Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"His Way"


Air date: 4/20/1998
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"You're not exactly the most lovable person in the galaxy. You're not even the most lovable person in this sector. Or on the station. Or even in this room." — Quark, trying to "help" Odo

Nutshell: Pick an adjective: Cute. Shallow. Amusing. Contrived. Pleasant. Inconsequential. Lightweight.

"His Way" is a troublemaker for criticism. I feel as if there are two opposite forces pulling at me, and now I have to find the fair middle ground. I hope I can find it before the feeling becomes one of being drawn and quartered (though I suppose that would require four forces rather than two).

When I said "pick an adjective" above, I meant that you can go one of two ways: You can elect to see this as an hour of pleasant, amusing, inconsequential fluff—or you can see this as a foray into shallow sitcom territory. In a way, the second option also brings with it many characteristics of the first; I often like to see the comic ingenuity that sitcom absurdity can bring along with it. The flip side is that, Ferengi episodes notwithstanding, DS9 is not a series I normally equate with sitcom silliness. Especially when dealing with situations that have long been serious and even weighty issues in the context of some stories, reducing those issues to sitcom stature seems just a little bit wrong.

In this week's case, that would, of course, be Odo and Kira and the years of buildup surrounding their relationship. This buildup, ultimately, has come down to one brief, over-glorified moment (read: kiss) in "His Way." We know Odo has had deep feelings for Kira since as early as second season's "The Collaborator," and whether or not they'd eventually pair up has gone back and forth for literally years (to the point that, a few times, I'd thought it had been permanently put to rest).

Well, now we have the new answer, but it's an answer that leaves many other questions unanswered (or unasked), because the episode that gives us the answer is mostly an exercise in superficialities. Personally, I was never all that compelled by the question "would they pair up?"; I've always been more interested in the historic bond shared between them. These are two characters who saw some really ugly things throughout the Occupation, and their sibling-like bond and mutual understanding was one of the most interesting things about them, making shows like "Necessary Evil" possible.

Now, I'm not fundamentally against them falling in love, but my hesitation is that romantic relationships on DS9 very often lose their subtlety and become as transparent as on many other TV shows. I guess what I liked about that sibling-like bond was that it seemed more sincere, complex, and original, whereas any chump TV show can do simple romance.

So throughout "His Way" I felt the duality of the enjoyable sitcom at odds with the possibilities of complex characterization.

On one hand, there's quite a bit to like here. The cuteness factor is about as high as they come without being overly trite or annoying. Something about the episode's attitude really clicks, and it kept a silly grin pasted on my face while I was watching. The comic timing is good, and watching curmudgeon Odo lighten up some was pretty entertaining and refreshing.

On the other hand, coming off the heels of the intriguing "Inquisition" and tremendous "In the Pale Moonlight"—one of the heaviest stories in the entire series' run—a fluff piece like "His Way" also serves to be a significant break in the momentum. This episode probably would've been more aptly placed in the lineup before "Inquisition." At this point in the season, I'm ready for meat and potatoes.

But fluff we have, so fluff I will analyze.

Most fluff stories have some sort of gimmick, and the big gimmick of "His Way" is the holographic lounge lizard Vic Fontaine (James Darren). Vic is not your ordinary hologram. He's completely self-aware that he's actually a program, and he's very good with people and an expert at improvising. In fact, I wondered at times if perhaps he was just a little too real. But given the previously established character of Minuet way back in TNG's "11001001" (not to mention Voyager's Doctor) the idea of Vic didn't really strike me as implausible if one considers there are probably expert holo-programmers out there somewhere.

Vic is an interesting character, and James Darren's performance is a delight, bringing an amiable aura of seasoned knowledge to the realm of romantic advice. Odo and Vic make good foils for one other—Odo always socially conservative and reserved, Vic always outgoing and outspoken. Auberjonois and Darren work exceptionally well together, and without getting into endless samples of dialog, I'll just say that most every scene between them is a pleasure to watch.

There were some other moments that worked well. I got a kick out of the scene where Odo starts quietly singing in Sisko's office, and then Sisko, unable to resist, joins in. It was very nicely done—understated and amiable. Of course, there's quite a bit of that sort of amicability in this episode.

Vic's advice to Odo is essentially that he needs to relax and have some fun, and not be such an "icicle." Odo's problem, Vic concludes, is a textbook example of "man has buried feelings for woman but woman sees herself and man as friends"—meanwhile, Odo can't stop worrying about Shakaar. Does Kira still have feelings for him?

Some of this discussion begins to turn shallower than I cared for. I for one thought we were done with the whole Shakaar issue a year ago, and I found the pretense that it was a potential problem for Odo's confidence to be forced and derivative. Another hesitation I have is the way the dialog is almost too "human." I know, I know; Trek is really about looking at human issues through different story devices—but the way it happens here (even knowing that Vic was specifically intended as a 1960s persona), I still couldn't help but get the feeling I was grounded in 20th-century romance, rather than 24th.

Those are relatively small complaints. My bigger problems with "His Way" stems from the fact that, in the end, underneath all the good performances, slick production design, and good music by Jay Chattaway, this is really a sitcom that doesn't try to be anything more than an hour of fluff. That wouldn't necessarily be a problem in many cases (especially considering how nicely executed this hour of fluff is), but the fact of the matter is this is the payoff of years of Odo/Kira buildup, and there were serious issues that could've been brought into the light.

Unfortunately, like a sitcom, this whole episode is based upon a series of contrivances, right up to the trick that Vic plays on Kira and Odo so that they meet in the holosuite, and Odo is led to believe she's a holographic simulation on which to "practice" his dating skills. As humbly and humorously carried out as the whole holosuite "date" was, and as much as I enjoyed it while it was happening, and as much as Odo's embarrassment made sense after the plan blew up in Vic's face, the end result still didn't ring true when I stopped to think about it. The reason: because it was all based on a trick rather than a truth. Some truths can be packaged in tricks, but this was done with total disregard to seriousness because it was simply too busy having fun.

