The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Trials and Tribble-ations

Whilst transporting the Orb of Time back from Cardassia, the Defiant finds itself sent back to the 23rd century, to the time of one Captain James T Kirk. With a rogue Klingon agent on course to kill Kirk and alter history, Sisko and crew must try to foil the plot – all the while trying to preserve the timeline, and deal with an infestation of tribbles!

For Star Trek’s 30th anniversary, two very special episodes were produced. One was Voyager’s Flashback, which we will get to in due course. The other, and arguably the superior, was this episode – an homage to TOS’ The Trouble With Tribbles. Arne Davin, the surgically altered Klingon agent who was foiled by Kirk, decides to go back in time and exact his revenge, and whilst the framing story is a bit tenuous, it does allow for a highly entertaining episode. Using a mix of original footage, recreated sets and digital editing, Sisko and the others are inserted into the original episode, with many a nod and a wink to long-time fans of the franchise. Basically, if you don’t enjoy this episode, you probably shouldn’t be watching Star Trek.

Klingon factbox

  • According to Worf, the ‘smooth-headed’ condition of 23rd century Klingons is not something that they discuss with outsiders. Enterprise season four would attempt to explain it, but can we really accept Enterprise as canon? Must we?
  • Klingons hate tribbles so much that they went to the tribble homeworld and eradicated them all. This action is presumably undone when the Defiant brings a bunch of tribbles back to the 24th century.

Easter eggs

  • Arne Darvin pretends to be a trader in kevas and trillium. Spock pretended to be trading these goods in Errand of Mercy.
  • Both Dax and Spock’s calculate the same total number of tribbles present by the end of the episode.
  • Although most footage is taken from The Trouble With Tribbles, Sisko’s meeting with Kirk is from Mirror, Mirror, where Kirk first met the prime Marlena Moreau after encountering her in the mirror universe.
  • Bashir says “I’m a doctor, not an historian”, in homage to McCoy’s catchphrase.
  • The temporal investigators are called “Dulmer” and “Luclsy”, anagrams of The X-Files’ Mulder and Scully.
  • Sisko wishes he could ask Kirk about fighting the Gorn on Cestus III – as seen in Arena.

Other points

  • Emony Dax apparently met McCoy whilst judging a gymnastics competition on Earth – Jadzia remarks that “he had the hands of a surgeon”. This would place Emony on Earth in the mid 2240s, since he had not yet gone to medical. We know that Curzon was joined with the Dax symbiont in the late 2280s, which gives a period of 40 years to cover Emony’s death, and the joined lives of Audrid, Torias and Joran. If we assume that Emony was old when she went to Earth (she was, after all, judging rather than competing), then, given that Torias and Joran were both joined for a matter of months, this gives Audrid a respectable few decades of being joined.
  • Bashir says that O’Brien must have surely studied elementary temporal mechanics at the Academy, forgetting that O’Brien never went to the academy.
  • We’ve never seen the Department of Temporal Investigations during any other time travel episode. Either they’ve been lurking off screen up until now, or they were only recently created – probably as a response to all the time travel shenanigans that took place aboard the Enterprise and Enterprise-D.
  • Dulmur and Lucsly claim that there have been six Enterprises, which covers the original and A through E. The NX-01 is rightly ignored (mainly because it wasn’t retconned into the timeline yet).

Summary – Trials and Tribble-ations: “Do they still sing songs about the Great Tribble Hunt?”

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