Although we are done with DS9 and are now in the Delta Quadrant with Voyager, that doesn’t mean you can’t go back and catch up on the episodes you missed. You can find the rest here!
The Dominion revealed, secrets exposed and choices made on the episode that originally aired on October 3,1994, this is The Search Part II.
Station Log Stardate undetermined: The Search Part II
After a brutal assault, the Founders and the Federation reach an agreement that may have too high of a cost. Meanwhile, Odo must decide if he should remain with his people or rejoin the life he once knew.
Odo has met his people and he is determined to find out all that he can about them. He soon learns that the shapeshifters live in a state of fluid known as The Great Link. They soon ask him to rejoin them, indicating that the part of his life among solids is over and his place is with them now. One of the shapeshifters, a female, melds with him, giving him a chance to experience what it is like to be part of the Great Link. He soon realizes, that he might have to remain behind with them.
Soon the Female Shapeshifter informs them that the Changelings value their isolation and Kira will not be allowed to contact the Defiant to see if any of the crew survived. They do not trust the solids and it soon becomes apparent that Odo may be tempted to remain behind and Kira will likely not be allowed to leave. The Female Changeling gives Odo a chance to learn more about his shape-shifting abilities by taking the forms of various things in their arboretum.
Sisko and Bashir are heading back to the wormhole in a damaged shuttle with the knowledge that the Defiant may be lost. They are soon boarded and find themselves face to face with Chief O’Brien aboard a rescue ship. Returning to the station, Sisko is greeted by Admiral Nechayev who indicates that the Federation and the Founders have arranged a peace treaty. Soon Sisko is invited to meet with one of the Founders who turns out to be of the same race as the young woman he had met who had been ‘captured’ by the Jem’Hadar. After a brief discussion with Founder Borath, it becomes clear that the Dominion is not one to be crossed.
With the peace talks moving forward, Garak approaches Bashir and indicates that the treaty with the Dominion could spell doom for them all. They soon run into Sub-Commander T’Rul who is upset that the Romulans are not included in the treaty being formed by the Federation and the Dominion. Sisko brings the situation to the Admiral, who indicates that the Romulans have been omitted from the treaty at the request of the Founders. Sisko is shocked to hear this but is told that this is not optional. Should the Federation and the Dominion become allies, not even the Romulans could stand against them.
Back on the Changeling homeworld, Odo is frustrated at learning to ‘be’ things through shape-shifting as Kira discovers she can not send a signal to Sisko due to some interference coming from the planet. Odo meets with the Female Changeling who explains their past of abuse and violence from the solids. Odo was one of over 100 infants sent off to explore and learn more for the Great Link. They were not expecting him back for at least another three hundred years and they are excited to have him back so soon. They soon merge together, sharing themselves with each other.
Kira arrives in the arboretum and talks to Odo even though she cant see him as she thinks he may be in the shape of something in the area. She begins to search for the reason she can not send a message and soon finds a mysterious door which makes no sense for Changelings to have as they would have no use for one.
Back on the station, a fight breaks out between a Jem’Hadar warrior and O’Brien only to be broken up by Lt Commander Eddington. Eddington informs Bashir that they have been instructed to give the Dominion soldiers a wide birth and that they are being given a significant amount of leeway while on the station.
At dinner, Ben Sisko talks with his son about the negotiations that he is being left out of. He is concerned that there is something going on that is not good when Dax shows up informing him that she is being transferred to the USS Lexington. Soon, Sisko barges into the negotiations demanding to know the truth. Necheyev informs him that the Federation is pulling out of the sector and that Bajor will now be under the Dominions control. She says that this is the price of peace and that the deed is done. Sisko is furious, knowing that he and his crew are now being split up with the Dominion in command of the Station and Bajoran space.
