"His Way" 
Season Six, Episode 20
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Music by Jay Chattaway
Main Cast:
Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko
Rene Auberjonois as Odo
Michael Dorn as Lt Cmdr Worf
Terry Farrell as Lt Cmdr Jadzia Dax
Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
Armin Shimerman as Quark
Alexander Siddig as Dr Julian Bashir
Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys

Guest Stars:
James Darren as Vic Fontaine
Debi A. Monahan as Melissa
Cyndi Pass as Ginger


Odo decides that after years of misery over his unrequited love for Major Kira, he is finally going to try and win her heart. But he first needs a little lesson in love -- which he is given by Vic Fontaine, Bashir's remarkably astute new holosuite character.

I fully expected to hate this. Odo goes to the holosuite to learn how to seduce Kira? Sounds frighteningly like The Outrageous Okona, a rather dreadful episode of TNG where Data went to the holosuite to develop a sense of humour. A holographic Las Vegas casino complete with a sentient, hologram obviously based on Frank Sinatra?! And surely an episode wherein about a third of screen-time is actually singing is a recipe for disaster? Coupled with the negative comments I was hearing after this aired in the US, His Way sounded like crap of the worst variety. 

But you know what? If you can get over the plot's inane silliness, it's really very enjoyable! James Darren gives a wonderfully charismatic performance as the larger-than-life Vic Fontaine, the music is surprisingly delightful and despite one or two reservations about what this episode actually means for Odo and Kira, it's exceptionally entertaining stuff. It may not be as funny as it could have been, but it's charming and amusing in equal measure and I found myself smiling most the way through it. It's good, clean feel-good entertainment and without meaning to sound like a prude or a fogie, frankly television could do with more like it! I'm fed up of so much angst and violence on TV -- there's sadly enough of that in real life. Why watch that when you can watch something that will uplift and amuse you? I've not had a very good few weeks, but each time I've watched His Way it's cheered me up immensly.Who can argue with that? 

Like Our Man Bashir back in the fourth season, it's a successful experiment that uses an altogether different, offbeat premise and it works a treat - though, as with Our Man Bashir I wouldn't want to see another episode like it; as a one-hit wonder this is fine, but more of the same would be pushing it. I'm not sure how I feel about the continued use of the Vic character and I guess I can't comment until I've seen the episodes in question, but so long as he's used sparingly and doesn't detract too much from more important events I guess I can live with it. Besides, James Darren really is a gem. 

As for Odo and Kira? Hmm. In places they both act wildly out-of-character, with Odo discussing his love life with Quark (yeah, right!) and Kira meditating in a holosuite (she run out of candles or something? Given the number she apparently uses I guess it would be more economical using holographic ones!). And can you really imagine Odo saying to Kira; "I suppose [after dinner] you'll want me to kiss you? Then who needs dinner? Why don't I kiss you right now!" Still, there's something very touching about Odo finally deciding to shed his "Nanook of the North" persona and frankly it's about time we started to see some character development one way or another. Yeah, it's sudden and abrupt (and it makes me uneasy to think that Behind the Lines and the Occupation arc was but a couple of months ago) but it's quite poignant and it'll be interesting to see what comes with it. 

A year ago the sight of Odo wearing a tux and playing the piano would have sent shivers down my spine! But although he still looks rather daft, I really enjoyed seeing the character "lighten up" and shedding his austere demeanour. I've always liked Odo; he's like a painfully emotional child trapped in an isolated cage of his own making. Like a vulnerable child or animal, he distanced himself from others and became a prisoner of his own self-enduced isolation. Odo's always been perhaps Star Trek's only genuinely tragic character, and whilst it's very risky shifting the very foundation of the character, it's only natural to see him move beyond this. We saw hints of it last season in A Simple Investigation and Children of Time, but it's very gratifying to see Odo finally take that leap. So instead of being embarassed at the sight of him cavorting about a Las Vegas casino, I was quite touched by his long-overdue "letting go". 

