(written from a Production point of view)
Searching for a Maquis raider on an unstable moon, Kira is trapped in an expanding crystal formation that threatens to engulf her if Odo cannot set her free. Meanwhile, Nog attempts to persuade a skeptical Commander Benjamin Sisko to write him a letter of recommendation to join Starfleet Academy.
Returning from consultations at Prophet's Landing, a Bajoran colony, Kira and Odo detect a Maquis attack in progress. They pursue the attacking ship in their runabout and due to prevailing conditions, the pursuit takes them down to the surface of a moon with an atmosphere that's impenetrable to sensors.
On the station Nog is in Ops asking O'Brien if he can see Commander Sisko on an "urgent" matter and he's sent up to the commander's office. Nog comes bearing a quantity of latinum, which he's giving to Sisko because according to Ferengi statute, Nog has completed the Ferengi Attainment Ceremony and is now at the age where he must purchase an apprenticeship. Since he considers Sisko a mentor, he says, Sisko's the one from whom he intends to make the purchase - he wants to become a Starfleet officer. Sisko explains in brief that Nog needs to graduate from Starfleet Academy, and in order to be admitted there he needs "a letter of reference from a command-level officer." This is because Nog is not a citizen of the Federation. Since Sisko is just such an officer, Nog is certain that Sisko will provide the reference... but Sisko says he'll "think about it." Throughout the conversation, the two are pushing the stack of Nog's latinum back and forth across the Commander's desk.
On the alien moon, Odo and Kira track the fugitive to a cave network and witness severe seismic activity. Since they need to cover ground quickly looking for the Maquis fugitive, they split up. Shortly afterward, Odo receives a combadge signal from Kira... who's trapped in one of the caves. When Odo finds Kira, her right foot is completely stuck in some sort of crystal formation that grows spontaneously. Odo attempts various approaches to freeing her, but none of them work.
Sometime later Jake catches up to Nog at Quark's, under the impression that Nog's interview with his father was a joke. Nog angrily assures Jake that nothing could be further from the truth, extracting a promise that Jake will go back to his father and take back his assertion that it was a joke. Jake is confused, and asks for an explanation, but Nog refuses to give him one.
Meanwhile, Odo returns to the runabout and attempts to transport Kira out of her entrapment, only to discover that the nature of the moon's atmosphere makes it impossible to operate transporters or send a distress signal directly from the runabout. As he's returning to Kira's location he hears phaser fire, which Kira tells him was on account of the reappearance of the Maquis they'd been chasing.
On the Promenade, Nog collars Sisko outside Quark's and asks excitedly if he's decided to write the letter of reference. Faced with Nog's persistence, Sisko tells Nog unambiguously that he doesn't consider Nog a good candidate for admission to the Academy considering his reputation on the station - but Nog wants nothing more than a chance to prove that he's better than Sisko's assessment suggests. With this in mind, he tells Jadzia to assign Nog to a cargo bay inventory. Jadzia's equally skeptical, but Sisko wants to give Nog a fair chance to live up to his promises - and that's exactly what he'll get, with "no help, no interference, no-one looking over his shoulder." Jadzia points out that they've already taken inventory of that cargo bay, which Sisko says makes it the perfect test: they'll know if anything goes missing. In the cargo bay, Nog takes the opportunity with extreme enthusiasm.On the moon, Kira's still stuck. Working from information provided in one of the criminal activity reports, Odo comes up with an idea for freeing her - but time's growing short. To pass the time while they wait for Odo's solution to show positive results, Odo explains that he's been going to the holosuite with O'Brien and witnessing O'Brien's fascination with kayaking. In the meantime an earthquake strikes, and Odo changes form to protect Kira from falling rocks. After the earthquake ends, Odo continues talking with her at a personal level. In the Replimat Sisko and Jadzia are reviewing Nog's performance on the inventory, which was excellent. Dax notes that he not only finished it in under five hours, he even found a few items that the crew missed during the previous inventory. Sisko remarks that all the experience Nog gained from taking inventory in Quark's back room has now paid off. However, both of them are still completely in the dark about Nog's motivations for joining Starfleet. Eventually, Kira and Odo are forced to admit that they're having no success. Kira orders Odo to leave her, but he refuses to abandon her. Kira demands an explanation, and at the cost of demolishing his normal comportment, he confesses that he loves her. Much to his surprise, she tells him that his feelings are, in fact, requited.
