Star Trek: Deep Space Nine


4 stars

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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137 comments on this post

Tue, Sep 11, 2007, 9:08pm (UTC -5)
This is my all time favorite episode of Star Trek. I'm glad you like it too. I love reading your reviews. You are so fair.
Jakob M. Mokoru
Sun, Nov 25, 2007, 4:01am (UTC -5)
Well, I wouldn't go as far as calling this episode the "all time favourite of Star Trek", but it undoubtetly is a great one!
Tue, May 6, 2008, 7:36pm (UTC -5)
Great episode, great review! Question: did Odo infect Laas with the Changeling disease?
Thu, May 22, 2008, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Jeff, I don't think so, because presumably Odo doesn't have the disease. I was more worried, despite the medical screening, that Laas was sent by the Founders to infect Odo.
Joseph Coatar
Sun, Sep 21, 2008, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
Odo does have the disease in this episode, section 31 infected him with it when Odo was on earth during the two-part episode 'Homefront/Paradise Lost', Odo gave the disease to the rest of the founders in 'Broken Link'. This is the best written episode of the Star Trek franchise, and could have easily have been a two-parter, espically if the generic klingon Lass killed turned out to be Worf's son
Thu, Nov 13, 2008, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
I like how you mentioned how this episode managed to avoid "action" cliches and stay true to the characters. If this had been an episode of VOYAGER, for example, Laas would have turned Evil and there would have been a phaser fight through the corridors as the crew tried to prevent him from taking over the ship of "disgusting humanoids."
Sun, Dec 21, 2008, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
I have to admit that I was bored to tears by this episode. Hasn't the "Odo-in-self-doubt has to consider whether to rejoin his people or stay with the humanoids" premise grown rather stale by now? While the review convinced me that the episode is not a total loser (it has its merits regarding the Odo/Kira-relationship, and yes, it's ok that Laas does not turn out to have "evil intentions") I still cannot find it gripping. Don't get me wrong. I like character shows. But I would chose Vic's lounge over "Chimera" anytime.
Thu, Mar 12, 2009, 3:43am (UTC -5)
This episode, for me, shows where Odo's loyalties truly lie. This is the same guy whose soul is tortured by his one botched investigation during the Occupation, but he, Mr. Constable and Objective Law-Man, conveniently ignores the death of the Klingon (which was probably manslaughter) to assuage his own guilt over convincing Laas to remain on the station for his own selfish feelings of loneliness. All of a sudden, he rejects any notion of impartiality on the part of the magistrate out of hand, as if there was no notion of law in the Federation. He then aids and abets in the fugitive's escape, and ignores Kira's actions in the matter as well. That Sisko can't put two-and-two together and figure out that Laas' escape was intentional just makes him needlessly stupid and inept too. This is the same guy that beat Michael Eddington at his own game and wiped out a garrison of Jem'Hadar at AR-558.
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)
I agree EP.

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)
The drawn out way that O"Brien says "Laaaas" after he hears that the fog is Laas makes me laugh out loud every time.
Thu, Oct 15, 2009, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Just dropped by and totaly nodded review.
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)
When I saw this on the first run I was unimpressed (being a teenager more interested in the war and space battles). Seeing it again last night bought tears to my eyes, TWICE. First when Kira said: "I'm sorry I can't link with you." So honest, so sad. And then of course the final scene where he becomes his true self and this taciturn, gruff guy turns into something so beautiful- which of course we all knew he was, deep down. Even thinking of it now makes me well up. Four stars indeed!
Sat, Apr 3, 2010, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
Maybe my favourite moment of the episode perhaps was Quark's insight. He's done it before, think of his root beer anology for the Federation, and he always nails it. He's at his best when provides a sober, maybe even cynical, perspective. In a way he exemplifies the difference between DS9 and Star Trek series.
Marco P.
Thu, Aug 26, 2010, 2:56am (UTC -5)
Good episode, great character development, awesome final scene.
Mr. Plow
Wed, Sep 22, 2010, 7:47am (UTC -5)
Odo meets another changeling, and he's a real dick (not literally). Would've enjoyed this ep better if Laas wasn't such an unrepentant a-hole. Did enjoy his fog impression and his T-1000 takedown of the Klingon.
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)
Potentially one of the best episodes of DS9 I've ever seen. Well done all around. Interestingly, Sisko, Quark, the Klingons and O'Brien all have to act out of character for it to work. I don't really care that much because the episode isn't about them, but think about that next time you're tempted to VOYAGER bash.
Thu, Feb 3, 2011, 12:33am (UTC -5)
This episode was a bit annoying because Laas was such an a-hole, but it did raise a neat idea about love, as Nic points out: Changelings could never feel love as we do, despite claiming it was a pale imitation of the great link. Changelings can not, apparently, choose to link just between two of them and exclude the rest of the population.

