Necessary Evil is a damn good episode, I think. Two connected murder (or in Quark’s case, attempted murder) mysteries running in parallel, one in the DS9 present, one in the past that’s told in flashbacks. It’s an episode with such solid character work for both Odo and Kira, explaining their friendship, expanding it, and then ultimately troubling it. I think what makes it so good is that while the “bad guys” of the episode get locked up, to Odo’s professional satisfaction, the perpetrator of the original murder that caused all of these events turns out to be Kira. And when she explains it, in all the complexity of Bajor being a planet occupied by a hostile force, you can tell that Odo can’t really say that she’s wrong… even if at the same time he’s incredibly troubled by being faced with the darker reality of who Kira is and the fact that she lied to him–and caused him to unwittingly lie for her.
Really, it’s so good. It’s also fun to just learn how Odo came to be the security chief on the station, which is another gross complexity because he’s being used to do Dukat’s dirty work, while Odo steadfastly refuses to do anything but a good job as defined by his own moral code. The station looks so different in the flashbacks, and so do Odo and Kira; it’s like the appearance of another lifetitme rather than just a few years before.
This is one of my favorites of the season so far, to be honest.
Which is followed by the solidly meh Second Sight. Sisko meets a mysterious love interest alien lady. Turns out that she’s the psychic projection of another dude’s actual wife. Except the psychic projection version of her is such a completely different person that she doesn’t remember anything about her real life. And the reason she’s psychically projecting is because her husband is a self-obsessed terraformer who has had about a zillion wives before her, and lost them all because that marriage ain’t big enough for a woman and his ego.
So like dude. Seriously. Stop getting married if you’re self-aware enough to admit you’re the problem.
Except the alien lady can’t just leave him because her species mates for life.
Which again, dude. If you know you’re that much of an asshole, maybe don’t marry someone who’s going to be stuck with you forever? In an act of self-sacrifice that he basically makes into a giant monument to how great he is, the terraformer guy basically dives into a star so he cacks it and his wife will stop trying to escape him by astrally projecting so hard that it’s killing her. It says a lot about how done everyone is with this guy that no one seems sad or the slightest bit upset that he basically commits suicide live on the comm channel with them.
I take back my meh. The more I think about this episode, the more I actively hate it.
Sanctuary is a refugee story. Three million aliens from the gamma quadrant show up, looking for a home. They think they’ll find that home on Bajor, pointing out that they’re farmers and they can help with the famine issues the planet is happening. Bajor says no, with the Bajorans certain they’ll end up having to take care of the refugees with resources already stretched thin.
This is a construction where you can’t necessarily blame the Bajorans; they’re recovering from the damage the Cardassians have done to their world. They’re already having famine problems and needing aide from the Federation. So it’s a decent set up for a conflict that doesn’t necessarily have a right answer… even if I think it’s a lot easier to sympathize with the gamma quadrant aliens when the Bajorans seem so cold… and then blow up a refugee vessel that tries to land. On the other hand, you can hardly blame the Bajorans for being frightened and suspicious when they’ve only just retaken control of their planet.
I think if we wanted to see it as a parallel on Earth, it works if you consider refugees going to a country that already has severe problems with famine and the like. It definitely shouldn’t be seen as a parallel to, say, refugees trying to come to the US, when we have a ridiculous amount of resources as a country and are just being selfish, xenophobic assholes who are trying to use “but we have to take care of our own people [who we don’t actually give a shit about because then we’d have to tax the rich oh noes]” as a shield.
It’s all right as an episode. Can’t say that I really want to see it again, ever.