Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Star Trek 2x15 "The Trouble with Tribbles"

rating: ****
Memory Alpha summary

I think everyone knows about this one.  It's one of the rare episodes from the series to receive sequels ("More Tribbles, More Troubles" from The Animated Series, "Trials and Tribble-ations" from Deep Space Nine).  It's a classic.  I don't really need to justify that statement.

The question is, is the legacy of "The Trouble with Tribbles" a positive one for new fans to consider?  So often, when that question is raised, it's with episodes existing fans thought rubbed them the wrong way.
via Crackerjac Jane
The thing is, it's a great episode for fans.  It's easy to love, very lighthearted, not in the sense that it doesn't take itself seriously, but that it's hard to be inundated with all those Tribbles and take a different tone.  It's instantly iconic.  It's basically the peak of the whole second season, everything the creators wanted to accomplish encapsulated in a single episode.  The minor characters have significant moments (it's Uhura who's responsible for spreading Cyrano Jones' "harmless" creatures; and this is the episode where Scotty and Chekov defend Kirk and or the Enterprise's honor: "But you heard what he called the keptin!"  "Laddie, don't you think you should...rephrase that?").  The Klingons are involved.  The story is presented as a dynamic representation of what the Federation is and how Starfleet is involved.'s kind of silly, isn't it?  How is a casual fan supposed to take it seriously?  One imagines that a viewer coming across it in 1967 might have determined that this series was just a bunch of nonsense anyway.  The thing is, Star Trek as we know it now literally would not exist without it.  Chris Pine's Kirk is exactly the Kirk we find in "Trouble."  William Shatner tended to take a sober approach to the character, except in this episode, where he wears a perpetual bemused expression.

"Trouble" is what the new movies are, to some extent.  It's not what most of the series, or indeed franchise, actually is.  I think I like the lighthearted tone, though, but balanced, the way J.J. Abrams approached it.  "Trouble" is what you get when everything matches the dynamic Kirk and Spock and McCoy have been striking all along.  It's the tone matching the main characters for a change.  And it's arguably the best episode of the series because of it.

And yes, that's one of the iconic Klingons present and accounted for, Koloth, one of the three who later reappear in DS9.  What more can you ask for?

four quarter analysis
franchise * series * essential * character

notable guest-stars:
William Campbell
Charlie Brill
Stanley Adams


  1. Everyone loves Tribbles. They were cool before furbys.
    Hipster Tribbles.

    1. They might even be considered prototype Ewoks!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...