Oct 18 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “The Search, Part I”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: The Search, Part I“The Search, Part I”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Kim Friedman
Season 3, Episode 1
Production episode 40512-447
Original air date: September 26, 1994
Stardate: 48212.4

Station log: We get a summary of the events of “The Jem’Hadar,” then cut to a meeting in Ops run by Kira, with Dax, Odo, Bashir, and O’Brien. They’ve run seven simulations, and they all come out the same: the Jem’Hadar totally kicks their asses. Dax proposes two other alternatives: abandon the station and make a stand on Bajor or collapse the wormhole entrance on this side.

Before the discussion can continue, a ship decloaks: it’s a new class of Starfleet starship, the Defiant. Sisko brought the ship back from Earth: it’s a prototype for a fleet of warships that Starfleet experimented with to fight the Borg. They abandoned the class because it’s overpowered and overgunned. O’Brien’s job is to fix that problem, while Sisko’s mission is to take the ship into the Gamma Quadrant and find the Founders of the Dominion to try to negotiate with them. The reason for taking the Defiant is to show that they’ll defend themselves if necessary.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: The Search, Part I

There are also two new arrivals: Sub-commander T’Rul from the Romulan Empire, whose job is to safeguard the cloaking device, which is on loan from Romulus; and Lt. Commander Michael Eddington of Starfleet security. After the meeting breaks up, Odo bitches out Sisko. The commander reassures him that Odo is still in charge of non-Starfleet security matters, and that for Starfleet stuff, he is to coordinate with Eddington. Sisko argued vociferously against this, but was overruled.

Odo says his resignation will be logged within the hour, and he storms off in a huff. But Kira talks the provisional government into assigning Odo to go on the mission to the Gamma Quadrant to assess the threat the Dominion poses to Bajor—basically as a favor to make Odo feel better and remind him that he’s needed on the station. Odo sees through this transparent attempt, but goes along anyhow.

Also going on the mission, much to his chagrin: Quark. On behalf of Grand Nagus Zek he opened relations with the Karemma to trade in tulaberry wine. The Karemma’s part of the Dominion, so they’re a good place to start. To punctuate the point, Sisko holds up a souvenir of the side trip he took to Ferernginar on his way back from Earth: Zek’s scepter. The Grand Nagus feels Quark is the right person to help find the Founders (ahem) and make sure that business opportunities in the GQ don’t dry up.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: The Search, Part I

Sisko and Dax talk about the mission, and how Sisko has become passionate about defending Bajor, far more so than he is about his ever-receding ambitions to become an admiral.

On board the Defiant, Bashir bitches about the sparse medical bay and Quark bitches about the accommodations (more so when he finds out that Odo—who’s cranky even by his high standards—is his bunkmate). The ship clears the station and heads into the wormhole, cloaking as soon as they enter the GQ. They encounter a Jem’Hadar patrol, which detects them at warp, but T’Rul recommends they drop out of warp. O’Brien also recommends cutting main power, since the Defiant is so overpowered it may bleed through the cloak. The Jem’Hadar make an intense antiproton scan, but they don’t find the Defiant and go on their way.

They arrive at the Karemma homeworld, and a gentleman named Ornithar beams on board. He has no idea where the Founders are or even if they exist. He deals with the Vorta. Quark offers an increase in tulaberry wine trade if he cooperates, and threatens to cut it off entirely if he doesn’t. Ornithar shows them a subspace relay that they direct all communications to.

Quark then disembarks with Ornithar—he’s done his part—and the Defiant proceeds to the relay. But Odo is captivated by the Omarian Nebula, which is proximate to the relay.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: The Search, Part I

Kira asks Sisko what Starfleet’s problem is with Odo, as if that wasn’t self-evident. But Kira only cares about his results, not his process—Starfleet, however, has been trying to get Sisko to replace Odo for two years, because he doesn’t follow procedure, he isn’t a team player, and he barely acknowledges the chain of command. Sisko wants Odo to stay, but the constable has to want to.

Sisko sends Dax and O’Brien to the relay station. They access the computer a little too easily and find out where the station relays things to. Then a security field drops, cutting them off from the Defiant. Three Jem’Hadar ships are entering orbit, so the Defiant has to abandon Dax and O’Brien to continue the search.

Odo refuses a request to come to the bridge. Kira goes to talk to him to find out what’s wrong, and Odo says that he wants a shuttlecraft so he can go to the Omarian Nebula. He explains that he’s been drawn to the Omarian Nebula since they came into the GQ. It’s practically a compulsion.

Their argument on the subject is cut off by the three Jem’Hadar ships firing on the Defiant. Then three more ships show up, and they all pound the crap out of our heroes. Several Jem’Hadar board, overwhelming the crew.

Odo manages to get an unconscious Kira onto a shuttlecraft. The Defiant was dead in space, surrounded by Jem’Hadar warships. Odo doesn’t know who, if anyone, survived. Rather than take them back to the wormhole, though, Odo took the shuttle to the Omarian Nebula. Kira’s more than a little pissed about that—but is surprised to find a rogue planet in the middle of the nebula, a Class-M world inexplicably just sitting there. They land and find an amber sea that looks remarkably like Odo in his liquid state. Several shapeshifters come out of the sea, and one approaches Odo and says, “Welcome home.”

