Reminder: ‘Star Trek: Short Treks’ Episode 4 “The Escape Artist” Debuts Tonight

The fourth Star Trek: Short Treks episode debuts tonight. Short Treks are four standalone mini-episodes related to Star Trek: Discovery, released one a month from October through January. This month’s short was written by Rick and Morty writer and Star Trek: Lower Decks showrunner Mike McMahan, and was directed by Harry Mudd himself, Rainn Wilson.

Preview: “The Escape Artist”

Star Trek: Short Treks – Episode 4

Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson), 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.

The mini-episode will be available in the US on CBS All Access at 9:30 pm ET (6:30 pm PT). In Canada it airs on Space at 9:00 pm ET (6:00 pm PT), it will be available on CraveTV Friday at 9:00 pm ET (6:00 pm PT).

Promo trailer


CBS has released new photos including a few behind-the-scenes shots of Wilson directing.

What say you?

TrekMovie will be posting a full review of “The Escape Artist” in the coming days. But you don’t have to wait to offer your views in the comments below.

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I hate how Netflix have essentially abandoned us in the UK with these short treks. I’m so frustrated that we’ve missed out on these before the start of the second season.

Some people are still hoping that Netflix will release them all at once instead of doing one every other month as CBS did. However, there has been no word from Netflix as far as I know. On the other hand, Netflix has surprised people before by dropping something onto their service unexpectedly. So who knows?

Thanks for the reply DIGINON. Fingers crossed they will surprise us.

Just re subscribed to All Access to catch up on the Short Treks and prepare for season 2, decided to go through Amazon this time. Tried to watch it on both a Roku and an LG smart tv and it says content unavailable. Is there anyway for me to put this on the tv streaming devices or am I just stuck watching it on my Ipad or android phone??? I’m visiting family and these are the only devices at my disposal for watching on a real TV. These limitations are quite frustrating, I thought Amazon would be better than the CBS apps that gave me lots of trouble last year.

The Short Treks are available on Amazon, that’s how a number of us at TM subscribe to All Access. I’ve had no issues watching it on a Roku or on the web. Just now I started playing last month’s Short Trek without issue from one of my Rokus. I’ve found the Amazon streaming experience has been better than going through CBS directly.

If you’re at family, did you properly authorize their Roku and/or LG TV on your account? Are they perhaps still logged in under their Amazon account? As I recall you have to de-authorize the device entirely from one account and then authorize it on another if you want to switch accounts.

Wait — are you saying that if you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you don’t need to subscribe to CBS All Access as well?

No – you’d have to get a separate sub to All Access through Amazon, like the other channels they offer.

It’s an add-on via Prime Channels, it still costs $6 (commercials) or $10 (no commercials) a month.

Prime Channels are a way for Amazon to offer premium (subscription) content from partners, you can add HBO Now, Starz, Showtime, and a number of other streaming content partners directly to your Amazon Prime account, it’s billed via Amazon and watchable via any device that has an Amazon Prime Video app.

CBS worked out a deal with Amazon back in January 2018, right before Discovery season 1 returned from hiatus.

There’s an Amazon Prime Video app available on just about every smart TV and streaming device, while the CBS app is not. Also going via Amazon generally looks a bit better and offers proper 5.1 sound, while the CBS app generally does not (5.1 is only supported on a few devices so far).

Be careful if you activate CBS All Access on an Amazon tablet. It will automatically do it through Prime, which will not allow you to take advantage of any CBS promotions. I lost a free month. On the bright it going through Amazon does let me use the All Access apps on my phone, tablet and Roku; so I don’t have to go into Prime Video every time I want to watch All Access.

What an amazing episode! The writer, Mike McMahan, should get his own show… and not an animated one but a live action REAL Trek series. Such a fun twist. Rain Wilson and his spot-on comedic timing were wonderful. A great addition to the Trek lore. I really loved the “I, Mudd” costume being on Mudd at the end (look at the shoulders.) And Mudd at the end seemed very much the spirit of the original Roger Carmel portrayal. Can’t wait for season 2 to start… SPOCK!!!! This Short Treks concept has been wonderful.

See, and this was my least-favourite ST. I’m not crazy about Wilson’s Mudd either. But I’m glad other folks see things I don’t.

I enjoy this version of Mudd 100x more than the original. He’s comes across as the clever type he is. This Short Trek was probably the best, although the previous one with Sarau was right up there.


