DS9: S2E08: “Necessary Evil”

In which Quark gets shot, Odo has flashbacks, and Kira has a Past. 

It was a dark and stormy night. A Bajoran woman in a white satin dress explains to Quark about how a man done her wrong, and the Law just doesn’t understand. The’s reminiscing about old times, and asking Quark to bring her a strongbox her late husband buried in the wall. She doesn’t want to go back on the station because of Reasons. The favor is worth five bars of latinum and Quark is on the hook. But could there be more to this than meets the eye? Melodramatic gasp, shocked expression, et cetera.

Odo is doing the log after the teaser, as Sisko has asked Odo to start keeping one. Odo reflects on the human obsession with record-keeping as the Promenade shuts down for the ‘night’ and creepy string music is played. His log consists of exactly 100 words including the stardate, of which 8 are procedureal (“Commence station security log: Stardate <whatever>”) and 3 are log content (“Everything’s under control”). The other 89% is complaining about having to keep a log. Never change, Odo.

Pictured: Rom forgetting to bargain for his help prior to giving it.

Pictured: Rom forgetting to bargain for his help prior to giving it.

Quark and Rom begin the heist, and it seems Rom actually has a knack for breaking the kind of lock they’re trying to unlock. Given his utter failure at murdering his brother for power or smarming his way into power, it’s good to know he has some skills. He unlocks the door and gets no thanks whatsoever despite clearly being the best at heisting.

In the box is a a paper with eight names. Sadly for Quark, the Lady in White sent a goon to make sure he didn’t open the list, and to deal with him if he did. The goon has a weapon which has no recoil but flings Quark across the room. I have no idea how that can even work. In the ensuing emergency resuscitation, Bashir and Odo agree that this must have been a ‘compressed tetryon’ weapon, which sadly tells us precisely nothing. Also, Rom is protesting Odo’s suspicion of him rather a lot for a guy who was about to space is own brother a year ago.

Rom succumbs to Good-Cop-Bad-Cop and tells Odo everything he knows about the list, the job, and mentions the previous owner of the ship. This puts Odo in flashback mode! The time he met Dukat officially. Dukat saved Odo from becoming a traveling USO show in order to see if Odo had chops as an investigator. Now, please recall that Dukat is, at ‘present’ portrayed as something of a complete bastard for his role in the occupation. In Odo’s flashback, Dukat is trying to resolve a murder in a way other than rounding up ten random Bajorans and executing them. The implication is that he’s actually interested in justice, but at minimum he’s interested in something that will cause a little less blowback. He is, after all, blessed with extraordinary foresight.

“She lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theatre curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air.”  ― Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

“She lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theatre curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air.”
― Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

Odo also has a reputation as being fair-minded and having sorted out disputes, and for this and for Odo’s shapeshifting, Odo has been hired. His first job is to interview the window – the same woman from the beginning of the episode. She talks about her husband having an affair two years into their five-year marriage.

Odo, to his credit, shows his detective chops immediately. Since he has had to be an ‘observer of humanoid behavior’ he’s very aware of what it looks like when humanoids cry, and she hasn’t been. Once allowed to continue with her story, she offers to point out the other woman, who appears to have been Kira Nerys. Which brings us back to the present. Odo and Nerys are attempting to manage the murder suspect issue, and Odo takes Rom through some guided mediation to try and figure out any of the names on the list. One of them might be Ches’so, which is familiar to both Odo and Kira. We find out that Odo saved Kira’s life by being certain she was innocent of something. Flashback noises!

I seems that Kira was not, in fact, having an affair with the dead man, and only arrived on the station two weeks ago. She mentions that he had ginger tea and not knowing how, which is interesting because Quark had mentioned making sure the window Pallra always had ginger tea. Odo doesn’t know this, but he does have other reasons to go visit Pallra, during which time he lets slip that Quark isn’t dead. In case you didn’t pick up on this, Pallra is very worried about something that she’s not letting on in front of Odo. The shapeshifter is, fortunately, clever enough to realize that Quark’s vegetative body needs security after someone named Ches’so turns up dead a day after he leaked the name.

In the past, Quark is next to be questioned by Odo, to see if Kira had an alibi for the time of the murder. Quark gave Kira an alibi, but not one that Odo believed.

Odo has managed to piece together the list based on Pallra’s communications with people she’s never spoken to before, and who came out of the occupation with a lot of money that they transferred to her. I can’t decide whether I’m surprised or not that no money launderers are available in the wake of the occupation. If there was any money going around at all their services were probably of use. This paints us a more vivid picture of the occupation. And the people on the List were apparent collaborators. Odo is disgusted by this, which is interesting. Also interesting is that he has what he feels is an innate sense of justice, which he thinks of as inherited somehow from his species.

A face made for smarming.

A face made for smarming.

Kira’s alibi for the murder is that she was in Ore Processing sabotaging the station, which is why she insisted Odo would have to chose sides if he knew the real story. Odo was ‘hired’ to solve the murder, and Kira didn’t do it so Odo lets her go and tells Dukat as much. Odo doesn’t lie. This puts him in a growing reference category in Star Trek – the Outsider. Spock and Data have been the primary Outsiders so far, and I feel this episode more than any previous has been Odo’s moment in the sun. Vulcans and Androids Do Not Lie, as a matter of course, and when they mislead or dissemble it’s a big deal. Worf got a little bit of this, although to a much smaller degree. Odo is getting the same treatment now. Keep an eye on this in future franchises, because Star Trek is particularly good for using the Outsider as a tool both for storytelling and their little morality plays.

The widow Pallra’s hit man has killed a security guard and was about to kill Quark when Rom starts wailing in despair and calling the constabulary in. Pallra leaves her hit man out to dry, or tries to. She gets locked up, but Odo finally has the missing piece of the murder. It turns out it was Kira after all – a colleague did the sabotage and she, in looking for the list of Quislings, was surprised by the deceased, and had to kill him. Kira and Odo share a sad french horns moment.

 

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