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)
Sorry, I seem to repeat myself for a large chunk of that last post. Can't edit it, so you have to live with it. I think it's pretty obvious what my point is, anyway.
Thu, Feb 3, 2011, 12:38am (UTC -5)
I never thought I'd find myself defending DS9, but they did explain this...a lot. Faces require apparently centuries of experience shape-shifting to master as per a conversation between Odo and that matriarch changeling.
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.

Thanks anyway
Thu, Feb 3, 2011, 11:40am (UTC -5)
Yeah...Odo and Laas were among the "Hundred" instead of sharing in the planetary soup of the homeworld.
Thu, Feb 3, 2011, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Yeah.. planetary soup. I actually believe that the founders is just a single being. The 'baby' changelings that were sent out into space were actually just fragments of the whole thing, somehow stripped of their knowledge of themselves.

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)
I agree with Straha a bit here that the Odo will he or won't he go with the Founders stroyline is quite stale by now. So that made the episdoe a bit tedious.

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)
Perhaps a bizarre observation, but when Laas was fog, presumably the people on the Promenade inhaled some of him into their respiratory tracts. When he reverted back into Laas form, would those particles be sucked back up through their lungs, throats and back out their noses. That would probably be a weird feeling.
Sat, Sep 24, 2011, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
One quick point: just because the familiar 'female' founder character doesn't normally use anything but a crude approximation of a face doesn't mean she doesn't have the ability to do so.

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)
Jammer, you call this a "character story" and tend to attribute its greatness to those qualities which exemplify the serialisation and preëminence of plot over substance. I wholeheartedly disagree--this is a story about beauty. Its greatness has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the people involved are people we know or care about as you are prone to point out. In the long run, it IS interesting to note how the details of plots and characters add up to events and their enfolding, but is that really the emotional heart of drama? This episode works and works stunningly because it is about a truth which transcends time and space. That is why it is mythical and that is why Odo, Kira and Laas are mere vessels for that truth. That is also why Laas is as compelling a character, though we've never seen him before, as Kira and Odo, whom we've seen for nearly seven years.

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)
As an Egyptian Muslim living in usa for 20+ years, I watched this episode when it aired and recently saw it again. It is very interesting how this film mirrors the innately insecure hellenistic philosophy advocated by Socrates and indeed, the entire theological worldview of the white race in general. Am I sounding like Lars? Yes. But Lars speaks in racist tones that are not a predilection for him and only come about because of the racism he has faced. This episode dealt with a subtlety of racism that most occidentals either choose to confront, because they are the propagators of it, or it is too subtle for them to pick up on.

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.

Nebula Nox
Fri, Apr 6, 2012, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
I think this is a wonderful episode, especially in how it portrays the relationship between Kira and Odo. There are things that they can't share. I also think that Kira, who is generally a bit prejudiced, grows in this episode.

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)
That Odo was more important to the Founders than the whole Alpha Quadrant was belied by their actions on many occasions.

When they made Odo humanoid, they had no intention of restoring him, ever.
Thu, May 3, 2012, 9:33am (UTC -5)
@Changling, it's Laas, not Lars. Geez, some people!
Tue, Jul 3, 2012, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
I really like parts of this episode, and really dislike other parts.

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'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.
Lt. Fitz
Sat, Jul 7, 2012, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
I really liked the explanation of why humanoids need love. It's lonely in here.
Thu, Jul 19, 2012, 2:08am (UTC -5)
Good review Jammer; Outstanding episode.
Thu, Jul 26, 2012, 1:53am (UTC -5)
@ Changling

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)
Man, first I found out people hated Voyager, then, the other day I heard this insane woman talking about training her 8-year-old daughter how to use her new pink rifle, then I see that people will find in the remotest places an avenue to express their genocidal fetishes.

How beauteous mankind is not...
Sat, Aug 11, 2012, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
@Changling and @Ian and @Nic

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.

Besos! ;-*
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)
What I say below is mere speculation and should not be taken as fact or canon.

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)
I thought this was just ok. The changeling was just to much of A hole. Would have been more interesting to have a friendly changeling that loved solids.

