Review: Star Trek: Short Treks 202 “The Trouble with Edward”
Star Trek fans have been treated to a variety of great episodes that usually fall into two categories: serious or comical. For every “ The Best of Both Worlds,” there’s a “The Trouble with Tribbles.” For every First Contact, there’s the one with the whales. This duality shows how effective Star Trek can be in the right hands no matter the tone. We’re happy to report that the latest Short Treks, called “The Trouble with Edward,” firmly fits into the list of great Star Trek episodes in the comedy category.
Making his first Star Trek appearance is H. Jon Benjamin, whose voice is immediately recognizable to any Archer, Bob’s Burgers, or Family Guy fans. He plays the titular character Edward Larkin, a, shall we say, strange protein specialist onboard the USS Cabot. Joining Benjamin in her debut Star Trek appearance is the charming Rosa Salazar (of Alita Battle Angel fame) as the newly promoted Captain Lynne Lucero, formerly of the USS Enterprise. Thanks to Larkin’s, ah… motivated scientific efforts, Tribbles break out on the Cabot and threaten to overrun the ship and its crew.
This is a perfect setup for the confines of the 15-minute runtime. The plot is well-paced, with tight direction and an appropriately limited scope. Within minutes, Lucero is identified as a go-getting rising officer, who can be delightful and personable, yet disciplinary when she needs to be. Likewise, Benjamin uses his veteran comedic chops to excels as the odd and awkwardly funny scientist, stealing the show whenever he is on screen.
Memorializing a Star Trek topic as revered as Tribbles is no small task, and like previous Tribble episodes, the reason why “The Trouble with Edwards” works is because it doesn’t take itself seriously. The audience is totally in on the joke, and are sure to laugh at some of the dry humor injected in the episode by the lovable animals. Tribbles are seen terrorizing the crew, which normally might be terrifying, but in reality you’ll likely stifle a laugh. A tidal wave of Tribbles devours their, ah, father… which is something older episodes would never have been able to accomplish. And who can resist the allure of that tasty Tribble meat? They are like scallops, after all. It’s all great stuff.
Taken together, “The Trouble with Edward” provides some fantastic fan service, especially considering this episode provides the real reason why Tribbles multiply so fiercely. More broadly, it’s a gold standard for pacing, scope, and quality for what Short Treks can be.
- The budget for this episode seemed higher than previous Short Treks, with some glorious establishing shots of the Enterprise and the Cabot. It’s wonderful stuff.
- In case you’re wondering if we’ve seen the type of ship the Cabot is (Magee-class), the answer is yes – the U.S.S. Shran in the Battle of the Binary Stars.
- Even considering the episode’s conclusion, hopefully we’ll see Edward Larkin again. And more realistically, hopefully we’ll see more of Lynne Lucero. Both are excellent characters worthy of revisiting.
- Hey look it’s Captain Pi… and he’s gone.
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Mateusz R. Orzech
October 13, 2019 at 3:44 pm
“provides the real reason why Tribbles multiply so fiercely” – which is weird considering they already multiplied fiercely back in ENT, before the events depicted here. Plus (I repost my comment from other website) I think it all gets too Earth-centric:
– war between Klingons and the Federation was caused by humans
– time travel/red angels found by/are humans
– A.I. that would destroy all the life in the universe was created by humans
– current Klingon rulers were chosen by humans
– and now the cause of tribbles appearing in the territory of Klingon Empire (and cause of trbbles reproduction) are also humans.
I prefer when we are finding new and awe-inspiring things, the unknown in the space, not finding out that we are the cause of everything. There are other forms of intelligence in the universe to paraphrase Spock.
Also the captain of this short was almost as bad as Larkin and for me – and I see that for many others too – was completely unlikeable character. While there were some good laughs here (mostly forced through weird behavior of various characters, not only Larkin’s) I consider this short to be worst thing made since the start of DIS.
November 8, 2019 at 8:14 am
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November 9, 2019 at 6:39 am
Actually, the Tribbles seen in the Discovery short were called “Tribleustes ventricosus,”
while the ones on Enterprise were called “polygeminus grex,” which would indicate a separate species. Also, the ones in the short reproduced at a rate even faster than previous iterations of Tribbles showcased on other ST series.
Mateusz R. Orzech
November 11, 2019 at 6:40 pm
OK, I stand corrected on this point. That’s a nice bit of information, thanks.
November 12, 2019 at 1:56 pm
No problem, dude. We’re all ST fans here.
October 14, 2019 at 3:15 am
I thought this captain was immature and horrid. She made jokes at the expense of Edward in front of their crew, with everyone laughing (you can’t just transfer someone in biology into climatology – that was nuts!) and instead of opening up a conversation to Edward about their interpersonal conflict she just announced “you’ve been transferred, end of conversation”. With no opportunity to hear him out or treat him with any respect – “he’s just a massive weirdo – hilarious!”. I did not like her at all and this episode casually abandoned ship to destroy a world and full evacuation of its civilians was pretty out-of-tune for how humanity was supposed to have evolved to be better (at least eject the warp core?!).
October 27, 2019 at 6:16 am
it just wasn’t written as star trek. it was written as an episode of red dwarf, but with a trek setting.
October 14, 2019 at 7:08 am
The number of inconsistencies with Star Trek canon annoyed me so much that I could not enjoy this Short Trek. A real shame, I loved Rosa Salazar in Battle Angel Alita.
October 27, 2019 at 6:07 am
i could overlook canon if it made sense internally, but the whole point of tribbles is that they reproduce and eat everything in sight. if this is scifi, then you can’t have more tribbles than food. the idea that they’d fill up a ship only makes sense if this is fantasy.
October 17, 2019 at 4:50 am
I thought this one was awful.
October 23, 2019 at 5:18 pm
I really don’t get all these people who have all these problems with this. Launching into serious character critiques of a short skit intended to be comedy… Seriously? It’s the exact reason Shatner made his “Get a Life” sketch on SNL. It was a fun episode, and probably my favorite Short Trek yet.
October 27, 2019 at 6:07 am
no. the SNL skit was about being obsessive to the point where people treat it as nonfiction. this short trek just wasn’t very good. it was like a skit you’d write to perform at a convention or to post to youtube- except with real actors and a ton of money for production.
November 14, 2019 at 2:21 pm
wow what a horrible SJW episode. oh look the white man is an idiot not worth living. niiiice, very funny.
December 15, 2019 at 12:39 pm
What an idiotic short episode.