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WARNING: Do not get caught by surprise by spoilers for DS9's "Crossfire". Watch your back.

In brief: Mostly pointless, but at least one perennially annoying plot has been brought to a close.

Brief summary: When First Minister Shakaar comes on board the station for a visit, Odo must finally confront his feelings for Kira and their possible impact on his work.

At least it's over.

That's the overwhelming sense I got at the end of "Crossfire". Although the episode certainly didn't do much for me (or much at all, I think), it has brought to a close the whole sordid concept of an Odo/Kira romance. Unfortunately, even putting that to a close couldn't be done without writing both characters significantly out of
character on a few significant occasions; that's the reason I disliked the romance idea originally, and it certainly didn't help this time around.

The plot can be taken care of pretty quickly, since there wasn't much of it. The idea of someone wanting to assassinate Shakaar is certainly reasonable enough, though it struck me as too easy to have the would-be assassin be an agent for the Cardassians. (Having it perhaps be a Bajoran uneasy about the swift pace of Fed-Bajor diplomacy would be far more interesting ... but I suppose it would have detracted from the Odo/Kira issues.) Apart from that, the plot was driven by the Odo/Kira relationship, with Odo's security work getting more and more slipshod as he gets more and more worried about her growing relationship with Shakaar. Not unexpected or particularly bad, to be sure -- but more than a bit thin.

(A plot question, however: why does Odo have contacts in the new Cardassian government? It's certainly not a huge stretch to believe that he does, but how'd he acquire them?)

The show revolved, then, around character moments -- usually Odo/Kira, but some of the best ones were actually Odo/Quark. To take various interactions in turn, then:

I'm not sure I bought much of the Odo/Kira situation at all. The opening scene was a striking example of that: I thought Odo was entirely too goofy in terms of attitude and simple facial expressions, and Kira struck me as way too giggly. I also think in general that the "oh, you're not humanoid, all of this must seem silly to you" attitude expressed by both Kira and Shakaar at various points of the episode was somewhat overdone: after all, Odo is clearly capable of humanoid emotions like anger and annoyance. If those are possible, it's a bit surprising to expect others to be exempt. As a result, while a few scenes here and there resonated (in particular Odo's final scene with Kira, which worked quite well; "I'm just trying to keep to the essentials, Major" actually had me wincing in sympathy, as I remember thinking barbed comments like that in bygone years), the
issue as a whole didn't, really.

The Odo/Worf interactions worked reasonably well. I liked the mutual agreement on wanting an orderly environment, and ways to discourage casual visits to their quarters as well; it seems very typical of both characters. (I think "The Abandoned" showed Odo being a bit more receptive to a casual visit by Kira, however; I could be misremembering.) The later bits between them were more central to the main thrust: Worf's frequent concerns about Odo's job performance and the final indignity of having Worf, a security officer
who got caught flatfooted by inept Ferengi on the Enterprise, be the one to nail Shakaar's would-be assassin. Both worked well enough, though there was nothing there jumping out at me as particularly wonderful.

The Odo/Quark exchanges were what saved the episode from drowning in its own sap content, I think. It's almost become a cliche by now for Quark to know what Odo's thinking better than he does, but this time it worked; someone as good a manipulator as Quark presumably is has to be able to glean emotional states fairly well, and I imagine he'd have no problem with letting Odo have some awareness of just how well Quark knows him by now. (Even his motives for helping Odo could be non-friendly; I imagine Quark would much rather deal with the Odo he knows than the Worf he doesn't. Worf's intended solutions are a bit more permanent.)

That's actually about it; this is a fairly short review, but there's not really much to say. Some shorter takes, then:

-- Having Odo slip and not check a security code seemed legitimate, if one gets behind the idea of his obsession with Kira affecting him so much. The way in which he rescued himself, Kira, and Shakaar
worked beautifully.

-- The scene with Odo wrecking his quarters was pretty lackluster. Among many other things, if he's that ticked off I doubt he'd even bother keeping a humanoid shape.

-- At least Kira's past relationship with Bareil is mentioned, albeit only slightly. It's only been a year, after all.

-- The token O'Brien/Bashir/Dax scene was something of a waste, Dax in particular -- the "he's so good-looking" bit was not appropriate under the circumstances. (I did like Bashir's comment about
O'Brien's dress uniform showing off his figure, though. :-) )

-- The best exchange may have been in the opening scene. As Quark complains about Odo's noise, he even complains about Odo running around as a mouse. Kira asks incredulously, "You could hear that?" Quark's simple gesture to his ears and "hel-LO?" said it all.

That should cover it. "Crossfire" wasn't particularly bad, but it was probably the weakest episode of the season so far; it was just there. At least it means we can put the Odo/Kira issue behind us; it's about time.

So, summing up:

Writing: The plot was okay, but close to nonexistent; some of the characterization was okay.
Directing: Appropriate to the sentimental nature of the show.
Acting: Shimerman was better than usual; everyone else was basically fine given the situations they were in.

OVERALL: A 5, I think; absolutely neutral.

NEXT WEEK:

The redemption of Dukat?

Tim Lynch (Harvard-Westlake School, Science Dept.)
tly...@alumni.caltech.edu
"For a minute there, I thought you were talking to me as a friend."
"Nah."
-- Odo and Quark

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