This is likely to end up being a perfunctory review, not out of any failings on the episode’s part but rather because I am going through some stuff at present, and I found one of the two stories in this latest episode hard to warm to. Unfortunately, it was the A-story.
‘Heart of Stone’ was another of those slightly formulaic twin-story episodes, where two different situations alternate for screen-time. The A-story featured Major Kira and Odo, returning from inspecting a far-flung Bajoran colony and distracted into chasing an apparent Maquis ship that had unsuccessfully attacked a freighter.
This led them to an unstable, seismic moon off a gas giant, whose over-ionised atmosphere basically buggered up all the Starfleet kit: tricorders, communicators, teleporter, the works. Major Kira falls into a trap where she steps into some kind of indestructible expanding crystal which, progressively, surrounds more and more of her body, whilst Odo desperately works to try to free her.
I was concerned about the Major’s attitude to begin with, given the loss of her love, Vedek Bariel, only last week. Sure, there was a fleeting reference to the Cardassians and the new treaty, but Kira hadn’t turned a hair over her lover’s death.
The story had Kira and Odo in a prolonged conversation. We already knew, from the recent Lwaxana Troi episode, that the Constable harbours an unrequited passion for the Major, and the escalating danger to the latter’s life forced a confession of this when Odo refused a direct order to abandon her and save herself.
Which drew, in return, a confession of love from the Major. After last week, I was all set to start breathing fire and brimstone, but the episode was a million times better than that. This reciprocal claim was the key to Odo working the whole thing out, the revelation that the Major, and the crystal that had by now all but swallowed her, was a lie from start to finish. It was the Changeling woman, the Founder from the Dominion, testing Odo over his ties to the ‘solids’, still confident that he will eventually break with them and return to his people.
What broke the spell for Odo was that he knew incontrovertibly that, despite her friendship, her concern and her affection for him being very real, Kira Nerys does not love him and never will.
It was used as the closing line. Kira was quizzing Odo as to what gave it away and he told her that the Founder had said something she never would. When Kira pressed him for details, Odo said it wasn’t important. Just a slip of the tongue.
Nothing wrong with the story. Probably well-made, written acted. Just not something my head could get into.
I had better luck with the B-story, the supposed comic relief with a heart of gold element. It was all very simple: Nog wants to join Starfleet, to be the first Feringee in Starfleet, and chose Sisko as his apprentice-master. All Sisko needed to do was write a letter of recommendation for Nog to join Starfleet Acadeny. Nobody took Nog seriously, despite his putting the hard lines in. Even Jake thought it was a trick being played on his Dad.
But Nog was deadly serious. His father, Rom, is a mechanical genius but he is not a good Ferengee: he has no instinct for prophet. Neither does Nog. But he has his father’s aptitude, he is determined to work hard, if he is given the chance he can make for himself a life that won’t lead him to where his father stands, in thrall to his overbearing brother. Sisko agrees to write the letter.
Overall, I can’t really rate this episode on any kind of scale, it would be unfair to the series, let alone the episode if I were to try. We’ll see where I am a week from now: I may need to take a sabbatical.