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Recap / Star Trek: Deep Space Nine S01E04 "A Man Alone"

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"So, who wants to be the first to tell Riker that killing his own clone is still murder?"

An old enemy of Odo's is murdered behind locked doors, and all the evidence points to Odo as the killer. Meanwhile, Keiko plans to start a school onboard DS9, to give the children living there structure, as well as something to do.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: Ibudan is a black marketeer who ran supplies during the Occupation, and gouged his clients for every credit he could get. Odo recalls him refusing to sell medicine to a family whose child was dying because they couldn't afford his price.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Odo scoffs at the idea of being involved in a relationship because it involves too much compromise, i.e. you have to do what your partner wants.
  • Black Market: Ibudan was involved in one during the Occupation, running medical supplies to those who could pay him.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Dax tells Bashir that Trill don't engage in romance the way younger species do, preferring more cerebral pursuits. Normally would count as Early Installment Weirdness, but it really seems that Dax is just lying to Bashir to stop him from trying to woo her, especially given that this statement is already contradicted by the Next Generation episode introducing the Trill, and Curzon Dax will be noted to have been a notorious womanizer only a few episodes later (plus Sisko implies he shared a couple of twins with Curzon in this very episode). According to the series bible, the symbiote due to its excessive age really isn't interested in sex and suppresses the urges of the host body, but isn't always successful.
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    • After relieving him of duty, Sisko tells Odo he doesn't believe that Odo is a killer. Odo angrily points out that Sisko doesn't know him, and so is bound to have some doubts.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: After a delegation turns up at Ops to protest, Sisko has to relieve Odo of duty. Dax points out that it looks like a conflict of interest if Odo remains in charge of the case, but Kira points out that Odo has been candid about the evidence against him when he could have easily covered it up if he was guilty.
  • Clones Are People, Too: As Ibudan finds out, killing his own clone still counts as murder. The second clone Bashir ends up growing while investigating the equipment found on Ibudan's ship is also suggested to be given full legal personhood upon reaching maturity, rather than simply being treated as evidence in a murder investigation.
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  • Culture Clash: Keiko runs into trouble right away; she's able to convince Rom that her education program will give Nog an advantage in business negotiations with other cultures, but Rom insists that Nog will refuse to take instruction from a female. However on the school's opening day, Rom drags in Nog and mutters to Keiko that they'll try it out for a while.
  • Cowboy Cop: Odo scoffs at the idea of following the Law when laws can change according to the political situation (Odo had arrested Ibudan for killing a Cardassian over a bribe dispute, only for him to be released by the Bajoran Provisional Government after the Occupation ended). He believes in Justice and implies he'll force Ibudan off the station through extralegal means. Sisko puts his foot down and makes it clear Odo can either obey the Law or find another job. This becomes Dramatic Irony when a mob turns up for Odo, and Sisko convinces them to let the law handle the matter instead of invoking vigilante justice.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Sisko talking about how uncomfortable he feels now that his friend Dax is a woman.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Rom has a very different mannerisms and voice in this episode, much more in line with standard Ferengi attitudes.
    • This is the only instance of Sisko addressing Odo as "Mr. Odo."
    • Odo's voice doesn't have its usual gruffness.
    • Odo says that he needs to regenerate in a bucket every eighteen hours, while later episodes would have that figure at sixteen hours.
    • Most of the Bajoran civilians openly treat Odo with suspicion and hostility for his former role as the Cardassians' chief of security, and Fantastic Racism over his being a shape-shifter. In later episodes, Odo is a highly revered figure among the Bajorans for his maintaining some semblance of justice on the station during the occupation, and his being a shape-shifter is instead treated as something which gave him and the Bajorans a shared sense of being outsiders on what at the time was a Cardassian-controlled station.
    • Morn is one of the customers at Quarks who walk out when Odo tries to get served. It's hard to think of anything that might get Morn off his barstool. Maybe he just happened to go to the john at the same time?