To be continued...

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: The Search, Part I

Can’t we just reverse the polarity? Romulan cloaking devices emit a subspace variance when at warp, something the Romulans have kept hidden from everyone else (until now, anyhow). That variance doesn’t show up when the ship is at sublight speeds, however.

The Sisko is of Bajor: When Sisko went back to Earth, he and Jake took a bunch of his stuff out of storage, including his impressive collection of African art, and brought it back with them to DS9. Both Sisko and Jake have come to realize that the station is now home for both of them.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: The Search, Part I

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Frustrated at their treatment of Odo, Kira at one point plaintively asks Sisko, “What the hell is wrong with Starfleet?” She contrives to get Odo on the mission to remind him (and everyone else) of his importance—though this backfires, as Odo proves useless on the mission.

The slug in your belly: Curzon always told Sisko never to volunteer for anything, and he also thought Sisko would make a crummy admiral, as Sisko’s the kind of person who needs to be in the thick of things.

Preservation of mass and energy is for wimps: For the second time, Odo gets pissed at the presence of a Starfleet security officer assigned to the station, and his interactions with Sisko on the subject of Eddington mirror those he had with the commander regarding Primmin in “The Passenger.”

Odo also at the end of the episode finds his people’s homeworld in the Omarian Nebula. For reasons passing understanding, they all go into humanoid form with the same unfinished look that Odo has, even though Odo only has that form because he can’t do anything more detailed. It’s an understandable bit of visual shorthand to make it clear to the viewer that these are Odo’s people, but it doesn’t make any kind of story sense.

Rules of Acquisition: This is the first time it’s clear that Quark was successful in setting up GQ trade after the events of “Rules of Acquisition.” Quark is able to talk Ornithar into helping Sisko out by threatening to cut off the very lucrative tulaberry wine trade.

Victory is life: We learn that the Founders of the Dominion are rarely seen, and considered mythical by many members of the Dominion, including the Karemma. This confirms what Eris said in “The Jem’Hadar” (since she was a spy, all her information has to be considered suspect). The Dominion is administered by the Vorta; people in the Dominion do what the Vorta say or the Vorta send in the Jem’Hadar. (That the Vorta is Eris’s species has not yet been established.)

Tough little ship: Created to fight the Borg, the Defiant is basically a very big gun, which fires pulse phasers, and is equipped with a cloaking device on loan from the Romulan Empire. There are no labs, the sickbay is minimal, and the quarters are small, spartan, and have two bunk beds each. Despite all this, they get their asses handed to them against three Jem’Hadar ships, though they do manage to destroy one.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: The Search, Part I

Keep your ears open: “We’d all feel better with you here to watch over Quark.”

“I take that as a personal insult, Doctor!”

“You should.”

Bashir talking to Odo, Quark taking offense, and Bashir gleefully handing over more offense for Quark to take.

Welcome aboard: Two recurring characters make their debut in this episode: Kenneth Marshall as Eddington and Salome Jens as the female changeling; Jens previously appeared in TNG’s “The Chase” as the proto-humanoid. Martha Hackett plays T’Rul; she’ll have a recurring role on Voyager as Seska, and also appear as a Klingon in the Star Trek: Klingon CD-ROM. And John Fleck makes his third Trek appearance (and second straight DS9 season premiere appearance) as Ornithar; he previously appeared as a Cardassian in “The Homecoming” and as a Romulan in TNG’s “The Mind’s Eye,” and he’ll be back as Koval in “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges,” Abbadon in Voyager’s “Alice,” and in the recurring role of Sillik on Enterprise.

Trivial matters: With the debut of the third season are several changes in the production staff. With TNG ending, the top four members of that show’s writers room under Michael Piller basically split up between the two remaining shows: Jeri Taylor and Brannon Braga went over to the upcoming new spinoff Voyager, while Ronald D. Moore and Rene Echevarria came to DS9. Also with Piller focusing on getting Voyager off the ground, Ira Steven Behr took over as the show-runner, though Piller would remain as executive producer until Voyager’s actual debut, when he’d cut back to “creative consultant,” a role he’d continue through to the end of the fifth season. Also Jonathan West took over as the director of photography, taking over from Marvin Rush, who moved over to Voyager to be the DP on that show for all seven seasons of its run.

Onscreen changes include a new uniform and makeup design for Odo (done at Rene Auberjonois’s request after “Crossover,” as the actor liked the look of his Mirror Universe counterpart), a new hairstyle for Dax (which thankfully would only last for this two-parter), new combadges that were designed for Star Trek Generations (and which would remain through to Star Trek Nemesis in the movies, and through the rest of DS9 and all of Voyager), the addition of the Defiant as well as its interior, and the debut of DS9’s wardroom.

Martha Hackett auditioned for the role of Dax, and was also given a role in TNG’s finale “All Good Things...,” but her scenes were cut. The role of T’Rul was originally intended to be recurring, but the producers decided there wasn’t enough to the character. Her consolation was to get the recurring role of Seska on Voyager, a role that lasted more than a dozen episodes.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: The Search, Part I

This is the first time we’ve seen a Romulan on DS9. It’s also the first time we’ve seen the Karemma, first mentioned in “Rules of Acquisition.”

