Wed
Jun 11 2014 2:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “The Begotten”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Begotten“The Begotten”
Written by René Echevarria
Directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño
Season 5, Episode 12
Production episode 40510-510
Original air date: January 27, 1997
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Odo limps into the infirmary with a pinched nerve. Quark then brings Odo an infant changeling that’s ill, which he obtained from a Yridian trader, and which he sells to Odo for eight strips of latinum. (Odo’s barely aware of the financial part of the transaction, so enraptured is he by the changeling. Quark pretty much places Odo’s thumb on the padd to complete the deal.)

According to Bashir, the infant has taken on a lot of tetryon radiation. While Bashir starts treatment, Odo explains to Sisko that this is the size he was when he was found in the Denorios Belt. Sisko puts Odo in charge of the changeling, to Odo’s glee, but also suggests asking Dr. Mora for help, to Odo’s lack of glee. Sisko, however, says it’s Odo’s call.

Bashir gets the radiation out, and then goes off to take care of Kira, who’s going into labor, leaving Odo to keep an eye on the infant. Odo talks to it, which Mora never did. Odo is determined to treat the infant better than he himself was treated.

O’Brien, Keiko, and a Bajoran midwife named Y’Pora are with Kira. They create a rhythm with two rattling percussion instruments (the one Keiko holds also has incense), and a gong. The rhythm is supposed to relax her, but she’s having trouble relaxing because Shakaar is running late—however, he does finally show up. Unfortunately, by then it’s too late, and Kira’s body has stopped producing endorphins because they’re building up to toxic levels. It could be days or even weeks before she goes into labor again. Kira insists on having the baby in the traditional Bajoran manner, which the O’Briens support. (Mostly because it would be incredibly churlish to object given what Kira has gone through for them.) Shakaar says he can rearrange his schedule as needs be.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Begotten

Odo brings the infant around the station, showing it the replimat and other parts of the station. While he’s in the midst of telling the infant that he won’t treat it like he was treated, the guy who treated Odo badly shows up—Mora heard about the changeling, and came to the station right away. Odo doesn’t want his former tormentor’s help, but he is willing, after a lengthy argument, to let Mora observe. However, after a week, Odo has made no progress communicating with the changeling, nor in getting it to change shape. It’s only grown 17% in that time—after a week with Mora, Odo had grown a lot more. They again degenerate into an argument, Odo accusing Mora of all kinds of horrible things, Mora accusing Odo of being ungrateful and not understanding of the pressure he was under. Their yelling is interrupted by a bemused Sisko, who’s been talking to Starfleet Command. They want daily progress reports, and if Odo and Mora don’t communicate with the infant soon, Starfleet will take over the project.

A dejected Odo finally allows Mora to take a more active role. They give the changeling an electric shock—which, sure enough, works. Odo breaks into a huge smile, and Mora points out that he smiled when Odo did that, too. The changeling is making tremendous progress, changing shapes on its own, to the point where Mora suggests they show it simple lifeforms to mimic. Mora also admits that Odo’s friendlier approach seems to be working better than his more analytical one. Odo admits that he did respect Mora. And then he orders up two glasses of champagne to celebrate.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Begotten

Shakaar walks in on O’Brien massaging Kira’s legs and he invites her to a performance on the Promenade. O’Brien and Shakaar start pissing on each others’ legs so much that they don’t notice Kira saying that it’s time to have the baby. However, Shakaar and O’Brien continue to piss on each others’ legs to the point where Kira throws them out of the room. However, the birth goes smoothly, and Kira even lets the boys back in as long as they stay quiet. And then Kirayoshi O’Brien is born and everyone is happy.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Begotten

Odo shows up in Quark’s after hours to buy Quark a drink in gratitude for bringing the infant into his life. Quark is freaked out by Odo being happy and voluble, and Odo waxes rhapsodic on how much he’s enjoying his sorta-kinda fatherhood.

