Star Trek: Deep Space Nine


4 stars.

Air date: 2/7/1994
Written by Paul Robert Coyle
Directed by Les Landau

Review Text

O'Brien returns from a security briefing to find everyone on the station acting strangely toward him. Before long, O'Brien suspects a far-reaching conspiracy that encompasses everyone on DS9 and possibly into Starfleet Command. His suspicions continue to mount as he discovers his activities constantly being monitored, his orders changed without his notification, and station security measures consistently shutting him out of the loop with no explanation or apparent reason.

"Whispers" is an original take on the paranoid thriller, with expert scripting by Paul Robert Coyle, who creates unexpected twists, turns, and revelations that manage to plausibly build a sense that O'Brien is the only remaining individual who hasn't been "gotten to." The first-rate direction by Les Landau evokes a sense of altered reality in every scene, where characters seem to be only slightly different from what they should be, but different enough to seem threatening and to arouse our suspicions alongside O'Brien's.

Told in flashback, the carefully constructed narrative relates the crew's inexplicable half-truths and cover-ups strictly through O'Brien's point of view. In one eerily photographed scene, O'Brien finds himself convinced that food his own wife prepared may be poisoned. Colm Meaney brings his usual credibility to the role, with a textured performance that highlights the character's ability to plan ahead, think on his feet, and attempt to set things right—even in the face of such bleak odds. Once O'Brien escapes the station, he finds what promises to unravel the mystery for us, which is when the story drops the unexpected twist on us: O'Brien is the conspirator—unwittingly—a clone who honestly thinks he's O'Brien but has been programmed as an assassin by an alien government.

The uncovering and death of the clone is unexpectedly tragic and moving—the irony of the old adage that "perhaps it's not everyone else who is wrong, but just you" couldn't be more clear. Other than the slightly dialog-heavy final scene, which feels a bit too much like it was written for the audience's benefit, this is a superbly envisioned episode that ranks among the most deftly constructed mysteries on Trek. The way the clues play toward the two different perspectives (both the false O'Brien's and the rest of the crew's) is brilliant.

Previous episode: Armageddon Game
Next episode: Paradise

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Comment Section

93 comments on this post

    Jammer: How could you give "Whispers" 4 stars. Sure it has some interesting scenes, especially the one where O'Brien thinks that Keiko might have poisoned his dinner, but there's no payoff, and the clone's death was hardly moving. I'd give it 2 stars; at best 2 1/2.

    I don't understand how you can complain in numerous Voyager reviews that the shows offer no lasting character development and give "Whispers" four stars. I'm not arguing whether it was a good show or about Voyager or DS9 at all, I just can't see the consistency. It seems that you're willing to give DS9 every benefit of the doubt even to give your highest rating to a show which, based on your VOY reviews, violates one of your most fundamental tenants of writing.

    As a kid who grew up obsessed with Body Snatchers (both versions) and other 50s-60s Cold War paranoia, the beauty of "Whispers" stems from how deftly the episode turns the classic 'Paranoid Conspiracy' on its head. Given a lifetime of THEY'RE OUT TO GET YOU! reinforcement, I admit that I didn't see the end coming until the very last minute. Of course it was a conspiracy! Of course O'Brien was the normal one! Oops, guess not. Brilliant.

    Elliott, I don't think Jammer has ever said that an episode must have lasting character development to be compelling. Nor that every single episode in a series must be dedicated to that development in order to be effective.

    Throwing in the occasional curve ball can indeed pay off.

    In this case I would say it does.

    But not as much as Jammer does. 3 or 3.5 for me.

    I think this one was a good character-developer for O'Brien--or a character-illuminator, at least.

    Though the protagonist, in the end, isn't really O'Brien, he's an accurate-enough copy that both he and we think he is. He *is* acting as O'Brien would under the circumstances (presumably the difference he was made for awaits a trigger that never comes). The end should be moving; in some sense, we *have* seen the man we knew harried to a baffling death as he tried to do the right thing. The nature of his last moments' realization is his only "independent" life, and it only adds to the pathos.

    From then on in the series, when "our" O'Brien appears, we know he's the man who *would* have done that...

    Can someone explain to me why Quark didn't know his Rules of Acquisition? Even if he knew O'Brien was a clone, why would he bother pretending that he wasn't sure what the rule was?

    Solid episode. My only complaint is the final line where O'Brien's clone mutter's something about his love for Keiko right before he died. It just wasn't well executed. (Also, killing him in the first place seems a bit harsh. Do these aliens not have a stun setting?) But good hour of television over all.

    I also agree that not every episode needs to have lasting character development. DS9 was clearly better on this issue than Voyager, but it doesn't need to happen every episode.

    Mister P, Quark sensed that O'Brien was mocking him and didn't want to just play into his joke by directly answering him. I probably would have reacted similar if I were Quark.

    Was a promising episode that had me very interested at first. Though by the end you realize 99% of the drama could have been avoided by the characters exercising even the slightest common sense (such as, lock the suspected O'Brien up, and explain to him explicitly what was going on until they figured things out) but didn't so that the episode could be exciting.

    Wow! Great episode, nicely set up, with the twist out of nowhere. It was also great to see a focus on "O'Brien," the episode does a very good job showing how he uses his expertise in a variety of ways.

    Mister P: I believe it's been shown already that Quark does not have all of the Rules of Acquisition committed to memory. Maybe he knew the rule, he just couldn't recall exactly which number it was. Or maybe he just made the rule up to justify the questions he was asking O'Brien about the Parada.

    Full marks??? I think that's a bit generous considering other episodes from DS9 that have received this score, not to mention episodes from other series. I would say 2.5 - 3.

    It was a rather well-done mystery, though given some of what we saw in other episodes, it occurred to me from the start that Sisko might well have good reasons for trying to put something over on O'Brien. After seeing some of Sisko's underhanded dealing with Starfleet and how cleverly he could subvert the spirit of his orders while following them to the letter, that he might arrange some distractions to keep O'Brien busy and out of the loop was entirely believable and consistent with his character.

    I do agree that last scene seemed a bit odd. It's tragic enough that O'Brien is dying for basically doing what he believed to be the right thing; having him send his last regards to Keiko seemed a bit strained and over the top, especially considering what would have to be his lingering doubts that she really was the Keiko he knew and loved.

    The whole plot, incidentally, is very similar to Philip K. Dick's short story "Imposter" in which it turned out the unwitting imposter's realization that he was an imposter was also the trigger for his hostile programming (which instantly detonated a nuclear explosion on Earth so enormous that the last line of the story says it could be seen all the way to Arcturus). If Sisko or anyone on his staff had ever read that story, it makes sense that everyone would try to avoid tipping the duplicate O'Brien off to his condition until they had him either completely subdued or safely away from the station.

