Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Whispers

Another O'Brien-focused episode sees our mechanic extraordinaire getting Deep Space Nine ready for the Paradans, an alien race attempting to hold a peace conference on the station.

This episode kept me guessing, and had some really nice artistic touches; it was almost like a noir detective novel. Why are the station folks acting so strangely? Why Keiko of all people? Molly? O'Brien's gradually more and more creeped out reactions paralleled mine, to the point where I was yelling at the screen that O'Brien should NOT be telling Odo anything. As viewers, we're ramped up and up, until finally O'Brien, hemmed in on all sides, breaks out. I was impressed by his technical know-how, his ability to outmaneuver everyone on the station, his ability to cloak and hide.

Then comes the final reveal. And I'm not sure how to feel. If O'Brien was a robot all along, then why the heroics? What are replicants exactly? Did they somehow copy Miles' mind? Towards the end it sincerely seemed as if there were something of O'Brien in the replicant. I mean, happy to have avoided multiple deaths, but we're sort of left going huh? The final pathetic call fakeMiles made to say goodbye to Keiko–my heart wrung, honestly.

After watching the reveal, I also have to give it to several of the other characters. Bashir in particular - knowing he was looking for signs that Miles wasn't Miles gave every one of his words a new character and a twist. So too did the weird conversations between Miles and the other workers, Miles and Sisko. Molly's reactions make less sense–surely they hadn't told a child. Keiko's reactions are spot on, however. I also loved the way this episode showed how deeply station folks can become embedded in each others' lives; Jake talking to O'Brien about his schoolwork, for example. But without a little more depth on the replication process, or a little more on Miles the Real, or a little more... something, the episode ends kind of flatly. I found myself wanting more to the ending, but it looks like a one-off episode without much more for the future. Babylon 5 managed to do one-offs with similar artistic touches that often managed to tie into larger storylines and ideas, and that's something I find myself missing here.

Bits and Pieces

I think it's appropriate O'Brien makes his confession to a computer throughout. It's sort of... him.

The hiding sequence seemed familiar somehow. Has he used this before?

Did anyone else want to see if the robot had Genuine Molded Plastic stamped on its ass? (Just trying a little spicy talk :)

Quotables

O'Brien: It's not doctors I have problems with.
O'Brien & Bashir: It's you, Julian.
Bashir: Well, your sense of humour seems normal enough
O'Brien: I don't have a sense of humour.
Bashir: Cough. How's the sex life?
O'Brien: I don't have a sense of humour.
Bashir: Cough. Everything all right in that department?
O'Brien: That department is none of Starfleet's business, or yours.

O'Brien: Why do you want to know anything about the Paradas?
Quark: It's always good business to know about new customers before they walk in your door.
O'Brien: Which Rule of Acquisition is that?
Quark: Oh, one of the high numbers. One ninety four, I think.

O'Brien: What I found in those hidden logs didn't answer all my questions, but it sure as hell confirmed what I'd been afraid of. They were analyzing and reanalyzing everything I had put into my report about Paradan security. They'd even broken into my personal logs to see what they could find in there. I hope they enjoyed reading the sexy letters to my wife.

Overall

A good premise; even if we've already done the whole "personalities taken over by outsiders!" path before, the story here takes it to a different level. As I said though, it falls anticlimactically, with me wondering if and when there will be a stronger serial nature to the storytelling anytime soon. Three out of four O'Brien Light Bombs.

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