Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Necessary Evil"

****

Air date: 11/15/1993
Written by Peter Allan Fields
Directed by James L. Conway

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

An attempt on Quark's life sheds new light on a murder investigation from years ago that Odo had never solved, and as he looks at the new evidence (a mysterious list of names) he assembles the clues from the past and present to uncover the killer of a Bajoran chemist.

One real strength to "Necessary Evil" is its remarkably compelling flashback sequences, which are woven into the story flawlessly. James Conway's stellar direction and the standout art design and production takes us back to Terok Nor of five years earlier, creating a dark, malevolent slave mining station run by Gul Dukat. The lighting and photography is nothing short of brilliant—creating a true Trek noir—but the characterizations and story events are just as powerfully drawn.

Odo's investigating techniques highlight his intelligence, patience, and thoroughness extremely well—and his pointed commentary about justice in both the dialog and the running security log voice-overs highlights many keen observations. The flashbacks plausibly and interestingly document the way Odo met Kira, Dukat, and Quark all within the same investigation. The story's use of the murdered man's widow, Pallra (Katherine Moffat), is also nicely realized.

Kira's role in the investigation is especially intriguing, opening the door to more dark chapters of the freedom fighter's violent past. The revelation that she was actually the killer—on assignment by the Bajoran underground—is gutsy and probing, weakening a bond of trust shared between her and Odo. With a plot that is beautifully crafted, its powerful and thoughtful dialog, and a multitude of riveting character implications, "Necessary Evil" is one of the series' all-time best installments.

Previous episode: Rules of Acquisition
Next episode: Second Sight

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10 comments on this review

Paul York - Mon, May 7, 2012 - 1:40pm (USA Central)
What I liked most was Odo's commentary on blind justice -- except that in the end he realizes (or we realize) that politics affect everything. He chose not to tell Gul Dukat that Kira was a rebel; will he choose to ignore that she murdered collaborating Bejorans during the Occupation? We are left with that question. Odo's quest for justice seems compromised, but he also seems to choose the greater good -- which is respect for Bejoran independence. And this murder cannot be separated from that political goal. Odo's quest to separate justice from politics is a difficult one, in light of the fact that telling the entire truth in all circumstances could compromise justice.
Paul York - Mon, May 7, 2012 - 1:42pm (USA Central)
Jammer, I appreciate this blog. I have benefited greatly from your commentary, though I don't agree with your reviews 100%. I agree probably 95% however, and they have helped me avoid the duds of ST history and watch the gems. Thank you!
John - Fri, Jun 29, 2012 - 10:51am (USA Central)
Some of Odo's investigation feels a bit too cliche. When he's interviewing the femme fatale on the stormy night for example.

But otherwise this is an outstanding episode. Engrossing and thought provoking, it has to be among the season's best.
Peremensoe - Sun, Jul 22, 2012 - 1:39am (USA Central)
"Some of Odo's investigation feels a bit too cliche. When he's interviewing the femme fatale on the stormy night for example."

The *dark and stormy night* is the setting for Quark receiving his nefarious assignment. Later Odo, seeking truth, interviews her in bright sunlight. This is not so much "cliche" as overt genre homage--film noir, as Jammer said.

And it is masterfully done. The best episode in the series to this point.
John - Mon, Aug 6, 2012 - 3:19am (USA Central)
Fair point. Though there is often a fine line between homage and cliche and for me those scenes lacked some subtlety.

Either way I acknowledge that it's a fairly minor point in an episode that is clearly a classic.
azcats - Tue, Oct 1, 2013 - 2:45pm (USA Central)
interesting twist making Kira the murderer.
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 3:38pm (USA Central)

A very good episode with some nice background and character development for Kira and Odo.

8/10
mitts - Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - 8:30am (USA Central)
I agree this was an excellent episode but I did have one problem -- why would Dukat subsequently make Odo chief of security on the station when he fails on his first assignment? Would have hardly inspired confidence.

That being said, love all episodes that flash back to the occupation, always wanted a 2-hour (i.e. 2-parter) of straight up occupation-era storyline, would have been great.
Andrew Taylor - Mon, Feb 24, 2014 - 5:39pm (USA Central)
Excellent episode. Definitely a Top 10 entry for me.

When I was younger, the revelation of Kira being the murderer totally floored me. Now I'm older, having just watched the episode again, it should perhaps be obvious that a former Bajoran terrorist murdered someone. It's still a wonderfully constructed episode though, and does so much to establish character backstory.
Dusty - Thu, Feb 27, 2014 - 8:47am (USA Central)
I always wondered how Odo became security chief on Terok Nor. Thanks to this great episode, now I know. I didn't see Kira as the murderer coming at all, and it reinforced the fact that she was a terrorist and an extremely dangerous person before the occupation ended, and there will always be some of that lurking under the beautiful exterior. But that's part of what makes her such a great character.

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