Review: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – “Babel”

babel032Chief O’Brien is being worked to the bone as myriad problems keep popping up aboard Deep Space Nine.

As O’Brien makes these repairs, a device is activated that releases a virus that gives nearly everyone aphasia. It turns out it was a weapon the Bajoran underground never got to use against the Cardassians during the occupation. Eventually, Major Kira tracks down the man who was medical assistant to the man (now deceased) who created it. She kidnaps him and they find a cure. Everyone lives.

I’ll say again that best part of not having watched these episodes in about two decades may be not remembering most of them. For the ones I do remember, I rarely recall the specifics. So, it’s almost like the first time.

Chief O’Brien was always a great character, even when he had no name in the Star Trek: The Next Generation series premiere “Encounter at Farpoint.” Colm Meaney is incredibly entertaining and can pull off serious when necessary. We get a lot of him at the start of this episode and I love it.

We got to explore a bit more of the contentious relationship between Odo and Quark (and got to see them pair up to run the station) and we got to see more of Cmdr. Sisko being a loving father to Jake.

After Bashir examines O’Brien, he meets with Kira, Sisko, and Dax in Ops. There is one exchange that either shows a surprisingly low opinion of Bashir on Dax’s part or just poor writing. Dax asks Bashir if he’s checked the medical library for precedents. He says he double-checked. Why would Dax ask that? Wouldn’t it be the first thing he would do? Just saying.

There is a cool action sequence in the episode. The captain of one of the docked ships is not yet affected by the virus and really wants to fly away before his cargo spoils, but he is ordered to stay because of the quarantine. He tried to depart anyway, mooring clamps in place. The struggle disrupts the ships’ systems and it is going to explode, but they can no longer release the clamps from Ops. So, with Quark in command up in Ops, Odo has to manually blow the mooring clamps sending the ship away so it doesn’t take the docking ring with it. Of course, it’s just in the nick of time, but I really liked the way the ship blasted away from the station and started spinning. They are a couple of cool shots!

This is the first episode after the premiere scored by Dennis McCarthy and I really noticed the integration of the DS9 main title.

It’s also worth noting that we get to see the innards of both the replicators (surprisingly big) and the mooring clamp system.

Overall, a solid episode. I could nitpick (I can almost always nitpick), but that’s not my primary purpose in writing these. I’m looking forward to the next episode.

– Evan Bindelglass

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