I was unconvinced about this week’s episode on watching the open, which came over as bitty, and threatening too many elements for an ordered episode, but I was wrong about that side. We went from a hooded Idanian being thumped and eventually disintegrated by two Finneans, all blue skin, holes in their faces and raggedly clothing, looking for It and a woman, to Bashir, Dax, O’Brien and Odo discussing their holosuite programme that’s a sequel to ‘Our Man Bashir’, only for Odo to get all nervous over how he’s supposed to steal the girl and walking out, and ending at the bar with Quark hitting on a very attractive blonde woman of a certain age, who doesn’t need Odo’s help to handle importunate Ferengis, even if the Constable has ‘bedroom eyes’ (now, there’s a term that has gotten seriously out-dated). It didn’t need the camera shifting angle to expose the two Finneans watching the lovely Arissa for us to link the first and final parts of this sequence together.
After that, however, the episode settled into being a well put together two-hander between Odo and Arissa, played with neatness and economy by guest actress Dey Young, a less-than-blatant beauty that nevertheless convinced at least one member of the audience that she was someone that men could get obsessed about at first sight.
Odo is clearly smitten, but his next encounter with Arissa is on a professional basis, when she’s arrested for trying to bypass station security and access data on an Idanian named Torvid Rem, i.e., our disintegrated guy. Arissa tells Odo a bunch of porkies, claiming he was assisting her in tracking down the daughter she’d given up fifteen years ago, but Odo doesn’t believe her, which he’s right to do. And he keeps harping on about strip-searches and the like, to Arissa’s flirtatious amusement.
No, flirtatious is not the right word. Odo is beyond inexperience, and is aware of that, which ensures that he is keeping everything tremendously reserved whilst at the same time betraying his fascination in every movement (boy, did that come over as being incredibly familiar). And Arissa’s ‘flirtatiousness’ is too cool, too grave, to strictly merit the word. Since we’re seeing things from Odo’s perspective, we simultaneously find it obvious that she wants him to unwrap her from that clingy grey dress she’s wearing and do naughty Changeling things to her, and that Odo can’t be sure that it isn’t just an act by which a much more experienced woman strings him along (boy, did that come over as being incredibly familiar).
The true story (at this point anyway) is that Arissa worked for Draim, a big wheel in the Orion Syndicate but, having realised that the far-removed things she did nevertheless resulted in great harm, she wanted out. The crystal Torvid Rem had contained the super-seriously encrypted information that would enable her to walk away without Draim having her knocked off.
Not that Arissa really believed that. Even with Odo appointing himself her personal protector, willing to take leave of absence to go with her, Arissa knew too much to ever really believe Draim wouldn’t get her. And finally, Odo, after interrupting the holoprogramme to seek advice, works up the nerve to kiss her, after which it’s a night of red-hot sex, so good that Arissa doesn’t even realise Odo’s been a virgin up to that moment (boy, was that not in the least familiar. Or plausible).
But the denouement is rushing towards us. Arissa gives way to her fears, does a deal to trade the crystal for her life, not that Draim intends to keep his side of the bargain. And an Idanian Intelligence agent turns up in Odo’s office to drop the bombshell I hadn’t foreseen, namely that Arissa is actually a surgically-altered Idanian Undercover agent, given a fake set of memories and personality, who’s spent the last two years getting information on Draim that’ll crack his organisation wide open.
What’s on the crystal is the real memories and personalities of not-Arissa. Which, we learn in the close, include the fact that she’s married. Not to mention that, once her sub-Cardassian knobbly forehead is restored, and she’s covered up by the hood all Idanians wear, Dey Young doesn’t look a bit attractive. Nevertheless, before she leaves Odo alone and heartbroken, she does rather rub a bit if salt in it by telling him that she remembers Arissa very well, and she did love him and that that love is still there, a bit, fat consolation that is.
So this episode is basically a love story, and one of the better-handled ones, given that Dey Young not only looked seriously attractive, but also looked, and played, very intelligent. You could imagine talking to this woman for a very long time, which isn’t always the case.
For all that, and in the grand scheme of things, ‘A Simple Investigation’ was not at all well-planned. In the first place, it should have come whilst Odo was still humanoid, and exploring being human, not reverted to Shapeshifterdom. And it was intended to show that Odo had gotten over Kira, and was no longer in love, an intention that, I am reliably informed, will be reversed less than six weeks from now.
As for Our Man Bashir II, this was restricted to one entirely nebulous scene apparently because MGM had threatened to sue over the original episode, stupid idiots.
Overall, an enjoyable episode, enlivened for me by the presence of the attractive Dey Young (have I mentioned she was attractive?), though I note this is the second one-off episode since the great ground-shifting of ‘In Purgatory’s Shadow/By Inferno’s Light’ to not even reference the changed situation. One step up and two steps back, as it ever was.