Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, April 14, 2014

Season 2, Episode 36 "Wolf In The Fold"

"Wolf In The Fold"
Production Number: 36
Air Order: 43
Stardate: 3614.9
Original Air Date: December 22, 1967



The interwebs hit a brief uproar earlier this week when it was discovered that Kate Mulgrew did narration for a "documentary" touting geocentrism. The whole fandom went "WTF?"  Then Kate Mulgrew also went "WTF?" Apparently, it was a voice for hire thing, and she didn't know what the "doc" was about until the fandom asked her what the hell she thought she was doing, and she then took a look at the project and said that she had been "tricked". Looks like one of the scientists who appeared in the film said something similar, guessing that the filmmakers had gotten a hold of some footage of him, (un)cleverly edited it down to make a different point than the one he was making, and plopped it into their film. Now, I like Janeway, so I'll buy that she didn't realize exactly what the project was, but I have to ask.... did you read the script, Kate?

*******




No beating around the bush this week: we're starting out with sex appeal, in the form of a belly dancer in a cafe. They're reusing the Orion slave girl dance music to let us know that you should most definitely be leering at the girl in her underwear. She's actually a really good dancer, even if she is dancing in a skirt made of hundreds of broken cassette tapes.
We swing back to find Scotty, Kirk and Bones at a table. Scotty enthusiastically offers his appreciation for the dancer, and Kirk says that he's invited the girl to sit with them post-performance. Bones remarks that this planet, Argelius II, is totally hedonistic, which is kind of funny, because he gleefully agreed when Spock called him a sensualist last season.


When the cassette dancer finishes her dance, she sits down at their table. Scotty immediately asks if she wants to take a walk at night. Through the fog. Wearing a glorified bikini. She agrees and they leave so that Kirk and Bones can provide backstory. It seems that, at some point, there was an accident. Scotty got knocked into some equipment and got a concussion. It was a woman's fault, and he had come to resent all women for it. So Bones prescribes him time on a pleasure planet, so that he can re-learn that women are not evil, but are there to serve him. Sounds like a plan. And also like the shittiest psychology ever.

Seriously, Star Trek? That server is wearing a bikini and some
electrical tape.

Kirk and Bones take off for a whorehouse across town for some moist shore leave, passing a pair of extras in the street who were firmly planted in the club a second earlier. Points for re-using extras, Budget?
There's a scream, and Kirk and Bones go running. They find the dancer face-down on the ground, dead.  Scotty is standing nearby, holding a bloody knife, totally weirded out. Dramatic music!


Kirk's Log 3614.9: "So we were getting Scotty some therapy poontang, but it looks like he killed her instead. We may have to re-think his recovery plan. We're meeting with Mr Hengist, the local cop."
So this cop is tiny, shorter than both Bones and Kirk, and there's something super-familiar about him. A quick search reveals that he's best known for this episode, then for playing a semi-regular role on The Bob Newhart Show. But where I know him from (and where you probably do too, and didn't realize it) is as the voice of Piglet. Like in every Pooh cartoon ever. And his "real" voice is not much different from his "voice-over work" voice. Kind of a weird choice for a cop, but whatever.


Hengist the cop is surprised that a murder took place on Argelius. He says the Argelians are a "gentle, harmless people", and as such, hire off-worlders to do their administrative work. He himself is from Rigel.
He asks Scotty about the bloody knife, and Scotty, frustrated, says he doesn't remember. He and the girl were walking through the fog, and he was leading the way. She screamed, he turned, then he doesn't recall the next part.
Bones pulls Kirk aside to say that memory loss could be a part of Scotty's injuries, and that Kirk needs to make sure that Scotty doesn't get arrested for this. Kirk says his hands are tied, diplomatically. They have to follow the rules of Argelius. This is where Kirk waffles between episodes. He either rides in on a white horse, self-righteously declaring that the rules don't apply to James T Kirk; or he sighs and says "My hands are tied."

