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Old June 16 2009, 11:46 PM   #1
Captrek
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WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

I casually followed DS9 when it was on first run, and had not seen it since until just recently, when I started to watch it from the start. This is what will probably be the first of a lot of question threads from me.

The last episode I watched is “Vortex,” in which Odo is knocked unconscious by a blow to the head.

My understanding was that Odo, as a shapeshifter, has merely the shape of a human, not actual functioning human anatomy. A blow to the head should be no more likely to knock him out than a blow to the arm or leg.

Is there an explanation for this that makes any sense?
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Old June 17 2009, 12:40 AM   #2
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

No. The writers goofed. A similar thing happens in "Way of the Warrior", where Bashir 'saves' Odo from a bat'leth wielding Klingon.
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Old June 17 2009, 01:16 AM   #3
Navaros
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

Things like this are just ridiculous plot contrivances that the writers never bothered to think through. Similar things happen in all the hokey fight scenes in DS9, which are many; ie: Kira knocking Damar out cold by boffing him in the back.

And in DS9, any character grabbing his/her own wrist with one hand and then boffing the bad guy like that is always a knockout blow every single time. Seems like grabbing your wrist bestows mystical powers of uber strength, or something.
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Old June 17 2009, 02:11 AM   #4
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

Navaros wrote: View Post
Things like this are just ridiculous plot contrivances that the writers never bothered to think through. Similar things happen in all the hokey fight scenes in DS9, which are many; ie: Kira knocking Damar out cold by boffing him in the back.

And in DS9, any character grabbing his/her own wrist with one hand and then boffing the bad guy like that is always a knockout blow every single time. Seems like grabbing your wrist bestows mystical powers of uber strength, or something.
And a wTF by extension was in Invasive Procedures where Mahreel, (Verad's g/f) absolutely kicks Kira's ass all over Ops-freakin' beatdown and then, then Kira kicks yet ANOTHER Klingon's ass-T'Kar (played by Tim Russ, aka 2Vok)

Such a fine show as DS9 having fubar's and lazy writing like this is what drives me crazy. If DS9 is EVUH Star Trek 11'd, I hope for more consistent and believable writings.
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Old June 17 2009, 06:14 AM   #5
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

captrek wrote: View Post
I casually followed DS9 when it was on first run, and had not seen it since until just recently, when I started to watch it from the start. This is what will probably be the first of a lot of question threads from me.

The last episode I watched is “Vortex,” in which Odo is knocked unconscious by a blow to the head.

My understanding was that Odo, as a shapeshifter, has merely the shape of a human, not actual functioning human anatomy. A blow to the head should be no more likely to knock him out than a blow to the arm or leg.

Is there an explanation for this that makes any sense?
'Vortex' was the first episode to really look into what Odo was & where he came from before his life on the station, and they were still tryin' to figure everything out.

Its possible that the heavy rocks hittin' Odo from above disrupted his morphagenic matrix, paralyzin' him, but he remained conscious, or else he would have just turned into a puddle on the ground.

So, heavy rocks caused paralysis, and Odo, findin' out about this weakness, since Terok Nor didn't suffer from avalanches or cave ins, found a way to deal with heavy debris by the time he and Kira chased a Maquis into the Badlands three years later.

AdmiralGarak wrote: View Post
No. The writers goofed. A similar thing happens in "Way of the Warrior", where Bashir 'saves' Odo from a bat'leth wielding Klingon.
Been awhile since I watched 'Way of the Warrior', but Odo beat the Klingon with the bat'leth, and Bashir stunned the Klingon with a disruptor.

And disruptor fire can have an effect on Founders, as seen in 'Apocalypse Rising'.

Navaros wrote: View Post
Things like this are just ridiculous plot contrivances that the writers never bothered to think through. Similar things happen in all the hokey fight scenes in DS9, which are many; ie: Kira knocking Damar out cold by boffing him in the back.
If ya are talkin' about the fight scene I'm thinkin' of, where Damar tried to haul Ziyal's ass out of the cargo bay and Kira stepped in, the blow to the back of the head was the last in a series of blows that Kira landed against Damar.

Makes sense to me that after a lifetime of fightin' against Cardassians, Kira would know their weak spots.

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Old June 17 2009, 06:28 AM   #6
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

od0_ital wrote: View Post
AdmiralGarak wrote: View Post
No. The writers goofed. A similar thing happens in "Way of the Warrior", where Bashir 'saves' Odo from a bat'leth wielding Klingon.
Been awhile since I watched 'Way of the Warrior', but Odo beat the Klingon with the bat'leth, and Bashir stunned the Klingon with a disruptor.
No, it happened the way I described. The Klingon about to 'kill' Odo had a bat'leth, not a disruptor.

