Materiality and the Meaning of Life
"Treachery, Faith, and the Great River" Plot Summary:
Odo is summoned by Gul Resol, a former informant who was reported dead by the Cardassians. When he reaches the rendezvous, however, he is met by Weyoun, who grovels to the Founder as a god and begs for asylum: he wants to defect. Odo reluctantly takes the Vorta onto his runabout after quizzing him for intelligence, but they are promptly hailed by Damar...and Weyoun.
The Vorta explain that the Weyoun whom Odo knew, the fifth clone of that name, died in an unfortunate accident for which both new Weyouns clearly blame the heavily drinking Damar. Weyoun #6, who is with Odo, was found to be defective, so #7, the clone with Damar, was created. #7 demands that #6 activate his termination implant, but #6 says that if Odo wants him alive, he will stay alive. The two flee Jem'Hadar ships when #6 teaches Odo how to destroy their shields, despite his guilt at betraying the Dominion.
Weyoun #7 and Damar quarrel about the best way to stop the clone from revealing Dominion secrets to the Federation" Damar wants to destroy the shuttle, but #7 has qualms about killing a Founder. They agree that the Jem'Hadar sent on the mission must not be allowed to know who is aboard the runabout. The female shapeshifter who was formerly Odo's mentor and lover enters and demands to know what the strategists are discussing; they do not tell her that Odo is with Weyoun #6, nor even that they have tracked the errant Vorta, and Damar comments that the shapeshifter does not look at all well. She demands that the rooms be kept cooler.
On the runabout, #6 tells Odo that his only wish is to serve a Founder, his god, and reluctantly informs Odo that all the members of the Great Link are dying - the female shapeshifter has been ailing and told them the sickness has spread throughout the population. Odo may end up as the last of his kind. With this added burden, Odo hides from the Jem'Hadar inside a comet and nearly freezes himself and Weyoun #6 to death before they are discovered anyway. The runabout is nearly destroyed, but #6 breaks silence to contact Damar and #7; when they appear on the screen, he activates his termination implant, telling them they now have security and insisting that they not kill a Founder. Damar is furious, but #7 agrees not to kill the changeling and lets Odo go. Weyoun asks Odo for his blessing, begs him to restore the honor of the Dominion, and dies in his arms.
Back on Deep Space Nine, Odo tells Kira that no matter who wins the war, he is going to lose: his people are dying and he can't help them because they are the enemy. Kira points out that #6 died looking into the face of his god, so he died happy.
During these events, O'Brien, desperate to track down a part for the Defiant, gives Rom his access codes in the hope that Rom can trade for it. Rom swaps the captain's desk, a phaser emitter, Martok's blood wine, etc. for various other equipment, finally vanishing off the station and leaving O'Brien in deep trouble with everyone until the Ferengi returns with better replacements for everything. He explains the philosophy of the Great Material Continuum (hereafter known as the Great River), in which what goes around comes around or something very like it in terms of products. O'Brien is congratulated and them gets demands for MORE work.
An interesting pairing of plots with a title that could apply to either, I was nonetheless disconcerted that the fairly tame comic story of Rom the Rainmaker was paired with the closest Star Trek has ever come to dealing directly with genocide (maybe the Founders are dying of natural causes, but I somehow doubt it - I am anticipating that either the Vorta or the Jem'Hadar poisoned their gods). That was deeply upsetting not just for Odo - we've been given no reason to like the Founders as a species, but they are one of the most truly ALIEN aliens Trek has ever given us, and the idea of their annihilation makes me queasy.
And poor Odo - #6 announced that he was saving the shapeshifter as the likely heir to the entire Dominion, the man he expected to right all the wrongs of his biological relatives. That's an even greater responsibility than Sisko has as Emissary to Bajor. Kira's analogy between her own relationship to the wormhole aliens - her gods - and the Vorta's with Odo was quite compelling. At the start of this episode, Odo was using his status as a changeling to give Kira a really great backrub, thus teasing us with the question of what else he can do with his malleable body parts for her pleasure; at the end, it's hard to see Odo as anything but cursed, no matter how much support he's getting from her.
I rather like Nog's version of the laws of thermodynamics - you can't create matter or energy, but you can trade for both of them - though this philosophy seems somewhat out of sync with previous Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, and indeed we don't get the impression that Nog tried to rip anyone off or get any personal gain whatsoever other than the glory of the deal well-made. O'Brien and Nog make an unlikely partnership and I was surprised at how well the chemistry worked.
Deep Space Nine Reviews