In the eighth episode of the second season ofÂ Deep Space Nine, Odo revisits an unsolved murder case after Quark unknowingly becomes involved in it. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watchÂ Star Trek.Â
Goddamn, what a great episode. WhileÂ Deep Space NineÂ is definitely grittier and darker than the previous twoÂ Star TrekÂ shows, I appreciated that the writers gave the noir genre a genuine love letter in “Necessary Evil.” Indeed, this show seems well-suited for this kind of story because it’s willing to go to such upsetting and unnerving places andÂ stay there.
I’ll start off by saying that this is just a great mystery full of truly surprising twists and turns along the way. Right from the start, I wanted to know what was in the strongbox. Once I saw the names, IÂ neededÂ to know what they meant. Thus, Peter Allan Fields’ script grabbed me early on, and I was hooked. But why was my interest piqued throughout the episode? How does a writer maintain that thrill throughout the entire story? Like many of the best episodes of this show, “Necessary Evil” gives us a one-off tale that’s tucked within the greater mythology of the show. It’s both a story-of-the-week episodeÂ andÂ part of the serialized narrative of the Cardassian occupation of Bajor.
Through flashbacks, we get a glimpse of what life was like on DS9 during the occupation. The show brilliantly uses light and dark to communicate the horrors of that time and how all of the players had to work in the darkness in order to thrive or to exploit others. The atmosphere on that station wasâ€¦ look, it’s horrifying. I appreciate that the show was willing to depict this! We see how the Cardassians used fences to literally separate Bajorans from one another. We see how they preyed on Odo to â€“ ideally â€“ operate within this framework in order to protect themselves. He was brought in to work on his very first case by Gul Dukat, all so that Gul Dukat wouldn’t be implicated in the horrible scheme he’d been at the head of.
And look how easy it was for everyone to discount and dismiss Odo. That’s especially the case for Kira, who justifiably calls Odo a collaborator. Of course, Odo had no idea of what he was a part of, and he honestly tried to solve this case to the best of his ability. But he played directly into Gul Dukat’s hands, and the case went unsolved because of it. That’s distressing to think about, you know? Odo was complicit in the cover-up of the Bajoran collaborators, and he had no idea. No, he had his sights set elsewhere, and even that was intentional. His attention was directed towards Vaatrick because she seemed like the obvious suspect. Then he was pointed directly at Kira, and at no point did Odo ever suspect the real truth.
And the real truth? Oh lord, y’all. See, this is why I likeÂ Deep Space Nine. (And why “Rules of Acquisition” was so disappointing given what surrounded it.) I kept expecting some sort of resolution that solved the death of Trazko and exonerated Kira for his murder. I expected the names to beâ€¦ well, not what this was. But within the climate of the occupation, the Bajorans had to do what was necessary in order to cut off the supplies, the power, and the support of the Cardassians.
In this case? It was their own people. Can you imagine the heartbreak that this caused? Knowing that your fellow Bajorans sold you out and guaranteed your further suffering just so they could uplift themselves out of the terror that the Cardassians created? This was not a one-time arrangement either. All eight of those peopleÂ repeatedlyÂ benefitted from the trauma and murder of other Bajorans. For what it’s worth, Vaatrick is despicable for finding these people and extorting them for her own gain, but the truth is that practically no one in this situation has clean hands. Shockingly so, that includes Kira. What otherÂ Star TrekÂ show would allow one of their protagonists to be an assassin and an unapologetic one? That doesn’t mean there aren’t ramifications for her actions, and Odo seems troubled at the end of “Necessary Evil.” He doesn’t know if he can trust Kira as he once did.
But it’s all shades of grey here, and that’s the point. For Kira, this assassination was a necessary evil, and now, she’ll have to live with it.
The video for “Necessary Evil” can be downloadedÂ here for $0.99.
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