Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Air date: 2/15/1999
Written by Rene Echevarria
Directed by Steve Posey
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"What's he doing?"
"Being fog. What's it look like?"
— Bashir and Odo on Laas' shapeshifting on the promenade
Nutshell: A tour de force of heartfelt choices and matters of identity.
Ah, how wonderful, complex, and deeply involving Rene Echevarria's stories can be, all the while being so extremely straightforward and honest in plot. Even though his episodes earlier this season ("Afterimage," "Chrysalis," "Covenant") haven't quite clicked for me, I almost always appreciate what Echevarria tries to do on a character level. He also seems to have been the force behind the most substantive of the Odo/Kira stories, including fifth season's "Children of Time"—one of the series' best installments—and last season's "Behind the Lines," a compelling view lessened only by what came after it.
Now we have "Chimera," a textured, gripping story full of issues and choices and relationships and feelings; it's incredible material, yet in an understated sort of way. It doesn't resort to gimmicks; it simply faces up to its characters' histories, decisions, and identities from the first scene to the last. It's a character episode that will reward those who have watched the series and come to understand Odo's angst. It also charts some new territory, even though the primary conflict is something Odo has faced before.
I didn't loathe "His Way" from last season the way a lot of people did, but I didn't really like it, either. While I found it entertaining, it seemed too superficial and trivial given the complexity of the Odo/Kira relationship, and I feared that certain story opportunities were never going to be available again. Sure, there was the opportunity to create new problems within the new relationship, but the question was whether that would actually happen, or if we'd simply get contrived soapish stuff like what, unfortunately, characterized stretches of the Worf/Dax relationship. "Chimera" answers the question, and I very much like the answer.
Romance on Trek has a shaky track record. Too frequently we receive the single-episode pair-up-with-random-guest treatment, which more often than not feels forced for the sake of fulfilling some quota ("Second Sight," "Meridian," or this season's "Chrysalis" as DS9 examples; "Unforgettable" or even the recent "Gravity" as Voyager examples). Sometimes it comes across reasonably, but rarely does it really, really work.
In "Chimera," it really, really works. For once I could feel the connection between Odo and Kira in a way that no episode before has been able to approach. A big part of that is simply because Echevarria treats the characters intelligently, with dialog that makes a great amount sense. The rest of the credit goes to performance: Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonois sell the material so well that the Odo/Kira scenes reach a poignancy that's never been matched by two lovers on any Star Trek story I can remember.
Frankly, I didn't expect that. Odo/Kira has been an interesting relationship, and even after "His Way" it has been watchable. But I've never really been moved by their romantic scenes the way I was here. The writing usually keeps their relationship as a backdrop to an issue of plot. Here it was integral to the plot in an extremely urgent, powerful, and affecting way.
Yet this story is only partially about love; it's equally, if not more so, about identity. Namely, Odo's identity, which has always been in a state of self-doubt. Since his relationship with Kira became more intimate, he has found happy times—"the happiest of [his] life," in fact. He believes he has found where he belongs—with humanoids and, more specifically, with Kira. But In "Chimera," Odo's self-doubt is brought back to the forefront with the appearance of Laas, a shapeshifter who was one of "the hundred" like Odo—sent away from the Great Link centuries ago to make contact with other life in the galaxy—and not part of the Founders' more recent, insidious agenda to control everything in their reach.
Laas is an intriguing individual—one of the most interesting guest characters in recent memory, simply because he's allowed to exist as a believable entity whose actions and dialog grow out of the character, rather than some need to fulfill a plot element. The plot of "Chimera" grows out of characters, and that's perhaps why it's so simple and so effective.
Of course, it also helps that Laas is exceptionally well performed. Laas is played by Garman Hertzler, a.k.a. J.G. Hertzler, who is so convincing as Laas that I didn't even realize Garman and J.G. were one and the same until after I'd seen the entire show. Hertzler displays quite an acting range between Laas and Martok (who doesn't appear in "Chimera"); with that gruff voice, Hertzler often chews the scenery as Martok, and here that voice is so different and controlled that it rarely can be distinguished as the same.
But even more important is Echevarria's idea of who Laas is. Like Odo, Laas has been in search of other shapeshifters, though he doesn't know about his people in the Gamma Quadrant and the Great Link. Unlike Odo, his tolerance for humanoids has surpassed the breaking point. You see, Laas became sentient long before Odo had, and lived a longer life among humanoids before abandoning it. In that time he established plenty of opinions—opinions that he isn't afraid to voice to Odo and Odo's friends.
Laas' opinions are interesting because they challenge basic humanoid existence in a pointed, unexpected way. In one scene, where Laas meets Odo's friends, he unleashes a calm, quiet, but unmistakably unhappy monolog on why he dislikes humanoids: They expand and consume, displacing other life forms from their natural habitats, and covering worlds with farms, cities, and automation. They refuse to exist as they naturally are, instead striving for artificial advances. And they aren't tolerant of non-humanoids.
Even more: Laas tells Odo that his ability to fit in with humanoids is a denial of his true existence. With a sentiment that could send any reasonable person into an identity crisis, Laas informs Odo that he has been assimilated by humanoids to the point that he knows nothing more. And Odo isn't sure; maybe Laas is right. Odo has been so enraptured in his relationship with Kira that he hasn't thought about being a Changeling in some time.
What's fascinating about these arguments is that the story looks at them from different perspectives. Through the other regular characters we see doubt and disagreement with Laas, but through Odo we see understanding. The weight of Laas' point of view and his understandable distrust for humanoids might have been lessened if the story had supplemented his opinions with unnecessary "evil intentions" or other silly plot devices. But it doesn't do that; it delivers the dialog and points of view and puts Odo right in the middle. Then it puts Laas in the center of a situation where we can see injustice toward a shapeshifter unfolding.
That situation involves two Klingons attacking Laas, essentially because he annoyed them. They insult him and label him a "Founder." By the time the brief skirmish is over, one of the Klingons has died at Laas' hand. (Minor complaint #1: I didn't care for the portrayals of the Klingon officers, who are badly performed and written as needlessly stupid and hostile.)
What happens next is exactly what we expect. The Klingons want someone to answer for the death of one of their officers, and they plan to do anything they can to bring this Changeling to "justice." The distrust is more than obvious. Laas has been singled out by the Klingons because of what he is more than because of what he has done. It's also interesting that Laas' own attitudes don't help matters, but therein lies the problem—Laas has his prejudices, but so does everyone else.
Demonstrating this issue are a number of excellent performances from the supporting characters. Even before the death of the Klingon, Colm Meaney brings a subtle distrust to his scenes in a way that is so perfectly "O'Brien"—with subtle sarcasm that isn't anything approaching hatred, but definitely reveals a distrust for Laas that is partially based upon a prejudice. It's telling in an understated way, because it proves there's some truth behind what Laas believes (even if Laas is unwilling to work to make the situation better), yet the point is made in a way that doesn't place blame or make indictments, but simply reveals a sad fact.
And Sisko's pragmatic skepticism, and later annoyance—which comes when Odo voices one too many opinions about the way shapeshifters have suddenly and covertly become targets of injustice—is a notion that is realistic, and perfectly conveyed by Avery Brooks. Odo goes just a little too far in his insinuations, and Sisko lets him know. It's a bad situation all around, but it has to be dealt with, and Sisko handles it the best he can. Meanwhile, Michael Dorn and the director, Steve Posey, make an interesting statement with the casual reactions of Worf; as Odo describes the events leading up to the Klingon's death (including the absurdity of the two Klingons being "menaced by fog"), Worf is quietly disappointed with how the Klingons handled the situation, and the ridiculous overreaction of their government. The number of levels that this works on is fascinating.
Then, of course, there's Quark, who manages to get in a pointed speech that's at least as challenging as his speech about the human capacity for violence in "The Siege of AR-558." This time he informs Odo that the humanoid fear of Changelings and other differences stems from natural, genetic self-preservation. I've heard this argument before, in real life, and I've never bought it as a defense for prejudice, because prejudice is learned. But I appreciated Quark's blunt honesty, and that he doesn't excuse what the Klingons did, but merely explains why it happened.
Issues of war also arise; the fact that the Alpha Quadrant is at war with Odo and Laas' people is one of the driving forces of tension, meaning that unjust consequences are all but guaranteed in Laas' future. The tension is understandable given the deceptive abilities of Changelings, but there's a point where the line must be drawn, otherwise any shapeshifter would be subject to the kind of persecution and internment that, say, Japanese-Americans found themselves victim of during World War II. In short, Quark's assertion that "this is no time for a Changeling pride demonstration on the promenade" is both practical and realistic. It's just unfortunate that such a situation has to exist in the first place.
The fact this story can work in so many implicit issues without turning preachy or melodramatic and sticking solely with the truth of the characters is, well, pretty amazing.
And all through this, Odo is torn between love and identity in a way that is excruciatingly vivid. Who is Odo, really? Is he just pretending to be a humanoid? How does he cope with not knowing where he belongs? Does Kira's love go beyond the bounds of Odo's familiar humanoid form? I would say the answer to the last question is yes, but I would also say that a great deal of how others perceive us is based partially on the expectations of our physical existence. What happens when that existence could be anything? Odo has struggled with such questions his entire life, and Laas serves to remind him of where he could go—to exist with others like him in a link separate from the Great Link. (And I have a feeling this isn't the last time Odo will face having to make this choice.)
Odo isn't the only person torn. So is Kira when she realizes Odo's search for himself might require leaving her behind. She realizes Odo must be permitted to find his path—his right path—and makes a particularly difficult decision when releasing Laas from his holding cell so he can escape the station. (Minor complaint #2: I'm skeptical that Kira could so easily release Laas from confinement, leaving no evidence of her intervention and no suspicions from Sisko.) She can't bear to see Odo stuck where he doesn't belong, and she loves him enough to let him choose his path, even if that means joining Laas and abandoning his life as a humanoid.
"Love conquers all," as Laas puts it, may seem like a trite statement, but here it shows a huge difference between Laas' philosophy and Odo's. Laas faces humanoids with a cynicism that's understandable. And one could argue that Odo faces humanoids with a naivete that's equally understandable simply because his interactions haven't yet become jaded over a long period of time. Or perhaps it's simply that Odo got the luckier draw compared to Laas, whose experience with humanoids simply didn't work. (It's a telling sign that Laas once had a humanoid lover, but that the relationship fell apart.) Echevarria approaches each situation with great insight; even scenes that could've been cliché are instead full of probing dialog and ideas. (Interesting perspectives like Laas' belief that humanoids are tragically trapped in their static forms make all the difference.)
"Chimera" is a great story—the season's best so far. It's an intelligent and emotional outing, solidifying the Odo/Kira relationship in a way that, in its final scene, is exceptionally moving because it vies to capture our imaginations and emotions and senses all at once.
So many tantalizing questions, so many honest answers. This is why I watch Star Trek. At its best, like with "Chimera," it transcends plot and ends up meaning something. This episode looks at uncertainty in the universe and finds out what it means to the people involved. In the process, we discover their feelings and reflect upon them, hopefully while reflecting upon our own.
Next week: Mobsters take over Vic's lounge—badda-bing, badda-bang.
Previous episode: Field of Fire
Next episode: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang
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160 comments on this post
Tue, Sep 11, 2007, 9:08pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Nov 25, 2007, 4:01am (UTC -5)
Tue, May 6, 2008, 7:36pm (UTC -5)
Thu, May 22, 2008, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 21, 2008, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 13, 2008, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 21, 2008, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 12, 2009, 3:43am (UTC -5)
Don't get me wrong, I appreciated the themes presented, but I thought the matter of Odo's allegiance was dealt with better when he was merging with the Founder Leader.
Sat, Jun 20, 2009, 3:09am (UTC -5)
Laas simply absorbed the klingon knife,there was no need to kill something in 'selfdefence' if the attacker cant harm the defender.
Odo making a excuse that the klingon reached for his disruptor is a blunt lie and he stated more then once that he cant lie at all.
All that aside its on of the best episodes the last two season,but that says more about the other episodes then this one.
Sat, Aug 15, 2009, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 15, 2009, 8:00am (UTC -5)
I've thought about 'the difference' and some kind of 'humanoid fantasy'(or, it can be : federalization in Trek) during watching. And I've always been moved by Kira's choice, her tryng of acception. I want to believe that is our human being's hope. While I don't agree "Love conquers all" personally haha.
Yes, this is one of my best episodes through whole DS9, even whole Trek.
Sun, Jan 10, 2010, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 3, 2010, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 26, 2010, 2:56am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 22, 2010, 7:47am (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 17, 2010, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
This episode made me think about what love truly is. The Changelings can't understand love because they are linked most of the time. Imagine being physically and telepathically connected to every other living being on your planet for most of your life? You can't love one person under those circumstances. Love requires mystery, desire, longing. Things you can't feel if you're connected to someone all the time. In a way, despite all the disadvantages of being a humanoid, that 'weakness' allows us to feel closer to one person than any Changeling could.
Thu, Jan 13, 2011, 11:13am (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 3, 2011, 12:33am (UTC -5)
So a key part of humanoid love is the idea that it's an intimate connection between just two people and it's like a secret you have that you don't have to share with anyone else.
Unfortunately the episode was almost ruined by the one line of dialog where Odo and Laas agree about the difficulty of emulating humanoid faces. It reminded me of the glaring inconsistency they created when they had changelings take over the positions of Bashir, Admiral Ross, and Martok. These clones were perfect in every respect yet they still persist with the idea that changelings can't 'do' human skin in detail.
How does this sort of thing get through everyone and end up as part of the script? Did I miss a bit of technobabble somewhere that explained this?
