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Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Crossfire

Sisko: "They say to err is human. But you’re not human, Odo. You’re not even humanoid. And this is not the sort of mistake I’d expect from you."

A quiet, but moving and key episode, where everything works very well.

This episode opens with a simply lovely scene of Odo readying his office for Major Kira’s arrival. He checks the time, puts the chair at a certain position, prepares her raktajino just the way she likes it, and even makes sure that the handle is angled conveniently for her. She arrives with a cheerful good morning, sits down and takes large swallow while he gazes fondly at her, then they have a great time discussing petty criminal activity on the station. These are two people with deep affection for each other.

Of course, in television series, true love rarely runs smooth, and the arrival of First Minister Shakaar (an old resistance friend of Kira’s) causes problems, as Shakaar is also an old friend of Kira’s, and also has feelings for her. A credible threat to Shakaar’s life requires Odo and Shakaar to spend a lot of time together, which also means that Odo is compelled to watch Shakaar woo Kira.

One thing I like about this episode is that very little feels forced (except for making Chief O’Brien appear at the docking station to greet the First Minister, but otherwise Colm Meaney would have had no lines). Shakaar’s arrival at the station to negotiate with the Federation is perfectly logical. So is the fact that some Cardassian-sponsored group would be attempting to kill off key Bajoran officers. By giving Eddington vacation, Worf gets to take charge of the Federation contribution to security, and that’s also organic.

Not only does the plot feel organic, but the characters do as well. Both Odo and Shakaar are in love with Kira, and both have been hesitating to make a move because they don’t want to ruin their friendship with her, and also because they know that she is still mourning Vedek Barail. It also makes sense that Shakaar is the one who makes the first move. Shakaar has had romantic relationships before, while Odo has had none (and even isn’t humanoid, and probably isn’t even sure that he could or should have a relationship). What is heartrending is when Kira, her whole person alight with joy, tells Odo about her new romance. How she had always thought of Shakaar as just a friend, someone she had known for years – these all apply to Odo as well. And Kira gives Odo an intense hug, for deep down she loves Odo too.

Most people on the station don't notice Odo's love for Kira. Odo is so alien, the only shapeshifter that they know, that they simply don't have enough data to conceive that such emotion is possible. However, Quark has noticed, and realizes how deeply Odo is affected (although even Quark is surprised). Quark is a keen observer, and, as someone who occasionally breaks the law, Quark has always had good reason to watch Odo carefully. Besides, Quark and Odo have both been on the station a long time, even during the Cardassian occupation, so their acquaintance goes back years. Quark is frequently harassed by Odo (of course sometimes he deserves it) but he does care about the Constable. He shows that when he shows up at Odo’s quarters in the middle of the night and asks, among other things, “Are you OK?” Quark also gives Odo some advice: either tell her how you feel, or get over her.

It’s nice that the assassin plot – the source of danger – ends well before the episode ends. The arrest is actually accomplished by Worf, who is unusually complimentary to Odo about how well he trained his staff. Perhaps he is recalling the chastising from Sisko in an earlier episode ("Hippocratic Oath") or perhaps he has also figured out that something is seriously bothering Odo and is going easy on the Constable. Or perhaps Odo trained his staff really well, and Worf is telling the literal truth.

The episode ends with Shakaar now being Kira’s guy, and Odo deciding to do what he can to get over Kira. He plans to throw himself into his work, cancels their weekly meetings, and stops making the belt that she had admired.

Title musings: “Crossfire” is the title of the episode. Crossfire can be defined as two groups literally firing at one another, two forces clashing, or just a heated political debate. I suppose that Odo and Shakaar are at odds with each other, and Shakaar is arguing (off-camera) with the Federation. I guess you could also say that Odo is at odds with himself – what is he, a changeling, doing having feelings for a solid? But these interpretations feel like stretches. I don’t think the title is inspired.

Bits and pieces

In my opinion, the relationship between Odo and Kira is the most important in the series.

My hat is off to Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonois for their excellent acting in this episode.

Duncan Regehr, the actor who plays Shakaar Edon, had another part in a TNG episode, "Sub Rosa" (7:14), where he was a sort of ghost (and kind of hot).

It’s fun to watch Odo and Worf compare notes on how to discourage people from stopping by.

You might think it’s unrealistic for Kira not to notice that Odo is interested in her. However, I’ve seen that exact same thing happen in real life before.

During this episode, Odo seems to take breaks from his usual regeneration cycle without suffering ill effects.

I like how Odo stops the turbolift's fall. Having a shapeshifter around can be extremely convenient.


Kira: It’s just Quark’s luck that you would be assigned quarters just above his.
Odo: Luck had nothing to do with it.

Adjutant: If Shakaar canceled his public appearances every time someone threatened his life, he would never leave his office.

Kira: Shakaar knows better than anyone that you can’t capitulate to terrorists. He used to be one, and the day the Cardassians started to negotiate with him was the day he knew they’d been beaten.

Odo: I’ve been working with the Federation for a number of years. They claim to be open and understanding, but somehow, they’re always convinced that they’re right.

Shakaar: I’m afraid to say anything, because it might ruin our friendship. But if I don’t I might let something very precious slip through my fingers.

Quark: It takes passion to do something like this, and I always thought you were colder than a Breen winter.

Odo: Funny. For a minute I thought you were talking to me as a friend.

Overall Rating

As I rewatched this episode for this review, I appreciated it anew. Fabulous acting, and even although there’s important stuff going on in the background (assassination attempt, Federation negotiation), the episode focuses on what matters: Odo and his love for Kira. Three and half out of four precisely placed raktajinos.

Victoria Grossack loves birds, math, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.

1 comment:

  1. To Victoria - finding a well versed in literature and story art fan of DS9, 'reviewer' is hard. Also that you are into classics like Greek and Jane Austen tomes so Odo/Kira would be a pair you enjoy like me. I liken Odo/Kira similar to timeless myths of Gods/angels falling in love with a Mortal and going to the ends of the world to save or be with them giving up heaven.

    =My fanvid listing= Learn Odo/Kira love with their S1-7 Playlist Youtube clips - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCnC5Oxy1vhX_8TJ2PVPuBOsUXau1x9ol

    My treaties fanhead canon about the Greatlink, Odo & Prophets connection(doing what the DS9 writers did to cull past threads t oturn Bashir into a genetic enhanced person) - https://megancyber.tumblr.com/private/165126410112/tumblr_ovzbic2LOB1r3zq6e


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