This is Star Trek in all its cheesy glory. It starts with Kirk, McCoy and Scotty sitting in a bar leering at a belly dancer. Apparently, the Enterprise is in orbit around an interstellar red-light district. Kirk and McCoy are slobbering over each other talking about other dives they want to visit. Scotty goes for a walk in the foggy night with the belly dancer.
Anyway, the plot, such as it is, revolves around Scotty being found several different times with a woman with a knife sticking in her. In each case Scotty claims to have amnesia at the moment of the murder. The police administrator is played by John Fiedler, the little bald mousey character actor known for his work in the movie “Twelve Angry Men” and as the voice of Winnie the Pooh’s friend Piglet. In order to get to the bottom of the murders the leader of the planet has his wife perform a séance. She starts moaning and whining about some monstrous deathless evil that kills women and lives off their fear. But suddenly the lights go out and she screams. When the lights come back up Scotty is, of course, holding the woman with a knife in her back and her blood on Scotty’s hands.
Eventually we find out that the evil entity was Jack the Ripper and he travelled out into the galaxy as humanity expanded out from Earth. Based on the clues it is determined that the police administrator is the monster and when discovered he attempts to stab Kirk. Kirk flips him and disarms him and then punches him in the jaw. McCoy checks the killer and declares, “He’s dead Jim!” But the entity leaves the human body and invades the ship computer. Once in the computer the entity attempts to frighten the crew prior to murdering them. But Spock sets the computer to figuring the exact value of pi. Since pi is a transcendental number apparently the futuristic computer can’t handle the chore and malfunctions. This drives the entity out of the computer and back into his body. Spock injects the creature with a tranquilizer and then transports him into open space with a wide dispersion thus rendering it harmless.
This episode is wonderfully tacky and even the small touches add to its hokey atmosphere. When the crew is being tranquilized to avoid feeding the creature on their fear Sulu gets this drunken expression that makes you think he’s about to drool on himself. And I think the episode set a record for McCoy saying, He’s/She’s dead Jim!” I counted three. By the third one he should just have said, “Ditto.” But above all, Kirk and McCoy in the belly dancing den of iniquity, slavering over the depravity they plan at the next dive they intend to visit is the high point.
I give this a score of 6 // 10. Shatner’s bad acting lifts this episode to new heights of awful.