There's something strange about this Enterprise
crewman. He never smiles, never engages in smalltalk, shows great reluctance to talk about his past, and he isn't Mr. Spock. He soon takes over the ship and reveals that his name is Norman, he is an android and they will be going to his planet- no ifs, ands, or buts. Once in orbit, Norman specifies who will be in the landing party. Kirk and company find they have no choice but to comply when Norman threatens to destroy their engines. When they beam down, who should greet them on a grand throne but their old friend, Harry Mudd? It seems that after Harry decided to release himself on his own recognizance (i.e., he broke jail) he crash landed on this planet of androids who immediately made him their emperor. It seems the androids are very much like Lumiere and his friends
. They're just not happy without people to serve. And now that they have an entire starship full of people to serve, Mudd can now leave his android followers for a permanent vacation.
Yeah, that's what he thinks.
Tropes for this episode include:
- Thief Is Such an Ugly Word: Mudd rankles at being called a liar and a thief by Kirk. He prefers "entrepreneur".
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Mudd is left on the planet with at least five hundred android copies of his shrewish wife in an attempt to keep him in line.
- Emotionless Boy: Norman strikes Bones as this, and he doesn't have points on his ears.
- Fate Worse than Death: What the Enterprise crew leave Mudd to: stuck on the android planet with 500 copies of his wife that he can't shut off.
- Full Name Ultimatum: Harcourt Fenton Mudd! His first name is embarrassing, his middle name is embarrassing and his last name is nothing to crow about either!
- Gilded Cage: The trope is discussed among the crew when they realize they are in a situation where their every comfort and desire will be catered to- unless it is a desire to leave.
- Henpecked Husband: Harry Mudd had an android made of his harridan of a wife so that he could finally have the last word. Guess what his punishment is?
- Hilarious in Hindsight: On the premier episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data is leading a tour of the new Enterprise for the elderly Admiral McCoy. When he mentions that Data talks like a Vulcan, but doesn't look much like one, Data tells him he is an android. McCoy replies "Almost as bad." Presumably, he was remembering this incident.
- Hive Mind: All the androids operate this way, with Norman as the "Queen", if you will.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: The androids come to this conclusion after spending a good amount of time with Mudd. They plan to fix this problem by taking over the universe.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: Mudd tries to explain euphemistically how he came to this planet. Kirk is more direct.
- I, Noun: The title
- Ironic Echo: "I am not programmed to respond in that area." Initially, it's used by the androids on Kirk and Company. Later, when Kirk and Mudd Logic Bomb Norman and the android begs for an explanation, Kirk returns the favor.
- Logic Bomb: Several are set off in hopes of shorting out the androids. One even includes the characters playing around with an imaginary bomb.
- The one Spock comes up with to short out two of the Alices is beautiful in its simplicity:
(to Alice 27): I love you. (turns to Alice 210). But I hate you. Alice 210
: But I am identical to Alice 27 in every way! Spock
: Of course, that is exactly why I hate you. Because you are identical.
(both Alices promptly shut down)
- Making Use of the Twin: They saved on special effects by having the androids be played by sets of twins.
- Offhand Backhand: This is how Norman treats all the Redshirts in engineering. Fortunately, this is a funny episode, so they're just KO'ed.
- Parting From Consciousness Words: Mudd protests being knocked out as part of the crew's plan to fool the androids.
- Politeness Judo: When threats of utter destruction still leave Kirk reluctant to follow Norman's demands, he tries saying "please".
- Ridiculously Human Robot: All of the androids not only look human, but they are programmed to be "fully functional".
- Robotic Reveal: Norman reveals a mechanical panel on his abdomen. Originally, it was a simple reel-to-reel cassette player. The remastered edition has something that better lives up to the "Most sophisticated" description Spock gives.
- Sidetracked by the Analogy: Mudd tells Spock he couldn't sell false patents to his own mother. Spock can't figure out why he'd want to.
- Stop Worshipping Me: Even Harry Mudd tires of being planetary emperor.
- That Russian Squat Dance: While he doesn't get into the Preesyadkee, Chekov's dance is very reminiscent of the Kazatsky.
- Too Happy to Live: During one of the logic bomb incidents, Scotty begs to be put out of the misery of having too much pleasure. Kirk, Spock and Bones all pretend to shoot him. Kirk takes Scotty in his arms and declares he died of too much happiness.
- Uncanny Valley: In-Universe - Already from the beginning McCoy notices that there is something off about Mr. Norman.
- Understatement: "We're in a lot of trouble."
- What Is This Thing You Call Unhappiness?: One of the Alice series had to have the concept of unhappiness explained to her. Even then, she was confused as to why the crew should feel this way.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Uhura is briefly tempted with the possibility of living forever. At one point, it looks like she's even willing to betray her crew for the chance. Fortunately, it turned out to be all part of a grand Batman Gambit to trick the androids.
- Your Mom: Generally, bringing up Spock's mother is a good way to get introduced to your spleen. Fortunately, he's too confused as to why he'd want to sell her false patents to really react.