Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 2 Episode 16


Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Feb 20, 1994 on Syndicado
out of 10
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154 votes

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Episode Summary

Stardate: 47603.3

Odo and Dax discover a village where the inhabitants are disappearing one at a time.

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  • A sweet little tale

    Comprised of three separate stories, this unfocused offering is a harmless but forgettable installment of a series still trying to find its footing.

    The heart of the episode, both structurally and emotionally, is a mystery Odo stumbles upon that plays out like an episode of The Next Generation. This A story features several scenes with Odo and the various people of a village (including a child who is well played by TNG vet Noley Thornton), and is genuinely touching. Auberjonois gives Odo a combination of stubbornness and goodness as he tries to find the answers the village needs, and it makes the character even more endearing.

    The B story moves the Kira and Bareil relationship forward, and the C story follows Jake as he stresses over how to tell his dad he doesn't want to join Starfleet. Neither offers any surprises but are fine as counterpoints to the main story and turn the episode into something other than filler. We'll call it almost-filler.

    For Deep Space Nine, it's just another day at the office. For fans, it's a fun, interesting hour but nothing more.moreless
  • Among the weakest episodes in DS9's 2nd season; 3rd tier filler.

    The timing of the episode is a little odd - it first appeared around the same time as "Thine Own Self", an episode which takes place in a similar setting and involves a budding relationship between the cast's "outsider" and a little girl.

    The story is different. It's a neat concept - an entire community who are holograms. But that's just it, a concept. We discover the curmudgeonly Odo has a heart, but those kinds of episodes were frequently contrived until the unrequited romance with Kira.

    The Kira-Bareil and Jake-O'Brien stories are little more than plot-movers. Clearly key in later development, but here rather dull sideshows.moreless
  • Bitsy

    Bitsy is probably the best word to describe 'Shadowplay'. It features three separate, unconnected storylines, each of which vie for attention, but each of which are amiable but rather insubstantial. Overall, this is a meandering episode - not bad by any stretch, but definitely lacking in punch.

    While Jake tries to tell his father that he doesn't want to join Starfleet (go, Jake!) and Kira romances Vedek Bareil (I didn't care much for this sub-plot, but at least it has some lasting significance), Odo and Dax investigate a village in the Gamma Quadrant in which people have bee mysteriously disappearing. The latter is the most interesting part of the episode and the one with the most 'meat'. Although it's hard to escape the feeling that we've been here before (perhaps because these alien planet sets all look pretty much alike), there's a classic Trekkian moral dilemma at the end of the episode as Odo and Dax debate what constitutes the nature of existence. And, like Odo's unlikely friendship with a little girl, it actually manages to be quietly touching.moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

Lt./Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax (Season 1-6)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Alexander Siddig

Alexander Siddig

Dr. Julian Bashir

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • This marks one of the few times that Odo changes willingly to amuse another person.

    • Nitpick: When Odo asks Colyus if he scanned for transporter activity, he says that it was the first thing he tried. But when Odo had the runabout computer beam him up a few moments earlier, he looked utterly confounded, as if he had not seen or heard of a transporter.

    • O'Brien tells Jake about his youth as a budding musician and how he continued playing the cello into his adulthood. In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation ("Sarek") several years earlier, he was seen participating in a string quartet.

    • Kira and Bareil begin their romantic relationship in this episode.

    • Nitpick: During a conversation with Bareil, Major Kira states that she had O'Brien make her a springball holosuite program, yet in later episodes she frequently states how she dislikes holosuites.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Odo: I saw the way you held her hand when she was sad... how you comforted her when she was frightened.
      Rurigan: I didn't want to see her get hurt.
      Odo: If she's not real, what does it matter?
      Rurigan: It matters to me.
      Odo: Why should it matter to you if a hologram cries?
      Rurigan: Because... I love her.

    • Odo: (talking about relationships) That's a very personal question.
      Jadzia: I'm sorry, but after seven lifetimes the impersonal questions aren't much fun anymore.

    • Odo: Frankly, Lieutenant, I fail to see any point in your story at all, except perhaps to illustrate the foolish humanoid preoccupation with romantic coupling.
      Jadzia: The point of the story is that sometimes we don't recognize true love even when it's staring us right in the face.
      Odo: How fascinating...

    • Kira: Quark, get this into that twisted little brain of yours: if you thought you were going to get away with anything while Odo's gone, think again. I'm watching you.
      Quark: Major, you make it sound like you don't like me.
      Kira: Don't like you?! You collaborated with the Cardassians, you cheat your customers and you're a danger to the station. I don't just not like you. I despise you!
      Quark: I'm sorry I mentioned it...

    • Bareil: You disagree with my interpretation of the Eighth Prophecy.
      Kira: Disagree might be a bit of an understatement. Passionately disagree is more like it. That way you have of taking a prophecy and showing how it can mean exactly the opposite of the accepted interpretation is...
      Bareil: Brilliant? Insightful?
      Kira: Infuriating!

    • Kira: Just thought I'd let you know... we caught your cousin trying to slip back onto the station. And guess what we confiscated from him? Bone-carvings... stolen from a museum on Cardassia V.
      Quark: I always knew Kono was no good.
      Kira: I'm only sorry we didn't catch the two of you together.
      Quark: Life is full of disappointments
      Kira: Oh, by the way... Prylar Rhit tells me you 'encouraged' him to invite Bareil to the station.
      Quark: Is that a crime?
      Kira: Not at all. I just wanted to say thanks. I found him very... diverting.
      (Kira walks away, smiling)
      Quark: Not diverting enough.

    • Jake: Dad, I don't want to join Starfleet.
      Sisko: Since when?
      Jake: Since forever. Starfleet is too much... like you. And I have to find what's me.

    • Taya: (telling Odo the story of the Great Minra and the changeling) So the Great Minra asked, 'Could you turn into a loaf of cream bread?' And the evil changeling did. And do you know what happened next?
      Odo: The Great Minra gobbled him up.
      Taya: How did you know?
      Odo: The changeling in your story wasn't very smart.
      Taya: Could you change into a loaf of cream bread?
      Odo: I can.
      Taya: Show me.
      Odo: And let you gobble me up? I don't think so.

  • NOTES (2)


    • Puss In Boots

      The story that Taya tells Odo is similiar to the classic fable Puss In Boots, where the title character tricks a shapeshifting wizard into changing into a mouse, then "gobbles him up".