Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Search, Part II
October 5, 2015 11:47 AM - Season 3, Episode 2 - Subscribe

We can't all just get along. Also, Odo's first family reunion becomes rather awkward.

Trivia:

- This is the first episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to be directed by Jonathan Frakes, in his first directorial stint after Star Trek: The Next Generation. He directed two further episodes, "Meridian" and "Past Tense, Part II", and made a guest appearance in "Defiant" – all in Season 3 – as well as directing episodes for Star Trek: Voyager. Frakes commented "it was like having a Next Generation episode assignment to direct a Data story. It was that rich. Rene [Auberjonois] is a wonderful, inventive actor, much like Brent Spiner. Everyone was great. The sets on Deep Space Nine are fabulous to shoot. They're much bigger. There is more room. And it's hard to find a bad angle on that space station".

- The monolith that is seen several times in the background of the garden on the shapeshifters' planet is almost identical to the monolith which appeared in the episode "The Alternate" as a 'relic of Odo's people'.

- After this episode, the Vorta did not appear again until the season 4 episode "To the Death".

- This is the second and last episode that T'Rul, the first Romulan to appear on DS9, would ever appear in, although the actress, Martha Hackett, would go on to play Seska in Voyager.
posted by Halloween Jack (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
One of the fun parts about rewatching and knowing future arcs is finding the tiny little decisions which make a huge difference. In the previous episode, Kira asks Odo to come along, and it's clearly a gesture of friendship (which Odo twigs to immediately, of course.) This gesture, and Odo's acceptance of it, mean that Kira and the rest of the DS9 crew make it safely back to DS9, and THAT will make such a huge difference in later seasons.

I love Kira gently nudging Odo to appreciate the moment of meeting his people for the first time, rather than interrogating them. Unfortunately for Odo, he was right to be suspicious.

I've said this before, but the explanation that the Founders give for Odo and the other Changelings being scattered throughout space make no effing sense given what we learn about them later. Like it's "We had to hide from the HORRIBLE MURDEROUS SOLIDS but we wanted to learn more about them, so we sent out our defenseless infant changelings to live at the mercy of the afore-mentioned HORRIBLE MURDEROUS SOLIDS." It just doesn't scan given that a) they have much more effective methods to learn about other worlds, and b) they desperately care about the missing Changelings and want them to return to The Great Link very badly. I've decided that it's just that Odo's people are a bunch of liars, and the real story of the Changeling infants is much more complicated.
posted by creepygirl at 4:53 PM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


I've decided that it's just that Odo's people are a bunch of liars, and the real story of the Changeling infants is much more complicated.

I've sometimes wondered if it wasn't intended as a way to keep themselves firmly bubbled: send out a bunch of defenseless Changelings who are inevitably hated and/or feared, then reabsorb them into the Link and be reminded of why they hate solids in the first place. (You're right that they had to be lying about their true motivation, one way or the other.)
posted by mordax at 6:28 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


There's something deeply amusing about the fact that the "O'Brien Must Suffer" rule is followed in the Founders' virtual reality scenario. Like, did the Founders/Vorta choose 'have imaginary Jem'Hadar throw O'Brien through the bar'? Or, if the subconsciousnesses of the DS9 were driving parts of the simulation, did they make it happen?

This was kind of a frustrating episode to watch knowing the twist that Founders=Changelings already. It made all the DS9 scenes feel confusingly off. However, I see from the Memory Alpha notes that some fans were disappointed with the conclusion, so, I might have been in that camp on the original run.

I'm not sure I completely buy the idea that the Founders would allow Kira to leave the planet if guarding their identity as the Founders is so important. (And why bring Sisco, Dax, Bashir, & O'Brien down for the VR experiment? I mean, yeah, they had to be there for the dramatic reveal to Odo, but, if they were truly paranoid they would have set up the VR equipment on another planet or on the Defiant.) I know it's meant to be a gesture of good will to Odo, or maybe a sign of their confidence that the Federation poses no actual threat, but...

That last scene of Kira & Odo holding hands is the first time I've been able to wrap my brain around the idea of them as a couple. Honestly, every time it's been mentioned in these re-watch threads, I've been a little skeeved out, afraid it was going to be like the wtf of Worf/Troi. But now I can see it.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:12 PM on October 5, 2015


Like, did the Founders/Vorta choose 'have imaginary Jem'Hadar throw O'Brien through the bar'? Or, if the subconsciousnesses of the DS9 were driving parts of the simulation, did they make it happen?

I'm guessing it's the latter, since the simulation had some perfectly rendered Garak:

JEM'HADAR: Halt. Put down your weapons.
GARAK: I have them. I have them. (points his weapon at Sisko) By all means, Commander, do as they say.
BASHIR: Garak?
GARAK: You heard me, Doctor. I'm glad to see the plan is going according as scheduled.
JEM'HADAR: What plan is that?
GARAK: You mean no one told you? You see, I pretend to be their friend and then I shoot you.
(Garak shoots the Jem'Hadar.)
posted by creepygirl at 7:33 PM on October 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


There's something deeply amusing about the fact that the "O'Brien Must Suffer" rule is followed in the Founders' virtual reality scenario.

And sim-Eddington is just as much of an asshole as Eddington-actual.


Also, Changeling sex is gross. It just is. There, I said it.

Or, at least Odo/Dominion Tan-Mom sex is.

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:50 PM on October 5, 2015


I'm guessing it's the latter

I assumed so too, although more on the strength of 'if they wanted to know how the Federation and Bajor would react, they'd want to mine as much of the data as possible from the minds of the subjects rather than relying on holodeck style interpolation.'

