Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by TheGodBen, Oct 16, 2011.
I think "leave it out of my girlfriend" would have been more appropriate.
I really loved the A-story in "The Begotten". Odo dealing with "daddy issues" while becoming a father figure himself. Obviously some parallels to the episode back when Odo raised a Jem'Hadar.
I felt that Mora was a well-developed and interesting character. And James Sloyan is a great actor. I wish we had gotten to see even more of him (like the original plot of "Extreme Measures" before it was re-written).
Odo's back as shape-shifter! And all he had to do to get there was "eat" a baby. Certain Odo regrets that some. Wonder what the Founders think of it?
I loved seeing Odo smile. This fatherhood thing was one of the few thing (other than Kira) that really gives him joy. And that's cool to see. Too bad Kira was busy, or she and Odo could have shared the moment a little more and been like a little family.
Speaking of Kira's story, the Bajoran way of giving birth seems a little weird. Shouldn't birth be something that just happens when it's time? Not that you have to be calm to do so. Wouldn't that mean that a pregnant Bajoran woman that are in stressful situations (like being imprisoned in an Occupation) would never be able to give birth? Seems a little weird. I give them props for trying to make alien birth different, but the way they did it seemed a little illogical to me. But, hey, at least the kid isn't born from the back like the Ocampa in Star Trek: Voyager.
So, since we know that Bashir has been replaced by a Founder by this point that means that the undercover Bashir Changeling (UBC). helped give birth to the O'Brien kid when Kira was in labor.
And it let a baby changeling die on the station versus saving him. (You have to think that Founder medical science for their own kind is better than what Mora Pol and a humanoid Odo could provide.)
Certainly UBC would have used ALL his knowledge of changelings to try and save the baby alongside Odo and Mora Pol, and not just the "limited" knowledge that the real Bashir would have had in that situation. (UBC would have just kept it a secret what he was doing.) Remember how frustrated Odo was that he couldn't just link with the baby and "talk" to him? Well UBC could have done that. And, I think, certainly did. Maybe that's the real reason the baby changeling learned how to shape-shift so much faster than Odo. It had nothing to do with Odo or Mora's teaching methods.
And even with all UBC's [likely] detailed knowledge and skills with dealing with sick changelings, the changeling baby died anyway. Sad. But it also merged with Odo somehow and turned him back into a shape shifter. Seems pretty lucky, doesn't it, that that dying baby changeling had exactly what Odo needed in order to overcome whatever changes the Founders had done to him that made him a solid? Well, maybe it wasn't as lucky as we think. Maybe UBC did something to MAKE it that way. That would, of course, imply that at least one Founder (and by extension probably all of them) were OK with Odo becoming a shape shifter again. So much so that they went out of their way to make it happen. Hey, maybe the Founders thought he'd had enough punishment. Or maybe it was just this one undercover Founder, who had to see the humanoid Odo suffer through back pains and the like (because he was acting as Doctor Bashir), and felt sorry for him enough to intervene.
Here's yet another idea about the baby changeling in "The Begotten": maybe there was no baby changeling at all. Perhaps older, more mature changelings, like UBC, are able to separate part of their body and still be able to control it. (Yeah, that would pretty much invalidate the "blood test", which are probably useless anyway.) So maybe that "baby changeling" was just part of UBC, who sent it to test Odo, or to allow him to turn back into a changeling or whatever.
^ I think you've given more thought to the UBC than the writers did. Honestly, I think the whole thing with the UBC was written in at the last minute. I sincerely doubt either the actor or the writers knew at the time of the episode that this wasn't the "real" Bashir.
^^ I agree, but that doesn't mean we can't ignore that and discuss things totally "in-universe" for fun. (Although, I feel like there are a couple of "cues" in UBC's appearances; he seems just a touch colder. But that's probably just reading into stuff too much.)
I like your second idea, about mature changelings, datalogan. It explains how Martok-changeling was able to avoid detection for so long. It also add an element of hubris to the Federation's assumption that Odo is indicative of all changelings.
And I suspect that the "baby" changeling getting reabsorbed may very well be part of the changeling "life cycle." (The novels sorta kinda suggest this. Sorta.) And so UBC might have felt that there was no need to intervene and just happened to allow the "baby" (which may, in fact, have been very old; remember what Shakespeare said about "second childhood"?) to merge with Odo, reactivating his metamorphic abilities.
Yeah, in the MA article of In Purgatory's Shadow/By Inferno's Light it is mentioned Sid was pretty much like "You're telling me this now?" when he was told he'd been a Founder for a couple of episodes. I doubt the writers knew ahead of time either.