But then the computer alerts him to a problem. The infant’s morphogenic matrix has apparently been damaged by the radiation more than they realized and it’s dying. Bashir and Mora are unable to save the infant. Odo pours the child into his hands and asks it not to die. But then the changeling absorbs itself into Odo’s body—and then suddenly he finds that he can change shape again. The infant’s final act was to make Odo a changeling again. Odo is happy about it, but he wishes it had happened another way. He also apologizes to Mora for not including him in his life. They share a hug and Mora returns to Bajor on the same shuttle Shakaar is on. Kira and Odo talk about how they experienced parenthood and then lost it and then go for a walk.

The Sisko is of Bajor: When Sisko suggests Odo invite Mora to help out, he reminds Odo that sometimes it’s nice to have someone to help change the diapers, a metaphor that proves sorta-kinda prophetic.

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Kira finds that she still has an attachment to the baby that she originally only agreed to carry as a favor to the O’Briens. She never wanted a baby, but she finds that she wants to hold Kirayoshi and never let go.

Preservation of mass and energy is for wimps: Odo is bound and determined to do a better job with this changeling than Mora did with him, but while he does succeed in doing so with Mora’s help, he also comes to realize how much good Mora did in addition to the bad—and how much of the bad was due to pressure from the Cardassians.

His last words to the infant are a desire to one day teach it to become a hawk, and after he gets his mojo back, he immediately turns into a hawk. (In a nice touch, his uniform flops to the floor when he changes shape, since that’s an actual real uniform now, and has been since “Apocalypse Rising.”)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Begotten

Rules of Acquisition: Quark is the one who brings Odo the infant, and he’s so totally freaked out when he sees Odo acting happy, to the point where he actually quotes William Butler Yeats (saying “the centre cannot hold,” from “The Second Coming”).

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Begotten

There is no honor in being pummeled: Worf is only in one scene, and he has nothing to do with the delivery of the baby, which is, like, the biggest missed opportunity in the history of the universe, especially after they went to the trouble of reminding us in “Accession” of Worf’s traumatic delivering of Molly in “Disaster” on TNG. Instead, they do nothing with it at all, not even acknowledging it. To which I say, fooey!

Victory is life: This is the second of the one hundred changelings sent out as infants by the Founders that we’ve seen, Odo being the first (we’ll meet a third in “Chimera”). Sisko asks Odo why the Founders would do such a thing to innocent children, and Odo says that it’s a great way to gather information, especially in seeing how solids treat the helpless.

What happens on the holosuite stays on the holosuite: When Bashir suggests a stretching regimen—or Worf’s mok’bara class—to help Odo with his back, Quark counters with a holosuite program he has that includes three Orion slave women (as seen way back in “The Menagerie, Part 2”).

Keep your ears open: “Do me a favor. Next time you have a baby, leave my girlfriend out of it.”

Shakaar being snarky at O’Brien.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Begotten

Welcome aboard: James Sloyan reprises his role as Mora, following “The Alternate,” while Peggy Roeder makes no impression whatsoever as Y’Pora. Rosalind Chao is back as Keiko, while Duncan Regehr makes his final onscreen appearance as Shakaar. And an uncredited infant doll debuts the new recurring role of Kirayoshi O’Brien.

Trivial matters: Mora has been on Earth, consulting with Starfleet on how to detect changeling infiltrators. Presumably, this started some time after “Paradise Lost,” since if Mora had been on Earth prior to that, Odo would have mentioned it (or it would have been mentioned to him).

O’Brien missed Molly’s birth, as it happened in Ten-Forward on the Enterprise-D while he was stuck on the bridge in “Disaster,” so he’s particularly pissed that he (initially) got kicked out of the room for Kirayoshi’s birth as well.

While neither Mora nor Shakaar will be seen again onscreen, they will continue to be referenced, the former in “In the Cards” and “When It Rains...” and the latter in “Children of Time,” “Call to Arms,” “Resurrection,” “His Way,” “The Reckoning,” and “The Sound of Her Voice.” Shakaar also continues in several post-finale DS9 novels.

Again, the Bashir who treated Odo, supervised the final stages of Kira’s pregnancy, and treated the changeling infant is apparently a changeling in disguise, based on what’s learned in “In Purgatory’s Shadow,” that Bashir was replaced before the uniform change made just prior to “Rapture.”

