Star Trek 435: The Sound of Her Voice

435. The Sound of Her Voice

FORMULA: Children of Time + Interface + In the Cards + Pen Pals + Shadowplay's subplot

WHY WE LIKE IT: A solid, but never seen, guest star.

WHY WE DON'T: One time twist too many.

REVIEW: As with the previous season's In the Cards, this one's penultimate episode has our characters tired and touchy. I suppose tensions have been rising between the Starfleet regulars since In the Pale Moonlight, but it's not very apparent from the episodes in between. In effect, the only reason the characters have grown apart is that we've been told that's the case. Still, it's not an outrageous notion, and their renewing ties through the disembodied voice of Lisa Cusak, a person they don't know, so find it easy to open up to.

It's a charming premise, and Lisa surprises by being a real person and not a soothing computer voice. She's crabby, she's negative and she's demanding. But she's also an astute reader of people and calls each of the featured officers on their crap. While there are no earth-shaking secrets revealed, the conversations do provide good character moments that go beyond what is actually said. Sisko is edgy about Kasidy being on his ship no doubt because he couldn't guarantee Jennifer's safety ten years ago. Bashir's pride over his second-place ranking in medical school might be a verbal tic developed to hide his genetic superiority. O'Brien distrusts counselors (though they can be ok "as friends") and he's probably the character who's been most sent to sessions against his will after any number of "torture" episodes.

Getting to the planet is where we get in trouble, despite the cool visual of the shuttlepod diving into the atmosphere. See it turns out Lisa was speaking to them from the past and that the transmissions were being time-shifted. Sure, it's a tragic twist (they could never have saved her), but it could have been even more wrenching if they'd gotten there while she was still alive and have had a last goodbye on microphone. But either way, it just seems like one temporal anomaly too many this season. In fact, Season 6 has twice as many temporal episodes as any other DS9 season, and like any given season of Voyager, it's too much, especially with Time's Orphan as the previous episode.

To balance the darker mood of the main plot, the subplot is much lighter, with Quark trying to distract Odo using his relationship with Kira. Odo discovers that us humanoids do indeed celebrate first month anniversaries (I love Odo's reaction and Jake's silent confirmation of that). That Odo lets Quark win one isn't all that uncharacteristic given their type of friendship, though it would have sit better with me if the smuggler had been apprehended after leaving the station or something. Let Quark win, but still get the bad guy.

LESSON: You have to listen to your woman, lest she be eaten by an alien. (Hmm, could be a catchy country western tune.)

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Both story threads have good premises and strong performances, but lack a little something on the follow-through.


billjac said...

I wonder if the time-shift was added to the script late in the breaking process when an original ending in which they reach her just a bit too late was too much of a downer.


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