"Children of Time" Plot-hole Question

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by Admiral_Sisko, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. Admiral_Sisko

    Admiral_Sisko Lieutenant Commander

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    There's an obvious plot-hole in the episode "Children of Time" that I've always been curious about. Odo is unable to hold his shape because of the effects of the barrier sounding the planet, but his older self has learned how to counteract the barrier's effects. He's also "gotten better at shape-shifting," as evidence by his improved ability to imitate humanoid facial features.

    Near the episode's conclusion, the older Odo links with his counterpart, so that the younger Odo would be aware of events that transpired while he was regenerating. This being the case, why didn't Odo's shape-shifting abilities improve as a result of the experience?

    I do, of course, understand the logistical reason for not making the change. Odo's lack of facial features was part of his character, and a sudden change may have confused viewers who missed "Children of Time's" original airing. I'm also aware of the other plot-hole in which no explanation is given for how the other Odo didn't develop the disease that nearly wiped out the Great Link (beyond the fact that the idea hadn't been conceived yet). However, would it not have made sense from a character-development standpoint for Odo to have made significant improvements in his shape-shifting ability?
     
  2. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    I don't think that that is technically a plot hole, as Odo's morphing ability isn't really plot relevant. But, just because his future self has shared the memories of being able to better imitate humanoid features, it doesn't follow that younger Odo would have the ability suddenly.

    Odo has linked with other changelings before, changelings who were able to perfectly imitate humanoids, and he never picked up the ability from them, either. It seems to be literally a matter of practice. If you shake hands with a body builder, you don't become muscular, do you? You actually have to work out yourself to get the muscles. I can only assume the same is true of Odo.
     
  3. E-DUB

    E-DUB Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Not exactly the same thing. "The drop becomes the ocean, the ocean becomes the drop." The producers may have missed a bet by not having Odo able to do faces progressively better as the series went from season to season.
     
  4. Admiral_Sisko

    Admiral_Sisko Lieutenant Commander

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    Not a good analogy, as it doesn't accurately depict how linking works. Changelings describe the Great Link as a "merging of thought and form," which implies that ideas, emotions, and memories are shared between both parties of the endeavor. Shaking hands with a body builder wouldn't allow one to become muscular, but sharing the thoughts of a body builder should provide one with ideas on how to duplicate the other person's achievements.
     
  5. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, linking would give Odo the idea of how to improve his morphing. But it wouldn't be instantaneous. At best, he'd probably just learn that he needs to practice more. Like for 200 years or so.
     
  6. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Suppose an older version of you came back in time to when you were 15 and showed you how to drive. It would still take you practice to master the art no matter how good the instruction was.
     
  7. Worf'sParmach

    Worf'sParmach Commander Red Shirt

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    Agree with the others. Though there are definitely plot holes inherant in stories like COT, this isn't one of them.
     
  8. Paul Weaver

    Paul Weaver Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Children of time was certainly after the time odo was infected, so the only explanation would be the radiation from the rings caused the disease to remain dormant. Or perhaps the fact odo took years to learn how to shift meant the disease never took hold.
     
  9. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    But the link isn't like that, I don't think. A more apt analogy would be, "Suppose an older version of you came back in time to when you were 15 and and gave you his memories and knowledge about how to drive."
     
  10. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You can have all the memories and knowledge in the world. You can get every story, experience told to you, you can read every book, but you're still going to have to get behind a wheel and figure it out and you won't be perfect at first.
     
  11. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Is the changeling-to-changeling memory sharing perfect? Is it everlasting? Is there perhaps an element of "muscle memory" that needs to be taken into account when shape-shifting? Having the memory of being able to do something doesn't necessarily translate into the perfect ability to do so. Maybe changeling linking is more impressionistic and dream-like and less like copying files between computers.

    Even in the Great Link, the other changelings were able to mislead Odo into thinking Gowron was a changeling. So I doubt that changeling linking is a perfect method for memory transfer.

    Besides, in the context of the episode "Children of Time" if Old Odo "never existed", then Young Odo could not have any memories from him! We know that's not what happened, but perhaps the memory faded after the incident due to the timeline shift.
     