I think they could have explained it by saying the replacements *were* actual clones that they made using DNA from the source person. This would make sense because they have already established both DNA & cloning expertise, and the ability to accelerate clone growth so they reach maturity in a couple of weeks.
But I distinctly remember these replacements acting as changelings at the time they were 'caught' (except for Bashir) so the writers shot themselves in the foot.
This show already suffers from implausability, just because of the science stuff they can do which would be impossible as we currently understand the physical universe.
They have also formed bad habits that make the audience work even harder to suspend disbelief, like the random way that the deflector seems to be this magical device than can emit streams of magical particles that can apparently do almost anything that is required in order to wrap up the plot.
But on top of this, from time to time they let slip something like this changeling issue with skin detail that finally tips the scales and makes it impossible to take seriously any more.
Luckily that only last for a few minutes and I soon forget. But it really sucks.
It sucks first because it's not necessary. I can think of dozens of ways to explain their ability to insert 'replacement' humanoids as spies. The easiest is to say that they are clones, created by taking the DNA of a Vorta and then adding the necessary bits to make it look and act like the target. This is beleivable because we already know they can do this stuff.
But I've seen these spy characters act like changelings when they get found out, so the clone excuse can't be used.
Or, they could simply tell us that it takes a lot more skill to perfectly do humans than Odo is capable of, because he is self-taught. They could then show how Odo improves over time, and eventually he could not have to do 2 hours of makeup every morning. This explanation would have been easy too, but they have screwed up again by showing the female founder have the same crude facial features while obviously being a very experienced shapeshifter.
Why do the writers do this to themselves? Did I miss a bit of technobabble that explained how the spies can perfectly imitate human skin and hair?
Surely I must have missed the explanation, it's almost impossible to believe such a glaring contradiction could be left hanging in the air like the most stinky fart ever, while everyone just stands there breathing it in, making no effort to move away or anything.
Thu, Feb 3, 2011, 12:35am (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 3, 2011, 12:38am (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 3, 2011, 1:35am (UTC -5)
OK, so that explains it. I guess they are telling us that the chengelings sent in as 'spies' were much much older than herself, and more skillful too.Seesa a bit weird because she seems to be the leader, but I' not going to quibble about that. AS a longtime Trek fan I only need the barest hint of an explanation to satisfy my nitpickiness.
I've skipped a few episodes on this run through the series, but only the fluff and inconsequential ones. I was pretty sure I hadn't missed anything with founders in it but I was probably distracted by email or something.
Thu, Feb 3, 2011, 11:40am (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 3, 2011, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
When Odo first meets the founders (and every time after that when the female is teaching him about the great link) he tries to get an idea of how many there are, and her answer is evasive enough to ring the alarm bells. She says things like 'Sometimes we are as one, sometimes we are many; it depends on how you look at it'.
That is classic cultish diversion to avoid the truth - once you are reunited with the great link, Odo, you won't have your own thoughts or personality any more. It's a single creature, capable of spiltting itself up almost infinitely, but when a piece if integrated back into the 'whole', it cases to be separate.
Bear in mind I've never read of watched any material or DVD commentary that might shed light on what the writers of the show meant. I'm just taking the show as I see it, and the singularity of the founder (not plural) seems pretty clear to me.
This theory has some holes in it. If it splits itself into 100 equal parts... which one is the 'real' founder?
I think it just knows innately which part is 'itself' and which parts are formerly 'itself'. Pretty much the same as the way our consciousness just 'knows' that I am me.
Anyone actually agree with me about this?
I think Odo was actually pretty terrified of losing his uniqueness if he joined the founder fulltime, but it wasn't shown in the series so it's probably just me making shit up to amuse myself.
Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
However, the relationship stuff between Odo and Kira (which are NOT my favorite topic on DS9) worked VERY well. That redeemed what I thought was an otherwise boring episode. Still, I'd only give it two stars at most.
Sat, Sep 17, 2011, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 24, 2011, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
Maybe it takes effort/skill, so most of the time they can't be bothered, but if they need to, they will. Odo, meanwhile, hasn't figured out the level of skill necessary yet.
But I agree that Sisko was acting out of character not to figure out that Kira was lying... he's usually sharper than that.
Wed, Oct 5, 2011, 1:57am (UTC -5)
While it doesn't detract from the episode, I found the attitudes of Worf and Sisko to be fairly ridiculous, redeemed only by the in-joke of the requests and frustrations of the conspicuously absent Martok.
Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
Consider for a moment that Lars has lived among humanoids. He finds they are not very tolerant of shape shifters. He further finds out that his own people are determined to control humanoids. So the founders, one day just got up and said "Let us control all these humanoids around us"? No. Their desire to control humanoids is an act of self-defence. They never attacked humanoids as a whole people. Only when the humanoids persecuted them for thousands of years and fail to accept them as life-forms, do the founders resort to war.
It is striking how remarkable this sequence echoes the story of racism in history and real life. The founders in Chimera are races like the Blacks, Chinese and Red Indians. While the humanoids are the white race. Some of the parallels are:
- Wherever the white man has gone, he has tried to wipe out the native populations. Similar to how humanoids persecuted changelings.
- The changeling is so much superior to the humanoid. Similarly, the Black race is probably the most athletic race of all. It is hard to deny this fact.
- The founders wage a war to control solids. This is similar to how the Nation Of Islam feels that the only way for the world to be secure is to exterminate the white race. It is also a view this author shares, after not just musing but through in-depth reading of history and the current unobtrusive machinations of the United States and its allies in Europe.
- Quark informs Odo that this is due to a genetic element. There is only one race that segregates races to such an extent, and that is the white race. Quark's explanation is true but only for the occidental people. Consider that in India and China, predominantly Hindu and Buddhist respectively, Odo would never have been treated as a suspicious character. Instead, he would have been venerated as a god. Quark's generalised statement that "Our tolerance doesn't extend to beyond the two-arm, two-leg variety" is so western that anyone acquainted with different cultures will only find mirth in his words. One has only to look at the Boddhisatva and extensive stories in the sutra about many-legged gods and at the Mahabarata's Krishna (a god often depicted with 8 arms) to see that this explanation is a white man's explanation.
- Lars says that humanoids have wanted to fight nature and nature's other animals. They do this by trying to conquer nature mercilessly and with no regard to other species. Technology is their god. This is again an apt description for the occidental people's view of the earth. The amount of factory-farms where over 8 billion cows, chickens and pigs are so wantonly and inhumanely butchered so that people don't have to wait 15 minutes to get a meal, can only be run by a race that is missing a key part of the soul.
Truth is truth. Take it or leave it.
Fri, Apr 6, 2012, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
But, I have another idea about Laas.
What if he is not one of the Hundred? What if he is one of the Founders but merely pretending to be one of the Hundred?
First, Julian scans Laas and determines that his matrix is just as stable as Odo's. However, we know that Odo is already infected, so if Julian is a good doctor - and we have plenty of evidence that he is one of the Federation's best - the scan result makes sense only if Laas is already infected.
Second, the Founders' main goal is to get Odo to come home, to rejoin them. It is more important to them than the entire Alpha Quadrant. They have tried to lure him once by nearly faking Kira's death. Why not by pretending to be one of the Hundred?
This actually makes Laas more credible to me. To me he was too prejudiced towards humanoids for a Hundred who had lived and loved among them. He was trying to set up a fight with the provocative fog. And his changeling abilities were inconsistent. He could do fog, fire, the space creatures but not faces? But it makes more sense if he simply pretended not to be able to do faces.
Finally, what is more likely? Odo runs into one of the Hundred - and the galaxy is enormous - or the Founders are trying to get him back?
The nice thing about this reasoning is that it means that Laas is no longer out there, dying of the disease.
Tue, Apr 17, 2012, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
When they made Odo humanoid, they had no intention of restoring him, ever.
Thu, May 3, 2012, 9:33am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 3, 2012, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Laas is an interesting and believable character. Odo and Kira's relationship is treated very well. It touches very well on Odo's desire to be with his people too. These elements compose a lot of really great scenes.
On the other hand, there are a lot of disturbing elements as well. Odo and Kira don't seem to really care that Laas kills a Klingon unnecessarily (even if the Klingon WAS reaching for a disrupting, Laas had plenty of ways to defend himself and stop the Klingon). Suddenly people are uncomfortable with Odo shapeshifting, when he's done it before and done it in public. There's a lot of forced tensions here, which might have made more sense if other episodes have built them up, but they largely come out of nowhere, even considering the war with the founders.
We also get another one of Quark's 'wonderful' speeches where he gets everything wrong. I'll grant it is perfectly in character for him to give these speeches. He's done it before talking about how Ferangi are better or the like. These talks of his never stand up to scrutiny...on the other hand, they are never scrutinized in the show.
The Federation has shapeshifters in it (I've forgotten the TNG episode, but I think they were Fed citizens). They have beings without corporeal form (Medusans). They have non-humanoids (Horta). The idea that they'd be remotely prejudiced is rather ridiculous and against one of the core elements of Trek. Maybe that wasn't meant to be one of the implications, but they don't really do much to avoid it.
I don't know...it's an odd episode. People give up on trying to get Laas and the crew to be friends very quickly. They really only have one awkward conversation that was prematurely ended and no one tried to defend humanoid civilization (which is a shame). Does Sisko not try to help Laas because of the killing or for some other reason? It's never explained and Kira's opinion that Sisko doesn't interfere for others is laughable at best.
I guess I don't care to how largely two-dimensional the people besides Odo, Kira, and Laas were this episode. It isn't like they don't understand the importance of family, which is what Laas is to Odo. It isn't like they wouldn't be fascinated by a being that can turn into fire or fog. Or simply a being that had explored a great deal. It isn't like they aren't inclusive of non-humanoid species or care if Odo shapeshifts (yet it is implied that now the latter does bother them some). It isn't like they can't give passionate defenses of their civilization (or even point out that the changelings really aren't much better, so why quibble?)
I guess even if Laas had still ended up disliking solids at the end, I would have still liked to have a bit more of an exploration between him and the rest of the crew.
Sat, Jul 7, 2012, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 19, 2012, 2:08am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 26, 2012, 1:53am (UTC -5)
First off, it is "Changeling," learn to spell. Second, so, you agree with the Nation of Islam wanting to commit genocide? That makes you as evil as they are. As evil as the founders are presented to be.
Third, interesting, since for all your babble about "racism," you seem to agree with the philosophy of supremacy of the founders, just like the Nation of Islam.
Fourth, as a Muslim, you should be the last to babble about the "white," race and its actions in the world. How many ancient and noble cultures has Islam either destroyed or crushed in its brutal 1,300 year history?
Fifth, finally, as to the rest, this was a poorly disguised analogy about homosexuality. Note Odo's and Laas's linking? First and only time he does it with a presumed MALE changeling. Also Quark's remark about a changeling pride demonstration? The fact that Laas is portrayed as a bad character, even a murderer, almost makes this a HOMOPHOBIC episode.
Thu, Jul 26, 2012, 11:28am (UTC -5)
How beauteous mankind is not...
Sat, Aug 11, 2012, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
The religious, racial, national, and anthropological critique was excellent, Changling! Ian is right to call for an inclusion of the queer voice. Nic's remark about love is very insightful, and I would like to add a linguistic critique.
The Founders in the Link are actually Immanuel Kant's aliens in his book Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View. Kant imagines aliens always to think out loud, incapable of hiding their thoughts, unlike humans. Kant feels just like Nic when Nic says, "Imagine being physically and telepathically connected to every other living being on your planet for most of your life? You can't love one person under those circumstances." As Odo says, linking is as natural for changelings as _talking_ is for humans; linking is alien language, language without the human freedom of self-editing. Humans make meaning by punctuating their words, whereas the link loses the meaning of human freedom because it the link is free of grammar, without periods or end.
In this sense we can take Neil's criticism of Changling identity as pointing out the falseness of Laas' comment about human and changeling "limits"; we (subjects) are all limited by immutable form (i.e. LINGUISTIC BEING), as Kant said, but whereas humans know this, the Changelings are capable of disavowing their limits by performing the Link. The "metaform" of limitless Linking is a fantasy, which Neil points out by showing the incompabatility of reality (multiple previously-Linked changelings with individuality) with Laas' claims of limitlessness.
Now we can also agree with Nic's conclusion that "In a way, despite all the disadvantages of being a humanoid, that 'weakness' allows us to feel closer to one person than any Changeling could." It is humanity's eternal curse of having a "weak link in the chain" that allows us the strength of drawing meaning from the notion of freedom, independence from our nature just as Odo, for love, alienates himself from his kind and thereby gains freedom.
So Changling is right about the Founders being self-defenders and not criminals, but only insofar as the Founders maintain their queerness and avow their limits, which Odo does but the endless Linkers do not.
Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 4:32am (UTC -5)
I was never sure if Changelings have a "default" gender. I always assumed that as a species that, while linked, does not have individuals, Changelings separated from the whole would be equally genderless. In theory that would mean there's nothing stopping Odo taking a female form (and not just temporarily, actually identifying as one).
Now the question of whether Odo would actually find men attractive, in either form, is a different question. I would assume a genderless race wouldn't care either way since the whole concept would be foreign, but being raised by Bajorans, Odo may be different in that regard (depending on whether orientation is learned or hard-coded).
