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Star Trek TOS - Season 2 - Episode 14

Star Trek TOS - 2x14 - Wolf in the Fold

Originally Aired: 1967-12-22

Synopsis:
Scotty is implicated in a Jack the Ripper-style murder. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

My Rating - 1

Fan Rating Average - 5.16

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 23 9 8 14 11 15 18 16 13 29 7

Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- Pretty lame episode with no significant long term continuity.

Problems
None

Factoids
- John Fiedler, the man possessed by Jack the Ripper in this episode, also played the voice of Piglet in Winnie the Pooh.
- It is stated that in the Star Trek universe, there was a colony on Mars by 2105.

Remarkable Scenes
- Scotty's serious satisfaction with his salacious shore leave.
- McCoy: "S/he's dead, Jim." Counts 4, 5, and 6 all in this episode!
- Spock: "Humans and humanoids make up only a small percentage of the life forms we know of."
- Spock: "In the strict scientific sense, doctor, we all feed on death. Even vegetarians."
- Sulu all drugged up.
- Spock ordering the computer to compute pi to the last digit in order to clog up its processing and memory capacity.
- The entire crew drugged at the end.

My Review
What started off as a fairly entertaining story about a murder investigation in the tradition of The Conscience of the King focused nicely on the underutilized character of Scotty turned out instead to be a flop induced by yet another non-corporeal entity, poor pacing, some awkward aesthetic choices, and some wonky writing. At the start of the story, the idea that Scotty while recovering from an injury could be committing murders he couldn't recall due to his injury was an intriguing idea. I question the medical ethics of allowing a concussion victim to galavant around in a strip club, but McCoy's always played it somewhat fast and loose. ;)

But it doesn't take long for the annoying details to kick in. What the hell is a psycho-tricorder and by what fantasy mechanism is it capable of determining without a doubt whether or not Scotty murdered anyone? Why was Scotty not confined until the murder investigation was concluded? Exactly how was Sybo supposed to receive "impressions" from inanimate objects? And then there's of course the annoying recurring issue of the aliens of this planet being yet another alien race which looks identical to humans without explanation.

The most annoying detail though is the Jack the Ripper connection. I suppose there's nothing fundamentally problematic with the idea that Jack the Ripper was in fact an alien entity which feeds off death, but aside from the fact that that idea is pretty silly to begin with, the plot logic didn't take the logical consequences of that premise very seriously. For starters, the way they used the computer to jump to this conclusion so quickly based on the lookup of a single name was silly, as was the ridiculous over-reliance on the computer in general. At one point they ask the computer to validate the hypothetical conclusions of five minutes worth of conversation, as if the computer is some kind of all-knowing godlike arbiter of truth.

They then spend another several minutes after this continuing to uselessly speculate on that very hypothesis in a painfully verbose fashion. All the while the entity sits and listens to all this while inhabiting Mr. Hengist. Why the entity waited so long to go hide in someone else's body is beyond me; it must not have been very smart. Were I an entity of such power, I wouldn't have inhabited the body of someone charged with performing the murder investigation. Instead, I'd have picked the most irrelevant bystander I could find and disappeared into the crowd.

Finally the episode reaches its climax of absurdity when they beam the entity into space while it's still inhabiting Mr. Hengist, killing Mr. Hengist in the process! I suppose you could say the crew was desperate to survive, but they didn't even try to save that poor, unfortunate man, nor did the plot make any excuses for why the characters may have been unable to do so. Overall a terrible episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2008-07-24 at 1:23pm:
    The leader of the planet had his wife murdered right in front of him. Why does he not show any remorse?
  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2010-05-16 at 11:19pm:
    I found something odd. Remember when the administrator who was possessed by Jack the Ripper dies while trying to flee the room? Watch closely what McCoy and Scottie do with the body. They pick it up and place it in a chair at the table. Since when is this the procedure when someone dies aboard the ship. Why would they pick up a corpse and seat him at the table with everyone else?

    Well, the obvious reason is that the director of the episode needed his body to remain in the room because it was going to be reanimated later on. I guess they didn't want to bother having him walk all the way back to the room from the sick bay morgue, where he should have been.
  • From rpeh on 2010-07-13 at 8:54am:
    The episode starts well and is interesting and suspenseful... right up until the Jack the Ripper connection is made. It turns what could have been a decent story into a stupid one.
  • From Wiley Hyena on 2012-05-14 at 2:12pm:
    Reviewer missed the mark here. The suspence of the revelation of Hengist was very good. Some continuity problems, but those are standard fare in TOS and usually forgivable. Give this episode a 6. Entertaining.
  • From Harrison on 2012-09-04 at 4:53am:
    A turkey to be sure, but a titillating one, and darn funny in spots. John Fielder is incredibly funny and the tranquilized immortal serial killer, chanting "with a groggy smile "Die! Die! Everyone is going to Die!"
  • From Troy on 2013-01-14 at 12:15am:
    Although I was worried about the killing of Mr. Hengist at the end there, I believe it was justified by the fact they declared him dead earlier in the episode. To me this implied the entity already killed this man and was basically using his lifeless body as a vessel, hence why the crew had no qualms with beaming him into space.
  • From Tooms on 2013-10-12 at 5:52am:
    I agree with Troy that it was already explained why Hengist couldn't be saved. When McCoy said Hengist was dead earlier in the episode, they were shocked because although Kirk had kicked him, it wasn't anything that should kill a man. I took that to mean Hengist was long dead and reanimated by the entity, so there was no way to save him.
  • From Chris Long on 2017-11-10 at 2:33pm:
    Aside from all the other problems described the main reviewer and commenters... Why didn't Kirk just have Spock beam down and mind meld with Scotty to at least get an idea of what may have happened to him?

    Also, the funniest line in all of TOS,
    McCoy describing a possessed person on his tranquilizer: "Well, it might take up knitting, nothing more violent than that."

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