"The Vortex" Plot Summary:
A robbery on Deep Space Nine introduces Odo to Crodon, a refugee from the Gamma Quadrant who claims to have met other changelings. He wears a medallion which can change its shape, which he gives to Odo as proof that there are others like him in the Gamma Quadrant. When Sisko agrees to extradite Crodon to the Rakarians, his home planet, Odo evades attacking aliens by allowing Crodon to lead him into a vortex where he says they will find colony of changelings hidden on an asteroid. They find no shapeshifters, but the wanted man has hidden his daughter in stasis from his vicious enemies. Against orders, Odo helps the family escape on a Vulcan freighter, but is left with a mystery about whether his own people really came from the Gamma Quadrant.
This is both the first in-depth speculation about Odo's origins and the first really emotional Odo episode Deep Space Nine has attempted, and I liked it very much on both counts. The plot-lines were a little too busy for my tastes and went around in too many circles - Crodin had too many enemies both on and off the station, plus there was a lengthy subplot about potential shady dealings between Quark and the aliens which never amounted to anything. I can't say I am enjoying these ongoing implications that Quark can't be trusted; it makes Sisko look stupid to let him stick around the station. And we got no real resolution to the question of whether Crodin had lied about his suspicions of other changelings, or his real reasons for being a wanted man.
Nonetheless "The Vortex" was eerily compelling, and let us see an emotional side of Odo which would seem to be at odds with his usual rational demeanor; I was very surprised that he let Crodon go with so little information about whether he was, in fact, a dangerous criminal, particularly after the man held out as false bait the one thing in the universe Odo really wants (except maybe Kira, but that is a topic for another episode). The actor portraying Crodin was skilled and subtle, leading us to believe he wasn't really as lackadaisical as he seemed in jail yet never appearing truly menacing. I liked the dynamic between himself and Odo; I hope the shapeshifter checks up on the people he saved.
Deep Space Nine Reviews