Rick Berman was originally against having a cloaking device on the Defiant, as Gene Roddenberry always felt that the Federation shouldn’t use cloaking technology, as they wouldn’t be the types to sneak around. Behr convinced him that this was a unique ship in a unique situation, and that the cloak would only be used in the GQ. (This caveat would only last nine episodes, as the cloak will be used in the Alpha Quadrant in “Defiant” and again in the fourth-season premiere “The Way of the Warrior.”)

Moore originally wanted to name the ship Valiant, but because Voyager was about to debut, they didn’t want both shows to have ships that started with the same letter, so he went with Defiant, a deliberate homage to the original series’ “The Tholian Web.” Moore will later get to show a Defiant-class ship called Valiant in the latter’s eponymous episode.

This two-parter resulted in some minor confusion in a couple of DS9 tie-in novels. While the show was in production, it was difficult to produce tie-in novels that were up-to-date because the regular status quo changes and character revelations were hard to keep up with, especially given the lag time in book production as opposed to TV production. So the producers made sure to inform the editors at Simon & Schuster that they were going to be adding a new ship called the Defiant to the show at the top of the third season, allowing them to insert a couple of quick references to the Defiant in a couple of late-in-production novels that would be out in late 1994. Unfortunately, the producers neglected to mention that the same episode that introduced the Defiant would also be the one where Odo found out who his people are. So there are a couple of DS9 novels that are kind of out of continuity because they mention the Defiant as being assigned to the station, but with Odo still wondering where he came from.

Walk with the Prophets: “She may have flaws, but she has teeth.” Just as the Circle trilogy picked up on the first-season finale, this two-parter picks up on the revelations of “The Jem’Hadar,” giving the station a full-on starship assigned to it, and revealing more about the Dominion. As an added bonus, after two years, Odo finally meets more changelings.

There’s not much of a story here, as the episode’s plot suffers a bit from middle-of-the-trilogy syndrome: it’s all reaction to “The Jem’Hadar” and setup for—well, for the next five seasons, really. All that actually happens in the episode is the Defiant goes to the GQ to find the Founders and get their asses seriously kicked by the Jem’Hadar.

But the meat of the episode is the bread and butter of the newly arrived addition to the writing staff, Ronald D. Moore: characterization. Most of it, as it often does on this show, comes out in the interactions between two people: Sisko and Jake, Sisko and Dax, Kira and Odo, Odo and Quark, and Sisko and Odo. I like the fact that Odo’s roughshod style is actually causing problems with the bureaucrats of Starfleet, and I like the fact that Sisko actually defends Starfleet’s decision-making process to Kira, for all that he agrees with Kira’s conclusion.

Ultimately, this episode really accomplishes two things: sets up the new status quo (fear of the Dominion, presence of the Defiant, introduction of Eddington) and gives us a spotlight on Odo. Rene Auberjonois gives us Odo in full-on pissed mode, which modulates into obsessed mode once he sees the Omarian Nebula on the Karemma starmap. It’s a scary progression, most obvious when he tears Quark a new one before regenerating. His usual interaction with Quark is mildly disgusted yet vaguely respectful banter between two people who’ve been fencing a long time, so to see him yell at Quark so nastily is jarring as hell, the first sign that something’s seriously up with the constable.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: The Search, Part I

The Dominion, meanwhile, continues to be a fascinating threat, and a powerful one, and the tension that was created in “The Jem’Hadar” remains a nasty undercurrent of this episode as well. This is a nice inversion of the Trek credo of seeking out new life and new civilization, because this time they’ve found one that mostly wants to blow them up a lot, and that’s something they’re really good at.

Yes, it’s setup, but it’s damn good setup, and it also brings two excellent characters onto the show who will continue to be major presences in Salome Jens’s female changeling and Kenneth Marshall’s Eddington. (Mention should also be made of a delightful turn by John Fleck as Ornithar, who spends all his time examining the stuff on the Defiant, up to and including Kira’s earring, to see if there’s anything he wants to buy.) A strong start to the season.


Warp factor rating: 7

Keith R.A. DeCandido knows who put the bop in the bop-shu-bop and who put the ram in the ram-a-lama-ding-dong, but has yet to figure out who wrote the book of love.

Brian MacDonald
1. bmacdonald
I remember watching this one when it first aired, and realizing that the premise of the show had just been re-set in a major way, and I liked it. I forgot that the Founders were introduced so early in the show's run, though; I thought they stayed mysterious for longer than that.
Christopher Bennett
2. ChristopherLBennett
The Defiant and its portrayal in this episode help reinforce my theory for why Starfleet really doesn't use cloaking devices. As seen here, too much power can leak through a cloak -- but cloaks are power-intensive themselves, so there's a point of diminishing returns. So the only way a cloaked ship can be practical is if its power usage is kept to a bare minimum. So cloaks can be effective for stripped-down warships like the Defiant or a Klingon Bird of Prey, but something like a Galaxy-class ship with its luxurious accommodations and science labs and holodecks and whatnot would just have too much power generation to be effectively cloakable. So it's not really a moral stance that keeps Starfleet from using cloaks, it's a practical one. Since Starfleet is not strictly a combat service, but primarily a scientific, diplomatic, and support organization, the multipurpose mission profiles of its ships just aren't compatible with the needs and limitations of cloaking technology -- except in those rare cases where a ship is built to be exclusively combat-oriented like this one.

