Episode 44 – TOS 2×15: “The Trouble with Tribbles”

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So as a heads-up, we don’t care what anyone thinks (up to and including Gene Roddenberry, who may or may not have despised it): this episode is comedy gold.

In this week’s among-the-most-famous and most universally-beloved episode, the Enterprise is summoned to space station K-7 by a Priority One distress call, but when it arrives, it turns out that the emergency in question was… xenophobia. There’s some strategically-super-important grain being stored on the station, and guess who’s hanging around near the station? Klingons. Apparently the bureaucrat in charge of protecting the wheat got jumpy and, well, jumped the gun, using a distress signal meant for imminent disaster.

Kirk, as you might imagined, is not impressed to discover that he hauled ass for… uh, wheat.

Kirk in the station manager's office
The real source of Kirk’s ire: his little-known, but severe, gluten intolerance.











Also hanging around on the station is this guy:

Cyrano Jones
Cyrano Jones: purveyor of fine perfumes, exotic curiosities, and ecological disasters.











Cyrano Jones is a trader, and today he’s on Station K-7 trading, let’s face it, the cutest animals in the universe: tribbles. They’re soft, they induce feelings of calm and happiness, and even Spock admits that they make “a pleasing sound.” They’re basically guaranteed to take off as the Most Popular Pet for space-faring humanoids – at least, Uhura thinks so, because she acquires one (As a gift, for marketing, because she’s a communicator. Get it? GET IT?) and takes it back to the ship with her.

Where – as you probably guessed – something goes horribly wrong.

The Enterprise bridge, overrun by tribbles.
Uhura, being super-cute, deserves to be surrounded by things that are equally super-cute. The tribbles were honestly the only candidates.












The tribbles start breeding out of control and eating everything. By the time the crew realizes that the tribble infestation might have started on the station, it’s too late: the tribbles have gotten into the super-important Space Grain (Quadrotriticale, officially, which comes from Future Canada, heyyyy!). This is bad for… strategy, but gold for comedy, because it gives us this scene:

Kirk in a tribble pile-up.
I knew it was going to be a bad day when it started with a wheat emergency.











Honestly, does the rest of it even matter?

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