Garak approaches Sisko on the promenade and learns that the Bajorans have forged a pact with the Romulans to fight the Jem’Hadar. Soon Sub Commander T’Rul runs toward Sisko yelling about something and is shot by two Jem’Hadar warriors, dying in Sisko’s arms. Soon, Sisko and his crew steal a runabout to collapse the wormhole in order to prevent the Dominion from entering Federation space. As they make their escape, Garak is killed and the remaining crew manage to escape. Admiral Nechayev contacts Sisko and informs the Commander that he will be attacked by the Jem’Hadar just as they launch torpedoes into the wormhole, collapsing it.
Odo lands on the ground and transforms from a bird into his human form. He is elated at the feeling and informs Kira that he will be staying behind to learn more. She soon asks him to access the door she found so that she can find out why she can not send a signal. He comments that his people have no need for doors and is willing to assist. Odo uses his powers to open the door and they are soon shocked to be greeted by The Jem’Hadar. Entering, they find their friends trapped and attached to strange devices. They soon meet with one of the ‘Founders’ learning that the crew are being evaluated to see what would happen should the Dominion try to gain a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant. Before long they discover that in fact the Changelings are the Founders and run the Dominion. The Female Changeling informs Odo that the Changelings have taken over the Gamma Quadrant due to the threat of the solids all of their lives. They would rather dominate than make peace with other races. Odo refuses to join them and demands the release of his people. She informs Odo that she is only releasing them because no changeling has ever harmed another and Odo will not be harmed.
With the crew released, Odo talks with the Female Changeling. She asks once again for him to remain and take his place in the Great Link and he refuses. The Female Changeling suggests that maybe she will see him again as the Alpha Quadrant needs some order.
In the end, Kira and Odo beam up to the Defiant together.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Now that is how you do a two part season Premiere and talk about a way to introduce a new foe to the universe. For the past two seasons we have only heard hints of The Dominion and who they may be. Always remaining in the shadows, this omnipresent force seemed to be more of a mythical mob than anything else, maybe even a version of the Ferengi with their ties into every sort of business. Soon we learn that not only are the Dominion a force to be reckoned with but they also happen to be Odo’s people! Sure didn’t see that coming the first time I saw this series. Man, what a cool plot twist. Now that I am watching it again, for the fifth or sixth time, I have to admit, that reveal was pretty obvious considering the timing of Odo meeting his people and the ‘destruction’ of the Defiant. I mean, yeah it was cool but man it is kinda on the nose.
I do love the mystery concerning Odo and his people, but to be honest, I kinda wished they had drug this one on a little longer. This almost felt like an entire seasons worth of story crammed into a two part episode revealing all of it’s cards in he process. I mean, sure, I get that the writers wanted to push things ahead a bit but that was pretty fast!
The thing that people don’t realize is that this episode was more about Odo than anyone else. This was one that, when the imaginary story is ignored, is about Odo’s choice to either embrace his people or return to the life he knows. It is a personal struggle for our Chief of Security and one that he never believed he would have to make. Watching it now, it only makes sense for the Female Changeling to keep pressing Odo to join them, that way she could do as she pleased with his friends. In the end, Odo makes it clear that he has his own Link and does not need the Great Link the other changelings have offered. Acknowledging this, The Female Changeling gives in accepting this one moment of defeat to another of her kind. Imagine the outcome if Odo had stayed with them. yeesh.
That being said, this episode sets up a massive story-arc that is far from over. The Dominion, yeah, while they might be quiet for a time, they are far from being beaten, in fact, this cold war will only last for so long.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
This is the first episode of DS9 directed by Riker himself, Jonathan Frakes. he would go on to direct a few more and even appear in a later episode as Riker.
We learn that Changelings can live a LONG time with Odo not being expected back to the Great Link for at least 300 years. Man, this makes me wonder just how old Odo really is!
While we do meet the three main members of the Dominion, only two are actually named. We have of course, The Jem’Hadar, the Dominion’s warrior race, and the Founders, the Changelings themselves but what of the third one represented by Borath? We wont learn who they are until much later, but trust me, they are pretty cool.
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: The House of Quark
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Late To The Game 4/18/2021 (Originally published 6/12/2019)
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.
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