Every shot of Scotty in this scene is filmed like this, with Hengist's
hands holding that knife in front of his face.

A new man comes into the cafe where they are talking. He is the Argelius Prefect, Jaris. He introduces his wife, Sybo. Whoa. The girl who plays Sybo is Philipino. Interracial marriage! Bold move, Star Trek.


Jaris says that everyone should come back to his place so that Sybo can do Argelian empathic contact stuff with Scotty, to find out the truth. Hengist objects in the most Piglet way possible, smiling and suggesting meekly that Jaris let him take care of it, seeing as how he's the resident cop. Jaris flicks him away like an uninvited ant on a picnic blanket.
They all go to Jaris' house, and Kirk asks if they can beam somebody down with a psycho-tricorder to scan Scotty. The machine will determine everything that Scotty has done in the past 24 hours. Jaris agrees, as his wife needs to meditate before she can do her thing. Again, Hengist objects to this plan, and Jaris politely tells him to fuck off.
Trying to be useful while being emasculated, Hengist suggests that he go fetch the other witnesses, some guys who both left the cafe before Scotty. Jaris agrees, and Hengist pauses to creepily check out the blonde Blue who has just beamed down with the tricorder.


After he leaves, Jaris directs Scotty to a small chamber off the room they're in now. He'll hang out alone with the Blue, Lt Karen Tracy, while she uses the psycho-tricorder on him. Yeah, that seems smart. This is being set up like Clue in Space. We all know she's gonna die. Only we got Piglet to try to guess whodunnit instead of Dr Frank-N-Furter.
While everyone else is gone, Bones quietly tells Kirk that it's possible that Scotty can't remember anything because he actually killed that dancer, and feels so guilty about it that he blocked the memory.


Jaris and Sybo come back in, and Sybo asks to see the knife. It's gone. There's a scream. Guess who it is? Everyone goes running, and - surprise! Lt Tracy has been stabbed multiple times, and Scotty is passed out.


They bring Scotty up to the main room and revive him. He's shocked to find the lieutenant that he was talking to is now dead. He freaks out.
Hengist has returned with two guys. The first is a musician from the cafe, who admits to being the dancer's father. He's angry this has happened, for good reason. The other guy was sitting at the next table over in the cafe. He's the dancer's fiance, and he left the cafe out of jealousy when the dancer (Kara) sat down next to Scotty. Kara's dad, the musician, obviously doesn't like her fiance.

Does this guy look vaguely like one of Samantha Stevens'
husbands to anyone else?

Sybo says that she is ready to do her thing. Kirk agrees to participate as long as the room is sealed, and Jaris obliges. Spock briefly calls Kirk to say that the Argelian empathic technique is interesting, but not as accurate as the E's computer. Kirk agrees, but again, his hands are tied. Everyone sits in a circle and joins hands. Sybo moans about evil in the room. She says it has a name: Beratis Kesla Redjac.
The lights go out, there's a scream, and when the lights come back on, Scotty is holding Sybo. She falls forward, a knife in her back. There is literally blood on Scotty's hands this time.


In the following scene, everyone is standing around asking what happens next. Three women are dead, and it looks like Scotty did it. Kirk offers the E's computer to Jaris, with the promise that it will uncover the truth. Jaris agrees, but warns Scotty that if he is found guilty, it will mean death for him by slow torture. Wanting some answers, Scotty agrees to the terms.
Kirk's Log 3615.4: They're going upstairs. Wow, that log was needed really badly. Because, you know, it's not like the shot of the outside of the ship gave us that information, or the fact that we're back in the briefing room.
Kirk explains to the group that when you sit in the witness chair and put your hand on the plate at the end of the armrest, the computer measures whether or not you are lying. It probably works like a lie detector, measuring heart rate and shit. Scotty hops into the chair. The computer tells the room about his head injury, but when Kirk asks it if the injuries could have lead to functional amnesia, the computer says no. Dramatic music!


