In which Odo meets his real parents, Kira hates being the 3 billionth wheel, and Sisko does not go gently into that good night.
Well, Starfleet pushed back against a legitimate territorial power defending their territory from incursion. And while I’ll grant that the Dominion has no chill, this seems like a bad idea. Maybe send a probe through with a message of armistice and give them some time to calm down before minting a warship and sending it through? Because then you end up with a probably-exploded warship and your resident non-standard-humanoid being mysteriously compelled towards his own backstory.
It’s worth speculating as to whether the other shapeshifters mimicked Odo because they don’t have the ability to be more precise, or because they wanted to make him feel comfortable. One suspects the latter, since Odo is capable of matching other shapes with precision. Does he avoid going full humanoid deliberately, to set himself apart? Or to stay just on the other side of the Uncanny Valley, perhaps?
Odo doesn’t remember the homeworld because he was a spore when he left the Great Link. Kira has turned an about-face and is encouraging Odo to be a bit happier about meeting his family. She’s really handling the probable destruction of the Defiant and the command crew of Deep Space Nine.
The Great Link is described quite a lot like the Borg Collective. While there are individuals, they merge both form and thought and become indistinguishable from the outside, if not between themselves. Note that this idea comes up a lot in Star Trek. The loss of individual identity has been portrayed in the past as very dangerous, either to ones own species or to those around them. With such a stance so part of Star Trek Philosophy, what do you think the chances of these shapeshifters being Good Guys are? At the end of the conversation, their spokes gooman offers to meld with him. They merge their goo and show him what the Link is like. It’s pretty great, apparently.
Sisko is alive. He and Bashir abandoned ship in a badly-damaged shuttle with life support barely functioning. Moments after the log entry, the shuttle is captured and boarded… by Miles O’Brien. So far, no word about how they survived being boarded by the frontline troops of a galactic power.
On the Shapeshifter planet, their spokes-gooman admits to Kira that they are historically wary of ‘Solids’ and ‘Monoforms,’ their perjorative for non-shapeshifters. They are isolationists and won’t let Kira send a transmission in case it should be traced back. The female shapeshifter also explains that Odo needs to learn to use his abilities, and that it’s ‘another journey he needs to make on his own.’ Someone less starry-eyed about being home might hit on that in conjunction with Odo having left the great link as a spore and wonder what the backstory here is.
Kira outlines her plan to camouflage her transmissions out, against her hosts wishes, in a situation where anything could be listening. The walls can literally have ears. Meanwhile, back on the station, Admiral Nachayev mentions that a delegation from the Founders is on the station and they’re hoping to have a treaty signed extremely soon. The Defiant survived because the Jam’Hadar turned it over to the Founders when, during an apparent lull in the raging firefight, someone shouted ‘parlay’ loudly enough. Sisko even has a meeting set up with a Founder.
Borath, one of those dudes with the ears, is waiting for him. Borath claims to be a Founder, and that Eris was as well. Since Sisko risked his life to offer peace, the Founders seem magnanimous, and offer not just peace, but an alliance.
Garak and Bashir start their friendly banter back up again, and Garak offers his take on the whole Dominion situation. Apparently, there’s a saying on Cardassia that ‘enemies make dangerous friends.’ If we hadn’t just gone through a Cardassian trial, this would tell us quite a lot about Cardassia. All the major powers have been invited to the negotiations, except the Romulans, apparently. The Romulans are understandably displeased.
In trying to transmit out, Kira find that there’s blocking interference from a buried power source, shielded by the surrounding rock. Odo is also getting restless and frustrated with his shapeshifting explorations.
The Founders are the ones who’ve asked for the Romulans to be excluded from the talks. Starfleet isn’t worried. After all, if the Romulans are the only non-members of the alliance, what are they going to do aside from so discord from the outside and try to break it up. It’s not like that’s their M.O. or anything. Of course, the Federation can’t afford to be on the outs of this alliance either, which is an extremely untenable situation.
The shapeshifters call themselves Changelings. This was a perjorative for them that Solids gave them. Their history says that they used to roam around in peace, but were hunted down by Solids until they decided to hide away. Odo is one of 100 spores sent out to explore, and with a homing instinct. But because of the Wormhole, he’s able to get there 300 years ahead of schedule. Also, keen observers may recognize the obelisk they’re talking in front of from The Alternate. Which accounts for at least one of his siblings. The conversation ends with Odo and the female Changeling having their equivalent of sex in the garden. The fact that the next scene is Kira, wandering through the garden talking to the ornaments is just a tad tragic. But what she finds is quite ominous. She finds a door to a region the shuttle sensors can’t penetrate, and whose handle appears designed for Changeling hands.
Everything seems dandy on the station. Quark is in such a good mood due to the impending signing of the treaty that he’s giving away drinks. After all, Peace is Good for Business. Quark even paraphrases the famous I Have A Dream speech, but with regards to his profit margin. Of course, such sentiments can’t last. A Jem’Hadar starts a barfight, and Eddington intercedes on his behalf, in the interests of peace and stability. Sisko is similarly worried that everything is happening so fast and behind closed doors. Everything is devolving extremely fast, in fact. Dax is being transferred to the Lexington. And the Federation is pulling out of the Bajoran sector, ceding the planet to the Dominion, and giving the Dominion the station. Such is the price of not being crushed by the Dominion.
Odo’s back drinking the flavor-aid after a particularly exhilarating time as a bird. Kira is pleased for him, but also knows this means it’s the end of their partnership. She asks for one last favor – help with the door. Odo sees the problem and is intrigued as well.
Sisko and Garak have heard rumors that Bajor is lining up with the Romulans to fight Dominion occupation. and they discuss future plans over veiled speech just before the Romululan Sub-commander of the defiant is gunned down on the Promenade. Sisko gets arrested and sequestered for fighting back. They prep a runabout to go collapse the wormhole.
At the door, Odo decides that the door is locked from the outside, not the inside, and he starts to crack it open. During the daring escape, Garak gets shot, and it’s just Bashir, Jadzia, Ben, and Julian who make it to the shuttle. Sisko collapses the wormhole, because they’re really committed to changin up the show’s format this year. Odo’s got the door open, and two Jem’Hadar are on the other side of it, guarding a LAN VR simulation. Borath has them all running a simulation to determine what their reaction to that treaty/takeover simulation would be, and it’s quite sad.
As it turns out, the Changelings are the founders after all. They rule from the shadows to ensure that they’ll never be hunted down again. This is a step too far for Odo, and he rejects his heritage, and demands the return of his crew and his friends. Since no Changeling has ever harmed another, the female changeling orders them released rather than harming Odo. The Defiant is intact and in orbit, and Sisko and the crew beam out, but Odo stays to have a few final words with the Founder. They have profound philosophical differences, but she promises to come by and visit someday soon. It’s nice and ominous. While it’s not explicitly stated here, one presumes that Odo’s doubts about whether Sisko wants him around at all have been laid to rest.