Quark quotes “The Second Coming” when he’s freaking out over happy-fun Odo. Your humble rewatcher used that poem for the titles of the original series eBook miniseries Mere Anarchy.

Walk with the Prophets: “Constable, why are you talking to your beverage?” You know, it’s funny, but I didn’t realize until I rewatched this episode for this particular occasion did I realize that this script has pretty much the exact same story beats as René Echevarria’s first Trek script, “The Offspring.” Outsider character (Data, Odo) manages to have a child (Lal, the infant), goes through the pains of trying to teach the child how to survive in a world where it is unique, gets unwanted help from a cranky authority figure (Haftel, Mora) as well as pressure from Starfleet Command to make progress or else, and then the whole thing ends in tragedy as the child dies from unforeseen circumstances, but the child is absorbed into the “father” in the end (Data by storing her memories in his positronic brain, Odo by just having the kid suck into his hands and make him all changeling-y again).

This isn’t a bad thing, mind you, just amused that Echevarria dipped in the well again. Besides, it mostly works here, in part because of the continued excellence of Rene Auberjonois, who really sells Odo’s enthusiasm for the task, his bitterness toward Mora, his growing love for this infant, his joy at the infant’s progress, and his devastation at losing it at the end.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Begotten

Unfortunately, the rest of the episode doesn’t quite live up to Auberjonois’s performance. For starters, sledgehammering a hearts-and-flowers resolution to the Odo-Mora conflict is unconvincing after the events of “The Alternate.” Basically, when we first met him, Mora was a prick, and a manipulative one at that. This episode would’ve been much stronger if it let Mora still be a prick, but have Odo come to the realization that there were factors in Mora’s work that he never considered—indeed, must have wilfully ignored, since Odo knows as well as anyone what crappy taskmasters the Cardassians are and how unpleasant their version of pressure from above would be.

But still, the shiny happy resolution to this conflict only works because the Mora of this episode is, basically, a nice person, unlike who he was last time we saw him. When Odo is enumerating the bad things Mora does, he conveniently leaves out trying to manipulate him into going back to the lab with him in “The Alternate,” which was an appalling thing to do.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Begotten

As for the B-plot, it’s pretty much just paperwork. Nana Visitor actually went into labor several episodes previous (after the filming of “Trials and Tribble-ations”), so Visitor’s been wandering around with a basketball under her uniform for the past few episodes, and she doesn’t have to do that anymore. But the story they build around it is the hoariest nonsense ever, with a manufactured conflict between Shakaar and O’Brien that’s there to create artificial suspense that always comes across as just that. It’s nonsense, and while it’s played for laughs, to make O’Brien leave the room before the birth is unimaginably cruel, given that, as he points out, he missed Molly’s birth thanks to the Enterprise hitting a quantum filament. I wasn’t a hundred percent serious above when I said they missed an opportunity by having Worf deliver yet another O’Brien baby, but that would’ve been preferable to the paint-by-numbers nonsense we got here.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Begotten

Having said all that, the parts that involve Odo being a father to a changeling are magnificent, seeing his determination to be a better father than Mora was to him, and him learning the hard truth about how difficult it is, especially with a Starfleet-imposed timetable, and his wonderful outpouring of happiness to Quark (abetted by Armin Shimerman doing a wonderful job of showing Quark both freaked out yet morbidly curious about this side of his nemesis).

 

Warp factor rating: 6


Keith R.A. DeCandido has a new book coming out this fall: a Sleepy Hollow novel based on the FOX TV series, entitled Children of the Revolution, to be published by Broadway Books. For more on this and other SH books, check out the Sleepy Reads web site. Also check out his latest Star Trek book The Klingon Art of War (ordering links on his web site), which he talks about on several podcasts: The Chronic Rift, The G & T Show, Literary Treks” on TrekFM, TrekRadio, The Sci-Fi Diner, Two Geeks Talking, and Keith’s own Dead Kitchen Radio.

