Sunday, February 3, 2019

Wolf in the Fold

Warning: This episode is about violence towards women.

TOS Season 2 Episode 14
Air Date: December 22nd, 2019

Episode starts with Kirk, McCoy and Scotty watching a belly dancer performance with creepy smiles on their face. McCoy mentions that Scotty recently had head trauma after an explosion in engineering caused by a mistake one of his female engineers made which McCoy is concerned would cause Scotty to resent women. This excursion is supposed to help him regain his faith in women. It is an absurd premise but it does setup the story line for the rest of the episode.

Scotty then takes the belly dancer on a walk in the fog (I guess that is considered romantic on this planet) and next thing you know, she is murdered, stabbed repeatedly with Scotty holding the knife. Scotty claims to not remember stabbing her, but also doesn't remember not stabbing her.

Mr. Hengist, an investigator from Rigel VII, is assigned to investigate the murder. The Argelians don't experience much crime so they bring in investigators from other worlds. The prefect of Argelius arrives and suggests that his wife has telepathic abilities and can help figure out what really happened. While she is preparing, a female technician beams down from the Enterprise with a psycho-tricorder, the first and hopefully last reference to a device that can scan thoughts for what is true and what is a lie.

Next scene we see Scotty with the knife again and the technician dead, stabbed in the back numerous times. Agsin Scotty doesn't remember a thing. When the prefects wife does uses her psychic ability she mentions an evil that feeds on fear and then some random names. The lights suddenly turn off and when they are back on, Scotty is standing beside the prefects wife with a knife in her back and blood on his hands.

The evidence is damning but Scotty still insists that he didn't do it, or at least doesn't remember doing it. Kirk convinces the prefect for all suspects and witnesses to transport to the Enterprise where they can use the computer and a psycho-tricorder to find out the truth.

They confirm that Scotty is telling the truth from his perspective and they dig more into the names the prefect's wife yelled out. The first one was an alias for Jack the Ripper. The other were aliases for other killers that were never caught over the centuries. Spock concludes that it is some life form that feeds on fear and can go between states of energy and states of being solid. The reason it targets women is because it is easier to get a stronger fear emotion from women.

They eventually figure out that the Rigelian investigator was possessed and the one that was doing the killing. They transported his possessed body into space separating his atoms all over space.

By today's standards this episode is fairly offensive. The sexual exploitation of women and considering women to be more likely to experience fear. It is a common issue in TOS but this episode takes it even a step further.

I seem to remember an episode in another Star Trek series that involved Jack the Ripper. Voyager maybe? It might have just been a copy cat type situation but I'll have to be on the lookout to see if it lines up with this episode.

"The ancient penalty for murder was death by slow torture." - Jaris

"But Sybo said that it feeds on death." - McCoy
"In the strict scientific sense, Doctor, we all feed on death, even vegetarians." - Spock

"I've got some stuff that would tranquilize an active volcano." - McCoy

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