Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 5 Episode 6

Trials and Tribble-ations

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Nov 04, 1996 on Syndicado
out of 10
User Rating
248 votes

By Users

Episode Summary



While returning to Deep Space Nine with the Bajoran Orb of Time, the crew is thrown back to the 23rd Century. They must infiltrate the original Starship Enterprise in order to stop an undercover Klingon from assassinating the legenday Captain James T. Kirk.

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  • "I lied to Captain Kirk! I wish Keiko could have been there to see it"

    If there is one episode of Star Trek that can be called the greatest technology achievement of the franchise, it's this one, the brainchild of DS9 writer Ren Echevarria. Yet it's not the special effects that make it such a beloved part of the Star Trek canon; it's the episode's heart. Just as "All Good Things", the TNG finale, celebrates the TNG series and captures the spirit of its entire run in one episode, "Trials and Tribble-ations" is a celebration of the original series; a love letter to the fans that not only captures the feel of the Kirk era but also the charm. Part of the reason for this is simple: if you're going to revisit one classic Star Trek episode, choosing "The Trouble with Tribbles" is a no brainer. It's the most famous and fun of them all and has a near universal appeal. Throw in some new optical effects (which would later be done for all the episodes of the original series) and it opens the door for the best kind of nostalgia trip; where everything seems bigger and better than it really was. It might not be the original series as people knew it in the 1960s, but it's how we want to remember it.

    Striking just the balance of old footage, new footage, and a hybrid between the two, the episode surpasses "Forest Gump" by avoiding the temptation of using the "Gump" technology as a gimmick, instead incorporating most of the "Gump" like footage into the plot (such that there is). And while the story is hardly perfect in terms of plotting and pacing (which is to be expected, considering the constraints of a tale of this nature) it serves its purpose, which is really just to serve as a clothesline to hang some gags on. Assembled together, the various scenes effectively create the illusion that we really have stepped into Star Trek's past, with the original Enterprise crewmembers acknowledging the presence of the Deep Space Nine characters just enough times to make us feel like one of the DS9ers could walk up to Jim Kirk or Mr. Spock and interact with them. (Well, actually --- let's just say that "Lieutenant" Sisko pays off the whole premise by doing just what every fan of the original series would do in his place).

    It's the result of a behind the scenes crew pouring more work into a Star Trek episode than ever before, chasing down details to make sure all the elements work so perfectly together, they all disappear in the story, essentially covering their own tracks. I could tell you that they used old style camera lenses, lighting, and film stock. Or that they manufactured perfect facsimiles of Enterprise interiors, complete with vintage wall intercoms, turbolift controls, and blinking lights. I could even mention that they found some original Klingon uniforms stored away in a box, which saved the worried costume designer from having to duplicate their unique look. But really, none of this is necessary to know to enjoy the episode. As fans, we need just sit down, watch, and enjoy stepping into Star Trek's past with our DS9 friends; laughing with Chief O'Brien while taking a ride with him on an old style turbolift, ducking for cover with Dr. Bashir during an old school fistfight with the Klingons, and marveling along with Sisko and Dax as Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock suddenly walk their way. And if we notice David Gerrold, the writer of the original Tribbles episode, in one of his "Gump" style cameos, so much the better. (Check him out as the gray-haired man who passes Sisko and Dax when the Enterprise goes to red alert). In the end, "Trials and Tribble-ations" is not about new computer technologies or even the hard work of the behind the scenes team, but what they each achieve together. There might be better Star Trek episodes than this one, but when it comes to nostalgia and magic, "Tribble ations" towers over the rest, standing out as one of the great wonders of television. It's an amazing confluence of two generations and, by allowing us to live vicariously through the DS9 characters, about the closest most of us will ever get to really visiting the Enterprise.moreless
  • the powers brothers from George Lopaz

    the 2 guys investigating at the beginning of the show on ds9
  • A great Story

    I love this story! One of my all time Star Trek (any series) favorites! I happened to read and interview with David Gerrold who mentioned making several cameo appearances in this episode. I've spotted him at least 5 times. Near the middle when O'Brien and Bashir walk out of the meeting room and they look down the corridor and in the lower right hand is a white haired gentleman playing with a Tribble on the floor. That's David Gerrold! And he is playing with one of the original Tribbles made for the original Tribble Story!

    Great Acting and of course the wink wink, nudge nudge of using classic lines from the original series. And one of my favorite inside jokes was O'Brien mistaking that one guy for Capt Kirk. That actor in that original scene was Bill Shatners Body Double for the show.

