Oh, Harry Mudd, the human trafficker that the original series treated as a lovable rogue is back. You know a Mudd plot will inevitably involve people’s hormones, and so here we are with “Mudd’s Passion,” the last of the original Harry Mudd stories with character actor Roger C. Carmel reprising the role one last time.
And this time, everyone finds love.
Granted, everyone finding love here is a really, really bad thing. The Enterprise is out looking for Mudd. Currently, he’s selling a love potion on a remote mining planet that he swears will work. It will make two men become fast friends, two women become fast friends, but one of each will fall in love!
I think I know why George Takei sat this one out.
Now, Kirk and Spock immediately reveal Mudd’s hot girlfriend is all an lllusion, which seems silly when he could have maybe just hired a woman to fake it. But those are some angry miners, so Mudd might be outright glad to go on the Enterprise where he can explain how he got away from the robot planet while getting an exam from Nurse Chapel.
Say, Chapel has an obvious and unrequited love for Spock. Could Mudd take advantage of that to escape?
Yeah, he can, and yeah, he does. Chapel doses Spock with the drug and then sees nothing happen. Frustrated, she realizes Mudd swiped her ID and switched the picture on it with his own but doesn’t change the name written on it. However, he’s a bit smart and manages to take her hostage.
And that’s when the love crystals kick in. It seems they do work, just not right away, and Spock is totally smitten with Chapel. McCoy and Kirk see something wrong, and then follow Mudd and Chapel in a shuttlecraft to the nearest planet.
Oh, and Mudd put the crystals into the Enterprise‘s ventilation system, making the entire crew amorous. Yeah, Kirk and Spock each say how much they value the other’s friendship in a way that was a little out there, but that’s about it. Back on the ship is where the real action is! McCoy is hitting on a woman by talking about how many lives he’s saved. Two crewmen are dancing instead of manning the transporter to bring Kirk and company back when a giant monster attacks the four of them. And M’Ress says Scotty sure is handsome for a human, something Scotty can go along with.
I did not know Scotty had that sort of fetish…
Anyway, the love crystal do work, but they’re temporary. And that’s it. Kirk feeds the monster the last of the crystals, making it mellow enough for everyone to get away, and Mudd will be going back to rehab. Chapel maybe learned a lesson, or maybe she didn’t. Probably not.
You know, as much as I have harped on Mudd’s activities not being as humorous as they are portrayed, he’s still a rather charismatic character, and getting Carmel back was a good nod. But somehow he seems…subdued. Without Carmel’s exaggerated facial expressions, and the flat delivery of his lines (similar to Shatner’s flat delivery in this series), he just seems off. Yeah, this does seem like a Mudd plot, but Mudd himself seems a wee bit…not right. I can’t explain it, but maybe I should check out the more recent Mudd short made with Rainn Wilson as the unrepentant conman. I’m curious how a more modern story would handle a character like this with his…problematic habits.