Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wolf in the Fold

**** (4 stars out of 5)

Scotty was recently concussed in an explosion caused by a woman. McCoy & Kirk believe the remedy for this is a pre-arranged rendezvous with a belly dancer on the pleasure-oriented world of Argelius. This young lady, Kara, is expected to head off any lingering resentment Scott might harbor toward the fair sex.

Sadly, seconds after they leave the club and run off giggling into the fog, the dancer is stabbed dozens of times... and stunned Scotty's got the knife!

Treknology Today: The Psycho-Tricorder. Thankfully, it's not a tricorder that wears a dress and murders you in the shower. No: it can give a 24 hour mental record of what happened to amnesiac Scotty.

What an extremely useful invention! Why, I bet a mind-reading box would come in handy plenty! (Never seen again on screen.)

Did you guys have that last year? You could use it with shapeshifters, mute people who can only blink yes or no, suspected murderers of Tellarites, Captains accused of jettisoning Records Officers, mad Commodores on the edge of suicide you can't gather enough evidence on to relieve of duty... well, the list goes on.

Why, it could remove the need for many long, wasted minutes of traditional speculation, investigation, court martials, and dramatic tension... oh, I see, never mind.

Psycho-Tricorder Technician Lt. Karen Tracy, the girl with the magic box (so to speak) is also done in while alone with Scott. Oh noes!

Argelian empath Sybo is recruited to conduct a seance according to the Old Ways. Another female assigned to stand near Scotty in the dark... GOOD PLAN!

She senses ancient, raging evil, a hunger that has a name: Beratis. Kesla. Redjac.
And it is her last statement because, well: Scott, Knife, Back.

Her widower, Prefect Jaris, agrees to have the investigation continued under truth analysis computer- with the agreement that if guilty, Mr. Scott will be executed by slow torture. See, Argelians are such peaceful hedonists they never got around to updating their laws.

The Enterprise computer turned up the names Sybo named: Red Jack aka Jack The Ripper of Earth centuries ago, Kesla of Deneb II more recently, and Beratis of Rigel IV last year: all unidentified mass murderers of women. And all, it seems, the same alien energy creature that feeds on horror, and takes various host forms with hypnotic camoflaugue (the cause of Scotty's amnesia). But Scott was never the host body, only the patsy...

Administrator Hengist (mildly overseeing the proceedings all this time) came from Rigel IV, and he brought the murder weapon with him! Unfortunately, once caught, Hengist falls dead and Redjac seizes control of the ship computer instead. It's high-pitched distorted laughter froze my blood as a youth. Cree-hee-pee!

Best line: "Whoever he is, he sure talks gloomy," says Mr. Sulu, ultra-ultra mellow from McCoy's sedative. 440 people are now too relaxed and doped up to sustain the creature's need for fear. These cool cats wouldn't even fear a supernova.

Redjac hops desperately back into Hengist's corpse, which they beam into space on wide dispersion.

"Wolf in the Fold" is exactly as creepy as it should be: totally!
It's not gory but it's deeply unsettling stuff thanks to writer Robert Bloch and a good cast. John Fiedler (known to me only as the voice of Disney's gentle Piglet character) was really darn freaky scary good. Not good, I mean. Horribly evil in kindly guise, the worst kind.

It's the better choice for Halloween scares if your only other option is 'Catspaw'.

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