Time travel, Tribbles and more trouble on the episode that originally aired on November 4,1996. This is Trials and Tribble-ations
Station log Stardate undetermined (23rd and 24th centuries): Trials and Tribble-ations.
Sisko and the crew of the Defiant travel back in time to the 23rd century where they encounter the original Enterprise and her crew during it’s mission to Space Station K-7.
When Ben Sisko is visited by two agents of the Department of Temporal Investigations, he explains why he and his crew took the Defiant back in time to the 23rd century. Sisko begins his tale informing the agents that their mission was to escort a newly discovered Orb from Cardassia to Bajor. Little did they know the Orb was the Orb of Time and caused much of their issues.
Taking on a passenger by the name of Barry Waddle, they soon find themselves facing a massive surge of chroniton radiation. After the blast, they find the Defiant decloaking with someone transporting off ship. Determined to get cloaked again, they are surprised to find a nearby vessel is none other than the USS Enterprise NCC-1701.
After a brief investigation, they soon find that Barry Waddle is in fact Arne Darvin who was originally sent to Station K-7 to poison the grain on board. He apparently plans to alter time by preventing his capture on K-7 some one hundred and five years earlier. Donning the uniforms of the time, the crew beam aboard K-7 and the Enterprise in order to try and stop Arne from what ever he is planning.
The team split up in to three groups, Dax and Sisko investigating the main ship, Julian and Miles investigating engineering and Worf and Odo checking out the station. As their investigation proceeds, Odo buys a tribble much to Worf’s dismay. Worf explains that Tribbles were deemed mortal enemies of the Klingon Empire causing an ecological menace.
As the investigation continues, Jadzia is surprised when Koloth’s ship, the IKS Gr’oth arrives and she remembers a story her old friend told her about his encounter with Kirk. Requesting a chance to go see her old friend, Sisko denies her the privilege and sends Julian and O’Brien instead. Julian, on his way to the station, encounters a young woman who identifies herself as Lt Watley. After she leaves, Julian begins to think that she may have been his great grandmother and that, he may be there to become his own great-grandfather. O’Brien convinces him otherwise just before they are beamed to the space station.
Resuming their search for Darvin, Dax and Sisko happen across Kirk and Spock. Jadzia comments on how handsome Spock is at that age. She is shocked that Sisko has no interest in meeting James Kirk and he admits that he would love to but they must focus on their mission at hand. She admits, that having lived in that time period, it is hard to not want to be part of it again.
Julian and Miles find Odo and Worf where they see a small group enter and mistake one of them for Kirk. They soon find out that there are Klingons on board and ask Worf why they look so different. He admits that they are indeed Klingons but refuses to talk about it stating that they ‘do not discuss it with outsiders’. Soon, a fight breaks out between Checkov, Scotty and a Klingon after the Klingon insults the Enterprise in front of it’s Chief Engineer. Joining in, the four find themselves mixing it up with the group when Darvin arrives unexpectedly. The fight is soon over as Starfleet security also arrives and both Julian and Miles are apprehended.
After being dressed down by Kirk himself, the two continue their mission when they run into several tribbles. Meanwhile, Odo and Worf beam Darvin aboard the Defiant where he is shocked that they would arrest one of the greatest heroes of the Klingon Empire. He informs them that his plan is already in motion and that Kirk’s death will result from an explosive tribble sometime in the next hour. Dax and Sisko head to the main bridge to conduct a scan of the ship to find out if the Tribble-bomb is on board. It is when McCoy arrives on the bridge that Jadzia remembers him from when she was Emony Dax where she…had a social call with the good Doctor. Determining that the bomb is not aboard the ship, they inform the other team members that the Tribble-bomb is aboard K-7.
Scanning every tribble aboard the station, Odo and team find themselves running out of time but the tribbles keep multiplying preventing any search efforts. Sisko and Dax realize that it is likely the bomb will be in Kirk’s path and decide to start following his movements. They soon realize that the bomb will be aboard one of the storage compartments on K-7 and soon beam over to find out where it is. Soon they find piles of dead tribbles, killed by the poisoned grain with the bomb in their midst. Finding the bomb, Sisko and Dax have the Defiant beam it into space where it explodes doing no harm on board the station. History continues as normal with Kirk finding out about Darvin and soon they find a way home but not before Sisko takes the time to meet Kirk for only a moment.
Satisfied with Sisko’s report, the agents leave without knowing that somehow tribbles were brought back from the past, effectively reintroducing the species to the future.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is one of my favorite episodes of the series, and I never get tired of it no matter how many times I have seen it. While it does not have any lasting ramifications (that we know of) for the rest of the series it is a wonderful tribute to the 30th anniversary of Star Trek and does a tremendous job honoring the original series. Seeing that The Trouble With Tribbles is possibly the most famous and well know episodes of the original run, I can’t think of a better episode for them to honor in this way.
When I first saw this episode I was blown away with the level of detail and camera magic they used to blend the two series. Many of the scenes are indistinguishable from the original and are utterly convincing. I particularly liked how they brought the classic aesthetics into canon by having Jadzia comment on the ship’s design and style. Seeing that Jadzia’s Dax symbiote has a host back then, it is no surprise how excited she was to essentially revisit her past.
One thing that I really loved was their non-explanation for the difference between the Original series Klingons and the Klingons in the modern era. By making it a personal matter to Worf and his people, it was a brilliant way to close the gap on the budget minded makeup of the 60’s and the updated look that first appeared in Star Trek the Motion Picture. Unfortunately, the writers of the later series, Enterprise, felt in necessary to further explain this using augmentation viruses and such that seems to have let to yet another alteration of the Klingon people in Star Trek Discovery.
All in all, this is one of the best stand alone episodes of the series and certainly a standout of Season 5 providing a nice dive into nostalgia with a heavy dose of humor along with it. Dark times are ahead for the crew of Deep Space Nine so enjoy these lighthearted episodes while you can.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- The Klingon Empire obliterated the Tribble Homeworld. This explains why we have not seen one in a while.
- How did no one notice a tribble-bomb exploding outside of the space station?
- While the Tribbles have been reintroduced to the 24th century, we never see them again in this timeline.
- Dax never gets a chance to see young Koloth much to her dismay. I have to wonder what she would have said to the classic Klingon Captain.
- The agents casually refers to a 6th Enterprise. It is unknown if this is a reference to NX-01 or NCC-1701-E which would appear on the big screen only a few weeks after this episode aired.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Let He Who Is Without Sin…
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Late To The Game 11/06/2021 (Originally published 10/18/2019)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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