Thursday, September 8, 2011

Settling In On Deep Space Nine With "A Man Alone"

The Good: A good mystery, Good characters
The Bad: Nothing superlative
The Basics: A more-than-competent second chapter to the series, "A Man Alone" is a must-see for DS9 fans, good for anyone tired of listless, thoughtless t.v.!

Any series takes a little while to get settled in. On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine there were a few ideas for the pilot episode that they couldn't include. "A Man Alone" seeks to get in the idea of a school for Deep Space Nine (with the fateful meeting of Jake Sisko and Nog). "A Man Alone" originally aired as the third episode (the pilot appeared as a single episode) and focuses on the order-minded security chief Odo.

A man appears on the station and it is quickly revealed that Odo, sometime in the past, put Ibudan in jail for murdering a Cardassian. Odo here becomes the subject of persecution when Ibudan turns up dead and all leads point to Odo. Ibudan is killed in a closed environment where the only access could be from someone that could change shape.

It's a better character study than a mystery. That is, the persecution of the outsider becomes more important than simply "who killed Ibudan?" The episode plays as an excellent sociological exploration. That is to say that, more than a whodunit, "A Man Alone" is an exploration of the sociological phenomenon of persecution and it succeeds at that.

In addition to the main plot, Chief O'Brien's wife, Keiko, establishes a school on the station when she tires of watching Nog and Jake get into trouble. Jake and Nog meet and come to the understanding that they are the only youth their ages on the station and they decide that friendship makes sense.

This episode has a lot going on in it, but it is essentially a continuation of the first episode and as such, much of this piece is an establishing of the series. That is, while the episode tries to sell the viewer on the idea that it's a murder investigation, the truth is that it largely is a presentation of more character details that will be useful later in the series. And they do become useful, especially the things we learn about Jake and Nog.

"A Man Alone" illustrates well the future of Deep Space Nine as a socially relevant ensemble piece that works best when using the whole cast in compelling situations, often at odds with each other.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the first season by clicking here!


For other Star Trek episode, DVD set and movie reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2007, 2002 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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