For all the joking about how terrible the ending of Mass Effect 3 was and how it left me so depressed that I couldn't find the energy to get back to this thread, there was another thing preventing me from wanting to return to DS9; the knowledge that this episode was next. Many guys on this site have expressed some sort of connection to Odo in this episode because of going through similar events in their own lives, and I'm one of them. Me? I once found myself in a situation where my best friend used to frequently ask em for advice about her new relationship, oblivious to my own feelings for her, and it put me in a situation where I had to choose between giving her the best advice I could, or giving her the advice I wanted her to hear. I'll leave you to decide whether I paragonned or renegaded my way through that minefield.
So yeah, I see a lot of myself in Odo in this episode.
I've never been subjected to physical torture so I'm not much of an expert on it, but I once believed that unrequited love is the most powerful torture that can be inflicted upon someone. Then I saw Sayid do the nail trick on Lost and came to the conclusion that they're about even. Anyway, watching Odo go through such an experience made for some good drama, and René did a good job with it. Sometimes it's a little overboard in execution, and I suppose that this is DS9 at its most soap-operaesque, but it's a nice retelling of an age-old story. I really enjoyed the Odo material.
The problem is the blossoming relationship between Kira and Shakaar. Kira's a main character on this show, so it's weird that the sole purpose of her entering a relationship with another character is to see Odo's reaction to it. It feels somewhat disrespectful to the character, the relationship doesn't develop naturally and Kira feels a little off in this episode because of it. This episode also does a disservice to Shakaar, not that he was much of a character to begin with, but his main purpose in the episode isn't the negotiations with the Federation or the threats upon him by Cardassian terrorists, he's here to get into Kira's pants. Shakaar could have been anybody.
Form of... dumbbell arms: 24