The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: The Sound of Her Voice

On the way home from a mission, the Defiant picks up a distress call from the only survivor of the USS Olympia. As they head to save her at maximum warp, the crew take turns at keeping her company over subspace radio, and start confiding their deepest thoughts and feelings to a woman they have never met.

I really want to like this episode. it’s a great opportunity to probe the crew’s deepest feelings and have them admit the things they could never say to their friends, whilst adding a decent sci-fi twist at the end. And yet, it just falls flat to me. Not only did I not care much for the revelations that we learn from listening to Sisko, O’Brien and Bashir chat with Captain Kusack, but ultimately it felt like a cheap device to get their thoughts out into the open – a way to listen in to some internal monologues without giving the context too much thought. Would it have been better if Kusack had spoken to more characters, or if she’d just talked to one? Maybe, but as it stands it’s a very tepid experience.

The B-story focuses on Jake following Quark around as he tries to sell contraband goods by distracting Odo into celebrating his one-month anniversary with Kira. The Jake/Quark pairing is something that would have never worked at the start of the series, so it’s a nice nod to how far the characters have come in the last six years. Odo trying to plan a date for Kira is nothing especially original, but is still quite sweet – and I don’t even care much for their relationship!

Character moments

  • Sisko starts by updating Cusack on the war, but she’s more interested in his love life, and why he seems so ambivalent about Kasidy. They ultimately figure out that it’s because Sisko finds it hard to juxtapose being on duty with having Kasidy aboard the Defiant, but to be honest, I didn’t really care. This supposed obstacle to their relationship hadn’t ever come up before, so it wasn’t like it was the resolution of any great tension that had slowly been building.
  • Bashir learns that, even though he loves his work, he needs to acknowledge that he values his friends. Whoop-de-doo. I know he’s an accomplished doctor, but we’ve seen him enjoying himself with O’Brien and the others enough times to know that he has a decent work-life balance.
  • O’Brien talks about how he’d hoped his previous experience of the Cardassian war would help him get through this one, but how he realises that he’s been distancing himself from people because it’s too painful to keep losing them. This was actually the best of the three conversations, and especially poignant given that we’ll be losing Jadzia in the next episode.

Other points

  • The Olympia was on a mission to suvery the Beta Quadrant, often the forgotten quadrant of the Star Trek franchise.
  • Cusack stays alive by using tri-ox compound. This was last mentioned way back in TOS.
  • The Defiant actually has shuttlepods. I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen these before – usually it’s been accompanied by a runabout when the need for a smaller vessel arises.

Summary – The Sound of Her Voice: Wouldn’t it have been great if the crew was somehow still listening to Cusack asking for help even as they stared at her corpse?

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