Once you get past the cracky opening (taken generously, Kirk and McCoy make up an excuse about needing to "treat" "gynophobia" to stop off at
Planet Free Love), the premise kicks in and it's actually pretty legitimately disturbing, certainly far scarier than anything Enterprise
ever did. An unkillable energy being that can possess anyone, even the ship
, likes to kill women and feeds on your fear?
Oh, did I mention it TALKS WITH THE VOICE OF PIGLET? Eventually it does take over the ship and tells everyone how they're going to die, its voice modulating from Piglet's squeakiness to a demonically guttural voice in mid-sentence. Oh, by the way, the Captain ordered that you be hopped up on goofballs, so good luck defending yourself. They could've gotten a whole episode out of that, rather than a "murder mystery" with an impossible solution (really, it's about as fun as an Agatha Christie novel that reveals at the end that the killer was really an escapee from a local mental institution).
And in case that wasn't enough Nightmare Fuel, the killer comes back to life and holds a woman hostage, but she's been sedated, so all she can do is laugh about it. McCoy even cracks a joke
. Then they manage to sedate him, and as he continues to spew a stream-of-consciousness rant of homicidal intent, they beam him into space at maximum possible dispersal, so he can slowly feel himself disintegrate.
And of course, there's no guarantee that will work...
So, some great potential, but too much time spent on Scotty's "It was the one-armed man!" spiel. Likewise, the free love society where it's shameful to be jealous of your fiance banging other men doesn't get enough development to be really interesting. Both the characters and the plot basically treat it as an excuse to get laid, with little insight as to how Argelius II would work. This would be okay for just the opening, but they spend so much time on it instead of Redjac that you're just like "fah, free love, get on with it."
Plus, how many times does Scotty have to kill someone before they put him in handcuffs, just as a sop to the Argelians?
The scene where McCoy and Kirk observe that they're among the last to be injected and argue over who has to be injected, that could've been a great scene. And even hamstringing the possessed computer with a logic problem was Real Science enough to get away with. I just wish they'd spent a whole episode on trying to stay alive onboard the USS Jack The Ripper instead of on a half-baked mystery (although John Fielder does some great work).
On a sidenote, all the "is he Vulcan or gay?" scenes where someone starts to talk to Spock about getting some furburgers, than realize they might as well be talking to Dan Didio about how much a D-list character deserves to live, take on a new light when you assume he's kneedeep in Uhura. He's basically the one married guy on a crew full of raging horndog swingers. And on another reboot note, medical gynophobia is now a problem that can be easily be treated by assigning Gaila to work with someone. "Why yes, Mr. Scott, I think we'll be working very closely together..."
Kirk: I've invited [bellydancer babe] to join us at the table. I thought you might like to meet her.
Scotty: Now that's what I call a real captain, always thinking of his men!
I know the Kirk vs. Picard debate will never be settled, but always remember this: Kirk got his crew fucked
Spock: And I suspect [Redjac] preys on women because woman are more easily and more deeply terrified, generating more sheer horror than a male of the same species.
Okay, I take that back about Spock being kneedeep in Uhura. I think someone's gonna be doing an awful lot of 'meditating' alone for the next month... I do love that the next shot shows the female ensign RIGHT NEXT TO HIM. That class-action sexual harassment suit against the bridge crew has another claimant.
Redjac: I am without ending! I have existed since the dawn of time and I shall live beyond its end!
Kirk vs. one of the Old Ones? FUCK YOU, KIRK WINS.
Redjac: I could cut off your oxygen and suffocate you!
Sulu: Captain... (gets injected) Whoever he is, he sure talks gloomy.
It's like a stoner comedy... directed by David Lynch!
ETA: Mr. Piglet fight scene! "Oh, D-d-d-DROPKICK!"