Star Trek #1528: Mugato, Gumato

CAPTAIN'S LOG: The Ferengi abuse the Mugato.

WHY WE LIKE IT: The non-Mariner characters get some mojo going.

WHY WE DON'T: Mugato sex stuff.

REVIEW: This is a big episode for returning species. We've got the Mugato from A Private Little War, of course, but the monster scares off Denobulans in the teaser (not seen since Enterprise), a Kzinti (The Slaver Weapon) is a member of the crew, and for that matter, the "evil Ferengi" (here referenced as The Last Outpost-style) have me wondering what happened to Grand Nagus Rom's revolution. But they wanted to do an old-fashioned Ferengi episode, so that's that. Unscrupulous whip slingers or not, these are Ferengi, and board game nerds Boimler and Rutherford beat them, not with combat savvy but with negotiation skills. That's a lot of fun - in a Cones of Dunshire kind of way - and I'm glad to see Mariner not jealous, but supportive of her friends. Her own story here is actually a debunking of her cred. She's been spreading rumors that she's some kind of Section 31 agent and a trained killer, and it plays with her friends' heads. But it's just part of her usual "keep people at bay" strategy.

On the Mugato side of things, I half expected/hoped they would be proven sentient, in line with the New Frontier novels. But that would admittedly have made a storyline where Ferengi are wearing Mugato fur a little too dark. Instead of dark, we get scatological. Shaxs tracking the beasts by tasting their dung repeatedly is one thing. Boimler and Rutherford witnessing a Mugato banging session while another Mugato jerks his horn off is just... over the line. Big wince. The other joke is that "Mugato" is never pronounced the same, as per the original episode. And as for Mugato "expert" Pantingi, this Australian Tellarite just highlights the show's trope of giving aliens regional accents - a very Orville thing - and I'm kind of over it. Like the con man who almost scams Captain Freeman of a shuttle, he's not much of a concern. Both seem to fill up time in an under-runing episode.

Meanwhile, Tendi is tasked with giving difficult patients their physicals. The joke is that we often see people shirking off their physicals on the live action shows, when we know very well Starfleet medicine is non-invasive and probably just a quick series of scans. Here, that's overt, but it's a good way to make Tendi grow a spine and show some of that repressed Orion confidence. A few quick gags, but the important thing is that she seems grow. They all do, even Mariner in her closeness and openness to the boys. Ultimately, that's what saves this often juvenile episode.

LESSON:
Compromise!

REWATCHABILITY - Medium:
The character arcs are good even if the story is adolescent.

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