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)
to address an above comment about Trek never showing a genderless society: don't forget te genderless J'naii, one of whom Riker falls in love with (TNG: "The Ourcast"). Soren, the love interest, is oppressed by her people in an obvious allegory meant to make straight people consider their treatment of homosexuals in this day and age. People never seem to remember that episode.
Tue, Aug 6, 2013, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
I wrote out a long post and lost it. Trying again....

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)
Please forgive the typos in the above post. I am using an iPad and didn't notice some of its unfortunate autocorrects, such as turning "Kira" into "Kirk."
Tue, Aug 20, 2013, 6:43am (UTC -5)
Although I have great affection for DS9 and it's moral and philosophical questions, I don't see this as a particularly strong episode. I get that they want to talk about racism, but the metaphor doesn't really hold up in an inter species Federation, and particularly not on DS9 which is even more diverse. There's many species that have metamorphic abilities. Every attempt to say that the changelings are somehow "special" just feels forced for the sake of artificial drama. For the majority of the show, no one cares that Odo is a changeling. Klingons are xenophobic and violent, but that has nothing to do with Laas being a changeling. Remember how they attacked Garak for exactly the same reason? Laas is the racist here. He's the one that insults everyone. He's the one that judges them by their species alone. Worse, Odo functions as an enabler for his anti social behavior.

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)
I'm surprised so many commenters are smitten with this episode. I found it dull, irritating and not in line with the characters we know. It was out of character for Odo to ignore justice and blindly support the changeling and for Kira to help him escape and lie to the captain when the changeling was clearly in the wrong. Also Odo should know better than to blindly link with changelings left and right by now. The only good parts were scenes between Kira and Odo.

Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
Habemus Star Trek!

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)
Odo didn't completely act the way I expected him to, so that was one point of criticism.

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)
Presumably Odo transmitted the changeling disease to Laas here. One wonders if the cure ever made its way to Laas wherever he went after this.
Nick P.
Fri, May 16, 2014, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
I absolutely love this episode, this is easily the best of the 7th season thus far. I am a first time watcher, so I do hope things get better. I can't help but notice that this 7th season is not working very well. I have a theory. I wonder if anyone can guess what my theory is. I have attached a list of the 1st 13 episodes of the season and the actors that got major screen time next to it. Does anyone else spot a trend?

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
Covenant Kira
It's Only a Paper Moon Nog, EZRI
Prodigal Daughter EZRI, Obrien
The Emperor's New Cloak Quark, Rom, EZRI
Field of Fire EZRI
Nick P.
Fri, May 16, 2014, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
BTW, to defend LAAS, think about the math here. Odo began communication with Humanoids in 2356....This season of DS9 occurs in 2375. So he really is about 19 years old. LAAS was around humanoids for 100's of years he said. All that he loved died, and those he did not love despised him...How is he wrong? Odo is wrong. Even with best possible circumstances, he will live a while with Kira until she slowly ages and dies. Then what? What makes this episode so awesome is that LAAS is RIGHT!
Fri, May 16, 2014, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
Mathematically speaking it seems the suck factor of a S7 episode is...

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)
I go against the crowd with this one - I think it is massively over-rated and found this episode to be preachy, clumsy, dull, slow and extremely boring with so plenty of incongruous plot holes. I actually fell asleep watching this after school special. Zero stars.
Sat, Jun 7, 2014, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
I disliked this episode quite profoundly, purely because it betrayed the characters that have been so wel developed over the last six and a half seasons; and not only that, but as some previous posters have pointed out, it betrays the image of the Federation that has been built up in three different shows now (one of tolerant peoples working together despite their differences for a common goal and for the most part in harmony). While Miles has at times shown some tendencies to be prejudiced (thinking largely of his hatred for the Cardassians), the other characters in this show are usually shown to be honourable, thoughtful people who would never distrust someone for their race. Yet in this episode, see nearly the entire cast airing prejudist thoughts and beliefs they have previously not been shown to have. I thought this was a betrayal to the amazing character development this series has shown over the seasons. It started off so promisingly with Odo assuring Laas that the humanoids on this station were different to the ones he had met in his time; yet sadly, as the show unfolded, this turned out not to be the case. It was at this point that I was rolling my eyes. I also found Laas' generalistic dogma about humanoids a bit trying. Yes, many humanoids in Trek have shown themselves to be everything Laas described them to be, but by far the worst super-villains we have seen so far have been the changelings and their control over the dominion. They kill humanoids because they are beneath them. They are the biggest xenophobes in the entire saga, yet nowhere was this point raised in this episode. It would have been much better had one of the other cast members stopped acting (entirely out of character) like a prejudiced xenophobe and actually rationally debated with Laas about the actions of their various peoples to show that the Founders were morally bereft and committing atrocities far worse than any humanoid species. 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.
fred meggd
Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 2:48am (UTC -5)
Great analysis, but you forget Kirk from TOS and his "Clingon bastards killed by son" comment.

