Casual Trek Episode Nine: Troubles By Tribbles

I love a bit of horror, but there was a point watching this trio of Tribble episodes where I snapped.

There are only three proper episodes about tribbles, not counting the Short Trek and a couple of cameos of what I can only assume are neutered tribbles in other shows. They’re a small part of the universe, but an iconic one, being a cute ball of hair that purrs. It’s also got some horrifying implications when you think about the Tribbles and the things which go on with their biology.

Sometimes we have problems with Casual Trek’s format; mainly that the more serialised episodes (I’m looking at you, Discovery) don’t fare as well in translation. I’m still eager to try to call them on their own merits. This time, we’ve got a really cool thing to happen through Casual Trek’s format. We have two episodes of different shows which are both telling different perspectives of the same story, and we have a direct sequel in another show.

In theory this gives us a level of focus we may not normally have, but we still manage to lose our minds with some parts of the stories and go on a lot of tangents. Miles somehow doesn’t go on a long Blake’s 7 tangent, even though I did give him a perfect opportunity. 

The Original Series: The Trouble With Tribbles

Kirk having a time of it, covered in what turns out to be Tribble corpses.

The first episode is one where I’ve not seen it, but I may as well have given the amount of times clips have been shown no images shared.

You’ve got the tension of the Cold War between the Klingons and the Federation in an outpost on the border of both factions. Spies, espionage, fights and all of this is somehow a comedy episode. Even better, it’s a comedy episode that works!

Kirk and Spock act as the straight men to the situation even though they start out trying to be flippant about having to look after grain. The Enterprise crew have some fun on shore leave, get a worrying new pet and get in some fights with Klingons who are also on shore leave.

Deep Space Nine: Trials and Tribble-Ations

Sisko and Dax in their retro outfits.

The next episode takes us to the 90’s and a point where the Forrest Gump technology now can be used on television shows. We’re late enough in Deep Space Nine that there’s been a lot of serious stuff going down, so I’m guessing this was quite a respite.

It’s always nice getting the crew of a Star Trek in an unfamiliar place and the brightly-coloured Star Trek TOS era is a great setting for a break from the otherwise fairly industrial grime of DS9.

I’ve watched this episode once or twice before, but never really paid attention to the plot. The antagonist of The Trouble With Tribbles is out of prison and cons his way to get close to a Time Orb, sending himself and the DS9 crew back to the first episode.

There are fun shenanigans all throughout, as the cast interact with past technology, problems and characters. Bashir has a classic time travel quandary which he approaches in a very Bashir way, and Odo actually smiles.

Watching this immediately after The Trouble With Tribbles was a joy. There wasn’t anything which I was confused about between them and neither is necessary to watch with the other, but they both add more to each other.

The Animated Series: More Tribbles, More Troubles

Kirk, tormented by tribbles again.

Finally, we move on from the initial K7 incident. The Enterprise has to take from automated grain ships back to Sherman’s Planet in order to finally allow the Federation to settle the place. I like the idea of the robotic ships filled with grain being moved about. You’d expect them to simply be crates in a cargo bay normally, but this creates a new visual and logistical challenges.

We also get the return of Cyrano Jones, who I probably mispronounce all the way through the episode. He has some bright pink tribbles, which was the result of someone with colourblindness being in charge of these decisions. 

They can’t breed to the ludicrous level they could in the previous episodes, but there are more troubling implications about what goes on.

The story for this one’s a bit of a nothing, but it’s the first direct sequel to an episode that I’ve seen and after the previous two, it felt fairly nice to get more of this arc.

The episodes can be found on all podcatchers, on Spotify or using this link:

The Big List So Far

Spoilers below if you’ve not seen the episode, but as at episode eight, here’s the big list:

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