(written from a Production point of view)
Odo must face his feelings for Kira when she falls in love with First Minister Shakaar, her former Resistance leader.
Summary EditOdo is in his office, setting up a cup of raktajino for Major Kira, as she's due to arrive for their review of the criminal activity report. They're discussing First Minister Shakaar's impending visit to the station when Quark barges in, complaining that Odo – whose quarters are directly above his – makes too much noise. Odo doesn't care and tells Quark that he'll listen to his complaint later, and after he leaves the Constable tells Kira that the fact Quark's quarters are below Odo's is not a coincidence.
Some time later Kira, Captain Sisko, Dax, Dr. Bashir, and a mildly flummoxed O'Brien are in the docking ring in full dress uniform, waiting to receive the first minister as he steps from his shuttle. Kira expresses some anxiety about the development of his public speaking skills – "he used to mumble his way through mission briefings" – and then Shakaar steps out of the airlock. Introductions are made, and the complete party makes its way down to the Promenade, which is thronged with crowds hoping for a glimpse of the first minister while he makes a speech.
Once they reach the Promenade, Odo sends a communication to Sisko: "I have reason to believe someone is planning to assassinate First Minister Shakaar."
In Sisko's office after the speech Odo reports that according to one of his sources on Cardassia True Way, a Cardassian terrorist group who are already responsible for the deaths of two Bajoran officials, are planning to kill Shakaar and are reported to already have an operative aboard the station. He encourages Shakaar's adjutant to cancel the upcoming conference and reschedule elsewhere, but the adjutant refuses. He argues that Bajor's admission to the Federation hinges on the upcoming talks and that as a former terrorist, the last thing Shakaar intends to do is respond to terrorist threats. Sisko and Kira express their support for that sentiment, Kira noting that once the Cardassians started negotiating with the Bajoran Resistance they knew they were beaten, and Sisko orders station security be increased. Odo requests that his Bajoran security detachment be augmented with Starfleet Security, and Sisko agrees and has him coordinate with Lieutenant Commander Worf, as Lieutenant Commander Eddington is on leave.
While discussing the increased security arrangements, Worf complains about the obstacles posed against maintaining station security noting it was much simpler to when he was head of security of the Enterprise. During the conversation Odo and Worf discover that they have significant preferences in common, especially their dislike for uninvited guests to their quarters.
Some time later, Odo meets Shakaar for the first time. They get acquainted while walking to the Bajoran temple, and Shakaar makes a point of bringing up Kira's high regard for Odo.
That night there's a reception in the wardroom. Kira mingles with Shakaar's adjutant and with Odo, then decides to leave, only to be singled out by Shakaar, who wants to be "rescued." After a brief discussion Kira and Shakaar leave the wardroom together for a walk about nowhere in particular, but only after they agree to be escorted by Odo – who is distressed by the rapport he sees developing between the two. Quark, who is providing and serving the food at the reception, sees Odo's reaction and is astounded to realize the Constable's feelings for Kira.
The next day, Shakaar's negotiations with the Federation over the subject of Bajor's accession to Federation membership are going poorly. As he walks with Odo from the wardroom back to his quarters, they find common ground over their shared perception of the Federation's inherent self-righteousness. Once they make it back to Shakaar's quarters, he directs the conversation to the subject of Kira, and admits to Odo that he thinks he's falling in love with her – an admission couched in language that echoes Odo's own feelings for Kira almost perfectly.
Later Odo is performing a security sweep on the wardroom. He finds an eavesdropping device in a table setting and renders it useless. Though upset, Quark changes the subject to Odo's feelings without skipping a beat, correctly deducing that Odo is in love with Kira and is worried that she is falling in love with Shakaar. Odo furiously denies this and refuses Quark's attempts to give advice before stomping angrily out of the wardroom.
The time comes for another review of the criminal activity report, but Kira shows up late and cuts the meeting short, since she's promised to give Shakaar a tour of the station. While on the tour Shakaar moves to kiss Kira, but backs off at the last instant.
Later on, while walking through the station with Odo as an escort, Kira and Shakaar are getting on better than ever, and after entering a turbolift, begin to make a date. Meanwhile Worf's voice comes through on the com line telling Odo he needs control of the turbolift as he needs to re-route the car. Odo asks Worf for his security clearance first before he can release the controls, but at that moment Kira and Shakaar agree to dinner together that evening at a Bolian Restaurant. Odo is so distracted by this that he releases the controls before receiving Worf's codes, and the car suddenly goes into free-fall. After all of the car's occupants discover that their combadge signals have been dampened, Odo is only able to stop the turbolift using his shapeshifting abilities and nobody is injured.