And I'll totally come clean by saying that I thought it was fun. But fun only goes so far, and the final act, alas, was just a little to shallow for my tastes. The spontaneity of The Big Kiss seemed a little too much in the realm of sitcom mentality—both in the lead-up dialog and in Allan Kroeker's glorified direction over the event—though both Quark's and Dax's (especially Dax's) reactions were priceless. Kira makes an allusion to a "moment of clarity," in which she apparently realizes that she and Odo were meant to fall in love, but it seems a little more canned for the purposes of entertainment than it does for the purposes of natural character growth.

In the process, some interesting subtleties are lost. For starters, I can finally abandon my few clinging hopes that Odo's betrayal in "Behind the Lines" will add up to mean something in the scheme of the Odo/Kira relationship. And I can also stop wondering if Kira's distress over the alternate-timeline Odo's actions in "Children of Time" will come back into play. In short, I can stop wondering about all the little mysteries concerning Odo and Kira, because they're now a part of the past—a chapter in a book that I feel has been put on the shelf for good. I'm not saying that this book was a must-read to understand DS9 or even Odo/Kira, but it does seem a shame that the writers think it's worthy of stashing away to collect dust. On the other hand, maybe the book hasn't been closed, and Kira/Odo's new direction will still look back on some of these chapters. I wonder, though. It just seems that, based on the simplistic way this pivotal episode in their relationship transpired, we're not likely to turn back and look at these unresolved issues again, which feels quite unfortunate.

Perhaps I'm prejudging, but I'm not sure what else to do at this point. I hope more serious issues will be examined in the context of this new, "official" relationship; I guess we'll just have to wait and see. In any case, I can recommend a bulk of this episode for anyone who likes enjoyable, well-played fluff and comedy. As for more serious aspects, holding one's breath until next week may be the most appropriate course of action.

Next week: Sisko must answer to higher powers.

Previous episode: In the Pale Moonlight
Next episode: The Reckoning

◄ Season Index

64 comments on this review

Sat, Jan 19, 2008, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
Maybe I am bit a bias but I think most of DS9 deserves three stars or more but I digress. So this was a ligh weight episode but considering it followed In The Pale Moonlight, it was a pleasent diversion and bringing in James Darren only added to DS9's class act. Btw, I have to agree that when Sisko starts singing along with Odo it felt like such a natural moment that couldn't have easily not been written.
Wed, Apr 23, 2008, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
I'm sorry, but DS9 suffered from the Moonlighting-effect once Kira & Odo got together. Their relationship was much more moving unconsummated. I could say the same for Bashir & Ezri, but she wasn't on the show long enough to make as much of an impression.
Jakob M. Mokoru
Mon, Feb 9, 2009, 7:41am (UTC -5)
I'm not totally pleased with James Darren's performance. While his acting is okay, his singing gets - especially in the higher regions of his voice - quite forced.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
I guess Sisko really didn't lose any sleep over the decisions he made in ITPM the episode before.

On top of that, during a war that seemingly claims millions of lives a week, with all the hand-wringing that occurs every week over the casualty lists, all Odo can think of is his lame and superbly-mousey infatuation with Kira.

On top of that, we've got Vic Fontaine, who, to me, acts in a manner so stereotypical that it rivals the Irish folk from VOY's Fair Haven for ethnically-challenged caricature of the year.

And don't blink, otherwise you'll miss a holographic Kira casually smoking a cigarette. I was almost waiting for a "DS9 is proudly sponsored by Lucky Strike" advert to come on.

This episode, along with Shades of Grey, Spock's Brain, and Sacred Ground, is one my brother and I automatically skip when we engage in one of our Trek marathons. It's like a gag reflex.

Ah, well. Good could not exist without evil.
Fri, Sep 4, 2009, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
Any episode with Vic in it has a 2.5 star ceiling. That includes the series finale.
Sat, Sep 5, 2009, 12:04am (UTC -5)
I've never understood the dis-like for Vic Fontain. I loved every episode the character was in. In an ironic sort of way he was the counciler DS9 never had (minus Ezri) in a reoccuring role. Plus he was so hip and cool in a Vegas lounge singer 60's kind of way.
Fri, Nov 6, 2009, 3:44pm (UTC -5)
With respect, you're all crazy. :) I agree with Ira Behr that this episode was one of the series' triumphs. It's incredibly hard to do any sort of romance, a comedy, a musical in a Trek series; this is a little bit of all three and an introduction of a major recurring character and a payoff to stuff that's been simmering for a long time now--and it works. Jammer prejudges it as "either fluff or shallow." Why? Because it is a romance and not starships shooting at each other? Darren owns this episode, Odo finally gets honest with himself, Nana Visitor vamps it up, and we finally get somewhere on the character's feelings. What's not to like?
Sun, Nov 8, 2009, 5:05pm (UTC -5)
I HATED this episode when I first saw it, but Vic must have grown on me over time, cause I didn't mind it when I rewatched it the other day. Not great, but Shades of Grey? Steady on.
Tue, Nov 24, 2009, 7:33pm (UTC -5)
You'd think Kira would be pissed off at the use of her image as a hologram without permission. After all, she didn't like that the last time someone did that to her in "Meridian".
Lee Wilson
Tue, Jan 5, 2010, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
I thought the final big kiss was pretty forced and didn't seem believable, but actually, when they were dancing during their date, their attraction to each other seemed far more believable and true.
Mon, Jun 7, 2010, 1:06am (UTC -5)
Anyone who doesn't like this episode is an icicle who needs to lighten up and have some fun
Sun, Jul 18, 2010, 5:27pm (UTC -5)
I'm on the fence with this one. I really love the kiss scene, I think it's the most sincere scene of the episode, and I did enjoy most of the other scenes. This is probably the best "sitcom fluff" episode DS9 has ever done. However, it's the scenes we didn't get that bother me, the scenes that pay off the relationship these two characters have had over the last nine years. So, they made a great light-weight episode, but I think the storyline deserved a more serious take.
Marco P.
Wed, Aug 18, 2010, 6:06am (UTC -5)
I just love when Trek doesn't take itself seriously. Lightweight episodes fall in that category for me, and as far as they go "His Way" was a pretty good one.

