Star Trek: Season 2, Episode Fourteen “Wolf In The Fold”

Stardate: 3614.9 (2267)
Original Air Date: December 22, 1967
Writer: Robert Bloch
Director: Joseph Pevney

“The entity would be as a hungry wolf in that fold.”

Rating: 3 out of 5.

For this unusual adventure, we open with an odd and uncomfortable scene –Kirk, Bones, and Scotty are enjoying a risqué belly dancer while on “therapeutic shore leave” on the “hedonistic” planet of Argelius II. Scotty, “an old Aberdeen pub crawler” walks off with one of the dancers named Kara (Tanya Lemani). However, moments later Kara is found stabbed to death in an alleyway while Scotty stands nearby against a wall with the bloody knife in his hand.

Since Argelius II is poorly managed, it has no investigators available and so an administrator from Rigel IV is introduced named Hengist (John Fiedler). In addition, we meet the Prefect of Argelius II, Jaris (Charles Macaulay) whose wife Sybo (Pilar Seurat) performs an empathic contact ritual ceremony to determine if Scott is actually guilty of murder. However, a scientist named Lt. Karen Tracy beams down from the Enterprise and she is suddenly killed while in a room alone with Scott, and the same thing happens to the Prefect’s wife Sybo. In each case, Scott is the prime suspect with, quite literally, blood on his hands. Before Sybo died, she shouted a string of strange occult remark –“a monstrous, terrible evil” and “a hunger that never dies” and “Redjac” among other things.

We then meet Kara’s jealous fiancé, Morla (Charles Dierkop), as well as her father, Tark (Joseph Bernard). Naturally, both men do not see eye-to-eye and we have no shortage of murder suspects. Scott is then examined by the Enterprise computer’s “accuracy scan” and Morla is examined, as well. However, the crew soon comes to the conclusion that an evil entity which once embodied the true Jack the Ripper is at work, and Hengist is the prime suspect. Hengist attacks the crew and the entity leaves his body to inhabit the ship’s computer, causing pure havoc.

The Enterprise crew works quickly to manually override his power, while crewmen like Sulu succumb to strange fits of laughter. Spock gives a top priority order to the ship’s computer to compute pi to the last digit, an unending command. This compels the evil entity to exit the computer and begin inhabiting various bodies on the Enterprise before returning to Hengist who is captured and then beamed into outer space where the entity will remain floating, pieces of its power lingering for many years to come before it ultimately dies. In the end, the “hedonistic” shore leave can continue, and Kirk makes note of how “happy” the crew will be.

While not one of the finer moments for the Enterprise crew, “Wolf In The Field” offers a gripping little science fiction murder mystery, albeit with any number of dated tropes. Are the Enterprise crewmen really visiting strip clubs on Argelius II in order to meet loose women? Are women really more easily terrified than men, as Spock notes in this episode? Even after a triple, are they really going to continue pursuing scandalous women on Argelius II? The answer to these three questions is unfortunately “yes” according to the episode. There is much to raise an eyebrow at here, but I would have preferred if this episode was more of a true noir-esque murder mystery perhaps involving Kara’s father or fiancé (amidst the foggy streets of Argelius II), rather than a supernatural all-powerful evil being called “Red Jack” –the reincarnation of Jack the Ripper is a bit of a silly conclusion in my view.

On another note, I was dismayed with the way Scotty’s moral character seems to be impugned in this episode. I had always envisioned him as more of the respectful, gentlemanly type, rather than a vulgar, lusty bachelor on the run through a red light district.

Still, there is an interesting theory of evil propounded in this episode wherein evil is exemplified in a separate being that simply inhabits people from time to time and forces them to commit wayward acts. Often, we wish evil was something other than human, a foreign entity like “Red Jack.” At any rate, casting the soft-spoken unsuspecting John Fiedler as Hengist was a terrific selection! At first, we hardly suspect a thing from the famous character actor known for portraying Piglet on Winnie The Pooh among other classic characters.