Odo participates in an after-action review with Sisko, and the latter explains his surprise at the way things transpired. It transpires that someone hacked into the com system and faked Worf's voice. Sisko is confused as to how the assassin had Worf's clearance code, and Odo is forced to admit that he didn't have the code, as Odo released the controls without confirming it. Captain Sisko is very surprised, as this isn't the sort of mistake Odo would make, especially as Odo's only explanation is that he got distracted. Odo asks Sisko not to push the subject further as he doesn't want to discuss it, and the Captain agrees but warns Odo not to let it happen again. Also, no ships have been allowed to leave since the incident, meaning the would-be assassin is still on the station. Odo then goes to the security office, and doesn't stay for long after Worf expresses dissatisfaction with Odo's level of attention to their investigation of the incident. He leaves for Kira's quarters, only to learn from Ensign Jimenez once he gets there that Kira is entertaining Shakaar.
Once the date finally ends, Kira is ecstatic at the way in which things have developed. Odo can't bring himself to admit his feelings to Kira, much less how those feelings have hurt his job performance, and simply excuses himself.
When Odo returns to his office he finds something he hadn't expected... Worf placing the True Way operative under arrest, as he was responsible for the assassination attempt and was planning to decompress Shakaar's quarters by sabotaging the environmental controls. Odo is stunned, and realizes that he let Worf do his job for him. Worf senses Odo's discomfort and compliments him on the performance of his deputies, but Odo is too shocked at the turn of events to acknowledge it. He returns to his quarters, and considers his failures both with Kira and at his job. His shock turns to fury and he starts smashing up his quarters in an uncontrollable rage.
Sometime later, Quark comes up to Odo's quarters to complain about the noise, and lets himself in when Odo doesn't respond. He enters to find Odo motionless, sitting on the floor amongst the wreckage. Quark, realizing from the state of the room that Odo is truly in love, tells his nemesis some home truths. Quark tells Odo that whenever there's an unusual crime committed on the station, he runs a betting pool on how long it'll take him to catch the person responsible. The fact that such a pool exists speaks volumes about the kind of man Odo is, a man who will never give up on his quest to catch his man... not a man who will smash up his furniture and then sit alone in the rubble. He also tells Odo that he's got to make a choice, either tell Major Kira his feelings about her or forget all about her and move on with his life because now his feelings are interfering with his job, which is bad for business. After assuring Odo that he wasn't speaking to him as a friend, Quark leaves Odo alone again with a lot to think about.
Later, Odo (back to his normal composure) stops by Kira's quarters to inform her he won't be able to continue with their weekly meetings due to his scheduling additional training for his deputies and that he can't fit her in anywhere else as his schedule is overfull. Kira is disappointed as she enjoyed the meetings, and asks Odo if something is the matter, but he simply tells her he wants to use his time more efficiently and Kira knows there's no point in pushing him and lets the matter drop.
Odo later goes to Quark's, where the bartender tells him that, according to a rumor, the negotiations have gone very well and the timetable for Bajor's admittance for Federation membership has been cut. Quark also thanks Odo for soundproofing the floor of his quarters, but Odo tells Quark that he was just having the floor reinforced and that there's no way he'd put up with three days of construction for him. He then spots Kira and Shakaar leaving a holosuite enjoying each other's company, but Odo just leaves and begins his rounds.
Memorable quotes Edit
"Little tiny feet skittering across the floor. Back and forth. Back and forth."
"You could hear that?"
[points to his ears] "Hello?!"
- - Quark and Kira
"It's just Quark's luck that you would be assigned quarters right above his."
"Luck had nothing to do with it."
- - Kira and Odo
"Shakaar knows better than anyone, you can't capitulate to terrorists. He used to be one, and the day the Cardassians started to negotiate with him, was the day he knew they'd been beaten. He'll stay."
"I suppose, if I were in his position, I'd do the same."
- - Kira and Benjamin Sisko
"Do you have to stare like that? I think it's making people nervous."
- - Kira and Odo
"Care for some hasperat?"
"You know I don't eat."
"Have some. I'm charging by the head for this little function, and you do have a head... for the moment."
- - Quark and Odo
"They say 'to err is Human.' But you're not Human. You're not even humanoid."
- - Sisko, to Odo
"It takes passion to do something like this, and I always thought you were colder than a Breen winter."
- - Quark, to Odo
"With all due respect, I do not see how sitting in a chair staring at a wall is going to help apprehend Shakaar's would-be assassin."
- - Worf
"The fact that the pool exists says something about you! About who you are. People see you as the guy who always gets his man. Now, you're becoming the guy who tears up his quarters, and sits alone in the rubble. And no-one's gonna wanna place bets on how long someone's gonna sit around in the dark... Well. I've said my piece - sorry for butting in... But I'm just looking out for my business."
"Funny. For a minute there, I thought you were talking to me as a friend."
- - Quark and Odo
"There are other ways to create order in your life. Your quarters, for example. Everything in mine has its specific place, and it's all arranged just so."
"Yes, mine too. Even with my eyes closed, I would still know where everything was."
"I would not tolerate it any other way."
"I'll tell you what else to do. Make sure everyone knows they can't just drop by your quarters to say 'hello'. If someone does, whatever happens, don't make them feel welcome."
"Of course not. That would only invite subsequent visits."
- - Odo and Worf
Story and script Edit
- The final draft script was submitted on 14 November 1995. 