For the Uniform (**½)
This episode is actually pretty good, it's entertaining and thought-provoking, but it comes out of nowhere and the ending is terrible. Firstly, 8 months after his betrayal, Sisko is suddenly obsessive about Eddington. We haven't heard Sisko say a single thing about him or the Maquis since For the Cause, but now we learn that Sisko has been retroactively hunting for Eddington for all that time, and he's apparently completely obsessed about it. If that's the case, I'm amazed that the Prophets didn't tell Sisko where Eddington was back in Rapture just to get him to shut up about it. The premise of the episode doesn't ring true, to justify Sisko's actions at the end of the episode it would have helped if we had actually seen that he was obsessed about Eddington all this time.
But the big problem with the episode is that there's absolutely no consequences for Sisko poisoning a planet as part of his vendetta. I don't have the problem with him committing the act, watching good men driven to extreme and dangerous actions makes for good television, and I don't Sisko to be a paragon of virtue to like him as a character. Poisoning the planet is good drama, and it could be argued that it was a legitimate calculated action to stop Eddington from using any more of his own biological weapons, and nobody appears to have died because of what Sisko did. But ending the episode with Sisko and Jadzia laughing it off as though it were no big deal? Terrible, terrible ending.
As I said, for the most part it is an enjoyable episode, with a little work it could have gotten 4 stars from me. But the episode comes across as lazy in all the wrong places.
For the Uniform is one of DS9's worst thought-out plots. WTF; Jadzia going on about how she likes the bad guy to win after Sisko ruined (and endangered) the lives of thousands. What if the colony didn't have enough ships? That would be thousands of dead people and Sisko would be a genocidal maniac.
I'm surprised Worf or Kira let Sisko poison an entire planet's atmosphere. They could have so easily said:
"You're out of line captain and I'm relieving you of duty"
That would have been better, and then of course Eddington would not have capitulated and he would still be wanted. Sisko would then realize what an asshole he's been and the episode would be all the more stronger for it. Hell Jadzia should have been furious at Sisko for how low, desperate and evil he stooped to. That would have made for some good drama...
Everything about this episode is good; except for Sisko not actually bluffing. Such out-of-character actions, strange reactions to his actions and no-consequences ending mean this episode deserves a star or lower.
I did enjoy For the Uniform, and thought it was a good episode too, but yeah, the ending was completely bizarre. I was convinced it was going to be revealed to be some kind of trick (holoprojectors on the outside of the ship, or somehow having transported both ships to a different planet without life or something) right until the credits rolled, particularly because of Jadzia and Sisko just laughing it off and basically going "Haha, so the one planet got poisoned for Cardassians and the other for humans, so they'll just switch planets and that'll be cool and all olololol"
That said, the episode features some stellar acting, a good story right until the end, and the holographic communicator is very nice. Though it almost completely disappears after. In many ways, For the Uniform is like one of the many Voyager episodes that seem to take place in a universe of their own.
Actually, I really like this episode. I think that the whole point was to show that when emotions are involved and it becomes personal, even the best of us can make bad decisions. Yes...it all came out okay in the end (as things always must in Star Trek, unfortunately)...but I DO think that the idea was to show that Sisko made it personal...and making it personal, regardless of how important the goal is (in this case, going after a dangerous traitor - presumably one who knew lots of classified info and who ALSO made things personal), is never a good idea.
In "For the Uniform" it seems like Michael Eddington is the leader of the entire Maquis now. Whatever happen to Sisko's old friend Cal Hudson from "The Maquis, Parts 1 and 2"? We find out later in the season that Hudson was killed at some point. Had that already happen by now?
Sisko's decision at the end of the episode to poison an entire planet was, as already mentioned here, just awful. A single Starfleet captain chose to poison an entire planet just to apprehend a single criminal -- who hadn't even killed or hurt any Federation citizens. Seems pretty excessive. Sure, it supposedly restored some balance of power because of the planet swaps that happen in the episode between the old Cardassian planet that can no longer be inhabited by Cardassians and this ex-Federation planet that can no longer be inhabited by humans. But there are so many problems with that.
First off, considering that Cardassians are humanoid (and genetically similar enough to Bajorans to be able to procreate with them without medical intervention, as has been established) it seems questionable in the first place that you could even develop a toxin that would so selectively work on one race and not the other. And it doesn't hurt any of the other lifeforms or plant life on the planet. Really? Seems pretty unlikely. How sure of the effects of this poisoning was Sisko before he used it? That's quite a risk to be taking.