Separate from that, I'm reminded of the female Changeling encouraging Odo to "be the rock". Maybe by holding a male form for so long he has "become" male, at least while in Odo-form. And given the unusual absence of homosexuals in Trek, "becoming" a male in this society means becoming a straight one. If he were to make the decision to change forms and live as a woman for long enough, his orientation might change. Depending on how elastic you think sexuality is (also I'm saying this in the context of a Trekkian "everyone is straight paradigm")
I prefer to think of it more like if humans encountered a species that only had one gender, or three. It's so completely non-analogous to our understanding of male/female, I suspect we either wouldn't be attracted to this new race at all, or we'd have the capacity to find any of them attractive on some level since they don't fit into our standard boxes. In that sense, Odo to us would probably qualify as gender-neutral and bisexual, since he has no understanding of male/female (except that he was raised by Bajorans, which complicates things)
Well, that was interesting!
Tue, Mar 5, 2013, 11:27pm (UTC -5)
Regarding the whole Changeling linking thing:
I always assumed the Changelings take their 'default' shape of a preferred gender, but they may technically not have gender since they 'average' ones spend most of their lives as parts of a greater whole. They have no need for sexual reproduction. Linking is a melding of form and sensation, of thought and feeling. It's something we can't comprehend because we're limited by our physical bodies. Our molecules can't shift to mingle with others the way those of the Changelings species can.
Odo may have taken a male form by default because he spent much of his early life around Doctor Mora and had few other humanoid models to work from. For all we know he might have taken a woman's body if Doctor Mora had been female instead of male. The female Founder may prefer the feminine shape because it looks deceptively nonthreatening. Where she learned the difference between males and females is anybody's guess. Maybe the memory of Changeling history all the way back to when they began evolving the ability is passed up through the Link.
Therefore, gender won't matter if two Changelings decide to link up. In their true liquid form there is no male or female. I recall in A Simple Investigation he told Arissa he had an experience "that some would consider sexual." Can you blame him for thinking it inappropriate to link with Laas in public? He knew the public perception might border on disgust--and because of the Founders he knew the average station humanoids (not the DS9 crew) were uncomfortable with seeing him shapeshift.
I remember the episode where Odo killed another Changeling. Remember? It was the guy who tried to force a link. If people see linking as a sexual thing, then wouldn't one Changeling forcing an unwilling Changeling to link and ripping what they know out of their mind be akin to rape? Imagine the implications of that.
Thu, Apr 4, 2013, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
Lots of interesting comments. Nice site.
Fri, May 17, 2013, 3:15am (UTC -5)
I agree. I also wish the Dominion wasn't so mean. Jem'Hadar should have been bred to give hugs, not to kill. The Founders should have sent gift baskets of chocolate out into space instead of 100 of their own. The galaxy just needs more love and understanding.
Tue, Aug 6, 2013, 12:29pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 6, 2013, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
I wasn't nearly as impressed by this episode a Jammer and some others. We're apparently supposed to approve of Odo lying for his buddy despite the fact that this guy KILLED someone, and no, it was apparent that it wasn't self defense. If some jerk tried to kill you with a spaghetti noodle, you wouldn't be justified in shooting him.
We're also supposed to applaud Kirk jail breaking a killer for the sole reason that he is the buddy of the man she loves, according to her own mouth. Fear that he won't be treated fairly never entered into it.
How unbelievable is it that Sisko just took Kira at her word? Even if we buy the implausibilities that the brig has no surveillance and it requires no access code to release someone, at the very least there would surely be a record that someone had pushed those buttons, so to speak. We must assume Sisko doesn't bother to investigate this at all because Kira is his friend, despite the fact that for all he knows that isn't even really Kira (nobody did any blood test - didn't occur to them that he might still be there - after all he said he couldn't do humans, no reason to suspect he might lie)!
How can Quark with a straight face say no humans would ever accept Odo's form after Troi's mom encouraged him to take it? After the DS9 crew has watched Odo shapeshift - even encouraged him to do so at times - for years? Even worse, I think the writers want us to take this a insightful despite its disregard for behavior of the characters in past episodes.
So many people acting out if character, simply to retread the old "Odo struggles with his identity theme" which has already Ben featured in several episodes.
I will say I enjoyed the development of Odo's relationship with Kira, but that's it. Definitely not 4 stars in my book....and calling it the best of DS9/all of Trek?! Well, no accounting for taste.
PS I think we should consider the possibility that the poster using The Dominion's logic to justify genocide might have been attempting to prove a point about the absurdity of such a position, rather than truly believing it.
Tue, Aug 6, 2013, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 20, 2013, 6:43am (UTC -5)
As an analogy, I'm a white guy. People try to say racist or sexist things around me from time to time, and I immediately confront them and they stop. At least, they stop doing it around me. I would never be friends with someone who is racist or sexist, and I don't tolerate that behavior from anyone. It's not that I've changed their minds, but I have shown them that their behavior is unacceptable and made the space safer for others.
Odo rarely objects to racist statements made by changelings, even endorses some of them, but he gets deeply offended whenever he perceives any prejudice from "a solid". Consider how much time Odo spends lecturing other characters about their silly "solid" habits, or that he's the first to play the race card over and over again. Altogether, it seems to me that Odo is a bit of a closet racist himself.
Sat, Nov 9, 2013, 11:00am (UTC -5)
Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
Finally, an episode that reminds us this is Star Trek. Good character exploration using scifi as a starting ground. And the end, for me, was quite touching. More than that, again, quite touching using the Trek scifi possibilities as a venue.
I also second Lt. Fitz's comment:
"I really liked the explanation of why humanoids need love. It's lonely in here".
Mon, Mar 24, 2014, 10:48am (UTC -5)
The second is that people overreacted for a silly reason. ''Oh no, he turned into a slight fog! Damn him and his evil ways!''
I think Laas was simply scarred. He didn't have great experiences with humanoids in his environment, while Odo eventually did. He was also being an ass. You don't just turn into everything everywhere if those things are normally dangerous to humanoids. ''I was just relaxing''. By turning into fog? ...Yeah. Laas should know by now not to do stuff like that anywhere he pleases (even though the fog was not exactly dangerous).
So I'm conflicted. It's not a terrible episode, but it's not terrific either.
Fri, Apr 11, 2014, 2:10pm (UTC -5)
Fri, May 16, 2014, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
Image in the Sand Sisko, Jake, Kira, Odo
Shadows and Symbols Sisko, EZRI, Jake, Kira, Afterimage EZRI
Take Me Out to the Holosuite Sisko,
Chrysalis Bashir, EZRI
Treachery, Faith and the Great River Odo,Obrien, Nog,
Once More Unto the Breach Worf, EZRI
The Siege of AR-558 Sisko, Bashir, EZRI, Quark, Rom
It's Only a Paper Moon Nog, EZRI
Prodigal Daughter EZRI, Obrien
The Emperor's New Cloak Quark, Rom, EZRI
Field of Fire EZRI
Fri, May 16, 2014, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Fri, May 16, 2014, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
Ezri Screentime/# of Main Characters
The more screen time Ezri has and the less costars the worse it gets. I could get behind this theory.
I actually don't dislike Ezri in the final 10 episodes, but the early episode are hard to deal with the level of focus her character got.
Thu, Jun 5, 2014, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 7, 2014, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 2:48am (UTC -5)
yes, trek is not politically correct(naked Ferengi women?) nor is it handcuffed to static persona to advance a storyline, it just rocks!
so while I appreciate your analysis, let's look at DS9 for what it is, best Sci fi drama of all time, even when its characters seem out of...character.
Thu, Jun 26, 2014, 11:40am (UTC -5)
1. Odo has experienced almost no bigotry during the entire run of DS9. They've shown him a lot of respect, even when at war with his race. Heck, the Cardassians even trusted Odo enough to let him be a lawman during the occupation! The idea that Odo would give in to feelings of injustice like this is arbitrary and out of place.
2. Kira releases a known and entirely unrepentant murderer from prison. She has to know that this guy will kill again, without even caring. Kira is essentially responsible for the deaths of future victims.
Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 9:58am (UTC -5)
I've always wondered if Odo infected Laas.
Laas brings a new bold changeling perspective for Odo to ponder. One that hasn't been influenced by the Founders.
A couple of Laas' quotes got my attention.
"LAAS: Ah. I had a mate once.
LAAS: On Varala. Not long after I first assumed humanoid form.
ODO: And? What happened?
LAAS: We couldn't have children. That was important to her. Is it something that matters to this Kira?
ODO: We've never discussed it."
Very interesting exchange here. I don't know that having children ever occurred to Odo. I wonder what Kira's perspective is?
"LAAS: Odo, we Linked. I know the truth. You stayed here because of Kira. If it weren't for her, you'd be with our people. War or no war, you would be a Founder."
Another interesting exchange. So, if it were not for Kira he would be a Founder? Not sure I agree with that. Odo despises this war and what the Founders have done.
"KIRA: I'm sorry I can't Link with you." (snif, snif)
I think it's pushing it to say the Klingon 'couldn't' harm Laas. He did have a disrupter and Odo said he was going for it. Would you expect less of a Klingon in a confrontation with a superior foe?
I thought of this quote during the end of this episode:
"If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn't
, then it was never meant to be. - Unknown"
The scene with Odo and Kira at the end was precious.
I won't go 4 stars, but a high end 3 stars for me.
Fri, Oct 10, 2014, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
One thing that I didn't buy was the meat comment. Bashir was eating meat, they showed this as somehow proving Laas's point. I always thought the meat in Trek was replicated, and why wouldn't it be? Raising animals just to slaughter them eventually, then ship the meat over long distances is extremely inefficient! If you can create meat artificially, you'll do it.
Another thought: If I were Odo, I'd be wondering if his people have a tendency towards bigotry. Every changeling he's met so far has been a misanthrope, even this one that has never met the founders; he got his racist attitude on his own.
Sun, Oct 26, 2014, 11:58pm (UTC -5)
The only thing that holds this episode back from being a 4-star for me are the murder and jailbreak bits. There's nothing wrong with them, but we've seen jailbreak several times on the show and I kind of wish we'd have had more scenes with Laas and Odo without a race-against-the-clock element, small though it may be.
Other than that, this is a very well written and performed episode.
Since there's so much to mention, I'll just break down a few things:
-Wicked shapeshifting. A poorer episode would simply have Laas harping about Odo's mediocrity without really putting his money where his mouth is, but within the first minute of the show it's clear the difference between the two. Here's Odo worrying about bringing little rocks and sweets back to his girlfriend (with O'Brien whining about yet another marital gaffe) while Laas is exploring the galaxy as a space dolphin.
-The episode doesn't take a stance on either Laas or Odo's lifestyles. It's all about choices - which is what makes it all the more moving. There's nothing WRONG with Laas' life. In fact, it's incredible. Odo doesn't turn away because he finds a flaw in Laas' plan, or Laas turns out to be violent or some such generic twist like that. No, Odo stands in the face of one of his people - specifically one who ISN'T waging war on the solids - and still turns him down.
-I don't want to damn the show with too much faint praise (because it deserves for-real praise!), but I liked the scene with Laas meeting Odo's friends. They were amiable, but they didn't become saints in the face of Laas' racism by trying to win him over with tolerance. They apologized for any previous misunderstandings and then understandably called him out when he insisted on being racist still.
-I didn't appreciate it when I was a teenager, but Odo and Kira are really nice together. I took issue with how they paired up in "His Way" but here it's very sweet. There's something about the way Odo tells Kira he loves her, too (notice she doesn't reciprocate, which would feel forced at this point).
-Jammer makes the point that he thinks Quark's "genetic" point is slightly off, but I take his lines to mean that humanoids still psychologically fear that which is different (two legs, two arms, etc., which is mentioned by both Laas *and* Quark, as a matter of fact). Prejudices develop but there's still survival instinct that makes humanoids anxious around something so clearly alien. I can see why some may interpret the line differently, though.
There's a lot more to say, but I think everyone's already been chatting about the good stuff!
3-1/2 stars from me. Just under four, but not by much. This one is essential. Totally recommended. It's sad knowing that this is the second last serious "regular" episode of the series. The final arc is great IIRC, but I'm going to miss the low stakes day-in-the-life hours...
Mon, Oct 27, 2014, 11:06am (UTC -5)
"-I don't want to damn the show with too much faint praise (because it deserves for-real praise!), but I liked the scene with Laas meeting Odo's friends. They were amiable, but they didn't become saints in the face of Laas' racism by trying to win him over with tolerance. They apologized for any previous misunderstandings and then understandably called him out when he insisted on being racist still."
I don't see Laas' attitude toward Odo's friends as racist. Laas looks to solids as we look to, let's say, fish. He is superior in every way. I think in order for him to be racist he would have to subjugate a changeling sub-species.
So, he did come off smug and condescending - yup, racist - no.
Mon, Oct 27, 2014, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
But I disagree with Laas looking at solids as the same thing as us looking at fish. There's very clearly a narrow-minded prejudice at work. Humanoids have vastly different opinions and motivations in vast numbers of combinations, and Laas is comfortable making galaxy-sized generalizations about them.
Changelings may be completely unique in their physical abilities, but I've yet to see one whose intellect is clearly beyond that of our heroes. The difference in physiology is much wider than the difference (if there is any) in cognition and rational capacities. Not even close to people vs. fish. While maybe not racism as we define it today, I'd argue Laas' opinions are driven by the same sorts of prejudice.
Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 9:05am (UTC -5)
Sun, Nov 16, 2014, 4:21am (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 12, 2015, 2:03am (UTC -5)
Is Odo ruining Kira's life. She claims she loves the O'Brien child, and seemed to want to be a mommy. Maybe Odo should shapeshift and pretend to be his own kid. Creepy family reunion anyone? LOL.
At some point down the road, Kira will leave Odo just so some guy can get his jollies making babies with her, and given she looks older, that time is soon. Then, a heartbroken Odo will go nuts and hate the solids for life, tells the Jem'Hadar to go genocidal, and the galaxy is completely destroyed until someone finally destroys the Dominion once and for all...