- The story for this episode originated in Robert Hewitt Wolfe's idea to do a Bodyguard-type story (the Lawrence Kasdan movie starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston). The idea was for Odo to be the bodyguard protecting Kira from something, and falling in love with her. As things transpired, the audience found out about Odo's love for Kira in a completely different manner (in the episode "Heart of Stone"), but nevertheless, the producers still liked Wolfe's basic idea, and they kept the story in mind. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- In René Echevarria's original draft for this episode, towards the end, there is an explosion, and Shakaar and Kira are in the path of a fire, and Odo has to decide which one to protect; he loves Kira, but he has been assigned to guard Shakaar. He chooses to save Shakaar, and Kira is almost killed. Then at the end of the episode, we find out that Odo made his choice out of spite. According to Echevarria, this dénouement "just didn't work. So we massively overhauled the story and made it a much more gentle show." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The purpose of the scene between Worf and Odo where they discuss order was two-fold; while it worked to inject some humor into a predominantly serious episode, it was also intended as a 'hint' of sorts that Worf was going to move onto the USS Defiant. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- In the scene where Quark finds Odo sitting on the ground of his demolished room, a strand of Odo's hair is loose. This was an improvisation by actor Rene Auberjonois. Some of the producers, Ira Steven Behr included, weren't happy with the look, but they decided to leave it in the episode because it was argued that if Odo's hair is falling out of place, and his hair is 'part' of him, then it symbolizes that Odo is literally falling apart. According to Auberjonois however, "I just pulled some strands because I was trying to evoke an image from a Japanese print I'd seen of a warrior in defeat." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Visual effects supervisor Gary Hutzel was unhappy with the elevator scene in this episode; not in how it looks, but in how it actually happens. Hutzel argues that "I've always been of the mind that Odo is not Superman, or a member of the Fantastic Four. Once you establish that Odo can change himself into anything, then why should he ever be afraid of anything ever again? Somebody suggested that he should just push the walls out on the sides of the elevator to stop it and I glommed at that. Of course, if he just stands there in his own form and pushes it out, then it's Superman. I wanted him to become some sort of a device, but the director was very adamant about seeing Odo's face in the sequence, so we ended up with this hybrid." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- This episode is Allan Kroeker's all-time favorite Deep Space Nine show. When he was hired to direct "The Assignment", he watched all of the episodes made prior to it, from "Emissary" onwards, and this one was his favorite. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- This episode marks Duncan Regehr's second of three appearances as Shakaar Edon. He had previously appeared in the third season episode "Shakaar". Ira Steven Behr was not happy with the development of his character in this episode, although he is very careful to accept the blame himself, and not accuse Regehr of a poor performance; "I think we mishandled his character in this episode, and he never recovered after that. The first time we saw him he was Clint Eastwood, the foreigner, the man of few words, the terrorist. He became way too sensitive here. It just wasn't the same Shakaar." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The plant which Odo destroys against the wall to begin his rampage was given to him in "The Abandoned" by Kira, and the pot was the bucket Odo had previously used when he regenerated into a liquid state, making the destruction of the plant and the pot highly symbolic.
- The sequence with Shakaar's ship docking Deep Space 9 was a re-use of the Wadi starship that first appeared in "Move Along Home".
- The True Way receives its second of two mentions in this episode. It was previously referred to in the episode "Our Man Bashir".
- Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.
Video and DVD releases Edit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 4.7, 8 July 1996
- As part of the DS9 Season 4 DVD collection
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Commander Worf
- Terry Farrell as Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys
Guest stars Edit
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Patrick Barnitt as a Bajoran officer
- Randy James as Jones
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- James Lee Stanley as a Bajoran security deputy
- Scott Strozier as a Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown actor as Tonsa
adjutant; assault; arbiter; Bajor; Bajoran; Bajoran Temple; Bajoran transport; Bajoran wormhole; Bareil Antos; Bolian; Bolian restaurant; Breen (planet); Cardassia; Cardassians; community service; constable; Cardassian civilian government; cargo hold; Changelings; criminal activity report; disorderly conduct; eavesdropping device; Eddington, Michael; Emissary of the Prophets; emotion; ensign; Enterprise-D, USS; environmental controls; executive officer; Federation; Ferengi; graffiti; hasperat; holding cell; holosuite; Ijarna; Ijarna's wife; information kiosk; isolinear interface; kava; Klingons; leaflet; lip reading; luck; manhunt; manhunt pool; Occupation of Bajor; ODN relays; Ojuy Gel; "Old Man"; petty theft; podium; politician; politics; Promenade; Prophets; public lewdness; Quark's; Rafalian mouse; raktajino; Replimat; Rom; security code; senior officer; senior staff; shuttle; soldier; spousal abuse; springball; Starfleet Security; starship; subsidy; Takaran wildebeest; targ; Trellan crocodile; tricorder; True Way; Tuesday; uniform; vandalism; Vedek; Vedek Assembly; voice synthesizer; winter
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"Return to Grace"