I really hated the idea when I heard they were bringing Mudd on to the show, but that’s because I just never liked Mudd on TOS. He was only in two episodes but he came off more creepy then funny. But Wilson’s version has changed my mind on him completely. He’s just a lot of fun and he dominates every scene he’s in. His first episode I thought he came off a little too much like an A-hole but liked him. And then the next episode and now this one he toned it down a bit and come off more comedic but clever. This short though he played it to perfection IMO.

Animated Trek is just as real as non animated Trek.

That’s all well and good, but if I had any money, I’d be sipping jippers on a beach somewhere!

Just saw it and wow another great short!

It was played simply for laughs and man it worked. It didn’t have the same weight like Calypso and especially The Brightest Star had on me but it was well crafted and a lot of fun. LOVED the twist, did not see it coming at all.

And I love Wilson as Mudd. I could not have been more wrong about my initial feelings on a character, he is great to have on the show. I hope we see him next season on Discovery and why not, find a way to get him on the Picard show too! Maybe Q will snap his fingers and give Picard another reason to face palm. I’m up for anything they do with this character in the future.

Have to say all and all the ST were a success IMO and if they are a small taste of what’s to come in Discovery next season, we may have a great season ahead after all. Fingers crossed.

The Tilly short might have been good if it had been written as a regular episode. There were some good elements, but too many things wrong with it trying to limit the cast. Calypso was good scifi, awful Trek. Sarau was good to see the back story, he’s one of my favorite characters. I think Mudd is going to be one of my favorite recurring characters. I hope they bring him back. Maybe Mudd can time travel and show up in the future – maybe that’s where some of his tech comes from, who knows?

I did originally like the Tilly episode when it aired and still do but compared to the others its definitely the weakest by far. I think I was just happy it didn’t feel like a typical dreary DIS episode and Tilly is always fun but yes it could’ve been stronger for sure. Calypso I did really like but it could’ve been anyone’s story and not just Star Trek so I will agree there.

Saru’s is still my favorite because as you said it’s a back story to an important character and it really does feel like the events will play out in a bigger story which we know they will. Mudd story might play out more but it really felt escapish (excuse the pun) and just a fun con. I wasn’t even sure when it was set until the joke about the space whale was used. But like Saru, it was just really well done. And its amazing all the alien characters in it had more charm and personality from their few minutes on screen then most of the alien characters of the first season of the show who felt too bland or serious all the time. Why didn’t we get ANYTHING like them first season???

That’s why I do have more hope we get a range of different tones and interesting characters next season. Some think people like me just wanted to hate the show or found any reason not to like it when that’s NOT TRUE!!! If the first season had any kind of sparkle as these Short Treks have shown with just a bit more flair of fun, sci fi, character development or adventure like, you know, Star Trek, more people like me would’ve been less harsh about it.

What does “good SF, awful Trek” mean to you? Not trying to be argumentative—I’ve made the opposite observation on some episodes on occasion, but if it’s good SF, why wouldn’t it be good Trek?

It means he decided to hate Discovery and anything associated before it even came out and he doesn’t want to admit to being a shit.

Seriously?? You had to insult him? Especially when he said he liked some of them? I rarely say this, but this post should be admined, its just so uncalled for especially when you are overreacting to what he actually said.

Stop taking this stuff so personally. People can have opinions different from yours and yes they are allowed to not like something you do. That’s life, get over it.

Michael – well I think we can assume the sci-fi part. As to Star Trek, I’ve liked parts of every series, some more than others. Some have their westerns, dream sequences, holodeck episodes, etc that deviate from “typical” and these can be some of the most fun episodes, but Calypso has the fewest elements of Star Trek of any. Other than the intro and that it’s supposedly takes place on the Discovery, it doesn’t make use of anything else from the ST universe and we’re supposed to believe the crew abandoned ship and that the ship is still operational for that long? It just feels so far removed from everything we know that can you really still call it Star Trek? It’s almost…almost like calling a tissue a Kleenex when it’s not, or a Dr Pepper a Coke.

Great ShortTrek and great tie-in to the android world of TOS Mudd. Loved the Tellarite look as well. Without rewatching it, did I catch a reference to the space whale from Discovery’s first season? If so, has Harry parted from Stella? Is he on the loose?

He is parted from Stella at this point it seems. And yes that was a DSC Season 1 reference.

Loved it, The Escape Artist has now tied Calypso as my favorite Short Treks, for totally different reasons lol. Also, the Federation now has a canonically named unit of monetary exchange.

Actually, Federation credits have been a thing since season two of TOS. Specifically, “The Trouble with Tribbles”. Don’t you remember the scene where Cyrano Jones was haggling with the bartender?