It then says that Scotty was not lying when he says he can't remember the first two murders. Scotty says when Sybo was killed, he heard her scream, and rushed toward her, but something was in his way. The computer says that this is also the truth.
Hengist objects to the way the murder investigation is being conducted. 
Just for fun, imagine Piglet saying "murder investigation". I'll wait until you've finished laughing.
Jaris tells Hengist to STFU, and Morla (Kara's fiance) takes the stand. (And yes, Morla is also the name of the big-ass turtle with the allergies that lived in the Swamps of Sadness in The Neverending Story.) The computer verifies that the dude Morla didn't kill anyone. 
Getting nowhere, Kirk turns back to the name that Sybo mentioned: Redjac. When fed through the computer, the answer comes back that Redjac was a nickname for Jack the Ripper. Dramatic music again! 
When everyone protests that Jack the Ripper died hundreds of years earlier, Kirk comes up with the sort of hypothesis that he pulls from the air with little to no evidence:
What if Jack the Ripper was not a man, but an entity that lived a really long time, and fed off of emotion? 
Spock gives the computer these parameters, and asks if something like this exists in the known universe.
"Yep," says Majel Barrett. "It's a cloud creature from Alpha Majoris I, and it can take a physical form."


Spock asks the computer about similar unsolved serial killings, and the computer lists off a slew that occurred between Earth and Argelius, in chronological order. Kirk surmises that when humans moved out into space, the Jack the Ripper creature went with them. Spock asks the computer about the other names mentioned, Kesla and Beratis. Kesla is the name given to a unidentified serial killer of Denab II, and Beratis is the same for Rigel. What's more, all of these killings were stabbings, and the knife comes from Rigel. Majel then tells them that the Rigel murders took place a year ago.

Sorry, this is a long scene with mostly just talking. Here is a
screencap of Spock thinking about Kirk's "Jack the Ripper
was an alien" theory.

Everyone looks at Hengist.
"Get your ass on the stand, Peter Pettigrew," says Kirk.
"Fuck you guys," says Hengist. "This is a dumb theory." (Yeah, it kind of is.)
Then he tries to bolt, fighting past the long end of the table toward the door. This way, he has to punch more people, and the fight is more impressive than if he had just pushed past two or three people.


Kirk takes him down with one punch, and Bones pronounces Hengist dead. Kirk has the humility to say "WTF?" But then the lights flash, and a maniacal voice laughs "Redjac, Redjac, Redjac."
"Shit," says Spock. "Dude took over the computer."
And now, for a sentence that one can only find in a Star Trek review:
Jack the Ripper Disabled the Ship.
Thinking quickly, Spock notes that the creature could kill them all by shutting down life support instantly, but with 440 people on board, it will probably try to cause terror and fear among the crew first, to feed.
Bones says that he has some tranqs that would stop an active volcano. Dammit, Bones. You're a doctor, not a volcanologist. Kirk sends him off to hypo the crew.
Then Kirk and Spock head for the bridge. Redjac/Hengist/Piglet sends the lift into free fall, but they switch it to manual in time.
Once on the bridge, Kirk orders everyone to switch to manual override. There's another awesome shot of Kirk and Spock working in a panel.



Redjac calls mockingly to them over the comm system, telling them that they are all going to die in horrible ways. I guess I can see why they picked this actor. With his voice amplified and reverberated back, I can't tell if Piglet yelling "Die! Die! Die!" is creepy or unsettlingly funny. Both, probably.
A Blue assistant enters the bridge to hypo everyone. The tranqs make everyone super-happy, as though they've been sniffing those exploding flowers. Spock asks the computer to find the last digit of pi. Locking up the computer like this pisses of Redjac.

I feel like I have a crap-ton of screencaps featuring Sulu high
on something.

