DS9: S1E03: “A Man Alone”

In which Bashir keeps trying, civilization is seedier, and where are the clones, there should be clones, send in the clones. 

This just seems uncomfortable.

This just seems uncomfortable.

Jadzia Dax sits in meditation in what I’m going to fake-guess is a holodeck, based on the regular pattern on the walls and floor, and on the floating pearlescent bubble in the middle of the room. Bashir walks in and hits on her immediately and awkwardly. The bubble is a brain teaser that responds to brainwaves. Bashir gives it a try, but he is not going to be able to achieve focus and clarity of thought with Jadzia pressing her… self… against the back of his head.

Quark and Odo are having the kind of conversation we’ve been missing for years. It’s not an exact replica of the McCoy-Spock dynamic, but keep an eye on this. Rather than emotions against logic, this one is very opportunity against regulation. Freedom against security and order. They’re not exactly old friends, but they know each other from before the Federation arrival. Odo also says he’ll never understand the humanoid need to ‘significant-pause couple’. To be fair, he’s watching Keiko and Miles argue about something as he says it. We can perhaps blame Data for ruining their lives. He did introduce them after all.

Remembering that Trill slugs swap bodies pretty regularly, and that Dax used to wear an old man instead of a young woman, Quark’s summing of the possibility of dating a person who could broadly be thought of as transgendered is ‘who cares? She’s hot now.’ In fact, it’s so casual that he would probably be shocked if some human indicated he might have felt weird about it. The Future. Sisko is having a little trouble adjusting but that relationship is even more intimate – his secondary father figure is now a woman like 60% his age.

Odo starts a fight because he really hates some dude at the Dabo table. Keiko starts a fight with Miles because she’s a botanist and DS9 doesn’t need a botanist except for all the plants on the other side of the wormhole that need studying. Quark’s nephew Nog starts a fight with Sisko’s kid Jake because he’s a Ferengi and Jake is a Hew-Mon.

Because it wouldn't be Star Trek without green women.

Because it wouldn’t be Star Trek without green women.

The Bajoran Odo tried to beat the snot out of was a war profiteer back in the Occupation – gouging civilians for medical services and killing a Cardassian who demanded a payoff. Now he’s super rich and getting exotic webbed-finger massages that end with a relaxing dagger-through-the-shoulderblades. Hey wait, that doesn’t seem relaxing at all. It is, however, the right thing to distract Bashir from getting shot down again. Meanwhile, Jake and Nog release tiny insects that cause insects and chromatic abberation.

We have a Locked Room mystery. The Holodeck only registered two door accesses – once when the dead war criminal entered and once when the murderer presumably left. No evidence of transport is what makes Locked Room mysteries in Star Trek interesting. Some random dude also pops up to give testimony that the victim was in fear of his life from Odo. Now, bear in mind that Odo wouldn’t need to use a knife – he could just stab the dude with Terminator-2 arm spikes and leave, confident that the weapon would never be found. He would only use a knife and leave it as a form of deception. If he were that devious and calculating he would likely not have made a big scene in Quark’s earlier. The victim, Ibudan, had a double-occupancy bunk on the incoming ship, and Odo investigates it and finds out that he himself was on Ibudan’s agenda. Worrying.

Keiko talks to Sisko to start up a school. As station administrator he can do whatever, and it’s not like a request to the Federation to get school computers is going to go unanswered. But the population is highly transient, so pretty much nobody but Jake and a few other permanent residents are going to get anything like a regular lesson plan. Thus far, Jake’s education has been by computerized lesson – Keiko is basically offering to be a babysitter and truancy officer, given the likely level of these computerized lessons. I may be being a tad harsh – if she’s good there’s a lot she can bring to the table for her regulars, but it’s not like the constraints of the situation vanish because of that.

The murder investigation continues – there are no additional DNA traces apart from those already accounted for: Ibudan and the investigating personnel. In fact, the only logical conclusion is for the murder to have been committed by the person who could get in through the door cracks and doesn’t have DNA. Means, Motive, Opportunity. I think it’s gutsy of them to put him in the credits when they’re going to have him arrested and removed in the third episode. That’s a Joss Whedon-level troll.

Huh. I guess Odo does have DNA, but at the time of the murder, Odo was in a bucket having what passes for sleep in his species. It’s a very well-crafted trap, or else a very straightforward murder.

Nog’s father Rom is very hostile to the idea of a Federation school, at first. But Keiko is really good at selling the idea that knowledge will give him a competitive edge. There is, of course, the insurmountable problem that she’s female and also human. In the same scene, the rando who first gave testimony against Odo is now rabble-rousing based on Odo’s previous position as security chief for the Cardassians.

"Soon, my invisible flesh-eating locusts will be complete, and I'll show them ALL!"

“Soon, my invisible flesh-eating locusts will be complete, and I’ll show them ALL!”

Bashir is playing CSI. Scanning Ibudan’s quarters for evidence of another person. The Bajoran pitchforks-and-torches crew is expressing their concerns in order to try to get Odo removed from the investigation. It does make sense – it can only hurt him if he’s declared innocent to keep him in charge of the investigation – there would always be doubts. Speaking of clearing Odo’s name, it seems Ibudan, as a former purveyor of medical services during the Occupation, had access to advanced medical supplies and was removing evidence of a substance that falsifies evidence.

For someone who’s been portrayed so far as being exceptionally rational, or at least sufficiently versed in the art of deductive and inductive reasoning to be a security chief, Odo’s reaction to being taken off the case seems… written for the express purpose of making us doubt his innocent, even after Bashir just found the thing. Feels a bit clumsy, is all I’m saying, although they did go out of their way to show earlier that Odo has something of a temper. He’s not emotionless… just clever and relentless. Like a T-1000. Like a T-1000 who’s had his office vandalized. The chief of security doesn’t have locks on his doors?

The thing that’s growing from the lab samples is growing fast. If I had to guess, I’d say that it grows into a clone of Ibudan. He brought it into the holodeck with him, grew it like one of those hot water dinosaur sponges, killed it, and left. Thus, the only DNA traces at the scene were his own, because a locked-room mystery is always easier if the victim and the killer can somehow walk in together.

Heh. Sisko almost tells Bashir about the time Sisko and Curzon had an orgy with a couple of amazonian twins. It’s the little moments like this that distract from things like Odo getting chased down by an angry mob. Also, the camera keeps zooming in on a hooded old Bajoran watching the mob with a very satisfied expression. Sisko gets the mob quieted down long enough for Julian to show off that I was super right, and the old hooded guy is Ibudan wearing an IMF rubber face.

So, here’s a thing. The clone, once matured, will go on to lead a normal life. No mention is made of it having to learn not to soil its jumpsuit, but by the same token nobody is concerned beyond a brief quip about it repeating its parent’s life of crime. Maybe they just have access to the same re-education machines Uhura used when she got mind-wiped. Of course, one then has to wonder why they don’t use that on children, too. I can think of a host of reasons, but none of them feel very satisfying.

Also, clones appear to have legal status that’s long-settled. They get to just go out and live their lives without too much of a hassle. Killing your own clone is counted as murder. These are treated as settled questions, even though I’m pretty sure we never saw on-screen case law about it. Nifty!

As a final wrap-up, Jake, Nog, and two no-names in Bajoran-style jumpsuits show up for school and are immediately told to do some textbook reading on Bajoran history. Great lesson plan. Totally not obviously catered to the Commander’s son at all.

Did we miss something awesome?