Writer Robert Bloch (1917-1994) was a legendary science-fiction and horror writer. He was a Hugo Award winner, and is perhaps best remembered as the author of Psycho (1959) which later became the classic Hitchcock movie. This is his third and final contribution to Star Trek.

Director Joseph Pevney (1911-2008) is tied with Marc Daniels for most TOS episodes directed.

Star Trek Trivia:

  • This episode was based on Robert Bloch’s short story, Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper. This was his third and final contribution to Star Trek.
  • Dr. McCoy says his famous line several times in this episode –“He’s/She’s dead, Jim.”
  • The opening scene of this episode is reminiscent of the slave girl scene as featured in “The Menagerie” and “The Cage.” Even the same Middle Eastern-themed music is apparently the same.
  • Several other items were recycled for this episode including Nancy Crater’s scream from the Season 1 episode “The Man Trap.”
  • The censors removed a scene which featured the crew drinking multi-colored beverages at the beginning. With each drink their personalities would change, however this was deemed too complex and the censors worried it might appear as if they were using drugs.
  • This episode was released at the same time that Leonard Nimoy received an Emmy nomination for his performance as Spock. It led to considerable conflict between Shatner and Nimoy. This episode was an attempt to offer Shatner center stage rather Nimoy.
  • This is one of the few second season episodes to feature music by Alexander Courage (at the time, Gene Roddenberry and Alexander Courage were in a heated dispute).

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Star Trek: Season 2, Episode Thirteen “Obsession”

Stardate: 3619.2 (2268)
Original Air Date: December 15, 1967
Writer: Art Wallace
Director: Ralph Senensky

“It is malevolent, it’s evil… it must be destroyed.”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Enterprise is conducting a survey of Argus X, a planet which Spock notes is rich in pure tritanium, a mineral which is 21.4 times as hard as diamond. Suddenly, a smoke cloud spills over the rocks and Kirk smells the strange scent of honey in the air, it reminds him of a similar incident some 11 years ago. He asks his fellow crewmen to scan for the mineral dikironium. Then two red shirts are killed, with every red corpuscle removed from their bodies, and one is left in critical condition. Meanwhile the USS Yorktown is expecting an imminent rendezvous with the Enterprise for vital medical supplies. The Enterprise is carrying a collection of perishable vaccines which are badly needed on Theta VII, but Kirk refuses to deliver the vaccines right away, he has become fanatically obsessed with destroying this strange cloud-creature.

Ensign Rizzo (Jerry Ayres) is the red shirt who has survived the cloud attack, he is in critical condition in sickbay. Kirk visits him and asks Bones to bring Rizzo to consciousness for inquiry. Kirk then interrogates Rizzo about the creature –apparently, Rizzo recalls the smell of honey and he thinks it is intelligent. Ensign Rizzo dies shortly thereafter and he is replaced on the bridge by his friend Ensign Garrovick (Stephen Brooks), a name which Kirk curiously recognizes. Dr. McCoy and Spock read through old Federation tapes (thankfully Spock reads much faster than McCoy) and they discover that 11 years ago, the USS Farragut faced a strikingly similar monster. Half the crew was killed (some 200 people), including Captain Garrovick, father of the Enterprise’s newest Ensign. Interestingly enough, a young Kirk was aboard the Farragut at the time of the attack. Captain Garrovick had been Kirk’s commanding officer since his Academy days, and Kirk calls him one of the finest men he ever knew. Thus, vengeance on the cloud monster is deeply personal for him.

Kirk grows irritable when certain crewmen question his decision to hunt down the monster instead of delivering the vaccines. When the cloud creature vacates the planet, Kirk channels Captain Ahab as the Enterprise maddeningly pursues it through space. Spock notes that the cloud creature appears to exist in a borderline state between matter and energy, it can apparently change its own molecular make-up, and Spock also suggests that it may use gravity to propel itself. Scotty warns Kirk that the Enterprise could blow up at the speed it is traveling, but Kirk still demands the Enterprise upgrade to Warp 6. Suddenly, the creature halts in space and turns around to face the Enterprise. Kirk orders all levels to battle stations. The Enterprise fires phasers and photon torpedoes but to no avail. The creature then overtakes the Enterprise, entering through air vents, and it attacks two people. The creature remains in the vents (why?), leaving the crew with only 2 hours of breathable air.

