One of a Kind
"A Man Alone" Plot Summary:
When a Bajoran black market criminal who was once arrested by Odo is killed in a holosuite, Odo becomes the prime suspect. The shapeshifter, who doesn't eat or have sex like virtually all the humanoids on the station, is a mystery to most of the other officers, but Kira suspects that he was framed. Sisko complies with a Bajoran request that Odo be relieved of his duties, putting Dax and Kira in charge of the investigation of the death of Ibodan.
When the two women look into the matter with the help of Bashir, who examines bioregenerative matter found at the scene of the crime, it is discovered that Ibodan is not dead at all, but grew a clone of himself and murdered it in order to frame Odo. The shapeshifter himself catches the man by hiding in his quarters in the form of a chair, and Ibodan is incarcerated for good this time.
This episode reminded me overmuch of two TNG stories: the one where Beverly Crusher learns that a dead scientist is really still alive, and the one where Geordi LaForge learns his new girlfriend may be harboring a shapeshifting murderer. It was interesting to learn a little about Odo - that he doesn't enjoy pretending to be a humanoid and doesn't even fake indulgence in the pleasures of the flesh. It was also interesting to learn that Quark, for all his faults, has no prejudices either about Odo or about Dax, whose body contains a centuries-old sluglike creature which squacks Bashir a little bit but Quark not at all. He may be annoying but he's not xenophobic.
Neither is his nephew Nog, who befriends Jake Sisko in order to play pranks with him. Let us hope that Keiko O'Brien, who opened a Federation-Bajoran school in this episode, doesn't turn them both into Wesley Crushers too quickly. I was glad the writers dealt with her frustrations as a botanist aboard a non-moving space station; unless she moves to the surface of Bajor, she's not going to have much to explore. But turning her into a schoolmarm is a little icky - sort of like telling her to stay home with the kids since her husband has the important job. Well, hopefully Nog will make life interesting.
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