Fast-forward to about 2:45

Last edited by AdmiralGarak; June 17 2009 at 06:39 AM.
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Old June 17 2009, 07:03 AM   #7
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

Just because Bashir shot the Klingon doesn't mean that it saved Odo's life. It could have just been the writers opting to give Bashir a moment of heroism in the fight, since he was the only character who hadn't already had a moment in the fight to really show off his fighting skill, because he's a doctor, not a warrior. But everyone else had one (well, except Quark and Jake, but they were civilians who weren't involved in the fight, so...), so they threw in a little moment for Bashir.
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Old June 17 2009, 08:16 AM   #8
Captrek
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

Navaros wrote: View Post
Things like this are just ridiculous plot contrivances that the writers never bothered to think through.
I wonder whether the writers should get all of the blame when something is this stupid. Sure, the writers may have been the first fools to put this idea down on paper. But almost anybody who read it should have recognized something was wrong.

In particular the actor who plays the character has a lot invested in whether fans perceive the character as somebody believably real or as the product of idiot writers. He should have taken one glance at a shooting script that had him getting hit on the head, losing consciousness, and groggily coming around in the runabout later on, and, if he has spent any time thinking about his character at all, should have said, “Wait a second. This is moronic. It makes no sense at all. There’s gotta be a better way to do this.” An impromptu brainstorming session with the actor, the director, a staff writer, a hairdresser, a caterer, and a tube grub would surely have produced a dozen ideas better than what made it to screen. Somebody at some point made the final creative decision, “This is really the way we’re going to do it.” Where does the buck stop?

I’ve never been on the set of one of these shows and don’t know much about what goes on behind the scenes and how the shows get made, but I have a hard time believing that a lazy writer putting a dumb idea on paper locks everybody else in to doing it that way.

Can somebody who understands how these shows are actually made explain who really deserves the blame for this kind of thing?
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Old June 17 2009, 09:28 AM   #9
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

DGCatAniSiri wrote: View Post
Just because Bashir shot the Klingon doesn't mean that it saved Odo's life. It could have just been the writers opting to give Bashir a moment of heroism in the fight, since he was the only character who hadn't already had a moment in the fight to really show off his fighting skill, because he's a doctor, not a warrior. But everyone else had one (well, except Quark and Jake, but they were civilians who weren't involved in the fight, so...), so they threw in a little moment for Bashir.
The episode unambiguously plays it up as Bashir saving Odo's life. They had a conversation about Odo watching his back in an earlier scene, the attack was clearly portrayed as Bashir shooting a Klingon about to kill Odo, and the scene is finished off with a grateful Odo thanking Bashir. There is absolutely no other way to read the scene.
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Old June 17 2009, 09:39 AM   #10
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

captrek wrote: View Post
Navaros wrote: View Post
Things like this are just ridiculous plot contrivances that the writers never bothered to think through.
Can somebody who understands how these shows are actually made explain who really deserves the blame for this kind of thing?
Us nerdy fans, for over-analyzing a fictional shapeshifter's physiology.

Seriously. It's implausible to think a Klingon could kill Odo with a sword. But, since the writers purposefully avoided going into detail about the mystical mass-altering magical morphing security guard's anatomy when he's in humanoid form, it's not impossible. The director/writers probably just went with which weapon looked better.

And Photon, condemning the entire series as having FUBARs and lazy writing because of something as minor as Odo getting cold-cocked in an early episode is a tad melodramatic. And thinking that giving DS9 Star Trek XI treatment would reduce plot inconsistencies is utterly laughable. DS9 is thousands of times more consistent than that movie, entertaining though it may be.
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Old June 17 2009, 09:46 AM   #11
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

I think we are taking Odo far too eagerly on his word.

In the "Way of the Warrior" scene, Odo thanks Bashir for covering his six. Bashir may think he saved Odo's life (at least if he doesn't stop to actually think), but that's probably not what was at stake there. Nevertheless, what possible reason would Odo have not to thank Bashir for saving his ass? It's mere common courtesy.

In "Vortex", we could say that Odo was merely playing 'possum to see how Croden would act. This would be an eminently logical thing for him to do. After all, for the first three-fourths of the episode, Odo had been led on a leash of Croden's lies. Now Croden had revealed that there was nothing worth Odo's time where he had promised wonders. Instead, Croden had done it all for his family. Finally the truth? Or another lie to let the con artist get away? Odo would need to know.

