In the twentieth episode of the sixth season of Deep Space Nine, what the hell. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of consent and misogyny.
This sure is a weird one. It could have gone in a really gross direction, but I feel a lot better about the deceit angle of this plot now that I know that both Odo and Kira were angered by it. Still, the invention of Vic Fontaine is really strange, isn’t it? I have no idea whether we’ll see him again, but as it stands, he’s the first Holodeck character on Deep Space Nine that has agency and is able to act in ways that affects life outside the Holodeck. Like, a far less evil of Moriarty from The Next Generation, I suppose, and that’s a good thing… I guess?
I just have a problem with the whole idea of matchmaking through deceit. It’s a trope I see often in romantic comedies, which is a huge reason why I don’t really watch or read much from the genre. For some reason, characters are written into these tropes as interesting, dynamic people, and they lose all their characterization once this trope is invoked. At the end of it, they don’t ever react to being deceived, or if they do, it’s all swept aside so that true love can be proclaimed, and no one seems to care about the deception.
As Vic Fontaine began to coach Odo in romance, I felt weird enough with that plot alone. It’s perfectly fine to teach Odo to be more comfortable with himself, to loosen up and enjoy life without being so concerned with how others think about him. That’s great! But I have a huge issue with this sort of personal growth being tied to an endgame that involves “getting” a woman. For a while, women are absolutely objects in this story, and nothing made that more obvious than when Vic told Odo to “practice” on another woman, as if women are just stepladders to get to other women. At no point was it ever made clear to Odo that he might have to deal with the fact that Kira didn’t actually want him! Instead, Vic insists that if Odo behaves a certain way, he can get anyone he wants.
WHICH IS NOT HOW IT WORKS IN THE WORLD, NOR IS THAT HOW IT SHOULD WORK. I think the episode subverts that a bit in the end, but I do wonder if that’s my own perception of it, influenced by how excited I was by Kira and Odo ACTUALLY KISSING AND MEANING IT. Perhaps that is the subversion! I commented on how upset I was as I watched Vic set up the deception. If Kira and Odo were going to get together, I wanted it to be real. I also knew Odo and Kira well; it was obvious that both of them would be furious once they figured out the truth. If Kira found out that Vic had used a likeness of her to help “train” Odo to be better at talking to her, she would have hated that, too. (Reminded me of the whole Leah Brahms thing from The Next Generation, you know?)
Thus, I felt a little better about the whole thing once I saw how Kira and Odo dealt with their feelings. Odo, unsurprisingly, wanted to ignore everything and put it all behind them, which is very in-character of him. Kira, however, wanted to deal with it head-on. This spawned a bitter argument between them about whether they should have dinner or just kiss and get it over with, and that felt the most genuine of all possible options. Like, if these two were ever going to get together, of course they were going to argue about it before doing it.
I’m happy that it’s happening and they were able to be honest about it, too, especially since this episode was veering towards something that wasn’t as genuine. On top of it all, I’m still reeling from the end of “His Way.” Like… I honestly thought this would never happen. NEVER. And here it is, and I wasn’t ready, and I’M STILL NOT READY.
Onwards into an uncertain future, y’all.
The video for “His Way” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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