On another positive note, Kira & Odo can finally drop the "on again / off again" routine and the series can finally focus on more serious stuff. :P
vic fontaine
Thu, Feb 17, 2011, 3:02am (UTC -5)
This was the beginning of the end for DS9. WIthout a doubt my least favorite episode. It's like one of the producers got a huge hard on for lame lounge music and decided to whip his dick out in public to force everyone to not only look at it, but take a big whiff.

This is what happens when Hollywood douchebags get too much power, they can impose their personal fantasies on everyone else. Ira Behr is an idiot, and this more than dissolves and respect I had for the man's previous work.
Your mom has halitosis
Wed, Feb 23, 2011, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
"This was the beginning of the end for DS9. WIthout a doubt my least favorite episode. It's like one of the producers got a huge hard on for lame lounge music and decided to whip his dick out in public to force everyone to not only look at it, but take a big whiff.

This is what happens when Hollywood douchebags get too much power, they can impose their personal fantasies on everyone else. Ira Behr is an idiot, and this more than dissolves and respect I had for the man's previous work. "

And this is what happens when "douchebags" cowardly post their opinions online, knowing they have the anonymity of the internet.
What a twunt.
Vinarial Disease
Fri, Mar 4, 2011, 11:26pm (UTC -5)
I have no problem with the little get together of Odo/Kira. But I don't care much for how they did it.

The overall episode was fun, but.............look at it from this angle. Odo has been in love with Kira since the 2nd Season. But when exactly did Kira confess to having any sort of feelings towards Odo other than the friendly kind. Never. So in one episode we are suppose to believe they were meant for one another. Sorry. Not buying it. I could see if this episode was the beginning for a possible relationship in the future but not to just make it happen overnight.

It seems like the only relationship the writers did right was Sisko/Cassidy. All because it wasn't rushed. Hell, Worf/Dax relationship didn't start feeling right until after "Change of Heart." Oh well, can't get everything right.

I was thinking about how much fun it would have been if Quark/Kira had gotten together instead. Yeah I know, not possible, but to me it would have been more fun to watch then her and Odo. I mean she hates Ferengi's and can't stand Quark. But what if what Quark did in "Sacrifice of Angels" made her start to see him in a new light. Just curious.
Mon, Apr 11, 2011, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
Jam has a point about "His Way" following on the heels of "Pale Moonlight". A quirk in production vs. airdate order, no doubt. Perhaps this could have been rectified by having Odo go to Garak for romantic advice instead of Vic Fontaine. Now THAT would have been interesting.
Sun, Jan 8, 2012, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
There has always been a real prayer area for Bajorans to go to and pray...actually, it's where Jadzia is killed a few episodes later. But here Kira is in a holographic one just so that Vic can visit her. Lame...
Nebula Nox
Sun, Apr 1, 2012, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
I did not like this when I first saw it because I did not care for romance between Odo and Kira - I guess I am not a romantic! - but later, they grew on me as a couple. So when I watched this again I actually enjoyed it.

And Odo did need help courting Kira. Who could he ask? Julian? He has not had much success with women. Garak? Better to consult him about murder, and although Odo and Garak have an understanding since their escape from the Gamma Quadrant, he would never trust Garak with such knowledge. Quark? He's been Odo's closest confidant in this matter - mostly because he's so observant - yet Odo is too proud for this, and besides, Kira can't stand Quark, so his advice might not be so good. A holosuite adviser makes perfect sense, because it's so private - you can turn it off. Besides, we know that Odo was reading up on the subject earlier - he simply did not know what to do.
Wed, Apr 25, 2012, 8:39pm (UTC -5)
Nana Visitor really gave Peggy Lee a run for her money with her rendition of "Fever." Apparently she chose the song herself because it was a personal favorite.
Tue, May 1, 2012, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
I never felt the chemistry between Kira and Odo. The whole thing felt forced
Lt. Fitz
Sun, Jul 1, 2012, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
I was disappointed with this episode only because I felt that that it was a too silly and forced ending to the Odo/Kira love saga. I wanted to see them in some sort of serious situation that perhaps caused one of them to save the life of the other, and in doing so, realize how profoundly he or she would have missed the other if they were lost. There is nothing like lives in danger to really make us want to act on those things that we are putting off out of insecurity. I really wanted to see Kira deal with any sort of misgivings she might have about choosing to be romantically involved with a creature so unlike herself (how would making love work, anyway?). She has shown romantic interest only in Bajorans, understandably so, because it is definitely an easier and more natural route. I wanted to see something that would cause her to really be able to overcome that sort of instinctual drive we all have in our natures to be attracted to our own. Sadly, we get what the reviewer accurately described as silly sitcom fluff as well as it was executed.
Mon, Oct 8, 2012, 4:25am (UTC -5)
These characters deserved a better resolution than this. I could barely stay awake. DS9 and treacle don't mix especially with as complex and interesting a character as Odo. Vic Fontaine was the singularly the worst addition to the show and for them to make him recur weakened the last season especially, in my view. And he can't sing.
Sat, Nov 24, 2012, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
Agree with Moegreen...Vic was an excruciating addition to the show. Just the sight of him triggers an instant fast forward.
Sun, Jan 6, 2013, 5:04pm (UTC -5)
I'm generally not a fan of holodeck outings, this episode included.