By pretending to be hurt, Odo could do a quick check on Croden's compassion and verify at least parts of his new story, namely the parts relating to his true character. If Croden made a run for it, Odo could easily de-knock-out himself and intercept Croden before he reached the runabout, then proceed to incarcerate the villain. If Croden returned to help, Odo would proceed to aid Croden in escaping instead.

Makes retrospective sense, even though obviously this wasn't the writer intention.

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Old June 17 2009, 10:34 AM   #12
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

Timo, that is one of the more satisfying fanwanks I’ve seen. Regardless that it was not the original creators’ intent, it immediately makes the whole episode a lot more watchable and enjoyable. Thanks for posting it.
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Old June 17 2009, 01:27 PM   #13
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

captrek wrote: View Post
Timo, that is one of the more satisfying fanwanks I’ve seen. Regardless that it was not the original creators’ intent, it immediately makes the whole episode a lot more watchable and enjoyable. Thanks for posting it.
I agree that it makes a lot of sense too, though the phrase 'that is one of the more satisfying fanwanks I've seen' leaves me feeling dirty
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Old June 17 2009, 04:20 PM   #14
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

captrek wrote: View Post
Navaros wrote: View Post
Things like this are just ridiculous plot contrivances that the writers never bothered to think through.
I wonder whether the writers should get all of the blame when something is this stupid. Sure, the writers may have been the first fools to put this idea down on paper. But almost anybody who read it should have recognized something was wrong.

In particular the actor who plays the character has a lot invested in whether fans perceive the character as somebody believably real or as the product of idiot writers. He should have taken one glance at a shooting script that had him getting hit on the head, losing consciousness, and groggily coming around in the runabout later on, and, if he has spent any time thinking about his character at all, should have said, “Wait a second. This is moronic. It makes no sense at all. There’s gotta be a better way to do this.” An impromptu brainstorming session with the actor, the director, a staff writer, a hairdresser, a caterer, and a tube grub would surely have produced a dozen ideas better than what made it to screen. Somebody at some point made the final creative decision, “This is really the way we’re going to do it.” Where does the buck stop?

I’ve never been on the set of one of these shows and don’t know much about what goes on behind the scenes and how the shows get made, but I have a hard time believing that a lazy writer putting a dumb idea on paper locks everybody else in to doing it that way.

Can somebody who understands how these shows are actually made explain who really deserves the blame for this kind of thing?
I know that Nimoy supposedly had a lot of input on Spock's character throughout TOS. For instance, he suggested the idea of the Vulcan nerve pinch when a script called for him to deliver a knockout punch, because he felt it was too brutish for a Vulcan's pacifist leanings.
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Old June 17 2009, 10:54 PM   #15
flemm
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Re: WTF?! moment from "Vortex"

Sometimes we give these things either too much thought or too little. For example, Kira "knocking out" Damar with a blow to the back. A well-aimed blow to the upper spine on a human in that area can potentially kill or paralyze, certainly it could easily put someone out of a fight. Possibly whoever choreographed that scene considered the possibilty that Cardassians have a vulnerability there, just as humans do.

As for Odo's vulnerability, as I recall the writers explicitly stated that they didn't want Odo to come across as a superhuman, invulnerable fighting machine (as liquid-metal terminator had been). They wanted him to seem just as vulnerable as any other character, but with a few extra abilities.

If we insist on an in-universe explanation, it isn't hard to imagine a reason why Odo can be knocked out (or damaged by a Klingon weapon, for that matter). For example, humans are much more vulnerable to a knock out blow when they don't see it coming. When you see the blow on its way, your reflexes aid you. When you don't, they can't. So we could imagine there is something similar in changelings, where adjusting to adapt to a blow requires a sort of reflex or semi-conscious reaction that surprise can negate.

The changelings are established as being vulnerable by nature: they have been persecuted and hunted for eons by the solids. Since the whole notion of shape-changing beings is a fantasy, I have no problem with providing the additional suspension of disbelief necessary to imagine they can potentially be harmed by conventional means, at least in certain situations.

To be scandalized by Odo being knocked out, we have to assume that the decentralized anatomy of the shapeshifter removes the "weakspot" of the head, but what if the opposite is true? What if the weakspot is everywhere on a changeling taken by surprise? In other words, perhaps a changeling is hyper-vulnerable and sensitive by nature, and his ability to rapidly adapt to an attack or change form is his only defense. It would make sense, given the Founders' paranoia and fear of solids.

Also, what is wrong with thanking the good doctor? Would it have been better if Odo had gloated about his invulnerability and told Bashir to go suck it?

Last edited by flemm; June 17 2009 at 11:04 PM.
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