The piano scene was a delight, and so was most of Vic's coaching (the fact Odo didn't understand or pick up on a lot of what Vic was saying was quite funny). I'm very glad we didn't have to hear Odo sing, however. We got a taste of it in his scene with Sisko, and it ain't a pretty sound! Speaking of which, that scene could have been the silliest of the entire season had not Auberjonois and Brooks played it as subtly as they did -- as such it's goofy but rather cute. 

As for Kira, well she's always been a bit clueless when it's come to love(consider her liaisons with Bareil and Shakaar, both of whom compete for supremacy in the cardboard stakes). She's a tendancy to act like a hapless schoolgirl when it comes to matters of the heart, and frankly this is no exception. As much as I liked the "rehabilitaion" of Odo's character, I much prefer the Odo/Kira relationship when its dealt with seriously. It's one of DS9's more effective relationships (as a friendship, anyway) and here it's played for comedy. It's aimiable and enjoyable yes, but it lacks any modicum of depth - I only hope it gets more serious consideration as it progresses. Whether or not Odo and Kira as an "item" proves to be as interesting and rich as the friendship they shared (particularly in the first and second seasons) remains to be seen. I have my reservations, but provided the writers get their act together and imbue the relationship with the appropriate degree of maturity and depth, Odo and Kira could perhaps become one of Trek's more interesting couples. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens down the line. 

But, let's forget about the ramifications just now. Getting there was half the fun. Vic's tutouring of Odo was enjoyable and fun (if rather unlikely!) and as I said above, it's great to see some character development on the part of our favourite changeling. I adored the songs (and the accompanying action, such as Odo playing the piano and he and Kira dancing) and the addition of the holographic Kira look-alike was fun -- I particularly appreciated the reference to Our Man Bashir. Oh, and nobody ever told me Nana Visitor could sing!! Not only did she look absolutely gorgeous as "Lola", but she really has a lovely voice. 

As for the actual first date of Odo and Kira -- Wow! It was wonderful, and probably the most romantic scene ever seen on Star Trek. In fact, no "probably" about it, it is the most romantic Trek moment ever! The dialogue seemed quite appropriate, particularly Odo's admission that he often uses his work as a means to avoid the rest of his life, which especially rung true for the character. The scene was well orchestrated (if you'll pardon the pun!) and rather touching, particularly when just as it seems the pair have made some headway, Odo learns of Vic's deception and runs out of the holosuite, mortified. Rene Auberjonois, who gives a delightful performance throughout, is especially moving as Odo retreats back into his shell. I really can't praise him enough, nor Nana Visitor who is equally adept. 

Though still effective, the climatic scene on the Promenade isn't quite as good as the "date" scene because of some rather uncharacteristic dialogue. It's always lovely to see any scene between Kira and Dax (one of the most disappointing aspects of the series is that their friendship hasn't received more attention - it would have been great to see them become the show's female version of O'Brien and Bashir!) but Kira's babbling about a "moment of clarity" wasn't particularly well-written, although I think we get the gist of what she means. And I still can't believe in a million years that Odo would ever kiss Kira like that on front of everyone of the Promenade! Sure, he's taken a chill pill, but to suddenly not give a toss about "what everyone thinks" is very unlikely. The "who needs dinner?" speech that I quoted above sounds exceptionally corny, and as for the kiss...well, any British viewers who have seen The Vicar of Dibley will have a chuckle (remember the Hugo/Alice kiss which lasted for days?! :-)). But, you know what? I don't care whether the characterisations were "off" and the dialogue hokey; it's just a lovely scene! With Allan Kroeker's graceful swooping of the camera, the onlookers on the promenade, the wonderful music and one of the most passionate Trek kisses since Dax and Lenara -- it's simply adorable! I loved Dax's reaction, especially. 

So, to sum up; I can understand why His Way was not to a lot of people's taste. Based on plot and some of the dialogue it really could have been awful! But if you can overlook the silliness factor, it's a whole lot of fun. The performances are delightful, the tone is lightweight and humourous, and the music is wonderful. His Way may not be a perfect episode of Trek nor something I'd want to see or a regular basis, but as a novel change of pace it was a sheer delight! I smiled, I laughed, I cringed, I was touched -- so yeah, I really liked this one.    

Rating: 9

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