    • Jadzia meditating before a brain teaser and claiming to have no interest in passion contrasts with the Blithe Spirit she'll later become, with her fondness for Klingon martial arts and hunky holodeck masseurs. The original concept for Dax was the symbiote (with centuries of memories) was like a zen master, and it had to constantly suppress the youthful passions of the host body (explaining Dax's 'protests too much' reaction to Bashir).
  • Epic Fail: Bashir's attempt to control the holographic brain teaser. It disappears in two seconds, and he wearily orders the program to reset after Jadzia walks off with Sisko instead. In fairness it's implied that he was Distracted by the Sexy, and Jadzia herself took 140 years to reach the level she's at now.
  • Euphemism Buster
    Rom: Little lady, little lady; what do you know of Ferengi education?
    Keiko: I understand you employ a work-study approach, Mister Rom, with apprenticeships in a wide range of business and economic fields.
    Rom: (laughs) We throw them into the cut-throat competition of Ferengi commerce and anyone who survives, graduates.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • A few scenes after Keiko was complaining about having nothing to do on DS9, she mentions the trouble that Jake and Nog have been getting into and says that they need a school to go to. O'Brien then gets the classic "I've got an idea" look on his face.
    • When Dax comments that the bio-mass growing in the infirmary is humanoid, Bashir suddenly realizes what it really is.
  • Fantastic Racism: When Odo's office is ransacked, one of the vandals carved "SHIFTER" into the wall.
  • Fix Fic: Regarded as one for "Up The Long Ladder", which had been widely criticized for a scene in which Riker kills his partially formed clone without a second thought.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Ibudan requested a room with double accommodations. At first it's suggested that he just wanted more room, but later we find out that extra space is for his clone.
  • Frame-Up: Odo's name is on Ibuban's appointment calendar for the time of death, he was killed in a room that only a shapeshifter could enter, and Odo's DNA is in the room because he was called to investigate the killing. Odo has a motive to kill him and Ibuban had told others that he feared for his life after Odo publicly assaulted him shortly before his murder. Odo has no alibi as he was regenerating in a bucket in his office.
  • Friendly Enemy: An obvious example as Quark defends Odo to some bar patrons questioning his motives.
    Quark: Nobody knows him like I know him. Let me tell you something, he's an ill-tempered, over-bearing crosspatch. But he was no Cardassian collaborator. And he's no killer.
    Patron: I can't believe you're defending him, Quark. You're his worst enemy.
    Quark: Guess that's the closest thing he has in this world to a friend.
    • After Sisko relieves him of duty, Odo finds his office has been vandalised and Quark turns up for some Evil Gloating, bragging of all the cons he can run now Odo has been put out of action. But Quark also reveals that he made some inquiries about Ibudan, discovering he used to hang out with Bajoran dissidents in prison, which turns out to be a vital clue when Odo finds that one of them was a scientist involved in cloning.
  • Hand of Death: The victim is getting a Happy Ending Massage on the holosuite when a black-gloved hand shoves away the masseuse and plunges a knife into his back.
  • Just One Little Mistake: When Odo confronts "Lamonay" as he's departing the station, Odo points out that while there is a departure record for him there is no record of him arriving at the station on any ship in the past 3 weeks.
  • Latex Perfection: Ibudan disguises himself as an old man In the Hood. Odo does a Dramatic Unmask by tearing off his face to reveal Ibudan's face underneath.
  • Locked Room Mystery: Ibudan entered the holosuite and locked the door. The door only opened when the killer left, no-one teleported in, and there is no evidence of anyone else being in the room. As Odo could have entered the room by converting to a liquid state and oozing through the cracks in the door, this makes him a suspect.
  • Lotus Position: Bashir walks in on Jadzia sitting in this position while doing an alien brain teaser involving a translucent floating ball. Given that Dax has the memories of a 350-year old despite her youthful beauty, it was probably meant to invoke the wise guru trope (at this stage her personality was still being hashed out by the writers).
