Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Crossfire:" A "Poor Odo!" Episode

The Good: Good character development, Moments of acting, Mood
The Bad: Lack of plot, Guest acting
The Basics: As Kira and Shakaar get closer, Odo must confront his feelings for Kira in the very sad "Crossfire."

If you haven't been watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine up until this point or have been reading my reviews, but not tuning in, this is not the review to read. Why? It's impossible to discuss "Crossfire" without mentioning the secret Odo revealed in the third season episode "Heart Of Stone" (reviewed here!). So, get into the series, watch "Heart Of Stone" and then read this. I can't be responsible for ruining the surprise if you read this first. Besides, it's worth it to see "Heart Of Stone" first. Now go. The rest of you . . .

So, we know that Odo is in love with Kira, but of course she does not yet know it. She has expressed some mild interest in Shakaar, who is now the First Minister (the most powerful politician) of Bajor. When Shakaar comes to the station, he and Kira spend quite a bit of time reconnecting and she opens up to the idea that she could love him. As Odo is forced to watch - being in charge of Shakaar's security while on the station - Kira and Shakaar fall in love and Odo falls to pieces. As Odo collapses, so does security and Quark's tolerance for the shapeshifter, which puts the station - and especially Shakaar - in jeopardy.

This episode has an unrelenting mood of depression and contemplation. Despite the air of tension surrounding the security threat to the first minister and the notes of romance throughout the episode, the dominating emotion in "Crossfire" is one of pity. Pity toward Odo. He comes across as such a sad character here as he feels so deeply, yet fails to act. It's difficult to watch his unrequited love go unnoticed and it's highlighted by his enemy, Quark, becoming his confessor.

The plot is stretched very thin on this episode. Shakaar arrives and immediately, there is a threat on his life from a group of Cardassian Separatists. Odo attempts to locate them and Worf gets involved. When the attempt on Shakaar's life finally does come, it strikes the audience: "Oh yeah, there was more than a love story here!" That works to the detriment of the episode and truly kills any mood outside those surrounding Odo.

And despite the amount of time spent with Kira and Shakaar in this episode, the greatest character development here is with Odo. Odo comes to realize, under the guidance of Quark, that it's time to put up or shut up. Odo, being generally reclusive, withdraws further inside himself, deciding to shut up and the process by which he gets to that is heartwrenching to watch. This is not an episode for the romantic feint of heart. It's a disturbing piece, mired in deep sadness and it is not relenting.

A great deal of credit must go to Rene Auberjonois. Auberjonois plays Odo wonderfully. Here, he infuses sadness into the character in a way that he never has done before and it expands Odo's character greatly. Auberjonois must put Odo in the position of being lovestruck, melancholy and have his character deal with professional failure. When Odo falls apart, Auberjonois sells it perfectly.

While Nana Visitor gives a decent performance as Major Kira, Duncan Regehr gives a disappointing performance as Shakaar. Regehr is listless and lacks the charisma he had in "Shakaar." He doesn't even seem terribly political. Instead, he's bland and his performance lacks any real inspiration. Armin Shimerman, who plays Quark, is excellent, adding sympathy to his repertoire, but he's not enough to make up for Regehr's vacant performance.

Still, fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine will enjoy "Crossfire." This is an essential part of the series for both establishing Shakaar's importance and his relationship with Kira as well as making Odo's lack of progress in that regard understandable. People who are not fans of the series will find little to enjoy; the love story is second place to Odo's depressing yearning.

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


For other Star Trek reviews, please be sure to visit the Star Trek Index Page!

© 2012, 2007, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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