Saturday, March 12, 2016

Episode Review - The Trouble With Tribbles (Original Series, Season 2)

I received a few different suggestions for episodes to review. To Peter, your Ferengi episode is in the works. Today, for my first episode review, I decided to follow the request of an old friend to pick an episode from the original series that I considered to be of Admiral quality. As I thought about it, I figured there was only one episode for me to start this off with...

Episode – The Trouble with Tribbles

Episode Overview – Captain Kirk and his crew are called to Sherman’s Planet and find themselves in a territorial dispute with the Klingons. As tensions rise between the Klingons and the Federation, as well as between Kirk and the station manager, a new menace rears its cute, cuddly, purring…uh, “head”. Bring on the Tribbles!

Episode Score – 10/10. This is a classic episode. It has great writing and directing. The actors are spot on with their comedic timing, and the action is fun. I particularly like the lead up to the bar brawl as well as its aftermath. Cyrano Jones is a wonderfully bafoonish character that endears himself to fans quickly. The Klingons are up to their typical shenanigans. Kirk’s dismissiveness and irritation of Baris provides great one-liners which Shatner delivers perfectly.  

Relevance – 2 points. This episode provides a tie in to a few different episodes and movies. There is an episode of the animated series (“More Tribbles, More Troubles”) that sees the return of not only Cyrano Jones and the Tribbles, but also Koloth. The tribbles are seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and, of course, the Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations”, which was a great tribute show to the classic episode. We also see tribbles in Star Trek:Into Darkness. Koloth is one of three Klingons from the original series to appear in the Deep Space Nine episode “Blood Oath”.

Continuity – 3 points. Trek universe continuity – Klingons at odds with the Federation, trying to upset the balance of power in the sector is a recurring theme throughout the series. Character continuity – Everyone acts as to be expected. Chekov claiming that everything is a Russian invention, Spock being able to calculate in his head with speed and proficiency, Scotty’s love of the Enterprise and design specs,  

Character Development – 2 points. Development of many of the main cast (Scotty’s fierce loyalty to the Enterprise, Chekov’s fierce loyalty to the captain)

Social Commentary – 1 point. Too much of anything, even love, can be a bad thing. This line is paraphrased from one of Kirk’s lines. Our society tends to over-indulge in things we like, so I suspect that this is something we can take away from this episode. It is a bit of a stretch, but for such a fun episode we do not need deep, philosophical commentary.  

Cool Factor – 3 points. William Campbell stars as the Klingon Koloth for the first time (he will later be seen in the DS9 episode “Blood Oath”). Kirk standing in a growing mound of tribbles is an iconic image. The tribbles themselves became a favourite of Trek fans that are essential to the universe.

Rank – ADMIRAL (21 points). This is largely seen as one of Star Trek’s favourite episodes. It shows that comedy can be done well on Star Trek. Great acting, a fun story, and one of the most cuddly and memorable alien species imaginable (not bad for literal balls of fur) makes this a must see for any new fan.

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