Episode 1.4: A Man Alone

The overtones of this episode are a bit obvious.  Mayhaps a bit too obvious for elegant television.  But as with all shows, there is a bit of finding their stride to this first season, and this episode is one of those stride-finders.  The backbone of this one comes not so much from the moral thrust about racism, but from the relationships we see being created.  But let us not skip over the moral flesh too quickly.  The advancement of the racial fear the inhabitants have for Odo is striking.  In the beginning, the concern of the inhabitants is justified.  Odo is the prime suspect in a case he is investigating; he should be removed.  Even Odo agrees with this as he rebuffs Sisko in his office as Sisko offers some (misguided) comfort to Odo.  Unfortunately, the fear quickly leaves the realm of reasonable as rumors and slander in the bar fuel the fear and turn it into distrust.  Distrust turns to hidden violence (the destruction of Odo’s office), which finally descends into open violence with the mob cornering Odo demanding his death.  They conflate justice with fear.  This rationalization is a dangerous precedent that we need to be vigilant of.  There is a legitimate concern at the beginning; a prime suspect cannot be the lead investigator of said crime.  This should not be overlooked.  It is this descent into the unreasonable and (most importantly) unjustified fear that must be stood against.  Rumors can cause this transformation, as can ignorance.  In the final moments, Odo makes an offhand comment about the definition of life (in reference to clones), but this idea is not explored further.

As is common to the early episodes, we see a lot of small pieces to multiple bigger puzzles forming in the realm of character relations.  Bashir & Dax have a bit of fun with each other.  Julian is relentless, and Jadzia enjoys the attention.  At first, I considered it a sadness to see Julian get rebuffed by Jadzia, but after enough rejections he will be changed for it.  I love how Bashir interacts with women.  He is a knight seeking his fair maiden, but Jadzia is turned off by his naive chivalry.  Perhaps another will appear who will appreciate his idealism?  Not yet.  We see Sisko & Dax’s relationship begin.  In her previous life, Sisko was the student and Dax the mentor.  Now, Sisko begins to take the role of mentor while Dax is the student.  The O’Briens have their first fight.  Ultimately this will lead to the formation of the school at the end of the episode, which is Keiko’s way of bringing Roddenberry’s paradise to DS9.  Bashir and Sisko have a rare moment, but these are few throughout the series.  Jake & Nog’s friendship begins in a way that is classic for boys that age: out of necessity.  Boys will be boys, and these moments are crucial to their development into men by the end of the series.  They need freedom and consequence both.  Both Sisko and Rom fail to see the value of their boys’ friendship from the start.

The biggest relationship puzzle we see in this episode is Quark & Odo.  Despite the banter shared in previous episodes already, Quark is quick to defend Odo from the slander he hears in the bar.  Then after the destruction of his office, it is Quark who offers Odo the best comfort possible (after Sisko’s failed attempt). Quark, in his roundabout and sly way, tells Odo how needed he is on the station, and how vulnerable the station is with him relieved of duty.  Rather than tell Odo how good he is, Quark tells Odo how much of a better crook he has become because of Odo.  Odo would never accept direct comfort, at least at this stage in his journey.  So Quark sidesteps it.  Odo is smart enough to see what Quark is doing, and returns the compliment in Odo’s own sideways manner.  The friendship is real, even if neither of them are emotionally confident enough to admit it in a straightforward way.  Nor do they have any appreciation for the other’s motivations, as seen in the opening dialog between them.  We’ll see more of Quark & Odo in the next episode (I totally cheated and watched another before blogging about this one).

Random Thoughts: 1) Morn sighting!  Poor guy is caught in peer pressure.  2) Jadzia tries to be wise, but I always find her awkward.  3) The production code for this episode, 403, indicates it was made before Past Prologue (Ep. 1.2).  Possibly intended as the original 3rd episode.

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~ by Joshua Black on July 14, 2012.

2 Responses to “Episode 1.4: A Man Alone”

  1. Perhaps Quark fears the unknown. He knows Odo\’s style, and if he was replaced by someone else they may enforce justice in a different way. Or he likes the challenge and considers Odo a worthy adversary. 🙂

  2. I think Quark enjoys the unknown, if there’s a profit in it. After all, Rule of Acquisition #62: The riskier the road, the greater the profit. But the joy for him is more in the risk/reward than in any joy of exploring.

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