So, after the cringe of the previous episode’s trip to Risa, I thought this episode was getting a bit back on track. The last scene sat a bit weird with me, and when I shared that I had seen this episode with a Trek-enthusiast friend and co-worker with strong socialist leanings, he said he thought this episode was much worse than the trip to Risa because Risa was inconsequential. This one reveals something about Odo that should signify that Kira will never think well of him again, and yet at the end of the episode…she seems pretty understanding.
That might be worth discussing.
Sisko, Dax, Odo, and for some reason Garek, are on their way back to the station after spending time at a Bajoran conference on the occupation. Garek, apparently, was not as well appreciated as he hoped to be. Odo is in a bad mood, and not his usual sort of bad mood. Then something happens and the four lapse into comas. They appear to wake up in the past, but like this is an episode of Quantum Leap, they look like Bajorans to other people there. In fact, they look like very specific Bajorans that Odo remembers. Meanwhile, Gul Dukat is in charge of the station, and the head of security is a Cardassian named Thrax, played by the always-welcome character actor Kurtwood Smith.
Now, it turns out they are not in the past. They’re in a mental link with Odo, and what they’re seeing are his memories and guilt. Thrax was long gone by that point. Odo was in charge of security, and he had incorrectly assumed the guilt of three innocent Bajorans, and all the pleading he does with Thrax to be more thorough is really him pleading with himself over a past mistake. That event haunts Odo to the present day, and he vowed to always be more thorough with justice and not make assumptions about the rule of law.
So, why is Kira OK with this?
Kira sits most of the episode out, and it’s a heavy episode, one where the closest there is to comic relief is Quark’s appearance in Odo’s memory, and even then, it’s limited to Odo and Sisko asking each other if they could hurt Quark without ruining the timeline or something since they still thought they were in the past. But when Kira does come in, she assumes that Odo was like a lot of other people, namely caught up in the occupation and doing things he isn’t proud of. That does more or less track with Kira’s general beliefs about the occupation but…Kira is not someone to forgive someone lightly. Yes, her interactions with Dukat are a little bit all-over-the-place, but that describes most of the main cast’s interactions with Dukat. He’s at best an ally of convenience.
The point is, it seems unlikely that Kira would forgive Odo for getting some innocent Bajorans killed. Furthermore, Odo can’t say with complete certainty that he never did that again even if he did learn his lesson afterwards. I suppose it could be argued that Odo didn’t know a whole lot about much of anything and was arguably raised in a lab if not by a Bajoran then at least a Bajoran living in the occupation under Cardassians. Odo might have some warped views of justice as a result, and those ideas don’t come up all that often. Mostly, it comes down to how Odo largely cares only about order more than anything else, and anything that smacks of chaos or unnecessary change bothers him on a fundamental level.
That’s kinda weird if you think about how a character originally set up a shapeshifter whose natural form is a blob of goo that he is so rigid in his way of doing things.
However, we’ve seen Kira not forgive people who got Bajorans killed in the past. She doesn’t have a blanket hatred for all Cardassians, but Cardassians directly involved in the occupation are another story. Why forgive Odo?
Best guess: this is Star Trek, and even the darkest iteration of Star Trek can’t have characters in the main cast not getting along for more than a couple episodes.
Of course, the series did miss a golden opportunity of showing Garek learning a lesson about the occupation after all this…