(written from a Production point of view)
Odo consults a holographic lounge singer about his relationship with Kira.
Odo, Kira, Doctor Bashir, Chief O'Brien, Dax, and Worf are in a holosuite, enjoying the performance of Vic Fontaine, the doctor's latest holoprogram. He is singing "You're Nobody 'til Somebody Loves You" and everybody is enjoying themselves. After his performance, he joins the entourage where Bashir introduces him to everyone. Fontaine cracks a few jokes and uses some 20th century jargon that most of the crew don't understand. It turns out that, thanks to Felix, he is a self-aware hologram and a very astute and insightful one on top of that. He is immediately able to tell that Worf and Dax have not been married for a long time and that O'Brien misses his wife. But he stops before saying anything about Kira and Odo, understanding that it is best to not talk about it for the moment. Before they leave, he advises them to dress fancy the next time for the occasion as currently they all look like a "trapeze act".
After the group leaves the holosuite and go into Quark's, they continue on about how impressed they are with the program and Fontaine in particular. Bashir suggests meeting up again the next evening to hit the casinos and play a little blackjack and roulette after Vic's performance. Dax is rather enthused about going back again while her husband Worf tells her that he still prefers Klingon opera and Kira says that she is leaving for Bajor in the morning. Dax slips and tells her to say hi to Shakaar Edon for her, before realizing that she might have said too much. Odo becomes somewhat irritated when he hears what Kira is up to. After she leaves, Bashir carries on about Fontaine, telling O'Brien that if it wasn't for his pointers, he would not be dating Ensign Walker now. He says that Fontaine knows quite a lot about life, love and women, the three things – O'Brien jokes – Bashir apparently knows nothing about. Odo, who is standing right there, hears all of this and is suddenly intrigued.
The next day, the constable is having a conversation with Quark in his office. Quark tells him that it's been over a year since Kira broke up with Shakaar and that in all this time, Odo has done nothing about it. Odo says that it is not that simple, but for Quark it is quite simple: Odo had plenty of opportunities and he let them all slip away. When Odo dismisses Quark's advice, Quark tells him that Odo is in fact not a very lovable person, as he is cold, rigid and remote. Before he leaves, however, Odo comes around and asks him for a favor: access to Dr. Bashir's new holosuite program.
The constable returns to the holosuite to talk to Vic about his situation with Major Kira. Vic states his accurate assessment that Odo loves Kira but she considers him a friend. Vic adds that women have been known to change their minds and that it is really not that hard to get through to them, especially if they already like you. Odo says that Kira is aware of his feelings for her but that she prefers another man with great charisma. Vic replies that it is not the other man he has to worry about but himself. He asks him to lose his frozen-solid appearance and to allow those feelings he has inside of him to bubble to the surface. He tells him that if he wants to win the girl, they have to thaw him up a little bit and that it was time they had some fun – a concept which is quite unknown to Odo and which Vic points out is precisely the problem. So a long learning process begins for Odo. He immediately changes into a tuxedo and Vic puts him behind a piano and together they perform a song that exhilarates Odo. Vic's goal is to have the Constable become less shy and more socially at ease every day so that in the end he can win over his heart's desire.
After the show, Odo and Vic are in Vic's apartment, discussing Odo's experience on stage. Odo is visibly relaxed, until he admits to Vic that he is grateful that his friends did not witness the act. Vic advises Odo to take deep breaths right there to simply relax. Odo is skeptical, but tries it. He is just beginning to enjoy this when there is a knock on the door. Vic has invited two women to his apartment to interact with Odo. One of the women named Melissa admires Odo's "artistic hands" and speaks with him about music, having seen the piano act at the club. Odo is uncomfortable with all the attention, especially when Melissa starts hitting on him. Vic sees his discomfort, and invites the women and Odo to a restaurant at the Dunes. Odo declines the invitation, being more interested in Major Kira than the holosuite woman, but Vic convinces him that he needs to practice with other women in order to pursue Major Kira. They go off for the night.