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)
Two things really ruin this episode for me.

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)
Wonderful episode.

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.
ODO: Oh?
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)
My favourite thing about this episode was Laas's criticism of humans, and how we dominate everything, and often don't care about other species (in Trek's case - any species that can't talk). I thought of this episode when I listened to a segment on the radio where they were talking about the huge number of birds that get killed every year by bumping into glass windows. There's plenty of examples like this, where we accidentally kill animals, or cause them to become endangered. So yeah, I completely buy that someone in the Trek universe would dislike "humanoids", if all the "humanoids" are really similar to humans anyway. Not saying the hate is entirely fair, just saying that its credible.

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)
I'll get it out of the way quick:

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)
"Racism" is a loaded term, and maybe doesn't merit use given the variety of different aliens on the show. I can go without the word.

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)
I would agree with prejudice. He definately doesn't acknowledge solids as equal in any way. Fish probably wasn't the best analogy, fish aren't sentient.
Sun, Nov 16, 2014, 4:21am (UTC -5)
Telepathy and the ability to travel at warp speed, yet more convenient changeling magic. This was a great episode, but I found the fact that our new changeling friend was so obviously played by the actor who plays Martok distracting.
Thu, Mar 12, 2015, 2:03am (UTC -5)
A changeling was pretending to be Martok, so now the guy who played Martok is a changeling. LOL.

More serious:

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)
@Yanks: I've always wondered if Odo infected Laas.

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)
A few things:

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.
John Doe
Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 11:48pm (UTC -5)
This episode is just ok. For someone who has lived a couple hundred years, Laas sure didn't learn his manners. His arguments also don't make much sense on a station filled with a dozen different races where every one gets along. I think this episode doesn't really do Odo's character justice. He values justice so much more than everyone else, and yet his eyes were blinded by race so he couldn't stay objective like he always had been.
Fri, Sep 4, 2015, 7:58am (UTC -5)
@John - "his eyes were blinded by race so he couldn't stay objective like he always had been"

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)
What Laas didn't know was that Klingons were equal opportunity haters. They may have reacted in the same way had Laas been Cardassian. Remember that episode when those Klingons roughed up Garrack in his shop? To me, the elephant in the room is that there is more than mere racism/specism at play between alpha quadrant solids and changelings. Alpha quadrant solids had a very legitimate reason for being fearful of changelings,the Dominion War. It's no wonder that solids would give the side-eye to a species looking to conquer, kill, and subjugate them. Laas did not seem to want to acknowledge that and rather chose to believe that monophorms were prejudiced against changelings simply because of their abilities.
Tue, Nov 3, 2015, 3:05am (UTC -5)
One point most, if not all, commentators are missing is the fact that this episode is (also) about minorities and what it can do to you when you are living in an hostile environment. And of course Laas is an ass that is the whole point. He lived in a world full of prejudice and hopelessness and in the end he became intolerant and bitter because of that.
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.
Nathan B.
Thu, Nov 5, 2015, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
A lot of people have talked about racism in relation to this episode. I don't really see it that way; prejudice against those unlike the majority is a major feature, but surely this is more about homophobia than racism. He has bumps on his forehead, but she has a wrinkled nose.

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)
I think this is my favorite DS9, along with "Duet". There are other great episodes but these two are on a different level, being not merely great drama but revealing something poignant about the soul. Simply fantastic.
Diamond Dave
Mon, Feb 22, 2016, 9:19am (UTC -5)
A really strong, quiet, reflective episode packed with thoughtful dialogue and interesting character beats. It's interesting that even without being with the Founders that Laas also turns out to be a racist asshat - by virtue of the discrimination he suffers. Perhaps this confirms the motivations behind the Dominion as espoused by the Founders earlier in the series run - and delicately impales Odo on the horns of a dilemma that suggests he would be like Laas too if only he hadn't given up being a changeling to live with the 'solids'.

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.
William B
Mon, Apr 18, 2016, 2:10pm (UTC -5)
I'm a fan. 4 stars. As ever, it is hard to write about my favourite episodes, so I will put this off.
Tue, Apr 19, 2016, 9:59am (UTC -5)
Lady's and gentlemen.... Sir William B's shortest post ever!!

