Babel: The Blarney

O’Brien seriously needs a better way to handle incoming complaints. As Operations Manager, people should be making their concerns known through a system that automatically flags the importance of a query based on the issue in question. There should be a lot more delegating going on given that “manager” is part of his title and job description.

As it currently stands, O’Brien is little more than a glorified janitor which doesn’t fill me with a whole lot of confidence regarding what the work is like for the actual janitors on the space station. I get that O’Brien is supposed to be the everyman character, but there are much better (subtler) ways of getting that in than having people constantly giving him a hard time.

They could set him up in a really solid mentorship role for someone just starting out as a sort of apprentice engineer, someone who has to do a lot of drudgery if he ever wants to work his way up to a starship as O’Brien did before coming to the station for reasons I still don’t quite understand.

Why did O’Brien take this job? I’m sure for the actor it was a matter of the character having more prominence and therefore more development, becoming something more for him to work with. This is sort of the explanation O’Brien the character gives about the switch he made, but I’m not buying it from him.

Sure, there’s a lot more work to do in basically re-building a space station versus maintaining the functions of a starship, but — as Keiko brought up again and again before her foolhardy decision to open a school — it’s not nearly as good as a place to raise their child. On the starship there’s more freedom to run around and play and learn from most every department in addition to what must be a very thorough education system.

O’Brien is meant to be relatable, but by taking the gig on the station he sets himself up as a selfish punching bag which would be a really interesting character for someone as talented as Colm Meaney to portray, if they had embraced that selfishness and turned up the volume on the “punishment” of making an ill-conceived decision as the head of his little family; but, as it stands, it’s just a whole lot of lazy storytelling.