Later, Odo makes a report to Captain Sisko. Interestingly, while he reads the report, he hears his chief of security humming a song in his office, a change he is happy to see. Sisko joins along in singing with Odo and snaps his fingers to the tune. Odo stops when he realizes that, unaware he was singing out loud. Meanwhile, traveling to Ops together in a turbolift, Bashir and Dax are talking about Kira's visit. She lengthened her stay on Bajor with Shakaar, which makes them grow curious about the state of her relationship with the First Minister. Dax mentions Odo isn't doing anything about it, which is part of the problem.
During another lesson in the holosuite, Odo is at the piano when Vic announces a special guest, Lola Chrystal. She, however, has Kira's likeness. Odo, a little stunned, watches Chrystal as she sings the next tune while spending time close to him on the piano.
Vic invites Chrystal to the hotel room with Odo, celebrating with a drink and then leaves them alone. Odo plays along with the situation for a bit, expressing his feelings for Kira, but then stops and has a little confrontation with Vic about it. He's convinced that he will never be able act normally, knowing she is not the real Kira. Vic promises Odo that he will work on the hologram's personality, but Odo is done.
Later, Kira's back on the station. She catches up with Odo on the Promenade but, not ready yet to have a long hello, he is politely short with her, to her confusion. However, without Odo's knowledge, Vic goes to Kira while she's meditating in a holosuite, having transferred his matrix from another holosuite. He invites Kira to a date in the holosuite on the constable's behalf. She's annoyed that he interrupted her, and says Odo should have asked her, but Vic is persistent and Kira agrees.
While Odo is in his office, Vic contacts him to get him to the holosuite, promising a more realistic Kira program. Again, he's very persistent. During dinner, Odo is really at ease with the major, daring to show her his real personality, without knowing to whom he is really talking. He admits that in the past, he has let his work be an excuse for not living his life, to which Kira understands. The music starts and Odo suggests to dance, even insisting when Kira says she's not sure how. In the end, it's apparent that the major does have genuine feelings for Odo, but the evening is spoiled when the truth is uncovered. Odo mentions she can't leave the holosuite. Vic intervenes and Odo abruptly shuts down, part because he was lied to and part because he couldn't explain himself to Kira.
Odo storms out of the holosuite. Kira, alone turns to Vic, who sees the night is done and shuts off the program himself.
On the next day, Vic contacts Odo again, insistent that it was time to talk to Kira for real, and that the night was worthwhile. Embarrassed, Odo says he can't imagine what Kira thinks of him now, and shuts off the communication. Meanwhile, Kira is talking with Dax and asks her if she's ever experienced a moment of true clarity. Dax admits she has twice, but that's across all eight of her lifetimes and warns Kira that true clarity is rare and fleeting; it must be acted on straight away before confusion and doubt can begin to cloud it. At this moment, Kira sees Odo emerge from his office and experiences another moment of clarity. This time, she decides to act on it immediately.
Kira approaches Odo, more distant and cold than ever and determined to forget the previous evening, but Kira demands the chance to talk about what happened but over dinner (insisting they go anywhere but a holosuite). Odo asks about her relationship with Shakaar, and Kira insists there is no relationship; her visit was purely to update him on the war and the two are nothing more than friends. The conversation seems increasingly angry to everyone around as Kira asks again about dinner, Odo sarcastically asks what will happen afterward, and Kira suggests dancing. Odo goes for broke and suggests Kira might expect him to kiss her after a date, and Kira replies that perhaps she would. Odo then wonders aloud why they don't dispense with the pleasantries and kiss right there, to which Kira doesn't object. Suddenly, Odo grabs her and they have a first kiss right there and then bringing the Promenade to a standstill as everyone, including Dax, Quark, and Morn watch on in pleasant surprise. The two continue, despite the onlookers.
Following this incident, Odo goes back in the holosuite to thank Vic about all the things he has done, even if some looked like mistakes at first. Before leaving, Vic asks Odo to leave the program running for a few minutes, as he feels like singing. Vic gets up on stage and sings "Come Fly with Me" and Odo snaps his fingers while he exits the holosuite.