DS9 had generally done a good job with holodeck episodes up to this point. This was not a welcome addition. But it didn't suck. Just OK. 2 stars.
Thu, Jan 24, 2013, 4:05am (UTC -5)
@Lt. Fitz "(how would making love work, anyway?)"

Erm, not to be too crass, but the dude's a shapeshifter...I suspect making love would work extremely well.

Also, "overcome that sort of instinctual drive we all have in our natures to be attracted to our own"

Wow, that would be offensive if we weren't the only consenting humanoids on this planet. Speciesism ahead of its time!
William B
Wed, Apr 17, 2013, 6:38am (UTC -5)
Randomly (as I am not rewatching this show at the moment but TNG), I read the review and comments for this episode. I'm with Jammer on the drawbacks to this and think that the 2.5 stars grade is *very* generous. Jammer articulates the problem well. It is not that it's a bad thing for Trek or DS9 to do a lightweight fluffy sitcom plot. It *is* a bad thing for DS9 to do a lightweight fluffy sitcom plot that is a turning point in a generally serious relationship, without actually dealing with any of the reasons that relationship is interesting to begin with. Nor do sitcom episodes have to be meaningless (jeez, "M*A*S*H" was a sitcom and it's the definitive American *war* series), and Trek comedies can be things like "Deja Q" which have more to say about human nature than this does; a comedic episode could have still dealt with the landmines in their relationship ("Children of Time," "Behind the Lines") if it were careful enough.

And even then, I'm not sure if I could tell you what exactly "The Trouble with Tribbles" reveals about human nature, but it's both a lot of fun *and* doesn't weaken a central story. Similarly, "par'Mach" is not very deep and it is what gets Worf/Dax together, but it works okay because that relationship didn't have any of the baggage at that point that Odo/Kira do. Fortunately, the Odo/Kira story ends up working out okay later on, with "Chimera" the best episode of season seven and their scenes in "What You Leave Behind" some of the best there.

Incidentally, this episode begins a pretty terrible run at the end of s6 of DS9. The season up to "In the Pale Moonlight" has some lowlights but is generally very strong with several classic or near-classic episodes. *None* of the episodes from this episode through "The Sound of Her Voice" break 2 stars for me, and I'm not sure that I think "Tears of the Prophets" is actually good (though it is the best episode of s6 post-"ITPM"). I can't think of a 6 episode run in any of the first three (live action) series that I would rate as lowly as I do "His Way" through "The Sound of Her Voice," and that includes TOS s3 and TNG s1. (Yes, TOS s3 has "Spock's Brain" and "And the Children Shall Lead" within a few episodes of each other and the only Trek-low-point episode in this run is "Profit and Lace," but that run also includes "The Enterprise Incident.") (I can't think of one in Voyager or Enterprise either but that's because I'm not as much an expert in those, so I won't comment.) Fortunately, while I have mixed feelings on season seven it doesn't fall apart for a string of episodes the way the end of s6 did.
Fri, Aug 2, 2013, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
Blech. This show was cringe-worthy. I see from the comments this lounge lizard becomes a recurring character- oh no! I wanted Odo and Kira to get together in an intense, epic way. That's what they deserved given the build up. Instead we get cutesy crap. Oh well.
Sat, Nov 2, 2013, 10:56am (UTC -5)

I enjoyed it.

Wed, Jan 15, 2014, 8:15pm (UTC -5)
Masterpiece of an episode. Its a neat little comedy; newsflash the final kiss is a joke! Lighten up.
Fri, Feb 7, 2014, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
There's nothing I hate more than when Star Trek pretends that people in the 24th century will be interested or even know anything detailed about mid-20th century history or culture.
Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 11:37am (UTC -5)
"And this is what happens when "douchebags" cowardly post their opinions online, knowing they have the anonymity of the internet.
What a twunt."

What about people who insult people anonymously on the internet...I'm assuming your birth name isn't "Your mom has halitosis".

Tue, Apr 22, 2014, 2:38am (UTC -5)
Cringeworthy mess that had me reaching for the FF button as well, I don't know how the crew kept a straight face when shooting the 'Fever' scene with Nana Visitor trying unsuccesfully to channel Michelle Pfeiffer from the Fabulous Baker Boys...

The "unfabulous DS9 mime?"
Thu, May 8, 2014, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
While I agree that the complex nature of the sibling-like bond between Odo and Kira was a great addition to the overall tapestry; I do not for one second believe that it is a loss for them to finally become romantically involved. It changes the structure of their relationship and therefore dramatic elements to be sure. I understand that. But in real life people fall in love all the time. If art is imitating life then it's done a pretty good job here despite what one may prefer to see happen for drama's sake.

As far as romantic episodes of Star Trek go, this could have easily been a flusher with the setup given here and the way it plays itself out. Surprisingly enough, though, it all somehow works. Not fantastically, by any means, but enough to keep a grin on my face through much of it. The introduction of Vic Fontaine here is not unwelcome in the slightest, but it does have the unintended effect of seemingly stretching the DS9 mythos a bit too thin this close to the eleventh hour. Fortunately it didn't come to that and is left (mostly) as pleasant background diversion here on out. The characters' charm and charisma adds a welcomed nuance.

Overall I would say its pretty good albeit slow-burning for a size-able chunk of the episode. Throw in some rather pleasant character moments that are easy to overlook because they spring up so naturally and you have a worthy addition to the franchise.