I did like seeing the Starfleet-Romulan cooperation against the Dominion, and it's too bad we didn't see more of T'Rul. If they thought there wasn't much to her character, why not just create more?

As for the DS9 tie-in novels that had passing references to the Defiant shoehorned in, it was particularly misguided in the case of Valhalla by Nathan Archer -- which was actually set before the earlier novel Betrayal by Lois Tilton, and thus was meant to take place in the first or early second season. (Its publication was delayed, so the later novel in the loose 2-part arc came out first. This may be part of why the bits of continuity we saw among the early DS9 novels were abandoned later on.)
3. Capper
According to Amazon, Kathleen McGowan wrote "The Book of Love" (second of the Magdalene series).
Keith DeCandido
4. krad
bmacdonald: It also seemed longer because there was the three-month summer hiatus between "The Jem'Hadar" and "The Search."

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Brian MacDonald
5. bmacdonald
krad: That's certainly possible. I also graduated college, moved, got a job, and met my eventual wife during that particular summer hiatus, so it probably seemed like a lot longer at the time.
6. Bobby Nash
I fell in love with the Defiant the moment it decloacked. The design of the ship was wonderful, especially in comparison to other Starfleet ships. It still remains one of my favorite starships.

I loved the characterizations in this one. Sisko and Jake's conversation about home really set the stage. Just a great beginning to the season all around.

David Levinson
7. DemetriosX
This is the second time they did it, and I have to say that I really like this concept of not ending a season on a cliffhanger, but still starting off with a multipart story that derives directly from the season finale. The writing in general had been pretty good in season 2, but having some of the best TNG writers come over kicked things up another notch. Best of all, they obviously listened to the writers who were already there and didn't just come stomping in with a lot of attitude.

Eddington is probably my favorite recurring character, though the reasons for that are probably best left for the future, well down the line. But we'll be seeing a lot of him.
Jens previously appeared in TNG’s “The Chase” as the proto-humanoid.
That explains why she seemed so familiar. There's a bit of similarity in the makeup, too. As for why the Founders all use Odo's crudely done humanoid figure, I think it's established much later that it was to help him feel comfortable. That might have been a bit of retconning, though.
William Frank
8. scifantasy
the meat of the episode is the bread and butter of

Now, that's just not kosher...
Mahesh Banavar
9. maheshkb
The Defiant did get beat up in this. I recall it being a super strong ship later on. Or am I compltely wrong?
10. RobertB
Long time reader, never bothered to post before.
I had, when watching this at age 12 during the original airing, assumed that the reason that the Founders assumed that shape and facial structure was because it truly was the easiest to maintain and thus their default.
It would make sense from that standpoint as to why Odo was able to take that face on so well, as part of a nature vs. nurture type issue.

the argument in support of an innate predisposition to that is helped in this episode by his significant attraction to the Nebula, as that's another thing that just "is" for changelings... This is home, and this is how we look.

a few decades older, I don't have a different opinion, and clearly see the shortcut taken... But I prefer my explanation for it.
Percy Sowner
11. percysowner
Jeri Taylor and Brannon Braga went over to the upcoming new spinoff Voyager, while Ronald D. Moore and Rene Echevarria came to DS9. Also with Piller focusing on getting Voyager off the ground, Ira Steven Behr took over as the show-runner

DS9 really got the better deal here.
12. Kyle A.
In fairness to the Defiant getting it's ass kicked, it was cloaked when the Jem'Hadar started firing on it. When a ship is cloaked, they can't raise shields. So, when the Jem'Hadar first fired on the Defiant, they did so, when the Defiant, was unshielded, so that played a major part in the ship taking the beating that it took. The Jem'Hadar caught the Defiant with it's pants down, so to speak.
13. blari345
The Defiant did get beat up in this. I recall it being a super strong ship later on. Or am I compltely wrong?

