BabelBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 12, 2004 - 3:57 PM GMT
See Also: 'Babel' Episode Guide
During a replicator breakdown, the station's crew is afflicted with a virus causing aphasia which began in replicated food, then mutated to become airborne. Everyone begins to speak nonsense until Bashir realizes that the virus was engineered by a Bajoran terrorist attempting to sabotage the formerly Cardassian station. As the virus develops, it threatens the lives of its victims, so Kira kidnaps the doctor they believe to be responsible for its development,
Meanwhile, Quark takes over during Sisko's incapacitation as Odo saves the station from a ship trying to break quarantine. The Bajoran doctor finds an antidote, and all is well except for Quark's demand for payment for services rendered.
An interesting concept, I was sorry this episode focused more on external efforts to treat the virus than on the ways people might have communicated while infected; the virus had a built-in death sentence, which is too bad because it made time of the essence, but it would be very compelling to see a storyline where people could not communicate verbally over an extended period. My two favorite scenes, surprisingly, involved Quark: when he pretended to be afflicted to find out whether any of his debtors were also faking illness, and when Odo pretended to be a cart so he could spy on the Ferengi's activities. The latter scene would have been possible even had the Ferengi been afflicted with aphasia and might have been even funnier.
This is the second episode we've seen an episode about a Bajoran terrorist. Considering how hard Ro Laren worked to convince Picard that all Bajorans were not terrorists, I'm not very happy with the portrayal of the doctor in this episode; he seemed remorseless about the deaths likely to occur from his creation until Kira pointed out that he, too, was going to catch it from her. I would like to see an episode about some heroic Bajoran efforts to throw off occupation, not just the deadly ones.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.