So then, he's going to use this poisonous (to humans anyway) substance on a planet of colonist with very little prior warning? First off, at least some of the colonists are not going to believe the warning until he actually deploys the poison. I know I probably wouldn't. This is a member of Starfleet, after all, they don't do things like that. I know I was shocked when he actually did it in the episode. Plus, these people weren't generally likely to move, anyway. They are Maquis, after all. So Sisko had to have known (or at least should have known) that there would still be some people on the planet when the poison was deployed. How many of them are going to die before they can get off the planet? And that says nothing about the people that might die just because of the blind panic and crowd control issues. Did the colony even have the resources necessary to evacuate everyone? Did Sisko even check?
I definitely felt Sisko went too far. This is the single biggest example of a bad decision of his caused because he let things get too personal. The man just can't seem to step back and look at the big picture sometimes. Flawed character, indeed. Too flawed. He's a little too willing to look past his bad plan because he's distracted by his desired outcome. Too much "ends justifies the means". I like my heroes to be a little more on the side of good (ie heroic) than Sisko is. (I tend to like Kira more than Sisko for that reason. She may be a little flawed [see previous episode "The Darkness and The Light"], but she generally does the right thing more than Sisko. And it took the death of 4 of her personal friends to make her do questionable actions, while Sisko does WAY worse just because Eddington "betrayed" him [and killed no one].)
His actions being so questionable, at least, if not flat-out wrong, I agree with what others have said here that it's a wonder Sisko isn't arrested at the end of the episode along with Eddington. And that should probably include Worf or whoever else on the Defiant that knew about and allowed the planet poisoning to happen.
So if Sisko did get in trouble for his actions in this episode, how did he get out of it? Perhaps, even though he had made a horrible decision, he just got lucky and no one had actually died or suffered. Still, he should get in trouble for the bad decision, even if they ended up not lead to a horrible outcome by pure chance.
Maybe the Bajorans stepped in to defend him a little. Starfleet wanted to fire him. But the Bajorans didn't want their Emissary punished for doing "the Prophets' Will" or something. So the Bajorans threatened that if Sisko was fired, they would take back full control of DS9 and kick Starfleet out of the Bajoran system. Of course, Starfleet didn't want to loose control of DS9 or access to the system, so they acquiesced and let Sisko off with a warning or reprimand.
The only way I can really reconcile the actions in this episode is to say that something happen off screen. That Sisko got permission from Starfleet, that he informed his crew, that it was all an act for Eddington, that they knew for a fact that the planet was evacuated. Or maybe the poison doesn't kill right away, but only after days or weeks of exposure. That way Sisko could deploy the poison knowing that he had plenty of time to save the people, but it would still force Eddington's hand and the planet swap could still happen.
And here's one more idea to think about, knowing that Bashir is actually an undercover Bashir Changeling (UBC). Maybe UBC somehow caused Sisko's bad decision. Like maybe he gave Sisko bad info about the probable effects of the poison Sisko used and that made Sisko believe it was a good idea when it really wasn't. And UBC did this to try and get Sisko fired. (This idea doesn't really work because UBC probably would have revealed himself too much or gotten his "Bashir" self in trouble too. Plus, Bashir wasn't aboard the Defiant in the episode.)
Speaking of the undercover Bashir Changeling (UBC):
It's a little amazing that any changeling could impersonate someone so long without being found out. Obviously it helped in this case that UBC was impersonating a doctor. Because medical personnel were often the ones doing the blood screenings. So he was therefore able to pass whatever blood screenings were required. Or maybe it just allowed him access to some blood stores, that he kept within himself, and then released whenever needed. Obviously the Founders know how to get around blood screenings. Because Martok had a blood screening back in "Way of the Warrior" when he was really a changeling.
Another thing this brings up is the question of just how much rest the changelings need. Early on in the series Odo stated a couple of times that he needed to rest every 16 hours. But does that mean he has to start a rest period every 16 hours? Or that at least every 16 hours he had to rest, but he could do so less than 16 hours if he wanted to keep a "daily" cycle of 26hours like everyone else (with 2 separate rest periods about 13 hours apart). Remember "The Alternate" when he was turning into a primitive goo every time he rested? And, still, the goo events were happening every 16 hours. That seems to mean that Odo starts a rest cycle every 16 hours. Well, then, how long are those rest cycles? Questions never answered in the series.