Yes you remember correctly, but if I recall correctly federation shields still can't protect against Dominion weapons. The Jem'Hadar ships are also warships and always seemed pretty powerful to me.
14. RobinM
I liked the not cliff hanger continuing story arc thing they had going with this season. The character interaction is strong in this episode and Odo is in a really bad mood. I thought it was kind of odd that the changling Founders were just as messed up doing people as Odo but I figured it was story short hand. I couldn't wait to see what happened next.
Matt Hamilton
15. MattHamilton
@CLB...I agree about the power usage. A cloack, any kind of cloak, would take an emmense ammount of power and wouldn't be practical for, say, a Galaxy Class ship. But what about the Romulan Warbird? That thing is a flying city as much or more than the Galaxy Class. I suppose, being Romulan, it is just huge but stripped down almost as much as a Defiant Class. I don't think the Romulans have holodecks and such on their Warbirds. But their engines use a singularity for god's sake...that's gotta be a lot of power. And there really was no reason to just get rid of T'Rul. Build her character up just like you did Sisko and Odo and Kira and Bashir. I would have lked to see a Romulan on a Federation ship all the time. It would have been really interesting later when they were trying to get the Romulans into the war and they didn't want to; having her on the Defiant would have been nice from a story standpoint.
Matt Hamilton
16. MattHamilton
And on two character notes...First, I really liked Eddington and the way they went with him was facinating to me. They really made a better use out of what was supposed to be Voyager's thing on DS9. The Maquis were far more facinating on DS9 than they ever were on Voyager. Also, I agree that the other Founders had that unfinished look to tell us who they were at all times. Though the sea of golden Odo-like liquid told us that, if they all took a different form when they came out we, as an audience wouldn't know who the hell they were at any given time. As to why they are unfinished? I have no idea, because they clearly can morph into fully fledged humanoids as evidenced (SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON) by the Martak, Bashir, and O'Brien Founders we see later in the series.
Christopher Bennett
17. ChristopherLBennett
I figure that the Founders adopted that look in order to make Odo feel welcome, or to pay tribute to him, or something like that. Maybe they just didn't want to embarrass him by showing off how much better their shapeshifting was than his.
Mike Kelmachter
18. MikeKelm
I sort of figured that the founders had different specialties, so that while all founders can shapeshifter, there are some who specialize in infiltration and are just better at it than the rest of their race. Hence why Odo and the female founder look unfinished, but some founders can perfectly mimic Martok orO'brien or whomever. Practice, practice, practice.

I loved the defiant from the moment it decloaked. It seems like the enterprise got its butt handed it to it on a semi-regular basis (including the extra special easily destroyed consoles guaranteed to blow up in the face of whatever extra was on the bridge). It also didn't move very well (a factor of it being an actual model not a computer generated image. Defiant moved like nothing you'd ever seen before- twisting, diving, turning- it was simply impressive to watch on screen. It did get its butt handed to it this time, but as was pointed out, the federation hadn't figured out how to shield against their weapons yet.

And as as far as cloaks go- I think you're right: the Romulan and Klingon ships probably weren't as good at the myriad of things that a Starfleet ship was. They most likely had a threshold which they could not cross in regards to power usage- any more and they would be detectable. That's why Romulan ships decloaked, then charge their weapons, not come out of cloak firing. They probably could be at warp and cloaked but not use all of its sensors or other trade offs. Bottom line though for a federation starship that had the mission of exploration, you'd probably miss a lot if you were cloaked
Joseph Newton
19. crzydroid KNOW who put the bop in the bop shu bop shu bop and who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong? Is it the same guy who put the dip in the dip de dip de dip? Who was that man? I'd like to shake his hand...he made my baby fall in love with me.

I also think there is too big of a deal made of the Defiant losing a battle in this episode. Phased-polaron beams being able to penetrate the shields aside, they did get fired on while cloaked--so not really expecting it and all ship's systems were at low power or standby mode. And there were three ships, later six. As we've seen from other Trek battles, 3-on-1 is almost sure odds. Heck, as much as I like to pretend it never happened, Riker let two old Klingon birds-of-prey beat the Enterprise. And these are Jem'Hadar ships here. Let's not forget that even while the Defiant was heavily damaged, they still managed to easily destroy one of the Jem'Hadar ships within seconds. That's completely destroyed, as in dead. And the ship was still holding on for quite a while. It still had enough life support to be boardable, and was still salvageable after all was over. Also, you have to bear in mind that this was before they put ablative armor on the hull.

I really found Odo to be quite irritating in this episode. His pissy reaction to Starfleet security was annoying and I was just yelling at the tv for him to just shut up. And then in the shuttlecraft he's all in his "I don't care about you when the Great Link is around" mode, which, however powerful, is still really annoying. Not to mention that he uses the ultimate rapist's excuse: "You didn't really object at the time." I kind of felt that the anger scene with Quark was a little forced. It's strange because René Auberjonois is usually such a good actor. Maybe he's better at nuance.
20. MattD
Didn't they say at some point that the Odo-esque look was reminiscent of the changeling's original solid form, and thus easier to replicate? A sort of instinct, if you will? And given that Odo's only been sentient a few decades, he hasn't had time to become good at copying other humanoid forms. It would explain why the other member of the Hundred that he meets a few seasons later also has the same look.
21. Clomer
I recognized the female changeling as the same actress as in "The Chase" the moment I first saw her on first airing. I had long wondered if this was intentional, that the changelings are, in fact, the same species as the proto humanoids, just evolved for many millions (billions?) of years. The changelings themselves stated that they were once solids. I now know that this wasn't the intention of the writers, but it was an interesting idea.

As for the Defiant getting it's butt kicked, I've always been disappointed that the ship, which later proved to be quite powerful and effective in combat, was so thoroughly neutralized on its first showing. I understand why it happened, both from a tactical and story standpoint, but I think I would have preferred seeing its first outing be more of a "kapow" moment. Save the idea of its butt being kicked for a later moment, after we've seen what it can do, to drive home the idea of a desperate situation.

