Friday, July 03, 2020

Star Trek -- Season 2 Episode 14 (Wolf in the Fold)

There were times that Star Trek could be progressive.  It dealt with issues such as race and war.  It even had a woman of color as a bridge officer.  Unfortunately, she never got to command a ship during the show’s three-year run.  There were times that the show didn’t go as far as it could have.

Then, there were times that they dropped the ball entirely.  I understand that the times were different, but some things make me tilt my head and ask what I just watched.

Kirk, McCoy and Scotty seem to be having a good time on shore leave.  They’re watching women do some sort of belly dance.  Scotty leaves with Kara, one of the dancers.  While Kirk and McCoy are walking around the town, they hear a scream.  Scotty is found standing over hear dead body, weapon in hand.

We’ve all seen enough Matlock and Murder She Wrote to know Scotty didn’t do it.  The authorities detain him anyway.  So, it’s up to Kirk and McCoy to prove him innocent, which is no easy task.  They even have someone beam down to run a test on Scotty.  Of course, Scotty is sent to a room with her where she can mysteriously wind up dead.

So, another young lady is brought in to interrogate Scotty.  You might think that she would wind up sequestered in a room with Scotty and wind up dead.  You’d be wrong.  This time, the lights go out, but there are other people in the room when she dies.

This is where it goes off the rails.  It wasn’t Scotty, after all.  It was some sort of malevolent force that was once known on Earth as Jack the Ripper.  This force has been inhabiting men for the purpose of killing women.  And all this time Kirk and McCoy thought Scotty had a problem with women.

I wish I was kidding on that one.  I’m not.  Apparently, a female engineer gave Scotty a bump on the head.  Now, he’s a full-blown misogynist.  It kind of makes you wonder what passed for progress back then.

While we’re on the subject, why leave Scotty alone with women?  If they’ve noticed the pattern, wouldn’t it make sense to assign a security guard to Scotty?  Even if he didn’t do it, it’s an awful coincidence.  (I know that it would ruin the surprise to have a security guard report back, but given the show’s track record with security officers, they have an easy out.)

On top of all this, the episode ends with the murder of an individual.  To get rid of the entity, they beam the person, with the entity inside, out into space.  No mention is made of the fact that they had to kill an innocent person.  There’s no debate or remorse or anything.  They just do it.

It’s really hard to think of this as a good episode.  It’s not particularly scary or tense by today’s standards.  I think that it would have been a totally different episode had it been written for one of the modern series.  Come to think of it, I don’t think any of the spin-offs ever reused the plot.  This is saying something, given that there were quite a number of recycled plots.  If you’re looking to watch all of the Star Trek episodes, this is one you’re just going to have to sit through.


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