Kirk and Spock go back to the briefing room, where Jaris is the last guy yet to be hypo'd. Spock reports that the entity has left the computer. There's a quick scuffle as Jaris is possessed by Redjac, but when Spock pinches the Prefect, the entity hops back into the Hengist body. He tries to take a giggling Red hostage with the murder weapon, but they successfully hypo Hengist, who then allows Kirk to fireman-carry him through the corridors. He's still promising to kill them all in his Piglet voice, only now he's giggling as well. They dump him on the transporter pad, and beam him into deep space, scattering his molecules over a wide area.


Bones and Scotty come tripping into the transporter room, laughing.
"Hooray!" says Scotty. "I'm innocent, and that thing is gone!"
Bones says that it will be 5 or 6 hours until the tranqs wear off. Spock suggests that Kirk use that time to relax, as they're still technically on shore leave, and the crew will be useless until that time is up.
"Yeah!" says Kirk. "You and me, bro! I know this great whorehouse!" And then he pauses, realizing that he just invited an asexual to engage in squishy activities.
The look Spock gives him says, "Not only are you barking up the wrong tree, but this is the wrong forest, in the wrong ecosystem."
"Yeah, maybe not," says Kirk.
And everybody leaves the transporter room laughing.


*******

Okay: so two things. Firstly, I feel like we really didn't need the "Scotty hates women" part of the backstory. To be honest, I never bought into the idea that, prior to showing up on Argelius , he had come to resent women. Scotty is kind of just too nice for that. What's more, there was no evidence that that resentment had ever existed. So let's fix it, make it simpler. Scotty had been involved in an accident, which had given him a concussion. Bones recommends some R&R, and Argelius is the nearest planet on which to take some shore leave. While they're there, Bones recommend some time off for Kirk as well, which is why all three are on the surface. That "Scotty hates women" bit wasn't needed in there because it didn't come into play later. Sure, I suppose it could have been used against him when trying to determine if Scotty was the real killer, but it never came up again, and he was definitely sweet on Kara.
Parte dos: this is the second time we've seen Kirk attribute historical Earth mysteries or myths to alien visitors. The first time was when he suggested that Greek and Roman gods were actually part of an advanced alien race that were mistaken for gods on Earth and worshiped as such. I kind of get that. It works. But this is the second time he's done that, just grabbed a random guess out of nowhere that turns out to be right, and it's more of a stretch this time. It doesn't work as well. I feel like, as far as inserting historical Earth figures into Star Trek goes, the best, most believable stories involve time travel or the holodeck, not random shit that Kirk pulls out of his ass.

Oh, you guys. This is one of those times when I wish I was a video artist. I would compile footage of Piglet animation, and lip-sync it to the creepier parts of Redjac's dialog where he's yelling about killing all of them. Seriously, this needs to happen.




Red deaths this episode: 0
Red deaths this season: 1
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 2
Blue deaths this episode: 1
Blue deaths this season: 1
Total crew deaths this season: 4
Total crew deaths thus far: 20

+2 civvies if you're counting.
I don't think I can count Redjac/whoever because scattering his molecules to the far-flung stars wouldn't necessarily kill him. He can still exist in all those little bits.


*******
So Roomie stayed in a fancy-pants hotel for a bit and brought back individual bags of tea, because, you know, it's not enough that we have a tea cupboard. Among them was a bag from a company that I've never heard of before, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. (Guess what they make? Heh.) So I decided to try the chamomile, which was pretty good. Lightly-flavored, kind of creamy, kind of minty. And it's a caffeine-free herbal, which won't keep you up all night. I think a lot of people like to drink it before bed because it helps you get ready to sleep, but I really can't attest to that, as I generally fall asleep in front of a movie, and this time was no exception. Oddly, I couldn't find straight chamomile on their website, just the lemon kind. Since my bag wrapper doesn't mention lemon at all, I'm guessing it's a different blend. Either way, here's a link to the lemon.







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