At least it didn't become one of those tired tropes - "Let's take the Defiant out so we can be smashed!" Aside from when Eddington sabotaged the computer systems and disabled her from the inside, or when the Breen finally got the better of her in season 7, I can't remember another time when the Defiant was so thoroughly beaten.
alastair chadwin
22. a-j
To be fair to Defiant, it's a prototype which is still being tinkered with at this point, it's sailing with a new crew and appears to be somewhat understaffed as the ship's doctor ends up manning the guns in the end.
Tim May
23. ngogam
For reasons passing understanding, they all go into humanoid form with the same unfinished look that Odo has, even though Odo only has that form because he can’t do anything more detailed.
Beyond what others have already commented, I think it's worth turning the question around and asking how else you'd expect them to appear. The Founders don't inherently look like anything in particular, and they're only taking humanoid form here to talk to Odo, so what else would they want to look like other than him?

(Of course, this doesn't in itself explain why Jens's character is always seen in that form from now on, even when Odo's not around. But even in-universe, it's probably useful for her to maintain a consistant appearance so the solids can tell who she is. This does raise the question of how she appeared to the Vorta & Jem'hadar before Odo turned up...)
Christopher Bennett
24. ChristopherLBennett
@18: The problem with the idea that the Female Shapeshifter was "unfinished" in the same way Odo was is that it assumes she was trying to mimic humanoids -- something she would've had no reason to want to do, since she held them in contempt. Odo learned to mimic humanoids because they were the only beings he knew. But the Female Shapeshifter would've had no such incentive. The only being there that she would've had any desire to emulate or resemble was Odo himself. He was the one who was important to her, the one she and the other Founders wanted to connect with. So they didn't look like him because they had the same limitations as him. They were able to mimic anything exactly, but what they chose to mimic was Odo.

Also, the Defiant was a miniature for the first few seasons. DS9 didn't adopt CGI starships until the fifth or sixth season, I believe. But it was a small enough miniature that it was probably easier to do loopy motion-control moves with than the Enterprise.

@19: That's what annoys me about Trek space battles. Realistically, 3-on-1 should never be sure odds, because three points only define a plane, not a volume. All a ship has to do is move perpendicular to that plane and it can elude all three ships. It should take at least four ships to englobe another vessel in 3-dimensional space -- but TV and movie writers almost never bother to move beyond their Earthbound, 2-dimensional thinking.

@20: I don't recall any such thing ever being claimed about the Changelings' original solid form. And Laas did not have the same look, not quite, anyway -- he modeled himself on the Varalan species, although, in his own words, he "was never really able to fully mimic their appearance." His look was similar to Odo's in that it looked smoother and less detailed than the humanoid being emulated, but they were emulating different humanoids -- Bajorans and Varalans respectively. They weren't instinctively conforming to some ancestral Changeling norm.

@21: The First Humanoids lived and died four billion years ago, which is an unimaginably long time. The whole idea behind them is that they were the only sapient civilization that existed in their era and that they seeded the primordial soup of many worlds with DNA that would gradually, over billions of years, evolve into new humanoid forms long after they were gone. That's completely incompatible with the Founders' backstory, since they coexisted with other sentiences.

True, in "Behind the Lines" the Female Shapeshifter does say that "eons ago" her people were monoforms, and "eon" is sometimes used to mean "a billion years," but that seems like hyperbole, since it's unlikely that any single species could last for billions of years. It's more likely that she was just using "eons" in the broader sense of "ages," an indefinitely long time. And of course a culture like the Founders would tend to employ propaganda about its past, exaggerate the ancientness of its ways, and so forth, so her assertion can't be taken at face value.

And I like it that gaining the Defiant didn't automatically bring victory. Star Trek has never been a franchise in which brute force was presented as the way to solve problems. Usually force is portrayed as ineffectual or doing more harm than good, and the characters need to find more clever or more compassionate means to resolve a crisis.

After all, the Dominion are masters at the use of force and have been for millennia. Throwing more guns at them is just playing on their terms. So it's no surprise to me that it didn't help much.
25. Cybersnark
Yeah, this was the Defiant's first fight. You always lose your first fight; it's the second fight that's the real test.

And I've always just assumed the Founders were deliberately replicating Odo's look --for all they knew he could have been a perfect representation of some solid species they hadn't encountered yet.

I'd always hoped T'Rul would've stuck around, for pretty much the same reasons everyone else has stated. We've never really had a Romulan permanent cast member.
Dante Hopkins
26. DanteHopkins
It was an exciting season 2 closer, without being a cliffhanger, which was all kinds of cool. Then we picked right back up where we left off with this excellent season 3 opener. Everybody's got new uniforms and badges, and with TNG having ended, this episode made it abundantly clear while one chapter was over, a new and exciting chapter had begun.

I loved the Defiant when I first saw it, and like others have said, it remains a favorite of mine. It was far more realistic and believable to have the powerful yet very flawed prototype lose her first battle, as this was her first mission and O'Brien hadn't whipped Defiant into shape. And I remember thinking, about T'Rul, that it would be cool to have her around, I didn't think they would.

Shiny new badges and uniforms.

As for Odo's people, I assumed they took Odo's form to welcome him, make it clear to him (and to us) that Odo was home. Much the same way the Q take on human form, the Changelings took on Odo's form, since, as stated, Odo was the only one they cared about.
27. Nix
ChristopherLBennett@24, as long as we're retroexplaining, howsabout this one? The Founders don't care if they embarrass Odo. Why would they care? It's not like they're going to have the emotion of embarrassment themselves, or shame: those are incompatible with a species that, by default, shares everything with its own kind, and doesn't give a hoot about the opinion of any other species.

