Moopsy may also be more than a mere creature of animal intelligence. When Moopsy escapes from its enclosure — perhaps an inevitable plot detail — it makes its way to the space-bound zoo’s central control room, attempting to take control. It can only say “Moopsy,” but Moopsy is clearly thinking deeply, hatching some kind of scheme.
Of course, the “animal that appears cute but is actually a vicious predator” is not a new gag. One might think of the killer rabbit from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” Nibbler from “Futurama,” the blue-skinned aliens from “Galaxy Quest,” Goose the flerkin from “Captain Marvel,” Stitch from “Lilo & Stitch,” the adipose creatures from “Doctor Who,” Pooka from “Pooka,” or the Nubbins in “Sanctuary” for precedents. Moopsy probably owes its biggest debt to Deborah Howe’s and James Howe’s 1979 children’s novel “Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery,” a book about a vampire rabbit that may be savaging the household vegetables.
“Star Trek” even had its own version of the “killer cutie” back in the 1960s in the form of the tribbles. Tribbles, one might recall, were harmless balls of fur whose cooing seemed to pacify and sedate most humanoids. The tribbles weren’t vicious, but they were dangerous vermin; they bred quickly and could wipe out massive food supplies in a matter of days. On an episode of “Short Treks,” it was also revealed that tribbles could multiply so quickly, that they could fill and explode an entire starship. It wouldn’t be until “Star Trek: Picard” that audiences would be introduced to the vicious, fanged Attack Tribble.
Little else is revealed about Moopsy apart from its predatory streak and unusual intelligence, but knowing the way the “Lower Decks” writers’ minds operate, audiences haven’t seen the last of it.