3 stars.
Wed, May 14, 2014, 10:56pm (UTC -5)
I really liked this episode. It's part of the ongoing coming of age saga for Odo, and I found it both heart-warming and inspiring. I guess I've sort of been in Odo's place before when I was a younger man, so I found it entirely relatable. Compare it to the episodes focusing on Dax and Warf's romance, in which there is absolutely no spark and no real sense of depth, while there's real history and complexity between Odo and Kira. This episode artfully realized the build up of a sub plot over six seasons - no mean feat, and one of Trek's better episodes.
Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 9:30am (UTC -5)
I love the "Vic" episodes.

I love episodes that explore the Kira/Odo relationship.

I don't love this one though. It’s kind of a love/hate relationship with this one.

Cute yes, humorous yes, touching at times yes, but necessary? ... I don't think so.

It's actually a character killer for Kira. Didn't Odo just "go all linky" with the lead Founder and totally forget/disregard his job and responsibility? Resulting in the falling of the minefield and risk of death to his crewmates? How does Kira just forget that? IS this the same Kira that just plotted to kill her own mother? I don’t see a “forgiving Kira” here…

It’s a personal opinion I know, but here we are again, a “relationship” within the Chain of Command…. That never works (see Jadzia & Worf [Change of Heart]) and we ALL know what Odo is capable of doing with regards to his feelings for Kira (8000 wiped out [Children of Time]). I thought their relationship up to this point was a great one. Very enjoyable. Deep at times, funny at times…

This was neither needed nor desired and this is at this time is like jumping off a cliff right after ITPM.

1 star.
Sat, Oct 4, 2014, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, I don't know about this one. I really like Odo and his feelings for Kira in general. I think it's a strong storyline - I really liked "Crossfire" and where it went in the occupation arc. I remember way back in "Cordially" I thought the off-screen talk Kira and Odo had was cute, but hardly appropriate to be the final word on what went down in "Behind the Lines." Kira's generally pretty rough on people she deems to be traitors, so I'd have liked to see the two of them hash it out between then and now. It's not that Odo should have had a long apology. We already know he's sorry. It's that Kira would need to confront whether or not she can trust Odo again, let alone love him. Could she count on Odo to withstand the advances of the Changelings again? If yes, I'd like to see how she came to that conclusion. If no, how can she love him?

That's part of why this episode is pretty frustrating for me. I'm willing to forgive some episodes on their own merits and blame inconsistencies on the series as a whole ("The Begotten" was good, for example, but Odo getting his abilities back is less a problem with the episode and more a problem with the series arc) but the Odo-Kira rift was a major plot point between two of the show's main characters. What the hell, show?

I don't know whether I can get on the side of "His Way" regardless.

Some small things:

-I'm willing to give a pass to the silly teen rom com KISS ME scene on the Promenade, since Odo has the social skills of a high school introvert to begin with (not a knock on Odo, don't take that the wrong way). It's... fine, I GUESS.

-Vic. Okay, guys. I have no problem with Vic for the most part or the 60s Vegas lounge as a holosuite thing. But this is a sci-fi show about space wars. I don't want to see him stand there and sing lounge songs in their entirety. It's fine as background noise or as introducing a scene for a few moments - but entire songs!? We get it. The guy can sing. But we only have 40 precious minutes per episode so take it easy on stopping everything for musical interludes.

2 stars maybe for this one, maybe less since it's kind of aggressively obnoxious.
Sat, Oct 4, 2014, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
Hilarious trivia from Memory Alpha:

"Ira Steven Behr had been planning a character like this for several years; a Rat Pack type guy who would dispense advice on love and life to the crew of Deep Space 9. He originally tried to introduce the character during the fourth season, where he would be played by Frank Sinatra, Jr. Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe wrote a sample scene and casting director Ron Surma brought it to Sinatra, but he was only interested in playing an alien - he didn't want to play a human, and he certainly didn't want to play a character partly based on his own father."

Even the guy they *wrote the part* for was like, 'dude, shouldn't I at least be an alien or something". Amazing.
Dave in NC
Sun, Oct 5, 2014, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
@ $G

I think the man playing Vic did a great job, but I have to admit, there are still scenes of DS9 I've never seen simply because I saw the nightclub and immediately changed the channel/fast-forwarded.
Mon, Oct 6, 2014, 8:44am (UTC -5)
I think the episode works in spite of all the wonkiness. There are so many perfect lines that so capture Odo that, I'm not saying it couldn't have been done elsewhere, but it was done so perfectly here that it's hard to fault them.

As for not dealing with Kira's feelings.... I appreciate that with so much heavy surrounding these two for the last 3 or 4 years that they just picked something light. I think the singing all works, but overall it's not really a story about them (that'll come later). It's a story about Odo and his walls, and that's why the slow based, lots of singing, lots of silliness kind of all works. It's just what the doctor ordered for Odo.

I particularly love when he says "Nerys. Kira. Major." and walks away. It's just a beautiful bit of acting watching him put the walls up one at a time. He sells every change in the way he addresses her.

I like the scene where he sings with Sisko, I like the scenes where he shows us the real him... glad his "friends" didn't see him having fun or wondering what fun has to do with Kira. I actually think this is my favorite "comedic" episode of the series and the fact that it comes after 2 homeruns dramatically is pretty impressive. Of course then we get a nosedive, but that's for another day....
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 10:41am (UTC -5)
@ $G,

"I don't want to see him stand there and sing lounge songs in their entirety. It's fine as background noise or as introducing a scene for a few moments - but entire songs!?"

Agree completely. I have the same thoughts each time I watch this episode.
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 10:26am (UTC -5)
@ Yanks

Vic's also a bit creepy too, charming though he may be (which kind of makes it worse actually). Kira wasn't NOT with Odo because he doesn't have the moves (the scene with the two holowomen made me want to claw my eyes out about how much it missed the point). All of Vic's moves are cliched "romance" tactics from bad movies.

