Broken Link #StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch (Season 4, Episode 26) Odo gets drippy, must visit Changeling homeworld

Rewatching ST:DS9

In Garak’s shop, the enigmatic proprietor tries to play matchmaker between Odo and an attractive Bajoran woman. Odo is characteristically formal and polite to her, but as a shape-shifter who is liquid in his resting state, he just isn’t interested in “these convoluted mating rituals.” He reluctantly admits she’s lovely, but has a fit and collapses into goo.

In the infirmary, Bashir reports Odo’s molecular jimberjams have been flabbergasted, but he doesn’t know why. It might be a natural process of Odo’s species.

Gowron has sent a saber-rattling speech to the Federation Council, which frets the command staff. Dax encourages her fellow officers to predict how many times Kira will sneeze (a side-effect of pregnancy for Bajoran women). On the topic of Odo’s solittude, Dax spars with Worf, who appeals to Space Dad Sisko for relief. This is really a masterful, efficient scene, using character-driven dialogue and humor to do some world-building and provide exposition.

When Kira stops by the infirmary with a PADD, Odo gets excited by something on the day’s criminal activities report. He tries to apprehend a smuggler in a cargo bay, but liquifies uselessly.
In the infirmary, Odo has trouble holding his shape, and tells Bashir they both know the only ones who can help him are the Founders (the masterminds who are seeking to destabilize the balance of power in and around Federation space).

Sisko’s plan is to take the Defiant into Dominion space uncloaked, and send out a distress call. He asks Kira ot stay on the station. (She interrupts his explanation with a sneeze, and says ,”I know, I know.”)

On the Defiant, a treknobabble session (about how Odo’s flabbergasted molecular jimberjamsmean they can’t use the transporter on him) gets interrupted by a request from Garak to come aboard. He wants to ask a Founder whether there are any Cardassian prisoners after their last battle. Sisko consents, on the condition that Garak spend his time on board occupying Odo’s attention — not with sympathy and friendship, but with professional intrigue. Garak agrees.

As Odo walks painfully to the Defiant docking bay, Quark taunts him about increasing his smuggling activities while Odo is away. When Odo warns him, “Don’t get used to it,” Quark perks up: “Then you *are* coming back?” (This sparring is of course how frenemies say “I love you.”)

Garak regales Odo with stories of the time he spent as a gardener in the Cardassian embassy on the Romulan homeworld, and O’Brien frets about Keiko, Kira and Molly talking about him behind his back. “I’m thinking of asking Julian to come live with us. Even things up a little.”

As we expect on DS9, the downtime is interrupted by the next plot point, which in this case is contact from a detail of Jem’Hadar warships. A Founder beams aboard with an offer to take Odo to the Great Link and let the others go. Sisko insists on accompanying Odo, an event for which the Founder was prepared. Her Jem’Haddar lackey is carrying a widget that will let him pilot the Defiant without giving away the location of the new Founder homeworld. Sisko agrees.

After linking with Odo and partially unflabbergasting his molecular jimberjams, the Founder notes there is disagreement within the Link about what to do next. Odo’s options are to join the Link and be judged, or to die.
When Garak asks about Cardassian survivors, the Founder is hostile, saying the Cardassian people are doomed for daring to attack the Founders.

In the mess hall, Sisko, Worf and O’Brien are trying to strategize how to keep a transporter lock on Odo while he’s liquefied in the Great Link, but Odo tells them not to bother — he plans to accept the judgement of his people.

After beaming down to a tiny island (I guess his jimberjams were sufficiently unflabbergasted that we can ignore the treknobabble from a few scenes ago), Odo seems relieved to follow his guide into an ocean of glowing Founder goo. Sisko and Bashir wait.

On the Defiant, Worf catches Garak sneaking through a Jeffries tube, having tried to access the Defiant’s weapons systems to destroy the Founder homeworld — along with Odo, Sisko and Bashir, and with the clear expectation that the Jem’Haddar will destroy the Defiant in retaliation. He tries to talk Worf into “a little genocide in the name of self-defense,” but Worf is not interested — though he is impressed by Garak’s hand-to-hand combat skills. “You fight well for a tailor.”

The ocean of Changeling goo spits up Odo, naked and solid. Bashir is surprised to find his scanner reads internal organs. “It’s as if he were human!”

The Founder, lamenting that it would have been less cruel to have killed him, tells Sisko, “He’s yours. Take him and go.”

Back on DS9, Odo has been fitted for a uniform in Garak’s shop, and notes with puzzlement that he’s hungry. Garak envies the senses Odo will experience for the first time. On cue, Aroya, the attractive Bajoran woman from the teaser, stops by for more vamping — but Odo is more interested in making sure Garak starts the six-month sentence he got for his actions on the Defiant.

On the Promenade, Sisko tries to encourage Odo to ease back into his duties, but after glimpsing, and then losing, the Great Link, Odo realizes his job is all that he has left. While watching another diatribe from Gowron, this time asserting control of a system the Klingons had abandoned a hundred years ago, Odo realizes that while he was in the link, the other changelings were trying to hide something from him: Gowron is being impersonated by a Founder.

A chilling finale to the fourth season, with plenty of good character moments that I didn’t remember.

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