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Star Trek Dis - Season 2 - Episode 0.4

Star Trek Dis - 2x0.4 - The Escape Artist

Originally Aired: 2019-1-3

Synopsis:
Harry Mudd, back to his old tricks of stealing and double-dealing, finds himself in a precarious position aboard a hostile ship - just in time to try out his latest con.

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 3.85

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Problems
None

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- Mudd to an Orion: "Your enemies will be positively green with envy... greener... so to speak."

My Review
Perhaps the biggest piece of filler yet on Discovery—still awkwardly sandwiched between season 1's cliffhanger and season 2's pickup—is nevertheless kind of amusing. A mix of humor that ranges between juvenile, bland, stiff, and sometimes effective, Mudd's scheme to make money off of scams is largely inoffensive if not particularly profound. The reference to the "space whale" places this story chronologically after Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad, but when specifically beyond that is unknown.

This episode is notable for being some of the most explicit references to capitalism on Star Trek so far. As we've seen many times on Star Trek, while the Federation appears to be a considerably more socialist democracy than most present day governments, it is clear that there is still something resembling the various styles of "mixed" economies we have in the real world that mix some elements of capitalism with some elements of socialism. As such, the various Star Trek series (rightfully) continually undermine Captain Picard's famous "money doesn't exist" quotes depicting characters across centuries of Federation history variously engaged in the pursuit of money. This makes sense. Even in a world with replicators, there would still be scarcity of land, services, and other things the replicator can't replicate.

We can chalk this up to Picard oversimplifying it a bit for effect given that it's clear that nobody in the Federation has to work to attain basic needs. It's clear the Federation has something resembling a government guarantee of free healthcare, free education, free food, free housing, etc. In such a society, working and having money would be totally optional. There would be no "wage slavery." But for the "insatiably greedy" like Mudd, the hustle is irresistable.

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