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Star Trek Deep Space Nine: His Way

Vic: It's the oldest story in the book. She thinks of you as a friend.
Odo: I wouldn't call that a secret.
Vic: But women have been known to change their minds. You just have to give them a reason.
Odo: You make it sound so easy.
Vic: That's because it's not that hard. The girl already likes you. That means you're halfway home.

The episode in which Odo gets dating advice from a hologram, but not an ordinary hologram.

At first I was not so keen on this episode, which seemed like an excuse to get James Darren, who plays Vic Fontaine, to sing on Deep Space Nine. I had heard one of the creators was a great fan of James Darren’s voice.

But, as Vic says, attitudes can change, and over time I grew to believe this episode offered one of the few ways Odo could take steps to have a romantic relationship with Kira. Odo is both private and proud; he would have trouble asking another living person for relationship advice (in a previous episode Kira found a book he was reading about learning to date, but note this was a book and not a conversation). After all, Odo, although he presents himself in a humanoid form, did not have the usual humanoid childhood where he grew up with a family and friends. He still needs help maturing, and Vic provides an example with all the necessary qualities: capable, non-threatening, and available at just the right moment.

Quark shines in this episode, both by giving Odo some pertinent advice, and by blocking Dr. Bashir from the use of his own program. Quark is often demeaned for being too interested in profit, but he does look out for his friends.

Vic then takes Odo through certain steps to make him ready to date. And you know what? Vic’s advice is top-notch. He teaches Odo to relax and to have fun. He makes Odo go on some practice dates, which would be questionable ethically if they were doing this with real women. But they are not; they are holograms, so it’s OK.

Odo is a little embarrassed by what he’s doing but he keeps going back, and Quark, to his credit, does not tease the Constable. And Odo learns – to relax, to enjoy music, and especially, to have fun. He starts humming in front of Captain Sisko, which gives us the chance to hear Avery Brooks, who has a magnificent voice, sing a few bars.

Vic somehow programs a hologram of Kira – it took him forever to get rid of the Russian accent – so Odo gets to practice with a hologram who looks like her. And that means we get one of the best scenes of the entire series, with Nana Visitor’s sultry singing of the song, “Fever.”

Vic lies to Odo and to Kira to get them to meet – and both of them are outraged – but they are really angry at their embarrassment around each other. After so many years of tiptoeing around the matter, they finally kiss. Not in private, either, but on the Promenade, where everyone can see them.

Vic has done exactly what Odo asked him to do – gotten him into a relationship with Kira – even when Odo was, despite Vic’s praise, the most recalcitrant. No wonder Vic, in the episode’s tag, feels like singing.

Title musings. “His Way” is a play off the famous song by Frank Sinatra, "My Way." I’m not 100% sure who the "his" belongs to in the title, though, as you could argue for its belonging to Vic or to Odo. Still, I think the "his" belongs more to Vic than to Odo, because Vic showed Odo how to date.

Bits and pieces

In the episode, Odo claims he doesn’t know French. René Auberjonois, with Swiss and French ancestry, was fluent in French.

In the French-dubbed version of "His Way," instead of claiming that French is the language of love, they substitute Italian.

Kira’s Russian accent appeared in “Our Man Bashir,” in which Dr. Bashir pretended to play a role similar to James Bond. The creators of Deep Space Nine considered this episode an homage to James Bond, but those over at James Bond were not amused, and Deep Space Nine had to stop any storylines based on Bond.

Quotes

Vic: I know what you're thinking. He has pretty sweet pipes for a lightbulb.

Quark: It's been over a year. You've had plenty of time to arrange a merger with Kira. But in all that time, have you even tried to open negotiations? No.
Odo: It's not that simple.
Quark: Odo, the woman waited a year for you to make an offer, any kind of an offer.

Odo: What does fun have to do with Major Kira?
Vic: I'll pretend I didn't hear that.

Lola: You're a hologram too?

Sisko: You were singing.
Odo: I was singing?

Vic: The one and only. But let me tell you, the only chick he wants to swing with is you.
Kira: I take it that's a good thing.
Vic: It's love, baby. Nothing better than that.
Kira: How did you get in here again?

Vic: Talk about your cranky aliens. You two really are made for each other.

Odo: Then who needs dinner? Why don't I get it over with and kiss you right now?
Kira: Well, why don't you?

Vic: Hey, do me a favor? Leave the program running for a few minutes after you leave. I feel like singing.

Overall Rating

This is a solid episode, finally making progress in the Odo-Kira relationship that was necessary for the series while doing it in a way that was credible for these characters. "His Way" does not have the high drama that you see in other episodes; the Alpha Quadrant is not in danger (although possibly the Odo-Kira relationship saves it), but it has some of the best how-an-introvert-can-learn-to-date advice I have seen anywhere. Three out of four lightbulbs.

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

2 comments:

Gary said...

I've always had mixed feelings about this episode. Certainly it's fun, sweet and has a great guest performance by James Darren. The music is good (especially "Fever") and as a longtime O/K fan I couldn't NOT cheer at the big smooch on the promenade.

Yet ... Odo and Kira's relationship has been such a source of much drama throughout the series, and so impacted the larger narratives of DS9 that it feels a bit wrong that they finally made the jump to coupledom in such a light, frothy episode. I like "His Way", but a part of me will always wonder what we would've gotten if Rene Echevarria or Peter Allen Fields had been in charge of bringing the Major and the Constable together.

Victoria Grossack said...

I understand; for many years my feelings about this episode were mixed as well. But when Odo asks Vic what on earth Major Kira has to do with fun, I realized it was necessary. Couples do need to have fun together. Vic gives some of the best dating advice I have ever seen in my many decades. And Odo - who has consulted dating books in the past - really needed a coach. I just can't imagine how else they would get together (which they need to do in order to save the universe - or at least the Alpha quadrant).