25 comments
TBGH
1. TBGH
I agree that the Kira parts are predictable. But Odo more than makes up for it. I think the conflict between the goals of growth and happiness (gross oversimplification I know) for the little changeling are worth exploring and is an issue seldom touched on in TV fiction.

The little changeling melting into Odo is still one of the scenes I can picture in my mind years later along with the root beer dialogue, Garak fighting his claustrophobia, Worf finally confronting the head guy in the prison, Bashir being outed, and the absurdity of Nog sliding home. There are more of course, but easily a top 25 scene in my mind which elevates this episode much more than Shakaar and O'Brien drag it down.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
2. Lisamarie
I still found Mora rather creepy in this episode, especially in his attempts to justify his treatment of Odo, which he doesn't seem very remorseful about. This episode may also serve as a metaphor for the debate between very permissive attachment parents vs. disciplinarian parents. ;) (Note, as I do use some AP principles myself, I know that most attachment parents don't actually not discipline their children).

Also, I was half amused, half eye-rolly at the traditional, 'natural' ultra-relaxing Bajoran birth. This episode was so written by a man ;) Although it could serve as a nice wish fullfillment fantasy coming from a woman. Ha.

Auberjonois totally knocks it out of the park here, though. Despite the baby basically being a shapeless blob for most of the episode, he totally sells the idea that it's a person that the viewer can get attached to and makes you want to mourn along with him.
TBGH
3. happytoscrap
This totally reminds me of the Data and Lal episode. Only not done as well. Lal/Data were just a heck of a lot easier to feel empathy towards than that Odo/Changeling baby that almost once developes a nose.

I enjoyed the Bajoran birthing ritual. Seeing O'Brien irritatingly clang the gong every few moments was awesome. That sort of music is almost the type of music you'd expect from a Tarantino samurai fight scene. As much as I enjoyed the Bajoran birthing stuff, I do think they missed an opportunity to have some emergency arrise in which Worf has to deliver the kid.

Good episode overall.
TBGH
4. James2
I still think giving Odo his abilities back at this point was another serious mistake of Season 5 (alongside the Pah Wraiths).

I was hoping it would happen eventually, but it would have been more powerful had it happened later in the series -- perhaps not even until the climax.

It would have been akin to ATLA and Aang not regaining access to the Avatar State until the series finale.
Mike Kelmachter
5. MikeKelm
Two thoughts... since Bashir wasn't actually Bashir, he was changeling in disguise, that means that he is a changeling taking care of a baby changeling (also Kira and everyone else with some level of medical care). Even if you assume that a changeling can somehow impersonate a doctor well enough to fool everyone on the station, they missed an opportunity for a "tell" by having pseudo-Bashir act way too out of character about the loss of the baby founder. He's either a tremendous actor, or once again the writers didn't think about the implications of the "Bashir has been kidnapped and this isn't him" plot twist.

The second thought I had is that while we get a lot of new found limitations for Odo once he becomes human (he can't be Gowron's pet targ, he can break a leg, he likes to eat) is that he doesn't really seem to learn anything from the experience. I may be corrected as we do more recaps, but I've been trying to think if he ever has an "A-HA" moment later about it and I can't think of it. Which makes me wonder, what was the point of the plotline to turn him into a solid in the first place? It's a very Founder punishment- to turn one of their own into the thing they have the most contempt for- but why did the producers/writers do it and was the plan always for him to revert to shapeshifting, or is this an instance when the storyline was going in one way and they realized that it wasn't having the effect they wanted so they created a deus ex machina.

And I for one think that they missed an opportunity with Worf- not to have him deliver the baby, but rather to be nowhere in the episode at all. I think there would have been a great punchline had someone mentioned that Worf took a personal leave on very short notice and then Dax chiming in that it was because the baby was due and he didn't want to be anywhere in the system when it happened. The idea that mighty warrior Worf is terrified of delivering children is too priceless to not have...
TBGH
7. James2
@5, I believe Siddig wasn't told about the switch until they shot the two-parter.

So, it was enforced method acting.
TBGH
8. tortillarat
I actually like the B-plot a lot more than the main plot. I just can't bring myself to care at all about the baby changeling story, and the way Odo becomes a changeling again is just ludicrous. The baby morphs into Odo's body and voila! Instachangeling! It's just stupid.