William B
Tue, Apr 19, 2016, 11:24am (UTC -5)


(even shorter!)
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.
William B
Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Thanks Yanks, that's great to hear :) I enjoy your posts too.
Peter G.
Thu, May 12, 2016, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
I'd like to point out one aspect of this episode that follows through on a theme that the series has mentioned in passing several times but never taken the time to confront. Specifically, Kira's tendency to allow physical looks to mean more than they should. Jadzia had mentioned this to her at least twice that I can recall, once in relation to Jadzia discussing Captain Boday (during Resurrection, if I recall) and how Kira was repulsed by his appearance. And right after Dax tells her that she places too much weight on looks a lookalike of Bareil appears on the station. Kira claims she knows he's a completely different man but ends up in bed with him inside of a day anyhow because she can't get past the fact that he looks like Bareil. Resurrection actually failed entirely to remind us towards the end that Dax was right and Kira had something to think about; it got too wrapped up in the plot and forgot the character arc. But it was there for whoever noticed.

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.
William B
Thu, May 12, 2016, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G., great point. I am really enjoying your posts.

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.
Peter G.
Thu, May 12, 2016, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
Actually I've given some thought to "Kira's type", and it seems to me the most striking similarly between, at the least, Bareil and Shakaar is that they were both softspoken, simple men who said things simply and truthfully and disliked pretence. They were also men of action in one sense or another (Kira really warmed up to Bareil after seeing him in his springball outfit) but had a humility to them. Dukat once implied that she was drawn to men of power but I don't really think that's it. I think it's that she's drawn to men of strong but uncomplicated conviction.

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.
Peter G.
Thu, May 12, 2016, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
I just had another thought which I should add. All the men Kira cared for had a distinctly young boyish innocence to them, which in Bareil's case had a tiny bit of 'naughty' mixed in with it. O'Brien has that baby-face and as we later learn, that boyish sense of fun with Julian playing in the holodeck. As for Odo, he's about as 'young and innocent' as they come, since he's basically still a child. He doesn't just come off as young and innocent, he actually IS young and innocent.
William B
Thu, May 12, 2016, 6:19pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G., good point. We can add Bashir to the list, since she does have "latent attraction" to him according to "Fascination" -- I suspect the reason it remains *latent* is that Bashir's boyishness and immaturity are just a little too high and his personality too brash. If Kira seeks out people who can compensate for her anger, it also makes sense that she would seek out people who know how to have fun, which is another area where she is a little weak. While she doesn't hate those traits, she knows she can be too serious and angry and likes people who can both calm her down and lighten her up. Conversely, her very strong, simple moral code is something she very much values and wants to see potential partners also have. I hadn't thought about how O'Brien fits in with the other men but it's a good point. (I have never quite been sure how to read the subplot in "par'mach," partly because the footrub-becomes-romantic scene is I think the first scene they had together since "Body Parts" happened and I can't make the adjustment fast enough, though I do like the last scene you mention.)
Fri, May 13, 2016, 10:47am (UTC -5)
This is a wonderful analysis by Peter G. Despite how well the actors sold it, I never bought Kira's relationship with Odo, especially after the combined events of Things Past, Children Of Time and Behind The Lines. I always thought Kira's best relationship was with Bareil. "men of strong but uncomplicated conviction" sums up Kira's type perfectly, and Odo being revealed as having a morally unreliable and self-serving side to him in those three episodes (a product of his weakness/isolation and the Link being his Achilles heal) was indeed "the worst horror" for her - which is why her getting together with him in His Way wasn't credible for me, especially as the episode is told from his perspective rather than hers. I think rather that, as a contrast to previous Trek series where (unrealistically) there were no relationships between the crew (apart from Riker-Troi-Worf), the DS9 writers were keen to pair up as many of the cast as possible (Sisko and Kasidy, Worf and Jadzia, Bashir and Ezri, Garak and Ziyal, Rom and Leeta, Dukat and Winn, Kira and Odo) as part of character development and showing the characters growing together as a family.
Fri, May 13, 2016, 11:24am (UTC -5)
Not a big fan. Laas comes off as completely unsympathetic. Odo acts out of character by showing bias towards Laas, even after Laas committed murder. Odo, of all people, knows how to constrain his powers, and doesn't use weapons for that very reason. I know the Klingon started the fight and all, but Laas used way more force than was necessary to defend himself, assuming he was ever at any risk at all. I am totally with Worf and Sisko on this.

