Star Trek TOS: Trek Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy

Mudd's Women

Star Trek — The Original Series

Season 1, Episode 7

Mudd’s Women

The Enterprise was jolted by three gorgeous women and their apparent pimp when the transporter welcomed the folks from an unregistered cargo ship. The women oozed sexuality, shapely in figure and flirtatious in demeanor. All of the men reacted like prison inmates, mesmerized by the three women’s sex appeal. Even Kirk was intrigued. 

While the women were incredibly attractive, this episode is yet another that objectifies women as objects of lust, at least at the start of the show. Except not Spock — his Vulcan heritage seemed to be the antidote for fawning over the gals like the rest of the men.

The pimp turned trafficker, Harcourt Fenton Mudd, was exposed by Kirk and his friends as a known criminal. Here, Star Trek offered a hard no on prostitution, holding the men (Mudd) accountable for the practice. 

Mudd also made it clear that the women are cargo, not crew members from his estranged ship, much to the chagrin of Kirk. Unsurprisingly, Kirk was the type of guy that frowned on such objectification, a preferred trait for a righteous man in a position of power.

The episode also invoked blatant innuendo, especially for Dr. McCoy, whose penis is coyly referred to as his “pal” — but he really meant medical equipment [allegedly].

Too, Kirk’s loneliness was manipulated by one of Mudd’s women, a tactic that actually worked a bit on the captain. This is also one of the first occasions in the series in which the solitude of space is mentioned. 

On the whole, the women had a profound effect on the male members of the crew, a testament to the general weakness of men when libido takes over. 

Later on, the women were portrayed as pure property as a few miners from Rigel XII sought to acquire the women from Mudd. Kirk wasn’t a fan. The only reason he entertained the engagement of the miners was for barter — Enterprise needed lithium crystals for restoration. 

The viewer also learned at the episode’s midpoint that the women were fueled by unknown pills to maintain beauty. Otherwise, age sets in, and the females look drastically different and haggard, perhaps a statement on inner beauty versus outer beauty. Hint: The pills are drugs, a clear tip of the hat to the psychedelic age present at the time of the show’s production.

The pigheaded miners were honest-to-goodness misogynists, upset when the effects of the drugs wear off the women. Eve, one of the three men, ingested a pill to appease the lead miner in a “there, are you happy now?” moment. However, Kirk cleverly switched the dope with placebo gelatin.

So, what does that mean? Well, Eve’s beauty was radiant because it was borne of self-confidence, not skin condition or complexion. Kirk parlayed his big trick into a “gotcha” moment for Childress (the miner boss), convincing him to supply the crystals needed for Enterprise’s repairs. In a good mood now about the newfound revelation about the origins of beauty  – it only took the guy about 40 years to learn — Childress obliged. His about-face on beauty happened so fast that he agreed to live in harmony with Eve as a result of the lesson. Eve agreed to give it a whirl with Childress. 

Kirk had a solution to his loneliness — the crew of Enterprise. Eve helped him realize it. The pimp attempted to get out of punishment with lenience once everyone found good spirits. Yet, Kirk — ever the defender of women and justice — declined the request, as a good and just hero does. 

Themes: Loneliness, Lust, Origins of Beauty

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His odyssey with Star Trek starts from beginning to finish, watching ‘The Original Series,’ all the way to the present day. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).