Sisko sticks his junior officer, Bashir, in charge of babysitting a group of visiting ambassadors who are on a fact-finding mission to the wormhole. One of these ambassadors is Lwaxanna Troi, who veers off from the rest in pursuit of Odo after Odo helps her recover a stolen brooch. Odo is utterly nonplussed by Lwaxanna’s amorous attention and does everything he can to avoid her advances – up until a visiting mechanical life form starts to play havoc with the station’s operating systems and the turbolifts shut down. Trapped with Lwaxanna, Odo discovers that she is more than first impressions might suggest.
Overall: 8.3 – A very funny, very sweet episode.
I’m inclined to be awfully forgiving when it comes to this episode. True, the mechanical puppy concept is not all that inspiring; they probably could’ve come up with a better reason to shut down the turbolifts and still had the set up necessary to do their “stuck in an elevator with you” story. But if you judge this episode against the other romantic comedies in the series, it is certainly one of the best. The highlights section for this review is long as well because there were just so many moments that made me laugh out loud. I think perhaps only You Are Cordially Invited is funnier.
But more than that, this episode is also nice. We see Sisko enjoying his job and his people; indeed, at one point, we see him out-and-out giggle with delight. And, even more importantly, we see Lwaxanna breezily accepting everything that is different about Odo and treating Odo with genuine compassion. That final scene between Odo and Lwaxanna in the lift is one that sneaks up on you – and you walk away profoundly – and mystifyingly – touched.
This episode should teach us not to underestimate the late Mrs. Roddenberry. She plays Lwaxanna here with the usual broad comedic strokes – which in a story of this type is not wholly inappropriate – up until she is called upon to deliver something poignant. Then, does she deliver! Rene Auberjonois, meanwhile, plays both the humor and the pathos with equal skill, and I adore that glint that seems to stay in Avery Brooks’ eyes the whole episode.
This episode isn’t terribly message heavy. But for a comedy, ‘tis sufficient to walk away with a greater appreciation for the goodness of people and a willingness to trust in that goodness, which this episode fosters in spades.
“Commander Sisko is extremely busy.”
“With… the… recalibration… sweep.”
“What are you recalibrating?”
“Hm? Oh, everything. It’s a sweeping… a recalibration of all systems.” – Watching Bashir search for an excuse to keep his cadre of ambassadors away from Sisko is hilarious.
“That’s it! That’s the straw!”
“Relax, Chief. It’s just a computer.”
“This is not a computer. This is my arch-enemy.” – Hee!
“I understand you’re a shapeshifter.”
“I’ve never been with a shapeshifter.”
“I hear that you’re the only one of your kind.”
“Mmm. All the men I’ve known have needed to be shaped and molded and manipulated. Now finally I’ve met a man who knows how to do it himself.”
“Uh… uh… is that the comm? I think it is. Excuse me, I have to get to Ops!” – ROTFL!
“Commander, I have a problem.”
“No, sir, this one’s named Lwaxanna.”
“Lwaxanna Troi the ambassador?”
“That’s her. There was… a minor incident at the bar that I helped her with, and now she’s… grateful.”
“What’s the problem?”
“The manner in which she expresses her… gratitude. To be honest, commander, she seems… interested in me.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“She’s extremely aggressive.”
“I see. So she’s after you.”
“Like a Wynonie trace hound.”
“Have you thought about letting her catch you?”
“A little romance, Odo.”
“I have six pylons that need a complete security sweep! I don’t have time for… romantic interludes! Frankly, in my opinion, you humanoids spend far too much time on your respective… mating rituals.”
“It does help the procreation of one’s species.”
“Procreation does not require changing how you smell, or writing bad poetry, or sacrificing various plants to serve as… tokens of affection. In any event, it’s all irrelevant to me.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“I would appreciate it if you would do something about this woman.”
“Just… tell her to leave me alone.”
“Constable, you can handle thieves and killers, but not one Betazoid woman?”
“I understand thieves and killers. I don’t understand… her.” – So, so funny. You can tell Sisko is enjoying himself here.
“I. don’t. eat! This is not a real mouth – it’s an approximation of one! I do not have an esophagus or a stomach or a digestive system! I am not like you. Every sixteen hours, I turn into a liquid!”
“I can swim.” – By this point, I’m dying. This episode is hysterical.
“What are you looking at?”
“Hmm? Oh, nothing. I was just wondering how many volts there are in that exposed circuit.” – Odo contemplating escape after a few minutes of listening to Lwaxanna chatter. Heeeee!
“It’s a simple job. Just keep them happy and away from me.”
“Simple? Nothing makes them happy! They are dedicated to staying unhappy and to spreading that unhappiness wherever they go. They are. the ambassadors. of un-happy!” – It’s really hard to communicate in text how humorously this line was delivered. But trust me: even Sisko laughs!
“What was it like? Well… I guess you could say I was… the life of the party.”
“I… don’t think I understand.”
“My way of trying to fit in. I found I could be… entertaining. ‘Odo, be a chair!’ I’m a chair. ‘Odo, be a razorcat!’ I’m a razorcat. Life of the party.” (A beat.) “I hate parties.”
“Perhaps you’ve been going to the wrong ones. Come to one of mine, Odo. I’ll make sure all the guests are there to entertain you.” – Aw.
“Odo? Turn around.”
“I can’t. It’s beginning.”
“You don’t understand. No one has ever seen me like this before.”
“Not even the scientist who was assigned to you?”
“That was different. It was only research to him.”
“But you don’t have to be ashamed with me.”
“I’m not ashamed. It’s a private matter, that’s all.”
“How can I make it easier for you?”
“You can’t. I’m fine.”
(Lwaxanna takes off her wig.)
“My hair. No one’s ever seen me… like this.”
“Why? It looks fine.”
“It looks ordinary. I’ve never cared to be ordinary. So you see, Odo, even we non-shapeshifters have to change who we are every once in awhile.”
“You are not at all what I expected.”
“No one’s ever paid me a greater compliment.”
(Odo begins to revert.)
“I… cannot hold my shape… any… longer…”
“Let go. I’ll take care of you.” – Awwwwww.