The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Sound of Her Voice"

by David E. Sluss

12 June 1998

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: One word: Phony. Nearly everything about this episode, from the performances to the dialogue, is as phony as a three-dollar bill. An episode that is supposed to be about feelings, it is positively bereft of anything remotely resembling a real human feeling.


POD PEOPLE OF THE WEEK: The DS9 cast, which has apparently been replaced by emotionless aliens. Not one perfomance felt even the slightest bit genuine, as if the entire cast knew this script was going nowhere. Even Colm Meaney, who can usually be counted on to deliver a fine performance from even the most dreadful of scripts seemed off. I actually gritted my teeth during his "eulogy" at the end, because it seemed so ill-performed, as if even Meaney couldn't figure out what to do with that awkward speech with its clumsy foreshadowing of the death of you-know-who next week.

RETCON OF THE WEEK: So the crew of DS9 has "grown apart" over the last year? For something that is supposed to be a profound realization on O'Brien's part, it hasn't been set up at all. And for that matter, this sense of "isolation" that O'Brien felt seemed to come out of nowhere as well. O'Brien can't talk to anyone about how he feels about the war? Since when? Just last episode ("Time's Morphine"), he talked to Keiko about it, promising to get a transfer if fighting breaks out near DS9 again.

NEW CY AWARD CATEGORY OF THE WEEK: As you probably know, I'll be writing a Season Six wrapup sometime after the last episode airs, and it will include the Cy Awards in various categories, such as Best and Worst Episode (Take a look at the Voyager Season Review at the CC website for an idea of what to expect). After this episode's bullshit ending, we have enough nominees for an all-new category: Most Gratuitous Use of Time Travel. Other nominees, of course, include "Songs Longer Than Debt and Blight" and "Time's Morphine." In this case, we get a totally unnecessary "twist ending" in which it turns out the crew has been conversing with a corpse. The truth is this seems like a way for the writers to "have their cake and eat it too," because they get to have the "tough ending" in which Cusak dies without having the crew actually fail to save her. This only adds to the overall phoniness of the episode, and the temporal anomaly shenanigans only adds to the level of technobabble, which was unusually high for DS9. Speaking of which...

VOYAGER DEJA VU OF THE WEEK: When the crew first manages two-way contact with Cusak, practically the first thing out of her mouth was a spew of technobabble (so-and-so radiation, etc.) that had me thinking: How'd Janeway make it back?

POOR RESEARCH OF THE WEEK: You know, even Voyager's crew, trapped in Hicksville, and out of touch with Starfleet, was able to determine that an obscure Romulan scientist who visited the ship had been dead for several years ("Eye of the Needle"). You'd think the Defiant's people would be able to determine that Cusak's timeline was out of whack (i.e. she said her ship had been gone for eight years, when it should have been eleven). And in wartime, you'd think they'd check into her story, considering that the Dominion is hardly above faking distress calls.

CHEAP PLOY OF THE WEEK: Was it Roddenberry who dictated that you have to have a cliffhanger of sorts before every commercial break? Here we have what may be the dumbest one in ST history, When Cusak is "attacked" only to have it turn out that she was faking it. Here's that word again: phony.

RECYCLED B-STORY OF THE WEEK: Another Quark-Schemes-To-Avoid-Security tale mixed with a Quark-And-Odo-Secretly-Like-Each-Other story. Come on, writers, how about something a little fresher? On the (semi-)positive side, while I'm still not sure I care for the Kira-Odo pairing, at least it isn't being forgotten (unlike the fifth season's treatment of Dax and Worf, in which weeks would go by wherein there was no indication that they had gotten together). Hell, Odo-Kira has gotten more followup than the Dominion War Argh.

Previous: "Time's Orphan"
Next: "Tears of the Prophets"
NEXT WEEK: One of them must die!!! And, ever budget-conscious, DS9's staff gets to re-use Cusak's torpedo tube prop.



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This review is copyright 1998 David E. Sluss
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