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.

2.5 stars
Sat, Sep 10, 2016, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
I appreciate the Kira/Odo pairing because it has depth and is based on a long friendship and acceptance of each others failings and weaknesses (they have both greatly disappointed each other in the past and yet still love each other), but I have always wondered how come it is so de-sexualized. Their first and, as far I can tell, only kiss doesn't count- it was more romantic than sexual. And the only other sort-of sexy moment was the massage...

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)
Rene Auberjonois, the actor who plays Odo, is in my opinion one of the best Star Trek has ever had, and a real unsung hero of the franchise. His portrayal of Odo is something special: he breathes so much life and nuance into the character. Even though his facial expressions are limited, with every little turn of his head or twinkle of his eye he manages to convey so much. And his sense of humor is great to boot. It's interesting that in real life his voice sounds quite different - that low gruff voice is part of his act. He really shines in that last scene with the other changeling.
dave johnson
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)
Doesn't anyone answer for anything on this space station? A Klingon dies and Kira just lets him go so Odo can frolic through the galaxy with his boy-toy getting all gooey and looking for a threesome or more.... Meanwhile Odo browbeats Sisko to let Laas go earlier (absent which the Klingon would still be alive, BTW) and takes responsibility for him, and as soon as Laas offs the Klingon he's playing the race card for him. To quote a wiser poster than me above:

"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.
Tanner Hi
Sat, Apr 8, 2017, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
I watched this on Netflix, if you pause it you can see that the King on was reaching for his disruptor. Main nitpick, the odds of Laas finding Odo is probably a trillion to one. And how can he propel himself in space, or survive? Or become fire?
Sun, May 28, 2017, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
4 stars just for the scene where Laas kills the Klingon. Finally! Someone stands up to these xenophobic Klingon bullies. They pick drunken fights at the drop of a hat and then act all surprised when someone finally stands up to them.

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)
I didn't think this episode offered much that was new. Odo is tortured by his identity crisis. Kira tries to be supportive but can't fully understand and then understands a little better and Odo feels loved. There was an episode in the first season that captured this well, when Belanna Torres' mother was nice to Odo when he needed to go into his liquid state.

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?
Real Ric
Sun, Jul 23, 2017, 2:39am (UTC -5)
Great episode but the ending was pretty Elliott
Fri, Jul 28, 2017, 10:27am (UTC -5)
This is the best episode of the seventh season and maybe of the last two seasons combined. What's so affecting about it is that it makes you question EVERYTHING. The story allows us to understand all of the characters's beliefs and motivations so thoroughly that we can sympathize with all points of view. Thanks to the war, humanoids can't trust changelings. Odo has built a life for himself on the station, but he doesn't truly belong there ever since he experienced the Great Link. Laas then offers him a wonderully tempting third option - become a member of a new link without having to align yourself with the "bad guys". This episode peels back so many layers and breaks down Odo's delicate facade in the process. Him turning down Laas and returning to the station was safe and predictable, but the way they got there was beautifully executed. Though she's a humanoid like everyone else, Kira has a more intimate understanding of Odo and considers his happiness more important than anything. Deep down, she understands, like Laas, that despite their love, she and Odo can't last. This is proven correct in the finale. Great, great stuff all around here. :-)
Sun, Aug 6, 2017, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
I think I can safely say at this point... There is just something that makes Odo/Kira romantic scenes not work for me. Perhaps it is that they try way too hard to show how much they love each other, instead having it come out more naturally. And what's weird is that not only I like their scenes from before they got together a lot more, I think if you took a lot of them out of context and said they were together in them, they would work a lot better than the one's they get now.
Sun, Sep 17, 2017, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
Those Bajoran children running around probably inhaled some of that Laas-fog. I wonder if they felt changeling ooze coming back through their nose when he changed his form back.
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 5:09am (UTC -5)
Superb, I loved it! I thought Odo's storyline was all-but-over but then they came up with this. The choice Odo faced was difficult and the episode threw up interesting and complex questions.
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
The part where they give Quark a Fox News style rant about racism being natural and genetic is absurd. Quark is a Ferengi trader who deals with a wide variety of people. Just because we mainly see humanoid characters doesn’t mean there aren’t others even in the Federation. In TNG Wesley Crusher fell in love with a noncorporeal being. Ferengi would be the first ones to try to sell stem bolts to the Founders. The whole thing was out of character.