Nog is sent to Commander Sisko's office, where Sisko explains that he needs to turn down Nog's request for a reference. Sisko's explanation is that near as can be told, this is another of Nog's schemes, over which Sisko can't afford to risk any of his reputation... but just as he did with Jake, Nog loses his composure and begins to explain himself. As voices raise, he tells Sisko point blank: "I don't want to end up like my father!" Nog goes on to point out that his father shows every sign of being a brilliant engineer, but that Rom doesn't have "the lobes" for the business life that is expected of Ferengi (any more than his own father did)... and neither does he. On his current path, Rom has nothing in the future to look forward to except working at Quark's for the rest of his life or the slim chance of inheriting the bar if Quark dies first. Nog is anxious to avoid his father's fate, and is fixed on joining Starfleet exactly because that will give him one of his best likely chances to use the talents he does have. Having finally gotten a straight explanation of Nog's motivations, Sisko changes his mind and promises Nog his reference.
Matters on the alien moon also reach their denouement. Odo's been thinking about the things that Kira's told him, and they don't add up. Kira's stated feelings don't follow the body language with which he's grown familiar, and there are a number of inconsistencies in the other things she's said. When he's done laying out his thoughts..."Kira" changes form into the Female Changeling. By way of explaining herself, she says that the whole thing was staged because she needed to understand why Odo had chosen to remain with the Solids rather than returning to his own people. She reveals Kira's actual location, but not before asserting that Kira will never love Odo, because he is a Changeling. The Female Changeling transports off the moon, and Odo retrieves Kira.
Back on the station, Odo tells Kira that he realized what was going on when the Female Changeling made "a slip of the tongue - nothing important.'"
In Quark's, Quark flatly refuses to allow Nog to join Starfleet... only for Rom to speak up and say that Quark may be his boss, but Rom has the final word in matters concerning his own son. Quark impatiently tells Rom to tell Nog he can't leave DS9... only for Rom to wish his son luck and say he will be very proud if Nog becomes the first Ferengi to join Starfleet.
Log entries Edit
- "First Officer's log, Stardate 48521.5. Odo and I are returning to Deep Space 9 after reviewing security procedures at Prophet's Landing, the Bajoran colony closest to the Cardassian border."
Memorable quotes Edit
"That's right. I want to be the first Ferengi in Starfleet. Now. Who do I see about getting a uniform?"
- - Nog
"No, it's my fault. I should have explained it better."
"Of course it's your fault. Everything that goes wrong here is your fault. It says so in your contract."
- - Rom and Quark
"... it's been my observation that you humanoids have a hard time giving up the things you love... no matter how much they might hurt you."
- - Odo
"After all, we've been in worse situations than this one, and come out all right."
"Name three... I can't think of any, either."
- - Odo and faux-Kira
"So your name is 'Unknown Sample'?"
"No. "Odo'ital" literally means the word "Nothing." Even after it became clear that I was sentient, the Bajoran scientists kept calling me that. As a joke, they split it into two words, like a Bajoran name: "Odo Ital." Which eventually got shortened..."
"I thought it was the most appropriate name anyone could give me. And then I met you..."
- - faux-Kira and Odo
"No. I won't leave you."
"Because... Because, I'm in love with you."
- - Odo and faux-Kira
"My father is a mechanical genius. He could've been the chief engineer of a starship if he'd had the opportunity. But he went into business like a good Ferengi. The only thing is, he's not a good Ferengi... not when it comes to acquiring profit. So now all he has to live for is the slim chance that someday, somehow, he might be able to take over my uncle's bar. Well I'm not going to make the same mistake. I want to do something with my life... something worthwhile."
- - Nog
"Well done, Odo. You really are quite a skillful investigator."
"And you're quite a skillful Changeling."
- - Odo and the Female Changeling
"She's never going to love you. How could she? You are a changeling."
- - The Female Changeling, to Odo
"Nog, good luck. I would be proud to have a son in Starfleet."
- - Rom, to Nog
Background information Edit
Story and scriptEdit
- The Kira and Odo storyline in this episode was partly based on the 1964 Ken Kesey novel Sometimes a Great Notion and the 1971 film. In this book and the film, a character's leg is trapped underneath a large log, causing him to subsequently drown when he is unable to free his leg to prevent water rising above his head. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Ira Steven Behr commented on the scene in the film adaptation of Sometimes a Great Notion, "It's a great scene in a not so great movie". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages p 91)
- On Nog's storyline in the episode, Robert Hewitt Wolfe commented "It just struck me one day that out of Wesley, Jake and Nog, the one who will really become Starfleet and stand on a bridge to say 'engage' twenty years from now would be Nog. There was a nice irony, and something cool to do with that character, especially after Jake said he did not want to enter Starfleet". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages p 91)
- Ronald D. Moore was also impressed with Nog's storyline. Moore commented "I think that was an interesting direction. Somehow, Captain Nog sounds cool". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages p 91)
- The final draft script is dated 17 November 1994. 
