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.


Anonymous said...

I really want to rewatch all these episodes in order now, because I remember bits and pieces that come up in these reviews but not everything.

Any idea if they'll be releasing a complete DS9 set in the same way that they did with TNG a couple of months ago?

Siskoid said...

I looked for you, but I couldn't find anything that said they would. Still, Paramount has a way of re-releasing Trek in various formats, so I wouldn't be surprised if they did eventually.

Madeley said...

Cheers for looking. The TNG set is absolutely on the Christmas list...

De said...

Back in the Usenet days, I think that lock of hair being out of place made some of the fanboy population explode. Gah.

There are two books, at times, I wish had never been published: Star Trek Chronology and The Nitpicker's Guide for Next Generation Trekkers.

Siskoid said...

Apparently, it made the producers' heads explode as well, as it's the kind of decision they have to approve, and this was a choice by Auberjenois.

As for the Nitpicker's Guild, I'm a card carrying member, and you can probably thank it for my continued interest in Star Trek for so long. I don't see nits as a negative, but as a positive and fun thing to do. Certainly kept me watching and rewatching!

De said...

The books in and of themselves were certainly interesting (save for the rare moments when Phil Farrand proselytized) and it was the sort of thing fans were already doing for fun. But it seemed (to me at least) that a significant section of fandom began to focus more on the inconsistencies (the placement of Sisko's commbadge in "Rapture", the replacement of Glenn Corbitt with Jamie Cromwell, etc.) rather than the stories after the first book was published.

LiamKav said...

I'm back and forth myself. Some nits are fun, as are trying to come up with no-prize observations. It depends on whether you feel ignoring a reference makes for a better story. I can buy, say, ignoring a reference to Sisko not having a living family on Earth since it was just the one mention a few years prior, but wry comments on rank pins going missing or the rubbishly aimed but super-powerful photon torpedoes in the Way of the Warrior are quite fun. As was pointing out that Picard shoudn't have ordered an all-stop after losing the SID in whatever episode that was because it would have smeared the crew against the windscreen.

But, as you say, fans ruin everything.


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