This episode starts with the enterprise chasing an unknown ship. It wasn't responding to any transmissions and tried to get away. It fled into the asteroid belt of whatever solar system it was in at the time, with so many asteroids in one place one eventually hit and destroyed the ship, the enterprise crew had trouble beaming them out in time and even used up most of their lithium crystals to do it. Two things here, why lithium instead of dilithium? I'm curious to see if this is something they later change and say that the ships were always powered by dilithium, or if the switch from lithium to dilithium is an upgrade at some point. Second, asteroid belts don't work that way! They might be close together on a map of the solar system, but they are really far apart at the scale of a starship.
Anyway, they beam off the people on the ship, who were Mudd and 3 beautiful women. The women had a very strong effect on all of the men on the ship, they want these women and can be very easily manipulated. We knew something was up pretty quick when Mudd quietly told the women to make sure they wouldn't get a medical scan, but the stopped himself and just said that it was sure not to happen, the expectations was that even if it comes up, they would have no trouble distracting the doctor and convincing him not to do it.
The crew really wants to find out what is up, and they interrogate Mudd and find out who he is. With the use of a lie detector they find out he is a criminal and keep him confined to his quarters, the women however are permitted to wander around. No problem, the girls should be able to take over the ship in no time, the problem is the one who was supposed to take control of Kirk couldn't go through with it. But Mudd is a resourceful man, he found out that the ship was heading to a mining planet to get some replacement crystals. He made contact on his own and told them about the women that they could potentially have for wives. This will make a quick acquisition of new lithium crystals difficult.
So they barely get to the planet, they even have to put themselves in a decaying orbit, it was the best they could do. They have a limited amount of time, and although Kirk tries to be tough, he really had no choice but to let the girls and Mudd go down to the planet to be with the miners. But in the meantime we have learned what is up with the girl's beauty. It turns out that they have been taking some illegal drug that makes them beautiful, and I guess gives them power over men (unless the power is simply a direct result of their beauty, I wasn't clear on that).
On the planet one of the girls (the same one that didn't want to betray Kirk) wasn't interested in the miners anymore, and didn't take her drug. She became plain looking and then the beauty drugs are revealed to the man she was meant to marry. He was pissed about it, but before he can say much the woman says he's not really looking for a wife, but for "this" and she grabs the drug and takes it. She becomes beautiful quickly. The miner complains that she is only beautiful because of the drug, and Kirk reveals that he had replaced the drug with a placebo. She's beautiful again be she has confidence, it was in her the whole time. Can I vomit now? Anyway, the two of them are happy and the enterprise gets its crystals.
McCoy and Spock: I've been talking about their interaction a bunch lately. In the past I have said that they seem to hate each other. At the end of this episode they snipe at each other a little bit but it seems to be more in fun than previously. Perhaps the actors are hitting a stride.
Enterprise: While not exactly a character, it is a fact about the ship so I figured I'd put it here. We learn in this episode that the enterprise runs on lithium crystals as I mentioned above.
I thought this episode was only okay, I was debating between a 5 and 6. The asteroid thing and the annoying ending with the "it was just your confidence" pushes it down to a 5 for me. What do you think?