"Things Past" Plot Summary:
Sisko, Odo, and Garak find themselves on Terok Nor, mysteriously placed in the roles of a group of Bajorans condemned by Odo to execution years earlier. When he tells Kira of the truth about the events, she's not sure she can forgive him, any more than he could forgive her for the circumstances in which she committed a murder under his jurisdiction.
I'm not sure if this was a terrific episode or if it just felt that way in comparison to the rest of this season. While "Things Past" wasn't quite at the level of "Necessary Evil," to which it was successor in many ways, it's the most solid Odo episode to date (pun intended), and an interesting outing for Sisko and Bashir as well. I can't say I like seeing Dax used gratuitously as Dukat's concubine any better than as Worf's girlfriend, but that's my only serious gripe with the storyline. There might have been inconsistencies with things we've learned in the past about Terok Nor or the Occupation, but I was too caught up in the story to care.
Finally, finally we get some inkling that the real Odo is still around -- I don't just mean Odo the changeling, I mean Odo the philosopher, who can't decide what justice means or if it's worth the price for truth. I found it odd that he didn't tell Sisko what he knew earlier on -- he must have suspected he was putting his crewmates in jeopardy, given the roles he knew they were playing -- but it was so typical of him to think he had to work through the problem alone, since he created it through his past sins. The buildup to the denouement was well done both in terms of the teleplay -- great, suspenseful moments between Odo and his Cardassian predecessor -- and the performances by Auberjonois, Robinson, and Brooks in particular. I also though the directing was well done, particularly the execution scene.
I wasn't thrilled with the sickbay scenes, though at least they gave Bashir something intelligent to do this week. I don't really understand why a telepathic connection to Odo would have made Garak's nose bleed, but I'd rather that remain a mystery than have to listen to technobabble explanations. The episode would have worked fine with no flash-forwards to present DS9, and then the mood wouldn't have been broken -- I wish that, having gone out of their way to give us Bajoran costumes on familiar faces to make the past timeline look consistent, the producers would have done the bulk of the episode in flashback instead.
But it hardly mattered. The last five minutes of "Necessary Evil" constitute my favorite DS9 scene of all time, and the conclusion of "Things Past" resonated with it. I love listening to Kira -- who had been so terrified of revealing her past crimes to Odo -- express her sense of betrayal, and Odo's inability to respond to her. What's saddest is that the emotional impact of this episode was lessened for me not because of the script of performances, but because I just don't care about Kira and Odo the way I used to. I feel for them, discovering that they never really knew one another, because I've felt time and again watching DS9 like I don't know either of them. I hope the versions we ended with here -- Kira with the spark of resistance fighter still within her, Odo with changeling physiology still within him -- are the ones we get to keep.
Deep Space Nine Reviews