"A square – You know what a square is, right?"
"One side of a cube?"
"I guess that answers my question."
- - Vic Fontaine and O'Brien
"By the way, this is a high-class joint. That means coats and ties for the gents, dresses for the ladies. You guys look like a trapeze act."
- - Vic Fontaine, to the uniformed DS9 staff as they leave his club
"You're not exactly the most lovable person in the galaxy. You're not even the most lovable person in this sector… or on the station… or even in this room."
- - Quark, to Odo
"Well, she's aware of my feelings towards her but the truth is, she prefers Shakaar."
"The First Minister of Bajor. He's a leader, a hero, a man with great charisma."
"I don't care if he's JFK, it's not the other guy you have to worry about, it's you!"
"That's right! I mean, for starters, you have to lose this whole 'Nanook Of The North' thing."
- - Odo and Vic Fontaine
"Hit it, Nanook."
"No, I don't play the piano."
"You wanna bet?" (points to piano that begins playing)
- - Vic Fontaine and Odo
"Look, pally, you want to win the girl, we've got to thaw you out a little… It's time to have some fun!"
"What does fun have to do with Major Kira?"
"I'll pretend I didn't hear that."
- - Vic and Odo
"Oh, actually… uh, Vic taught me everything I know."
"Is he a good student?"
"Head of his class."
"Maybe I can help you get your diploma."
- - Odo, Melissa and Vic
"Tell me something. How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"
"I have no idea."
"Practice, practice, practice. Get it?"
- - Vic and Odo
"I wonder… should you ask Kira about Shakaar or shall I?"
"Why don't you do the honors? But you'll have to wait, she's staying on Bajor for two more days."
"She and Shakaar must be having a good time."
"That would be my guess."
"Odo? What's he got to do with it?"
"Not a thing. That's the problem."
- - Jadzia Dax and Julian Bashir
"Talk about your cranky aliens…"
- - Vic Fontaine, after Kira tells him to leave her holoprogram
"How'd you like being in the spotlight?"
- - Vic Fontaine and Odo
"You're right. Who needs dinner?"
- - Kira, after Odo's kiss
"The only chick he wants to swing with is you."
"I take it that's a good thing."
- - Vic Fontaine and Kira Nerys
"You've been dancin' with the real McCoy."
- - Vic Fontaine
Story and script
- The main reason this show was made was to finally get Odo and Kira together as a couple. That Odo had feelings for Kira had first been hinted at in the second season episode "The Collaborator". This was confirmed in the third season episode "Fascination" when Lwaxana Troi realizes it. Odo himself admitted to it four episodes later, in "Heart of Stone", albeit to the Female Changeling, who he thought was Kira. However, in the fourth season episode "Crossfire", Odo comes to accept that Kira is in love with Shakaar and so he decides to bury his feelings for her. The fifth season episode "A Simple Investigation" seemed to confirm that Odo had indeed gotten over Kira, but a few episodes later, in "Children of Time", Kira herself discovers his feelings for her, and it is revealed that he is still madly in love with her. Then, in "Call to Arms", Odo decides not to pursue her or ask her out until the current crisis was over. However, his love for her remained unabated, and it was the strength of his feelings for her that prevented him from siding with the Dominion in the episode "Sacrifice of Angels". It is at this stage in the arc where "His Way" takes place.
- In terms of the writing of this episode, Ira Steven Behr explains, ""Children of Time" basically gave us the impetus to do. We'd pulled on that thread for so long without really doing anything with it, and we were running out of time. I already knew that at the end of the series Odo would be going back to the Founders to become goo. And even though I didn't know the title "What You Leave Behind" yet, I knew that Odo had to leave something behind of real value. And it just seemed to me that Kira was that value." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The title of this episode is a reference to the Frank Sinatra hit song "My Way."
