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The Trek Nation - His Way

His Way

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 12:35 PM GMT

See Also: 'In the Pale Moonlight' Episode Guide

Bashir shows off his new holosuite program, a Vegas lounge singer from the twentieth century named Vic Fontaine. The man does a great Sinatra and surprises the crewmembers by being self aware, and an expert on love; he immediately guesses that Dax and Worf are married, and that O'Brien misses his wife and feels guilty for looking at other women. When he comes to Odo and Kira, he starts to state the obvious, then tells them to forget he brought it up. Dax giggles as they're leaving that Kira is going to Bajor to see Shakaar; Odo is visibly upset. Later, when he overhears Bashir telling O'Brien that Vic helped him get a date, Odo gets a sympathetic Quark to loan him the holoprogram.

Vic informs Odo that Kira already likes him as a friend so he's halfway home, but Odo laments that she prefers Shakaar. Vic tells Odo not to worry about the other guy but to change his own attitude - "Cool is one thing, but you're an icicle!" He teaches Odo some of the lingo of his era and gets him to fake the piano accompaniment to his show that night, and Odo surprises himself by having a good time with "Come Fly With Me," though he tells Vic he's glad none of his friends could see him. Vic secures him a date with a hologirlfriend, who's a little surprised when Odo doesn't recognize the names of entertainment icons of the American 1950s.

On duty, Odo starts singing "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and Sisko joins him. Bashir and Dax discuss Kira's plans to stay on Bajor for a few more days, and Dax notes that Odo will be upset. That night Vic introduces Odo to "Lola Crystal," a hologram based on Bashir's Russian-speaking spy version of Kira from his secret agent program. Lola sings a sultry version of "Fever" and appears to be very interested in the piano player, but when Vic leaves Odo alone with her, he finds that he can't respond to a substitute for the real Kira. The woman in question returns and greets Odo on the Promenade, but he runs away from her as usual. Vic sneaks into her Bajoran temple holoprogram from where he's entertaining Dax and Worf next door, and asks her to come to the holosuite that evening, because she's the only chick Odo wants to swing with and he thinks she should get to know her friend better. Then he contacts Odo, telling him that he's created a virtually perfect Kira duplicate from the Lola program.

Vic serves oysters, chateaubriand, cherries jubilee, and Dom Perignon while Kira marvels at how much Vic has taught her tuxedo-clad companion. She admits that she's nervous, this being a first date; Odo says he never imagined her nervous, so, when Vic starts singing "I've Got You Under My Skin," he asks her to dance. The two get very close, admitting that they use work to hide from the rest of their lives, but when Kira suggests a second date off the holodeck, he tells her that they can't, since she's a hologram. Kira is shocked, and when Odo asks Vic to explain things, they both realize they've been tricked by the "light bulb" singer. Odo flees the holodeck in embarrassment.

Kira asks Dax whether she's ever had a moment of pure clarity, where the truth leaped up and siezed her by the throat; Dax says that such moments are extremely rare, she's only had a couple over several lifetimes. Kira says that she thinks she's had one, and when she sees Odo come onto the Promenade, she announces that she's just had another one. She confronts Odo, telling him that she and Shakaar are just friends, and demanding to know whether he's going to take her out to dinner. He barks that he supposes she's going to expect him to kiss her goodnight, she agrees, and he snaps that they might as well skip the courtship and dinner and go straight to the kissing, which they do - on the Promenade in front of many gleeful onlookers, including Quark. When Odo goes to thank Vic, the singer tells him that Bashir reports that Odo and Kira are quite an item.

Analysis:

Let me admit to being highly prejudiced by having watched this episode directly after the Voyager alien-of-the-week romance which aired in my market the hour before. I wasn't in the mood for great science fiction, I was in the mood for something which would make me hopeful about the future of relationships, intimacy, warmth, humor, love...and boy, did I get it with "His Way." I've been hoping for this turn of events for six years, though it wasn't this episode precisely I was waiting for any more than Kira was waiting for a dinner date set in a Vegas lounge. I never really expected Odo and Kira to get together at all, and it's just as well that the writers did it in a ripoff of several old romantic comedies, with Odo playing Bing Crosby to Kira's Grace Kelly. I know I have often complained that DS9 does too many genre ripoffs instead of staying true to the characters so I would like to wholeheartedly take back that statement. This was a lovely, lovely episode that has nothing to do with science fiction and you know what? I don't care. I adored it.

This was an untraditional Trek episode in the best possible sense. Usually when Trek does a holodeck show, it's so that the events can be erased afterwards. I fully expected that Odo would get nothing but a holo-Kira, while Kira would remain oblivious as always. The writers have kept this relationship on hold for years now, I didn't think they would try to come up with a satisfactory way of consummating it...nor did I think they could. Behr and Beimler, I salute you. Here we have the holodeck convention turned on its head: Odo thinks he's with a fake woman, but discovers love with the real thing, and no reset button has been hit at the end of the episode: half the crew saw them kissing on the Promenade. There is no way this relationship can be dropped like Picard/Crusher, Riker/Troi, Janeway/Chakotay, etc. ad nauseam. They made it real.

Not that I expect Odo and Kira to live happily ever after: I'd be disappointed if they did. He's still a changeling, she's still a committed Bajoran national who's tended to favor powerful Bajoran men, and they haven't healed the rift caused when he chose to side with a Founder against his colleagues on the station during the early part of the Dominion war. Indeed, I don't think Odo's over his changeling lover completely, any more than he was over Kira when he was with the other shapeshifter. Who and what he is will keep coming back to haunt him. But it's so good to see him happy right now, finally accepting not just who he is, but all the things he could be. And what a great kiss!

I won't even complain about the niggling sexism of this episode, the annoying way Vic spoke about women as objects, the ease with which Kira started swooning, the speed with which her feelings changed (which we never witnessed - this episode was completely from Odo's point of view, not Kira's), the silliness of her "first date" behavior. This is modeled on old movie romance, I'm willing to take the cliches as such. I expect them to be righted in future episodes, if they're not I'll be annoyed, but after agonizing over all the couples Trek threw away in the name of professionalism - Picard can't love a crewmember because it's too risky, Janeway can't love Chakotay because it'd make her look weak as a captain - I'm happy Deep Space Nine is NOT too chicken to let Worf sabotage his career out of love for Dax, nor to let Kira and Odo share their first kiss in front of the whole station. It isn't proper military form, but it's life.

James Darren was superlative as Vic Fontaine, and Nana Visitor did a lovely turn singing torch (I'm not sure whether that was her voice or not - looked dubbed, but sounded like her, and she played the sultry performer to perfection). But this was really Rene Auberjonois' show, and about time he got one, too. Odo has been the single character on Deep Space Nine who has moved me all six seasons, because the actor fought so hard to keep him consistent no matter what vagaries the scripts were throwing at him. Bravo.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.