Friday, May 31, 2013

Deep Space Nine, Season 3: Heart of Stone

Deep Space Nine, Season 3
"Heart of Stone"
Airdate: February 6, 1995
59 of 173 produced
59 of 173 aired


While chasing down a Maquis raider, Kira becomes trapped in small fissure filled with a mysterious crystal substance. The crystal begins growing, eventually threatening Kira's life, despite Odo's best attempts to stop it. Meanwhile on the station, Nog has an intersting request for Captain Sisko.

You put your right foot in, you take your... aw, **** this "Hokey Pokey" Bull****!


Kevin: I like this episode. I do. It has some problems, but as far as character development and some solid, dramatic moments. I'll deal with the elephant in the room of the Kira/Odo relationship. I agree with Matt, though maybe not as intensely, that the eventual fruition of a romantic relationship was a mistake, I don't mind the story here. I enjoyed the idea of confessing love to someone and realizing they were lying when they returned the sentiment. It's a very Odo approach to love. Another character's wishful thinking might have clouded their judgment, but not him. I particularly found the last scene when he glosses over the moment when explaining what had happened to the real Kira to be very affecting. Other items in the plus column was the story of Odo's name. I think it was a great addition to Odo's character and Auberjonois delivered it beautifully.

Matthew:  Every time I watch this episode, my attention starts drifting by about minute twenty. It's almost involuntary. Just now, I looked up from my computer, and somehow I was checking Facebook. I had to rewind several minutes and pick it up from where I drifted off. Here's the thing. You know how, when you have a great conversation with someone, say at a sleepover or on a camping trip, and the subject ranges over everything, time and space seem to stand still? That's a lot of fun. Now imagine watching two other people having that conversation. Yeah. See, when you're not in it, that level of talkiness just makes you tune out. The stakes were not high enough. I never was worried that Kira would die, I just wanted to know when these scenes would be over. I didn't find the character development particularly satisfying, either. In some ways, this reminds me of a much better episode, "Final Mission." There too our main characters were stranded in a cave with an impassable obstacle. There too, our protagonists had revealing conversations with one another. But it all just worked better. I think it was because, first of all, they had an antagonist with them in the scene, Captain Dergo. Second, the obstacle itself was much more interesting - some sort of deadly ancient technology guarding a source of fresh water. This episode has... a rock. Basically, were I in charge of this writing room, I'd tell them to head back to the drawing room to re-break the story. My suggestion would be to make it a mystery - have Odo suspect something is up much earlier, and have the dialogue between the two characters be an edgier sort of interrogatory thing, where the viewer doesn't know who is right. Then, the whole Founder impersonation thing would actually seem like a part of the story, instead of a cheap reset at the end of a boring 40-plus minutes. You mean I just sat through all of this, and essentially none of it happened? Now I'm not just bored, I'm also annoyed.

Kevin: I do have problems with this story for itself, even setting aside the later developments. I was always kind of bothered by the idea of Odo falling in love at all. He's the most alien alien the show has ever made a main character, so on some level I find it odd that he would experience the desire for romantic pair bonding that humans do, and given that shapeshifters have not yet nor will ever be shown to reproduce sexually, I'm a little annoyed by the whiff of making him fall exclusively for humanoid women because the actor playing him is a humanoid male. I think there's a way to make Odo unable or unwilling to leave Kira and not have it portrayed as romantic love. They clearly have a deep rapport and respect for each, and Odo could certainly value that as much a "love," so without treading on the landmine of Star Trek and romantic plots, they could have found a way to make this idea work.

Matthew:  If the Founder's plan was to make Odo think Kira was dead, why not just kill her? Why put her in a stasis pod at all? Presumably, Odo would have eventually found out that she was still alive, and would have then gone back to the solid world after chilling out as a mixed drink in the Great Bucket in the Sky. I agree with you, Kevin, that the concept of love should have been given a greater development inasmuch as Odo's ability to feel it. Are we saying it's a universal feature of all intelligent beings, from the Companion in "Metamorphosis" to the Cytherean in "The Nth Degree?" Or is it rather something that Odo is imitating based on his observations of humanoids, trying to fit whatever alien emotions he has into its conceptual framework?