- This episode marks the first appearance of James Darren as Vic Fontaine on the series. Ira Steven Behr had been planning a character like this for several years; a Rat Pack type guy who would dispense advice on love and life to the crew of Deep Space 9. He originally tried to introduce the character during the fourth season, where he would be played by Frank Sinatra, Jr. Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe wrote a sample scene and casting director Ron Surma brought it to Sinatra, but he was only interested in playing an alien – he didn't want to play a Human, and he certainly didn't want to play a character partly based on his own father. During the fifth season then, Behr and René Echevarria decided to introduce the character in the episode "A Simple Investigation". This time, a proper scene was written, and the character was given the name Vic Fontaine. Behr wanted Steve Lawrence to play the role, but when the first draft of the script ran long, and Lawrence proved unavailable, the scene was dropped altogether. Over the course of the following year, the role was offered to Robert Goulet, Tom Jones and Jerry Vale, all of whom turned it down. Then, Behr and his close friend Frederick Rappaport ran into James Darren at a memorabilia sale in Beverly Hills. Neither of them knew him, but Rappaport went up to him and started chatting like they were old friends. According to Behr, "I see this guy is handling Fred so well, and is so smooth, and so friendly, and so likable, and looks so good." As such, Behr decided to offer Darren the role. The next day, Surma sent the script of "His Way" to Darren, and Darren agreed to come in for a talk, although he emphasized he wasn't going to audition or do a reading, he was just coming in for a conversation. When he came in, he began to discuss how he owns a pair of Dean Martin's shoes, and, as Behr explains, "Suddenly, he starts talking about him and Frank and Dean and gambling and making all this money, and suddenly, we realize that he's doing the part. It catches us totally by surprise. We're sitting there with the script pages and don't even realize it. He had gone right from being Jimmy to being Vic – without a beat." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Neither Nana Visitor nor Rene Auberjonois wanted Kira and Odo to become romantically involved, with both of them feeling that the characters should remain just close friends. According to Visitor, "I'm not much of a fan of Odo and Kira being together, but they found a way to make it all make sense. I've always felt I have to open my mouth and pick my fights. And even though I know there's a certain amount of fights I'm going to lose, I always do it anyway. That was one I lost." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Although the first take of the kiss between Odo and Kira was the one seen in the finished episode, the experience of acting in the scene was not particularly enjoyable. As Auberjonois explains, "We started the scene and when we got to the mark, boom, we kissed each other. When they yelled cut, we stopped. I looked at Nana, and her face was sort of orange, and weird, and Dean Jones, my makeup artist, looked at me and went, 'Oh God.' We had been so anxious about it we just sort of went 'Khuh,' and kissed, and my makeup got all over her face and I tore my mask! Now when people ask, 'Well, what was it like to kiss Nana?' I say, 'The definition of safe-sex is this latex mask. It was the most unsensual kiss I'd ever had. I didn't feel anything'." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Nana Visitor herself chose the song "Fever" because of her mother's friendship with Doris Duke, a socialite and patron of the arts, and one of the richest women in the world. When Visitor was a child, she and her mother would visit Duke's mansion in New Jersey, and Duke would play piano and sing for them. On one particular visit, Duke sang "Fever", and the way she sang the song had a huge impact on Visitor, who was nine at the time. As Visitor explains, "She did "Fever" with this very breathy quality to her voice, and I remember thinking, 'Oh, that's a real sophisticated woman.' That was a personal connection for me. It was a memory from when I was a little girl of what I thought a woman should be like – and I got to be that woman." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The large mural behind the bar was designed by Andrew Reeder and Anthony Fredrickson. They based the images of the musicians and champagne glasses on fifties-style cocktail napkins, and Fredrickson designed the shapes, which he describes as looking "like livers." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Of the music for this episode, Jay Chattaway explains, "We were still picking tunes on the way to the recording studio because so many of them were cleared at the last minute, I couldn't really do full arrangements of them in advance, so I only wrote generic intros and endings. I didn't know what the rhythm was going to be, or the key, but when the tune did get cleared, I'd just say, 'Okay, we're going to use intro number two,' and I would quickly rearrange it for the tune in the studio. If I would have written the music out too much, maybe it wouldn't have had the magic of a lounge band. Our musicians were improvising as if they really were combo players." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Hans Beimler commented: "I think of 'His Way' as the first musical on Deep Space Nine. Musicals are very difficult to make work, and I know that because Ira and I did Fame together, the television series. It was a learning experience in terms of how difficult it is to tell a good story in a musical. When you hit it, it feels great, because it combines all the elements. There’s nothing like a musical to make it happen". Cinefantastique, 1998)