The episode might've been better with some investigation into how Quark obtained it, not to mention the fact selling it to someone other than Odo would've been far more profitable. The Bashir impersonation plot would've tied very well into this too. Instead we get an appallingly dull plot with Odo playing with goo alongside Dr. Mora, who adds nothing to the plot. Yippee. There's also the earlier episode The Abandoned, which is basically the same story.

As for Worf not being involved in the birth scenes, when O'Brien told him Keiko was pregnant at Quark's in an earlier episode, Worf makes it clear he doesn't want to be involved and says he will be far away. I think his absence is just fine, and I enjoy that part of the episode.
Christopher Bennett
9. ChristopherLBennett
@8: I wasn't bothered too much by Odo's re-changeling-ing. I figure that he wasn't literally transformed into a human(oid), he was just morphed into that form (down to the cellular level) and locked that way so that he couldn't change out of it. The dying infant just restored whatever enzyme or neurochemical or whatever he needed to trigger his shapeshifting.

At least, I'm okay with it from a conceptual standpoint. I can't remember what I thought about it from a dramatic standpoint. I might have felt that it was too easy an out, that they didn't really do that much with Odo's transformation into a solid. But maybe that's why they reversed it, because it hadn't proved as interesting as they'd hoped. I think I was rather surprised when it did happen, and the moment when Odo morphed into the hawk was pretty cool.
TBGH
10. Crunchy
@2 - I remember being being unsurprised with the way the birth was portrayed in this episode because the writers did make an effort from the beginning to establish that Bajorans experience pregnancy differently from humans. Going from what I've been told about the experience of pregnancy and birth, an easy birth seems to be the most straightforward way for the writers to establish Bajoran pregnancy as different from human pregnancy. Visitor was a strong advocate for Kira as a character since the beginning and had very recently given birth herself, I don't think she'd have been afraid to call bullshit if she didn't think the birth process was being handle appropriately by the writers.
Robert Dickinson
11. ChocolateRob
You didn't mention the best bit about Quark's negotiation.
Q I've got a dead changeling - Low price.
O It's not dead.
Q High price.
O It's sick.
Q Medium price.
O Whatever.
The way he changes gears is classic Quarkiness (if I'm remembering it right).
TBGH
12. Crusader75
I thought the Odo/Mora plot is a typical Parent's Curse story ("just wait until you have kids of your own!"), which makes it a little different from Data and Lal. While Odo's explanation about the hundred Changeling infants makes some sense, it is a callous act on the part of the Founders towards members of their own kind which seems out of character given their extreme paranioia about how they are treated by solids
TBGH
13. TBonz
I liked this ep. The Odo-Changeling interaction was darling; and it was great when the baby gave Odo back his powers and Odo turned into a hawk. I was glad to see Odo get his Changeling powers back.

The birth was amusing too. Although as a woman I rolled my eyes at the easy birth, the manufactured spat between Shakaar and O'Brien was funny.

Kira and Odo walking afterwards and mourning the babies was poignant.

Not a top-ten episode, but perhaps rates a 7 out of 10 and one I enjoy rewatching.
TBGH
14. critter42
I'm OK with the timing of Odo's chameleon circuit being repaired ( :) ) - a) as Christopher mentioned the writers probably discovered it just wasn't that interesting and b) given the seismic events that will shortly be coming up, I think it would have been one more thing to keep track of/one more distraction.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
15. Lisamarie
@10, heh, well, I've done it twice and I call bullshit ;) (Mostly facetiously)

I mean, I understand that it IS intended to be a different race. And their way is definitely better, hah. Although I do know a few people that actually did have pretty quick/easy births, and a few friends who are really into the natural birth scene and talk about how energized and/or orgasmic their births are and it's not natural for women to feel pain during birth. While I did have almost natural births (a few small interventions that would 'disqualify' me in the eyes of the purists), energized and orgasmic are not at all words I'd use to describe them.