I recently re-watched TOS in production order and was surprised to hear credits mentioned before “The Troubles with Tribbles.” I had to google it just now to find the episode: Engineer DeSalle euphemistically wagered “credits to navy beans” that the Enterprise could penetrate a force field with its impulse drive. (TOS: “Catspaw”)

I always assumed credits have been part of the Federation through the 24th century. How else can they get resources and workers from non-Federation worlds without paying them something? Think about DS9, Quark isn’t letting Starfleet officers eat, drink and gamble for free just because they run it. It’s not Ten-Forward. So there is some type of credit system in place. And there was even an episode where Quark broke something belonging to the Federation and Sisko said he would have to pay them back to repair it, so they take money as well.

So a Federation credit system always existed into the future, I just always assumed whatever credits they got it was to use off non-Federation worlds or starbases like in The Trouble with Tribbles as you referenced.

It’s likely some form of universal basic income. Enough to live and pursue your passions. Resources aren’t completely unlimited, things like ships for example are wouldn’t be just available.
Disko mentioned using all his transporter credits to go home for dinner when he started at Starfleet Academy for example.

No I doubt they get an income the way we get one. I think its different from that but yes they clearly have access to money when they need it but on Earth its no longer a currency based economy so its obviously very different. But yes there must be a way to get certain resources when money is required.

I was more pointing out that finally a Trek show is ignoring the nonsensical and constantly contradicted claim that the Federation has no money. Yes they mentioned credits a few times, but almost always by people outside of Starfleet who may or may not be operating under Federation economics. When Soock was asked (in The Apple IIRC) if he knew how much Starfleet spent on his training he was cut off before saying the unit of exchange, when Crusher ordered a bolt of fabric at Farpoint and said to charge it to the ship she never named the monetary unit and so forth.

The Federation has always had money but people still made that claim, from Kirk to Picard and more. I’m glad Discovery is abandoning the idiotic idea and embracing the actual canon.

But that’s simply not true. You literally just pointed out examples of Trek referencing usage of money, so how did it contradict anything lol.

The issue has never been the Federation doesn’t deal with money, its always been to what extent? Do they personally get a pay check, put it in a bank and can pay for things around Earth or is it just a credit system they have access to to give to others when its simply required? EVERY Star Trek show has shown them using money of some kind, just usually in a round about way. I pointed that out in my DS9 example. But we ALSO know they don’t accumulate money the way we do today (ie, for financial security or wealth) because its just not needed and they no longer have that mentality of being rich or materialist. And that’s been pointed out too in many instances, especially in the DS9 episode In the Cards when Jake wanted to buy a baseball card for his dad but he had no money so had to find other means to get it. And he had a job as a reporter.

So yes, Star Trek has acknowledged there IS a monetary system of some kind while also acknowledging its used more as a functionality when required and rarely used for personal material or basic living like we use money today (they have replicators, anything basic you want or need is materialized in seconds). Obviously how that all works is still very fuzzy lol but its been acknowledged countless times. People simply confuse the idea because they don’t work FOR money is not the same as never using money.

Tiger, in Star Trek 4, First Contact, and numerous other places people state flat out that they do not have money in the Federation. This is contradicted by all the examples I cited of money being talked about or used. Thats the contradiction I’m talking about.

Picard said money didn’t exist in the future, which is probably true on Earth itself. No one ever said the Federation. Remember he and Kirk are talking to Earth girls from centuries past.

As I spent a looong time explaining, we already know they don’t use money like we do in the Federation in general. And on Earth, we don’t know if they use money anymore since we do know it’s not a currency based economy. But yes outside of it, as I stated, the Federation does have some type of monetary system but its vague on who uses it or if its used within the Federation or not although I imagine it is.

So if Earth doesn’t use money, then Picard and Kirk weren’t wrong. They probably used credits as explorers many times though.

But look JUST to make this clear and to show I’m not trying to split hairs I’m MORE than sure when Nic Meyer wrote that line for Kirk in TVH it probably did mean there was no money at all and my guess is that was a edict from Roddenberry himself to include that (but no proof). But that was in 1985 and there was so little canon about what the economy looked like in a 23rd century Earth. Now a lot more canon has been added with TNG and the others and its been well established they use credits in the Federation itself but there has NEVER been any proof that applies directly to Earth.

So I’m not saying you’re wrong exactly, but its not a contradiction either. Picard could be completely right and the average human on Earth never used any money in their life. But it’s probably different when you leave it.

That was by far the best of the shorts. Loved the subtle call back to I, Mudd.