... the BORG vs Dominion ... end game ...
Tue, May 12, 2015, 2:34am (UTC -5)
I thought the same thing, but he probably did. Someone mentioned the scan Bashir did and thought it should have detected the virus in Odo. That is not how Julian found out Odo had the disease, he took a sample of Odo and did other test, that's how he found out Odo was infected.
BTW, I have to disagree with Jammer on this one, I liked Siege at AR558 much better than this one. I liked this show but I couldn't stand Laas.
Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 2:35am (UTC -5)
1) Has it actually been stated in the show that Odo is infected yet? If it has, I missed it.
2)Not sure if I buy the Changeling's ability to shape-shift into fire, mainly due to the nature of how fire exists.
3)I don't think I could've turned down Laas' offer if I were I Odo's shoes.
As for the episode: I could've done without the whole murder/escape parts(to me, they kinda felt like they were put in just to make the episode's running time), but otherwise enjoyable.
Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 11:48pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 4, 2015, 7:58am (UTC -5)
In what way? I actually thought his point that the Klingons taking legal action over a COUNTERATTACK was ridiculous and only happening because of racism was quite spot on.
A Klingon that picks up a weapon without expecting to die is a filthy petaq and a coward. Today is a good day to die is what is said whenever they go into battle.
Between this and the trial for Worf in S4 I was getting really sick of the Klingons legal quibbling. Although having seen the series as a whole now I think that it's all part of where the Klingon storyline was ultimately going.
This episode did have problems, and Odo was way too enamored with Laas (who really didn't do that much for me). But I think Odo was correct as to where the justice was.
Mon, Sep 28, 2015, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 3, 2015, 3:05am (UTC -5)
Odo grew up under different circumstances, therefore he is loving and understanding.
Odos blind support is also understandable for someone from a minority. Just try to imagine that at a certain point in your existence you had to accept that almost everyone around you is different, so different that they will never understand important parts (?) of what you are AND then you meet someone who actually does understand you. There is an instant connection. It is hard not to take his/her side even if his/her actions are questionable.
Thu, Nov 5, 2015, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
I often wonder where this heterosexual phobia of gay people comes from. Quark might say something about the need for reproduction, I guess.
Anyway, for me, this episode was incredibly touching. The most poignant scenes for me involved Kira experiencing self-doubt and regret for not being able to connect with Odo on the level of the other Changelings. But Kira and Odo connected in another way: love.
"Chimera" is surely just as much about love, fidelity, compassion, and understanding and empathy as it is an exploration of prejudice.
I have to agree with Jammer's comments on the romance between Kira and Odo really working here to produce something not only believable, but poignantly touching. And memorable. Definitely a 4-star outing of 4.
Sat, Feb 6, 2016, 5:03am (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 22, 2016, 9:19am (UTC -5)
That Odo stays for love doesn't disprove Laas' points - indeed the final scene just makes it clear that Kira can't truly be with the 'real' Odo, and that makes for a bittersweet conclusion.
Superb performance from JG Hertzler too, I had no idea that was Martok, and beautifully scored. "This is no time for a 'Changeling Pride' demonstration on the promenade." indeed. 3.5 stars.
Mon, Apr 18, 2016, 2:10pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 19, 2016, 9:59am (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 19, 2016, 11:24am (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 19, 2016, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
I do enjoy reading your posts William B, I just can't find that much to talk about when I "review" (more aptly comment on) an episode. Your insight into things is amazing.
Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Thu, May 12, 2016, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
We also get the sense in the mirror universe that the Intendant has a great taste for physical beauty in others, and I have no trouble believing that prime Kira shares this to an extent. It is a flaw, and one that Dax was right in chastening her for a few times.
So here we have the culmination of the arc involving Kira's tendency towards valuing the superficial, and it's the best case for it since she's with someone whose superficial appearance is completely arbitrary and can be anything. If Kira has trouble disentangling the face from the person behind the face, then I imagine that being in love with a shapeshifter would present a deep problem for her. We don't *entirely* get that shown to us in this episode, but we *do* get at least a sense that she was holding back on her willingness to really know Odo, due to her limitations in associating a face with who the person really is. Laas notices that Odo has almost halted his shapeshifting while with Kira, and it would be naive to suppose that this is entirely due to Odo's mistaken notion that doing so would present a problem. On the contrary, I think Odo probably correctly picked up on the fact that it would have made Kira uncomfortable to have Odo slithering around at night and taking on other forms. He needed her to believe she was with a "man", as she herself calls him repeatedly, when in fact he is not a man at all. Her superficial prejudice was at work all along, even though I'm sure she never meant harm by it.
For all the other arguments we get from Laas, right or wrong, this one is the strongest case for his side of it since even the person who loves Odo the most fears him in some sense. It is a really beautiful moment when she comes to terms with this and opens herself up to accept Odo as being something other than a man; as looking other than the guy she is used to seeing every day.
Thu, May 12, 2016, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
I agree about "Resurrection." One other thing that "Resurrection" suggests, I think, is that Kira is a little parochial about romance generally. She wants to be with a *Bajoran man*, someone who shares her faith. IMO, "Resurrection" only really makes sense if you view it as Kira trying to remake Mirror Bareil into her own Bareil, insisting that she is attracted to him for completely different reasons but basically expecting him to be the same guy because he looks the same. (Kira seems unaware of this even at the end, which is a little maddening.) Odo is not a strong Bajoran male brunette who believes in the Prophets, which is really Her Type. The main time we see an exception to Kira's type is with O'Brien, off the top of my head, and I wonder if some of that is that Kira might have a bit of a traditionalist family values person inside her, and implicitly feels on some level that a person should be attracted to the father of the child they are carrying. Kira's inability to divorce sex from love and God(s) also comes up in her inability to handle Lancelot hitting on her in Dax's hologram -- she insists on a rigorous morality even in her fiction. Part of her horror about her mother is maybe related to the sanctity of family; if Kira were better able to divorce sex from love, or even more able to acknowledge that love is a complicated thing, she might be better able to understand her mother's pragmatism given her situation.
And the thing is, ultimately, Kira and Odo must be a nontraditional couple; he is not Bajoran, he is not religious, and he is in fact not even a man. Odo's maleness is arbitrary, and while Odo does tend to identify as male, we don't get a helpful signal like Spock's statement in "Metamorphosis" that the entity is intrinsically female so that even if Zephram Cochrane ends up with a glowing blob of light, we know he's not gay. If we take Mirror Kira's sexuality seriously we have to also wonder if Kira is seriously repressing her attraction to women, and while she was on board with Jadzia and Lenara being in love, it may be that Kira has a somewhat traditional-family orientation even if we don't have explicit confirmation. It also works on moral levels: In (SPOILER) "When it Rains," Kira is pushed into a fury by Rusot and another Cardassian pointing out that Odo worked for the Cardassians, because Kira has very strong feelings about Collaborators and surely on some level recognizes that the line between the Bajorans she personally killed and Odo is not so unambiguous, but she still requires moral clarity on this point. And even if that weren't the case, Odo linked with the Female Changeling.... That Kira has to open her mind in order to accept Odo for who he is, with all that entails, requires a stretching of her imagination OR it requires simply shutting down her mind to the parts she can't deal with, and I think that it's mostly been the latter before this episode and this marks a real attempt to do the latter.
Thu, May 12, 2016, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
I see O'Brien as strangely fitting exactly into her type because he's basically just like Bareil and Shakaar. He's a simple guy with strong, unshakeable values, dependable, masculine in a not-in-your-face kind of way, and has a certain reserved sensitivity to him. The genius of Looking for Par'mach is that the writers somehow identified this common thread between Miles and the others without making a big deal about it. He's just her kind of guy and they both realized it, to their dismay. It sucks to find someone right for you but to realize that circumstances prevent it happening (I've been there, it's painful).
Now when we get to Odo the revelation is something to the effect that he was what she was looking for all along, which I buy. He was basically simple guy with a simple outlook, not verbose and not even understanding the nuance of pretence, a strong faith in justice (as he sees it), incorruptible and dependable. Kira's horror at what Odo became during the six-parter seems to me to have been more at his lack of dependability than anything else. I don't think she would have recoiled from him...I dunno, changing his mind, or falling in love with someone else. But for him to become unreliable was the worst horror for her; like a pure betrayal. Her professional respect for him, it seems to me, was the largest basis for their relationship.
So I guess my point is that I think the writers did a great job showing us a very consistent thread of the types of guys Kira was attracted to. As someone wild and fiery in her own right, it's a wonderful counterpoint to have her attracted to her equal and opposite for balance.
Thu, May 12, 2016, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Thu, May 12, 2016, 6:19pm (UTC -5)
Fri, May 13, 2016, 10:47am (UTC -5)
Fri, May 13, 2016, 11:24am (UTC -5)
The part with Kira is sweet, I'll give it that. The problem is, this isn't a Kira-Odo episode, or Kira seems to be an afterthought in what's really an Odo-defining episode. I'm not even sure why Kira would go as far as to let Laas go. Maybe something more in character such as convincing Bajor to give Laas diplomatic immunity would've made more sense in a S7 episode. Otherwise, I think Kira would generally side with Sisko and Worf on this type of problem.
The best part about this episode is that it shows that Odo is somewhat pro-solid in his lifestyle. This may all be thanks to his relationship with Kira, but I'd like to think that some of the other DS9 characters had an impact on him (Quark?). Given that chance, I don't think Odo would *ever* go searching for the 100. He likes his new home, and if he can't have that he'd happily retire to Founders' World.
Sat, Sep 10, 2016, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
In every other relationship Kira has been in we have seen her be sexually intimate on screen. Odo has also been sexually intimate with lovers on screen, so it can't be his make-up or wanting to maintain his innocence. And virtually all other characters on the show have too.
So why not show this aspect of the Kira/Odo relationship? Are the writers or the actors feeling squeamish about it for some reason, or were they consciously setting us up for an inevitable parting?
Whether done purposely or not, it makes the doubts sown by Laas more effective because it does seem as though there is something holding Kira and Odo back from truly "linking" in the best way humans know how: making love. Which suggests that there may be something about Odo's shapeshifting that is somehow less sexy to Kira than the solid-hairy appeal of Bareil et al. and/or that she may be holding back from wanting to explore who he really is, as Laas suggests. The physical is where their differences truly lie...
On the other hand, as Kira puts it when she shows sadness for not being able to link shapeshifter style, the problem may be within her. I for one would feel very inadequate next to someone so wonderful they could take on any form at will, and do pretty much anything because of it. I had a boyfriend once who could gracefully free climb up buildings and I felt so frightened, heavy and grounded comparatively.
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 14, 2016, 2:09am (UTC -5)
One of the posts here openly advocates for genocide of all "white" people. I am surprised Jammer kept that up for all these years.
Hey, the "white" european nations wreaked terrible havoc on the earth through their slave trade, colonization, etc... we all know that.
He somehow implies that by exterminating all "white people" that these nasty crimes will vanish. No they won't. If you look at India's history which he seems to revere, Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs have all killed one another; in Africa, tribes have committed genocide on one another, see Japan and Chinese shared histories for more fun with genocide, I can go on.
My point is, these crimes are HUMAN problems...... not "racial" problems that will be solved if one skin color or religion is erased from the earth. all groups of people are capable of banding together and doing horrible things to other groups and that is one of the great tragedy of our species. We always seek to band together with a shared common ground, and then play "us vs them" and look to overpower another group through various means.
Thu, Jan 5, 2017, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
"The last few episodes where Odo has interacted with his people have started turning me against him as a character. Whenever he links with another changeling it's as though he becomes an intoxicated juvenile nitwit."
Kira's no better. Those two are meant for each other. They alternate between selective self-righteousness and indulgent recklessness, and I find myself wondering if I can get through this binge-watch of this series. I can't take much more of these two.
Sat, Feb 11, 2017, 11:19am (UTC -5)
"But Lars speaks in racist tones that are not a predilection for him and only come about because of the racism he has faced."
Or maybe Laas was just a smug a-hole with superiority complex from the start which caused the people around him to want nothing to do with him. Of course Laas (and you) would never admit to be part of the problem. It is just too easy to blame others, isn't it?
"Consider for a moment that Lars has lived among humanoids. He finds they are not very tolerant of shape shifters. He further finds out that his own people are determined to control humanoids. So the founders, one day just got up and said "Let us control all these humanoids around us"? No. Their desire to control humanoids is an act of self-defence. They never attacked humanoids as a whole people. Only when the humanoids persecuted them for thousands of years and fail to accept them as life-forms, do the founders resort to war."
Again, you place all the blame on one group. Is it really that hard to understand that a bad relationship between changelings and humanoids could be caused by the actions of BOTH humanoids AND changelings acting like dicks to eachother? We witness this with Laas in this episode. He has a horrible attitude toward people who he has never met before and have done no wrong to him. He is clearly part of the problem, yet places all the blame on others.
"Wherever the white man has gone, he has tried to wipe out the native populations."
So have muslims, Africans, Asians, etc. Have you really never opened a history book or are you just shifting blame again?
Laas blames humanoids for trampling animal habitats, but conveniently forgets that his own race has trampled half the gamma quadrant. I do see the similarity between you and Laas; you are both hypocrites.
"The founders wage a war to control solids. This is similar to how the Nation Of Islam feels that the only way for the world to be secure is to exterminate the white race."
'Islamic State' actually kills more muslims than white people. Still, I don't see how comparing the Founders to extremist terrorists helps your point in any way.
"There is only one race that segregates races to such an extent, and that is the white race."
There you go again, pointing the finger at white people. What about the violence between Shia and Sunni muslims, Arabs vs Israelis, Asians (Chinese vs Japanese vs South Korean) deeply hating eachother, the caste segregation in India? Discrimination happens in every culture. You are just too blind to see it.
