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The Trek Nation - Necessary Evil

Necessary Evil

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 12, 2004 - 4:12 PM GMT

See Also: 'Necessary Evil' Episode Guide

Quark is hired by a Bajoran former resident of Terok Nor to find a secret compartment for her, but when he is nearly murdered, Odo's investigation causes him to flash back to the days when Deep Space Nine was Terok Nor and the woman was married to a shopkeeper who collaborated with the Cardassians. He worked under Gul Dukat, who set him on the trail of the shopkeeper's murderer...a trail which led to Kira Nerys, then a Bajoran Resistance member. Despite inquiries by Odo and threats by Dukat, she got off the station by convincing them of her noninvolvement.

But in the present, Odo puts together pieces of the puzzle he hadn't known about before, particularly when he realizes that Quark was the incidental latest victim in a string of attacks on people suspected of being Cardassian collaborators during the Occupation. He arrests the attacker sent by the duplicitous Bajoran woman to wipe out the evidence of her past, but when he confronts Kira, she confirms what he already knows: she did kill that shopkeeper all those years ago, and she lied to him about it at first to protect herself and later to keep his friendship. When she asks whether his feelings for her have changed, Odo can't answer.

Analysis:

This episode almost ruined DS9 by being too good. Usually when Trek tries to do a genre episode it fails miserably. But this one not only works as a detective story, it gives us Odo as Sam Spade, doggedly solving the mystery and then having to live with the realization that the criminal is none other than the woman he loves. There have been indications all along that Odo has very passionate feelings for Kira simmering under the surface, but this installment brought them roaring to a boil.

The direction of the flashbacks was superb - it visually resembled film noir, with the grays of Terok Nor lending the show a black and white feel...only Kira's red hair really shone in all that darkness. The violence was subtle, understated, and much scarier than when it's overt; Dukat in particular radiated menace, in a scary, aggressive manner that was appallingly alluring despite his vague sexual threats to Kira. Mrs. Vatrick, the shopkeeper's wife, was a superb villainness in both the past and the present, shedding almost-believable crocodile tears in the flashbacks which didn't wash in the present.

This was a great Kira episode, revealing some of the secrets of her past, but it's Odo's face which haunts me. When he tells Dax that he used to believe justice was blind to loyalty and friendships and love, and he's not sure whether he can any longer, it's heartbreaking: finally he can admit his feelings for Kira, but they bring him no pleasure, since he now knows that they can lead him to betray everything he stands for. Dax thinks he's talking about Odo when he expresses fear that he's going to lose a friend, but we know the truth. Kira's not the only one keeping secrets.

The major hasn't seemed more sympathetic as a heavy since "Progress," squaring her shoulders when she's on the verge of tears like she has to remind herself that she's a freedom fighter and a tough cookie. The Rom comic subplot broke the tension well, and all the dialogue had panache and punch. But that missing last line simply blows the rest away: "Will you even be able to trust me the same way again?" Fill in the blanks!

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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.