Weekend Trek “Babel”

So, I sat down to watch this one, and all Netflix said as a plot synopsis was O’Brien would be working to get the station’s food replicators on line.  The station’s general brokenness has been an ongoing issue thus far, this is the point where the series is still more or less establishing its characters, and I could easily see an episode devoted to O’Brien just trying to get one thing working right.

Instead, it became about something else I didn’t see coming.  Something a bit more…timely

Yeah, it’s about a viral plague.  Sisko puts the station under quarantine until Bashir or somebody can come up with a cure.

I did not see that coming, but given the state of the world as I type this, it’s a little too on-the-nose for right now.

Does Sisko have to deal with someone itching to get out, claiming he needs to conduct his business?  Yes.

Is the plaque a bit of a mystery that looks impossible to cure?  Also yes.

Do we see the disease striking down people at random?  Mostly.  Some folks stay healthy longer, probably due to plot convenience.

Does one businessman’s plan to stay open, claiming he’s an essential service, make more people sick?  Also yes.

So, what starts off as O’Brien trying to get, well, anything working soon turns into something else.  O’Brien is clearly running on fumes, with Sisko demanding good coffee while everyone else bears down on him for all kinds of other problems.  And then he suddenly starts speaking gibberish, and that’s the first sign of the disease.  Bashir diagnoses it as aphasia  And when Dax suddenly does the same thing, well, it’s a plague, not an isolated incident.

You know, I was looking forward to O’Brien getting a lot to do, especially as Colm Meaney is the most Irish-looking actor I’ve ever seen.  If anything, this is another Kira episode as she is the one who does more to save the day than anyone else, and that’s due to the fact the disease, initially believed to be something the Cardassians left behind, is found to be a device on the command deck’s replicator that predates the Cardassian’s taking over.  Yup, it was left there by the Bajoran Underground, and that means Kira needs to the people who manufactured the virus.  No one else really can, you see.

By the by, maybe they knocked O’Brien out fast, but from there it goes by whoever is dramatically convenient.  That means, in order, Dax (so she can’t help find the cure), Jake (who can’t really do anything so it shows the disease spreading through the station), Bashir (just as he may be getting somewhere), Sisko (just as the command deck is almost empty), and finally Kira (just after she came back from kidnapping a doctor who might know something).  Odo and Quark manage to stay healthy.  For Odo, that makes sense since he probably doesn’t really have any internal organs.  Quark claims Ferengi have great immune systems, and maybe they do, but that does lead to the episode’s highlight.

That would be Odo and Quark interacting.  It starts when Odo notes Quark has no business, suggesting Quark may soon be out of business.  Quark then hacks the command deck’s replicator, spreading the disease, and his excuses don’t hold water that Rom fixed the bar’s replicator when Odo points out Rom is an idiot.  Quark doesn’t argue.  Odo later admits he doesn’t gamble at Quark’s because he doesn’t know how, and finally, when Odo is the only one left on the Command Deck, Quark comes by the help…possibly for a price.  We’ll see if anyone actually pays him at some point.  Or not.

So, after seeing most of the cast babble random words, we end where we began with Sisko yelling at a fatigued O’Brien over bad coffee.

So, an episode that is more timely now than it was when it was made.

Please don’t do that again, Deep Space Nine.

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