This is also my main complaint of this episode. Laas is just too narrow minded and prejudiced to be sympathetic. If the writers tried to give a balanced perspective, they did not do a good job.
Regarding the fight with the Klingons:
The Klingons were not 'annoyed' by Laas because he was a changeling. Odo is also a changeling and they did not target him. They did not insult him and label him a "Founder". They thought he WAS a Founder and attacked because they assumed him to be the enemy. They were clearly not aware that he was not part of the Dominion.
Laas, however, was fully aware that there was a war going on with the Founders and that he might be mistaken for one. Yet he does nothing to try and de-escalate the situation. He could have turned into a bird and flown away or something, allowing security and Odo to calm down the Klingons and explain the situation to them. Instead he 'draws' a weapon and taunts them. Killing the Klingon was also totally unnecessary. Even if they did try to draw a disruptor, Odo and Laas could have easily disarmed them. Laas killed him because he wanted to, not out of self-defense.
Sat, Apr 8, 2017, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
Sun, May 28, 2017, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
And Worf, with his precious Miss Kronos Sash, acting all offended and taking the side of the Klingons. I can imagine him clutching his pearls: "Oh, My! How dare someone stands up to my species' bullying. How very dare they!"
There are no security cameras on the promenade or in the hold?
Plus, probably the first male gay scene in Star Trek or TV! Kudos.
The episode did start out iffy, though. Miles mentions Keiko in the first few minutes, and I was bracing myself for 45 minutes of putting up with her crap acting.
Mon, Jul 17, 2017, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
Quark's speech did not work for me. I wondered whether it was Laas taking his shape.
Laas' speech about all humanoids becoming farmers who destroy their environment also didn't work for me. On earth alone there have been plenty of human populations that have been hunter gatherers not farmers. Other "lower" species also drive out competition.
Hard to suspend disbelief that all races in the federation are humanoid. I had always assumed that was what we saw because of budget restrictions and the limits of CGI (and maybe the cautionary tale of the Dune movie). But it's unlikely that the only intelligent life the federation has ever encountered are humanoids and the Founders.
It would be awesome if the brought Laas back with others of the hundred, and did something with it.
I don't understand why the Founders sent the foundlings (get it? foundlings. I endlessly amuse myself) out as infants. Seems mean. Why not send adults?
Sun, Jul 23, 2017, 2:39am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 28, 2017, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 6, 2017, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 17, 2017, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 5:09am (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
The great thing about the episode is that it shows a deeply human question: should I run off and “find myself” in novel experiences or stay here where I feel comfortable and develop my relationships more deeply. It’s not easy to answer and neither choice is wrong.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
Odo is infected s4/ep 10&11 HF & PL
S4/finale He infects great link and is turn into a “solid”
S5 ep12 TB changeling baby absorbed into odo, changling again
S6/ep4 BTL odo is reinfected by founder ( link infected a little over year by this time
S7/ep6 FT&TGR first revelation of disease in link.
S7/ep 14 this episode Laas infected
S7/ep 21 WIR odo learns he is infected
They did pretty good with keeping the timing consistent, especially the inclusion that shape shifting accelerates the disease
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
When Odo is turned into a solid he is “cured” (even though a few episodes imply that he does retain some some changling attributes,
Thu, Dec 14, 2017, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
In a way, the Laas character comes across similar to the female Founder who was always trying to convince Odo to join the link -- but I like how Odo has to juggle going off to find the other Founders vs. staying with Kira. But Laas provides some interesting commentary on humanoids that Odo's friends don't like but one that I think is very valid -- how are species meant to exist without ruining others' existence. (Laas should tell that to the Founders!)
Quark's little speech to Odo about instincts and fear turning to hate when faced with the unknown also rings true about humanoids. The Ferengi doesn't have much of a role but every now and then they insert him in to make an important point.
Where the episode falters a bit for me is the discussion of putting Laas in front of the magistrate -- here it didn't seem like Ben Sisko was all that serious and that he basically let Kira off the hook for letting Laas escape. Was it supposed to be a "wink-wink, nod-nod" kind of thing? (And I also have to wonder if Laas could escape if he really wanted to). And what about the security officer who let Kira speak alone to Laas? Don't they check with him? So the episode basically covers this up to ensure the proper Odo/Kira payoff.
3.5 stars for "Chimera" -- quality DS9 here that takes Odo/Kira to a new level as well as exploring human traits in a way that's not heavy-handed. A lot of the writing is perfect and the delivery of it works really well. Also about time we hear about another one of those 100 Changelings sent out into the universe aeons ago.
Fri, Mar 16, 2018, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
Thu, May 31, 2018, 3:33am (UTC -5)
I think the episode says less about European imperialism and cultural appropriation than it does about what it means to live as a minority under the expectation to conform. Even if you exclude the more aggressive forms of racism and homophobia, you are expected to act, dress and speak in a certain way, to assimilate into the dominant culture of where you live. That is why you get phrases like the ‘model minority’.
Like Odo, as much as you try to fit in, sometimes you are reminded that you are not white, or you are different in some way. You are reminded of the culture that you have given up or denied by being born outside of it. Sometimes even if you are in a loving relationship, it pains you that there is always going to be a part yourself you cannot share with your partner because of different languages or background.
Fri, Jun 22, 2018, 6:00pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 21, 2018, 6:51pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 10, 2018, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
I'm still waiting for a romantic episode with Kira and Odo.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 11:37pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
--Odo and O'Brien on a runabout. They see a UFO that turns out to be a changeling. I guess changelings can exist in the cold vacuum of space. Must be nice.
--He's one of the 100? Huh. Interesting. Good start.
--Sisko very reluctant to trust or believe. Who can blame him?
--Laas. Odo shows him how they merge and afterward Laas reveals that Odo has stayed for Kira, and only Kira.
--Laas minces no words about the humanoids and Odo's reservations about being who he truly is.
--I think we're seeing the beginning of the end for Odo and Kira. And Kira knows it. No matter what Odo says.
--Laas is being fog. Won't people breathe him in? Neat special affects, though.
--Laas kills a Klingon. Oh, boy.
--Quark being realistic (and moving the subtext closer to the text): "This is no time for a Changeling Pride demonstration on the promenade." This is the best part of the ep.
--Kira helps Laas escape, showing she likes reality better than fantasy, no matter how much it hurts. Good for Kira.
--Odo not quite ready. So they keep it going, a little while longer.
Well . . . a romantic ending for our odd couple, but overall, this episode does not bode well for the Colonel and the Constable.
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
It feels a little too inconsistent and self-congratulatory in that late in the episode, focusing on the significance of love, it kind of forgets or just discounts that Laas had had a companion, implicitly claims that just wasn't love, but the themes and even plot resolutions still work well.
Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 5:50pm (UTC -5)
As the Chief would say, “Bollucks!”
Mon, Aug 12, 2019, 5:13am (UTC -5)
Best line of the episode. Good old General Laastok :)
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 9:07pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
Gonna try that one out on my next date haha
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
But they utilized it perfectly here. And got into some of the weird logistics of it.
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
Admittedly, it’s easy to understand why Laas is a douche. He’s been around for hundreds of years, and has experienced many forms - all the way from space-whales to more abstract concepts such as fire and fog.
It’s therefore unsurprising that Laas views humanoids as limited, and for him to have adopted a highly jaundiced view of their behaviour.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem with this. A douche is a douche is a douche: Laas effectively goes out of his way to be unlikable, and that makes it hard to feel sympathy for his position, no matter how justified his position arguably is.
However, Laas isn’t really the main focus of this episode, but is instead a way to explore the relationship between Kira and Odo, as both find themselves called on to make a sacrifice for the one they love. Kira has to choose whether or not to let Odo go off with Laas, and Odo has to choose whether or not to join with his own kind (away from the Founders).
Sadly, this is a Reset Button episode, so there’s no long term consequences from choices made in this episode.
(Though I do have a mildly spoiler-tastic question: given that Odo turns out later to have the Founder virus, what happens to Laas? After all, he constantly shapeshifts…)
Fri, May 15, 2020, 5:11am (UTC -5)
As far as the Klingons are aware, there is only one non-hostile changeling in the entire galaxy (i.e. Odo), and they clearly treat him with respect. They threaten Laas because they believe him to be a Founder, which is not unreasonable. Instead of attempting to defuse the situation, Laas deliberately inflames it and murders one of them. Which is a dick move (but not out of character as he is a total chode), partly because murder isn't cool but mainly because it puts Odo in an awful position.
Sat, May 23, 2020, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
Mon, May 25, 2020, 2:08am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
My belief is that Laas was sent to find Odo and take him back to the foundling lair. He knows too much to have been alone forever. He is insulting to Odo ans well as everybody else ........ that is a clue that he is from the pool of butterscotch caramel goo.
Sat, Jun 20, 2020, 8:58am (UTC -5)
So people are uncomfortable around Laas shape shifting in to fog around them? Yeah they have every right to be and law and order Odo should have seen through that little ploy by Laas, in a society everyone is expected to refrain from some behaviors in public. It’s got nothing to do with being shapeshifters. Klingons aren’t allowed to brawl on the promenade, Ferengi aren’t allowed to cheat people on the promenade, etc.
Plus, the Founders, aka all the non-Odo shape shifters these people have ever met started an unprovoked war against the alpha quadrant, it’s utterly rational for people to be skeptical about him and skeptical Odo of all people should understand that.
Plus there is the irony of Laas lamenting the smug superiority of humanoids over “lesser beings” while exhibiting it himself isn’t even commented on.
The conclusion where Odo finally stops being an idiot is good, but otherwise it’s a total letdown for me.
Thu, Jul 9, 2020, 11:50pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 25, 2020, 9:08pm (UTC -5)
I do find it somewhat disturbing, however, that Odo is so willing to trust Laas even after he knows that Laas has an extreme distaste for humanoids. If this were Season 1-5 Odo, Laas would have been arrested on the spot for causing a breach of the peace on the Promenade. "I don't care what point you wanted to make or how natural it is to you, we have law on this station, and I'M IT."
Altogether a great episode at examining the characters portrayed, but there's a lot that I think bends believability here. 3 1/2 stars, imo.
Sat, Jul 25, 2020, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
Odo shouldn’t have asked Laas to stay with him knowing his disdain for humanoids because Laas is obviously amoral (in the Federation sense) and will run into trouble eventually.
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
I did love the Quark scene. Odo knew he was in trouble when Quark was giving him good advice. Serious Quark is great to watch.
I regret skipping the Ezri family drama now. God, what a headache of an episode. Laas has to be the most forgettable character in all of Trek. For someone so masterful at shape-shifting, he was forever unable to get the chip off of his shoulder.
Sat, Sep 12, 2020, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
The ending was also beautiful, and the first time I've ever cried watching Star Trek. The love between Kira and Odo felt so genuine in that moment. That Kira wants to fully accept Odo for who he really is, and the emotional release for Odo after all the doubt and hiding who he is... to finally feel he can open up... it really touched me. A+ Star Trek.
Sun, Sep 13, 2020, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 5:50pm (UTC -5)
Jammer's review misses to express two points I also find relevant:
1. (universal): once again Klingons are shown as the impulsive, simple bullies of Star Trek. They know about the Changeling, saw it transform from vapor into a humanoid form but try to hurt it with a knife???
DS9 spent more time on developing Klingon and Ferengi but still did not manage to overcome the former being marked as relatively mindless brutes and the latter as selfish and greedy (Quark, Rom, Nog and Worf may be somewhat atypical but rather than showing that their races aren't they are just shown as rare exceptions). It's so sad that a ST does not manage to overcome its own once set race stereotypes. Klingons are said to be great warriors and technologically advanced, but at every turn they are shown to be simplistic idiots that get beaten up by humans and fight with Bathlets as children would with sticks.
I don't understand why they have any fans, I find them so depressing.
2. The final scene between Kira and Odo where she says she wants to see and get to know him for what he really is and truly seems to be ready for him to open up fully: that is the most powerful state any of our relationships can have - to not be afraid to show EVERYTHING we are ... and then to still be loved. The latter is not a condition for the first to happen. Up to that point, I found their relationship forced and a bad move but with this single scene, they catapult it into something beyond what I would say most of us can only aspire to reach: to have the person lose all fears of sharing everything they are and think and not be worried to hurt the person with it but to trust it to be the right thing to do, also for the significant other. No tabus.
Mon, Mar 1, 2021, 12:03am (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 12, 2021, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 21, 2021, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
In my opinion it went against Gene Roddenberry's original message which for me has always been about exploring space, discovering the unknown and celebrating difference.
Two examples come to mind:
Star Trek the Motion Picture
TNG - Encounter at Farpoint
I'm sure there are many other episodes that show the beauty of space and the different life forms - this is where Star Trek shines for me and what drew me to it in the first place.
I get that by DS9 (and even TNG) the Star Trek message had been rehashed and turned into a melodramatic reflection of current human issues and the way we treat each other, but I'm just not buying the idea that 99.9% of humanoid species would be anti changeling and treat them badly/with suspicion.
Aren't humans of the 24th or 25th century meant to be evolved?
Thu, Apr 22, 2021, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
>I get that by DS9 (and even TNG) the Star Trek message had been rehashed and turned into a melodramatic reflection of current human issues and the way we treat each other,
What about TOS episodes such as "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" or "A Private Little War"? Surely they were about current issues and how we treat each other?
