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Season Five:
-503: "Trials and Tribble-ations"
-506: "Things Past"
-508: "Rapture"
-511: "For the Uniform"
-520: "Children of Time"
-523: "In the Cards"

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Trials and Tribble-ations

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season Five (1996-1997):

26 episodes @ 43 minutes each.
Get your copy of this 7-disc DVD set from the links below:
Region 1, NTSC, U.S.
Region 1, NTSC, Canada
Region 2, PAL, U.K.
Region 2, PAL, U.K. (Slimline Edition)

Trials and Tribble-ations

(Star Trek - Deep Space Nine episode production code 503)
story by Ira Steven Behr, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, & Hans Beimler
teleplay by Ronald D. Moore & René Echevarria

For the most part, Star Trek's usual dichotomy is on display in this fun-filled fan favourite episode: On-screen events all conform to good time travel theory, while the dialogue indicates that the characters (and probably the writers) have no clue what good time travel theory is.

But this story goes a bit further than most in taking Starfleet's usual concept of time and characterizing it in ways that the audience is encouraged to poke fun at. I must say, I don't mind that at all.

It does this most obviously through the two officials from Starfleet Temporal Investigations, played by two actors with some excellent dead-pan comic timing. Indeed, the fact that they think they could just sit there, and suddenly "be living in an alternate timeline right now", is completely ludicrous.... nicely the sentiment of the scene's tone helps frame it that way, keeping us all on side, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

Doctor Bashir also has a humorous theory about becoming his own great-grandfather in a "pre-destination paradox" at one point, also played for laughs as it should be.

The standard DVD season five box set
features Trials and Tribble-ations along with:
  • "Uniting Two Legends" making-of featurette
    (17 min.), with René Auberjonois (Odo),
    Michael Dorn (Worf), Terry Farrell (Dax),
    Charlie Brill (Arne Darvin),
    Alexander Siddig El Fadil (Dr. Bashir), executive producers Rick Berman & Ira Steven Behr, and
    writers Ronald D. Moore and René Echevarria.
  • "An Historic Endeavor" production featurette
    (16 min.), with Berman, Behr, Moore, Farrell,
    production designer Herman Zimmerman, visual effects coordinator Gary Hutzel, illustrator Doug Drexler, & scenic art supervisor Michael Okuda.

On a more serious and dramatic note, the characters do exaggerate the actual stakes. Time and history are never really in danger of being re-written or altered here. The biggest temporal danger is simply that the Defiant and her passengers may end up on an alternate line of history to the one they are comfortable with, and wind up getting lost in parallel/branching universes. Our villain Arne Darvin seems to be operating under a false assumption as well. Even if he succeeds in killing Kirk and begins to witness a new history unfold in this line of time, that won't magically change the history in the parallel/branching universe that spawned him, and he will still be a disgraced Klingon operative who has helped spare his double from a similar fate. As always, his choices for making a better life for himself are totally in his present.

Thankfully, there are more tangible and undeniable stakes at play here as well. No one wants to see any version of Kirk meet a premature death, and going after the older Arne Darvin is totally something that the Defiant crew can take responsibility for, since they ended up bringing him here. So, even with a more elegant view of time in place, one's emotional investment in the plot remains strong.

Most of all, this is just so much darned fun seeing the Deep Space Nine crew "Forrest Gumped" into a favourite 1960's episode of Star Trek, and featuring much of the interaction between the crews of both ships that fans dreamed about. In fact, the meeting of Sisko and Kirk here satisfies much more so than that of Picard and Kirk in the 7th feature "Generations". Perhaps Dax gushes just a bit too much on occasion, but on the whole this is quite a good and satisfying episode for the fans. Also, considering that so many of these early season five DS9 episodes seemed to be abandoning the pursuit of humans bettering themselves and improving their ideals, and were instead settling for examining old status quo conditions while engaging in territorial battles, this episode marked a refreshing break, and gave DS9 a good boost just when it seemed to need it most.

(The episodes
"Things Past" and "Children of Time" can now be found on their own pages.)

This Deep Space Nine Season Five story is available on DVD.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the desired disc format and location nearest you for pricing and availability:

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season Five (1996-1997):

26 episodes @ 43 minutes each.

Get your copy of this 7-disc DVD set
from the links below:

DVD Extras include:

  • Crew Dossier featurette: O'Brien
  • Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends
  • Tribble-ations: A Historic Endeavor
  • "Section 31" episode featurettes
  • promenade tour revealing secrets
  • Michael Westmore's Aliens
  • Photo Gallery

Region 1 NTSC

Region 1 NTSC

Region 2 PAL

PAL (Slimline Ed.)

Article written by Martin Izsak. Comments on this article are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

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Read the next Star Trek review: "Things Past"

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