I’ve completed my re-watch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Now it’s time to start Deep Space Nine! I am much less familiar with this show, though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about 80-90% of the episodes. It’s been so long that I’m sure it will all feel brand new. My wife has never seen the show. She and I will go through, review every episode, and give commentary and a grade from A-F. There are SPOILERS for each episode below. Without further adieu, here’s:
“The Search: Part I”
The USS Defiant is delivered to DS9 as part of an effort to shore up its defenses against a possible Dominion threat. Turns out the ship has a cloaking device, along with a Romulan officer to help keep an eye on how their loaned device is being used. Sisko and a team head into the Gamma Quadrant in order to see if they can find the leaders of the Dominion, the Founders, and possible open negotiations to show the Federation is interested in peaceful coexistence. As they continue to track the Founders, the crew gets split up and O’Brien and Dax must be left behind. The Defiant is assaulted and several members must independently make their escapes. Major Kira rescues Odo and the two of them go to a nearby planet to try to recoup. On that planet, they run into a lake that seems to be made of the same material as Odo, and four humanoids emerge, welcoming Odo home.
Here’s a great idea for a space station facing a major threat: take away basically the entire command crew for a secret mission and hope for the best back home! “That’s a bad idea,” you say? Why? We do it all the time!
That’s one of the miriad of issues in the plausibility of this episode. I mean seriously; would they really just remove command officers from where they were needed so often? I doubt it. Another difficulty: throwing a Romulan cloaking device on a Starfleet ship. Suddenly the Romulans are more than happy to help the Federation? I don’t buy it.
But hey, this was actually a fun episode to watch. The tension was ratcheted up pretty high, and the curiosity regarding the Dominion has been building ever since they were first mentioned, so it is exciting finally seeing some payoff there. Most importantly, it offers a tantalizing hint that we will learn more about Odo’s past. Awesome.
So this episode was very low on the plausibility side, but high on the fun side.
Oh and the Defiant is awesome. Definitely my favorite Star Trek ship and class.
Grade: B- “There were some severely implausible moments throughout the whole thing. It was still a fun watch, though.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “Can we talk about how they take their senior officers through the wormhole all the time?”
“The Search: Part II”
Odo finds out that he is part of the “Great Link” which is some kind of society for shape-shifters like himself. He is filled in on some of the past of his people, who were ostracized by “solids” everywhere before finding sanctuary on this world. Back with the rest of the crew, they get back to DS9 with the information that the Founders want to have peace talks. On station, the terms of this peace agreement become more and more irksome, as the Dominion is going to be given control of the wormhole and DS9, along with excluding the Romulans from the treaty talks, leading to almost certain war with the Empire. Back on the Changeling (a name they adopted that was originally pejorative) world, Odo learns more about himself through changing into various objects and creatures. Kira continues to try to contact the Federation, but discovers something is impeding her. When she goes to investigate, she finds that there is a door to a chamber that she cannot get through. She tells Odo about this and together they discover that the rest of their crewmates have, in fact, been captured on this planet. They aren’t back on DS9 where awful events continued, but rather undergoing a simulation to see if they would give in to Dominion rule. The Changelings are, in fact, the Founders. They’ve used their powers to try to establish order throughout the galaxy, and are intending to do so to the Federation. Odo decides he has stronger ties to the Solids he knows than to these Founders who deceived him, and he and the rest of the DS9 crew are allowed to leave. Odo realizes he will be an outsider among the Solids, but it is the decision his morals allow.
We get to find out more about Odo! But it turns out his people are rather more sinister than initially expected! Cool. The setup for the Dominion gets a rather huge payoff here, as it seems the message is that the powerful group is actually controlled by the Changelings, who were originally derided and feared but now bring order through force across their, er, dominion. It’s pretty awesome when you think about it, and the layers of command between the Jem’Hadar and Founders makes this even more complex and exciting. Love it.
I also like that this was a major Odo episode that gave him a chance to both explore himself as a shape-shifter while also revealing more about his people. This revelation makes him repelled by them rather than rushing to join them, and that is bittersweet in the best way, because it also fits Odo’s character. He would choose what is right over his own people. That’s just who he is.
The main problem here is that it fairly quickly became evident that half of the episode simply could not be real. They did a decent job of throwing some doubt on this for a while, but once the Federation had completely capitulated to the Dominion, it became clear. After all, a known enemy (Romulans) is probably better to have than a lopsided “alliance” with an almost entirely unknown quantity. Also, we knew that Admiral Nechayev was a bit of a loose cannon, but her allowing the Dominion to trample all over the Federation at these simulated peace talks pushed it too far. She’s not that big of an idiot, though she has frequently been wrong.
Apparently, according to the Star Trek Deep Space Nine Companion (an awesome book you should run to get ASAP), the produecers hated how they did Odo’s world, but I kind of liked it. Oh well. Also, Jonathan Frakes directed this one. Awesome.
Oh, and another good thing about this episode is that, unlike several recent episodes where it turned out nothing the characters did mattered in any way, Odo still had major growth and very real drama throughout this one. Well done.
Grade: B+ “Wait, changelings are baddies? Cool. Wait, are they really bad guys? Ambivalence? Yes!”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “Odo homeworld was pretty sweet.”
J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!
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