Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Begotten

"You have no idea of the marvels that are in store for you."

You don't always need high, ultra-intense stakes in order to have an enjoyable, engrossing episode. Sometimes, you just need strong emotional core to get invested in.

Alternate title: An Honest Fangirl cries over a beaker of goo.

B-storyline first, because it didn't take up that much screen time and there's honestly not that much to say. It was an... adequate counterbalance to the main story. It definitely felt childish at times, especially the bickering between O'Brien and Shakaar, and some scenes did drag on for a bit too long. But the thematic parallels of new life and death tied the episode together well and made it feel cohesive. And it brought an end to Kira's pregnancy! I appreciate it for allowing Nana Visitor to still be involved with the show during her own real life pregnancy, but I'm very glad that it's over.

On to the meat of the episode. They should not have gotten me to care so much about a pile of orange goo so quickly. It was a silent pile of goo! And yet I was in tears by the end of the episode. But I am getting ahead of myself.

This was Odo's episode. There is absolutely no doubt about that. René Auberjonois was simply phenomenal, especially when you realize that a good portion of his scenes were just him. There was no one else for him to work off of. And there is no better example of that then when he was talking to the baby about his past and how he's going to be better than that, how he's going to show the baby so many wonderful things. I am not a parent, but it struck me as such a powerful, hopeful sentiment. Whatever the mistakes of the past were, he was going to learn from them and make sure that they don't happen again. Which, of course, just means that he makes his own, different mistakes.

Was he too gentle and soft? I don't know. The narrative seemed to make the argument that yes, he was, that discomfort and unpleasantness is critical to growth and development. I can see the logic in it, even as I don't want it to be true. But maybe that's part of being a parent: learning that you can't protect your child from all pain and discomfort and that such things aren't always a bad thing. In fact, they can help your child grow into something even beyond your expectations.

Of course, Dr. Mora showed that you can definitely take that belief too far. Odo only ever talked about his past in negative terms. He only reacted and changed shape in order to get the pain to stop. Yes, Dr. Mora was under an immense amount of pressure by a less than friendly government, but that only explains. It doesn't excuse. The episode really comes alive whenever the two of them shared the screen. The history between them and lingering resentment and hurt on both sides was palpable.

I knew that there was no way that a changeling baby would last longer than a single episode, but it still hurt when Odo's celebrations with Quark (an excellent exchange between the two of them, by the way) were cut short. I loved seeing his joy at being a parent and seeing his child flourish. We so rarely see him smiling like that. Ripping that away from him almost felt too cruel. Thankfully, it wasn't that simple.

The most lasting consequence of this episode is the return of Odo's shapeshifting abilities. I was incredibly surprised that he got them back so quickly. I really thought that he would spend at least the rest of the season as a solid, if not longer. I think that there was still some really interesting stories that could have been told, but I'm not that upset about it. The sheer joy of Odo flying through the station as a hawk was more than enough to push me over the edge of teary-eyed into full on tears. I don't like agreeing with Dr. Mora, but he was right. This was a gift. Odo deserved to have something good happen to him.

Random Thoughts

This is the first episode in which Dax does not appear.

This is the last appearance for both Dr. Mora and Shakaar. Not going to lie, it feels like a pretty lackluster final appearance for a character like Shakaar, who is both Prime Minister and Kira's boyfriend. I expected a more definitive ending for him. At least an explicit break up!

Bajoran birth is completely pain free. Lucky.

Odo left behind the clothes when he first transformed because they're real and solid. He doesn't need actual clothes anymore now that he can shapeshift. I really appreciated that tiny detail.

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An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.

3 comments:

Victoria Grossack said...

I have always liked the end of the episode, where Odo and Kira talk about having lost their children.

Gary said...

They don't draw attention to it, but the last scene is the first time that Odo ever calls Major Kira "Nerys".

CoramDeo said...

I miss Rene Auberjonois. He could act against a little bit of jell-o and make me care about it.