    I am in complete agreement with Jammer on this one. There are some minor flaws, but overall I would say this is one of if not the best stand alone episodes. Direction and acting are superb and the twist is excellent. The exposition scene at the end does seem unnecessarily dialogue heavy (we don't need everything spelled out to us), but that doesn't overshadow the rest.

    I wish to rob of this installment nothing of its greatness, but, having recently revisited Batman: TAS, this episode owes a lot to the episode "Perchance to Dream".

    Of DS9, I've only seen mostly up to this episode, and while it's not perfect (some logical fallacies do come into play, such as why they didn't just jail him if they knew), it offers something that most of DS9 so far, meaning S1 and S2 episodes for me, don't in that the plot is actually interesting. There have only been a few other episodes so far with a really gripping narrative ("Duet" comes to mind), so "Whispers" was appreciated in that regard. One of the more standout episodes so far.

    You might be able to enjoy the episode more if you put yourself in pseudo-O'Brien's shoes at the end and think about how he feels upon discovering what he is. Because for all intents and purposes, that was O'Brien, just his consciousness duplicated in another body, and he died there.

    It's going to take me a while to wrap my head around this, especially the ending, which I did not see coming at all. I'm not even sure if it works. But it was an engrossing mystery all the way. Shane is correct--aside from the mental programming, the duplicate WAS O'Brien. The whole feel of 'Whispers' is a lot like 'Dramatis Personae', in that there's one sympathetic character who knows something is very wrong on the station and must figure out alone how to fix it.

    I think 4 stars is too high.

    This is one of those episodes that is only good the first time you see it. The "reveal" was pretty darn good, but Bashir just sits there and let's the clone die. No one seems to care. It IS a human being you know.

    2.5 stars from me.

    God, are you really that dense? Bashir is genetically engineered . He can immediately tell if someone is saveable just by looking at them and assessing their vitals. This is why nobody attempts to help Martiza from his single knife wound either and actually McCoy had the same power. Just lay a hand on them and "He's dead Jim". They just KNOW these characters are dead.... :smirk:: because they read it in the script!

    @ Robert


    Our magical Star Trek Doctors

    It was still weird that no one cared... not even Obrien.

    Did Keiko tell Molly that Obrien wasn't her real dad? Molly is so rude to him at breakfast and I don't believe she could just tell. Colm obviously played this obrien exactly the same.

    I love O'Brien stories, the one that really upset me was "Hard Time", it was so uncalled for. Someone should have taken a Photon Torpedo and blew those people to hell.

    I feel like Dusty on this one, I didn't see the ending at all. But, I thought it was the real O'Brien all the way and there was something wrong somewhere in the middle, I just couldn't figure out who or what. I ended up feeling so sorry for clone-Miles. Did they have to kill him?

    I totally agree with Jammer on this. Brilliant episode.

    As for one of the comments above, they couldn't simply lock the false O'Brien, because they had to wait for his rescue first. Locking him too early could have meant the death of the true O'Brien held captive somewhere!

    I'm so glad you gave it for 4 stars - as it is probably my favourite DS9 epsiode. After first watching it years ago, I thought 'Wow that was amazing, but not the best' - but over time... as a standalone episode, it is easily in my top 5 of ALL Star Trek series.

    You might need a divorce if your wife cooking you one of your favorite meals is cause to worry that she is poisoning you.

    I think I enjoyed this episode when it first aired, but I was a little bothered by the complete fake-out at the end. However, that hasn't bothered me whenever I've re-watched it since. It holds up well even when you remember what's coming at the end; you're not caught up in the mystery, but you're having fun watching everyone's actions.

    I also feel there was a bit of development for Bashir here. Building on the previous episode, he's teasing "O'Brien" with a familiarity he didn't have before.

    I'm not sure if I'd give it 4 stars, but it's a well done episode.

    DS9 does paranoid thriller. The episode owes something not just to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but also to the Hitchcock "wrong man" thriller, in which an everyman character seems to be pursued by forces he does not fully understand for a crime he did not commit ("North By Northwest," "The Wrong Man," arguably "Strangers on a Train" among others), as well as the more personal, early Hitchcock in which loved ones and family members can't be trusted. There is a famous scene in Hitch's "Suspicion" in which Cary Grant brings Joan Fontaine a glass of milk and she wonders whether it is poisoned, which has its homage in this episode with Keiko's offer to Miles of the stew. What makes these stories click is the slowly dawning realization that as much as we know our loved ones, and as much as we know the world, there are always gaps in our understanding, recesses of our loved ones' minds that we cannot access. Another part of the appeal of this type of story is residual sense of guilt and confusion; I don't know if anyone else has felt that way, but sometimes I feel a nagging sense that I have done *something* that has cooled other people on me, but that I cannot quite remember, a feeling that is much more intense in dreams that slowly turn to nightmares.

    The way the alienation between Miles and the others starts off slow and gradually increases, step by step, through the episode both ties in with the sense that Miles is being punished for a crime he has not commit, and is not even aware of, and that those around him are strangers to him -- that, in the end, he does *not know* these people. However, because it's a gradual process, the initial signs that there is *something wrong* are slight and instinctual, and hard to act on. I like the way the episode has multiple turning points in the story, and rather than simply repeating the same elements of "people acting weird" over and over again, it dangles hope and then removes it; Jake acts normally, but then he doesn't, Odo seems sympathetic to O'Brien's cause before they "get to him."

    O'Brien's position as everyman in the show makes the idea of him taking on the entire station (eventually, the entire quadrant!) particularly appealing. He does not have the rank like Sisko or Kira does, nor is he recognized as a supergenius like Bashir or Dax, nor does he have improbable superpowers like Odo, nor is he outside the entire command structure and king of his own particular hill, in principle not directly beholden to anybody, like Quark. Miles is a man who is very good at his job, who cares about his wife and child. It occurs to me that as an NCO department head, Miles has the strange position of being both high in and outside the command structure, so that on a regular basis he really probably *would* feel slightly left out of the loop on normal decisions. The episode intensifies the slightly awkward low-status that he has, taking something we know about the character and enhancing it rather than inventing something new out of whole cloth. O'Brien's low rank makes the idea that the senior officers might be keeping him out of the loop for a particular reason *not* related to being replaced by pod people fairly plausible, at least initially; and it also means that when O'Brien forms a series of escape plans, using his detailed and slightly undervalued knowledge of the station's systems to stage a massive escape, we are rooting for him as the underdog all the more.

