S2E8: Necessary Evil

Quark is Bajor, visiting a woman in a fancy house during a thunderstorm and a power outage. He asks her why she called him after all these years and she would like him to get a box that is hidden in a wall in her old shop on Deep Space Nine. She claims she doesn't want to go back to the place where her husband was murdered, but he doesn't buy it and tells her she just doesn't want Odo to see her there.

Late at night, Quark and Rom break into the store and Rom turns out to be really good at lockpicking and quickly getting into the wall without noise or leaving much traces. They find the box and take it to the bar to open it, but all they find inside is a list with eight bajoran names. Quark sends Rom to get a scanner to make a copy of it before they reseal the box, and while Rom is gone a bajoran man comes in, takes the list from quark, and shots him. Rom comes back, finds Quark on the floor, and calls for help.

Bashir saves Quark's life, but he remains in a coma. Odo is questioning Rom about what happened and accuses him of murdering his brother to inherit the bar. Sisko tries to defend him, but when Odo keeps pressing he gets the hint and Rom quickly spills about them breaking into the store and finding the list that has disappeared. When Rom shows him the store where the list was hidden, Odo immediately makes the connection to the murder of its previous owner.

Some years earlier during the Cardassian occupation, Odo was called to the shop by Dukat, who shows him the corpse and asks him to investigate who did it. His own men probably won't get much answers from the Bajoran slaves, but they seem to be trusting Odo as a neutral party who has an ability to solve conflicts. If Odo refuses the job, they will just go with the standard Cardassian procedure and start killing people until someone rats out the murderer. Odo rather would not to and seems rather uncomfortable talking to Dukat and not showing much confidence, but he's not really given a choice. Dukat takes him to the dead man's wife and Odo starts questioning her. At first he's rather akward and uncertain, but when he starts to notice that she doesn't seem terribly bothered by her husband's death, and quickly gets his confidence and is on a roll. The woman tells him that her husband had something with another woman and had promised her to end it, and so the woman probably killed him for that.

In the presence, Odo keeps questioning Rom and somehow gets him to remember the first name on the list, which was Chis'o. Probably. Maybe. it's not much, but he tells Kira to see if she can find anyone with that name that might have been connected to the murder of the store owner. He goes to Bajor to talk to the wife, suspecting that she was the one who told Quark to get the box from her old store, but she says she had not been talking with him for years. He asks if she knows any Chis'o, but she denies that as well. However, Odo mentions that just this morning she had paid her outstanding power bills and got her power restored, and wonders where she got the money. She says it was a loan from a friend and she want's to protect his anonymity, and without any hard evidence for any wrongdoing he has to leave it at that and returns to the station.

The next day, Kira has good news and bad news for him. The good news is that she found the man Odo wanted her to find, and his name is Chis'aro. The bad news is that he accidentally drowned in a pond in his garden the last night. Obviously the wife had him murdered right after Odo mentioned the name to her.

After the murder of her husband, the wife showed Odo the woman her husband had been with and it turns out to be Kira. Odo checks her alibi and has no problem finding out that she paid off Quark to cover for her. While he is telling it to Quark's face, Dukat comes around the corner and congratulates him on his progress. But Odo insists that he does not yet know if he has found the murderer and Dukat should not make any arrests yet. When he talks to Kira again, she asks him which side he really is on, and Odo persists in his conviction that he is on nobody's side. If Kira killed the man, he will hand her over to Dukat, if she did not he won't. So she confesses that she's been send to the station by the rebels to sabotage the ore refinery and tells him to check the reports from last night, which confirm her story. Dukat comes by to see if Odo has the murderer, and Odo tells him that she's not the one and he will tell him once he knows who did it.

Meanwhile, the man who shot Quark comes back for another try in the infirmary, stabs the redshirt security guard, and attempts to suffocate Quark. Rom happens to come by and starts screaming, which alerts Odo who overpowers the assassin. Odo tells Rom to stop screaming. Everything is allright now. Quark will live. Which makes Rom start screaming again. Kira comes to Odo, telling him she now knows the whole list that was in the box. Seven other bajorans had each just transferred the same high amount of money to the wife. Odo is certain they were blackmailed, with their shared dark secret being how they managed to get that much money during the occupation. Which they really only could have gotten by secretly getting paid by the Cardassians.

The wife is brought to the station for questioning and Odo and Kira show her the assassin who is in one of the cells. She says she has never seen that man before, but Kira tells her that they know they had been calling each other many times in the past days and she transferred a lot of money to his account. Finally she stops making up lies and instead requests to talk with her lawyer. In his office, Odo tells Kira that he now finally has it all figured out. Kira was able to find Chis'aro and the other seven people so quickly because she already knew who they were. The rebels had been suspected that they were secretly working for Cardassians, as were the store owners, and had send someone to the station to assassinate them. Kira admits that she wasn't the one who sabotaged the refinery, but the one who broke into the store to search for the list. When the owner saw her, she actually killed him before he could call guards. Odo fully understands why she did it, but is disappointed that she didn't tell him during the whole year the Cardassians had been gone and they been working together. She says she always wanted to, but never found a good way to do, and Odo is willing to forgive her.

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Aw, yiss! Dat's de stuff!

Great episode. Didn't have much Odo for a while now and here he's back in action in full force. I think this might be my favorite episode so far. The crime and the investigation seen very intriguing when they are introduced, and remain so throughout the episode, but are actually pretty simple so that even with the many time jumps it all is fairly easy to follow. I really liked Odo at first being very withdrawn and awkward at first, but very quickly getting his feet under him once he finds that he's right in his element. Him accusing Rom of murdering Quark just as he was been taking to the infirmary in critical condition seemed a bit unreasonable, but it's actually an approach that works very well to get Rom talking instead of trying to cover for Quark by saying he doesn't know anything about anything and has no clue who could have done it or have a motive. A bit mean, but it works very well. As in previous situations, Odo changes his interrogation style to the person he is talking to instead of sticking to his own standard procedures. He's a bit rough and grumpy, but he really knows subtlety and how to manipulate people into being cooperative. This episode we also have an opportunity to explain how he got into the position of having worked as law enforcement on the station for both the Cardassians and the Bajorans.
At the end of the episode, we get Odo and Kira starting a propper friendship. Until this point, they mostly were just the people working together on the station for the longest and having little appreciation for Starfleet procedures. They had one moment very early in the first seasons, but back then it really was because Odo was the only one she could talk to about being on the fence about the Federation.

I think this episode we also get the first real introduction to Rom being technically gifted. And as always, we get some jokes about Rom and Quark both being willing to sell each other out for their own profit.

Somehow, I find myself not having much to say about this. It's great. Great script, great acting, great direction, and great editing. This probably wasn't easy to make, but the end result works like a charm. The only aspect where there might still be some room for being even better is that the ending comes somewhat suddenly. When I noticed the episode getting towards the final act, there was only a minute or two left. The plot is actually perfectly wrapped up with no obvious loose ends, and I can't really think of anything that could have been added to the end. But it's such a well done mystery with interesting developments that even at the 40 minute mark I was still expecting more twists and revelation to appear. I'm not actually sure if this should be seen as a good or a bad thing. It kind of means that there is more material and tension stuffed into the 45 minutes than usual.

I found it quite interesting that this is only eight episodes in, but already I gave this season more Green ratings than the whole first season. Things really have improved a lot.