Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Search Part I and II

"When did I start thinking of this Cardassian monstrosity as home?"

The Dominion are a powerful threat to the station, Bajor, and the Federation – and Sisko has a plan to make sure the people and worlds he cares for survives.

We began the first season with Bajor having just been freed, Sisko an identified emissary to the planet.

The second season opened with the rescue of Li Nalas and the restoration of Bajor to a more important level of regard.

Now, in the third season, our cast risks having everything – but everything – taken away. Not only have the crew formed powerful bonds on the station – both with each other and the bit players – but they've also helped generate a new status quo in the Federation – one where Bajor is respected and a center of trade and a stepping-stone to research, and Deep Space Nine is at the heart of it. With the Dominion effectively blocking passage to the Gamma Quadrant with fear, both they and the status quo are at risk. Odo's lost even more than the rest; his position has been taken along with the increase in Starfleet presence. Sisko's attempt to find him a cushy position is cute, but Odo's response and understanding of what's going on is tremendously impressive. Overall, though, the show has placed the characters so that this suicide mission – the search for the mysterious Founders which run the Dominion – seems like the only reasonable thing to do.

And so they board the claustrophobic ship – their world seems tighter than ever, darker, great staging here – and they get ready to fly – with a faulty cloaking device –

The fact it's a trap was pretty much obvious from the get-go, I think. When they spring the trap the team is separated into two. And I'm reminded that Agents of SHIELD had to get their inspiration from somewhere. Sisko and the team return to Deep Space Nine, and have to navigate a web of intrigue – and a growing horror that the Federation might, no, does ally with the Dominion's representative, Borath. What was cool was seeing Sisko slowly turn rebel. I began to see the personality he showed in "Crossover" begin to emerge. I suspected this was all a fake when Garak died; the Romulan dying seemed, well, like a red-shirt moment, but once Garak died I began to suspect it was all a fake.

Meanwhile, Odo and Kira actually find Odo's species – a world of changelings just like him, who have retreated from the Universe, and live in a sea of gooey love. I defy anyone not to feel something when Odo is experiencing the Link with his compatriots, finally learning some of the lore and dreams of his kind. His loyalty seems rightfully divided – after all, has he not been rejected on the other side of the wormhole? When Kira discovers a mysterious power source in her explorations to find a way off the planet, he joins her to see what it is – and probably get rid of her so he can focus on being a changeling – but instead he discovers the crew, unconscious, the worm at the heart of paradise. All the tragedy and death they've experienced is a simulation, run by our friend Borath. (Agents of SHIELD! SEEEE?) The Dominion wanted to learn about the psychology of the Federation members, and has succeeded.

The denouement is expected – he and they are the Founders, the rulers of the Dominion, and the story is sad. Like Odo, the changelings have experienced years of oppression. Unlike Odo, they took this as motivation to gain power and take over the Gamma Quadrant. They respect and love Odo enough to let him go, with a warning, and let him take the crew with him. Which he does – but I'm left terrified for our team. Not only does the Dominion have trade records and partners and extensive knowledge of the Gamma quadrant, they now also have extensive psychological profiles of our crew.

Ethics and Morality

When someone oppresses you, do you learn from it and become enlightened, or are you justified in engaging in equal or greater oppression? The Dominion is formed on the Founders' notion that because they suffered, they are entitled to impress their version of order on the galaxy. Odo's taken the opposite track; his being controlled has led him to reject the notion of control, instead of rejecting others.

Bits and Pieces

Quark and Odo as roomies, and Odo scaring Quark. I can understand why – it must be a real moment of vulnerability being bucketed.

Garath on the ship – I know he was a simulation but it was fun to see him having fun!

I'm fairly certain this is the first time Odo has sex. Will this impact his incipient interest in Kira?

I don't know about voices, but the changelings came across to me as fairly asexual.

Borath seems fairly run of the mill as a villain. Wonder if we'll see more of him.

We are left as confused as the crew in some ways. Did anything which happened, happen? Or is it more that these things are shadows of things which might be, and can be changed? Ghosts of stations future?

Quotables

Odo: Tell me, why was I sent away?
Changeling: Because even in our solitude we desired to learn more about the galaxy. You were one of a hundred infants we sent off to gain that knowledge for us.
Odo: But how could you be sure that we'd find our way back here?
Changeling: You had no choice. The urge to return home was implanted in your genetic makeup. And now, thanks to the passageway, you're the first to return to us. We weren't expecting you so soon. 
Odo: When were you expecting me?
Changeling: Not for another three hundred years.
Odo: How long was I away?
Changeling: A long time. But now all that matters now is that you're here.
Odo: It's different than I imagined it would be.
Changeling: Whatever you imagined, I promise it will be better.

Overall

A great start for the first season! Five out of five mind-controlling Borath machines.

No comments: