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Sgathaich: Star Trek The Trouble With Tribbles

SgathaichSo I’m back from glorious battle, and it’s a new year so let’s travel all the way back to a series that thought that 20 years ago we would be having a war against a guy named KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN!!! with the original series of Star Trek.

But which episode to review those who didn’t read the title may be saying? Lets start with the classic and amusing ‘Trouble with Tribbles’.

It should be remembered that a previous appearance of the Klingons (and first) involved them being forced to sign a peace treaty with the Federation by a race of energy beings… this gets brought up later and it’s why they aren’t blasting each other (so people watching Discovery, don’t expect that war to end soon).

We start off with the Enterprise (presumably yet again the only ship in the fleet nearby) on its way to a disputed planet. Both the Federation and the Klingons lay claim to it and according to the Organian’s treaty (see told you they would get mentioned) it goes to whoever is most efficient with using it, something even Kirk admits the Klingons are.

Star Trek 1968Kirk, Spock and  Chekov are discussing the planet and Chekov’s recurring joke for the episode kicks in, of claiming everything as an invention of Russia. This sets us for the tone of the episode. It’s much more a comedy and who gets the most laughs – why it’s the dry wit of Mr Spock. His delivery is perfectly timed and very enjoyable. That’s what this episode is. You most likely have heard of it and the tribbles, small round furballs that do nothing but eat and breed and soon they overrun everything. In fact this story is so well known as part of an anniversary for Star Trek that an episode of Deep Space 9 had them travel back to this exact episode with everyone looking at Worf when the Klingons appeared ( nerds know what I mean).

Most of the story is set on the deep space station K7 which is also housing the super crop Quadrotriticale which everyone but Kirk seems to know about (even Chekov who claims yet again to be Russian, even though Spock just a minute ago explained its origin). So you have an undersecretary that constantly looks down on Kirk, a bunch of rapidly breeding fuzzballs, and a bunch of Klingons on a space station, and everything possible to make Kirk look the fool (until the end – Kirk fans may not like this but keep till the end please) enjoy the humour that spews forth from this well known tale.

But like many so called well known stories, it’s one you may not have seen yourself so you only know the jist of the plot missing out on amusing interactions or comeuppances that happen throughout (as said Spock gets the best lines but Kirk gets the best pay off) . If you have the means or you spot it on tv, it’s definitely an episode that can be enjoyed by all (and doesn’t contain the elements that make me question why people hold the original series in high regard).

Watch: Star Trek The Trouble With Tribbles Clip

Rating: spear  spear spear spear

For something different watch:  LEGO Star Trek: The Trouble with Tribbles

Trouble with Tribbles photo Chris Drumm

Trouble with Tribbles photo Chris Drumm


2 replies »

  1. I don’t usually read this column, as I had got the idea that it was all about gaming, and I have no interest in gaming, at all! Then I saw the word ‘Tribbles’. That’s one of my favourite Star Trek episodes, too. It’s not just how they look – furry and round. It’s the noise they make, which is very soothing. That episode, as you say, was great fun.
    My other favourite was the episode where the crew land on a planet, where the human ……..colonizers, have been having problems with some kind of life-form, already there, on the planet. It turns out, that this is a silica -based life form! To the humans, she looks like a lump of rock, but, in fact, she’s one of a highly intelligent species. So intelligent, that only Mr. Spock can communicate with her through a mind-meld. Humans trying to communicate with her, would have their minds blown! She’s one of the original inhabitants of the planet, and was causing trouble because the human mining, was getting very near to her egg chamber, where her babies were about to hatch/emerge, whatever silica based babies would do! This was a particularly good episode, as it brought in the idea of life-forms based on other than carbon, we do tend to be carbon chauvinists. Also, the whole issue of humans colonizing what they see to be an ’empty’ planet, just because the species living there, is nothing like them. As they have done on earth, with other countries, again and again – Australia being described as being ’empty’ when it was ‘discovered’ – eh? “Shum mistake? – Ed” as they used to say in Private Eye, years ago!
    Also, of course, the whole idea of whether it’s a good idea, to be drilling, mindlessly, into the earth, as we are doing, now. Look at the environmental disasters which have come about by we humans doing so – Fracking? don’t even start me on Fracking!
    I’m not a ‘Trekkie’ – I liked the original series, because it often had ideas like this, in the stories. It also had an un-believably sexist Captain Kirk, who always managed to get his hands on the pretty alien lady, at the end! That was just a sign of the times. I liked the next series, because of Jean-Luc Picard, and also, the idea of them having an empath on the Enterprise. Diana Troy, could feel what was happening, and so advise the Captain. Sort-of the opposite, of Mr. Spock. That was a good innovation – to point out how much someone being ‘sensitive’, can actually help a situation, just as much as someone applying logic to everything. As always, both working together, would be the ideal.
    There’s room in the universe for empaths and logicians, and Tribbles and stony-folk.
    That episode, from the original series, with the silica-based life form – who was also a totally good-natured character, stuck in my mind. I was watching these things, when I was young, and, who knows what foundations for thought were laid by those programmes. Same with Dr. Who – until it went silly.

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    • Indeed that is a classic episode, and one I have considered reviewing, but I felt it would be a good idea to start off with this fun classic. I have to disagree with you about Troy though, She came off as mainly useless if not counter productive to her very job, such as the episode where she lost her abilities and basically gave up, she identified herself entirely with those abilities and was revealed she felt herself superior to the rest because of them, and Guinan out right said she did Troy’s job better than her just by listening to people. A better parallel to Spock is Data, a robot that seeks the very opposite that Spock himself sought, wishing to be more human. As for Dr Who, you get some great episodes even when there was more silly elements, you have to look through all the series has to offer and make decisions.

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