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.
The Dreamer
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
Posted elsewhere
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
The Dreamer
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
Sorry for spaces,


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)
I think this episode does more for the Odo/Kira romance than any other -- both characters are extremely well acted and really demonstrate what love means and that it does conquer all. And it isn't done in a cliche or cheesy way. A very strong episode that had me thinking a bit about TNG's "I Borg" for some related thoughts. There's a lot of good stuff here about what makes humans what they are vs. what Changelings are purported to be.

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.
M24 Chaffee
Fri, Mar 16, 2018, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
I disagree heavily with the review, this was an absolutely terrible episode for one reason. Odos sense of justice totally fails him after Lass quite transparently provokes the Klingons into attacking him. Odo then defends this murderer!
Thu, May 31, 2018, 3:33am (UTC -5)
I liked this episode and find Laas convincing. He is difference from Odo and the Founders, who have been characterised by their desire for ‘order’ above almost everything. His indifference for humanoid societies, manners or rules is understandable considering how long he has lived. It raises the question about the Changelings sense of time. Given that the Great Link presumably existed for thousands if not millions of years and they aren’t constrained by our sense of a lifetime, one would think they can be more patient.

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)
Disagreeing with Elliott. Had to happen one time. Yes, Odo torn between humans and shapeshifters isn't original. Laas is a total dickhead who makes no progress at all. The enlightened future humanoids are still narrow-minded. The final scene was terrible. And I really hate that fake grin smile of Kira all the time. I did like the flying creature. Odo should have shapeshifted more throughout the series. This episode can shapeshift in two stars, no more.
Patrick Wells Valenti
Sat, Jul 21, 2018, 6:51pm (UTC -5)
I'm watching through for the first time, and this is now my favorite episode I've seen of DS9, possibly of Trek ever. And that ending, wow, really made me tear up.
Mon, Sep 10, 2018, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
Pretty predictable episode - I definitely am not of the popular opinion on this one. I found Laas (lost) to be an arrogant narcissist, and I would have been happy if the Klingons had blasted him with disruptors. Scripts like this, where a wise and self-aware character such as Odo suddenly behaves like he hasn't made all the progress that he's made, and is wondering in a fog, are a huge injustice to the character and the viewers' intelligence. There's a hint of a script here, but no real progress.
I'm still waiting for a romantic episode with Kira and Odo.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 11:37pm (UTC -5)
It was delicious Schadenfreude when Sisko essentially told a complaining Odo to "tel it to the magistrate".
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
Watching and commenting:

--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.

Good ep. 
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
It wasn't really consistent with the previous episodes that most of the solids had always had a basic, instinctive sense of alienation from shapeshifters, felt really different from them, but Auberjonois, Visitor and Shimerman very much sold it, made the change and new scenario very believable and compelling nonetheless, really great performances, developments and interactions between them. And (unrecognizable) Hertzler as Laas is powerfully believable in his conviction that he's been through so much and knows best even when he's only learned major things just recently. Laas is meant to be understandable but about as unlikeable as likeable (and really is a lot more in the wrong in being lethal in the confrontation, he had alternatives and it seemed like he wasn't himself in danger but enjoyed the violence), while Odo feels more positively and forgiving/mostly overlooking, and that really works.

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)
Racism, any “ism”, homophobia, xenophobia... are all learned. Genetic differences between so called races on Earth, are infinitesimally small. Chimpanzees are 99.9% gentically the same as Homo sapiens. Therefore @ Changling, your genocidal desire to kill all white people makes you the racist. Your “historical research” is flawed and your comments are beyond offensive!
As the Chief would say, “Bollucks!”
Bobbington Mc Bob
Mon, Aug 12, 2019, 5:13am (UTC -5)
"Mine's bigger"

Best line of the episode. Good old General Laastok :)
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 9:07pm (UTC -5)
Wierd. I guess Odo doesn't have a gender, technically. I don't know why I didn't consider that before. Which makes the Kira / Odo relationship even more confusing.
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
"Enough talk, link with me"

Gonna try that one out on my next date haha
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
remember fellas. Always get your Significant Others permission before you link with someone on the side. Or at least be smart enough to keep it on the DL
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
great ep! A real step up from recent episodes. I never bought the Kira / Odo romance plot. Didnt make sense to me emotionally or just like... practically...

But they utilized it perfectly here. And got into some of the weird logistics of it.
Other Chris
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
Yep, made me cry. It sneaks up on you.
Jamie Mann
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
Woohoo! Odo gets to meet another of the 100… and he’s a bit of a douche.

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)
I'm a few years late but Dennis's post from 2017 is spot on from start to finish.