No, their reasons are strategic, as suits canny behind-the-scenes manipulators like the Founders: born spies, the siloviki in Russia have nothing on them. They *don't* want Odo -- or the others with him -- to *know* how good they are at emulating humanoids yet. For a time at least, they would have free run of the Alpha Quadrant, walking unknown among the rest of us, with even those few who know of their existence convinced that changelings simply cannot mimic humans (or, presumably, any other species) well enough to fool them for long.

And, indeed, it does succeed -- Starfleet shared its Dominion intelligence with the Romulans, who were taken in by it enough that they never imagined that the boss of the Tal Shiar could be a changeling. They even managed to maneuver people into place such that when the possibility of perfect mimicry was uncovered, *they* were able to propose some of the Founder detection tests which ended up getting used (which, of course, they would pass).

None of this would have worked if Starfleet and the famously paranoid Tal Shiar had been on the lookout for perfect mimics in command positions from day one. Look at what they nearly got out of it: a Federation embroiled in war with the Kzenkethi (who knows how tough that would have been, we never hear of them again); a Klingon Empire and Cardassian Union exhausting themselves in pointless combat: a major alliance broken even *after* the Dominion infiltration of the top of the Klingon Empire was uncovered. Quite a good return for a little intentionally bad shapeshifting.

(I also can't help notice that their first and perhaps largest victory, the destruction of the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order, was obtained by manipulating *spies*, and not only that but manipulating them into *cooperation*. As born spies, instinctive cooperators among themselves, and instinctive distrusters of others, this must really have tickled them pink. But more on that should wait until _The Die is Cast_, I suppose.)

MikeKelm@18, "he Defiant moved like nothing you'd ever seen before", unless you'd been watching _Babylon 5_, that is. The Defiant looked clunky beside even a Starfury, let alone most of the other ships. However, at least they managed to make the Defiant one of their most impressive-looking spacecraft: B5 messed up there, the White Star still looks like a strangled duck to me, even if it did look good in the later seasons moving in flocks. (And, as Christopher points out, most TV SF is really really bad at things like strategy, let alone 3D strategy. Even B5's strategies were often monoplanar -- though not always, and at least it had some.)
Mike Kelmachter
28. MikeKelm
@27 Nix... I should say that the Defiant moved like nothing you'd ever seen before in Star Trek. Babylon 5 had some good space combat, and even Star Wars had some good space combat (the millenium falcon diving out of the sun actually would make for a useful tactic...)

And you're right- most TV SciFi is terrible at remembering that space is 3D... or for that matter that there are only 360 degrees in a circle. I want to scream every time someone sets a course of 409 or something rediculous. Combat tactics are doubly messed up.

I'd have to imagine to actually pen in a starship would require at least 4 vessels assuming that they have a 180 degree firing arc. As we already discussed, cloaking devices are just about useless in a combat situation (unless you're in a prototype klingon bird of prey :P) but I don't understand why ships don't use their warp engines more in combat situations.

"Captain they have us surrounded"

"Rotate 180 degrees down and go to warp"

"Captain, we're now 42 lightyears away from them..."

I'd think that using warp as a hit and run would be a perfectly good strategy- wait for a ship to have it's shields battered and have an ally jump in behind them. Outside of federation ships, it seems that most ships do not have any powerful weaponry facing aft- a small ship would be able to jump in, do some damage, and jump out before the other guy coudl react.

But all that takes money to produce...
Christopher Bennett
29. ChristopherLBennett
@28: Of course Trek doesn't always respect real physics, but a good physics excuse for why it would be difficult to use warp drive in the middle of combat is that a warp field could be disrupted by intense bursts of energy in the vicinity. A warp field is a spacetime metric, and the shape of a spacetime metric is determined by the mass and energy distribution in the area. So if there are large, abrupt changes in that distribution due to big ships flying through or torpedoes exploding, that could make it difficult to stabilize a warp field.

A simpler explanation could be that it takes a lot of power to operate the warp engines, so if the ship's power is concentrated on weapons and shields, it might take time to redirect it to warp drive, and the ship could be vulnerable while the drive is powering up.
David Levinson
30. DemetriosX
Except, of course, that the Picard maneuver involves the use of warp during combat.
31. Nix
MikeKelm@28, hm, maybe it's *really* curved space? It is a *warp* drive after all. (See also Mary Gentle's _Rats & Gargoyles_ with its extra compass direction which somehow, don't think about it too hard, always pointed towards the centre of the city. But that series was in part a jeremiad against the very idea of internal consistency in storytelling, so that sort of thing is understandable...)

DemetriosX@30, but of course the Picard maneuver was dangerous and risky and it is very surprising that nobody had ever tried it before, even when their ship was on the verge of being blown up. Hm. Maybe Picard was the first to try it and *live*...
Christopher Bennett
32. ChristopherLBennett
@30: I wasn't saying it was impossible to use warp drive during combat, ever -- just that there could plausibly be certain sets of conditions that would render it difficult. Naturally each combat situation is different, and what could be feasible in one instance might not be in another.