Huh. I dislike this episode more each time I talk about it, wow.
Fri, Oct 10, 2014, 8:31am (UTC -5)

The one time I love Vic singing the whole song is in Bada Bing.... I just loved it when Vic and Avery sing together.

I'm having a mind block on the "2 woman" thing, but I did enjoy how he tried to get Odo to loosen up.
Sat, Oct 11, 2014, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
I am gratified to see other like-minded individuals out there in the space time continuum known as the internet also disapprove of this truly sappy episode. Kira and Odo deserved much better...instead their multi year romance ends in a punchline better suited to a sitcom. Plus...a holodeck episode. 1 star is pushing it.
Brian S.
Tue, Feb 17, 2015, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
I didn't totally dislike this episode. As Jammer said, it was amusing and lighthearted enough.

An episode with Holosuite Vic was a cute enough story by itself. I enjoyed some of the singing. I agree it was way too long, but I can accept that an occasional episode with a lighter slower pace works.

But the existence of future recurring Vic episodes makes me wish his light bulb had never been switched on. Julian's Bond holosuite program was done much better, IMO. One full drama/comedy episode with some interesting ideas, then a few minor mentions/glimpses in future episodes for continuity. Vic got more screen time than the departing Terry Farrell, and appeared in almost as many episodes over the final 36 episodes as Garak...including precious minutes of the series finale that bascially forced the writers to rush Sisko's *death* in order to get a full Vic Fontaine song.

Also, some of Vic's dialogue was cringe inducing as it didn't really fit the characters of Odo & Kira at all....

"It's the oldest story in the book. She thinks of you as a friend."

....a friend who she had no real attraction to earlier in the year even while she was on the rebound. Then you went and slept with Changeling Space Hitler in the middle of an active war, and got so wrapped in your *link*ing that you neglected your duties to such a degree that your love interest was arrested, your crew mate was sentenced to execution, and the entire quadrant was nearly overrun by a merciless army bent on galactic domination.

Yep, the oldest story in the book.

"Women have been known to change their minds. You just have to give them a reason....The girl already likes you. That means you're halfway home."

Unfortunately that whole sexual attraction half of the equation is kind of a major hurdle that one dinner and one dance doesn't cure. Especially in light of events of the past year.

I can see Kira and Odo repairing their relationship to the degree that she no longer wants to kill him in cold blood for being a collaborator. I can maybe even see her reconciling with him to the point where she can be friends with him again. But actual physical sexual attraction? To the guy who just slept with Female Changeling Space Hitler while she was leading the Resistance?

Sorry, Vic. There are no Frank Sinatra or James Dean anecdotes that can overcome that.
Sun, Mar 8, 2015, 3:59am (UTC -5)
James Darren has an excellent voice and I really enjoyed him. I remember when I watched Hey There its Yogi Bear, I loved his voice, at age 7. I personally think Kira is too good for Odo. I have never liked the character very much and when he became a collaborator, it sealed his fate with me forever.
Sun, Apr 19, 2015, 11:41am (UTC -5)
"Unfortunately that whole sexual attraction half of the equation is kind of a major hurdle that one dinner and one dance doesn't cure."

I'll grant your other arguments (his earlier betrayal was overlooked way too easily, apparently entirely during a long conversation at Dax's party a few episodes ago) but I wanted to touch on this statement because it resonated with me personally.

I've been married now for 17 years to a woman who, for the 10 years prior to that, thought of me only as a casual acquaintance and then for that last 3 of those as a good friend. She even admitted in a journal entry back then (that she later revealed to me in a moment of weakness) that though she appreciated our friendship, she found the idea of anything beyond friendship with me to be "repugnant" (her exact word), which I've occasionally teased her about ever since.

How did we move from the "friend zone" to a romantic relationship that eventually lead to a long-term stable marriage?

I took her dancing.

I'm totally serious - there was this girl's choice dance at the university that she really had her heart set on going to, but the guy she wanted to ask become unavailable. Not wanting to miss out on the dance itself but having no one she was truly interested in going with as a date, and knowing that I happened to be trained in ballroom dancing, she asked me to go as a friend just so she could attend and wear the dress she had been wanting to wear for it.

After that dance, she suddenly saw me in a whole different light and we began dating, fell in love, got married, and have been together ever since.

My point is, don't underestimate what effect dancing might have on a woman who previously saw you only as a friend!
Thu, Jul 23, 2015, 2:10am (UTC -5)
How in the HELL does Vic communicate over the station com with Odo WHEN THE PROGRAM ISN'T EVEN RUNNING?

I just don't get what people see in the Vic character. He's just an annoying cliche to me.

Fri, Jul 24, 2015, 8:12am (UTC -5)
Vic may have been overused in S7 (I like him, but I can see where some people feel he wore out his welcome). But I personally think he's so effective with Odo here and with Nog in Paper Moon that he can do no wrong in my book.

I didn't think he needed his own episode in a season where we don't even get a solid O'Brien episode, but then he sings with Sisko and I don't even care. Can an Ezri episode instead.

"Come fly with me, come fly let's fly away..."
Ashton Withers
Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 2:55pm (UTC -5)
Sometimes I wish I had an Uncle Vic...
Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 6:24am (UTC -5)
Sad to hear that Vic ever comes back - way too much complacent, annoying screen time.

The Odo/Kira kiss looked so painful to watch - almost like some clamp was being shoved on something.

