A Man Alone

Odo confronts the mob

This wouldn’t have happened when Gene was still alive.

Episode: 4

Original air date: January 17, 1993

Notable guest stars: Stephen James Carver as Ibudan, Edward Laurence Albert as Zayra, Max Grodénchik as Rom (recurring), Rosalind Chao as Keiko O’Brien (recurring), Hana Hatae as Molly O’Brien (recurring)

In a nutshell: When an old adversary of Odo’s is murdered, the locals grab their torches and pitchforks and demand some good ol’ space frontier justice. Keiko O’Brien arrives and decides to ruin the life of every child on the station.

Say hello to: Keiko O’Brien, Molly O’Brien, Rom (he was actually in the first episode, but has his first lines here), and Broik (Quark’s faithful waiter)

Say goodbye to: Ibudan (kind of)

Missing in action: Nobody! The gang’s all here!

Words of wisdom: “Laws change depending on who’s making them. Cardassian one day, Federation the next, but justice is justice.” – Odo

Frankenstein’s monster meets Jessica Fletcher

Special effects, folks. Special.

Special effects, folks. Special.

Our young, brash, horny doctor intrudes on Dax in a holosuite, where she’s crouched on the floor balancing a digital bubble with her brain waves (or something). Seeing an opportunity to get closer to the striking young science officer, Bashir purports to be a great lover of puzzles and insists that Dax let him try the big mind-bubble thing. She gives Bashir a chance and he fails almost immediately.

Bashir invites Dax to dinner, but she refuses and tries to let Bashir down gently by saying Trills don’t engage in “normal” human relationships. Just then, Commander Sisko stops by to take Dax to dinner, leaving Bashir alone in the holosuite with a big dorky bubble to solve and steam coming out of his ears.


At Quark’s, Odo sits and watches the comings and goings of various patrons. He soon takes notice of Miles O’Brien and his wife, Keiko, who are having a fairly loud argument at a table above them. Keiko tells Miles that she doesn’t like DS9, it’s not a good place to raise a child, and she has nothing to do since the station doesn’t need a botanist.

Odo and Ibudan

They probably don’t exchange holiday cards.

Odo and Quark discuss the intricacies and pitfalls of humanoid bonding. Odo reveals that he’s never mated and has no desire to, mostly because women are nags. Meanwhile Sisko and Dax try to figure out how their relationship should work now that she’s no longer the same old man Sisko remembers. Upstairs, the O’Brien fight ends with Keiko storming off.

Odo suddenly notices a Bajoran playing dabo and immediately gets up to confront him. The security chief rather brusquely informs the mystery man that he’s not welcome on DS9. The two get into a scuffle, but Sisko breaks them up. Odo tells the offensive dabo player that he has 26 hours (a Bajoran day) to leave the station.

Out on the Promenade, Jake spots a Ferengi who looks to be about his age. It’s Quark’s little miscreant nephew, and he tries to give Jake the cold shoulder while purchasing a massive disgusting-looking popsicle from a vendor. After Jake refuses to give up, the Ferengi reveals that his name is Nog.

Back in Sisko’s office, the commander and Odo talk about the incident at Quark’s. Odo explains that the man, Ibudan, lived on the station during the Occupation and made his living as a war profiteer. After Ibudan killed a Cardassian officer trying to shake him down for a bribe, Odo arrested him and he went to prison on murder charges. After the end of the Cccupation, the new Bajoran government pardoned Ibudan and set him free. Sisko understand Odo’s distaste, but refuses to let him take the law into his own hands. Odo promises to get rid of Ibudan somehow.

Later on, Ibudan is getting a massage from a holographic masseuse with freaky waffle-fry hands. A gloved hand enters the frame to shove the masseuse out of the way and then stabs Ibudan in the back with a large knife.


The investigation begins with Sisko, Kira, and Odo scouring for clues in the empty holosuite while Bashir checks out the now-stone cold Ibudan. The security logs show that the door opened only twice – once to let Ibudan in and once more to let the killer out. Since there’s no evidence of a transporter being involved, the team concludes that the killer must have somehow entered the holosuite with or after Ibudan did without being noticed. Sisko orders a DNA sweep of the holosuite to figure out who’s been in there and decides to prevent ships from departing the station until the killer is found.

The gang investigates

“I can’t be certain sir, but I think this giant knife in his back might have something to do with his sudden death.”