OK, back to this UBC. Obviously, this Changeling doesn't have to "rest" every 16hours like Odo in the early seasons. It wouldn't have been able to keep its status secret this long. It would have crested too many questions if Bashir always had to find excuses to be alone for a while every 16 hours. But it doesn't seem too far-fetched that a good changeling wouldn't have to rest as often. As they get older and better at shape shifting, they get better at hold the shape longer and longer. Which brings us back to the question of just how often do they have to rest?
It's actually not even clear that Odo himself is restricted to the 16 hour clock any more. It isn't mentioned any more. In fact, there's a reference in "To the Death" that actually seems to imply that Odo is not on a 16 hour schedule any more. When they were talking in that episode about how Jem'Hadar don't sleep Odo said something like "imagine what I could get done if I didn't have to regenerate every day". That's right, he said "every day" vice "every 16 hours".
But the real reason it seems amazing that UBC could stay undercover as Bashir so long is that he must have very detailed information about life on DS9, and Bashir's life in particular. Obviously it helps that Bashir is not married or in a significant relationship. Sleep-overs would make it harder for the changeling to stay undercover.
Just how did the Dominion learn so much about life on DS9? That implies some really good reconnaissance -- and all done BEFORE UBC took over as Bashir. Of course, they could have learned a lot from Bashir's own mind. Remember, he had his brain probed by the dominion in "The Search, Part2". But that wouldn't give them current information, which would certainly be necessary. Here's my idea for how the changeling found out so much about Bashir and his life before taking over Bashir's life itself:
Changelings could spend some time as Bashir's uniform. Think about it, the uniform goes everywhere that Bashir goes, so the changeling could get used to Bashir's daily routine and get up-to-speed on what he's like and how he interacts with others. Other objects lying around DS9 are subjected to random phaser sweeps. But uniforms being worn by people are not subjected to phaser sweeps. And the uniforms are not tested by blood screenings, just the people inside them.
I like the idea, and I like that Sisko went a little bit villainous in this episode (I am a fan of Breaking Bad, after all ), it's just that I think the execution in this episode was terrible. Poisoning a planet is a huge deal, Sisko should probably be spending the rest of his life in a penal colony in New Zealand for what he did, and if the episode wasn't willing to show how he got off the hook then they probably shouldn't have sent him to such an extreme action.
In Purgatory's Shadow (***½)
This episode should actually be scored at four and a half stars, but I have chosen to deduct one star for the way that the Undercover Bashir Changeling was handled. It's a great idea, and it certainly achieved its goal of shocking me when I first saw this episode, but it's very messy in hindsight, and it's because it was so poorly planned. One of two things happened, either the uniform indicates that Bashir was kidnapped pre-Rapture and the Changeling performed brain surgery on Sisko and let the baby Changeling die, or the uniform indicates nothing and Bashir wore his old uniform for some reason. Yes, fan theories can explain away these inconsistencies, but I'd rather just call a spade a spade and admit that the writers had no plan going into this episode, and they threw in a cool twist that ultimately means nothing. It's sad because it's a really great idea, I just wish they had had it five episodes earlier and planned accordingly.
Otherwise, this episode is fantastic. A sequel of sorts to The Die is Cast, it takes pieces that have been resting on the board for a long time and finally starts pulling them together. What's most impressive about the story is that there isn't actually much of a plot to it, there seems to be an impending invasion and we watch the characters react to that situation, and to one another. We get wonderful scenes between Worf and Garak, Ziyal and Dukat, and Garak and Tain. This is one of DS9's most important arc episodes, yet it spends as much time letting the characters interact with one another as it does focusing on the grander narrative. It's a testament to the show that it manages to pull that off so well. And in contrast to the Undercover Bashir Changeling retroactive twist, the revelation that Tain was actually Garak's father works perfectly. It explains a lot about Garak's personality as he was always hiding his true identity, and it manages to add an extra layer to their earlier interactions on the show. Also, it's a good emotional scene.
The cliffhanger is excellent, one of the best cliffhangers in Star Trek, but I guess I'll discuss that more in the next episode...
Wormhole in Peril: 6
One of the things I love about the reveal of Tain as Garak's father is that Bashir is in the room to witness it. When Tain asks if they're alone, Garak glances over at Bashir and then just flat-out lies (heh, typical). The fact that he would allow Bashir to witness such an intensely private, emotional moment ... to me, that just speaks volumes about their friendship. It's like he wanted Bashir to understand more about who he was, and why he was the way he was.
Of course I am very into the whole Garak/Bashir thing so it's quite possible I could be reading more into it than is there ...