    I do think the episode loses a little something when the end is revealed, because much of the appeal of the episode on a first viewing really is the gradually-unfolding mystery of what is going on with the crew, and whether anything is going on at all. That said, I think that the behaviour of the crew largely makes sense after the episode's reveal. As Jammer says, it turns the paranoia around and suggests that O'Brien has always been the problem, which the episode has in some senses hinted at all along, since there never was a clear smoking-gun sign that the crew was genuinely up to anything evil. And once the full reasoning becomes clear, the episode becomes a tragedy: replicant-O'Brien essentially is another O'Brien, who dies at the episode's end, before he is even activated. His death is the result of the escalation of both sides, unwilling to fully commit: Sisko et al. continue to keep O'Brien at arm's distance without actually acting against him (i.e. by locking him up), which causes (replicant) O'Brien to build more and more defenses and game plans up in an effort to fight them, all leading to a standoff in which O'Brien gets shot. And this tragedy ironically is because the DS9 crew were unwilling to lock replicant-O'Brien up without knowing for sure that he was not the real Miles. The attempt to isolate O'Brien from the preparations for the peace talks while claiming they were doing no such thing, the medical exam, Keiko's weird behaviour of keeping him away from Molly but insisting that nothing was wrong, were the suspicious actions that sent O'Brien running from them on a Runabout and convinced him that the crew had turned evil somehow. And I think it really was because Sisko et al. had enough respect for O'Brien that they did not want to arrest him when there was no evidence he was really a replicant...which, as it turns out, was exactly the wrong thing to do. Meanwhile, had O'Brien just run away -- gone to the Gamma Quadrant, or flown to a neutral outpost somewhere -- he would probably have avoided death himself, but his honourable nature meant that he *had* to investigate what had happened to the crew so that he could help save Starfleet and perhaps save his friends and loved ones. In retrospect, it seems clear that they should have told O'Brien flat-out that they had heard that he was a replicant, told him that they wanted to keep an eye on him (perhaps under house arrest in his quarters?) until they could confirm or deny these allegations and find whether or not there was a real "O'Brien" out there.

    The episode's end is suitably downbeat: the alienation that had defined the whole episode continues until the last minute, with O'Brien finally alienated from *himself*, and his final wish to let Keiko know he loves her is somewhat lost. That (replicant) O'Brien is alienated not just from his life but from himself is nicely foreshadowed by several moments of O'Brien talking to himself on the Runabout, even explicitly ("Talking to yourself, O'Brien. Gotta stay awake, O'Brien"). The replicant's O'Brien-ness really is total.

    I enjoyed this episode quite a bit, though I do think that it is maybe a touch slow. Definitely at least 3.5 stars; I think I will go with 4, ultimately.

    Really didn't get along with this one. OK, the twist is a surprise and does pay off the episode as a whole. The trouble for me is that the rest of it is just so slow - the fact that something is clearly just a little off doesn't maintain any interest until the pay off at the end. In my mind that doesn't retrospectively make the rest of the episode enjoyable. In fact I found it deadly dull. 2 stars.

    I love this episode. Mystery has always been one of my favorite genres of trek. I even have a soft spot for the "bad" episodes in this genre like "Twisted" on Voyager. As I'm rewatching DS9 now after a long time away from the series, this is the first episode (save for the pilot) where I remembered exactly what's going to happen, but in a good way (unlike, say, "Move Along Home" where I remembered it in a negative light). Plus it's the first in the annual "Torture O'Brien" series which is always fun. And the first time we hear "Coffee, Jamaican blend, dooble strong, dooble sweet" (ok, the first 15 or so times).

    @BZ I believe the episode before this is OBriens first coffee order.

    @Elliott Your reviews have been consistently entertaining. Any plans to continue? :)

    A fun episode with the twist reversal.

    complaints though:

    this O'Brien was so realistic even Basher couldn't tell, so why was nobody like Keiko pining away that "that's no fake, that's my Miles!" Molly too?

    And it even featured some of the best Basher/O'Brien bickering:

    Basher: How's your sex life?
    O'Brien: I don't *have* a sense of humor.

    and yes if they suspected this, the only sensible thing would be to confine him, at least to his quarters or some such and explain it, not have him wandering loose in this station doing who knows what. after all, they had no idea what the replicant was going to do. maybe his whole body was a bomb. Miles might be annoyed but he would find it entirely reasonable.

    I guess an answer to both is perhaps that maybe we weren't shown reality, we were shown replicant Miles' recollections-- they may be distorted in the normal way someone under stress would likely recall them, but they may not be very accurate at all.


    Basher haha
    what about the others....
    Been Sicko
    All Bran
    Jerk Sicko

    What is there to say about "Whispers" that Jammer hasn't already said? Well, there is one major flaw in this otherwise good episode that I'll get to.

    But first, it is a really good example of a Star Trek thriller. There's a wonderful atmosphere with plenty of really enjoyable twists and turns. I love a good conspiracy theory (give me a book on the JFK assassination and I'll be set ) (it's why I really like VOY: "The Voyager Conspiracy") and watching a character slowly unravel said conspiracy is always enjoyable. Having O'Brien, the Every-Man character of the show, be the one who's doing the unraveling makes it all the better. One level it really excels at is that it knows that we, the audience, expect there to be some kind of alien influence going on, because we've seen episodes like that before, and so expect O'Brien to somehow save the day until the rug is pulled out from under us.

    The problem, however, is the moment of rug-pulling itself. It is rather tragic when we find out that the O'Brien we've been following is really the villain and that he died essentially for nothing. I also admire the fact that the rest of the crew are working with the Rebels to stop the government from destroying the peace talks - usually that would be reversed, with the heroes aiding the government - it's a nice reversal. However, finding out that our "O'Brien" is really just a clone (or replicant) destroys the greatest thing about the episode - the character development for O'Brien. We had been seeing, as Jammer says, O'Brien's "ability to plan ahead, think on his feet, and attempt to set things right." Except, we didn't see anything of that. We saw the clone doing all of it. The real O'Brien didn't get any sort of development. It was all a bait and switch. I suppose you could say that the clone was so perfectly like O'Brien that he (the real one) would have done exactly the same in his (the clone's) place. But, I don't buy it. It just doesn't sit right with me.

    There are also a few niggling, little, nitpicky things that drag it down. First, why was Molly told the truth about the clone? Her interaction with the clone makes it clear that she knows he's not really her father. It doesn't make sense to tell someone that young such an important secret. It would have been better if Molly had just not appeared in this episode. Second, if Molly was told, why wasn't Jake? He doesn't seem to be informed until the last minute. Third, wasn't the clone heading back to the Paradan system to warn their government about a conspiracy between the Rebels and the station? Why didn't he go straight to Paradan headquarters instead of beaming to whenever Sisko, Kira and Bashir went?

    Still, even with these flaws, "Whispers" is definitely a step-up in quality from the run of episodes immediately preceding it.


    I don't think there is any evidence that Jake or Molly were told that O'Brien was a clone. The last time we see Jake, he may simply have been told that O'Brien isn't well and needs to be taken into custody.

    Molly's reaction to her father is completely from picking up on the emotions of her mother. Keiko dismissing it as first is almost convincing, until she gets weirder. If she told Molly anything, it may have been, "Daddy's not himself," or the like, and tried to hide the rest, but kids can always read through that.

