Star Trek: Season 2, Episode 15

The Trouble with Tribbles (29 Dec. 1967)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 9.0/10 from 1,459 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 6 critic

To protect a space station with a vital grain shipment, Kirk must deal with Federation bureaucrats, a Klingon battle cruiser and a peddler who sells furry, purring, hungry little creatures as pets.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Edwin Reimers ...
Admiral Fitzpatrick (as Ed Reimers)
Charlie Brill ...
Paul Baxley ...
David L. Ross ...
Lt. Galloway (as David Ross)


Having received a Priority One distress call from an outlying space station, the Enterprise arrives to find they have been summoned there by a Federation commissioner merely to protect a shipment of seeds meant to sow wheat on Sherman's planet. The planet is also coveted by the Klingons, who are taking shore leave at the station. The trouble arises with tribbles - small furry creatures that seem to multiply without end. However, their fortuitous presence reveals both a problem with the wheat and a traitor on the space station. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

29 December 1967 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Writer David Gerrold tried to pitch a sequel to this episode during the third season. But producer Fred Freiberger rejected it because he did not like the comedic tone of this episode. Gerrold's idea eventually became an animated spin-off, Star Trek: The Animated Series: More Tribbles, More Troubles (1973). See more »


In the final scene Kirk is inquiring as to what has become of the Tribbles and is alarmed to think that Scottie may have beamed them into space to which Scottie, appalled by that assumption, answers, "Captain Kirk, that would be inhuman!" But with it being well known at this point that Klingons HATE Tribbles - and vice-versa, it should be obvious to all that the Klingons would destroy all of the Tribbles as quickly as possible. So beaming them into space may well have been the more humane thing to do. See more »


Capt. Kirk: Bones, what've you got for a headache?
Dr. McCoy: Let me guess, the Klingons. Baris.
Capt. Kirk: Both.
See more »

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User Reviews

Tribbles and Klingons - a Match Made in Trek Heaven
13 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is perhaps the most famous episode of the original Trek series and with good reason - it's also the most entertaining. I consider this part of an elite triad of superlative Trek episodes, along with "The City on the Edge of Forever" and "Mirror,Mirror." The first, "City...," is the serious one, even grim, with the time travel angle which became such a staple in all the Trek series. "Mirror..." represents the fantastic journey to other dimensions, beyond merely space travel or time travel, an ultimate adventure. And "Tribbles" is the comedy. There weren't too many intentionally amusing episodes of the original series, less than a handful. This one knocked it out of the park.

It's well known now for introducing Tribbles to our culture - that and their unexpected ability to bring out the worst in Klingons, the best-known alien species in Trek. The fuzzy things spawned a cottage industry within Trek: writer Gerrold published a book devoted just to this episode; there was a sequel in the animated series in '73; and, most impressively, a sly remake/follow-up "Trials and Tribble-ations" during the Deep Space Nine series, very clever and almost as entertaining (no surprise it's my favorite DS9 episode). But, it's not the Tribbles which make this original episode so amusing. Rather, it's the canny take on some previously established lore involving future bureaucracy in the Federation and private missions of starship captains. We've all seen Kirk go off on his personal vendettas before and also being lectured by admirals to follow orders. Here, the mundane, the banal, is thrust upon him: instead of being allowed to explore the galaxy in the grandest tradition, he's forced to guard a bunch of wheat.

It's a farce, Trek style. I could see Nimoy(Spock), usually standing slightly behind Kirk, struggling to contain himself in the face of Kirk's predicament throughout this episode. All of a sudden, these two are the Abbott & Costello of Starfleet and, boy, do I laugh a lot during those A&C movies. The tempo, the pacing and the timing in this episode is brilliant, just flawless, with the actors all rising to the occasion. When you think it can't get better, the script throws in a literal acknowledgment of Roddenberry's original concept - a 'Wagon Train to the stars' - the bar fight or the saloon brawl. The scene of Scotty & Chekov enduring Klingon insults and finally reaching that breaking point is some kind of glorious epitome in striving for first class Trek entertainment.

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