I was just half expecting Tain to say, "I can still see idiot boy! Don't try and out lie your daddy!"
As for the whole Bashir/Garak thing... I dunno. People that want to see it do, those who don't, don't. I personally believe that Garak was tired of living the lie to -everyone- and given his past with Bashir, he did trust the poor gulliable human despite his naievte, and wanted to be whatever his true self is around one person at least.
I agree, that's a really, really touching scene.
Re Bashir/Garak: Garak was clearly coming on to Bashir in "Past Prologue," but I think he was doing that just to mess with Bashir*. Bashir was able to take the heat and not get (too) freaked and later proved to be a loyal friend. So I think their friendship is just that and nothing more.
*I actually did that myself in high school. Being a bit of a nerd (and being a good singer), jocks would sometimes give me shit about being gay or girly or whatever. So I'd turn it right around and pretend I was checking them out. It really freaked some of them out! Of course, I'm not actually gay, unlike Garak, who could plausibly be gay or bi. (I think he was somewhat interested in Ziyal.)
"In Purgatory's Shadow" is one of my favorite episodes of DS9. Very significant, sweeping, galaxy-changing events. And great cliff-hanger ending.
I love Garak in this episode, as usual. Him lying about the original message. The bit with him lying to Worf about wanting to join Starfleet. Or when the Jem'Hadar first beam aboard and he says "Oh, I'm so glad you showed up. Can you direct us to the wormhole?" Pure Garak Gold!
Love the continuing-to-develop relationship between Worf and Dax.
And maybe that subtle hint of a continuing-to-develop relationship between Odo and Kira. I wonder if Odo regrets not pursuing Kira while he was a solid? Better yet, I wonder if Odo regrets never having had sex while he was solid?
I love seeing Martok and Tain come back. Love those re-ocurring characters. Granted, Martok hasn't really been that great of a character up to this point. But that was the changeling doppleganger. This real Martok has never meet Worf before, just "hear of him". Now that the real Martok's here the party can really start.
But the beauty of it is, even if you don't ship Garak and Bashir romantically (and I will freely admit that I do), you can still appreciate the deep, complicated friendship that they have developed over the years. That's what I like about this scene. They've come a long way from Garak just enjoying messing with Bashir's mind.
"They called us the Sons of Tain..." Great stuff.
By Inferno's Light (****)
Coming from the amazing cliffhanger that ended the previous episode, the audience is probably expecting a massive battle like the one in The Way of the Warrior (I know I was), but that's when DS9's writers pulled off one of their greatest twists. They did something even bigger, they turned the political landscape of the Star Trek universe on its head, they turned a major character that was on the path to redemption back towards villainy, and they set the Federation on an unstoppable course to war. And they did it all in the teaser. There have been many great teasers in Star Trek, but few did so much in so little time as this one did. To top it all off, there's no reset button, the rest of the episode deals with the consequences of this historic moment, and the resolution makes it clear that those consequences are going to continue into the future.
Dukat and the Cardassians joining the Dominion is one of those things that's shocking at first, yet makes perfect sense. Dukat is delusional and lusts after power, he's willing to make any deal that offers him a shortcut to power without fully considering the long-term implications. Cardassia is a beaten empire, unable to defend themselves from a bunch of weak Federation colonists in the DMZ, so it makes sense that they'd side with the Dominion to restore their empire and their pride. What's most impressive about this twist is that it ties together so many of the plot threads that already existed. The Obsidian Order attacked the Dominion and were wiped out, the Cardassian military lost control to the civilian government without the OO, the Klingons (under the influence of a Changeling) used this as a pretext to attack Cardassia, and that sent Cardassia running into the arms of the Dominion. It just works perfectly, and it makes the period of Klingon antagonism, which was a detour done for ratings purposes, into an important part of the tapestry of the show.
There are problems with the episode, of course. The escape from the POW camp was extremely convenient, the Dominion leaving the runabout next to the facility with no other ships to guard is a great example of villains acting stupidly in order to aid the needs of plot. The Undercover Bashir Changeling trying to blow up the Bajoran sun also makes little sense, the resulting nova would probably destabilise the wormhole. And it raises the question that if the Dominion had the ability to build such weapons and a willingness to use them, why did they not use them during the war? Why did the Breen attack Starfleet HQ instead of blowing up the entire solar system and completely crippling the Federation? These issues don't detract much from the greatness achieved in this episode, but they do hurt the finished product a bit.
Runabouts Lost: 6
Wormhole in Peril: 7
Stupid French Things: 4
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