Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Broken Link

I've spent most of my life bringing people to justice. Now that it's my turn, how can I run away?

Intrigue mixed with action and horror in the season finale as a terminally ill Odo, desperate to live, gambles, heading to the home of the Founders for a cure – only to find, perhaps, the truth behind the proverb that the cure is worse than a disease.

I don't know what's more painful for me to watch in this episode – the slow degeneration of Odo, or the willingness to go to his destruction and accept judgment from his own people. The complexity of this character keeps me coming back to the show. On the one hand he's ill and desperately so. He's been forced to do so in a heinous way – his molecular structure has been affected by his people in such a way that he looks horribly disfigured, is in at least some pain, and is unable to control his form. When, however, the dynamics of the situation are explained to him – that he'd killed another shapeshifter, that such an event had never happened in the Universe until Odo, and that this dwarfed the defense Odo was trying to give his friends, Odo doesn't claim he's already been punished. He willingly goes, because as a lawbeing he wants to respect the law. And the judgment is that he's guilty and can no longer be a shapeshifter.

Garak's situation in some ways parallels Odo. Both of them wanted to go to the Gamma Quadrant for their own reasons: Odo his life, Garak knowledge of survivors of war and probably a million other purposes – he's Garak, after all. Like Odo, Garak gets his wish, and both of them get punished for it. Garak learns not only that the Dominion has wiped out the forces he inquired after, but harbor an intent to destroy Cardassia. The exchange between Garak and the Founder was chilling.

So both A and B plots are incredible, but what about the rest of it? Because from beginning to end the episode is driven by characters and relationships, from the crew betting on how many sneezes poor Kira, now pregnant with Miles O'Brien's baby, will give (I still can't quite get my head around that plot turn) to Garak and Odo in the medbay, with Garak keeping Odo focused by dripping choice bits of juicy criminal gossip!

The conclusion is overwhelming: Odo gets what Data from The Next Generation always wanted. He's human, with memories of his shapeshifter life and his moments in the Great Link being judged. Because of these memories he now has even more value to the Federation: he can identify shapeshifters posing as other races.

And he identifies Gowron. The head of the Klingon Empire.

Seen in the Scene

Kira coming in to comfort Odo with station reports was lovely. This leading to Odo hurting himself and collapsing into goo while trying to capture criminals was tragic.

It's intriguing how the episode compares Odo's social awkwardness in the beginning of the episode with Aroya to his increased interest at the end of the episode. Garak also mentions food. Does this presage a season with Odo and Troi swimming in chocolate?

Read in the Captions

Worf: Odo values his privacy. He does not like to socialize.
Dax: I think it's all an act.
Worf: It is not an act. He told me so himself.
Dax: But you were socializing with him when he said it.
Worf: Captain, was Dax's last host as argumentative as this one?
Sisko: Worse.

Garak: I live in hope. Besides, if you do take me along, I think you'll find me quite useful. I'm a man of many talents.
Sisko: I have no need for a tailor on this mission, let alone a spy. But maybe there is something you can do for me. This is going to be a long trip for Odo. I need someone to occupy his attention, take his mind off his condition.
Garak: You want me to keep him company?
Sisko: No. Anyone can do that. Dax, Bashir, myself. And what would we have to offer him? Kindness? Sympathy? That's the last thing he wants.
Garak: But where you offer kindness, I offer mystery. Where you offer sympathy, I offer intrigue. Just give me a seat next to Odo's bed and I promise you I will conjure up enough innuendos, half-truths, and bald-faced lies about my so-called career in the Obsidian Order to keep the Constable distracted for days. If there's one thing Cardassians excel at, it's conversation.
Sisko: You've got yourself a job.

Bashir: Captain, I'm getting some strange readings.
Sisko: What have you done to him?
Founder: He has been judged.
Bashir: Captain, I'm reading a heart, lungs, and a digestive system. It's as if he were human. 
Founder: We gave him what he wanted. We made him a solid. He's one of you now. Oh, poor Odo. Perhaps we should have killed you. It would have been far less cruel.

Overall

Eight out of eight Kira sneezes. I loved this episode. Can't wait for Season 5!

1 comment:

tucsonbarbara said...

I've been re-watching DS9, and reading your reviews - and thoroughly enjoying both.

On a very sad note, however, Aron Eisenberg (Nog), passed away yesterday. He was only 50. No cause of death was given in the reports I've read, but he has always had health issues, as he was born with only one kidney - and it was defective.