Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Broken Link   Rewatch 
March 30, 2016 3:16 PM - Season 4, Episode 26 - Subscribe

Odo spills butterscotch pudding everywhere. Garak suggests housewarming presents for the Founders' new home planet.

Quotes and trivia from the Memory Alpha page on the episode. Warning: there are lots of post-fourth-season spoilers in the notes on this episode. I did not import any of them to this page, but be careful visiting the MA page.

Quotes :

"Personally, I think Starfleet should allow their officers more latitude in accessorizing their uniforms, Hmm? You'd be surprised what a nice scarf can do."
- Elim Garak

"But where you offer kindness, I offer mystery. Where you offer sympathy, I offer intrigue. Just give me a seat next to Odo's bed and I'll conjure up enough innuendos, half-truths, and bald-faced lies about my so-called career in the Obsidian Order to keep the constable distracted for days - and if there's one thing Cardassians excel at, it's conversation!"
- Elim Garak

"I think you did this to me. You caused my illness so that I'd be forced to come home."

"As I said, I wish the circumstances of this meeting were different. You killed a Changeling, Odo."

"He was trying to kill my friends. I had no choice."

"Of course you had a choice. And you chose to side with the solids. To protect them, you were willing to violate the most sacred law of our people."

"No Changeling has ever harmed another."

"Until you. That's why we forced you to return home...to enter the Great Link and be judged."
- Odo and Female Changeling

"You fight well... for a tailor."
- Worf, to Garak after subduing him

"During the Link, I sensed that the other Changelings were trying to hide things from me. Faces, names. One of them was him."

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that he's one of them! Gowron, the head of the Klingon Empire, is a Changeling!"
- Odo and Kira


Trivia :

* "Broken Link" is unique for a Star Trek season finale as the story for the episode came from a freelance writer, George Brozak, rather than the writing team. The episode's first draft script, submitted on 29 March 1996, was even written by him, though he eventually took credit for writing only the story, with the writing staff turning out the final script. (Information from Larry Nemecek) Robert Hewitt Wolfe elaborated, "We saved [the story idea] for months and then incorporated it with the Gowron revelation." The writers had first thought of Gowron being a Changeling when breaking the story for "To the Death". Wolfe commented, "When we were talking about 'To the Death', we talked about twenty different missions the Jem'Hadar could go on with Starfleet. One of the missions we talked about is that they would have to go and kill Gowron because they find out he's a renegade shapeshifter. We played with that for a while and it didn't quite come together, so we went back to the original story. That idea – that Gowron was a shapeshifter – made a lot of sense to us, so we incorporated it into that ending to give the season ender a kick." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 121)

* Of Odo's walk to the USS Defiant, Rene Auberjonois explained, "The last thing he wants to do is show weakness in front of the people he's sworn to protect. My image for the walk was Alec Guinness in The Bridge on the River Kwai. That's what the scene was about to me. A person trying to hold himself together." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)

* This episode sees Odo officially disgraced and rejected by his people, making him the fourth regular character alienated from his race as punishment at present, the other three being Worf ("The Way of the Warrior"), Quark ("Body Parts"), and Garak (prior to the start of the series).

* This episode is a sequel of sorts to the third season finale, "The Adversary", insofar as it is here that Odo receives his punishment for killing a fellow Changeling in that episode.

* The comment Garak makes about Chalan Aroya's dress ("a thing of beauty is a joy forever") is from Book 1 of Endymion by John Keats, who is also mentioned in "The Muse".
posted by Slothrop (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I thought that Garak had a couple of the best moments in the episode: when he's asking the female changeling about the survivors of the failed strike against the Founders--obviously fishing for information about Enabran Tain--and she responds, ""They're dead. You're dead. Cardassia is dead. Your people were doomed the moment they attacked us. I believe that answers your question." And he totally believes her, and he knows that trying to wipe out the Founders from orbit will not only get the Defiant and everyone aboard her killed, but probably not even work--even if he could blanket the whole planet with photon torpedoes before they're killed (and the Defiant is not a big ship), there are a number of Founders off-world. But he feels like he has to try, because he feels that it's their planet or his, and even though he knows that he can't beat Worf in a straight-up fight, he still goes for it, because Garak is 100% baller when the chips are down.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:43 PM on March 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I thought this was another strong season-ending episode, with the Gowron revelation as a great way to build suspense for the next season.

Other thoughts:

I freaking love how well Kira and Sisko understand what makes Odo tick and give him what he actually needs in a stressful situation--something to keep his mind occupied: the criminal activities report, and Garak's conversation. As an introvert who frequently has to fend off well-meaning extroverts' efforts to help, it warms my heart to see people who get it.

Odo was raised by a Bajoran scientist (whose hairstyle Odo adopted as part of his humanoid appearance), works for the Bajoran government on a Bajoran station, and is in love with a Bajoran woman (and the Founders are creepily keeping track of Kira's love life developments). I understand why The Founders made Odo a solid, but making him human instead of Bajoran is an odd choice. (And given that the Founders deliberately kept Odo's face the same, the writers making Odo Bajoran would involve just changing a line of dialogue for Bashir, and no change in Odo's makeup whatsoever).

Worf's snark about Garak fighting well for a tailor is priceless. Honestly, at this point, I appreciate Worf most for his comedic moments.

Spoilerish comment below:

It's sort of funny, in a black comedy kind of way, to watch the Founders get self-important about this punishment they're going to inflict on Odo for his heinous crime, when they're actually making themselves vulnerable to the greatest, deadliest threat the Founders will ever face. (And one that they couldn't survive without assistance from that vile criminal Odo and some of those evil solids.)
posted by creepygirl at 7:51 PM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


. But he feels like he has to try, because he feels that it's their planet or his, and even though he knows that he can't beat Worf in a straight-up fight, he still goes for it, because Garak is 100% baller when the chips are down.

