Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"A Man Alone"


Air date: 1/18/1993
Teleplay by Michael Piller
Story by Gerald Sanford & Michael Piller
Directed by Paul Lynch

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The murder of a man named Ibundan (Stephen James Carver) who Odo had sent to prison several years earlier leads a number of Bajoran citizens to suspect Odo himself killed the man. Led by Zayra (Edward Laurence Albert) and their own prejudices, the suspicious Bajorans take on a personal mission against Odo.

A substantial step down from the pilot and "Past Prologue," there are some big problems with "A Man Alone." The "murder mystery" is a rather uninspired plot device to be using on only the second regular episode, and the investigation proceedings are not very adeptly written.

The idea of Odo being a suspect is handled reasonably at first (particularly in an unsettling display of Odo attitude when Sisko temporarily relieves him of duty), but the ultimate result of the Bajorans forming a mob outside his office and screaming shapeshifter epithets is a misguided and excessive approach to highlight the issue. It's staged poorly and feels forced. You'd think that considering Odo has been on board the station four years the Bajorans would be used to the idea of his presence. The technobabble-heavy solution that reveals Ibundan cloned himself so he could kill the clone and frame Odo for the murder is far-fetched at best.

As compensation for the murder plot, there are number of small, relevant character threads, including Keiko O'Brien feeling the burden of uselessness aboard a station she isn't happy living on, and her solution to create a school for the station. The Dax/Sisko/Bashir interaction is also somewhat refreshing. But the episode wanders too much.

Previous episode: Past Prologue
Next episode: Babel

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12 comments on this review

Van_Patten - Mon, Jun 11, 2012 - 9:20pm (USA Central)
Actually, this has always for me been somewhat better than the general consensus, although I'd agree it's a step down from 'Past Prologue' -perhaps I need to stop comparing the DS9 episodes with their chronological TNG counterparts and I challenge anyone to watch 'Code of Honour' and consider it superior to this would be deluded.

There's some interesting touches -I like the continued tension between Sisko/ Kira following Zayra questioning whether it was appropriate for the prime suspect in an investigation to be the lead investigator! There's also some continuity with the dispute between Sisko and Odo over his desire to throw Ibudan off the station. I also enjoyed the dialogue with the 'mob' ringleaders and Quark, who is the sole person to come to Odo's Defense other than Kira!:

'I can't believe you're defending him, Quark, you're his worst enemy'

'Guess that's the closest thing he has to a friend'

Overall, the ending/ denouement is a little far-fetched and the mob scenes haven't aged well, but for a second episode, this fleshed out the characters reasonably well, and is well worth watching -I'd have to say 3 stars for me
William - Tue, Jul 24, 2012 - 10:52pm (USA Central)
I concur. Ultimately, it was rather forgettable. The Bajoran "mob" was pretty silly. I guess they were trying to signify it was a complicated society with all types of people.
Eric - Thu, Mar 7, 2013 - 7:28pm (USA Central)
I agree with some of the criticisms of this episode, but I don't agree with Jammer that the people would be used to his presence just because he's worked there a long time. He worked there for years when it was a Cardassian station, so he was working for their oppressors; plenty of reason to resent him.
grumpy_otter - Sun, Apr 7, 2013 - 10:41am (USA Central)
Netflix has this as the second episode of the series--wonder what's up with that?

This started so well--a "locked-room mystery" can be very fun--but quickly degenerated as Jammer described.

What bothered me the most was Odo--he is supposedly a very experienced security chief but first he starts a fight on the promenade, then he contaminates the crime scene in his office when he discovers it trashed. Did it not even cross his mind that the damage might be related to the murder investigation? It turned out not to be, but he didn't know that at the time and he just walks in starts touching and moving everything.

But that's the writer's fault--so far Odo is the best character in this, due to the brilliance of Rene. I just love him in everything!

Another thing that bothered me was Bashir--he finds some odd biological sample and his reaction is "Let's grow it and see what it is!" Good thing it wasn't a dinosaur.

Sisko is terrible so far. Did they decide they wanted a black captain and just hire the first guy who looked plausible? His dialog is stilted, his expressions painful to watch, and his efforts to appear friendly are forced. I know from others that he gets better--I just hope it is soon.

Why did Kira change her hair? I loved it in the pilot after the first scene (what was THAT?) and this shorter one isn't as interesting. Was the first hair too Ro-like?

I did laugh out loud when Odo's alibi was regenerating "in a bucket!"
Jammer - Sun, Apr 7, 2013 - 11:19am (USA Central)
Regarding why this is listed as the second episode on Netflix: This episode was actually filmed second, before "Past Prologue," but the airing order was flipped, possibly because "Past Prologue" was the stronger episode, though I'm not certain of the actual reason why.
wanderer2575 - Sat, Jun 29, 2013 - 11:42pm (USA Central)
It had absolutely nothing to do with the plot and could have been in any episode, but Quark and Odo had a great exchange here:

Quark: "You've never... 'coupled'?"

Odo: "Choose not to. Too many compromises. You want to watch the Karonet (sp?) tournament, she wants to listen to music. So you compromise -- you listen to music. You like Earth jazz, she prefers Klingon opera, so you compromise -- you listen to Klingon opera. So here you were, ready to have a nice night watching the Karonet match, and you wind up spending an agonizing evening listening to Klingon Opera. Huh."

azcats - Wed, Sep 4, 2013 - 3:59pm (USA Central)
i like the klingon opera post.

wow, so few comments compared to voyager. i guess it is to jammers small reviews..i guess after a couple years he gets all wordy with his college education.

i liked the "kill a clone to frame a cop." idea.

i had forgotten that Quark was a nemesis and a friend...so early on.

quark is easily the most watchable ferengi ever.

keiko was better on M*A*S*H.

2.5 stars
Snitch - Fri, Oct 4, 2013 - 6:01pm (USA Central)
Neither Keiko O Brien nor the murder plot really are that interesting.

The mob mentality works though. Odo the Sheriff for the evil occupier got too much of a pass in the series most of the time.

Julian continues to come across to immature and dumb for a doctor. DNA testing was not that developed back then too ;-)

They set up the love/hate relationship between Odo and Quark, who even tries to gather info for the shapeshifter.

1 1/2 Stars from me.
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 1:34pm (USA Central)

Not a compelling episode. The murder plot and issues between Keiko and O'Brien were not very interesting.

Yanks - Wed, Jun 18, 2014 - 1:39pm (USA Central)
I didn't mind the episode as much as the reveal that Avery can't show emotion at all when acting.

This was a pretty sad moment for me, realizing that we are stuck with this guy for as long as the series runs.

I found it peculiar that the Bajorian was able to find the cure quickly, when Bashir was unsuccesfull over a longer time. I know in the shows' final "captain's log" he states that "with the aid of Bashir's notes", blah, blah .... but we never saw him reference them.

Yanks - Wed, Jun 18, 2014 - 1:44pm (USA Central)
Sorry, can't edit posts here. I got ahead of myself. This review is for the next episode "Babel".
Yanks - Mon, Jul 7, 2014 - 1:17pm (USA Central)
Below average episode for me.

The "mob" was ridiculous. the guy yelling "Shape-shifter" was obnoxious.

I never got the feeling that Odo was ever in any real danger.

I found it a little disheartening that the federation had not considered establishing a school on DS9 when they took over the station. Did they jut forget the Star Fleet kids?

1.5 stars for me.

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