Kevin: I really liked the Nog story here. It's a bit of a retcon of the Nog character, given that Nog couldn't read a season ago, and Wesley the Wunderkind missed the Academy by a point once upon a time. I don't overly mind, as they rehab Rom's character too, and over the course of the series, I enjoy their arcs. Oddly, I think they, more than the Starfleet crew, actually exhibit the best qualities of life in the Federation, a society where unique backgrounds and skills are honored, and people flourish in a supportive environment. I liked the scene of Rom standing up to Quark, and I really liked the scene of Nog breaking down in front of Sisko. It was a great moment for Eisenberg, and it sold me on the idea of Nog going down this road.

Matthew:  When Nog inventorying a cargo bay is more interesting than the A story, you've got problems. And it was. Each time the episode shifted back to the A story, I was disappointed. I wanted more of the Nog story, because, out of the blue as it was, it was actually interesting. The confrontation scene between Nog and Sisko definitely deepens both his character as well as the Ferengi. Once we see that not every Ferengi in fact adheres religiously to the cultural ethos they've been given, they become so much more interesting. I wish this had been the direction of future Ferengi episodes. Sadly, outside of Nog and Rom, it really wasn't.


Kevin: I think we have safely entered an era where the actors are comfortable enough in their parts and the parts have come to be sufficiently tailored for the actors that the acting category is going to be a problem only infrequently. Hell, we haven't even ragged on Bashir in a while. On the plus side, I thought Auberjonois did a great job with the character moments. The story of his name and of kayaking with O'Brien were lovely. His confession of a love was a tad over the top, but I think that's more a problem with the idea than the execution. In terms of trying to engage in physical acting, there's not a hell of lot for Visitor to do, but I did like the way she labored her breath and constricted her throat and voice toward the end. It gave the impression of her chest actually being compressed and it was really unnerving.

Matthew: I was not a huge fan of either performance here. They both just kind of annoyed me. Visitor's constricted breathing just made things slower. Auberjonois always seems to express anguish by raising his voice and doubling over in pain. On the plus side, I did like Salome Jens. When she gives her line reading of "she'll never love you, how could she?" it really acts like a punch to the gut.

Kevin: Aaron Eisenberg is a good actor, no two ways about it. He's always portrayed either a bravado with Jake or a cower with his family, but here he combines them well and really adds a depth to Nog. This could have been a ridiculous plot if mishandled or underacted, and like I said above, his scene with Sisko alone where he confesses his true motive for wanting to join Starfleet sold me on this as a viable arc.

Matthew: Definitely agreed. This was Eisenberg's coming out party as an actor on the show. He went from being an annoying stooge to completely sympathetic and likable in one scene. He showed really good chemistry with both Avery Brooks and Terry Farrell, and he held his own quite well even through Brooks' scenery chewing in their ultimate confrontation.

Production Values

Kevin: I think the biggest problem is how silly the rock looks. It kind of looks like it's made out of the foam material it's actually made out of. A quick trip to Memory Alpha reveals that the cast and crew weren't happy with it either, never feeling they got the effect quite right, and I agree. Nana Visitor said she pictured it more as being turned into stone, which if done properly, could have looked pretty cool. Other than that, it's was a very cavey cave. Nothing more to add really.

Matthew: Let's see. Styrofoam rock, drab cave with no visual interest. Yep, all the ingredients for a total snooze fest. I miss the days of TOS, when they'd make a cave purple and glittery, because, you know, just because. I think attempts at realism have become the enemy of entertainment in Trek's planet set sound stages.

Kevin: I like DS9's cargo bay. It felt big and full of stuff. I liked the idea of Odo turning himself into an umbrella, but the color of liquid Odo and the cave were too close in color and texture to make the effect as neat as it should have been.

Matthew: I thought the doohicky that Rom was repairing looked really cool. I agree on the cargo bay, and I kind of wish we had spent a bit more time in there, with Nog actually opening some of the crates up. 