Garak, to his sorrow, is a true patriot. And it's why he was exiled instead of killed - whoever made that decision knew that leaving him alive, but unable to go home is the worst thing that could ever happen.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:59 PM on March 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I understand why The Founders made Odo a solid, but making him human instead of Bajoran is an odd choice.

I never thought about that before. It's a fair question. Maybe they consider humans their main enemy, so turning Odo into one is the ultimate insult. Or maybe they feel like Odo seems more comfortable with Bajorans than humans, so making him human is a little worse.

In terms of audience identification it definitely works better for him to be a human, because if he's a Bajoran he's just changing from one sort of alien into another and that's harder for us to relate to. (Bajorans are just alien enough that if we found out they had three hearts or only sleep two hours a day, we could buy it.) But since he's human we know exactly what sort of stuff he's coping with.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:06 AM on March 31, 2016


In terms of audience identification it definitely works better for him to be a human, because if he's a Bajoran he's just changing from one sort of alien into another and that's harder for us to relate to. (Bajorans are just alien enough that if we found out they had three hearts or only sleep two hours a day, we could buy it.) But since he's human we know exactly what sort of stuff he's coping with.

I'm sure that was the reasoning. They knew they were gonna have scenes where Odo does "solid" things for the first time, and they didn't want to have to add additional dialogue about how "ya know, humans and Bajorans both poop the same way" or whatever.

I guess an in-universe explanation might be that there were a couple humans conveniently standing there on that little rock, but no Bajorans, so they somehow used their physiology as a template? The Link presumably knows a lot about how humans think and operate, but maybe lacks specific "databanks" with all the necessary biological details. Maybe some of the Link exists as vapor and infiltrated Sisko and Bashir's lungs while they sat there...eeeeew.

Speaking of those two, the Bashir moment where he almost skips a rock is so brazenly out-of-character, yet so perfect...the kind of gag that I sort of respect the writers for not being able to pass up.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:11 AM on March 31, 2016


Rene Auberjonois has such a great quote on Memory Alpha: "I was trying to convey Odo's amazement. All these emotions that are going through him, what it must be like suddenly to have a body and feel things inside him and outside him, and all the senses, like smelling and tasting, which he's never had before. I was a newborn adult. It was wonderfully challenging, trying to communicate all these feelings. It was exhilarating for him, yet at the same time he was terrified, filled with a great sense of loss. He's lost something of himself, but he's gotten something else."

This guy was one of the strongest actors Trek ever had. He did not condescend to this material at all and he recognized the unique opportunities that stories like this presented for an actor. He treated it like real theater, an opportunity to play with masks and voices and invisible walls, to bring things to life. I remember the episode where he's raising the little Changeling baby, it was all very moving and sad and it wasn't until the very end that I realized that Auberjonois had spent the whole episode emoting to a goddamned jar of orange goo. That's some serious acting, right there.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:56 AM on March 31, 2016 [8 favorites]


In my humble opinion, the acting talent on DS9 eclipsed all other Treks, particularly with regards to range. There were a legit five actors on DS9 who could absolutely turn on a dime in how they emoted to an audience, or how they made you feel about a character: Rene Auberjonois, Armin Shimerman, Andrew Robinson, Nana Visitor and Jeffrey Combs. Maybe that's why DS9 went to the mirror universe more often than the other Treks, because they had actors who needed room to race.
posted by Slothrop at 8:42 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


What, no Colm Meany or Avery Brooks? Those guys could really bring down the house too! Admittedly Brooks didn't get the chance to stretch as often as the others, playing the lead and all, but he was superb at making Sisko be Sisko. And I think part of the reason why the "Let's torture O'Brien" episodes became a thing was because the writers knew Meany could deliver no matter what the heck they threw at him.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:05 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


And so begin two of the greatest story arcs on any Trek ever. I am not sure what the spoiler policy is on rewatch threads, but I have seen all of DS9 so will be careful...

This is another superb episode; as mentioned above, the acting here is way above par for Trek, and the script is full of great lines and dialogue and moments. (I too love the bit with Bashir about to skim a stone on the changeling sea!) Everyone is on form in this episode, I can't think of any moment where anyone puts a foot wrong. Even Salome Jens is good (as the horrid changeling woman!)

I agree with creepygirl - Worf is pretty much at his best when he has comic moments.

Garak is magnificent in this one, from sly (with the woman and Odo at the start) to camp (the scarf line) to devious (the stories with Odo) to vicious and possibly evil (trying to attack the founders planet.) He totally shines all the way through.

Gotta love the Founders "we never hurt one another" stuff - yeah, but you made a fucking disease that killed almost an entire planet and is passed from mother to child, a disease so virulent people are happy to die to escape it. This is the sort of sick fucks you truly are.

And then the whole Odo illness thing is like the B-side to that, something that would never have ran on any of the past Treks.

The Gowron storyline is also excellent, and again, I don't think it is the sort of storyline any other Trek could have pulled off.
posted by marienbad at 5:23 PM on March 31, 2016


Also, this occurred to me today: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy!
posted by marienbad at 5:38 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Gotta love the Founders "we never hurt one another" stuff

I also have no idea how making a disease that will kill Odo if untreated doesn't count as harming a Changeling. I mean, obviously the Founders are just the worst no matter what, but the scene on the Defiant where Odo is told that he has already been harmed and will be harmed in the future because no Changeling can ever hurt another is almost too much.
posted by Copronymus at 10:27 PM on June 19, 2017


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