NGL, I actually have very little to say about the A plot on this one. In part this is because I just…really don’t find Odo all that compelling as a character?
Reflecting on my last couple of rewatches, I feel like he arguably grows and changes the least of all the main characters over the course of the series. He has a black and white sense of justice at the beginning, and that’s never really challenged in any serious way. Given how much of the show is about having to deal with the gray areas, that gets kind of boring after a while.
Further, while the show makes it clear with the Founders that that black and white sense of justice is something the rest of his people share, and they examine with the Founders how easily that can turn into fascism, they never really take the next step and challenge Odo himself on that front. Last week he offered to just straight-up jail the Duras sisters because of their past record rather than anything they’d done since arriving on DS9 and waxed nostalgic for the simplicity of oppressive Cardassian rule, this week he wants to throw Ibudan off the station without any apparent cause. Sisko flat-out tells him that he cannot take the law into his own hands, but even after Odo is on the other side of that equation — after an angry mob literally tries to lynch him for no other reason than that a troublemaker has convinced them he can’t be trusted — the show never has anyone explicitly address the fact that Odo’s been behaving pretty similarly. Just the opposite: Odo is instead vindicated in his suspicions and actions.
That said, the other part of why I don’t have much to say about the A plot is that I am all about space operas that are just that: literally soap operas in space. Give me hot aliens and hotter gossip and I am content. (It seems worth noting here that most of this rewatch thus far has been done while I’ve been sewing, sometimes in my Pride t-shirt, so possibly I am just Garak at heart.)
Julian can u not
Good lord, I wasn’t even ten when this episode first aired, but even then Bashir’s inability to take a hint from Dax and back the heck off wasn’t cute, it was at best embarrassing and at worst creepy. Jason commented last week that his parents must not have paid for the “picking up on subtext” upgrade when they had him genetically enhanced and TRUTH.
I feel like they drop a lot of what Dax says about the Trill view on relationships later, or rather, they amend it to be about the expectations around joined Trill, who (it’s later explained as well) make up a pretty small portion of the Trill population. I think that’s a good choice, and adds more depth to the worldbuilding, since her initial comments make them seem a bit like Vulcans-lite. As an adult woman, however, my alternate explanation is that she’s just leaving out some of those key details in order to get Bashir to back the heck off.
Spilling the Tarkalean tea
I hate myself a little for that subhead but let’s be real, it was gonna happen eventually, and now it’s done and we can all move on with our lives.
Quark’s barely-contained glee in spilling all the local gossip to Odo is #relatable, honestly. I stand by what I said when I was introducing Mindi to this show last year:
The O’Briens’ basic conflict — a couple who moved someplace dramatically different for one partner’s job and the other is currently at loose ends and feeling frustrated, stifled, and depressed — is really lovely and realistic, which is one of the reasons it’s kind of disappointing that they wrap it up so quickly. Honestly, DS9 never really knows what to do with Keiko and w h e w does it show here. She’s a botanist, so sure, she can definitely be a teacher for kids from a wide variety of cultures and age groups! Teaching is basically a hobby you can just pick up because you always kinda wanted to try it and now you’ve got some free time.
Possibly I’m being a little unfair — it’s made clear that Jake, at least, is being educated via computer at home, so “teaching” at a Federation outpost may be more about providing a structured environment and facilitating socialization opportunities. But in that case…there’s really no need for it to be a school? They could’ve gone with the arboretum idea and have her offering science classes in person to balance out the home-schooling curriculum, for instance. I just have enough teacher friends that with every rewatch this bugs me more.
Beautiful cinnamon rolls too good for this space station, too pure
THE BEGINNING OF JAKE AND NOG’S FRIENDSHIP!!!! I also like that Sisko’s dislike/mistrust of Nog as a bad influence on Jake is mirrored by Rom disliking/mistrusting Jake as an influence on Nog. I feel like they initially play it for laughs, i.e. lol what kind of dummy would be worried about the Federation being a bad influence, but as they develop the characters of Nog, Quark, and Rom (who, at this point, is basically being written as “Quark but with less charm”) it becomes a bit less of a joke. See the episode where Quark tells Sisko that he knows he doesn’t like him or Ferengi, but maybe he should keep in mind that only one of their species has chattel slavery, nukes, and concentration camps in its history, and it ain’t the Ferengi.
Let us close on the mental image of Sisko, gazing into a vat full of an unidentified biological mass recovered from a murder scene, and then calmly asking, “Care for lunch?” I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.
- Bashir. Apparently I need to say it again: GET YOUR LIFE RIGHT JULIAN
- Odo has never been horny in his life (and seems to have gotten his understanding of relationships mostly from old sitcoms and stand-up routines?) and honestly I feel like his anti-horniness is so pronounced as to merit a spot on the ranking.
- Honorable mention for Sisko and Dax’s awkward semi-horniness for each other, particularly because they’re dealing with it in such a refreshingly grown-up way? Like, they both straight-up acknowledge that this is awkward and uncomfortable and it’s going to take time, and she even gives him the opportunity to end the relationship, and they both opt instead to just work on it! It’s so nice!
- Me: horny for hot aliens and hotter gossip.
- Quark: see #4.