    Agreed with much of the above; not quite 4 stars, but 3.5 is appropriate.

    O'Brien orders his Jamaican coffee, double strong, double sweet so many times in this episode that I kept expecting it to be a plot point. Like, maybe it wasn't O'Brien's normal coffee order and that's what tipped them off that it wasn't him, haha. The fact that it didn't mean anything actually bothers me a little because it was so prevalent; what was the point?

    Anyway, great episode, I've always enjoyed this one.

    For me, a good but not great Alternate Reality (TM) episode of post-TOS Star Trek. I give it 3/4 stars for the tension, but it falls short of greatness because I actually predicted the plot twist very early in the episode.

    On the plus side, I really enjoyed the Twilight Zone vibe of escalating tension, extremely well-played by the cast. There were so many scenes early on that seemed normal on the surface but involved characters who clearly seemed agitated with O'Brien for some reason. The actors did a nice job portraying these scenes with body language more than lengthy exposition; this kind of "showing rather than telling" always feels to me like a nice change of pace on Star Trek.

    However, we are still dealing here with an overused Star Trek plot device, regardless of how well-executed it happens to be. Mark my words, whenever a Star Trek character opens the episode by returning home from a trip to find an alternate reality where everything is "off" somehow, there are only two possible resolutions to the plot: Either the character is out of whack or everyone else is out of whack. Since O'Brien remained thoroughly isolated throughout the episode, failing to find even a single ally, I found myself thinking pretty early on that he -- and not the entire rest of the cast -- was an imposter. So the story, even though the show executes it well, didn't really impress me. After you've seen a handful of these alternate reality Trek episodes, you've pretty much seen it all.

    Whoever made the clone sure had a terrible plan. Big gamble that he would be in the right place at the right time. I hope they had a plan B in case their clone thought he actually was O'Brien and ended up actually trying to live his life.

    I loved the mystery and the reveal, but it all falls apart when one thinks about it for 5 seconds and realizes all the problems people have listed here in comments. It's hard for me to respect the good stuff when its embedded in a broken framework. It's the same problem I had with Armageddon Game. So much promise and good moments but ends up being a disappointment.

    An engaging episode as I watched it. After its conclusion, though, I wondered. Based on a rumor relayed by an unnamed government informer, it was believed that an O’Brien duplicate might have been created. Dr. Bashir’s medical examination showed no difference between the real and fake O’Briens. The fake O’Brien displays all memories and behavior of the real one. So based only on a rumor, his wife and friends become fearful of O’Brien? Keiko in particular seemed really fearful.

    The fake is chased through the station—can’t the Federation crew use a scanner to see where his life signs are? How come they didn’t transport him from that location to an interrogation room? With all that technology, they can’t stop his escape?

    To be fair, despite their fear of him, they didn’t want to hurt him. And Dr. Bashir did seem to be administering (kind of) aid to the fake before he succumbed to his wounds. I guess the world was not ready for two Miles O’Brien.

    Right from the start, I thought it was obvious that O'Brien was the one who was off -- not the rest of the crew. I am surprised that everyone else seems to have been taken in. It would be preposterous if the whole crew had been replaced by Body Snatchers. It doesn't even happen that way in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"! I must say I am astonished that Jammer gave this four stars.

    I think they missed a real chance with this one--because of the way it starts we already know something is up. I think it would have been better to experience it with Miles, without being on the alert for something amiss from the get-go.

    this is a hard one for me to watch.
    the episode sets up a really uncomfortably atmosphere from the get go, and tells you in virtually every way that something is wrong.

    I clicked on it by accident one evening when I was looking for an episode to chill out with and had to turn it off again because I was on edge as soon as Miles and Keiko had that really weird dinner.

    Very good episode -- Colm Meaney never lets you down and O'Brien as the every-day man is a terrific character on DS9, every now and then being toyed with.

    The paranoia builds really well, becomes quite compelling and I think we've found the best role for Keiko -- as psychotic wife. Best scene by far is the dinner when O'Brien won't eat the shit Keiko served him for fear it's been poisoned -- the look in Keiko's face is genuinely evil.

    But I thought the ending was a bit of a letdown although I don't know what could have been better -- certainly not a major firefight. That O'Brien was replaced by a clone and the DS9 crew had to deal with it was well played -- it all makes sense but I also think the O'Brien clone acted very logically and thus maybe the DS9 crew should have been more direct... Getting it all from O'Brien's perspective was also the right move direction-wise.

    The monologue works well as it makes it clear something's not right from the get-go and subtle hints are dropped. Maybe it took too long to build to the climax (we got the point something's not right early enough) although there isn't much more once the big reveal comes at the end.

    3 stars for "Whispers" -- bit surprised Jammer rates this 4 stars even if there's nothing serious to shake a stick at here, but I just expect a lot more from a 4-star episode. Good psychological thriller and Meaney is perfect for the role, talking his way through stuff. Really enjoyed the medical exam scene with Bashir as well. Maybe what would have helped is if the aliens had a prior reputations (like the Romulans). This is a tried-and-tested Trek premise and it's well executed here.

    Hello long-estranged Jammers Reviews community! With the renewed interest in Trek, mixed to positive reviews of Discovery everywhere, and some unexpected free time on my hands, I decided to pick up where I left off, re-treading Jammer's well-excavated path. I noticed a couple of comments lamenting my departure, although I'm sure there are others who were just as happy to see me go. Ah well, to hell with it, let's get back into DS9.

    Teaser : ***.5 , 5%

    We begin with Miles entering the wormhole alone in a runabout (at warp?). He's heading to the Parada system, and has about an hour to kill (hey, me too!). Of note, he is not wearing his combadge. He decides to give a personal log entry. Just like in “Necessary Evil,” the writers wisely re-purpose this Trek trope to do something meaningful with their protagonist. After ordering himself a drink (sidenote: if you put sugar in your coffee, you can go to hell), what emerges is a sense that O'Brien is disturbed, uncertain, and frightened, but reasonably secure in his decision to be on the journey he's on now.

    He flashes back to waking up in his quarters on DS9 after a trip. Keiko apparently tried to have Molly fed and out the door before he got up. Both of them, Keiko and Molly are openly hostile towards him, but...Keiko perks up slightly when Miles starts talking about the training he received on Paradas (where he is returning to in the present). Chao's performance clearly demonstrates that she is, for some reason, disturbed or disgusted with Miles. Her elusive answers to him suggest infidelity of some sort.

    Miles shows up at work, only to discover that one of his subordinates has begun a security project ahead of schedule—on orders from Sisko, thus subverting the chain of command and adding to Miles' irritation. When he enters the promenade, he is visibly wounded to see the two people who have apparently been fucking with him all morning engaged in conversation, Keiko having obviously lied to him about her workload and plans. Is she having an affair with Sisko?

