Sunday, September 20, 2020

Star Trek -- Season 2 Episode 15 (The Trouble with Tribbles)

Klingons pose a danger to the Federation.  While there was no open declaration of war, Klingons were hostile towards Federation colonies and Starfleet ships.  Tribbles are more of a menace.  Yes, they’re dangerous, but they’re cute and fuzzy.  Menace doesn’t sound so bad, but tribbles do two things:  Eat and make more tribbles.  And boy, do they make more tribbles.

Both tribbles and Klingons come to a head on Space Station K7.  The Enterprise has been called to protect a grain bound for Sherman's Planet, which the Federation wants to colonize.  The Klingons would rather colonize the planet themselves.  That alone would be a problem, except that one Cyrano Jones has brought a few tribbles to K7, which leads to a lot more tribbles.

The tribbles pose two problems.  The first is that they like to eat and grain is a good food source for them.  The other is that tribbles don’t like Klingons.  Tribbles are like space cats.  They’re cute and they purr.  Klingons are a warrior race.  You can see where the two parties wouldn’t like each other.

Most of the episode is Kirk being annoyed at having to guard the grain.  Once again, he has to do the bidding of some Federation undersecretary of something.  He’s got better things to do.  I always wonder if an actual military ship would be called to do this and, if so, how argumentative the captain of the ship would be.  I suppose it would be in Kirk’s job description to help the government once in a while.

There is a certain cleverness to the episode, in that the tribbles are used to expose a pair of problems.  All of the major components play well off of each other.  Everyone seems to dislike everyone else to some degree.  Even the tribbles, which are friendly, do pose a problem.

It’s definitely one of the more memorable episodes.  It was used for the basis of Deep Space Nine’s The Trouble with Tribbles and for the short trek, The Trouble with Edward.  If I had to pick a few episodes to get you started, this would be one of them.  I don’t know if it would be on everyone’s favorite list, as it is a little goofy.  Despite the seriousness, Star Trek had a very heavy camp element to it.  However, tribbles have become a point of reference within the Trek universe. 


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