  • Mood Whiplash: The O'Briens cooing over their daughter Mollie is interrupted by the sound of the angry mob gathering outside Odo's office.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Lamonay, an old man In the Hood who's seen hanging around the promenade observing the increasing hostility towards Odo. It's obvious he's meant to be the killer, but The Reveal is that he's also the supposed victim.
  • Noodle Incident: Sisko starts to tell Bashir a story involving himself, Curzon, and Ruji twin sisters, but stops before he gets to the good part, noting he won't be doing that kind of thing with Dax any more.
  • Not So Above It All: After losing his job, Odo asks Quark if he has a place for a shapeshifter in his organisation. Quark is thrown for a moment, then realises Odo is trolling him and finds it Actually Pretty Funny.
  • Odd Friendship: Nog isn't impressed when some "hewman" starts talking to him, but given that Jake is the only other person his age, they quickly bond by playing pranks. Neither of their parents is happy and forbids them to have anything to do with each other.
  • Practical Joke: Nog and Odo release some alien bugs that make a courting couple itch all over, then make their skin change color. The kids are sniggering at the sight when one of Odo's deputies comes up from behind and hauls them away.
  • Schoolmarm: Keiko accepts this role as a way of finding something to do on the station, and also as a way of keeping children like Jake out of trouble. She even uses a frontier-type one-room schoolhouse (ensuring that a small set can be used).
  • Shaming the Mob: Once Sisko has the mob's attention, he condemns them for their treatment of Odo just because he is different and says that they will regret their actions here. Bashir also turns up saying that new evidence has been found that exonerates Odo, though Sisko notes in his Captain's Log that no-one bothered to apologise to Odo afterwards.
  • Ship Tease: Quark shows enthusiastic interest in Jadzia, though Odo scoffs that she's well out of his league. Odo in turn thinks that Sisko is interested in her, regardless of what previous relationship they had. Sisko later tells Bashir they're Just Friends and he's free to go ahead with wooing her, but Bashir doesn't buy the idea that someone who was intimate with Curzon (Sisko implies he shared a couple of alien twins with him) is entirely impervious. Jadzia also seems to be out of Bashir's league, but she gives the impression that she's protesting too much when she tells Bashir that Trills of her age aren't interested in youthful passions (she is, after all, in a new young body with the memories of Curzon).
  • Shout-Out: When Odo is checking Ibudan's itinerary, you can briefly see he departed Bajor from Alderaan Spaceport.
  • "Shut Up!" Gunshot: A mob gathers outside Odo's office after the changeling is implicated in a murder, which quickly turns into an all-out brawl against station security. Sisko fires his phaser into the air a couple times to get their attention.
  • Space Western: If DS9 is an old western town, Keiko opens its one-room schoolhouse. We also have a lynch mob; they specifically talk of hanging Odo, though realise it's impractical where a shapeshifter is concerned.
  • Thermal Dissonance: Trill hands are cold, though Bashir naturally puts that down to "cold hands, warm heart" rather than Jadzia being an Ice Queen.
  • Trespassing to Talk: Odo appears in Lamonay's quarters disguised as a chair. When Lamonay demands to know how he got into the locked quarters, Odo replies sarcastically, "Oh, I think you know."
  • Unfulfilled Purpose Misery: Keiko is already feeling depressed over not having any botany work to do. Miles and Sisko help her set up the school to give her a purpose.
  • Universal Universe Time: Averted; Odo gives Ibudan twenty-six hours to get out of Dodge City...erhm, Deep Space Nine because Bajor has 26 hours in a day.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Ibudan is considered a hero by many, but Odo saw him deny desperately-needed medicine to a family whose child was dying because they couldn't afford to pay him.
  • Wham Shot: Odo looks at Ibudan's appointment calendar and sees his own name at the time Ibudan was murdered.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: When asked what will happen once the Ibudan clone is mature, Bashir says it'll become its own person. In the ending narration, Sisko mentions that the clone has awoken and joined Bajoran society—no mention of how the clone is considered legally, whether he has Ibudan's memories or no, or what the heck he's going to do with himself as a day-old adult man in a rebuilding society.