Now friends, Jake and Nog set about getting into trouble. Nog cracks open a jar of wee bugs and plants them on couple enjoying their dinner at a restaurant. The couple both get very itchy, then begin cycling through skin colors rapidly. As the boys cackle, a security officer picks them up and hauls them off to juvie. Watching the whole thing unfold, Keiko O’Brien shakes her head and scowls.

Zayra, a Bajoran businessman, tells Siso and Kira that Ibudban spoke to him shortly before his death. He said that Ibudan was afraid that Odo was going to kill him. Kira tries to assure Zayra that Odo isn’t capable of such an act, but he leaves unconvinced.

Odo checks out Ibudan’s room on a ship docked to the station. He discovers that Ibudan booked a double suite, even though he didn’t have a traveling companion. He also finds an appointment on Ibudan’s calendar at the time of his death. It simply says “Odo” (which is the same level of detail found on most of my calendar appointments, to be fair).

Back at Casa Sisko, Keiko sits down with Ben and Jake to discuss her vision for saving the wayward youth of DS9 – no, not a marching band, but a school. Jake realizes quickly that will MAJORLY BLOW GOATS, but his father enthusiastically supports the initiative. He agrees to give Keiko space and resources to start her school, but then warns her that he can’t make any of the parents on the station send their kids to Keiko Akademy. They’ll have to do it of their own volition. After Keiko leaves, Sisko tells Jake to steer clear of Nog.

Doctor Bashir reveals the results of his DNA sweep: the only DNA found in the holosuite was that of Ibudan, Sisko, Kira, Odo, and the doctor himself. Since the door was locked the whole time except when Ibudan entered and when the killer exited, it appears that the murderer was somehow capable of entering the room with using the door or a transporter. Odo begrudgingly points out that a shapeshifter could do it.


Odo tells Kira that someone has constructed a perfect scenario to frame him for Ibudan’s murder. Between the lack of apparent access to the holosuite, Ibudan’s ambiguous calendar appointment, and the lack of any additional DNA at the crime scene, all logical fingers seem to point at him.

Quark sticks up for Odo

Sticking up for the local po-po probably isn’t in the Rules of Acquisition.

Kira asks Odo if has has an alibi. The constable admits that he has to abandon his humanoid form every so often to regenerate. At the time of Ibudan’s murder, he was a puddle of goo in a bucket, no one can corroborate it. Realizing that the investigation is working against him now, he asks Kira to have Bashir sweep Ibudan’s room on the ship.

At the bar, Keiko tries to convince Quark’s brother, Rom, to make his son attend her new school. Rom scoffs at the notion that a human woman could teach a young Ferengi what he needs to know to become a successful businessman, but Keiko points out that her school could offer Nog a chance to learn about the economies and cultures of many species, giving him a leg up on the competition later in life. Rom promises to think it over a bit more.

Nearby, Zayra gets a group of Bajorans riled up about Odo. He points out that Odo is an outsider and he used to work directly for the Cardassians. Obviously he can’t be trusted. Quark, of all people, comes to Odo’s defense, insisting that the shapeshifter isn’t a murderer. Zayra leads his group to Ops, where they confront Sisko and demand that Odo be arrested at once. Sisko reluctantly agrees to remove Odo from duty for the time being.

Bashir reports some odd findings from Ibudan’s room to Odo, including what looks like a destroyed sample container. He doesn’t know what Ibudan was up to, but it was science. EVIL SCIENCE.

He then notices a small bit of biological residue in the container. He pulls it out and puts it into some Miracle-Gro, where it starts growing rapidly. Evil science, indeed.

Sisko tells Odo that he’s relieved him of duty for the remainder of the investigation. He tries to assure Odo that he doesn’t think he’s guilty, but Odo replies that given the evidence, Sisko would be a fool to think otherwise.


Odo leaves Ops and returns to his office, or at least what’s left of it. Vandals have wrecked the place, smashing screens, painting the walls and knocking stuff over. Quark walks in and offers to help Odo find out who did it, but the shapeshifter declines. He then half-jokingly offers to work for Quark, since it appears that he won’t be security chief for much longer. As Quark leaves, he tells Odo that he’s done some sniffing around and Ibudan doesn’t appear to have made any enemies during his stint in prison. At least not ones who’d want to kill him.

Bashir, Sisko and Dax look at the lump.

