January 31, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Weekend Trek “Trials And Tribble-ations”

The crew of the Defiant have to sneak around a Starbase to preserve the timeline when they find themselves in an episode of the original series.

Honestly, as I have been working my way through Deep Space Nine, there was one episode I was really looking forward to.  What, in a series about an epic space war and renowned for being the most morally complex series Star Trek ever produced, would I want to see more than any other?

Easy.  This one, where the cast had themselves more or less inserted into a classic episode of the original series.

Essentially, this is a lighthearted episode where actor Charlie Brill, who played a Klingon infiltrator in the original episode, reprised the role in a scheme where he was being transported somewhere with one of the Bajorans’ sacred orbs, one that allows for time travel, and he uses it in an attempt change history and save his honor and reputation by killing Captain Kirk with an explosive Tribble.  The crew of the Defiant then need to go undercover to find the Tribble before Kirk dies.  That means old timey Starfleet uniforms for Sisko, Dax, O’Brien, and Bashir while Worf and Odo go in more standard civilian garb.  Naturally, they succeed but they sure do have a lot of mishaps along the way.  It makes sense.  “The Trouble with Tribbles” was a comedic episode, and so is the Deep Space Nine crossover.

With that said, let’s get the obvious out of the way first:  the splicing scenes still look pretty good, but they aren’t quite perfect.  They probably played better on something over than the 4K set I have, but the characters don’t quite fit into some of the scenes they were spliced into.  But if I let shoddy effects affect my enjoyment of TV and movies, then I would have a lot more problems, and these effects aren’t even shoddy so much as they aren’t 100% flawless.  More like 98%.

As for the rest of the episode, Brill only appears a couple times, but he sets the tone early, leading to a bit where the others make Worf insecure by suggesting he smells like lilac to them (Dax declines to join in because she has her own ways of messing with Worf).  The episode isn’t above commenting on the tropes and style of the original show, such as when Dax notes the women wore their hair up and while wearing less as a uniform, and Dax does pull off the mini-skirt look rather well.  O’Brien and Bashir mostly don’t seem to know how to use the older equipment they’ve been issued.  And Worf, when asked why the Klingons look so human, simply says it’s not something discussed by outsiders.

As for individual bits, they’re also a good deal of comedic gold.  Bashir worries he may have met his great-grandmother, and he may have to become his great-grandfather.  O’Brien gets dressed down by Kirk at one point, and he, Bashir, Odo, and Worf all assume Chekov is Kirk.  The barroom brawl that Scotty initiates has everyone but Odo leaping into the fray with a different kind of background music, and Worf seems to relish smacking around some Klingons.  He and Odo slip out when security shows up, hence O’Brien’s getting dressed down by Kirk.

As for Dax and Sisko onboard the Enterprise, Dax really wants to say hello to a lot of people since she knew a lot of them in various past lives.  She had a fling with McCoy before he became a Doctor, finds Spock sexy, and she wouldn’t mind saying hello to her old pal Koloth, the Klingon captain from that episode and one memorable Deep Space Nine episode.  Sisko wouldn’t mind speaking to Kirk, but he knows that’s a bad idea, especially since the generally humorless Department of Temporal Investigations will be interviewing him later, and that is the framing device for the episode.  So even though Sisko does slip in to see Kirk under the auspices of getting a duty roster signed, it turns out the Temporal Investigation guys will even admit that, yeah, at least one of them would have done the same thing.

Best not to mention that Quark’s is now full of Tribbles.

This was a fun episode, and Wikipedia tells me that it was actually an expensive one since they knew they’d have to pay the actors from the original episode for the uses of their images, and I’d guess they only really changed the background music for that reason.  Apparently, the producers only reached out to Leonard Nimoy to ask if he’d mind, and Nimoy was not only enthusiastic for the episode, he wondered why they hadn’t done something like it before.  All of which tells me something that, quite frankly, I think I already knew:  Leonard Nimoy was probably the coolest guy on the cast, and despite the fact he spend years trying to distance himself from Spock, to let people know he wasn’t just Spock, he sure did become a great representative for the franchise.

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