    I'm liking the paranoia and performance from Meaney so far, but the teaser is just a bit too long in my opinion. Ending before the flashback began, or offering just one scene in the past would have been much better, but we actually have a little prologue AND actual plot in what is supposed to be a teaser for the plot itself.

    Act 1 : ***.5, 17%

    In the present, Miles discovers that he is being followed by another runabout from DS9. He continues is log/flashback. Miles describes the actions of Sisko and his wife as “curious.” Frankly, if I discovered that my spouse was actively lying to me, even about something mundane, I would find the situation more than curious, but Miles is a patient man when it comes to his family. Bashir confronts him before he has a chance to talk to Sisko, even threatening to make an order out of the physical he insists on performing. ASAP. Well, that's one way to further the intimacy between the two. Sisko steps into the frame long enough to make it clear to Miles that this is happening. First though, Sisko placates Miles about the subversion of protocol and asks him about “the kinds of things we don't include in reports” regarding the Paradans. So, when Picard discovered that information was missing on the reports on the Pegasus mutiny, he was so angry that it led to the court-martial of an admiral and dressing down of his first officer of seven years. Commander I-have-no-principles just expects his officers to omit important information from their reports. Grand. At any rate, it turns out that ALL of the upper pilons have broken during Miles' trip, meaning that he has a great deal of work ahead of him after his physical. Oh and that illicit conversation between Sisko and Keiko? Sisko claims that Jake is having trouble in school.

    Now on to the fun! The only way to make it clearer that Bashir has been abundantly thorough in Miles' physical would be for him to be snapping off the latex gloves at the start of the next scene while Miles gingerly sits himself back down. He is equally probing in his questions, while Miles has an endless supply of Irish sarcasm to counter. It's a pretty amusing back and forth, offering a different dimension to the odd behaviour Miles is experiencing from his familiars on the station. An odd bit is that apparently, Miles' mother died right before he transferred to DS9. Miles finally blows up at Bashir, thinking there must be something terminally wrong with him—but Bashir cuts him off before he can continue. In both these previous scenes, the camera lingers on the interviewer (Sisko, then Bashir) looking confused and concerned.

    Jake runs into Miles. Lofton has apparently been directed to move his hands every time he talks, like some sort of prohibition-era Italian gangster. It is revealed that Sisko also lied to him, as Jake's grades are just fine, thank you. What has been quite effective in the story-telling is that there's clearly a mystery as to why everyone is acting so strangely—and we know from the framing device where this will eventually lead—but, like Miles, we are being jerked around and frustrated in our attempts to even consider the mystery. This creates a strong empathy with Miles himself.

    Act 2 : ****, 17%

    Poor Miles discovers that the difficulty with the upper pilons is subtle and going to take a great deal of time to resolve, keeping him away from the security arrangements with the Paradans. When he takes a break to check in, his subordinate cannot grant him access without permission from Kira. So O'Brien calls her up, and it turns out that Sisko is eavesdropping on the call. He dismisses Miles' request and orders him back to the pilons, embarrassing him. When he walks away, he sneaks a peak back at the door and the subordinate walks right in without any access code from Kira. Something is definitely wrong.

    Later, we seek Jake being stared at by a wayward Pakled—ahem. Miles invites him over to work on his school project—where, presumably, he can confront Keiko about her and Sisko's deception in private. Before he can question Jake further, Kira appears, seemingly out of no where, to tell Jake that Sisko is looking for him.

    By the end of the day, Miles has discovered that the only possible explanation for the broken pilons is sabotage. He returns to his quarters, where Keiko informs him that, suddenly, Jake isn't feeling well enough to come by anymore. Isn't that convenient? Molly is out for the night too. So...Miles decides it's time to reclaim his manhood after his morning with Bashir's probing and Sisko's undermining of his authority by trying to have sex with his wife. She's visibly upset by his advances and fumbles around for excuses not to be intimate. She has made his favourite meal, but isn't eating it herself. The music and cinematography make it seem that she's trying to poison him. The exchange is enough to convince Miles that Keiko is no longer the person he knows.

    Act 3 : ****, 17%

    Later that night, Miles starts searching for the typical sci-fi anomalies that turn people evil—you know, like goofy games you wear on your head, putting things in funnels that give you tiny orgasms. Science! He reviews the station logs. Two things of note here: 1. the story-telling is a little dubious as, because of the framing device, we are in the midst of a flashback, yet this part of the story is told like a montage; it's a bit clumsy; 2. Sisko's log makes a brief mention about tension in the DMZ, and later something about the Cardassians honouring “the treaty;” I wonder where that could lead...

    Then he hits a roadblock. Miles has been denied access to the logs beginning the day he returned (wasn't that yesterday). He surreptitiously makes a midnight run to Ops to penetrate the security seal. What he discovers is that his colleagues having been pouring over Miles' activity and reports regarding the Paradans.

    Odo returns to the statin from a trip, probably to Bajor. It seems that Miles is thinking that whatever has happened to his friends and colleagues may not have affected Odo since he's been away. Odo's absence was a key part of a previous scene regarding the security arrangements. This is a tightly woven plot. Miles confides his suspicions in him. Odo, being the paranoid weirdo he is, is right on board with trying to uncover the mystery. While he waits for Odo to do some investigating, Miles starts messing with some gadgets in his office.

    Later, Quark assumes the role of the wise fool declaring, “The odds are against you, O'Brien.” He was actually talking about raquetball, but of course, O'Brien is on edge and lashes out at the Ferengi (seriously, can we stop strangling Quark already?). Almost immediately, though Quark is ALSO asking about the Paradans. Odo calls Miles to his office, and at first seems to confirm his suspicions about the crew. But before long, Odo ends up revealing that “they got to [him]” too. Almost instantly, he's ambushed by the senior staff, but his gizmos from earlier allow him to make an escape.

    Act 4 : **.5, 17%

    Miles disposes of his combadge, and runs through a series of traps and techno-trickery to get himself to a runabout. Along the way, he runs into Jake, who has also been compromised by whatever weirdness is happening around here. Having brought up “The Game,” this is a good time to mention that the entire escape sequence, while not awful, lacks the kind of urgency and tension that the episode has built up to so far. Miles barely runs into anybody, and rather easily makes it to the runabout and off the station. Wesley boy genius didn't do this well, and he's a genius.

    Once aboard the runabout, Miles contacts Starfleet to report the conspiracy, but the admiral he talks to is ALSO compromised. Left with few options, we pick up where the teaser began, with Miles entering the wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant.

