Odo and Nog get the forefront in an episode that really dives into their personalities.  Originally broadcast on November 4, 1998, this is Treachery, Faith and the Great River.

The Episode:

Station Log Stardate Undetermined: Treachery, Faith and the Great River

Odo receives an interesting request from Weyoun while Nog helps O’Brien out with the Ferengi’s particular skills in procurement.

The Breakdown:

Story A: Of Gods and Vorta

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After giving Kira a massage, Odo informs the Colonel that he is planning a mission to meet up with a certain Gul Russol who claims to have vital info for them. Heading off to the agreed upon location alone, Odo is shocked to find that it is not Russol who has requested his presence but the Vorta Weyoun.  Odo finds himself even more surprised when Weyoun informs the changeling that the Vorta Operative is there to Defect to the Federation.

Odo is skeptical at first despite Weyoun’s insistence that they need to leave as soon as possible. Weyoun insists that everyone is out to kill him and all he want’s to do is serve Odo in an effort to save his own life.  Odo tests the Vorta’s claims and, finding Weyoun amicable to give vital information, the shapeshifter takes Weyoun aboard the Rio Grande. As the two head off they are soon contacted by the Dominion in the shocking form of none other than Weyoun himself.  It appears that this particular Weyoun clone has been keeping secrets.

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Discussing the matter with the now identified Weyoun 7, Odo learns that Weyoun 5 (of whom they have been dealing with) has died in a tragic accident.  Weyoun 7 indicates that the clone Odo is with, Weyoun 6, is defective and must be destroyed.  Six refuses to accept his fate and tells 7 and Damar that he is not, in fact, defective but wants only to serve one founder, Odo.  With 7 and Damar on their way to intercept the ship, Odo learns that Weyoun 6 feels that the war with the Federation has gone on too long and that the Founders have lost their way.  In this light, he is determined to help end the war in any way he can, even sharing secrets with the enemy.

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On Cardassia, Weyoun 7 and Damar discuss the death of Weyoun 5. Seven still believes that Damar was involved with the death of Weyoun Five but can get no answers.  Ignoring the insinuations, Damar insists that they head out to kill Weyoun 6 and Odo despite Odo being a Founder.  Weyoun 7 reluctantly agrees and sends Jem’Hadar out to destroy the runabout, not sharing the fact that a Founder is on board. Soon, after loosing the attacking Jem’Hadar ship to the Rio Grande, they are met with the Female shapeshifter who is not looking so well.  There they explain that they are pursuing a Federation ship but once again neglect to inform her of the ship’s true occupants. She leaves, leaving more questions than answers and Damar finds himself intrigued.

As Weyoun 6 and Odo continue their journey, Weyoun 6 finally reveals his darker secret, he has learned that a sickness has ravaged the Changlings.  Weyoun 6 believes that Odo is the only one not infected and Odo may be the one who could replace the Dominion Leadership once the virus does it’s job.

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Soon the runabout finds itself under pursuit again and, using a nearby Ice Field, Odo hides the runabout from the Jem’Hadar shutting down all of the systems, including life support.  After hiding for a few hours, the Jem’Hadar discover their hiding spot, causing Odo to attempt an escape.  Under attack, and clear that they will not survive, Weyoun 6 contacts Weyoun 7 and Damar and activates his suicide implant.  This act of sacrifice prompts Weyoun 7 to call of the attack, but Odo finds it hard to watch his new friend die.  It seemed that the one glimmer of hope for the Dominion died with him.

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In the end, Odo is lamenting the death of Weyoun 6 and the Vorta’s faith in Odo while also finding a deep concern in the news that the Founders are dying.  Despite Kira’s support in faith and understanding, Odo realizes that no matter which side wins the war he will lose something that matters to him in either scenario.

 

Story B: Sailing the Seas of Materia

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O’Brien is once again battling the station as parts of the station and the Defiant itself, are starting to fall apart.  When Sisko informs the Chief that he has three days to get a part that is not expected to arrive in three weeks, Nog steps in to help Miles get what he needs using the classic methods of Ferengi business.

After rushing off to speak to the quartermaster, Nog informs O’Brien that ‘Edgar’ is pleased at the gifts that O’Brien as sent him but can’t get him the stabilizers in time.  However, a nearby Starship may have the parts they need but first, Nog needs a requisition form filled out.  This begins the ultimate star-fleet Fetch Quest.

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From trading Desks, phaser emitters, and other various equipment, and even cases of Klingon Blood wine, Nog encourages O’Brien to have faith in The Great Material Continuum.  Nog explains that the Continuum provides everything you need as long as you navigate it well.  Despite what looks like a fool’s errand, O’Brien gives in and lets Nog do his thing.

After what seems to be a very rough go at it, O’Brien is relived when he discovers everyone received exactly what they needed thanks to Nog’s negotiating.  Miles is shocked when General Martok offers him a bottle of Blood Wine as a thank you and an apology for accusing the chief of mishandling his personal shipment of bloodwine .  It seems that the Great River does indeed provide.

Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:

This could possibly be considered a perfect episode of Deep Space Nine.  Not only does it have a great story arc that pushes the season narrative further, it also gives us a chance to explore some of the individual characters.

This episode, like so many before it, is split up into two distinct story lines which I have dubbed, ‘Of Gods and Vorta’ and ‘Sailing the Seas of Materia’.  While ‘Of Gods and Vorta’ is the primary story, let’s discuss the secondary one first.

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In Sailing the Seas of Materia, we finally get a chance to see how Nog is acclimating to life as a Star Fleet Officer.  Since his promotion to Ensign, we have only really seen Nog in the background, taking orders and providing much needed support for both Deep Space Nine and The Defiant.   While he has been a key member of the crew, it seemed a shame for such a vibrant character to have been pushed into the background for so long.  Thankfully, we get a real chance to see him in action once again.

