I liked Babel better than you did (or didn't dislike it as much as you did). The plot was thin but the character interaction saved it for me, and I found it interesting that, contrary to what you'd expect after seeing Emissary, the main villains in the next 3 episodes were all Bajorans: a nationalist extremist/terrorist, a black market criminal and a prejudiced lynch mob, and an unethical scientist who also turned out to be a selfish prick. (Of course, I loved the way Kira forced him to help.)
Good point, I hadn't considered that. Making the Bajorans the villains as well as the heroes did somewhat subvert the set-up in Emissary
, and it's something that stayed with the show right up to the end with Kai Winn. As well as that, Garak did aid the heroes in the second episode, contrary to what you'd expect from a Cardassian. (Although his his loyalties did remain ambiguous for some time after that.)
In some ways, this is a vital episode of the show, but it's not an episode that holds up to repeated viewing. It's clearly based on the desire to explore the nature of the Trill and how the host/symbiont relationship works, and that something that DS9 needed to explain, especially since these Trill appear to be different from the ones shown in TNG. But that's the episode's weakness because most of the episode is centred on people explaining stuff that I already know. It's possibly the most realistic interpretation of a court proceeding that I've ever seen as it involves people repeating the same points over and over again with nothing dramatic happening.
Well, one dramatic thing happens at the end, the revelation that Curzon was having an affair with the wife of the man he is alleged to have murdered. I was going to say that this is a get-out-of-jail-free card, but I guess Dax having an affair with a married woman is a stain on the character. Still, it leaves the case unresolved and we never get closure on whether Jadzia should be responsible for any crimes committed by the Dax symbiont. In fact, it's difficult to buy into the notion that there's no precedent in Trill laws or customs as to whether the joining of host and symbiont creates a new person. Even if this is a new area for Bajoran law, surely they would lean heavily towards what Trill or Federation law has to say on the issue. Sisko tells Kira to look into this angle of the case, but it seems that Kira just forgets and it's not brought up in the rest of the episode.
Ultimately, this is an interesting concept for an episode that doesn't quite follow-through, and it gets quite dull if you've seen it before. That being said, there's two interesting things in this episode from the perspective of someone that has seen the whole show. The first is that the Dax symbiont was involved in murdering someone when it was joined with Joran, so it's not hard to imagine that Curzon may have had similar impulses on some level. Secondly, the episode ends with Curzon's ex-lover telling Jadzia to live a long life, followed by a long shot of Jadzia to finish the episode. My initial instinct was to chuckle, but the shot of Jadzia standing there smiling was almost tragic.