    Act 5 : ***, 17%

    Approaching the Paradan System, Miles quickly formulates a plan to try and evade his pursuers. Being very clever, he baits the other runabout to overtake him while he enters the magnetic field from a moon, shuts off the power and eludes his would-be captors—very much like in “The Hunted.” The pursuers beam to one of the planets. Miles arms himself and beams himself down there after them. He discovers Sisko and co. chatting with the Paradans, and forces them to disarm. One of the Paradan guards and Kira insist that they aren't Miles' enemy, just when another seizes the moment and shoots him in the chest. Clearly not his enemy. The mysterious door is opened, revealing another O'Brien being treated for injuries by Bashir. The other O'Brien emerges and the dialogue reveals that the Miles we have been following this whole time is a “replicant,” probably programmed to assassinate members of the peace delegation. The mystery is solved, but the dialogue is a little too expository—things like Bashir referencing the physical and Kira remarking that the replicant must have wondered what was wrong with them all. We really don't need this spelled out for us, episode. Replicant Miles calls out for Keiko as he dies, reminding us that, in having recreating O'Brien so perfectly, the dissidents replicated his soul along with his appearance, knowledge and instincts.

    Episode as Functionary : ***.5, 10%

    The episode is very clever and efficient in its story-telling. Despite the real Miles having only a few minutes of screen-time at the end, the nature of Replicant-O'Brien means that this is an effective character study, wrapped up in a thriller (not unlike “Necessary Evil,” a character study wrapped up in noire dressing). We learn more about Miles' priorities, his foibles, his abilities and his vulnerabilities. There are some minor technical complaints to be made about the technology which allowed the Paradans to make such a perfect copy this *one* time, and about the crew's odd choice not to simply lock Miles up and explain who they think he might be until they find the real Miles, rather than go through the whole song and dance of trying to convince him everything is just fine. These are both contrivances, but do not distract from the engaging story before us. On the other hand, the episode does feel a bit too long. Act IV especially feels like it could be excised. The framing device is effective in connecting us to this character in an intimate way, and we really do need to have Replicant Miles in every scene to make the paranoia work, but I feel like the episode could have been fleshed out just a bit more. Miles' scene with Quark was very short and Jadzia was not in the episode at all. Giving him some more interaction with them would have shored things up nicely. Still though, a very effective outing.

    Final Score : ***.5

    Elliott - While I admire the effort you put into your review, I thought it would be helpful to point out that people who read reviews generally aren't interested in lengthy descriptions of the events of the episode. If you haven't seen the episode then it's spoiler, and if you have then you already know what happened.

    Elliott! Glad to have you back! Though sadly, you missed my going through Voyager last year.

    I always liked this episode a lot, and I don't think anybody saw that ending coming.

    Also, welcome back Elliot!

    "Whispers" is an extremely eerie and effective episode. It gradually ramps up the tension until the big reveal at the end. The plot twist at the end is also very well orchestrated. Colm Meaney once again proves why he's one of the best actors in the Trek universe-he believably sells the clone's paranoia, and the tragedy of the clone at the end.

    3.5 stars.

    Just rewatching all ST episodes, and in this on it struck me, around time index 22:40, that O'Brien is literally saying "OK, computer" when initiating a dialogue. This was probably just another way of addressing the computer at the time of writing the episode, but given the "OK, Google" phrase it just rang very peculiar in my ears.

    Ah, the 4 yr old was out with others most of the day, so I did chores while watching DS9!

    Speaking of 4 yr olds, I think Molly just picked up on the weird vibe from Mom, and there may be some suggestion that she noticed something off about Dad. I don't think the idea is that she was told about the replicant.

    I think they killed Miles 2 for convenience sake, reset button kind of thing. Can't have 2 O'Briens out there.

    Enjoyed the episode; I almost always like O'Brien scenes and eps.

    When both Odo and the Admiral seemed to be "in on it," I began to wonder what was "really" going on, but it didn't click until I saw two O'Briens. Definitely we were given clues, but I didn't pick up on them.

    One thing that occurs to me is that the real O'Brien won't know a thing about (won't "remember") the actions and conversations of the replicant. So Bashir can ask him about his sex life, anyone could have asked him about anything, said out done anything to him, with zero consequences in the future.

    I think the constant coffee ordering was just to make duplicate O'Brien say "double" over and over. I mean, O'Brien is strong and sweet and doubled, too. The talking to himself, which suggests two O'Briens, was definitely a clue.

    A nice solid ep. I liked it.

    "I think the constant coffee ordering was just to make duplicate O'Brien say "double" over and over. I mean, O'Brien is strong and sweet and doubled, too. The talking to himself, which suggests two O'Briens, was definitely a clue."

    That's great! Though I wouldn't describe either O'Brien as "Jamaican blend"....

    @William B

    "That's great! Though I wouldn't describe either O'Brien as "Jamaican blend"...."

    LOL. You got me there. Though we couldn't very well have him drinking all those double Irish coffees. He'd have staggered out of the Runabout.

    4 stars

    A very nice tng style high concept sci fi mystery/reality bender. The episode had a lot of tension and eerie going-ins with O’Brien returning to the station and everyone acting strangely. Lies pile up. Jake seems okay but then his dad keeps him away. Sisko and Keiko having a heated argument from afar. Security measures occurring without his involvement. An abrupt physical ordered. O’Brien worrying his dinner is drugged. Secured logs he can’t access. Mysterious coded messages from the paradans

    It’s as if everyone on the station is out to get him. So there’s the exciting escape where O’Brien turns on every force field, crawls through the tubes of the station before finally making his way off in the runabout. Then things get worse when now it seems the conspiracy extends beyond the station when the admiral O’Brien reaches out to acts like she is against him

    Where to go? For answers ? The paradans. What will he discover.

    The twist that he’s a clone of O’Brien is interesting I suppose. The revelation does nicely makes everything make sense. We are used to seeing this story usually from the crew’s perspective. Here we get a fresh spin on it with the audience seeing an alien takeover or possession type story from the possessed or replacement’s perspective.

    "Elliott - While I admire the effort you put into your review, I thought it would be helpful to point out that people who read reviews generally aren't interested in lengthy descriptions of the events of the episode. If you haven't seen the episode then it's spoiler, and if you have then you already know what happened."


    The retelling of the plot is one fo the reasons I particularly like Elliott's reviews, as he often sees details I missed. Also, I sometimes like to go back to the discussion pages on episodes I've seen years ago, and his descriptions usually help me remember them vividly.

    I tried a very long-form review one time and ultimately I felt my post was self- indulgent (as if I was trying to compete with Jammer or something).

    Since then, I've tried to keep my teviews shorter than what shows up at the top of the page, but that's just my personal rule.


    Thanks for the comment : )

    I have sometimes unpopular opinions about certain episodes or series on this site. I thought it was only fair that I go through, scene by scene, each series and try to cobble together something cogent and holistic rather than just letting my reactions carry me. The resulting conversations with other commentators has been really enjoyable and enlightening, even when many still don't agree. I'm happy with how it's going and always grateful to Jammer for curating this space.

