Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Animated Series 1x10 "Mudd's Passion"

rating: ***

Memory Alpha summary

Poor Harry Mudd.  The guy was such a part of Star Trek lore, and the legacy of the original series (two episodes, even!), that he received one of the several "sequel episodes" in the series.  And now?  You couldn't con someone into caring about him...

It's the fault of the movies, really.  Once it was determined that Khan was the one who best suited the cinema treatment, the decidely uncinematic Mudd, and his original portrayer, Roger C. Carmel, was dropped by the wayside.  Carmel returned to voice Mudd in "Passion," such was his distinctiveness.

All the same, Mudd has a place in history if not memory, and perhaps "Passion" makes his best case for that.  Here he's involved in love potion nonsense (there's some echoes to be found in Deep Space Nine's "Fascination") that results in a lot of romantic shenanigans.  His prior appearances all had to do with robotic nonsense that invariably redirected mostly back to Mudd himself.

via Treks in Sci Fi
Leading the way is Nurse Chapel, making this episode notable for more than one recurring character.  Chapel's significance slowed significantly in later years, even though she did appear in the movies (you'd probably have to know that to really notice, though).  This is probably in part because the emphasis on the role diminished over time, and the fact that performer Majel Roddenberry became better known as Lwaxana Troi (in both Next Generation and Deep Space Nine), plus, y'know, having married Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry (she was originally billed by her maiden name, Majel Barrett).

As an artifact of the series, "Mudd's Passion" has a peculiar place.  It's a strong bridging experience, and represents two experiences well, if not exceptionally.  As another candidate as an ambassador for the series, it does a fine job of displaying how animated Star Trek doesn't have to rely on anymore gimmicks than basic storytelling.

four quarter analysis
franchise * series * essential * character

notable guest-stars:
Roger C. Carmel
Majel Roddenberry
Nichelle Nichols
James Doohan

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