Kevin: This is a 3 for me. It is slow and a bit talky, and while not reaching Matthew's overt rage over the eventual course of this relationship, I don't like it much either, but when the love was unrequited, I liked the character moments for Odo well enough. Coupled with the Nog scenes which I actually really enjoyed, this makes it to the fat part of the bell curve.

Matthew: Rage is what I feel for JJ Abrams. Disgust is what I feel for Kira/Odo. But that's neither here nor there when it comes to this episode. This episode is utterly boring for 30 minutes of its duration (Odo scenes), which makes the other 15 minutes (Nog scenes) an exercise in frustration more than anything. It has a poorly thought out A story which is redeemed only in part by an interesting and well-acted B story. That's pretty much the definition of a 2 for me, which makes our total a 5.


  1. Sorry if I missed earlier discussions about the Kira/Odo relationship (maybe you could just point me to where those are), but I'm curious to all the reasons you don't like it. I don't like it either, by the way

  2. I'd say my primary objection would be the total lack of chemistry between the actors. It was just painful to watch.

    I also think it doesn't make sense for Kira. She is shown throughout the show as a grounded, conservative character who is constantly seeking to reconnect to her heritage.

    I also think they really whiffed on showing us what it would really be like to do it with a shapeshifter.

  3. I didn't mind the unrequited angle in and of itself, though as I said, I question why shapeshifters have binary gender and heteronormative sexual attractions, but the unrequited bit was fine for what it was.

    The execution was just strange and felt inorganic. The writers said that they wrote Odo's relationship with Arissa in A Simple Investigation as an acknowledgment he had moved on, so it makes it really odd they went back to the well later in season 6.

  4. I dont find Kira and Odo being romantically involved odd at all. I think both characters and the actors that play them had great chemistry and while it may not have been of the sizzling kind we are generally used to via Hollywood, I think given the nature of their relationship, it worked. While maybe their attraction wasnt of the obvious "I want to fuck your brains out" kind, it did exist. I always felt that there was a very deep and profound bond between them. They greatly respected and admired one another and i dont see why romance or romantic love could or should not ensue from that. When in Necessary Evil Odo finds out that it was Kira who had murdered Vaatrick, it was very important to Kira what Odo thought of her and that he respected her; His opinion of her was important to her. I find that very telling of their relationship and the depth thereof p- which, in turn, does not make romantic involvement seem out of the question. I mean what is love anyway? Good luck defining it....

    I am also not sure what is odd about a Changeling or shapeshifter like Odo feeling romantic love for someone or having the need for love or companionship. Data, an android, admitted that while there are still some human emotions he does not fully comprehend, he is not mystified by the desire to be loved, or the need for friendship. These are things he does understand and as we have seen desires and even thrives on. And this is an android. Why shouldnt a feeling, sentient being such as Odo have the same needs or understanding for such needs. it is not far fetched at all.

    As we see many times in the Trek universe among the many species we encounter. the need to be loved, accepted and belong are not exclusively human but rather universal. Sexual reproduction has nothing to do with any of that.

    Finally, I dont feel that there is anything odd or annoying about him falling for humanoid women because, well, all he knows are humanoids. He's been surrounded by humanoids his entire life. You fall in love and make do with the things around you and available to you and which are familiar to you. I mean who is he to fall in love with? Swirls of ionized gas? Voles? Puppy dogs? hawks? A piece of wood? He falls in love with what he knows and he falls in love with Kira because of the bond they share. Fuck if i know why we love one person and not someone else.

    That said, I am glad all this was just a make belief episode, so to speak, and that nothing happened romantically between the two for another 3 seasons or so. I appreciate that the writers took their time (because, lets face it, nothing is more boring than requited love and a happy ending) to bring these two together and i think they did a delightful job when they eventually did. It was masterfully done and did not feel cheesy, cheap or lame at all. "His Way" is one of my most favorite episodes - it feels like a symphony, from the first scene to the last. I am very pleased with how they eventually brought them together.