Mon, May 17, 2021, 6:20am (UTC -5)
When the 2 Klingons approach Laas, the assisting Klingon (who is killed) has his disruptor frontally arranged in his belt with the handle pressing his lower right rib cage. What I interpret as his dagger seems to be farther back. By the time Laas stabs him, however, the hilt of the dagger has changed position so that it is up front against the right rib cage and pretty far up. I confess that I am not an expert in all of this gear, but unless Klingon officers carry swagger sticks, this hilt represents his dagger (the D'k Tahg type). He is not reaching for it, that's for dang sure, but since we are not shown his right hand we cannot know what he intended. Besides, Laas dispatches him so rapidly, that the poor assisting Klingon clearly never had a chance.
The whole presentation confuses the viewer, so that we question ourselves as witnesses. That's the sleight of hand.
Jammer's treatment is painfully succinct and all but put in the passive voice.
"...one of the Klingons has died at Laas' hand". This grates, particularly since we are being persuaded to see Laas as a victim of injustice.
It is difficult for me to see Laas as a victim of much injustice here. He baited the Klingons, safe in the knowledge, gained over 200 years, that he had nothing to fear. His facial expressions were completely serene since his knew he was superior physically. I also note, that the Klingon actually seemed to be asking for mercy from Laas post-stabbing (probably something like 'please Mr. Shapeshifter' don't pull out the thing, it's functioning like a cork') but none was shown, as Laas quickly grasping the cork idea, deliberately pulls out his sword from the wound, the precise opposite of what most would recommend doing in that situation. Bashir looked on in horror.
Chimera troubles me. While I generally like Odo, he can sometimes be painfully weak. He initially reacts to the fog incident, saying to Laas, as follows: "Congratulations. You've managed to disrupt the entire promenade". But later, with Sisko and Worf, he cops an attitude: "Is it a crime to shapeshift on the promenade?"
To which Sisko replies:
"It's not a crime, but it's obviously not a good idea".
The episode, as far as Laas' role in it was concerned, was really about assimilation to norms, and seemed to emphasize the need for individuals wishing to live in peace in a society not of their own making, to restrain their quest to indulge in total freedom.
It's one thing to make yourself into a little fog patch, say 39.3701 inches in diameter. Ok, I'll grant the guy 393.701 inches diameter if he absolutely has to relax like that at this moment. But good G____! Laas covered most of Concourse A to the height of 4 feet.
Take yourself off, fog and relax in private. That's what privacy is all about.
Thu, May 27, 2021, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
The best part is that we didn't have to see idiotic Rom, Jake, or Ezri.
Thu, Oct 7, 2021, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
A couple moments that I loved (among many):
1. Quark’s speech to Odo about how Changelings are too alien for humanoids. A lesser show would have treated this as an opportunity for Odo to scold Quark from the moral high ground. Ideologically correct, but extremely boring and programmatic.
Instead, DS9 frames Quark’s words not as a failing of character but as a warning to his friend. It doesn’t matter that he’s saying “The Wrong Thing” because his intention is to keep his friend from harm.
2. Final scene where Odo reveals his true essence to Kira. Again, a shittier show would have botched this completely as some hokey, soapy, new age nonsense. But DS9 earns it. This is less about echoing Touched by an Angel and more about showing a character let his guard down for the first time in his life — a moment of true vulnerability and acceptance that honestly had me a little verklempt.
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 1:33am (UTC -5)
Take the scene where he meets Odo's friends, and the, "Meaning, shape-shifters are not to be trusted" line. This is meant to be an "Aha!" moment, where Laas points out the prejudice of humanoids. Except that Laas, having lived in the range of 200 years, and having seen a fraction of humanoids in the galaxy, went on and on about how all humanoids are the same, awful beings, whereas Odo's friends - particularly Kira - have "met" or experienced the direct effects of the brutal war of domination being carried out by 99.99% of Laas' species. Which of the two parties has more cause for concern when they meet the other?
Then there is the fog incident, which directly follows Laas telling Odo he has "no interest" in mono-forms. He then goes to the *largest concentration* of mono-forms on the entire station, and obscures their footing. This is *deliberate* provocation. Laas knows perfectly well his fog can and will cause injuries, as people who can't see where they're putting their will almost certainly feet stumble and injure themselves. He has gone directly to the people he claims he has no interest in, and attempted to injure them.
Even if by some miracle no one was injured, touching people without their consent is a provocation. The Klingons were not wrong to be angry, and Laas clearly escalated the situation. Because, again, he's a bigot and an asshole.
I don't think this episode is as good as some people think it is.
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 2:51am (UTC -5)
I find it interesting you assume the episode is asking you to side with Laas, or at the very least, not notice his extremist leaning viewpoint, and not as I always thought, to act as an extreme to juxtipose Odo against. This story isn't about Laas the wonderful minority, its about Odo being faced with a potential future in Laas' cynicism and seeing how his own people became so jaded. It affirms to him the importance of the connections he's made on the station, and the mindset he needs to keep moving foward in dealing with his own people both in regards to solids and in how he views himself as he does so.
Whenever I see this episode praised, it's not about "Laas the amazing representative figure of an underdog" it's about Odo facing his nature and potential, and the wonderful ending moment as he finds true acceptance from both himself, and those he loves.
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 9:27am (UTC -5)
I'm not saying we're meant to side with Laas. Apart from the necessary "Federation is generally better than civilization X" theme, DS9 does the opposite, trying to strike a balance of viewpoints, or at least not making its villains mustache-twirling cartoons. I'm saying it doesn't do this job very well in this episode. Laas isn't convincing at all. Frankly, the Founders come off more reasonable and likeable, which is why I believe Odo is torn between his ties to his friends, and his ties to his people. I *don't* believe it when Odo is tempted by Laas. He's a garbage person. That's where I find the episode not as good as other people think it is.
The episode has a bad case of Idiot Plot, meaning the plot would instantly be resolved if the characters would stop being idiots. In Sisko's office, Odo asks defensively, "Is it a crime to shapehift on the Promenade?" The obvious response is, "No, but that's not he issue. It *is* a crime to endanger other people, or touch them without their consent. Which is what Laas did." But since this episode trades in Idiot Plot, nobody makes this screamingly obvious point. This happens repeatedly in the episode, with characters suddenly too stupid to make obvious observations that would poke holes in the issues as presented. As such, it's not believable. Odo's personal journey means less, because the episode doesn't do a good job of setting up his conflict.
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 11:12am (UTC -5)
LOL where are you getting this from? You mean he "endangered" everyone by making it foggy? Because someone could have walked into a bulkhead? Ummm, I drove my bike down a foggy path in the dark last week without difficulty - are people in the 24th century bumbling idiots? They don't have fog on Bajor?
And I am not even sure touching someone without consent is a crime, unless it's sexual in nature or some kind of battery. I can walk up to a stranger on the street and tap them on the shoulder without consent and no one is going to arrest and charge me...
That said Laas is obviously an instigator and an asshole. I don't think we are meant to like him. Beyond that I confess I don't know exactly what this episode is trying to say. On this point we seem to agree that the episode doesn't do a great job of getting its point across, whatever that point is.
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
Now in terms of what the episode is trying to get across, I think the homosexual culture angle is strongly implied in various scenes. There's Quark's "Changeling pride" comment, there's the fact that Laas and Odo ostensibly appear to both be male and want to link with each other, and there's the (sorry everyone) fact that Laas is absolutely willing to jump into link with Odo without even a first date. I don't want to stereotype, but this is sort of a well-know aspect of the gay community (that casual sex is more prevalent). Now Laas takes it a step beyond being a reference to the gay community, because not only does he not bother 'taking Odo out to dinner' before asking him to link, he also doesn't care who sees it or what they think of it. So in this sense from a traditional moralist standpoint he's an utter libertine, unconcerned with what we would call modesty or decency. I'm not sure if that aspect of it is supposed to reflect in an exaggerated sense on the gay community as well, or whether it's a purely Changeling thing, somewhat muddying the metaphor. Anyhow when inspecting the revulsion of the crew, I think it's that feeling that is supposed to be analagous to how people felt about homosexuals back before the 2000's (and still now in some places in America). So the writing and directing creates the feeling by way of analogy. Where it perhaps misses is that in addition to making Laas a libertine and unconcerned with normative values, he is also (as some mention) an agitator in unnecessary ways, and rude for no purpose other than to show he doesn't care. If he had been merely blunt but only to the point, I think this may have made him more sympathetic; we might ask why indeed solids need to play obfuscatory language games rather than just saying exactly what is true. I do think this comes across somewhat, but not enough. So in the end part of why he's a pariah on the station is becomes he makes himself one, rather than because they just can't tolerate his differences (which the script implies they're going for).
I think the metaphors get too tangled, and so it's not a glorious 4 star affair , but I still do think there are touching moments and overall it's by no means a failure.
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
It doesn't matter if Bajor is the foggiest planet in the galaxy; Laas deliberately created a condition in which someone could have tripped and bashed their head into a console. Even if they merely stubbed their toe, you're not allowed to do that. You're not allowed to blindfold someone, and claim you didn't do anything wrong just because they managed not to get hurt.
And tapping someone on the shoulder is a far cry from rubbing your body all over them, which Laas did. You might get away with a tap on the shoulder, but try winding around their legs like a cat, and see if you don't end up in cuffs.
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
But you know it got me to thinking - which character is particularly fastidious, rule oriented and obsessed with maintaining order on the promenade? Interesting that Odo of all people is cool with Laas fogging up his promenade?
@Peter I agree with you that maybe the episode goes a little too far making Laas an instigator. Even if the fog is basically harmless Laas is a guest on someone else's space station and knows full well humanoids don't react well to such behaviour. It is the difference between a gay person being persecuted for having gay sex in his bedroom versus having gay sex in the church during services :) Laas deliberately provoked a reaction, it seems, as some kind of outreach to Odo, perhaps as a ploy to get Odo to join him.
I would have liked the episode if Laas's motives were just a little less blatant, his bad faith not quite so obvious.
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
Anyway I think Peter's basically correct. One thing to remember though is that I think that the implication here is that some of the libertine aspect to the queer community is a response to repression -- part of the reason that Gay Pride is so opulent and over-the-top is because it is a *response* to having been closeted for so long, and defiant.
I think we're looking at not just specifically "the gay community" but there's something, ahem, fluid about Odo and Laas' sexuality in this episode, as opposed to the solidity of the others. In this metaphor, Odo and Laas aren't exactly people with absolutely solid sexual identity who are forced to "pass" (such as gay people) but rather people whose sexual identity defies easy categorization, or at least no categories they've encountered can adequately contain them. This is why I also don't think his being with Kira contradicts the episode's metaphor, because it may be that Odo is kind of a guy attracted to a woman, but maybe his "sexuality" is a little more complicated (he could be bisexual, or really just defy categorization).
However we don't need to think of this as exclusively about sexuality by any means. It's also just generally about weirdness, about Odo having a different kind of sensibility than he's really been able to fit himself into. So you can go race, disability, health issue, some sort of personality trait that marks him as different; whatever. Odo's weird and while he's been aloof and *kind of* weird he was still trying to "pass".
The metaphors get tangled, it's true, but I think Laas is definitely meant to be an asshole. He's a "libertine" of sorts who has his own code that the solids don't really get, it's true. He's also an aggressor, to a degree, it's true, but it's kind of an extreme liberty perspective: he'll do whatever he wants, and then if people object, he'll fight them. He has a chip on his shoulder, but I think things like "being fog" and whatnot are still not to hurt anyone, but, to a degree, to provoke. He's already decided people won't accept him and *mostly* no longer cares, but he also kind of enjoys a challenge.
The reason I think this works is because the episode is *about Odo*, and I think what we're meant to see is that Odo, in fact, has always censored himself. This is, in a way, a weird thing to say: hasn't Odo always been sarcastic and cutting about solids? Hasn't he always had a superiority complex about his superior sense of justice and so on? But that's just part of the picture. I think a lot of that is defensiveness. What we see many times is that it's *hard for Odo to maintain humanoid form all the time*, to the point where he will suffer extreme pain if he doesn't regenerate on time. Part of the metaphor here is that Odo spends most of his time in a humanoid form *which itself is a poor imitation*, because he physically can't get a true imitation correct. So Odo's off-putting strangeness is itself a kind of cover for the fact that he's actually trying to be all the way "normal" by humanoid standards, but just physically can't.
The Founders turned out to be monsters, so Odo lost hope of having true people over the course of his rejection of them. It can only change once the Founders show some inclination they might change. So he's stuck a fake humanoid. Laas presents an alternate version, and Laas' barrage of meanness represents something Odo kind of feels. It's not the Niners' fault, really, but it's the result of how taxing it is for Odo to confine himself constantly to a form that it takes conscious effort to maintain, and which still marks him as an Outsider. His sympathy for Laas is itself an indication that Odo wishes he could be a bit more like Laas, even if he eventually has to reject Laas too, if not with the same force that he had to reject the Founders. He takes baby steps toward letting go of the restrictiveness about being humanoid-Odo mostly all the time he's with others at the end of the episode.
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 12:46pm (UTC -5)
"@Peter I agree with you that maybe the episode goes a little too far making Laas an instigator. Even if the fog is basically harmless Laas is a guest on someone else's space station and knows full well humanoids don't react well to such behaviour. It is the difference between a gay person being persecuted for having gay sex in his bedroom versus having gay sex in the church during services :) Laas deliberately provoked a reaction, it seems, as some kind of outreach to Odo, perhaps as a ploy to get Odo to join him."
I think this is mostly correct, although the Promenade is still more a public space -- so it'd be more like having gay sex on the sidewalk. Not that that's better. He's a bit of a Diogenes figure.