What a day for genre TV! The final “Short Trek” was a delight… now I cannot wait to see the animated spinoff! But what I am really stoked by right now is tonight’s second episode of “The Orville”… I am really hoping that TrekMovie does a review thread where we can discuss it. I’m really curious to hear what others think of this ambitious episode.

Orville reviews are forthcoming too.

Hooray! Really psyched by what I’ve seen in season 2 so far. Still can’t believe that they really “went there” on “Primal Urges”.

But back to the Trek topic: I love how the producers opened up the show and took the opportunity to play with the “tone” of Trek with these shorts. In a way, these vignettes show how versatile the Star Trek universe can be. Hurry up and get here, January 17!

Candy! Brilliant loveable Star Trek mind/eye candy

Loved it. I thought it did a lot with it’s short amount of time.

If you haven’t watched this one yet, it’s excellent! The Brightest Star and this one are easily the best two of the 4.

I enjoyed the episode from an entertainment POV, but it hurts my head. Flashbacks. Someone think it through and tell me how flashbacks are possible. (No spoilers)

Those weren’t flashbacks, they were other androids being transported by other bounty hunters.

EXACTLY! How the hell does Mudd 2.4 know about what happened to the other Mudds? No Mudd, not even Mudd Prime would have ALL those memories!

They were all happening at the same time. We were not seeing one of them know about the others, we were just seeing what happened to them framed as a flashback that it wasn’t to hide the twist.

It might be that those were real memories from the real Mudd (from previous times he was captured). Since the replicas were programmed with his memories, that might be why it repeats statements he’s said before.

MattR — Yes, that’s possibility #2. In that case, though, we get sentient androids… waaaay before Ruk or Rayna Kopek or Norman… or Data. If they dream/flashback, they’re alive. So, there’s that. Possibility #3 is a roving narration that simply drops in these events as we, the viewers, need them, whether we understand them at that moment or not. In that case, I feel like the episode indulges far too much in mind-bleepery, since the dialogue clearly references the events in a subjective (he knew!) way.

Please, understand, I greatly appreciate discussion on this show. I don’t have to have the last word. My opinion is no more and no less valid than yours. All I’m saying is that I still have a place in my heart for sci-fi morality plays, 13 mins or 43 mins or two hours.


It is possible I am misinterpreting but one of tbe Mudds in the other sequences had injuries just like the one nearest to the door on the Starfleet ship, specifically the one that takes a Klingon boot to the head.

What I really love about Short Treks is that as a whole, it’s showing what CBS is wanting to do with Star Trek. Give us multiple series that FEEL different. Two episodes have been on the ship, one on a planet, the other follows a rogue and they all have quite different tones and I think they all actually work. It’s what I wanted when the Berman era was in full swing. Show us different facets of this sandbox and trust that it can work if you put the effort behind it and have good talent on each project. Sure there are going to be stumbles and controversy as they find their footing, but honestly feel that this is how you reinvigorate the franchise and as a lifelong Trek fan, I can’t wait to see what’s next.

The best thing these shorts demonstrate– to me– is that the producers and studio heads are getting out of their own way. It feels like they were simply told “create 4 short episodes” and little to no gave no oversight other than budgets, schedules, and sets.

That can ONLY be a good thing when you hire guys like Chabon, McMahon and other highly respected creators. And they should do more of this, not just with shorts, but episodes and seasons:

Hire great talent, stand back, and let them do what they do.

I agree with that. And I think because they aren’t spending a lot of money on them and really just a ploy to get people to subscribe back to AA there is just a lot less restrictions. These are just suppose to be slice of life type of stories, usually the ‘B’ story you might find on a TNG or DS9 episode (except Saru’s story). They add color to the universe and characters but they aren’t there to push the story line in any real way and they don’t HAVE to. That is the one problem with serialized story telling today, that you get it in your head EVER plot point has to push the story forward and connect to another 100 things or its just ‘filler’.

These stories can just exist in their own pocket of the universe. They all can be extended to larger plots later but they don’t have to be either so that frees you up to tell whatever you want.

That’s exactly why I liked Calypso, it tried its best not to tell us too much about the 33rd century but the fact that they did a story like that in the first place is the EXACTLY the kind of thing people like me thinks they should be doing more of, ie, just opening up Trek to all possibilities. But because ‘canon’ is so strong in Trek they are always afraid of writing themselves into a corner or stories just can’t be self contained for the sake of the story. They have done things like that before but it is rare, especially today.

From what I understand it was pretty bad. What a surprise.