- The 'rock' prop on this episode was extremely unpopular among both cast and crew. Ira Steven Behr called it "that horrible, horrible prop of a rock". Nana Visitor was also disappointed with it; "It didn't look like I'd imagined it when I read the script. I thought it was going to be like my body turning to stone. Instead I looked like a big old hot fudge sundae, and my head was the cherry on top". Director Alexander Singer said "nothing made the pinkish lavender rock look more realistic", while visual effects supervisor Glenn Neufeld claimed of the actual shooting of the rock that "pretty much none of it worked". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Visitor, who also suffers from claustrophobia, commented that she found the episode hard to film "because I thought the prop they used to encase me was an awful choice". wbm
- Aron Eisenberg enjoyed the episode, particularly filming his scenes with Avery Brooks. Eisenberg commented: "[Avery Brooks] is awesome. He has got such presence - there is a power behind his eyes. How can I explain it? He gives to you when he looks in your eyes. He doesn't just look at your eyes but he looks in your eyes and feeds you. That was a scene we had rehearsed but, as soon as we shot it, he unexpectedly grabbed my shoulders and said, 'Tell me, Nog, what is it?' And it was awesome because it forced me to come up to that level. I didn't back down I blurted out, 'Because I don't want to be like my father'. He is so professional. That was my favorite scene! It finally gave me, as an actor, something to really think about and deal with. It was emotional and we really got to see the heart of Nog. Also, as an actor I really had to come from a place and not just be on the surface. I was very well prepared when I did it. I didn't have any problems with the lines and I was very proud of myself". ("In For a Penny, In For a Pound", Star Trek: The Official Fan Club of the UK Magazine issue 8)
- Rene Echevarria commented that "Heart of Stone" is "one of my favorite episodes. I found it absolutely heartbreaking for Odo to finally proclaim his love for Kira, thinking she's going to die, and then realize that she's not who she says she is when she says she loves him too". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages p 91)
- The scene where Nog talks to Sisko about his father is actor Aron Eisenberg's all-time favorite piece of his own acting, and this is his favorite DS9 episode. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The title of the episode comes from, and the plot was partly inspired by, William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
- The origin of Odo's name is revealed in this episode.
- This episode marks the beginning of Nog's journey to become a Starfleet officer.
- It is revealed that a non-Federation citizen, in order to be admitted to Starfleet Academy, needs a reference from a command-level officer.
- The Female Changeling here fulfils the promise to visit Odo which she made in "The Search, Part II".
- This is the first episode in the series in which Odo handles a weapon.
- This episode confirms the fact that Rom is a skilled engineer, something which was hinted at in the second season episode "Necessary Evil", and something which would be revisited throughout the fifth, sixth and seventh seasons, after Rom becomes a junior engineer in "Bar Association".
- Odo's revelation that he loves Kira is actually the first time he has revealed this information. It had been hinted at in several episodes (such as "The Collaborator" and "Meridian"), and Lwaxana Troi had guessed it in "Fascination", but Odo himself had never admitted to it until this episode.
- Ensign Villix'pran is mentioned for the first time in this episode. He would be mentioned again in the fifth season episodes "Apocalypse Rising" and "Business as Usual", but viewers would never see him on-screen.
- We learn in this episode that O'Brien's love for kayaking, first revealed in the TNG episode "Transfigurations", is still alive and well.
- This is the first episode in which Rom openly defies Quark. This theme would continue in "Prophet Motive" and "Family Business", and would ultimately culminate in "Bar Association".
- Salome Jens consented to be listed in the end credits rather than the beginning credits so as not to spoil the surprise.
- Referenced Rules of Acquisition: #18 ("A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all")
Video and DVD releases Edit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.7, 12 June 1995.
- As part of the DS9 Season 3 DVD collection.
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- Rene Auberjonois as Constable Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Jadzia Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys and Female Changeling
Guest stars Edit
Special guest star Edit
attitude stabilizers; Avesta; Badlands; Bajoran-Cardassian Treaty; bandwidth; Bemar; Cardassians; Cardassian border; Cardassian language; cargo bay; Chief Engineer; Chief of Security; colony; computer; constable; contract; covariant oscillator; crystal; dinner; diplomacy; ensign; Enterprise-D, USS; exploration; Ferengi Attainment Ceremony; Garak, Elim; gas giant; governor; holodeck programs; holosuite; individuation; interference; inventory; ionization; kayaking; latinum; letter of reference; Lissepia; Louie, Louie; lunch; major; manifest; Mekong, USS; meter; Mora Pol; Nausicaan; O'Brien, Keiko; O'Brien, Molly; overseer; pattern enhancer; Peregrine-class; phase matrix recalibrator; plasma field; police record; power coupling; power supply grid; prison; probe; Promenade; Prophet's Landing; Quark's; rapid; Remmil VI; Remmil VI native; replicator; Replimat; resignation; sensor; shoulder; solar system; Starfleet Academy entrance exam; Starfleet Security; starship; sympathetic vibration; system overload; transponder; tricorder; ultrasonic wave; United Federation of Planets; Vilix'pran; weather
- "Heart of Stone" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Heart of Stone" at Wikipedia
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