- This episode is a personal favorite of Ira Steven Behr, who is exceptionally proud of it; "To do a nice romantic comedy without a lot of clichés, to be clever, to not over-do it, and to have emotion rather than sentimentality, empathy rather than sentimentality, is incredibly difficult. Especially in a series like Star Trek that isn't geared to that kind of stuff." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- This episode was not entirely well received by some fans, something which bitterly disappointed Behr; "The quality of the show is not apparent to everyone, and that's really, really sad. Because that show is as perfect an episode as we ever did. You would be hard-pressed to find moments that don't work. It does exactly what it's supposed to. As loony as the show might seem, it's a real triumph. I'm not saying it's the only triumph by any means, but it's the one that's most masked, I guess, the one that's toughest for the audience to recognize." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Behr also commented "I don't think the fans of Star Trek realize just how difficult a show like "His Way" or "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" is. They think that "Far Beyond the Stars", "The Visitor", a very socially conscious show or a show of a very sensitive drama, those are the shows that are the toughest to do. But in a series like this, to do light, successful humor, romance, is incredibly hard on every level. Not just the writing, but just production-wise and everything. I think part of the reason that we love them so much is because we know just what kind of sweat and blood went into them, to make them seem so fluffy, and so light and clever, whenever they are working, those qualities". (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, No. 162 #4/5, p. 55)
- This show is one of director Allan Kroeker's personal favorites; "I had a marvelous time on "His Way". It probably should be illegal to have that much fun." Ira Steven Behr says of Kroeker's involvement with this episode, "Allan has to take a lot of the responsibility for the success of the show, because he understood it, and he gave it a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful look and feel." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Rene Auberjonois commented "When I got the script for "His Way", I resisted it the first time I read it. I thought, 'oh, this is silly'. I thought that because I was so into the painful aspects of Odo, the tortured hidden love aspect of his relationship with Major Kira, I could feel myself sort of going into the place of 'my character wouldn't do that'. I then did what I always try to do. I took a deep breath and I sat down, then read the script right through again. By the time I read the script for the second time I was convinced that it was the right way to go and I really looked forward to doing it. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had so far on the show". ("The Shape of Things to Come", Star Trek Monthly, issue 43)
- Cinefantastique ranked "His Way" as the ninth best episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, No. 4/5, p. 100)
- Ronald D. Moore was also pleased with the episode. Moore commented: "I got just a kickout of 'His Way', and the whole crew did too. The crew and cast just really love him [Darren]. It’s such a different place. When they put up that Vegas lounge and Jimmy is up there singing, everyone is really in a good mood. It changes the whole ambiance. 'His Way' I think is a really good show. It’s fun. I’m glad to use all of the music. It set a different note. I think it was the most romantic show that we have done. A lot of times the romances on 'Star Trek have just been unsatisfying. I haven’t liked a lot of the romances that I’ve worked on or been involved with on TNG or DS9. That was one where I did feel it. When Odo and Kira are out at dinner, and Jimmy appears and starts singing, 'I’ve Got You Under My Skin', to me that’s a movie moment, that’s magic. They get up, and they dance. It’s a great song, and the setting is perfect, and the mood is right. The two characters have been moving towards this moment for a few years, it’s just a great show". (Cinefantastique, 1998)
- Terry J. Erdmann remarked, "I loved that episode!" (What We Left Behind)
- In discussing the creation of the Lola Chrystal hologram, Vic refers to the events of "Our Man Bashir" ("Do you know how difficult it was to for me get a holographic image of Major Kira? Lucky for you, Julian used her image in one of his spy programs – though it did take me an hour to get rid of the Russian accent." – Vic to Odo). Lola's query of "who's Kira?" is reminiscent of Anastasia Komananov's questions "who is this Nerys Kira?" and "who is Dax?" This line is also a reference to "Meridian" in which Quark has extreme difficulty obtaining Kira's image in order to fulfill Tiron's request for a "personalized" holosuite program.