Spock attempts to console Ensign Garrovick who blames himself for this whole situation –he hesitated firing his phaser at the creature back on Argus X (much like a young Kirk once did) but the creature suddenly begins emerging through the air vent and Spock remains in Garrovick’s room to prevent the creature from running amok throughout the ship. Spock is saved only because his hemoglobin is different from humans –the creature wants human blood rich in iron, not Vulcan blood which is composed of copper. Scotty then apparently floods the vents with radioactive waste (wouldn’t this affect the rest of the Enterprise’s breathable air?), but it drives the cloud creature back into space.  

Kirk believes the creature is headed for the Tycho star system, specifically the fourth planet, where the USS Farragut was attacked 11 years ago. Spock claims there is evidence the creature will spawn here (what evidence?), perhaps breaking apart and reproducing itself into thousands of replicas. Kirk and Ensign Garrovick beam down to Tycho IV to use an anti-matter device and destroy the creature, however setting off this device may also cause problems with the transporter. However, they employ hemoplasma as bait but it fails, so Ensign Garrovick and Kirk battle over who will lure the creature until Kirk decides to order Spock to beam them both back up while simply detonating the anti-matter device at the same time. Avoiding a close malfunction, both Kirk and Garrovick are beamed aboard in the nick of time. “Captain, thank heaven,” exclaims Scotty, to which Spock responds, “Mister Scott, there was no deity involved. It was my cross-circuiting to B that recovered them.” Dr. McCoy then whimsically interjects, “Well, then, thank pitchforks and pointed ears!”

The Shatner acting or “Shacting” is peak in this episode, a story which presents a unique glimpse into Kirk’s pre-Enterprise history. Up until now, much of his personal life has been somewhat mysterious. However, this episode is quite evidently intending to mirror Herman Melville’s Moby Dick though this has been rather more convincingly done elsewhere. Personally, I did not really care for the erratic and unlikable portrayal of Kirk in this episode, a caricature which seems all but sure to invite mutiny on the Enterprise. As a result, there are odd moments of recklessness in this episode –from Kirk’s megalomania, to Ensign Garrovick chucking a tray at his room’s ventilation switch. The Enterprise is not the regimented and collected military unit it was designed to be in this episode. Should Kirk be punished by Starfleet for holding up the transportation of vital vaccines? His personal vendetta aside, this would surely be a punishable offense –even if he did rescue the galaxy from the terror of thousands of cloud monsters.The notion that the cloud monster might be imminently reproducing struck me as partly contrived in order to create a sense of urgency at the end and to justify this mad mission.

Nevertheless, in keeping with the high quality of episodes in Season 2, “Obsession” is still a nice installment with a uniquely protean enemy alien. This is neither the first nor the last alien encountered by the Enterprise with powers beyond human comprehension.

Writer Art Wallace (?-1994) wrote scripts for a variety of television shows, particularly Dark Shadows. He also later co-wrote the Season 2 Star Trek “Assignment: Earth” with Gene Roddenberry.

Director Ralph Senensky (1923- Present) is apparently still alive as I write this review making him nearly 100 years old. He directed many episodes of classic television including an episode of The Twilight Zone and six episodes of Star Trek.

Star Trek Trivia:

  • A recurring red shirt named Leslie (Eddie Paskey) dies in this episode, however he continues to appear in future episodes until he departs mid-third season.
  • Spock says the hemoglobin in his Vulcan blood is based on copper not iron in this episode.
  • The smoke for the cloud monster was created using an offscreen smoke machine.
  • In addition to its blatant nods to Moby Dick, D.C. Fontana also once noted its similarity to ”The Doomsday Machine.”
  • During this episode’s production, Ralph Senensky left to celebrate Yom Kippur allowing John Meredyth Lucas to direct a portion. This became his first of several future directorial efforts on the show.