    @Dave in MN

    I would tend to agree. People using someone else's comment section as their own personal review site tends to come across as slightly egotistical and pompous.

    The reveal at the end of 'Whispers' has no doubt been done before - it feels a particularly good fit for SF - but this episode preceded it's famous deployment a few years later in 'The Sixth Sense' (and then 'The Others'). I'm sure Philip K dick used it too, though OTTOMH can't remember in what.

    In any case a great episode, and I found the clone's death tragic and disturbing (and the idiot alien who shot him didn't even get a raised eyebrow)

    I didn't like this episode. It's completely not clear how they knew which Miles is the real one. Maybe they killed the real one and the impostor is now acting as the real Miles? It's all very confusing. I also didn't like that at the end, after they injured the fake (?) Miles, they treated him like a 'thing'. Thank you Starfleet, you really respect the life. You didn't even bother to help or at least explain the situation to the "impostor", just study him like a lab rat and kill him when it's convenient.

    Glad I read to the end of this thread, as Monk seems to be the only real person here - the rest of you are imposters. Whispers is the kind of episode that makes me want to throw a billiard ball through the TV. Imagine DS9 staff prepping for Replicant-O'Brien's arrival:
    Sisko: "Ok, people, we are not sure, but we think O'Brien has been replaced by a replicant. When he arrives, I want you all to act really spooked around him. Think 'Stepford Wives,' 'Body Snatchers,' that sort of vibe. So that he does not suspect anything."
    Bashir: "I can do a medical exam on him."
    Sisko: "Good idea, although he may be duplicated down to his DNA and synaptic patterns. Better ask him about dizziness and headaches. I've heard that replicants get a lot of headaches."
    Kako: "Do I have to sleep with him?"
    Sisko: "Only if you want to. You should probably snog with him a bit. Make sure to keep your eyes wide open."
    Kako: "I will have Molly smell him. She will be able to tell if it's her real dad or not."
    Sisko: "Fine. I'm sure she will need some serious therapy when this episode is over. Why stop there? Bring her along to the final scene so she can watch her fake dad get shot."
    Kira: "Why don't we just put him in the brig?"
    Sisko: "That would make for a pretty short episode. Anyway, if we do that, they might kill the real O'Brien."
    Odo: "But if the replicant is an exact duplicate, down to his neural patterns, isn't he Also the real O'Brien? Which means he is as deserving of life as any sentient being?"
    Sisko: "...?...?..."
    Odo: "Sorry."
    Kira: "I think Quark is fake."
    Sisko: "Major?"
    Kira: "Quark is fake and I am going to kill him."
    Sisko: "Stand down, Major."
    Kira: "I had Molly smell Quark. She says he smells funny, not like Quark at all. Gonna blow his lobes off."
    Bashir: "Major, come to the sick bay."
    Odo: "Doctor, you appear unwell."
    Kako: "I do not feel like myself. I think I am not the real Kako."
    Sisko: "I'm not liking any of this."
    O'Brien: "Computer, freeze program."
    /holoprogram paused/
    O'Brien: "Computer, this episode straight up sucks. Play 'Reunification Part 1' again."
    Computer: "Accessing..."

    HAHA! That's a really funny write-up, Mike. I probably like it more than the episode, but that's only because I really like the write-up. I also still like the episode, even though as far as high-concept goes it's a bit out there. O'Brien sells it big-time, and the atmosphere is pretty cool.

    On a serious note, I think the justification for killing the 'fake' O'Brien would have to be something to the effect that he's different from the real one in a dangerous way (which they do claim) and which can't be fixed without endangering everyone. Like, at the end, why can't they lock him up and try to repair his homicidal programming or something? But then we sort of get into the clone debate, and there seem to be some people who take the position that "you have a right to kill a clone you didn't authorize" (see the comment section for Up the Long Ladder). I personally don't agree with that, but anyhow.

    PS - glad to see there's another Unification fan out there!

    Really interesting to me how all the people complaining about "bias" against Voyager can't name a single VOY mystery episode better than "Whispers." This is because there really are no better mystery episodes than this! I love Voyager but it never really did mystery episodes of this quality.

    So my review isn't really a review of this episode per se but you may judge the episode from what I have to say! Last year I watched Voyager back to back and would often refer to Jammers reviews for comparison to my views on each episode. I'm now working my way through DS9 and haven't really checked back here much (mainly because season 1 and 2 generally suck). However upon watching this episode and being thoroughly enthralled I thought I'd check back here to see if my views matched Jammers and I can safely say they have. Best episode so far!

    I haven't read anyone else's reviews yet, but damn 4 stars? I've never watched DS9 before but doing a marathon on it, and this episode almost had me turning it off halfway through and giving up on the series. The whole "the crew is possessed" or whatever stuff has been done so many times before, that I just kept thinking how are they going to wrap this up? I just wanted him to kill himself or something to shut them all up it was so annoying. Even the twist at the end was barely that, as the entire episode I kept thinking either the crew is possessed or has a parasite or something, OR it's O'Brien that is having a mental breakdown or something wrong with him especially once the Admiral kept telling him to go back. So when it was shown that he was actually a clone it wasn't even a big revelation at all.

    I'm curious though, when everyone would say just go back to DS9, you won't be hurt, I wonder if that's actually true. I doubt the real O'Brien would be cool having a perfect clone of himself kicking around (Keiko might not mind though :P).

    Forgot to mention in my post as well that I'm really sick of this O'Brien guy as well as we just had the last episode be focused on him. He's my least favourite character on the whole show, so hoping we don't have to keep seeing him for a bit now.

    @Dave in MN and @Bobbington Mc Bob I agree with you regarding Elliott's reviews. I read a few when I first started watching DS9 but haven't since as they are so long as basically just a recap of what we just watched. I might as well read the plot summary on Wikipedia then. I agree though and do find it odd to write huge reviews in the comment section of someone else's blog instead of just making your own.

    Plot twist: Keiko had no idea Miles was a clone and actually wanted to poison the original. They should have let the clone live, had him go by his (lame) middle name, and given him a trombone.

    Anyway, if they can copy consciousness and program memories, why not skip the first step and just program the original O'Brien? Does it only work during the copy process? How did O'Brien get free anyway? Surely the rebels were planning on killing him the moment they verified the clone worked. Pretty silly to leave a loose end like that in your intricate assassination plot.

    good episode, maybe 3 stars, this felt along the lines (for me anyway) of Harry Kim getting replaced by his carbon double on VOY and never mentioned again

    KEIKO: Miles, you never drink coffee in the afternoon.
    O'BRIEN: Sure I do.

    ^ I like to pretend that this bit from the previous episode is what tipped Keiko off.