- When Quark tells Odo that it has been over a year since Kira and Shakaar broke up, he is referring to the fifth season episode "Children of Time".
- Among the group of people who watch Odo and Kira kiss on the Promenade is a Venturi from the Star Trek: Starfleet Academy computer game.
- The scene of Odo and Kira's dinner in the holosuite is something of a twist on the Cyrano de Bergerac-type story.
- The reference to "Shecky" which confuses Odo is most likely referring to Shecky Greene, a comedian who headlined in Vegas for over thirty years. Victor Borge, the other name Odo is unfamiliar with, was a Danish comedian, musician, author and actor, who often performed in Vegas under the moniker "The Great Dane".
- When Vic Fontaine says "I remember that weekend with Frank," there is a slight wink to the audience; actor James Darren was good friends with Frank Sinatra Jr. and he knew both Frank and Nancy Sinatra well.
- This episode aired less than a month before Frank Sinatra's death.
- The following songs are featured in this episode:
- "You're Nobody 'til Somebody Loves You" (introduction of Vic Fontaine in teaser)
- "Come Fly with Me" (sung by Vic, with Odo "playing" the piano; reprised at end of episode)
- "They Can't Take That Away from Me" (sung by Odo and Sisko in Sisko's office)
- "Fever" (sung by Lola Chrystal)
- "I've Got You Under My Skin" (sung by Vic during Odo and Kira's holosuite date, reprised as incidental music under Odo and Kira's kiss on the Promenade)
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction (Jay Chattaway). This is the only episode of Trek to receive a nomination in this category.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 6.10, 5 October 1998
- Star Trek - Music Box VHS collection
- As part of the DS9 Season 6 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Commander Worf
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Commander Dax
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Bashir
- Nana Visitor as
Special guest star
- Sam Alejan as civilian
- Ivy Borg as Peliar Zel native
- Harry Boykoff as holographic lounge guest
- Stuart Coleman as holographic lounge guest
- Amy Kate Connolly as holographic lounge guest
- Brian Demonbreun as civilian
- Holiday Freeman as holographic lounge guest
- Luther Hughes as holographic bass player
- Charlie-Olisa Kaine as Kelly
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Dan Magee as operations division lieutenant
- James Minor as Human operations division crewman
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- James Lee Stanley as Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown performers as
Acapulco; accent; alien freighter; angel; arm; Bajor; Bajoran sector; bar; bird; blackjack; body temperature; Bombay; Borge, Victor; booze; Caesar salad; Carnegie Hall; champagne; chateaubriand; cherries jubilee; Clyde; "Come Fly with Me"; cube; dimple; Dom Pérignon; Dominion War; Dunes Hotel; ear; Earth; Einstein, Albert; "feel like a million bucks"; Felix; fever; "Fever"; First Minister; flute; fountain; French language; Greene, Shecky; groat; hat; Harvey; heart; holodeck characters; holosuite programs; holosuite; honeymoon; Human; "I've Got You Under My Skin"; Jessel, George; Kennedy, John F.; kiss; knife; Komananov, Anastasia; Las Vegas; Liberace; light bulb; llama; love; lovebirds; mademoiselle; Martin, Dean; merger; Milky Way Galaxy; moon; Nanook of the North; O'Brien, Keiko; obituary column; Oysters Rockefeller; Peru; piano; piano player; pigeon; pit boss; Promenade; Quark's; Reno; road; Romeo; Russian; Sands Hotel; Shakaar Edon; Sinatra, Frank; skin; smile; square; square (slang); student; sun; tea; the real McCoy; "They Can't Take That Away from Me"; toast; trapeze act; tuxedo; cargo management unit (unnamed); Vic's piano player; Walker; warp core breach; weather; "You're Nobody 'til Somebody Loves You"; Zevians
- "His Way" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "His Way" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "His Way" at Wikipedia
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