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Star Trek: Season 2, Episode Twelve “The Deadly Years”

Stardate: 3478.2 (2267)
Original Air Date: December 8, 1967
Writer: David P. Harmon
Director: Joseph Pevney

“Well, gentleman, all in all an experience we’ll remember in our old age.”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Enterprise is on a routine mission to re-supply the research station on the Gamma Hydra IV colony. A landing party (Kirk, Spock, Bones, Chekov, Scotty, and Elaine Galway) discovers a desolate facility, seemingly empty until Chekov spots the decaying corpse of an elderly man. Then the colony’s leader Robert Johnson (Felix Maurice Loche) and his wife Elaine (Laura Wood) appear though they have somehow grown aged and frail (despite being 29 and 27 years old respectively). As it turns out, of the six members at the colony (none of them over the age of 30) four of have died and two are now dying of old age.

Meanwhile, there is an anxious senior officer aboard, Commodore Stocker (Charles Drake). He is eager to be transported to Starbase 10, but Kirk orders the Enterprise to remain in orbit around Gamma Hydra IV to investigate this strange matter. However, every member of the landing party begins rapidly aging at a rate of 30 years per day! Senility begins setting in as does arthritis, and with time running out a cure is urgently needed. Galway suddenly, and Kirk grows forgetful and cantankerous. The only person curiously unaffected is Chekov.  

Spock investigates the matter with a civilian scientist, Dr. Janet Wallace (Sarah Marshall), who just so happens to have been Kirk’s former lover. She once left him and married an older scientist 26 years her senior, living with him alone on a remote space station. She falls deeper in love with Kirk the older he gets. At any rate, Spock and Dr. Wallace discover that a comet recently passed by Gamma Hydra IV leaving a low-level of radiation which likely caused the rapid aging.  

Growing impatient and concerned about the deteriorating situation, Commodore Stocker uses legal recourse and assumes command of the ship, redirecting to Starbase 10. Despite his inexperience commanding a starship, he orders the Enterprise to cross the Neutral Zone at Warp 5 –a risky move. Predictably, the Romulans attack the Enterprise while Commodore Stocker is stricken with inaction. Meanwhile, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy posit a theory –perhaps the fear in Chekov when he initially spotted the dead body on Gamma Hydra IV caused a burst of adrenaline, and perhaps that adrenaline is what prevented him from experiencing this bout of aging. Spock and Nurse Chapel develop an experimental shot of adrenaline that might either “cure or kill” and it is administered on Kirk. He quickly recovers and reassumes command. By now, Romulans have surrounded the Enterprise and Kirk issues a repeat bluff of the Season 1 classic “The Corbomite Maneuvre” in which he issues a false message to Starfleet that the “recently installed” corbomite device is set to immediately self-destruct killing all matter within a 200,000 kilometer radius. Accurately betting that the Romulans are listening to the Enterprise’s transmissions, the Romulans quickly flee the area and Kirk happily orders the Enterprise out of the Neutral Zone at Warp Factor 8.

Kirk finally receives praise from Commodore Stocker, and Spock is led away to receive his extra powerful dose of the aging antidote which will likely be terribly painful.

In a reversal of events in Season 1’s “Miri,” the “rapid aging” science fiction trope reappears in this episode –not the last time Star Trek will explore this theme. It forces us to confront a variety of American cultural stereotypes –a ghastly fear of aging and perhaps even antipathy for elderly people who are often pushed aside and castigated as unproductive. In addition to the ever-present issue of age, we are also confronted with our widespread cultural distaste for hapless ineffectual bureaucrats like Commodore Stocker, a man who, when tested, is proven to be pitifully out of his element. But the real shining star of this episode comes through in the actors with their elderly special effects in my view (even though many Trekkies seem to brush aside these effects). DeForest Kelley later remarked on how it took him nearly a half-day to receive all the aging make-up for this episode, at least his long-suffering really pays off! Kelley offers a terrific performance as a grumpy old man.