Good point about Garak.
posted by mordax at 8:57 PM on October 5, 2015


I did like the tiny angry Romulan, though. I wish she had come back in later episodes.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:04 AM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've decided that it's just that Odo's people are a bunch of liars, and the real story of the Changeling infants is much more complicated.

That's quite likely, and would fit in with their repeated insistence that their way of thinking is inherently different from that of "solids" in general. There's something that they do to Odo later on in the series* that seems almost unimaginably cruel; the other Founder's assertion that "No changeling has ever harmed another" is, at the very least, disingenuous.

I also wanted to add something that probably belongs in the previous post: I really like the Defiant, in part because it seems the closest thing that Starfleet has to the Klingon Bird of Prey (Ira Steven Behr said, in one of the commentaries to the DVD collection of the series, that it was on "a five-year mission to kick ass"), even to the point that its shape is suggestive of a raptor that has its wings folded for a dive.

*I need to learn how to put the "rewatch" tag up on posts, so as to warn about potential spoilers.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:25 AM on October 6, 2015


When they got back to DS9, I kept thinking that Dax and O'Brien were Changelings and that they weren't really on DS9. I kept bracing myself for a groaner explanation about how they simulated the station. Then when it turned out that they were all under some mental stimulation machine... alright, I groaned a little. Still, I liked this episode. Something about the Changelings is much more frightening than the Jem Hadar. The actress who played Mama Changeling does a good job of being resolute in her intolerance.
posted by Slothrop at 12:42 PM on October 6, 2015


I wonder if the Changeling infants were sent out so the Founders could learn new and interesting ways to subjugate the solids. It would make more sense to send an adult, though. As seen in later episodes, Changelings don't seem to have much difficulty integrating themselves into a society. How do Changelings reproduce. though? They don't ingest new matter, so how do they afford to create an entirely new being? Do those that are left behind just get smaller and smaller? Another thing that intrigues me is how an individual Changeling exists in the Link. They seem to have different personalities vis Random Male Changeling arguing with Female Changeling over it not being time to link with Odo, so is there some sort of energy consciousness floating around in the liquid that just grabs molecules as and when they're needed?
posted by Solomon at 3:43 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've decided that it's just that Odo's people are a bunch of liars, and the real story of the Changeling infants is much more complicated.

My personal canon/theory has been that it was an insurance policy against something happening to the Great Link. Unlike every other space-faring race, the Changelings are portrayed as having one (admittedly well-protected and well-hidden) planet. One! That's a single point of failure for a species that is -- from we see here -- paranoid, defensive, and distrustful of the wider world. The importance of the Great Link seems to have prevented them from even wanting new colonies; moving to new worlds would necessarily break the Link. I'm also wondering -- as I write this -- if having that single point of failure goes a long way to explaining the Dominion.

Presuming that you're concerned about keeping all your eggs in once basket, and that you're unwilling to buy a second basket, but you're totally fine with storing individual eggs in other people's houses (as seen by all the times single Changelings infiltrate other societies)...with that mindset, sending off a bunch of children is a great way to ensure that, should something befall the Link, the Changelings will still survive. If they're discovered, they can't betray the location of the homeworld, since they don't know it; if they're not, they can eventually return.

Maybe there was a specific crisis in the past that spurred them to send infants out, and that having past they're in a rush to recall them; maybe that's just a front. One of the more intriguing plot questions posed by the show.
posted by cjelli at 3:58 PM on October 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Maybe there was a specific crisis in the past that spurred them to send infants out, and that having past they're in a rush to recall them; maybe that's just a front.

Never thought of it that way. It's an intriguing notion, although it poses some severe logistical challenges: I'm not sure how Odo could have ever recreated the Link on his own. (I suppose they could have left all kinds of tools to facilitate that with their client races though - a bunch of 'in the event of the death of your gods, read this letter and find this guy' stuff.)

How do Changelings reproduce. though? They don't ingest new matter, so how do they afford to create an entirely new being?

It might actually be pretty complicated, given that their idea of a huge wave of babies was 100. A quick Googling suggests that the Earth comes up with that many babies every 24 seconds or so, while this is the only event where the Founders discuss reproduction in any way.

This probably impacts their views on violence within their own population: if it's *really hard* to get new Changelings, it's one more reason to try and avoid internal strife.

This is also another reason I stand by my 'psychological bubble' notion of the 100: hating solids is probably a big component of the glue that holds their civilization together.

They seem to have different personalities vis Random Male Changeling arguing with Female Changeling over it not being time to link with Odo, so is there some sort of energy consciousness floating around in the liquid that just grabs molecules as and when they're needed?

I always figured it was something like that. Given the way they think about being tied to a single form and their dim view of individuality, I don't think they'd be that picky about what their own body was actually constituted of.
posted by mordax at 9:35 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm really having trouble engaging with the Odo/Changelings storyline this time around because there really is a weird nature/nurture tone to all of it. Like, it's okay to realize your family sucks and you don't need to spend time with them anymore! It's okay to feel little connection to the culture you come from! Every scene between Kira and Odo in this episode especially is written to highlight what a strong connection they have. Even some of Odo's scenes with Quark show a higher level of understanding and support than what he gets from his own people. Why on earth would he ever want to connect with a species that is so obsessed with destruction? Which abandoned him? (I mean, because they put it into his DNA that he would have to. But if we have learned anything from Star Trek it's that DNA is very easily manipulated, so he could get rid of that urge if he wanted to.)

(I feel the same way about a lot of B'Elanna's storylines on VOY. She doesn't like many aspects of Klingon culture, but other characters are always pushing her to reconnect with her Klingon side as though it's essential to her self-actualization.)
posted by chaiminda at 5:29 AM on October 11, 2015


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