    As Riprake mentioned above, this episode is an homage to the Phillip K. Dick story "Imposter." They even refer to the fake Miles as a "replicant"; a term familiar to anyone who has seen Bladerunner (based on Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" )

    Cheap episode at the end. Colm Meaney does a good job. The episode just has one trick at the end without explaining the how and why and consequences. A convenient loose Blade Runner is present to stop difficult situations from arriving.

    Good episode, but yeah they did the clone dirty. He was basically a slave, and the ethical thing would have been to deprogram him and set him free. Instead, they made his brief life a living hell and then killed him. And, of course, he's never mentioned again.


    Yeah, I sometimes think the writers had a twisted idea of what "clones" would be, and a visceral horror at the idea that they aimed not just at those who created them but at the clones themselves.

    Every identical twin is essentially a "spontaneous clone." Like twins, intentionally created clones would just be people, who happened to have the same DNA as at least one other person. They wouldn't be some threateningly featureless mannequin like the blobs Riker disintegrated in Up the Long Ladder, or a futuristic Manchurian Candidate programmed for evil deeds. I still think there would be serious ethical issues about human cloning, but the Trek writers' horror at them always struck me as weird, and ignorant.

    Even in Second Chances, where Riker's quasi-clone was made in a transporter accident, the reaction the writers showed Riker having seemed over the top to me, and they wasted the opportunity for interesting plot lines by shipping Tom Riker off on a deep space mission and then, in his one appearance in DS9, to a Cardassian prison. So much character potential, and all they saw was something to get rid of.

    Interestingly, this episode never actually uses the word "clone." In place it uses "replicant," the Blade Runner term that appears as a noun nowhere else in all of Star Trek. Who knows what it practically mean, but it may be the case that the duplicate O'Brien had a very short lifespan, since there's no reason for him to outlive his objective.

    On this watching, I found myself recalling Beverly Crusher's comment in "Remember Me":

    "If there's nothing wrong with me, maybe there's something wrong with the universe."

    This episode offered a very different answer to that question:

    "No, it's you."

    I've gotta admit, I felt really sorry for the replicant O'Brien at the end when he wanted to tell Keiko he loved her :-)

    I agree with jammer here, this has got to be the best deep space nine episode of them all. And there's only like 6 or 7 good episodes in the series, at most 10 if you're generous. I wonder how they finally knew which one was the replica or not though?

    Agreed. I love this episode. It's one of those that you NEED to watch twice. It's SO great to rewatch it thru the lense of knowing he is the programed clone

    Why was there a need to keep the original O'Brien alive? Someone above said they would kill him if the fake was detained. How is this belief justified?

    And why did they not just stun him in the end instead of agreeing to put down their weapons? Bashir had already found the real O'Brien by then. Unless we assume he didn't know. Then when did they become sure he was the fake? They could have stunned him either way.

    And I must agree with those that say that Jammer has DS9 bias.

    Very niiiiiiiiiice!

    Agree with the comment above that this is worth watching twice.

    I tried to imagine myself in Brian's situation. Just think: You're in a world, the entire world, where absolutely everyone is seemingly "compromised" somehow, operating against you, and you're the only one who is sane and acting in good faith.

    No, I'm not talking about the deranged poison-dart-frog-haired S.J.W.s on Twitter, for whom a happy family of a mom and a dad with a few kids is "patriarchal oppression" or basic arithmetic such as 2+2=4 is "white supremacy." I'm talking about folks with certain degenerative diseases (Alzheimer's, dementia, etc.) to whom the world gradually stops making sense. They feel everyone, including their loved ones, is working to frustrate them. There are no reliable points of reference anymore. Everything is alien, including food, language, even performing simple physical tasks.

    Nasty business.

    * * *

    Surprised to see Sisko's boy taller than Brian. Is the former really tall or the latter on the short side, I wonder.

    And I wish he'd roll down his sleeves already!

    One thing that makes the story work is that we've seen so many prior episodes where crewmembers really are under the influence of an outside force.

    This was an enjoyable, enthralling episode. My first thought was that either O'Brien was fine and everyone else was illusory, or that the chief got the Geordi Romulan Vacation package treatment. I actually considered that they didn't just lock him up as evidence against the latter theory, and their many questions seemed to support the former. I settled on it being some sort of highly complex security test conducted by the Parada, of which O'Brien was unaware. I didn't see the clone aspect coming, at all.

    I'd like to have seen just a little bit more time given to the reveal. The clone thing would have been more impactful if he was able to process and articulate the situation, rather than just getting one last line. Bonus points for Bashir actually trying to tend the clone as if he were the genuine article. They could have subbed this in for the original dialogue. Instead of confronting them immediately, they could have revealed the final room via the clone spying on them from around the corner. After seeing himself with Bashir, the clone could confront them and still be killed by reaction fire from the Padarans. Before his ultimate expiration, we could get some interesting O'Brien deathbed philosophy.

    Overall a great episode even if it has a few flaws.

    So did Quark know about O'Brien?

    Wouldn't telling Quark be a risky business, he isn't the most trustworthy of individuals.

    Also why did nobody tell Odo what was going on prior to him arriving back at the station?

    I loved this episode. I figured out fairly quickly that the problem was with O'Brien rather than the others, but I never latched onto what was really happening. It was a joy to watch an episode that didn't telegraph its ending.

    Plus, the character development of Miles was great. I understood him better after that episode. We saw him in his full cranky, earnest, intensely loyal, and street-smart glory. And the ending was genuinely touching.

    Michael -

    Cirroc Lofton is 6'3". He really shot up during the early years of the show, and his youthful thinness made it more dramatic. Colm Meaney is 5'11".

    I'm surprised at all the people who couldn't figure out that it was O'Brien who was "off." It seemed like the obvious explanation, Beverly Crusher notwithstanding.

    How did they know when they found the real O'Brien? Maybe he was tied up. The rushed ending should have spent a little more time on that, IMO.

    Jeff Smith - I didn't get the feeling that Quark knew about the O'Brien problem. It would have been crazy to tell him. I do think Odo should have been informed, although maybe they wanted him to have the dramatic change of heart in order to underscore the "It's YOU" message.

    I considered myself pretty well-versed on DS9, but as I'm rewatching it I find that I don't remember nearly as much as I thought. It's been nice to see some episodes as relatively fresh. I did remember the conceit in this one though, and sadly it really hurts rewatchability for me. It's still fun and enjoyable, but without the mystery there's not much substance left. Some people have levied this criticism against TNG's Darmok, because on first watching you don't know the aliens' motivations, or what they're saying. That doesn't make subsequent viewings any less enjoyable for me though. Same for movies like Fight Club, where knowing the twist can actually make rewatches more fun. Such is not the case for me with this one, perhaps because the replicant is so perfect? Also it's a weird O'Brien double-dip coming immediately after Armageddon Game.

    Watching this again in 2024 and love it... but part of me wonders why the crew weren't open about our O' Brien being a clone...

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