I didn’t want to write this post, but the burden of TV history weighs heavy on my shoulders. The 50th anniversary of Star Trek came and went, and in all the fanfare, I saw no mention of the original series’ single most bizarre episode. Forget the one where they’re back in the 1920s, or the one where they’re at the O.K. Corral with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, or the one where Kirk and Spock fight Genghis Khan alongside Abraham Lincoln; this right here is the goods.
Before last night, I hadn’t seen “Wolf in the Fold” for about 30 years. I watched it again to make sure my memory was accurate, and I can confirm that this is without a doubt the most insane episode of Star Trek that ever made it to the screen. It is actually even weirder than I remembered. A space séance is involved.
I don’t want to give away much more of the plot, but you’ll see what I mean if I set it up briefly. Kirk, Bones, and Scotty go whoring on the “hedonistic” planet Argelius II, which looks just like foggy London town. Next thing you know, Scotty’s standing over a dead belly dancer with a bloody knife in his hand. Kirk asks what kind of legal process they have in this jerkwater, when the Prefect, making a grand entrance, declares:
The law of Argelius is love.
Then comes the Jack the Ripper business and the whole crew getting messy on tranks. And there is so much more I’m deliberately leaving out.
This is one of several Star Trek episodes written by Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho. I am not conversant with my man’s oeuvre, but I learn from Wikipedia that he returned to Jack the Ripper again and again in his writing.
As long as I am on my soapbox, kindly permit me to conclude with these remarks: The CGI they stuck on the remastered Star Trek is fucked up, and for shit.
Star Trek, season two, episode fourteen, “Wolf in the Fold” (note: the first ten seconds of the video are sticky; it’s also on Hulu):