Being the only Ferengi in Star Fleet can not be an easy task.  Not only do the ethics and Morals of the Federation go against everything the Ferengi Alliance stand for, but, much like Worf, Nog is the only one of his kind to have taken the step to bridge his own culture with that of the Federations.  For Worf the decision was much easier, having been raised by human parents one of which was a Star Fleet NCO, much of his upbringing was steeped in Human customs and experiences.  With this as his only vision of what life was like, Worf chose to emulate the man that he had come to know as his father, Sergey Rozhenko.  For Nog, however, his decisions to step into a different role was much more a personal thing.

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If you remember back to the episode Heart of Stone, Nog finally came to terms with who he is and what he wants to do with his life.  After watching his father struggle to find his own way and his Uncle Quark’s success by being dishonest most of the time, Nog realizes that he doesn’t have the lobes for business and needs to make himself a better person.  Using Ben Sisko as a guide post, he finds himself on a mission to become a better person despite the difficulty getting there.  This journey is not an easy one for him as he finds himself facing Sisko’s approval, and even some extreme temptation from other cadets, but as Nog is working his way through, he soon begins to find that he can blend both his Ferengi nature with his Star Fleet training.

In this episode we finally get a chance to see Nog really embracing his upbringing with his new position on DS9.   While much of what he does could be considered ‘shady’ at best, he ensures that he never breaks the rules, only bending them to the point of breaking so as to never put himself, nor his new mentor Chief O’Brien, in harms way.  I do find it interesting that while Nog claims he doesn’t have the lobes for business, he somehow manages to use those lobes to not only start a company (Noh-Jay Consortium) but also manages to be at the right place at the right time every time someone needs something.  I have to think that maybe Nog learned more from his Uncle Quark than he really wants to admit.

Now, lets talk about ‘Of Gods and Vorta’.

First off, any episode with Jeffery Combs is enough to make me consider it a good episode.  That guy is incredible and his portrayal of Weyoun is by far one of his finest roles. That aside, we really discover a lot about Weyoun and the Vorta themselves in this one and that is only the tip of the iceberg.

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We have known for some time that the Vorta were a genetically modified people bred to serve the Founders in every way possible. Serving as almost the mouthpiece to the Founders, the Vorta are typically the first real contact people have with Dominion, outside of any skirmish with the Jem’Hadar they may have.  Almost polar opposite of the genetically modified Jem’Hadar, the Vorta are a conniving and treacherous race who have given themselves wholly unto the whims of the shape-shifting founders of the Dominion.  Now, this worship isn’t through cohesion or even through the dependency on drugs like that of the Jem’hadar, but through direct genetic manipulation instead.  The Vorta are literally created to view the shapeshifters as Gods and, in a way, they kindof are.

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Think about it, if a race of people genetically enhanced you into something greater than you were before, would you not look to them as something special?  How a being that promises that if you worship them that they will provide for you in an afterlife or even occasionally in the life you are leading right now?  Sound familiar?  Now, not to get too into theology, but the concept of a superior being or beings is not an new one, in fact there has been a belief in something greater than us since time immemorial.  From pantheons of Gods to singular benevolent entities, the concept that humans were created to serve these beings is something that echoes through our literature and folk lore.  So, for the Vorta to believe that the Founders are indeed their Gods is really not that much of a stretch when you look at it from a different angle.  That being said, from the outside, we know the truth of the matter, but it is all about perspective isn’t it?

For Odo, he faces the curse of seeing his people from all perspectives.  He is standing by watching as his own species collects and subjugates entire cultures with the notion that they are simply providing an order to the chaos. I could go into how the Dominion is not unlike some of our very own conquerors and nations but that is really a subject that deserves an article of it’s own.  That being said, keeping it within Star Trek itself, it is interesting how much like Borg the Dominion is.  Both have the desire to spread their message and dominance throughout the galaxy while taking over entire cultures and assimilating them to their ways of life. I have to wonder what would have happened had those two clashed in a battle.  Could a Borg assimilate a Changeling?  hmmm.

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All that aside, By the end of the episode, Odo is faced with a conundrum like no other.  On one side if he sides with the Federation he is dooming his entire race to certain death, on the other if he sides with the Dominion, he will see all that he has come to love collapse under the Shapeshifter’s oppressive and distrustful culture.  To be in such a position is something that I do not envy and it is here that we see the beginning of where Odo will ultimately end up, especially after learning that his people are, in fact, dying.

Overall, This is a fantastic episode that not only stands alone but benefits form the layers of story that has gone before it and that are to come after.  Actors Rene Auberjonois, Aron Eisenberg and Jeffery Combs are on top of their game in this one, showing just how powerful these actors are in their roles.

Gleanings and Cool Bits:

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  • New Rule of Acquisition revealed! #168 whisper your way to success.
  • We learn that the Vorta have no real sense of Taste due to their genetic enhancements.
  • We also learn that the Vorta were originally forest apelike animals who were genetically enhanced after helping to save a changeling from harm.  Whether this is true or just a legend made up to insure the Vorta’s loyalty is unknown but, in all myth there is a glimmer of truth.
  • The virus that is ravaging the Shapeshifters is going to be important later on, remember it.
  • Notice Damar is drinking heavily still.  Is a certain Cardassian drowning his guilt in bottles of kanar?

Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review,  I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!  Next Review: Once More Unto The Breach

If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.

As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!

Late To The Game 2/17/2020

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Is something missing here Chief?  Yeah, that’s right, your dignity, NOW GO GET IT BACK!

 

Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available.  Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.

Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made production intended for recreational use.  No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”

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