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)
My only issue is the snarky way Odo responds to Captain Sisko. While he would certainly have legitimate feelings like that, there's no way he would express them in that tone to his CO. Anyone else, including admirals, sure. But not Sisko. Too much respect for th man and procedure.
Green Dragon
Mon, May 25, 2020, 2:08am (UTC -5)
I agree Tim. Doing a rewatch with my gf. Not only that Laas knows they are at war with the Founders but goes out of his way to essentially wave the national flag in their faces. Odo has come down hard on Quark and others for less. Dismissing Laas fogging up the Promenade is pure bias, since he caused a commotion, regardless of it's natural to him.
Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
Do you know what a chimera is? Evil.

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.
David K.
Sat, Jun 20, 2020, 8:58am (UTC -5)
I disagree completely, I found this to be a terrible episode. The premise is fine, but the execution is terrible. The writers force a conflict using contrived circumstances and irrational behavior including from Odo.
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.
Eric Saavedra
Thu, Jul 9, 2020, 11:50pm (UTC -5)
Great show but one of my complaints here is how much the changelings can take different forms. Seriously?? Fog and fire?? How can they give off heat and light as fire without losing mass? Also in the opening scene when Lass was bigger than the shuttle or when Odo becomes as small as a bird in other episodes. They should have limited the changelings to physical sizes comparable to their volume and not be able to become “energy forms” such as fire.
Sat, Jul 25, 2020, 9:08pm (UTC -5)
Laas makes me feel personally attacked as a humanoid, heh. Which, I guess was the point?

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)
Puzzling that changelings want to assume all kinds of form and understand the nature of different forms; but are unable to comprehend complex form such as a humanoid. The other puzzling thing is how do infant changelings come about to be dispersed in the universe if changelings can’t have children or procreate. I suppose they cloned themselves like how they cloned the Vorta.

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)
Wow, I thought this episode was a total waste of time. A one-note character, arrogant, insufferable, and just plain boring. It's no wonder the guy was lonely; anyone that aggressively neurotic, manipulative, and transparently insincere doesn't have a chance at a meaningful relationship.

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)
Laas's speech in Quarks about how humans alter everything around them to acclimatize the environment to themselves, where as Changelings only alter themselves to acclimatize to the environment around them does more to explain the Founder point of view on solids than any other character in DS9. It felt like the perfect explanation as to why Founders see Humans as a menace.

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.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Sep 13, 2020, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
"...humans alter everything around them to acclimatize the environment to themselves, where as Changelings only alter themselves to acclimatize to the environment around them..." Except for conquering and subjugating every species they come across through oppressive militaristic domination. It shows Laas' (and by extension all of the Changeling's) bias and lack of critical self reflection.
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 5:50pm (UTC -5)
This episode is outstanding in that it uses a single plot to enter into a reflection of many different subjects (albeit none more than a ST episode typically permits) such as humanity, prejudice, social assimilation, ODO as a (special) character, love.

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)
Beautiful, touching episode that has so much to say about what it means to love someone and the issue of prejudice against the "other". Far superior to the much ballyhooed Far Beyond the Stars, which did not grow organically out of the show's premises. The final scene was immensely moving. Four stars at least.
Mon, Apr 12, 2021, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
The one where Odo and Nerys conspire to let a murderer escape for their own self interest. None of the carefully crafted and evolved characters he we have come to know so well would ever act in such a manner. Nothing annoys me more in any series when character's personalities are rewritten at a stroke to suit a plot.
Wed, Apr 21, 2021, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
The only thing that really bothered me about this episode was the guest changeling's harsh opinions about humanoids and the fact the behaviour of the people on the station (including Sisko) towards the changeling seemed to corroborate this.

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)
In reviewing the pivotal scene where Laas kills the assisting Klingon officer, I noticed that the directors, intentionally or unintentionally, produced what I term a visual "sleight of hand". This sleight creates impossible ambiguity in determining whether the assisting Klingon was reaching for a disruptor or a dagger.

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.
" 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)
Good character episode that was sorely needed after some filler episodes. I like how the DS9 characters really are gray and break the rules as needed.

The best part is that we didn't have to see idiotic Rom, Jake, or Ezri.
Gorn with the Wind
Thu, Oct 7, 2021, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
An astonishingly good episode. I was ready for a patented final season nosedive ala TOS and TNG with the loss of Jadzia, but aside from a few clunkers, season 7 ranks up there with the best of the series, indeed of all of Trek.

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.

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