, “I just hate to leave you all, all my loved ones.”
My Thoughts on “Mudd’s Planet”
Harry Mudd is always good for a few chuckles and this animated sequel episode is no exception. However, the themes in this episode –namely the sexual undertones and the wanton criminality of Harry Mudd—strike me as inappropriate for a children’s Saturday morning cartoon. And also, it is a bit disappointing to see how easily Nurse Chapel fell into Harry Mudd’s love potion scheme. Chock this episode up to another situation in which the Enterprise’s security protocols are apparently a complete joke as Harry Mudd easily steals Nurse Chapel’s ID Badge and recreates it as his own.
Writer Stephen Kandel (1927-Present) wrote for a number of popular television shows like MacGyver and Wonder Woman. As of the time of this writing Mr. Kandel is still alive. He wrote two episodes for TOS and two episodes for The Animated Series –three of which concern the character Harcourt Fenton “Harry” Mudd.
Star Trek Trivia:
- Roger C. Carmel is one of three actors who reprised their roles from TOS in TAS aside from the main cast –the other two being Mark Lenard (who played Spock’s father, Sarek) and Stanley Adams (Cyrano Jones).
- The original title for a third Harry Mudd episode in TOS was “Deep Mudd.”
- Harry Mudd recalls a prior incident on Omega Cygni in which he turned a handsome profit selling the natives their oceans. And on Ophiucus VI he conned two miners out off a year’s supply of dilithium crystals for fake Federation vouchers.
- This episode was one of three mutually exclusive sequels to Harry Mudd’s two TOS episodes. The others were: J.A. Lawrence’s novella “The Business, as Usual, During Altercations,” published in Mudd’s Angels in 1978; and Jerry Oltion’s 1997 novel Mudd in Your Eye.
- Director Hal Sutherland (1929-2014) directed all episodes of the first season of TAS. He gained early career recognition working on large Disney animation movies before switching to Filmation where he worked on TAS, as well as Flash Gordon, Batman, and Superman animated shows. Notably, pink is a recurring color in TAS. This is because Sutherland was colorblind and thought he was actually selecting the color grey.
For the last time I saw Harry Mudd in Trek, this was a very good closure. I didn’t read the novels and so thank you for mentioning them. He was an excellent character and I appreciated how he could often, certainly in his closing scene in Mudd’s Women, be portrayed as not necessarily all-bad. Especially thanks to Roger C. Carmel’s very good performance. Thank you for your review and trivia.
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