Director: Joseph Pevney
Writer: Robert Bloch
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, John Fiedler, Charles Macauley, Pilar Seurat, James Doohan, George Takei, Charles Dierkop, Joseph Bernard, Tania Lemani, John Winston, Virginia Aldridge, Judy McConnell, and Judy Sherven
Composer: Gerald Fried
Air Date: 12/22/1967
Production #: 60336
While visiting the planet Argelius II with Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy, Scotty is accused of brutally murdering three women, but claims to have blacked out during each incident. Despite the overwhelming evidence against the chief engineer, the investigation later takes a startling twist, one which also resolves a centuries-old Earth mystery.
Though more fantastic than scientifically grounded, “Wolf in the Fold” is an effective, if not terribly profound, horror piece. Star Trek fans looking for some spooky fun are advised to view this episode over Robert Bloch’s similar but inferior effort, “Catspaw.”
When the Prime Directive requires Kirk to adhere to the laws and customs of Argelius II, a fascinating dilemma is created. Regardless of how guilty Scotty appears at first, the captain tries desperately to clear the name of his friend and crewman. However, without the scientific instruments of the Enterprise at Kirk’s disposal, demonstrating Scotty’s innocence proves to be a more difficult task than the captain had realized. Once again, a riveting conflict arises from Starfleet’s noninterventionist policy concerning alien cultures.
A lighthearted conclusion undermines the concept of an entity driven by ultimate evil.
Similar to “Day of the Dove” and the aforementioned “Catspaw,” “Wolf in the Fold” presents an alien antagonist that feeds exclusively on primal, negative emotions. In this case, another layer is added when the entity in question is found to be responsible for the Jack the Ripper slayings, as well as many subsequent murders in the Star Trek universe. Intriguing though this premise may be, by shifting the blame for such heinous crimes onto a malevolent force of nature, Bloch provided no room for a thorough examination of mankind’s propensity for evil. Therefore, this episode should perhaps be viewed as a simple mystery narrative rather than a pure analysis on the motives surrounding human cruelty.
A disturbing commentary on how fear can consume the most susceptible of targets under the right circumstances, “Wolf in the Fold” delivers many chilling and thrilling moments to compensate for its occasionally uneven tone. Horror buffs will appreciate the ominous atmosphere generated by the séance and possession sequences, whereas fans of murder mysteries should enjoy this entry for obvious reasons.
Overall Quality: 8/10
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