However, there were some loose ends that are never really revisited in this episode. Why was an unresolved romance between Kirk and Janet introduced without purpose? Also, what are we to make of the fact that all the colonists on Gamma Hydra IV have died? Lastly, how has Commodore Stocker possibly survived this long as a senior Federation officer? Can he recover from this embarrassment? Should we assume that he will be stripped of his title for nearly reigniting war with the Romulans by crossing into the Neutral Zone.

In all, I would not say this episode is without flaw, it is probably not one I would soon revisit, but generally speaking, “The Deadly Years” is a great little adventure that allows the Enterprise and its leaders to shine despite a remarkably difficult situation.

Writer David P. Harmon (1918-2001) was a Hollywood writer and producer, this was one of two Star Trek episodes he wrote. In this episode he was hoping for a somewhat more philosophical examination. He was actually intending to contrast the American praise of youth with Eastern reverence for old age.

Director Joseph Pevney (1911-2008) is tied with Marc Daniels for most TOS episodes directed.

Star Trek Trivia:

  • As he gets older, Dr. McCoy’s southern dialect becomes more apparent: “I’m not a magician, Spock, just an old country doctor.”
  • Despite his rapid aging, Kirk claims his true age is 34 years old in this episode.
  • The set for this episode is the same one used in Zefram Cochrane’s in “Metamorphosis.”
  • Apparently, William Shatner requested that his aging make-up not appear quite as old as other actors in this episode, particularly that of Leonard Nimoy.
  • There is also apparently an amusing gag reel clip from this episode featuring William Shatner in his aged make-up cursing producer Robert “Bob” Justman. Shatner had just spent most of the day having his painful make-up put in place only to leave minimal time for shooting.
  • Carolyn Nelson makes a cameo as Yeoman Atkins in this wife, she was the wife of frequent Star Trek director Joseph Sargent.
  • DeForest Kellley appears again in an aged state in The Next Generation two-part Season 1 opener “Encounter At Farpoint.”

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Star Trek: Season 2, Episode Eleven “Friday’s Child”

Stardate: 3497.2 (2267)
Original Air Date: December 1, 1967
Writer: D.C. Fontana
Director: Joseph Pevney

There’s an old, old saying on Earth, Mister Sulu.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Enterprise has arrived at Capella IV, a rich source of topaline, a mineral which is vital for the life support systems on several Federation planetoid colonies. The current diplomatic mission is to obtain the mining rights of topaline, however a Klingon named Kras (Tige Andrews) has already arrived on Capella IV and is trying to do the same thing. Before beaming down to the planet, Dr. McCoy briefs the senior Enterprise officers about the Capellans. Bones once participated in a medical mission to Capella IV but the inhabitants were uninterested. The Capellans are a tall humanoid species (7 feet tall is not unusual), they are also extremely strong and fast, and they carry dangerous weaponry known as kleegats. Notably, the Capellans believe that “only the strong survive.” They wear large furs and brandish ponytails.

Who will win over the trust of the Capellans? The Federation or the Klingons? Both sides make their case. The customs of this quasi-primitive tribe are unique –they respect honor, sacrifice, and war. Portrayed as an antiquated patriarchal society ruled by warlords, we quickly learn that women are only as good as the babies they produce. A woman is then offered to Kirk as an invitation for battle but he politely declines. We then meet the leader or “Teer of the ten tribes” named Akaar (Ben Gage) and his wife Eleen (played by Broadway star Julie Newmar) who is pregnant with a son, though she secretly despises this child. Kirk, Bones, and Spock hand over their communicators and phasers to the Capellans as a sign of peace but they are soon forbidden from using the devices. Shortly thereafter, a fight ensues among the Capellans over whether to ally with the Federation or the Klingons. Akaar is killed and a young warrior assumes leadership as “Teer” named Maab (played by former minor league baseball player Michael Dante).

