Monday, April 27, 2015

A to Z 2015: Star Trek Episodes "Wolf in the Fold"

"Wolf in the Fold"
Star Trek (the original series)

Much like "The Savage Curtain" was very nearly a Lincoln episode, "Wolf in the Fold" is pretty much a Jack the Ripper episode.

It's also a Scotty episode.  By the second season, the original series began making a more concerted effort to focus on the supporting characters who would become well-known as part of the core group of the series (early in the first season, Nurse Chapel and Yeoman Rand were arguably more important than any of them, but then receded as the series progressed, and their significance in the films reflects that).  This was of course Chekov's debut season, and he quickly stood out, even though he was an extremely odd choice for the reason his character was introduced at all.

(I mean, think about it: this mop-topped younger character was clearly meant to capitalize on the Beatles/Monkees...and yet Chekov wasn't British, he was Russian.  You may, ah, remember, remember something called the Cold War?  Which was still going on at the time?  I think Chekov was really a passive-aggressive compromise in a show where Kirk was supposed to be the heartthrob.  The producers want to introduce another one, but how to reconcile this competition with the series lead?  Give him the wildly popular hairstyle.  But yeah, make him Russian.  Huge bonus points for looking past the present, as with the inclusion of Uhura, surely a mark in the show's ethnic profile, but still...Another reason, I think, that Star Trek had such a hard time finding respect.  And you probably never even thought about that until now!)

Early in the second season they tried pushing Scotty as the would-be rescuer of damsels in distress, so he'd have something to do other than being a miracle-worker (isn't that enough???), so to then create an entire episode that casts him in the role of the quintessential threat against said damsels (hey, go back and read that parenthetical digression, on the off chance that you tend to ignore such things; although, catch-22, if you didn't read that one you won't be reading this one, now will you?) just goes to prove how little the producers tried to make sense of such efforts.

Which makes the fact that fans came to embrace Scotty, Chekov, Sulu, and Uhura to the levels they did, that there has been constant debate on how much of a jerk William Shatner is, strikes me as really quite startling.  Because other than their regular appearances, these guys were clearly never near as important as Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.

Feel free to debate this.  (You will be wrong.)

7 comments:

Pat Dilloway said...

My favorite part was when Spock talked about how much more easily women are frightened than men. The 23rd Century was pretty sexist.

Tony Laplume said...

The whole series was pretty sexist.

Pat Dilloway said...

Those miniskirt uniforms were definitely sexist. It's funny that on a show that so aggressively promoted equality and harmony that equality and harmony didn't extend to women, despite that many of the episodes were written by women.

Anyway I think we were somewhat on the same wavelength as last night I was thinking of how to rate the main characters in terms of importance.

Obviously Kirk, Spock, and Bones were the top three as the only ones to be featured in the opening credits (Bones not until season 2). After that Scotty was next as he was not only the "miracle worker" but also was frequently in command of the Enterprise. Then Uhura since she was just about always on the bridge.

It's hard to decide between Sulu and Chekov. Sulu was there first as pretty much a recurring extra until he pretty much took over the helmsman duties in Season 2. But Chekov while not being added until Season 2 was featured more heavily in episodes than Sulu pretty much ever was, except the one where he goes around shirtless with a fencing sword. So Sulu was probably the least important of the Big 7, with all apologies to the awesome George Takei.

BTW, my entry today also features a story with a Jack the Ripper type killer. Same wavelength!

Tony Laplume said...

1. Kirk
2. Spock
3. McCoy
4. Scotty
5. Chekov
6. Uhura
7. Sulu
8. Chapel
9. Rand
10. redshirts

Pat Dilloway said...

Rand's only in the first few episodes. Since there are 430 people on the Enterprise redshirts would be like 400-430.

djinnia said...

Love the original s.t. My dad and I used to watch it together late at night.

What I find amusing is that the writers of wrath of Kahn (loved cumberbatch in this roll too) flubbed big time. They had Kahn remembering Chekhov when he wasn't even aboard the enterprise during the original episodes.

Tony Laplume said...

My brothers made me jealous when they got to watch the early episodes of Deep Space Nine late at night. And yeah, everyone loves pointing that out. Maybe Khan's memory is so good he really can remember things that never happened?

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