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
For me, the best would have been to have seen something like the origins of the Founders in Laas, based on how the solids treat him. So if Laas had been just as blunt, but not actively trying to provoke fights, we might still have had Klingons challenging him to duels for insulting their honor, and there still would have been plenty of room for people to resent him for blatantly pointing out their shortcomings.
The best way for the station to turn against Laas, though no fault of anyone's, would have been due to his shapeshifting. Imagine his surprise (if he hasn't arrived so jaded already) if he started imitating faces just for the pleasure of it, and got himself into trouble for impersonating Major Kira or something. He could go about his business without violence, and still find plenty of ways to scare or offend people just by virtue of shapeshifting into various stuff and the using the entire station the way Odo uses his quarters. They would have to place more and more restrictions on him, some of which are for security reasons, but some of which would be purely matters of taste. Eventually it could play as a civil liberties thing where their society really doesn't have a place for a Changeling to fit in.
Anyhow I hate drafting alternate versions of episodes, but overall what I would have liked more of is for the conflict to be organic and truly due to how hard it is for solids to be able to tolerate Changelings, no matter what they claim.
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
Your motivated reasoning and projection are duly noted.
@ William B
There's definitely a parallel in Odo's attempts at conformity, and it pops up throughout the entire series, down to behaviors one might not normally associate with queerness. For example, practicing his umpire moves in "Take Me Out to the Holosuite". Like his moves, his solid-ness or humanoid-ness is performative. There's a *lot* to relate to there, particularly for those who don't fit neatly into gender and sexuality as they're commonly understood.
Tue, Dec 7, 2021, 12:35am (UTC -5)
The episode seems more about Changelings having problems tolerating solids. Laas baited and dispatched the Klingon. Not a lot of tolerance nor justice in that.
Joining a Laas fan club is a no-can-do I'm afraid.
Wed, Mar 23, 2022, 2:12am (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 1, 2022, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
Hertzler's turn as Laas vindicated the producers selection of him for the role. So many of the actors who contributed to DS9 had great range. Hertzler was one. For him to step away from Martok to play Laas was impressive. They needed someone strong enough to match Auberjonois (as Odo). J.G. matched the challenge.
Also among the performances that make this a special episode was the work of Nana Visitor. Her word throughout the series was consistently impressive. Here she brings credibility to Nerys' relationship with Odo. Nerys is the hero of the story. Her selfless willingness to let Odo go is the point of the whole adventure.
DS9 consistently used its element to tell great stories that reached far beyond the events lying on the surface. "Chimera" is a good example of the brilliance of how the producers, writers, actors and the rest of the team brought compelling stories to life.
Wed, Oct 5, 2022, 6:02am (UTC -5)
As"tropes" (a word beloved of "social commentary" aficionados) go, take your pick!
#1: A character belonging to a particular species finds another one of his/her "own" who proceeds to try to entice said character to abandon his milieu, friends, colleagues, and life in order to rediscover his Real Identity© and become his True Self®, because living among species S does not allow for that to happen.
#2: Oh yes, species S is ABC-ist and/or XYZ-phobic, but not THESE guys here I live and work with! No way! No. THEY're different.
#3: Less than a minute later, some boneheads belonging to species S try to brutalize the newly-arrived "minority" but fail, whereupon said "minority" gets treated inequitably. Cue Identity Crisis™ on the part of the character from #1 above. "Gee, maybe he's right: maybe species S is NOT all that. Maybe species S will never accept me and maybe I'll never be a part of it."
Wow! Good thing none of that crap has ever been done before, dozens of times, including with Dodo himself! 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄
What's also annoying is just how contrived the incident on the promenaaaahd was. Now, Klingies are idiots. We all know that. As little as having to figure out an electric toothbrush has them flying into blind rage. But those two behaving so belligerently toward Dodo's buddy, JUST for being a metamorph, when Dodo himself is an established and fully accepted feature of the station AND was standing right there?! Give me a break.
And at the end the shapeshifting freak is simply let go on his merry way. Just like that. And by the station's "head of security," no less. The life of the Klingon he killed? Nah, forget all that. He said some deep, meaningful words to Dodo before disappearing into the night, and surely that counts for far more than the life of some Klingon bigot.
Keera came off "sympathetically" here from the perspective of making a sacrifice out of boundless love. Yet, springing a suspected murderer from jail, again, with zero consequence? Ri-di-cu-lous. They're busting Quark's hump for smuggling in some Blahblahdian wine but letting a murder suspect escape? No big deal if it makes a main character feel better and resolves his Identity Crisis™.
Speaking of Quark: "We're at war with your people. This is no time to stage a changeling pride parade on the promenade." THANK. YOU. QUARK!!!
Tue, Nov 22, 2022, 12:10am (UTC -5)
That being said, this was the first time, for me, that I really believed Kira had feelings for him, and I thought Nana visitor did a great job of bringing believable emotions to her scenes. The final sequence was great, and I always felt that sort of “melding” would have been something they were already doing—especially between two beings who desired to bond as close as their physical bodies would allow.
Fri, Feb 24, 2023, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
On the 580 000 letters of a genetic code his team implanted in an experiment, Craig Venter, a geneticist, said:
“Design is critical, and if you're starting with digital information in the computer, that digital information (must be) really accurate.”
The synthetic android, Dahj, in the episode Remembrance of the series Picard, questioned why she existed, similarly to the idea of Frankenstein:
PICARD: Have you ever considered the possibility...
DAHJ: That I'm a soulless murder machine?
PICARD: That you are something lovingly and deliberately created.
Picard responds that Dahj was purposely created, implying design and loving intention from the creator, using mimicry of the original design. In the show, Dhaj was in effect a copy of the copy (the android, Data, her “father”) of a copy (of humans).
The Lord told Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, a priest at Anathoth, in the territory of Benjamin, that Jeremiah had been brought into the world for a purpose, he was "meant to be", with special timing linked to that purpose:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
The creation of Jeremiah was linked to his ministry as a prophet during the reign of Josiah King of Judah, as well as Jehoiakim and Zedekiah. God had a plan to bring Jeremiah into the world for a loving, intentional, reason. Jeremiah had been set apart to speak God’s word in the age when the people of Judah were to be exiled to Babylon. It was not an accident or Jeremiah’s own design or plan to be a prophet.
We can look at modern drones, such were used in the opening display of the Tokyo Olympics in July, AD 2021, and be amazed at the inbuilt ingenuity and design applications using knowledge. The drones were programmed and purposely designed and built to fly in unison to create a huge 3D image of the planet Earth over the stadium in Tokyo. Such a display was "meant to be."
Craig Venter said design is critical. Design infers intellectual input and planning with consideration to all forces and effects, with a purpose in mind (the why). Without design, Craig’s project of gene implantation would have failed. It would not have happened by itself. Craig said digital information, which was inputted in the design process, must be really accurate. The eagle has huge amounts of biological functions and capabilities giving its ability in the sky and hunting abilities. God said that a bird of prey breeds offspring, which have capabilities of its parents. The original parents had genetic information “inputted” that was really accurate. The bald eagle does not need improving. We do not blink an eyelid when a scientist says design is critical.
In this DS9 episode called Chimera, Quark credits time with how “humanoids” are now, genetically:
QUARK: Don't you get it, Odo? We humanoids are a product of millions of years of evolution. Our ancestors learned the hard way that what you don't know might kill you. They wouldn't have survived if they hadn't have jumped back when they encountered a snake coiled in the muck. And now millions of years later, that instinct is still there. It's genetic.
He does not credit design from a designer, in his conversation with Odo, a so called Changeling creature. Ironically, in the same episode which looks at identity and belonging, another Changeling called Laas says on four separate occasions about how one is meant to be, as though there is a designer with a plan or purpose, with an implication that this is the right way to be:
LAAS: Think of it, Odo. We can exist the way we were meant to….
LAAS: This could be your last chance to exist the way you were meant to. Don't throw it away….
LAAS:For the first time in my life I understand how I was meant to exist…
LAAS: I prefer the so-called primitive lifeforms. They exist as they were meant to, by following their instincts.
Time does not design, or have thought or intention, which is implicit in the phrase “meant to be.” Time, which is a measurement of elapsed periods as agreed, is not a designer. Mass is not a designer. Energy is not a designer. Gravity is not a designer. Natural selection “takes” what is already there in the genetic make -up of the progenitors. Those who create drones do take in account of mass, energy and gravity in the design, and so did God. Really accurate design is critical.
The original ingenuity of the eagle’s designer is greater than a drone. According to the Scriptures, rather than a triumph of chance, God is the really accurate intentional designer of the biological wonders we see, and should be given praise as such. God knows and utilized the most finite “pieces” that go into a living creature such as an eagle. Craig Venter said concerning his work:
“Part of the design is designing pieces that are 50 letters long that have to overlap with all the other 50-letter pieces to build smaller subunits we have to design so they can go together. We design unique elements into this.”
Craig made it clear- “We have to design so they can go together.”
The correct DNA ordering, so the unique elements of humans “go together” with all its “subunits” can be seen as evidence of biological engineering.
In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Best of Both Worlds, Part II, Captain Picard mentions his state of being in relation to how he feels as a human, in the after effects of his DNA returning to its original state, that is, normality.
CRUSHER: Life signs are stable. The DNA around the microcircuit fibre implants is returning to normal.
TROI: How do you feel?
PICARD: Almost human. With just a bit of a headache.
There is an amazing “normality” to humans’ biology, based on our DNA. To make minor “tweeks” to the “letters” of our DNA, does not change us from being humans. To attempt to make major changes will not result in a different species. The idea of “lucky” changes to DNA, to bring about a new species via fortuitous “hopeful monsters” is not born from our observed experience in our shared humanity. Our shared humanity goes back to our shared beginnings in being created as humans, with our “normal” DNA. The Jewish Scripture do account for this beginning of our being as humans.
In the Doctor Who episode Arachnids in the UK, a character call Dr, Jade McIntyre, who is a research fellow in zoology, “specialising in arachnids and anthropods” talks about “bio-engineering”:
JADE: I'm running through our work, stuff we shut down. Spiders bio-engineered for stronger cobwebs, prolonged life.
Engineering implies design input and manipulation. In the same episode, Jade talks about the inherited “strengths of arachnids,” such as the qualities of spider silk.
JADE: We reckon there could be around 21 quadrillion spiders on the planet in total.
DOCTOR: So what sort of research are you doing in here?
JADE: We're interested in utilising the genetic strengths of arachnids. Ordinary spider silk is as strong as steel or as tough as Kevlar.
GRAHAM: That still don't make me like them.
DOCTOR: Ooo, fun fact, if you weave dragline spider silk as thick as a pencil, it's strong enough to stop a plane in flight.
GRAHAM: You're kidding.
DOCTOR: I'm not. I've had to deal with it. Well, me and Amelia Earhart. You'd like her, she's a right laugh.
Scientists, such as Dr. Uri Gat, from the Silberman Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University, Israel, and the Technical University of Munich; and Fritz Vollrath of Oxford University, who designed laboratory fibre in bio-mimicry of spider fibres, have commented on the “high sophistication” regarding two proteins working together:
“The scientists believe that that the variability in the behaviour of the proteins they produced as compared to what occurs in nature shows a high level of sophistication in the spider fibres. It seems that the protein ADF-4 makes it possible for the rapid production of fibre, while the other protein, ADF-3, regulates production and prevents early fibre production, which could be fatal to the spider.”
Dr. Gat also said:
"The research enabled us to determine the close connection that exists between the sequence, structure and functions of the proteins."
Such a high level of sophistication is cause for us to stop and think - is such a wonder from accident, or design? It is not unintelligent to come to the conclusion that design needs a designer, just as Craig Venter needed to design in his genetic operations in cell manipulation.
Such copying of proteins spider use, it is thought may go on to assist humans in the design process “in the future for manufacture of bulletproof vests, surgical thread, micro-conductors, optical fibres and fishing rods; even new types of clothing may be envisioned.”
Star Trek and Doctor Who both base the idea of creatures on other planets, have “risen” and not been created, due to evolution, with the belief that evolution be credited with our creation and being on Earth today. When Captain Pike and Michael Burnham meet Jett Reno while she is tending to the injured Tellarite, Grek, as he lay bleeding from a head wound in the sickbay of USS Hiawatha, Jett credits evolution to the idea that Tellarites have the protein hemerythrin (which, on Earth, in reality transports oxygen in marine invertebrate like marine worms, using iron atoms attached to the protein)
RENO: Tellarite blood's rich in hemerythrin. The only place on Earth you'll find anything like it is marine invertebrates. Evolution's a fickle bitch, am I right?
When she is questioned by captain Pike on how she can look after the sick, being an engineer, not a surgeon or doctor, Reno points to the idea of the body being engineered:
CAPTAIN PIKE: You’re an engineer, not a surgeon.
RENO: Body’s just a machine, and I read.
So Reno, being an engineer, who normally would have maintained and repaired complex systems on a starship such as computer processes and circuitry, which were designed by humans, can study the functions and complexities of the machinery of the body parts, but not recognise engineering and design in a living creature’s body parts, which are more complex.
Even with the sophistication seen in the world of living creatures, with orderly function and interaction of components, such as proteins like ADf-4 and hemerythrin, scientists praise non directed evolution as the source, not a designing, powerful God who engineered the design in the first place. For example, Jeffrey Karp of Harvard University, as reported by Livescience, after his team helped develop a medical tape (which can be used to close surgical wounds) from studying porcupine quills which were found to have microscopic barbs:
“Karp isn’t surprised that studying the natural world can reveal solutions to medical challenges. “I strongly believe that evolution is truly the best problem solver,” he said, adding that we still have much to learn from nature.”
