The Great Star Trek TAS Rewatch: More Trouble, More Tribbles

Kirk in a pile of tribbles

While transporting much-needed food supplies to Sherman’s Planet, the Enterprise runs afoul of a new Klingon weapon when they stop to rescue a smaller ship. Much to Kirk’s dismay, the ship contains one Cyrano Jones and a whole pile of genetically modified non-breeding tribbles. Pretty soon, the tribbles are gorging on the precious food supplies, whilst the Klingons seem hell bent on recovering Jones.

David Gerrold returns to Star Trek to write an animated sequel to his much loved episode The Trouble With Tribbles, and fortunately, the results are pretty decent. In fact, this is easily my favourite TAS episode, and the one I’ve watched the most.

The episode essentially gathers together many of the elements present in the original The Trouble With Tribbles, resulting in a feast of callbacks and in-jokes for TOS fans. Recurring elements include:

  • In The Trouble With Tribbles, the Federation was trying to get quadrotriticale, a form of genetically modified wheat, to Sherman’s Planet. In this episode, the Enterprise is transporting an improved variant – quintotriticale – to that same planet.
  • Cyrano Jones is again trying to peddle both tribbles and Spican flame gems.
  • Scotty repeats his trick of beaming all the tribbles over to the Klingon ship.
  • Klingon captain Koloth is back – and he once again calls Kirk “tin-plated”.
  • Kirk has to deal with tribbles in his captain’s chair, and once again ends up in a pile of tribbles.

Kirk is displaced from his captain's chair by a massive tribbe

While the similarities are enough to entertain and delight, there are also enough original elements to make this a worthy sequel. While Kirk and the crew face off against a new Klingon weapon, they also have to deal with the genetically modified tribbles – these ones may not breed, but they do grow to immense size. The sight of Kirk having to deal with increasingly massive tribbles is certainly an entertaining one.

This episode may be light and fluffy, but it’s also good fun. If you only watch one episode of TAS in your life, make it this one.

Other notes

  • In Trials and Tribble-ations, Worf mentions how the Klingons exterminated the tribbles – perhaps using the genetically engineered tribble predator seen in this episode.
  • It seems a bit cruel to just stand around watching the glommer devour a helpless tribble. Then again, it’s likely the Klingons just beam them into space, so a tribble’s fate is unlikely to ever be a happy one.

Summary – More Trouble, More Tribbles: May all your tribbles be little ones.

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