This part is projection due to my own experiences - but it's what the scene made me think of and reminded me of - but part of what I was rolling my eyes at was the mentality some people have (especially in the natural/homebirth circle - which is not something I'm knocking, by the way, I think they can be very positive movements for women) that if you didn't enjoy your birth, it means there is something wrong with you, your mental state, or you are just a pawn/victim of the 'birth industry'. (And again, I do think they have some valid points about the way some medical professionals treat birth, but the hospital I delivered at and my OB were very respectful of my wishes and non-interfering so I don't feel that way at all about my births and am overall happy with them, except for the traumatic pushing where I literally thought I was going to die both times. I just don't react well to adrenalyne. In fact, it was the calming presence of the nurses that really helped me through. Nobody was strapping me down with a knife in hand just waiting for some timer go to off so they could do a C-section, which is what some people seem to think will happen if you dare to birth in a hospital. Although I don't want to demean the experience of those who have been unfairly pressured, either.).

So, yeah, Kira's birth experience is basically like my biggest fantasy, haha. But it also made me think a little about some of the people that actually do guilt women if they don't have an experience like that one. (Which I'm sure is not the intent of the scene...like I said, it just made me think of it).
TBGH
16. Eduardo Jencarelli
Curious, I never noticed how similar to The Offspring this really was. Indeed, they're playing the exact same beats.

I understand the need for the writers to restore Odo's powers sooner than later. Not only would it facilitate future stories, but they were probably anticipating the inevitable conflict of interest that would come with the war and his "linking" with the Female Shapeshifter.

However, you can tell they didn't think this through. There was untapped potential by leaving him a solid for a while longer. Even the upcoming episode A Simple Investigation proves it. That episode, also written by Echevarria, clearly shows there were intentions of keeping Odo solid for much longer. He has sex with the girl, a very solid experience, and one which makes no sense when you're in liquid form (unless you're linking with another Founder).

Also, the resolution to the infant changeling seems like an easy way out. No one addresses the infant's death for what it is (by next episode, it's as he never existed; they could have addressed him on Chimera). And it removes from Odo the chance to fight to regain his powers. If a character is given a free gift to compensate for this loss, it feels cheap. It feels like a tame rollercoaster, where the character makes no effort of his own to achieve his goals. As a writer, and as a viewer, this feels to me like a rush job.

As for Mora, I don't have much a problem. Sure, he seems a lot tamer compared to The Alternate, but I chalk that up to three years of growth and off-screen character development. And, of course, he was working under a Cardassian timetable back in the occupation. Sloyan does a decent job with the material.

This was also Jesús Treviño's first DS9 episode, along with a Voyager episode he directed around this same time. Like Mike Vejar, he was knee deep directing multiple Babylon 5 episodes around this time (and able to shift back and forth on all three shows!). I often wonder who made the decision to bring aboard so much outside directing talent during the 1996/97 season. Usually, that fell under Rick Berman, but I have a feeling this was Ira Behr's call.
Christopher Bennett
17. ChristopherLBennett
@16: Odo may not have fought to regain his powers, but he did earn the reward by caring for the infant Changeling, and he sacrificed for it by having to endure the death of the infant. So it wasn't a free gift.
TBGH
18. Happytoscrap
The episode from TNG where Q becomes human was one of the best Star Trek episodes of all time in my opinion. They could have doted a few more episodes on Odo being human and it could have been gold. Odo having to overcome fatigue. Odo having to overcome lust. Odo having to overcome any petty human emotion we experience. It could have been another great Trek way of exposing our human weaknesses.

The only thing that was not ideal about this storyline would have been how ineffective Odo became as a solid for his role in security. Without shapeshifting, he cannot disguise himself as a cup and catch Quark up to no good. he can't do much of anything in a fight (O'Brien knocking him out in one punch). He's pretty much completely ineffective at his job at that point...and at that point there would probably be two dozen guys below him that could do the job better than he could. I think that's why they had to change him back.
TBGH
19. Eduardo Jencarelli
@17

Good point. Hadn't thought about it that way.
TBGH
20. TBGH
@18 I'll admit those are low points for Odo when his performance review comes up, but his job should be about his intelligence, instincts, and stubbornness. I agree with many others that they could have done more with him as a solid. An episode of him figuring out how to do his job without his former advantages would have been in character and entertaining. So I disagree that his job is why they had to change him back.

