This episode falls neatly into the well-established category of Star Trek episodes involving a mysterious disease that befalls the ship/crew, and there’s a race against time to cure it while everyone suffers whatever bizarre effects the disease causes. This time, the disease causes people to lose their ability to speak (and write) coherently or to comprehend others. At least, that’s the first symptom. Apparently the disease later leads to DEATH! Race against time!!!

Some interesting twists have been added this time around though. The disease turns out to have been engineered, and it was introduced into the station as an act of sabotage by Bajoran resistance fighters against the Cardassians. This act occurred 18 years in the past, making it difficult to track down a cure. Major Kira’s solution probably breaks about a hundred laws, but it’s effective. Does she kick ass or what?

I’ll admit I found this episode to be thought-provoking. How WOULD you communicate if you, well, couldn’t communicate? I read something interesting recently about how vital an inner voice is. Helen Keller is quoted as saying, “Before my teacher came to me, I did not know that I am. I lived in a world that was a no-world. I cannot hope to describe adequately that unconscious, yet conscious time of nothingness.” (Hellen Keller, 1908: quoted by Daniel Dennett, 1991, Consciousness Explained. London, The Penguin Press. pg 227). I had never thought about this before, but it’s fascinating!

Anyway, one of the best moments in this episode is when Quark goes to Ops to help Odo. I love it when he offers to beam Odo to the site of impending disaster. Does he have experience operating a transporter? Well no, but he’s observed it plenty of times. I love the glee in Quark’s voice when he says, “Energizing!” as Odo is beamed away with a look on his face that suggests that he doesn’t know what kind of shape he’ll be in when he re-materializes, or even IF he will at all!

Some minor observations:

  • Chief O’Brien looks like he’s repairing the entire station on his own. Where is his staff?
  • Dr. Bashir’s computer looks like it’s running Mac OS 8. Chicago font!
  • Just how many “countdowns to disaster” are there in this episode? People getting sick, ships about to explode… that’s a lot of countdowns!
Chicago typeface

They still use Chicago typeface in the 23rd century?