The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Whispers

When O’Brien returns to the station after a visit to the Gamma Quadrant, something seems amiss. The senior crew seem to be hiding something from him, and even his own wife and daughter are treating him differently. Could there be some sort of station-wide conspiracy – and if so, can O’Brien escape with his life?

This episode only really works the first time you see it. Once you know the twist – that the O’Brien we see in the episode is just a fake – you’re not so much enjoying the suspense as waiting impatiently for the other shoe to drop. it’s a bit sad, because I really liked it first time round, but it just doesn’t have the staying power for repeated viewings. In fact, it just raises questions in the mind of every nitpicker, so without further ado, let’s address them.

Why?

  • Obviously the first thing to question is how the Paradans were even able to create an exact replica of O’Brien, complete with all his memories. That’s some serious technology right there.
  • If Sisko and the others knew from the start that the O’Brien that returned was a fake, why did they let him roam freely and carry out most of his normal duties? Surely Bashir could have made some excuse that he was infected with an alien virus and needed to be quarantined for a few days. That would have kept the fake contained and under close medical observation whilst they found the real O’Brien. Maybe they were trying not to raise the Paradans’ suspicions in case they were observing fake O’Brien.
  • Why was O’Brien even the one sent to the Paradan homeworld? As he says himself, Odo is the one with security expertise, and O’Brien doesn’t have any diplomatic or negotiation credentials. Was he simply sent to understand the engineering aspects of how to modify the station for the summit? That information could probably have been sent via subspace.

Other points

  • Since Keiko doesn’t even like the stew she replicated for Miles, why is he so surprised that she might want to eat a salad instead. Since she isn’t cooking the food from scratch, it doesn’t matter if she requests two different dishes from the replicator.
  • If Keiko had slept with the fake O’Brien, would it have counted as cheating?
  • O’Brien’s birthday is in September. He hates surprise parties.
  • O’Brien’s mother is dead. His father has since remarried, to a woman that O’Brien has never met.

Summary – Whispers: O’Brien gets a bum deal two episodes in a row.

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