#DS91sttime: Season 3, Episode 18, “Distant Voices”

May 28, 2013 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

Twitter hastag: #DS91sttimeThe title of “Distant Voices” is oddly metaphoric for its central problem. This was an episode that always held me at arm’s length. It’s obsessed with its own premise, but unsure how to spin up its plot. My wife, a solid Trek devotee, gradually moved toward skipping it altogether. I stuck through it, but I can’t say I blamed her when she made good on her threats.

The problems start right off the bat, when Garak and Bashir’s actually-interesting conversation about aging is interrupted by Quark and some alien.

I say “some alien”, because the episode telecasts him as a villain from the beginning, and allows him to be as multi-dimensional as a sheet of paper. He’s the long-mustachioed crook, here to strap Bashir to the train tracks. They won’t even elaborate on why the man wants a restricted substance. Who cares about a character like that? If the writers don’t, why should I?

Bashir deserves a better episode--and foil--than this. Season 3, Ep 18: "Distant Voices"

Bashir deserves a better episode–and foil–than this. Season 3, Ep 18: “Distant Voices”

And the danger Bashir faces over the course of the episode moves from intriguing to outright boring. Once the writers show their hand and Bashir figures out why certain oddball phenomena are in place, all the wind is taken out of the tension.

I mean, they’re not going to kill the Doctor, so where’s the suspense? True, the same could be said of most of this show’s episodes, but there’s something about this one that makes that fact really hard to forget.

Another point of complaint: Did anyone back in ’95 realize that we’ve had more plots come through Quark’s bar lately than that big glowing thing that, you know, kind of sets up the show’s premise?

Barring a few nice moments of character development, and some excellent makeup effects, this episode largely felt like a long, drawn-out character study in a dim room. And what do you know–that’s exactly what it thought it wanted to be.

Rating: 1.5/5 stars.

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