A Man Alone (**½)
This episode was a missed opportunity because there's a good story buried in here that gets lost in the crazy sci-fi gimmick. The Bajoran protesters have a valid point; why is Odo still the security chief on the station when he used to work for the Cardassians? Surely, he had arrested a number of resistance members during the occupation and that would create some tension among the Bajoran population now that the Cardassians are gone. But rather than address that issue head-on, this episode skirts around it by having Odo framed for a murder and then revealing the shocking sci-fi twist that the murder victim was just a clone.
But the bigger missed opportunity was this line from Sisko that almost felt out of place in this plot:
THE SISKO: Do not condemn this man because he is different from you!
I heard that line and realised that this episode missed the perfect chance to explore the prejudice and fear that solids have towards Changelings. We know that the Dominion were founded out of the resentment the Changelings felt about the persecution they suffered from solids, and this episode presented the perfect opportunity for Odo to face the same sort of persecution that they faced. It would have fleshed out the Founders and helped us to understand where they are coming from, instead we only get a little bit of anti-shapeshifter talk before it's all brushed under the rug with the Scooby-Doo ending.
What rescues this episode are all the various character interactions. We see the beginnings of Jake and Nog's friendship, Bashir's lusting after Jadzia, O'Brien struggling to assuage Keiko, Sisko adapting to the new Dax, and Odo and Quark trying their hardest not to like one another. My favourite moment was when Sisko accidentally invited Bashir to lunch and gets a look of mild horror on his face when he realises he now has to spend time alone with this obnoxious young guy. Some people criticise these moments as being soap-operaesque, but the little moments like these make DS9 feel more real to me.
Form of... a Chair: 3
Sykonee's Counter: 6