This episode marks a sort of follow-up from “Emissary” in that we delve deeper into the relationships of a lot of the secondary characters while others such as Rom and Keiko are introduced. The episode’s teaser is fairly entertaining as we are treated to Dr. Bashir’s attempt to woo Jadzia. As I mentioned in my review of the pilot I actually liked this slightly annoying and self-important version of Bashir a great deal.
One drawback of the episode for me is that it seems to present the viewer with a lot of secondary plotlines with not enough follow through. We are introduced to a potential triangle between Jadzia, Bashir and Sisko. We see some of Jake’s struggles with finding a friend and something to do on the station, and a plotline concerning Keiko O’brien troubles settling in are introduced.
Even though I feel that this episode seems to have too many things going on at the same time, one must admit that these plotlines do serve a purpose of developing the show’s large palette of characters. Something I have always felt was one of Deep Space Nine’s strong points.
The A-plot concerning Ibudan’s murder is largely passable, but not great. The differences between Odo’s sense of justice and way of doing things and the ‘starfleet way’ presents an interesting problem. But the murder-mystery and its eventual resolution feels somewhat average. We as viewers know from the start that Odo of course did not commit the murder, and the sequence involving him being a suspect culminates in a scene which I really hate: The mob scene on the promenade.
The mob scene seems very artificial and staged and I have almost found it unintentional funny, when the angry mob stands around and resorts to shouting ‘Shape-shifter!” and “Shifter”. It is extremely heavy handed and weird. Not sure if this is the fault of the writing or the direction or perhaps a combination of the two.
The murder plot does present us with equally great scenes though. First, I really like the scene when Odo and Kira discuss the attempt to frame him in ops. One senses that Kira has a very close bond and a deep affection towards Odo when he asks her to have the federation doctor make a sweep of Ibudan’s ship. Another standout scene is when Sisko temporarily relieves Odo of command. I like the way that Odo asks how Sisko can be so sure Odo didn’t do it – they don’t know each other at all! That is very true and somewhat unexpected. One last great scene I want to mention is when Quark confronts Odo just after Odo has been relieved. These two characters (and actors) have a great chemistry, and that scene really leaves you wanting more.
Lastly I want to mention Keiko. I readily admit that her reaction and problems to being stationed on Deep Space Nine might be very realistic, but her character has always annoyed me slightly. I think her actions in this episode forms the basis of that bias against her. O’Brien has always been one of my favourites and having her attitude here rubs me the wrong way. I admit that it is not fair since portraying a realistic marriage must contain stuff like the scenes in this episode.
Summary: Does a decent job setting up secondary characters and plotlines and the episode contains some very good moments, but the murder-plot is so-so.