On a peaceful planet, scotty the crewmember who can't hurt a fly, is accused of murder. Someone or something on that peacefulk planet is killing its residents and its up to Captain Kirk to find the real killer or scotty will be tortured to death. A slow painful death. You don't want that on anyone mind. The trial is moved to the Starship Enterprise. Thge last 20 minutes is intense. Not only we can learn the identity of the killer, but the killer can seal people's badies until Kirk can get that thing off the enterprise. it;s good enough to get an 8.
On planet Argellius III, Mr. Scott is at the scene of the murder of a dancer girl, but he cannot remember a thing. As more killings take place, Scotty is unable to prove his innocence. Starts out average, but has a great twist...
When this episode started out, I almost have it down as a filler episode, average at best. But thankfully the twist later on turns it into a much better instalment.
This episode focuses much more on the character of Mr. Scott, who is often only used in a secondary capacity. It is good to see a story concentrate on a different crewmember from Kirk / Spock / McCoy for a change.
The late James Doohan gives a good performance as Scotty, a character who wouldn't ordinarily hurt anyone, but just cannot explain his whereabouts during the terrible murders.
The first half episode plays as a whodunit, and is well plotted, though does very on being over-talky in places.
But it is the revelation about the true identity of the killer in the last fifteen minutes or so that really brings the episode to life. The revelation that the murderer is actually Jack the Ripper, an alien, is a real shock, and plays out really well.
The scenes where Redjac (the Ripper) takes over the Enterprise computer and jumps from body to body are great. The voice work of Redjac in the computer is well done, and actually sounds genuinely scary.
All-in-all, the episode ends up much better than it looks to be at the start, with some very good moments.
Wolf in the Fold is an underrated episode of Star Trek. Is Scott a murderer? Of course not, but the episode cleverly keeps you guessing. I'm anti-spoiler, so you gotta watch to see whodunit. The story line consists of three parts, each subsequently adding to the drama & suspense: three murders in which Scott is seemingly the only viable suspect, a kindofa faux trial aboard the Enterprise where the true killer is revealed, and lastly, the resulting danger when the killer runs amok in an attempt to overtake the ship and everyone aboard. I especially liked the trial, because you get to see Kirk, Spock and McCoy sift through the evidence and unmask the identity of the killer, which is a nice surprise in itself. Classic Star Trek cheese.
This murder mystery with a sci fi twist is famous for introducing the idea of a crewmember getting into trouble on a foreign planet (forcing the captain into the difficult position of defending his officer while honoring the planet's legal system) and infamous for treating women like sex objects or frightened children depending on the script's need.
The captain's position is the key to the story, and while "Wolf" might be remembered as a quintessential Scotty episode, the true center of the drama is Captain Kirk, putting on his defense attorney hat and attempting to prove his engineer's innocence. Shatner hams it up, sharing the stage with Wisconsin's John Fiedler, a character actor best remembered as the voice of Piglet. With Fiedler playing an alien prosecutor and much of the plot consisting of arguments inside rooms, much of the episode is just talk; but the two actors keep it mildly entertaining for a few acts before Bloch, inspired by his 1943 short story, "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper", takes things into left field with a climax that turns into a farce. (Not only does the last act become too silly to take seriously from a plot standpoint, it's here that 5'4'' Fiedler is switched out for a stunt double that stands over six feet all).
"Wolf in the Fold" has an interesting idea that would return in better form in "Requiem for Methuselah", but much like "Catspaw", Bloch is unable to find enough successful ingredients to turn the premise into a standout episode.
Remastered Version: The changes in "Wolf" are as basic as they come, with simply a few new shots of the Enterprise in orbit. The new version of the planet sphere (originally a blue tinted version of the "Catspaw" planet) has the main continent in shadow (with lights showing) to tie into the episode's nighttime scenes.
I've always been a bit of a Jack the Ripper fan (is that the right word?) and thought that this episode contains some interesting ideas to explain the Ripper Killings of Victorian London. It was also good that Scotty got to be the centre of this story rather than Kirk or Spock, but at the end of the day, the whole didn't really come together.
Even so, there was some nice, spooky touches. I especially enjoyed the way the "intelligence" kept jumping from one body to another in the climax of the show - an idea that predated EVIL DEAD (or THE HIDDEN, 1987) by almost 20 years.
This is absolutely one of my favourite episodes. The courtroom drama, the terror and the whodunit aspects are done to perfection. The cast really get to stretch their acting muscles in this one. Shatner is great as is the leader of the planet who is married to the mystical woman. The opening scenes where Scotty tells the young girl all about Aberdeen fogs is really fun to watch. A bit like the bar room scene in "Trouble with Tribbles". All bar room scenes Trek. Watch this one and I promise you will not be disappointed. Up there with the best - a masterpiece.
Focus on Scotty's sexism and it's a chilling story for all the wrong reasons.
Yes, it's the 1960s, sexism was rampant*, but most TREK episodes didn't go bananas over it. Only "The Lights of Zetar" and "Turnabout Intruder" dare to be overt in their flaunting of sexism, and the former also includes Scotty (again). I'll get to those stories' reviews later on... but in "Wolf", Scotty has some dialogue about hurting himself because of a female coworker. Kirk and McCoy hinge on this dialogue as well as part of the setup. It drives me nuts because I can't stand these characters of the future being sexist, but at the same time the goal was to frame Scotty and have a malevolent force cause havoc.
The direction in this story is terrific - it is engaging, the fear is palpable - especially after the proceedings move to the ship. The guest cast are terrific in their roles as well. Nowhere is a bad actor to be found, but John Fiedler - along with James Doohan (more later) - steals the show as the possessed villain. The story holds up extremely well in this regard, and seeing him in other shows reveals Fiedler to be a great character actor as well...
Using Jack the Ripper as a basis for an incorporeal critter that uses emotions to feed on (and would be revisited in "Day of the Dove", and in other sci-fi shows) is done better in those other shows, but in "Wolf" - despite Scotty - holds up extremely well for its age.
Considering it's the 1960s, though, this sort of sexism was prevalent in the media. And I am not blaming the actors or writers as much as the mores of the time. And, given that the original pilot had a strong #1 (Majel Barrett) and the execs hated that character as she fought so many stereotypes... It cannot be helped that TOS was sexist at times. The actors cannot be blamed.
But James Doohan really puts in a fantastic performance in this story (ditto for TNG's "Relics", despite a questionable plot that diminishes Scotty, also sees a top-of-the-line performance, making one wonder why Mr Doohan didn't get work outside of TREK as much as he had, because he's a darn good character actor, and he did so many voiceovers for aliens in TREK as
Without the overt sexism, which was - again - partly needed but ends up feeling overtly contrived - this episode would score a 10.
* (recall that the original pilot's #1 was a logical female officer, which the execs promptly nixed because her presence upended so many stereotypes and cliches accorded women that they could not deal with it... and the miniskirt was about sexual liberation, not male-dominated sexism by
I rather enjoyed the script suddenly going in a different direction from a simple murder mystery to something so outrageous as an entity traveling from planet to planet that will never die. The silliness of everyone high off the shot McCoy gave everyone was priceless. "With an arm full of this stuff, I wouldn't be afraid of a supernova." I have to admit the first time I saw it my hair was standing up on end when the entity went into Jaris.
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