@31: The problem with the Picard Maneuver is that it's too grounded in real physics to work in the Trek universe. It presupposes that the enemy is limited to speed-of-light sensors and thus can't immediately tell that the ship has moved faster than light from its original position, because the light from that position is still en route. But it's been made quite clear subsequently that just about every spacegoing power has subspace sensors that allow instantaneous detection at arbitrary distances, so the illusion created by lightspeed latency in the Picard Maneuver really shouldn't fool anyone. Well, unless their subspace/long-range sensors are down and they're limited to optics -- but then they should be aware of the difficulties created by lightspeed lag and not be so easily fooled.
Joseph Newton
33. crzydroid
@32: I think the explanations of the Picard Maneuver specifically state that the Ferengi ship was somehow limited to light-only sensors at the time.
34. Eoin8472
@18 As regards big ships and unlocaking.
The Romulan Warbird seems to be just fine with attacking after uncloaking. "Tin Man" and "The Defector" are examples where the Warbird uncloaks and volleys into the Enterprise pretty fast. Dialogue from "Tin Man" seems to imply that the Warbird did a fair bit of appreciable damage to the Enterprsie on its flyby.

The Klingon Alternative universe Negh'vars in "All Good Things" were also pretty good at shooting from cloak, though that was a medical ship they fired at. Still, no appreciable delay (to me) in unloading as quickly as possible. And the Enterprise-X fared well too, though of course there was time for a chat between Riker and the Pasteur, so maybe the big phaser cannon of doom was still powering up at that point.

The Romulan Warbird seems designed to concentrate as much of their power in the forweard arc (the "head" section of the ship"). Given this and their cloak, it implies to me that their ships main attack tactic is probably to strike from ambush. So they should be pretty fast at it. Maybe at the expense of battle endurance if the target survives the first attack.
Don Barkauskas
35. bad_platypus
MikeKelm @18:
I sort of figured that the founders had different specialties, so that while all founders can shapeshifter, there are some who specialize in infiltration and are just better at it than the rest of their race. Hence why Odo and the female founder look unfinished, but some founders can perfectly mimic Martok orO'brien or whomever. Practice, practice, practice.
I could be making this up, but wasn't there an episode where the female Founder pretends to be a solid and fools Odo for the entire episode? Then, with the reveal that it's actually her, Odo says something along the lines of "...and you're a very talented shapeshifter." That would show that appearing like Odo here is a deliberate choice, since she has the ability to perfectly mimic solids. I agree with those who feel that this choice is to make Odo more comfortable.

(A quick internet search confirms that such an episode exists; I'll leave the descritpion here as-is to minimize the spoilers for our first-time viewers.)
Joseph Newton
36. crzydroid
The other thing to keep in mind regarding the "looking like Odo" debate is that they all have Odo's hairstyle, and Odo specifically chose that hairstyle to mimic the Bajoran scientist who discovered him.
37. The Usual Suspect
@36: Yeah, I think the hairstyle thing is an inconsistency we're just stuck with! Given the overall quality and general consistency of DS9, I've never found it too much of a problem.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
38. Lisamarie
Trying to just skim over the Odo stuff since I'm trying not to be TOO spoiled (although, yes, my first thought was that it was kind of funny that all these Founders now all basically look like a Bajoran scientist. At least as a first time watcher, I assumed they just chose to take that shape to mimic Odo, not because of any limitations).

I loved T'Rul. She had me at "I'm not here to make friends". I sometimes wish I could say that at work, heh (although I actually do like my coworkers). Sad to hear that she doesn't stick around, because the Romulans were my favorite antagonist species in TNG and we never really got enough with them (in my opinion).
Christopher Bennett
39. ChristopherLBennett
@37: There is no inconsistency. We never saw a Founder take that form (indeed, never saw a Founder at all, so far as we know) until the end of "The Search, Part I," when they manifested in front of Odo. So there's no logic problem with the idea that they adopted that form to emulate Odo at that point and then continued to use it afterward.
Rob Rater
40. Quasarmodo
This was the first actual episode that I liked, upon picking up the show from about where I left off the first time (I assume I liked the pilot too, but it's been a while). Not only did I enjoy the interactions between the crew, I was impressed that after Quark did what he was brought along to do, he was allowed to go back to DS9, instead of them trumping up some excuse for making him stick around for the duration of the episode. I thought the show had finally turned a corner and I'd be loving episodes on a regular basis from this point out. Unfortunately that was not the case.
41. Maria_D
Why use Romulan cloaking device, they are enemies, right? Why not using Klingon? Or their own? As we've seen in TNG "The Pegasus" Admiral Eric Pressman made cloaking device years before and it was used on Enterprise
Christopher Bennett
42. ChristopherLBennett
@41: The issue is political, not technological. The Federation has agreed by treaty with the Romulans not to employ cloaking technology (presumably in exchange for some concession from the Romulans), and that presumably includes Klingon cloaks as well. They arranged for special dispensation from the Romulans to use a cloak in the Gamma Quadrant in response to the Dominion threat, but the Romulans insisted it be one of theirs, with a Romulan officer shepherding it to ensure it was used in accordance with the agreement (although that idea was lost when the show failed to bring the character back).

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