Star Trek 430: His Way

430. His Way

FORMULA: The Big Goodbye + In Theory + Hollow Pursuits

WHY WE LIKE IT: "I've Got You Under My Skin".

WHY WE DON'T: Vic's lingo.

REVIEW: The advent of self-aware, semi-sentient holograms like Voyager's Doctor has given rise to 60s nightclub act Vic Fontaine whom we meet in this episode. Vic has an uncanny knack for reading people, can manipulate his program, and uses a lingo that can be just a touch annoying ("what did you say?" comedy isn't that funny after a while). As a fan of Time Tunnel, I was really happy to see Jimmy Darren in a recurring role, and his CD of DS9 croon-covers makes a great keepsake for those who loved his part on the show.

Since Vic IS a hologram, Odo opens up to him about Kira the way he could never do with a real person, and Vic usurps some of Quark's thunder in this, though he is more akin to the counselor role than the bartender's, more Troi than Guinan, you could say. So through a series of fab musical numbers, Vic sets out to thaw Odo's icy demeanor and teach him a little thing about fun ("What does fun have to do with Major Kira?" "I'll pretend you didn't say that.")

Some gentle comedy at first, then the hawt hawt hawt performance of "Fever" by Miss Lola Crystal, a Kira look-alike, which is a little creepy for Odo, understandably (this isn't any more savory than Barclay's holo-fantasies, after all). The turning point is the dinner. Kira seems more than ready to deal, and was basically waiting for Odo to make his move. I love their dancing to "I've Got You Under my Skin", Odo confidently leading her through the steps, even adding flair to it. When he realizes she's no hologram, he puts his shields back up in three steps: "Nerys... Kira... Major" and runs away. So well played. I could watch this sequence over and over and often have.

And then there's the kiss. These guys are so hard-edged, they remind me of Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, "too wise to woo peaceably". It's an argument in which they both fight for the same point, so it naturally leads to an aggressive embrace that even stops the aliens on the Promenade in their tracks. I know some people didn't like the whole Odo/Kira subplot, and some didn't like its move from unrequited to consummated, but whatever happens next with their relationship, the way it's done here makes me accept it. It's sweet, romantic, believable and memorable.

LESSON: You can't disappoint a groupie.

REWATCHABILITY - High: Both the romance and Vic Fontaine have their yeas and their nays, but count me in the yea column. I'm a sucker for this one.


Matthew Turnage said...

You don't like Vic's lingo, pally? What are you, some kinda Harvey?

Anonymous said...

Vic kind of won me over, despite my mis-givings about the character.

No problem with the actor mind you. He did a great job. I was just iffy about the concept. It's a credit to him that I liked him despite all that.

Siskoid said...

I don't mind the lingo, really, though I do find little humor in the fact no one understands what he's saying half the time.

The whole Why we like or don't sections often reflect fandom's opinion more than my own.

Anonymous said...

If Vic had been a one-off for this episode alone, I'd rank it a lot higher.

(Much in the same way that I hold the profoundly silly and unduly meta- Sisko's newfound utterly anachronistic racial politics hobby horse [which also surfaces in a Vic context] against Far Beyond the Stars. A good story that enables and inspires some truly awful ones is lessened...)

Siskoid said...

Sisko's politics are totally informed by Far Beyond the Stars and wouldn't touch a nerve except that he's lived a whole life as Benny (much like I would expect O'Brien would feel about incarceration after Hard Time, or Picard about raising children after Inner Light). They only ever bother when you forget the previous episode.

As for Vic, he's got some good moments after his initial episode, and I don't think he could just disappear after being so instrumental to the Odo-Kira relationship. Do I want him to be central to plots? Not really. Do I want him to sing Dax's song on cue to Worf's mad rampages? Definitely.

De said...

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Darren at a Shore Leave convention. He told me that Vic Fontaine was one of the finest roles of his entire acting career and that it opened a lot of doors that would have otherwise been unavailable.

Siskoid said...

At least that much can be gathered from the liner notes on his album.

De said...

I never looked at the liner notes. My copy was signed so they never left the CD case.


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