Star Trek 371: Crossfire

371. Crossfire

FORMULA: Shakaar + Shadowplay + Heart of Stone + In the Hands of the Prophets

WHY WE LIKE IT: Odo and Quark's "friendship".

WHY WE DON'T: Shakaar could have been cool, but... he's not.

REVIEW: On paper, this doesn't seem like an episode I'd like. Though there's a vague assassination plot, it's really about Kira falling in love with Shakaar while Odo looks on despairingly. Sounds like angst on a stick and not very interesting soap opera. In actuality, it's one of my favorites. Maybe it's because I empathize with Odo's pathetic unrequited love (all part of being my kind of geek, actually), or maybe it's René Auberjenois' ability to make us care for his character no matter who you are. I mean, how cruel is the script to poor Odo who must bear witness to the woman he loves fall in love with another?

This wouldn't work if Kira wasn't so lovable in Crossfire, but when she's happy like this, she's quite delightful. It's a real shame Shakaar isn't actually up to that level however. He was a good, strong character in his first episode, but here, he's way too timid. From an action hero Kira COULD be interested in, to a meek politician unsure of himself who practically asks Odo to be his wing man.

It all falls apart when a moment's distraction makes him lose control of a situation, and what seemed like a silly noisy neighbors subplot becomes the impetus for the best Quark-Odo scene we'll ever get. Pictured above right, not only does is the composition gorgeous (like a Japanese woodcut), but Odo's one lock of hair, out of place, is a wonderful symbol of his loss of control. In the rubble, the plant Kira had given him as a housewarming present. And center stage, two characters who are indeed the best of friends, but can't ever admit it without destroying their unique relationship. It makes me mist up just recalling it.

In the end, Odo's enforced loneliness (mirroring Worf's own) is how the changeling resolves his personal problems. It's quite a touching scene when he cuts Kira loose. She has no idea, does she? Probably an over-reaction to his security screw-up in the lift, is what she's thinking. Still, she palpably feels the loss of a friend there. Again, very well played. After that, there is closure, and Odo seems positively free of his previous anxieties. At least for now.

LESSON: No use crying over spilt protoplasm.

REWATCHABILITY - High: A well-observed script and excellent performances offer something to those who were fans of the Odo-Kira romance and those that weren't.