So this episode is nominally a murder mystery, which honestly, made us give it a whole lot of bonus points right at the outset. Our crew is visiting Argelius, a port world where, well, to give you an idea, the law of the land is literally love. A couple of hundred years ago Argelians decided that work was stupid, fighting was boring, and conflict was the worst, and decided to devote their lives to seeking happiness and pleasure. Honestly, this sounds like a pretty sensible set of ideals on which to base a culture. The shocking thing is how generally gross the representatives of the Enterprise are acting in the first five minutes, sprawled out on cushions around a table leering dramatically at the nice lady dancer who is just trying to do her job, guys.
Foreground: young woman, dancing. Background: Scotty, Bones & Kirk being gross foreigners.
There’s arguably a plot reason for this, but it’s a stupid one: to manufacture a totally unnecessary motive for Scotty to be cast immediately as the suspect when the unfortunate young lady (Tara) is murdered about ten minutes later: Scotty recently suffered a concussion, which apparently, by insane 1960s space logic, has given him a “total resentment of all women” (yes, what the actual fuck is an excellent question to have here, though it did cross our minds that, if we’d believed it was deliberate, this is in some ways an incredibly modern way of viewing the relationship between brain injury and culpability in violent crime… though we pretty much came down on refusing to award credit on the basis of how stupid it sounds). Fortunately, Ship Pimp James Kirk is here to set him up with Tara, hoping they can bone that nonsensical resentment right out of him.
It’s almost funny how many more times Scotty ends up awkwardly positioned with blood on his hands over yet another murdered woman (three in total, RIP Tara, Lieutenant Karen Tracy, and Sybo), or it would be if this episode didn’t centre on a murderer whose motive is that it simply hates women.
Walks in the fog: NOT SO ROMANTIC AFTER ALL, HUH.
Yes, seriously, this is the explicit motive, for real.
By the virtue of Space Google, they discover that the culprit is, in fact, a deathless, millennia-old misogyny cloud possessing a series of man-shaped shells which was probably the truth behind the legend of Jack the Ripper, but still: this is so bananas that if a woman had written this episode, I would be tempted to think it was trying to be subversive.
They would have caught the murderer a lot sooner if Space Google could fuzzy search, I’m just saying.
As it is, we just have to sit back and admire the skillful use of Agatha Christie red flags in pointing loudly at the murderer in the first ten minutes of the story: out-of-towner, loner, obstructionist, and portrayed jarringly by John Fiedler, voice of Piglet.
Some stuff happened to Piglet in the Hundred Acre Wood, apparently.
Yeah. Let that one settle.
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[From The Not So Much The Neutral Zone Podcast]
Piglet. Piglet why.
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