On one hand Karp is saying we can mimic engineering found in nature, but he implies such qualities were not engineered in the first place, as evolution requires random changes to the ordering of the sequencing of the normal “letters” of DNA, (which was sophisticated in the first place). Somewhat ironically, Karp believes in engineering that which was not engineered originally.
In the series Star Trek:Enterprise episode Dead Stop, the idea of replicator technology on a repair station, is introduced as being able to create an object:
T'POL: I believe it's a molecular synthesiser of some kind. Similar to a protein resequencer, but far more advanced. Water, cold.
(T’Pol takes a sip of cold ice water from a glass that has just appeared, that is, materialised, in front of her on the replicator machine).
T'POL: I saw a similar device on a Tarkalean vessel. It was capable of replicating almost any inanimate object.
TUCKER: If we had one of these in Engineering we could make all the spare parts we need.
The idea is that such a technology is advanced because of its engineering which allows it do what it does. In the episode, it is not revealed who is the builder and original engineer.
ARCHER: Who built this station? What species?
COMPUTER: Your inquiry was not recognised.
In the same episode of Dead Stop, an interesting comment is made about the replicator’s non ability to make even the simplest form of life:
ARCHER: Apparently bulkheads aren't the only thing this station can replicate.
PHLOX: It's ironic, in a way. The station can duplicate a dead human body in all its exquisite detail, yet a living, simple, one-celled organism is beyond its capability.
Humans in all their ingenuity can also not make life from non life.
Paul the apostle said a right response from looking at the created, that is, the engineered life forms (even the most “simple’) from which been made from design, (as reasoned from induction) of all the creatures we see, (the pieces that fit together, and depend on each for proper functioning like the proteins used by spiders n silk production, with unique elements), should also elicit a right response (such as thanksgiving) towards God the Creator (the Who):
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Such a conclusion is not unreasonable, especially in light of scientists recent own engineering attempts to copy and manipulate genetic codes in the sophisticated bio world of living organisms. The invisible qualities Paul mentioned include God’s ability to design and bring into reality. Humans can mimic, but not match, what God has done in creating life with all its diversity and functions. As scientists have shown, we can learn from the design features of all the parts that go together to benefit living creatures, to also benefit humans.
Stephen J. Gould the Harvard University professor from AD 1967-2002, pondered:
“How can we be indifferent to the great questions of genealogy: where did come from and what does it all mean? “
To say there is not design in what we see in the creatures of this world is contradicted by humans own design attempts to mimic and manipulate functions of living creatures. We can design and build things which may mimic living creatures, but they can never reproduce like living creatures, which pass on their inbuilt characteristics.
Fri, Feb 24, 2023, 2:25pm (UTC -5)
I've got to ask - what is the thesis you're trying to demonstrate in regard to Chimera? I know your position is that beings come from a design, which we can mimic using our skills and knowledge. But how that does position relate to the episode? Are you saying something about how the Changelings mimic, which ends up being similar to our technological abilities? Or are you saying the God designed the Changelings to mimic, and if so what does that say? I'll note parenthetically that Trek does maintain that beings can evolve into more advance forms, like physical beings into energy beings, or into shapeshifters as is the case with the Changelings. Would your argument regarding energy beings like the Organians be that God designed their manner of being, but additionally planned for it to have intermediary stages?
Sat, Feb 25, 2023, 3:58am (UTC -5)
So Chimera is mimicry about mimicry, with the idea of change and decisions made which "shape," pardon the pun, one's destiny.
My personal belief in being changed oneself as a human, is based on becoming over time, more closer to the image, not in a physical state, like a Changeling, but on a character base like Christ, who Paul described as the perfect likeness of God, our Maker. This is what I understand I am "meant to be," not as becoming God ,or a god, but like God in love, patience, kindness, justice and compassion . I do believe in a Creator, who has general revelation in the creation, such as other living things, and also in us as humans, as well in specific revelation in through through the man Jesus Christ, as a fulfillment of Jewish writings and expectations from their prophets. I understand the Scriptures we have from the Jewish prophets and New Testament writers, talk about changing for the better, or good, with positive real outcomes.
Chimera makes some interesting observations about wanting to be loved, and belonging, and what creatures are meant to be.
The Changeling, Odo, once wanted to “teach” a young Changeling how to be a bird of prey:
ODO: Do you know what you are? You're a changeling. A shape-shifter. You can be anything. A Tarkalean hawk soaring through the sky.
And later, Odo again to the baby Changeling:
ODO: Please, don't die. There's so much I want to show you. I was going to teach you how to become a Tarkalean hawk, remember?
Towards the end of the episode Odo morphs into a hawk and soars through the Promenade.
In the episode Scorpian, Part 2 of Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Janeway talks to Leonardo da Vinci (in a holodeck virtual reality simulation) about copying the flight technique of the bird of prey, the hawk, for the design of a flying machine.
JANEWAY: This looks like a flying machine.
DA VINCI: I thought that because my imagination took flight so easily, my body could do the same. I was wrong.
JANEWAY: It's this flapping approach. You designed your machine to mimic the way a bat or a sparrow flies.
DA VINCI: Yes, yes. So?
JANEWAY: So what if you based it on the hawk, instead?
DA VINCI: The hawk. A creature that glides through the air.
DA VINCI: We will design a new machine, and you, Catarina, will help me fly it.
In the series Picard in the episode Broken Pieces, Picard tries to convince the “synthetic human” Soji of the beauty and artistry of her as a creation, which came from her maker who mimicked biological humans in his work:
PICARD: You have a constellation of three beauty marks on your right cheek.
SOJI: Which is a good thing?
PICARD: Which is artistry. Noonien Soong, who made Data, thought of himself as an artist.
But..he never gave Data three beauty marks.
SOJI: I also have a mole on my chest. And a crooked pinky toe.
PICARD: You are a wonder. A... technological masterpiece and work of art.
SOJI: Am I a person?
As humans, we are each a wonder and a masterpiece.
Charles Caleb Colton (born AD 1780, died AD 1832), was an English writer, who wrote of mimicry:
“Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.”
These words are somewhat paraphrased in the episode Chimera, when Laas talks to Odo, on how Odo has changed himself into the image of humans:
LAAS: They tolerate you, Odo, because you emulate them. What higher flattery is there?
In his book, Connecting Who, Artificial Beings, Peter Grehan makes the observation that robots or androids in science fiction are used to help us ask what makes us truly human. He talks about a thin line between “being” and “artifice”. (Somewhat similarly between a Changeling and humans.)He speculates:
“One day, maybe sooner than we think, it might be possible to create biological robots. But if they look and function so much like us will we still be able to see those biological robots and androids as machines?”
In the Star Trek:Enterprise episode, The Augments, in which the character Soong ponders the future after his aggressive, genetically engineering humans, were destroyed:
SOONG: I've been thinking. Perfecting humanity may not be possible. Cybernetics. Artificial lifeforms.
ARCHER: Good-bye, Doctor.
SOONG: I doubt I'll finish the work myself. Might take a generation or two.
In the episode The Augments, the genetically engineered humans called the scientist who did the manipulating, their “father,” even though he was not their biological father.
Humankind’s ability to create is astounding, but humans cannot create life.
In the science fiction movie Prometheus, a character comments on human’s creating human-like robots:
PETER WYLAND: We are now three months into the year of our Lord, 2023. At this moment of our civilization, we can create cybernetic individuals, who in just a few short years will be completely indistinguishable from us. Which leads to an obvious conclusion: WE are the gods now.
In the episode, Remembrance of the series Picard, set in the 24th century AD, Admiral Picard asked a question about the possibility of making a sentient flesh and blood android to an expert, a human cyberneticist, at the Daystrom Institute, Dr. Agnes Jurati:
DR JURATI: How can I help you?
PICARD: You can tell me if it is possible to make a sentient android out of flesh and blood.
Dr Jurati went on:
DR JURATI: It was the Grand Slam. Uh, sentient synthetics that appear human inside and out.
Indeed, androids may look like us as humans, but does that mean there is a thin line between what we create, and the created? Chimera also looks at such an artifice. Our own fleshly bodies are made up of chemical elements, but the sum of us is greater than the total of all the “physical building blocks” or “biological machinery” that makes up our body. We are more than just a nice arrangement of the chemicals from the periodic table, such as carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. We do sense an “intangibleness of our being”.
The character Wyland says:
“we can create cybernetic individuals.”
Huey Lewis and the News sang in the 1980s:
“Ain't no livin' in a perfect world
There ain't no perfect world anyway
Ain't no livin' in a perfect world
But we'll keep on dreamin' of livin' in a perfect world
Keep on dreamin' of livin' in a perfect world.”
Science fiction ponders such an idea of a perfect world, a new paradise.
In the Star Trek episode “What Are Little Girls are Made Of?”, the android scientist character, a copy of the real Dr Roger Korby, tried to convince Captain Kirk of his ability to create an immortal human being, an android without sickness or death, and without evil such as greed, jealousy and hatred:
KORBY: In android form, a human being can have practical immortality. Can you understand what I'm offering mankind?
KIRK: Programming. Different word, but the same old promises made by Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Hitler, Ferris, Maltuvis.
KORBY: Can you understand that a human converted to an android can be programmed for the better? Can you imagine how life could be improved if we could do away with jealousy, greed, hate?
KIRK: It can also be improved by eliminating love, tenderness, sentiment. The other side of the coin, Doctor.
KORBY: No one need ever die again. No disease, no deformities. Why even fear can be programmed away, replaced with joy. I'm offering you a practical heaven, a new paradise.
The character android Korby, was attempting to make the perfect being in a perfect world, that is, the search for immortality, where everything and everyone is good, and untainted by sickness and death.
Our perception of who we are in the world is related to our history, which has its roots in our creation, which was originally described as good.
Our sense of awe and wonder of the Universe and our place in it does elicit a huge question mark, not just “how?” but also “why?” What is it we are meant to be? Laas thought he had the answer for Odo, who differed in his understanding.
In the movie Prometheus, Charlie Halloway talks to David, an android, (a human made robot with human features), about seeking an answer to “Why?” we were made.
Charlie Holloway: What we hoped to achieve was to meet our makers. To get answers. Why they even made us in the first place.
David: Why do you think your people made me?
Charlie Holloway: We made you because we could.
David: Can you imagine how disappointing it would be for you to hear the same thing from your creator?
Charlie Holloway: I guess it's good you can't be disappointed.
Interestingly, Ridley Scott the director of Prometheus, was interviewed on the idea of Christ Himself being woven into the plot:
Movies.com: You throw religion and spirituality into the equation for Prometheus, though, and it almost acts as a hand grenade. We had heard it was scripted that the Engineers were targeting our planet for destruction because we had crucified one of their representatives, and that Jesus Christ might have been an alien. Was that ever considered?
RS: We definitely did, and then we thought it was a little too on the nose. But if you look at it as an “our children are misbehaving down there” scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armour and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, “Lets’ send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it.” Guess what? They crucified him.
Jesus the man was indeed crucified by humans, even though He was without wrong-doing. However, unlike Sisko, He was not an emissary from aliens.
In reality, there is a sense of “how disappointing” we are “running” this planet. The character Elisabeth Shaw finds out that her “creators” the alien creatures called Engineers, are “disappointing”.
Sensing a “who” behind the “what” is a starting point in understanding the Scriptures which has the “Who” making His presence felt through more than just observing the stars and the magnificent living things and natural, and the beautiful and even mathematical order of our environment.
God asked the rhetorical question to Job:
“Is it your wisdom that makes the hawk soar
And spread its wings towards the south?”
Like a Changeling we can create great mimicry, but who do we mimic, in ourselves?
Sun, Mar 12, 2023, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
This episode had a very intressting subject, it was well played but I did not reall like it.
I simply got to irritated on the Laas character. Still it did have two highlights. First of all Quark explaining the humanoids, that was spot on and brilliant. Secondly I really loved the fact that Kira loved Odo so much that she let him go even if it ment that she would lose him.
I am very glad that this character Laas did not reoccur.
Mon, Apr 17, 2023, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
I realize this response to your comment is over a decade late, and you probably won't see it. But the subject you brought up is something I've been thinking about lately.
I have a bit of a self-made fan-theory that would explain the inconsistency in how Changeling faces work.
Now, before I explain my theory, I want to make it clear that I don't consider a fan-theory to be a valid defense for poor writing. Just because someone can think of an explanation after the fact, doesn't mean the original writers shouldn't have made it make sense in the original context. The fact that I could is just proof that they could have as well.
Anyway, my theory stems from the time that the female Changeling told Odo that the Changelings were like solids once, eons ago. So my theory is that the smooth, featureless face that Odo and the other Changelings have is actually reminiscent of what their original solid form looked like, and when they take on humanoid form, a type of genetic memory guides them to that form specifically, or something similar to it. After honing their shapeshifting abilities well enough, they can take on humanoid forms without it looking like a changeling. However when they assume humanoid form but don't need to impersonate anyone, they fall back on that genetic memory form, as it takes less effort. Odo and Lass would not have been aware that it was genetic memory they were fighting against, and just come to the conclusion that faces are difficult. Meanwhile the rest of the founders we meet are ridiculously old (or at least the knowledge they carry around is) so it makes sense that they would have long since learned to accurately replicate faces when they want to.
That's my theory. Again, I don't use it as an excuse for the writers. But I like to just use it as my personal explanation, so that the situation doesn't bug me as much.
Mon, Apr 17, 2023, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
You could also say that they stick with that sort of face, even though they don't necessarily have to, in order to project their own species identity when in solid form. I'd imagine the "faces are hard" thing might be more about the subtlety that can lead to "uncanny valley" revulsion among species that are being mimicked. Better to look similar but alien rather than too close and off putting.
Fri, May 5, 2023, 1:47am (UTC -5)
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