Odo had some pretty nice moments (the Sisko office singing), but I completely agree with the review that said that they had a complex comrade/siblingy dynamic which was way more moving than the Trek romances ever seem to get. It was such a great contrast to the way some of the characters would sexualize Kira, while Odo always appreciated her for her strength etc. It honestly just felt as if because a 'male' (haha changeling gender by the way!) and a female are friends, the story has to spin them into a romance. Look at Sisko and Dax - works so much better as friends.
Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
Oh my. Brian S, your Changeling Space Hitler just about did me in. I am wiping away the tears still. And Taron, what a beautiful story. I have also found that deep love can get a simple start. I think sometimes people growing alongside one another eventually find themselves reaching the plane of understanding that brings true love. I agree that this episode is quite a departure but sometimes that's a good thing. You are allowed to fast forward if you want but then you'd miss the fun these usually serious performers are obviously having.
Nathan B.
Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 1:30pm (UTC -5)
Four stars! Or at least, three-and-a-half. I *LOVED* this episode, perhaps because Odo reminds me of myself in some ways. By the end of the episode, I wished very much that Vic were real and my friend. I'm glad to hear he'll be back..

"His Way" is not "In the Pale Moonlight." It's not a serious and deep examination of the darker side of human nature. It's not a reflection on the finer points of ethics and morality. It's a nice bit of touching fun, and accomplishes all that that sort of episode is designed to do. And after ITPM, the timing was perfect, even as "Family" followed "BOBWII." And it's certainly one of the most memorable episodes I've seen in these six seasons. Overall, I'm left very impressed by the versatility of DS9, easily the best of all the Star Trek sub-franchises.
Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
I actually love all 3 of these episodes ("Pale Moonlight", "His Way", "The Reckoning") for showing off the range of DS9. "The Inquisition" is pretty great too.

While Pale Moonlight is technically "better", this show is always special to me. And you can give it 4 stars if you love it. It doesn't have to be "Pale Moonlight" to be perfect in it's own way.
Sat, Nov 21, 2015, 12:08am (UTC -5)
This episode definitely grows on you. At first it would be easy to dismiss as trite, and I'd imagine one could be more sick or Vic Fontaine if one didn't know he was a recurring character. But knowing his future role on the show, and his meaningful interactions with Nog in particular, I appreciate this beginning - the demonstration of his extreme sentience, and his role as a bit of a trickster in particular. I agree with a much earlier poster that Darren's voice sounds a little strained on high notes but I like the tunes he does, and I'm secretly a sucker for the crooner style.

But the real meat of this episode are the little bits of character interaction throughout that always serve to illustrate these incredible character. In particular I love the long take of Odo and Sisko singing "You can't take that away from me", which is such an incredible moment of levity, especially given the last two episodes.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Feb 6, 2016, 9:54am (UTC -5)
I've always been agnostic on the Odo/Kira relationship thing but if you're going to do it, then I suppose this is about as good a way as any other. Think of this as a sorbet to clear the palate before the next heavy course, this is about as light and fluffy a rom-com as you're going to see.

And yet it kind of works. Vic Fontaine may be a lightning rod for discontented viewers, but James Darren nails the role. The cute Odo moments may be a little too cute, but who can't like he and Sisko singing along together. The kiss scene really works. And if there's a finer verbal expression of embarrassment than "Nerys... Kira... Major" then I've yet to hear it. 3 stars.
William B
Thu, Feb 18, 2016, 10:11am (UTC -5)
In spite of myself, I enjoyed this episode a fair amount. I guess I should put my biases at the door if I'm starting with "in spite of myself"! But really, my problems with the episode remain. A few seasons ago, it might have worked for the episode to basically portray the major (no pun intended) obstacle to Odo/Kira being Odo's social awkwardness, but not after "Children of Time" and "Behind the Lines." And as with basically every other Kira relationship in the series, the focus is taken off Kira's own perspective to an extreme extent. Kira's dialogue about "perfect clarity" with Dax doesn't cut it. Knowing what's coming in season seven means I can forgive some of this stuff, because I know that there will be some better work for these two as a couple. But this episode is still frustratingly reductive. As Jammer says, Vic's advice is also framed too much in 20th century terms -- hell, 1960's Vegas terms. There's something really *wrong* about the idea that what Kira and Odo really needed is for a 60's lounge singer to identify their *exact problem* as that she just sees Odo as a friend and to manipulate them to get together -- with the episode basically bolstering Vic's perspective despite its obvious shallowness and the lies that Vic does to get them to work. The idea of Vic as a universal expert in romance including interspecies, nonhuman romance is hard to understand. And there is actually something pretty creepy about Odo practicing on a Kira hologram before moving onto the real thing, which I feel like Kira should have at least some reaction to -- remember how Kira reacted in "Meridian" to her image used? How far was Odo planning on *going* with whom he thought was holo-Kira (I assume not that far, but what is Kira supposed to think)?

What I do appreciate about this episode's characterization is that it does, in some senses, make sense that Odo is only ready to start genuinely trying to be happy now, rather than years ago. Before "The Search," I think Odo had no interest in romance at all, and his attraction to Kira was something he largely was even unaware of until a hint of jealousy hit him in "The Collaborator." After he rejected his people largely because of Kira, I think it made a lot of sense for Odo not to risk things going too far south with Kira and as such to put a distance between them in "Crossfire," because it really would be too damaging for he and Kira to have a falling out, when he actually on some level wanted to return to the Link and, I think, on some level knew that if he had real heartbreak with Kira he would be much more tempted. After his definitely choosing to give up the Link this season, I think Odo actually has more confidence that he can stay away from them than he had in s3-4, where Odo was largely lying to others and himself that he was not tempted at all; in some ways, giving in completely to the Female Shapeshifter and then later changing his mind makes it easier for him to "know" that this is his choice. So a relationship with Kira is actually possible now *for Odo*, *from Odo's perspective*; he can drop the martyrdom act, the claim of standoffishness and disinterest in humanoid affairs, not protect himself from heartbreak when he has lost his people now that he knows more strongly that he can walk away from them. And in that sense, it actually makes sense for Odo to work on his social skills now. I question the idea that it's a 60's Earth lounge singer to do that, and more importantly Kira should still be extremely wary about a relationship with this guy, post-"Children of Time" and "Behind the Lines," but I can kind of see how this still fits in broadly in Odo's story. Vic's advice to Odo to some degree basically comes down to fake-it-til-you-make-it, and so the ep in some respects is really about how entertainment can give you the tools to be charming in your own life, to pretend you're a real cool cat until it's actually true -- which is oddly appropriate for a shapeshifter.

