Murder, sexism and a mistaken identity all on this episode of Star Trek. Originally broadcast on December 22, 1967 this is Wolf in the Fold
Captain’s Log Stardate 3614.9
After being sent on shore leave to ‘cure him of his resentment toward women’, Scotty finds himself accused of a murder when he is discovered near the body of a woman with a bloody knife in hand. After another murder, a deep investigation, including an inspector who can get psychic impressions off of objects, it seems that Scotty is very possibly guilty and could be sentenced to a slow and painful torture until dead. However, after discovering that the entity is in fact Jack The Ripper itself, it takes over the ship forcing Kirk and team to give the entire crew tranquillizers in order to keep them from feeding the creature with fear.
Tricking the entity into exposing itself, Kirk, Spock and McCoy are able to end it’s centuries of terror and free Scotty from his conviction in the process.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
While the story itself is an interesting one, the idea that Jack the Ripper was in fact an alien being traveling around killing people, the episode itself is so hedonistic that it even calls itself out on it. I’m not kidding, in the opening moments McCoy himself mentions that the civilization they are visiting to ‘help Scotty’ is quite the ‘hedonistic society’. However, this does not prevent McCoy from partaking in it.
While the episode starts off rough it somehow manages to gain it’s balance when the investigation begins. Very quickly this episode becomes a true murder mystery with every clue pointing toward Scotty as the killer. Now, especially on hindsight, It’s clear that Scotty would never have murdered anyone but through the entire episode there is a constant doubt that maybe he actually did. The evidence against him is surmounting and there are significant political implications at play as well, making it seem more and more likely that Scotty will not make it out alive.
Of course, he does and that is where the episode really shines. The concept that a string of unsolved Earth murders could be tied to an alien being hundreds of years later is fascinating. Just the idea of an entity taking over bodies to commit murders across the cosmos makes for some great scifi and, while it is vanquished fairly easily considering, this is a villain like none have encountered so far on this series.
Overall, this is an excellent episode that, initially, tended to play too much into the hedonism of the time. You could argue that the opening is simply a reflection of the 60’s in which it was made, but honestly, they could have done better on that front. I have to wonder if that wasn’t just a push for ratings.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- You may recognize the voice of John Fielder who played the character of Mr. Hengist. In another life, he was also Piglet from the classic Winnie The Pooh cartoon series.
- We learn of the psycho-tricorder which is the Star Trek equivalent of a Lie Detector.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: The Changeling
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Late To The Game 2/21/2022
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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