Hoo boy. This episode was strange from beginning to end. It begins as the Enterprise attempts to communicate with an unidentified ship. Said ship takes off running and flies right into an asteroid belt. In order to protect the other ship, Captain Kirk orders the Enterprise's deflector shields to surround it. This puts their own ship in danger, and all but one of the ship's lithium crystals (the power supply) are burned out. Then the other ship is struck by an asteroid, so they beam aboard "Mr. Walsh" and his crew-slash-cargo: three beautiful women. They head for a planet with lithium miners to repair the ship.
The male crew members find themselves inexplicably drawn to the women (surprise, surprise). Mr. Walsh, who dresses like a pirate pimp with a cowboy hat, is clearly hiding something. Actually, it turns out that he's hiding quite a lot, beginning with his real name (his name is actually Mudd!). This was the first appearance of the ship's lie detector computer, which I found highly amusing. I don't know that I'd call the computer a "character" but it was one of my favorite scenes in this episode. Also, I found the conversation between Kirk and Bones highly amusing for no apparent reason. They clearly didn't understand their attraction to the women at all. And Spock just kind of stared at them without saying anything.
They arrive at the planet with the lithium miners. Conveniently, there are three single, lonely men for the three single, beautiful women. The head miner tells Kirk that they will exchange the lithium crystals for the women and to have the charges against Mudd dropped. Kirk tells them, "No deal."
"All right, Captain Kirk, the banker has offered you six lithium crystals for the woman holding your case. What do you say? Deal or no deal?"
The focus of this episode was the women. They're all dressed like intergalactic runway models, but Mudd says they're moving to another planet to find pioneer husbands. These ladies are about as far from Little House on the Prairie as you could possibly imagine. They also refuse to be examined by the doctor, and apparently need to take some sort of pill to remain beautiful. In the end we find out that they are taking the illegal Venus drugs, which make women more womanly and men more manly. Apparently they share a common ingredient with Corn Flakes. One of the women runs off and one of the miners sees her true face. She gives him this whole speech about how he's attracted to a lie and swallows one of the pills in front of him. She turns beautiful again, and then we find out that the pills were replaced with colored gelatin.
That's one hell of a placebo effect. Highly illogical.
In the words of Mister Spock, this episode was "a most annoying, unusual affair. I'm glad it's over." But never fear. This was the first episode of Star Trek that I actively disliked, and I realize I can't love every single episode of any TV show (even the ones that get canceled after one season). Incidentally, CBS has a long-running history of picking up unusual shows and then canceling them when they don't catch on right away. Star Trek, which is iconic among sci-fi fans, only managed to stay on the air for three years. CBS also tried to cancel "The Twilight Zone" (which is still my favorite sci-fi show of all time) before it had even run for a full season.
-If my choices for being a wife are "cook, and sew, and cry" or be "vain, selfish, and useless" can I pick none of the above? Please??
-Honestly, this entire episode's attitude towards women bugged me.
-Unintentionally funny line: "Are you wearing some unusual perfume? Or something radioactive?" Oh yes, you noticed my new Eau de Plutonium. Do you like it?
-There was a poll on the TV.com Star Trek forum about whether Kirk or Spock was more attractive. It was pretty close, but the last time I checked, Spock was in the lead. Honestly, I think they're absolutely right. I like Spock. Maybe it's because I can't look at Kirk without seeing William Shatner as the "Priceline Negotiator," but I do think Spock is kinda cute.
-Next week I will be on spring break, so I'm going to catch up as much as I can on Star Trek. I apologize for the lack of updates lately, but I'm glad at least one person is still reading. This one's for you, Rob!