I do want to give some credit for the weird chutzpah to think this episode could work at all, and to make it work to some degree. I still basically don't believe Kira in it, and that's not a small problem, and I find the treatment of Odo mixed, with some effective material but often overly cute and very reductive of what Odo's problem is (though still accurate on what *one* of his problems is). I do like how Quark is quite genuinely helpful here -- the pretense of them being enemies has largely been dropped at this point. The songs feel like padding and Vic's constant anecdotes and pop culture about the Rat Pack and whatever wear thin quickly. The episode still has a certain zip and sparkle to it. I think I'd say 2 stars overall -- it would be a little higher if there weren't so much history being brazenly ignored and if Kira's perspective got more showing.
William B
Thu, Feb 18, 2016, 10:20am (UTC -5)
Actually yeah -- Vic does creep me out a bit because of his presumption that there is a one-size-fits-all solution to wooing ladies, which somehow works even if the lady is an alien who won't forgive her own mother for being kidnapped into sex slavery, and the fella slept with a leader of an evil empire. How would Kira feel about her body being used to sexily sing "Fever" to Odo? Despite Odo and Kira knowing each other, in some ways I feel like her reaction wouldn't be that far from Leah Brahms upon seeing the "when you're touching the engines, you're touching me" 'gram, or to a lesser extent Troi upon seeing the "Goddess of Empathy" hologram -- that at the bottom of it, the guy actually sees her primarily as sex object, or maybe he would rather she be sex object than full person. I know, I know -- practice -- but the whole point of the Kira hologram singing "Fever!" is to get Odo used to the idea of keeping his cool in the face of Kira...despite her being fully decontextualized of everything but her voice and body. What is weird is that the episode goes out of its way to underline that Vic is totally right -- Kira is good and wooed.
Tue, Mar 22, 2016, 11:56pm (UTC -5)
"... though it did take me an hour to get rid of the Russian accent." Funniest delivered line in any ST episode I've seen.
Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 2:02am (UTC -5)
I'll admit - the first time I saw "His Way" I could not stand the character of Vic Fontaine. I hated him. When Ezri was brought onto the show at the start of Season Seven and it was revealed that she was a counselor, my first thought was "Thank God, now we can get rid of that stupid lounge singer!". However, my attitude toward the character has since undergone a rather significant change. It wasn't until "It's Only a Paper Moon" that I finally began to appreciate the character in any remote way. Looking back on him now, all these years later, I think I can safely say that he was an enjoyable, if ultimately unnecessary, addition to the series.

As a fan of the Kira/Odo relationship (again.... I ship them, sue me!), I have no complaints about this aspect of the episode. In fact, I'm extremely happy that the powers that be FINALLY decided to just go ahead put the two of them together at long last instead of continuing to drag out the "will they, won't they" nonsense. The problem is the overindulgence in 60s era lounge music. I may have grown somewhat fond of the Vic Fontaine character and the humor he brings to the episode really does work, but did we honestly need FOUR separate music numbers in this episode?! One sequence to introduce Vic, I can get behind that. Two sequences, it's pushing it but I can still accept it. Four? That's just too damn much and feels like little more than padding to me. I'm sorry, but I don't watch Star Trek to hear lounge music anymore than I watch it to listen to gansta rap.

Pick an adjective? Okay, I'll pick.... amusing and shallow. "His Way" is entertaining, sure, and Vic is a lot better than I originally gave him credit for. It's another competently executed piece of fluff ("Deep Space Nine" seems to have a knack for this kind of episode) but I really could have done with slightly less fluffiness.


Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
This ep is kind of a guilty pleasure for me, so I'm inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt. As to its coming immediately after one of the darkest episodes in all of Trek, I'll hand it off to a certain mutant:

"I'm holding your neck so you don't get whiplash."
Thu, Jul 14, 2016, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
Intellectually, I agree with a many of the complaints about this episode. Furthermore, when the show originally aired I wasn't rooting for a Kira/Odo relationship. (Actually, although it worked out fine, I'm still not sure another direction wouldn't have been better.) And yet, I think this show worked OK the first time I saw it, and I actually enjoy it more now.

As to Vic: the idea shouldn't work; but the combination of the writers & actor somehow made it work in the series (although the comment there are way too many songs in this episode is spot-on). Like this episode itself, he's something I appreciate more now that I've watched the series multiple times. The first time through, I think I was always disappointed that we were seeing this new character instead of some of other characters we were already familiar with; I subconsciously held that against him. Now, I accept him on his own merits. Ultimately, I agree with Luke's description of him: "enjoyable, if ultimately unnecessary".
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
First up, I thoroughly enjoyed this light-hearted episode. I loved Vic: Like Jammer, I thought all the scenes of Odo and him were golden - and, despite it being a spoiler, I'm pleased to read he'll be coming back for more.

But onto the crux of my comment, my first on these reviews. I've enjoyed reading Jammer's thoughts as I've made my way through DS9 for the first time; I've also enjoyed reading everyone's comments from over the years. I decided to stop reading the comments a few seasons in after reading one too many spoilers.

Why did I come back?! I know it's a twenty year old show, but damn people! A little warning of spoilers wouldn't go amiss (he says, despite the comments being posted many moons ago).

I just learned of what seems to be a major death coming up in the show. I shouldn't have come back; why did I come back?!

But anyway, here's to you Jammer and here's to everyone else keeping the comments going all these years!
Sat, Aug 27, 2016, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
I prefer Klingon opera.

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