    I loved how the Old Scenes would overlap the newer ones! Great technology! Unlike the technology of old, used in various movies or tv shows where the actors are obviously acting in front of a green screen or whatever color they used. I heard they started out with blue screens.

    I have this story on VHS. I actually prefer to buying single episodes because I don't like ALL of the stories of ANY of the series. But I guess the producers are more concerned with how to make the most money.

    I also love how CAREFUL they are not to alter time! Unlike some pathetic little TV show overseas and a certain disgrace of a movie written by a moron who knows nothing about how to write good science fiction stories!moreless
  • A unique meeting of captains.

    This had to be one of my favorite Star Trek episodes. It had a great story to it and I think everything was so well placed that it came off almost flawless. I thought that it was really cool to see Sisko's crew meet the crew of the original Enterprise. I liked the interaction and how the crew almost altered history. The acting was really good and I thought that they blended in well with the old crew. I have to say that the make up artists did a wonderful job of making everything look like it was back in the past. This was a very memorable episode and is a classic one. Thank you.moreless
  • A love letter to the original series, and a hilarious romp all around.

    This wasn't the first tribute to the original series - TNG had a bunch of them. But there's no comparison - this one towers over its predecessors. It's as if the actors, producers, writers, and everyone else got together and said, "If we're going to do this, LET'S DO IT RIGHT."

    Obviously the seamless integration of the two sets of footage - from the 90s and from the 60s - makes it all possible. But the writing is particularly witty and clever too, with gag after hilarious gag. If I had to pick a particular favorite, I'd have to say it's Odo and Worf's discussion of "the great tribble hunt".

    Ultimately it's not an episode that bears much on the rest of the series, but nevertheless it is among the best that DS9 produced.moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

Lt./Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax (Season 1-6)

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt. Commander Worf (Season 4-7)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Jack Blessing

Jack Blessing


Guest Star

Charlie Brill

Charlie Brill

Arne Darvin

Guest Star

Deirdre Imershein

Deirdre Imershein

Lt. Watley

Guest Star

Mark Allen Shepherd

Mark Allen Shepherd

Morn (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (17)

    • The names of temporal investigators Lucsly and Dulmer are anagrams for X-Files characters Scully and Mulder.

    • Nitpick: Apparently, the "Orb of Time" can not only send people back in time, it can also send them over 200 light years distance away!

    • All the uniformed officers from DS9 change their uniform colours to fit in, except for Dr Bashir, who stays in blue. Sisko changes to gold and O'Brien and Dax change to red.

    • Nitpick: It's rather odd that during Sisko's conversation with Dulmer and Lucsly, no one ever brings up Sisko and his crew's previous trip through time in "Past Tense", which did contaminate the timeline.

    • Goof: In the turbolift scene, when Lt. Watley leaves, an extra walks in from the left. However, before they fully enter, you can see a hand reach out from off the screen and hold them briefly, then lets them go.

    • Nitpick: In episode after episode, we see people leave a docked ship, go through the promenade and use the promenade turbolifts to get to Ops or the habitat ring. Good thing the temporal investigators don't do that here, or else they would have found the promenade filled with tribbles!

    • Nitpick: After Bashir and O'Brien meet the officer Bashir thinks could be his great-grandmother in the turbolift, Julian turns to Miles and says "Didn't you take Elementary Temporal Mechanics at the Academy?!", implying that he attended. Miles doesn't answer. Chief Miles O'Brien is a non-commissioned officer and thus didn't attend Starfleet Academy.

    • Then, when Kirk speaks to Barris over the radio to and Dax comments about Spock, Kirk's conversation is much longer than the Original Series version. Listen in the background: Barris is complaining about the Klingons, but some of his dialogue is taken from later in the Original Series episode, when Barris is actually complaining about Cyrano Jones. If you listen closely, you can hear Kirk ask if Barris is talking about Jones.

    • Goof: When Sisko and Dax are working in the hallway and Kirk and Spock walk by, the panel they are working on is to the right of its position in the original episode.

    • The first time we see Odo in the cafe, he watches Chekov and Uhura enter and go to the bar. On The Original Series, Kirk and Spock were leaving the cafe and encountered Chekov and Uhura coming in. The four had a brief conversation before the captain left and Chekov and Uhura continued to the bar. Deep Space Nine adds the 'door-woosh' to imply Chekov and Uhura just entered.