I think it had to do with the flow. This kind of episode doesn't really fit well once the war starts and the show takes a darker turn. And pairing it with the other child storyline that had to be resolved was an obvious move. I'm not sure if they do this story quite this early if Nana hadn't gotten pregnant.

Anyway, still a good episode on its own and I don't think the episode should be downgraded because of other possible episodes that might have happened. The season as a whole though . . . possibly.
TBGH
21. Nix
James2@7, and given how much Siddig hammed it up once he was told about the switch, I'm rather glad he wasn't told earlier. (He went completely emotionless and creepy, not only when alone but also when around other people! Come on, if changelings were that bad at mimicking they'd never be a threat.)
Nick Hlavacek
22. Nick31
Here's another episode where it would make no sense if the Bashir we see is the changeling Bashir. Once the baby changeling is found and is alive, but is clearly sick from the radiation, a changeling would have to act to save the life of the baby or be guilty of letting it die. The baby could have been saved (I'm guessing here, but it makes sense) by bringing it back to the Great Link and letting the radiation damaged changeling material be diffused throughout the link. The fact that Bashir doesn't grab the baby and hightail it through the wormhole in a stolen runabout would seem to indicate that it's the real Bashir at this point. This makes two weeks in a row where Bashir's actions indicate he's not yet been replaced. Oops.
Dante Hopkins
23. DanteHopkins
I wasn't bothered at all at the way Odo was turned back into a changeling, especially given all he had been through with the infant. I remember I was actually grateful he was a changeling again when I first watched this back in '97, perhaps proof as someone said that Odo as a humanoid proved less interesting than the writers predicted. There are good points above about possible stories about Odo really exploring being a humanoid, but I'm still glad they changed Odo back to a changeling.

The manner in which he becomes a changeling again also didn't bother me. So much is still unknown about changeling physiology , and what CLB says makes perfect sense. Odo probably wasn't actually a humanoid, just locked into humanoid form, and the infant changeling's structure restored Odo's ability to change form.

The final scene with Kira and Odo is particularly poignant. I didn't think about how Kira would feel after the baby's birth, and was moved by her saying how she wishes she could hold the baby and never let go.
Keith DeCandido
24. krad
Quoth Happytoscrap: "The only thing that was not ideal about this storyline would have been how ineffective Odo became as a solid for his role in security. Without shapeshifting, he cannot disguise himself as a cup and catch Quark up to no good. he can't do much of anything in a fight (O'Brien knocking him out in one punch). He's pretty much completely ineffective at his job at that point...and at that point there would probably be two dozen guys below him that could do the job better than he could. I think that's why they had to change him back."

Uhm -- no. Not even a little bit. Yes, Odo's best surveillance techniques are no longer of use to him, but the notion that he would now suck at his job as a security chief because he can't shapeshift anymore is patently absurd. We've seen Odo perform brilliant security work time and time again (in, to give three strong examples, "Necessary Evil," "Visionary," and "Improbable Cause") without once changing his shape even a little bit. His shapeshifting is a very minor part of his work as a security chief.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
TBGH
25. Random22
Now I think on it a little, Bashir being a changeling does put a new slant on the "infant" that Odo is raising. Is it an infant shapeshifter or is it some pseudo-shifting substance. He could drop it where uark could find, knowing full well Quark would probably go to Odo (or Sisko, but being command staff, he could nudge Sisko into giving it to Odo) and observe how Odo treated it. Eventually Odo shows he is worthy of being a Changeling again, the "infant" dies and in doing so delivers the un-locking whatever to give Odo back his ability.

It all kinda works, just about. However it does rely on my big bugbear of the viewer having to do the heavy lifting in justification.
TBGH
26. Happytoscrap
@KRAD

I stand corrected. Yeah, Odo is still a badass. Still a great detective with a cache of great contacts at his disposal. As badass as he is, he still seems a sliver of himself compared to the Odo that was taking out three at a time shapeshifting in a fight.

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