Bashir needs new hobbies.

Back in the infirmary, Sisko and Dax take a look at Bashir’s new science project. The tiny bit of organic residue from Ibudan’s room has grown into a disgusting lump of flesh. Bashir and Dax think the new lump is somehow connected to Ibudan’s murder, but they don’t know how yet.

Sisko invites Dax to lunch and Bashir invites himself to tag along. Dax opts out, leaving Sisko and Bashir on their own. During the meal, Bashir tells Sisko that he’s got the hots for Dax, but recognizes that Sisko has the right to take the first swing at her. Sisko assures Bashir that he’s not romantically interested in Dax because he still thinks of her as a crusty, old man. As the two reach a satisfactory conclusion to their little turf war over a colleague, they notice that the bar’s patrons are pointedly ostracizing Odo.


To celebrate the impending opening of her unaccredited school on the cosmic prairie, Miles gives Keiko a replicated school bell. As they discuss whether any students will actually show up or not, they overhear a mob of angry citizens storming towards Odo’s office. O’Brien reports the mob and requests security backup.

The group traps Odo inside his office, yelling threats and throwing bricks (I don’t know where you get a brick on a space station, but they’ve got some) at the window. Sisko forces himself between the crowd and the office door, then tells the crowd they can’t lynch Odo because he’s different from them. Zayra and the other mob leaders start to present their claims against Odo, but Bashir and Dax interrupt them with a rather dramatic and fortuitously timed announcement: Ibudan wasn’t murdered. Confused, the mob begins to disperse.

First day of school

“If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?!”

Bashir leads Odo and Sisko to the infirmary where he shows them what that disgusting blob has grown into: a disgusting humanoid figure. Bashir and Dax then reveal that the figure is a clone of Ibudan, as was the person murdered in the holosuite. That’s why no additional DNA was found at the scene of the crime.

Realizing that he’s been framed by Ibudan, Odo begins searching for him. He finds Ibudan on a ship, disguised as an old man. Odo captures him, rips off his mask (yes, I’m serious – a rubber mask), and charges with the murder of his own clone. The Bajoran police come to haul Ibudan away, while the lynch mob tries to slink back into the shadows and Ibudan Clone #2 gets his start on his new life.

On the first day of school at Keiko Akademy, it appears that no one’s going to show up. Sisko shows up to drop off Jake, followed soon by Rom and Nog. A few more children arrive and Keiko launches into her first lesson.

Thoughts and ruminations

  • Julian Bashir: Creepiest guy in the Alpha Quadrant.
  • The conversation between Odo and Quark about relationships is priceless.
  • Keiko is such a Debbie Downer.
  • The waffle fry-handed masseuse kind of freaks me out.
  • It’s kind of disappointing that Keiko O’Brien – the very model of a strong-willed, intelligent woman pursuing a STEM career – is pigeon-holed into becoming a schoolmarm. Her character deserved better.
  • Bajorans really seem to like monochromatic outfits. Guess the Prophets don’t allow complimentary colors.
  • Second week in a row that the Chicago font is prominently displayed on screen. Mac OS 7 lives!
  • Odo is a very interesting character. As security chief on the station during the occupation, he was complicit, to some extent, with the repression of the Bajorans by the Cardassians. It does seem far-fetched that Starfleet and the Bajoran government would allow him to remain in place as security chief.
  • Where was Odo’s security staff when his office was being trashed? Or did they join in the vandalism?
  • Through the first three episodes of this series, the greatest threat to the station seems to be Dr. Bashir’s hormones.
  • Wow, Molly sure did grow up fast. Just like every other baby/toddler on television.
  • After all these centuries, it still boils down to pulling a mask off a guy to reveal him as the murderer.
  • Keiko O’Brien is so eager to start educating her new pupils, she doesn’t even bother to learn their names before proceeding with her first lesson.

The verdict

It’s a fairly entertaining episode that delves into a question that needed to be addressed at some point, but overall it feels highly formulaic. With a substitution of names, setting and some minor details, this really could be an episode of any Western. Two out of four Odo buckets.

The Odo Scale

The Modernish Father

Your guide to DS9 is a father of two, husband of one and inspiration for millions of sardonic bald guys. A Texas native who recently moved to San Francisco, he loves baseball, history, most science fiction and generally all things nerdy. Find out more on his blog.

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