  12. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not talking about just words, I'm talking about the memories of the actual experience.
     
  13. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I addressed memories in my previous post you quoted. I still don't think that's a substitute for doing it yourself.
     
  14. The Borg Queen

    The Borg Queen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Does it matter?
    I think it's like the difference between theory and practise. He may be aware that he CAN do it, but without the amount of practise his amorphous form doesn't have the equivalent of "muscle memory" to do the more subtle elements of shapeshifting.
     
  15. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Can you ride a bike?
     
  16. G2309

    G2309 Captain Captain

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    It could have added some interesting character development if his shapeshifting improved. It wasn't used a lot in the series because the cost hindered them.
     
  17. callea

    callea Ensign Red Shirt

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    Odo not having the disease is a continuity error. Since it's said later that he got the disease from Section 31 during season 4, you're right that he should have gotten sick. You could explain it away by saying that something on that planet cured Odo of the disease. Like the writers, I guess no one at DS9 remembered that particular detail and so they never thought to attempt to look for a cure on that planet.

    As for Odo's shapeshifting ability, I'm with the side that says just because he has the memories doesn't mean he's able to do it.

    Going a step further on the body builder example. Yes, if you had the memories of a body builder, you'd know how to build your muscles and get into excellent shape. But just having the memories alone isn't going to change your body. You'll still need to work at it.

    The closest comparison I can think of in Trek is the Trill. Dax has other people's memories but that doesn't make her able to do everything the previous hosts could as well as they did just because she remembers it. She has the memories of a professional gymnast, but we never see any indication that she has any gymnastic abilities. We did see Ezri able to stand on her head against a wall. But that doesn't take a lot of gymnastic ability. -- I just tried it. It wasn't enjoyable, and I don't want to do it again. But I was able to do it, and I never learned gymnastics.

    I also don't think she was as good with a Bat'leth as Curzon. Though that's just my take. There's nothing solid I can think of to back that opinion.

    I do agree about wanting to see Odo's shapeshifting improve. I thought the same thing even before "Children of Time". It would have been cool if Odo had gradually gotten just a bit better each season to show he was learning.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    However, "Children of Time" is also after "Broken Link", where Odo necessarily was cured of the disease.

    Remember, it's a disease that affects Changelings. Odo ceased to be a Changeling in "Broken Link", the same episode where he supposedly infected the Great Link of the Founders. The disease might survive in the altered Odo, but it would be perfectly okay to say that the alteration cured Odo, and that he only got re-infected during the Re-Occupation Arc when linking with the Female Changeling.

    After all, Odo got sick significantly later than the Founders. He developed the very first symptoms at a point where the Female Founder was already incapable of changing her shape and literally falling apart.

    He regained his Changeling-ness in "The Begotten", by linking with a Baby Changeling. We might speculate that this Baby was sent by the Great Link as a means of testing Odo and then restoring Odo's Changeling-ness, now that the Great Link had judged Odo to have suffered his punishment in full and demonstrated that he was a good Changeling again. But even in such a case, the Baby might have remained free of the disease. And were it a true One of the Hundred, it would be disease-free by default.

    It's perfectly possible, then, that at the time of "Children of Time", Odo was free of the disease, and that self of his that got stuck on the planet would never develop the symptoms.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    But if the baby was a way to see if Odo was wortrhy of being a changeling again, why would they put the baby at risk? They did make it very sick, after all.

    My interpretation of the whole thing is that the Founders made Odo a solid by shapeshifting him into a fully working Human, with internal organs etc, then removing his morphogenic enzymes, leaving him with no way to shapeshift to another form.

    Then the baby comes along, and at the end of the episode it is absorbed into Odo, replenishing his morphogenic enzymes and allowing Odo to shapeshift once more.
     
  20. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah I always had it figured that he was infected by Section 31 on Earth, delivered it to them in Broken Link, lost it when he was turned into a solid. Regained his powers, then got it again when he linked with the female Shapeshifter.

    That would also explain why he didn't show signs of the disease until after she did.