Meanwhile, the Enterprise picks up a vague distress signal from a Federation ship regarding a Klingon attack. At the helm, Scotty decides to respond to the attack, leaving the landing party stranded behind on Capella IV without communication. However, the distress signal is quickly revealed to be little more than a Klingon trap (a faux message from the USS Carolina). Here, there are some terrific scenes of Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, and Chekhov as they discuss strategy. In the end, the Klingon vessel “has no stomach for fighting” and the Enterprise returns to Capella to rescue its stranded crewmen where Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Eleen had escaped into the and where Eleen delivers her baby. According to Capella customs, babies are the exclusive property of men, and as such she struggles to claim ownership over her child.  

A last stand-off occurs in the hills where the Klingon Kras turns on the Capellans, Eleen tries to flee, but Maab decides to sacrifice himself while Kirk and Spock fire makeshift arrows from a group of craggy rocks (filmed again at Vasquez Rocks). Kras is killed, then Scotty and the Enterprise crew arrive to the rescue, and Dr. McCoy marches down the hillside carrying the newly born “Teer” aptly named Leonard James Akaar. Eleen signs over the mining rights as regent and the Enterprise happily sails away.

Replete with campy actions sequences, poor editing, and shaky vocal dubbing, “Friday’s Child” is a fun little quest for the Enterprise but not close to the best of Star Trek-verse. Again, we encounter the ruthless Klingons and again the Prime Directive seems to be wholly violated by the Enterprise. Against the backdrop of the ongoing cold war between the Federation and the Klingons we also witness the small-scale internal politics of the tribe on Capella IV. Still, the secondary scenes with Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov really shine for me in this episode. Scotty at the helm of the Enterprise is a surprisingly fitting role!

On first glance, it would seem that the Capellans and the Klingons would make good bedfellows –both are vicious and warlike– however, Kirk’s valiant efforts to essentially save the Capellans from signing a deal with the devil are not without merit. And all of this comes amidst the backdrop of an internal conflict within the Capellans as well as the birth of a new baby, the future leader of their tribe. On this note of optimism, despite its presence as arguably imperial on Capela IV, the Federation offers hope and new life to an archaic band of people.

Writer Dorothea Catherine “D.C.” Fontana (1939-2019) worked as a writer for a few different television programs prior to Star Trek, before she briefly worked as Gene Roddenberry’s secretary before becoming a writer on the show. At the age of 27, Fontana became the youngest story editor in Hollywood at the time, and she was also one of the few female staff writers. She remained a Star Trek writer until the end of the second season. Fontana had the notable distinction of being one of the few people to have worked on Star Trek: The Original Series, as well as Star Trek: The Animated SeriesStar Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Of them all, Deep Space Nine was her favorite Star Trek series. She wanted to write a story about a strong woman who did not necessarily want children. The only major change to the story was the addition of the Klingons. In an original draft, the story was much darker as Eleen apparently sacrificed her child.

Director Joseph Pevney (1911-2008) is tied with Marc Daniels for most TOS episodes directed.

Star Trek Trivia:

  • The title of this episode is a nod to a traditional English poem entitled “Monday’s Child” a version of which was featured in an 1887 Harper’s Weekly issue which included the line “Friday’s child is full of woe.”
  • Dr. McCoy gives another one of his amusing and classic lines in this episode: “Look, I’m a doctor not an escalator!”
  • Julie Newmar played “Catwoman” in the 1960s Batman television show.
  • Production of this episode returned once again to the frequent filming location at Vasquez Rocks where it was 110 degrees.
  • This is the first episode in which Chekov coyly remarks that something was actually invented in Russia, in this case the phrase “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
  • According to Star Trek lore, Leonard James Akaar later becomes an influential Starfleet admiral in Deep Space Nine novels.
  • Gene L. Coon first introduced the Klingons in “Errand of Mercy” and they were made to look like space Mongols.

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