    • Nitpick: Three officers in Kirk's lineup are different than in The Original Series. Two are O'Brien and Bashir. The officer to Bashir's left has turned from a blue-shirted black guy in The Original Series to a taller blue-shirted white guy. Obviously this was done to facilitate adding the main characters to this clever scene, but it is an alteration of the timeline and makes one wonder what happened to the three officers from the original timeline.

    • Goof: When the shot of the lineup changes to a closeup of O'Brien, a table and chair visible in the Original Series version are missing in the Deep Space Nine additions.

    • When Kirk dismisses the officers, in the original episode they all walk out quickly in a row, including Chekov, who is right on the heels of the guy in front of him. On Deep Space Nine, O'Brien is right in front of Chekov. O'Brien and Bashir enter the hall and begin to walk away, and several seconds pass before Chekov is seen leaving the room.

    • Nitpick: When Dax and Sisko are on the bridge, Kirk summons McCoy to complain about the tribbles. The Deep Space Nine version cuts several lines of dialogue, including all the input from Uhura in the original episode. In fact, in The Original Series, Kirk asks Uhura how they got on the ship, but on Deep Space Nine he asks this to McCoy.

    • Nitpick: When Bashir is searching the cafe for the bomb, the bartender is seen in the background covered in tribbles. This shot was taken from the end of the original episode, meaning it occurs much later in the timeline, unless the bartender was sitting like that for several hours without bothering to move.

    • Nitpick: Dax and Sisko surmise they should stay close to Kirk as the best way to find the bomb. Next we see them, they are in the rec room waiting for Kirk to show up. How did they know he was going to walk into the rec room at that time? This is especially interesting to note since, if we extrapolate events using the Original Series episode, when Dax suggested staying near Kirk, the captain was on the space station at the time!

    • Nitpick: Surprisingly, the Enterprise, K-7 and the Klingon ship all fail to detect the explosion of the tribble-bomb. Appearantly they also miss the Defiant decloaking to beam the bomb off the station. The Enterprise also fails to detect the Defiant when it first arrives and Darvin beams off.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Odo: (The agents from the office of Temporal Investigation leave) Did you tell them?
      Sisko: They didn't ask. (pauses) I'm open to suggestions, people.
      Dax: We could... build another station. (camera pans out to reveal that the promenade is covered with Tribbles)

    • Worf: They were once considered mortal enemies of the Klingon Empire.
      Odo: (holds up tribble) This, a mortal enemy of the Empire?
      Worf: They were an ecological menace! A plague that had to be wiped out!
      Odo: Wiped out? What're you saying?
      Worf: Hundreds of warriors were sent to track them down throughout the galaxy. An armada obliterated the tribbles' home world. By the end of the twenty-third century, they were eradicated.
      Odo: Another glorious chapter in Klingon history. Tell me, do they still sing songs about the great tribble hunt?

    • O'Brien: (standing at a panel) I'm afraid to touch anything. It's all cross-circuited and patched together - I can't make heads or tails of it.
      Bashir: Sounds like one of your repair jobs.

    • Bashir: (Bashir noticing Sisko and O'Brien wearing the old era uniforms) Aren't you two wearing the wrong color?
      O'Brien: Don't you know anything about this time period?
      Bashir: I'm a doctor, not a historian!
      Sisko: In the old days, operations officers wore red and command officers the gold.
      Jadzia: And women wore less. (models her outfit)
      Bashir: I think I'm going to like history!

    • Bashir: (talking about Worf) I rather like the way you smell.
      O'Brien: Kind of a... peaty, earthy aroma.
      Bashir: With just a touch of lilac.

    • Jadzia: I guess you boys from Temporal Investigations are always on time.

    • Jadzia: (Seeing Kirk and Spock in the corridor) I had no idea.
      Sisko: What?
      Jadzia: He's so much more handsome in person. Those eyes.
      Sisko: Kirk had quite the reputation as a ladies man.
      Jadzia: Not him - Spock!

  • NOTES (17)


    • Sisko: ...about fighting the Gorn on Cestus III.

      This is a reference to the Original Series episode "Arena". However, Kirk did not fight the Gorn on Cestus III, he fought him on a Metron planet. (Sisko could, however, be referring to the fire fight at the beginning of that episode but it seems unlikely as it was not nearly as notable).

    • Bashir: I'm a doctor, not a historian.
      Bashir's comment is a tip of the hat to DeForest Kelley's 'catch phrase' on the Star Trek: TOS.

    • The X-Files
      The names Dulmer and Lucsly were anagrams of The X-Files characters of Mulder and Scully. This was a show of gratitude to the program and the people behind it.