Star Trek #1490: Ephraim and Dot

CAPTAIN'S LOG: A mycelial tardigrade tries to lay her eggs in Kirk's Enterprise.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Everything about it.

WHY WE DON'T: It's over in 8 minutes.

REVIEW: Oh wow, I really loved this one. A silly Tom and Jerry cartoon starring a mycelial tardigrade and a little maintenance robot inside Kirk's Enterprise. One is desperate to lay her eggs inside the warm warp core, the other is programmed to prevent it. Slapstick ensues, and the very cute tardigrade (first introduced in a black and white educational film, narrated with intonations of Leonard Nimoy's In Search Of) eventually loses the battle, but her babies are saved when the 'bot (Dot, the DOT-7 robot was just used in Such Sweet Sorrow Part 2 and Ask Not) suddenly understands. And that's Trek's message, isn't it? Through understanding, we are made stronger. It's a silly, madcap, violent little skit, but it's got heart and is perfectly in line with the franchise's core philosophy.

The references to TOS are squee-inducing and probably what most fans will respond to. It's all nonsense, mind you, because the episodes we see in the background or during the tardigrade's chase after the Enterprise are not in order, and come fast and furiously, from Space Seed on down to The Search for Spock in a matter of moments. There are also winks to The Naked Time, The Trouble with Tribbles, The Tholian Web, The Man Trap, Who Mourns for Adonais?, The Savage Curtain, The Doomsday Weapon, and The Wrath of Khan. Archive sound is used where appropriate. And with the mycelial network being what it is, why COULDN'T the weird sequence work? Little Ephraim isn't tied to the normal passage of time, is she?

The animation is pretty great too. Highly colorful, with a third dimension that keeps the cartoony-ness throughout (think of the CG elements in Futurama). I would love for these characters to return, perhaps as kind of Star Trek's equivalent of Scrat in Ice Age. A short like this every year, with Ephraim and Dot getting into trouble, perhaps in different environments (Picard's Enterprise, Deep Space Nine, even the Delta Quadrant), as their friendship grows. I said something similar about the Craft story in the first season of Short Treks and it hasn't happened, but I'll continue dreaming, if you don't mind.

LESSON: Starfleet washes all the colors in the same load, so it's space-age material for sure.

REWATCHABILITY - High: Love love LOVE it! More like it, please!


Tony Laplume said…
Craft is apparently being featured in the third season of Discovery. Turns out that Short Trek (which I agree was brilliant, as is this one) was a very early preview.