There is no one to trust in the episode that originally aired on June 19, 1995. This is The Adversary.
Station Log Stardate 48959.1 The Adversary
After receiving a promotion, Captain Benjamin Sisko is ordered to take the Defiant on patrol to the Tzenketi border to watch for fallout from a recent coup in the area. However, it becomes quickly apparent that something is not right.
Pinning on the fourth pip to Ben Sisko’s collar, Jake presents the new Captain to his crew. Everyone is thrilled at the Captain’s promotion, claiming it was well overdue. Soon he is confronted by an ambassador who orders Captain Sisko to take the Defiant to the Tzenketi border due to a recent coup on the Tzenketi homeworld. Ambassador Krajensky informsthe Captain that the Ambassador will be going along as an observer.
On the Defiant, O’Brien begins working on some last minute repair work and hears a strange noise. Checking it out, he sees no one around and thinks that he may be working to hard.
Underway, Captain Sisko talks with Dax about his relationship with Kasidy Yates. It is clear to Dax that the Captain likes the Shipping Captain. Meanwhile, in one of the jefferies tubes, O’Brien hears another loud thump. Getting suspicious about what is going on, he is surprised to run into Julian who claims he was connecting his new console to the main power grid.
In Sisko’s office, the new Captain informs Commander Eddington that he wants the Ambassador out of harms way should hostilities erupt. Eddington notes that the Captain’s promotion was well overdue and that he knows that he will never be in the big chair. Soon, Odo picks up a distress signal from a nearby colony and Sisko orders the ship to investigate, they may now be at war with the Tzenketi once again.
Attempting to contact Star Fleet to inform them of their new mission, Odo discovers that they can not contact any other ships. Investigating the cause, O’Brien and Dax discover someone has installed strange devices throughout the ship that is taking over all of the critical systems. O’Brien believes that someone aboard the ship planted the devices and Captain Sisko wants to find out who. O’Brien points out that he saw Julian in one of the jefferies tubes and that he may be his saboteur. Determined to draw out the Saboteur, Sisko informs the crew that whoever installed the devices would be covered in tetryon particles. Starting with the senior staff, they begin the scan hoping to ferret out the traitor. However, when they scan Julian they find that he is clean of the particles. It is when the Ambassador is scanned that they discover he is a changeling and in a flash he escapes.
Now knowing that a changeling is on board, Sisko orders that they find the changeling immediately. Suddenly the ship cloaks and arms itself with photon torpedoes, they have lost control of the Defiant. It appears that the Dominion is attempting to start a war between the Federation and the Tzenketi people in an attempt to destabilize the sector. Odo believes that the shapeshifter will remain on board until he finishes his mission. Eddington warns Sisko that with a shapeshifter on board, he could replace any member of the crew and no one would know.
Before long, O’Brien requests a security team to engineering where they find O’Brien with an unconscious Dax. Julian rushes the Trill to the infirmary where he finds that he can not revive her anytime soon. Sisko realizes that, if they can not stop the shapeshifter, he will have to destroy the ship. The hunt is on and, separating in pairs, they begin a deck by deck search for the saboteur.
As the search continues, Sisko’s partner is attacked and killed leaving the Captain on his own and in pursuit. Informing the others, he runs into Kira and her Bolian partner. Kira and the Bolian debate as to who the changeling is when Sisko finally punches the Bolian officer knocking him out. Odo arrives and tells them that, since Sisko is bleeding, there is no way he is the Changeling. Using that information, Sisko decides to do a blood test.
Taking the group to the mess hall, Julian begins taking blood via hypo-spray in order to determine if any of them are changelings. When Eddington is tested, his blood reacts and it appears that he is indeed the changeling. However, it looks like the Doctor was up to something. Just as they turn the corner, they find the real Bashir in one of the brigs exposing the changling for who he is. The Changeling escapes and Bashir is freed only to find out that they have entered Tzenketi space. Knowing that they do not have time to defeat the changeling, Sisko sets the ship to self destruct before the ship arrives at the Tzenketi homeworld.
Contacting O’Brien, Sisko learns that he thinks he has a way to get to the mysterious devices. In engineering, the chief is shocked to see two Odo’s arrive. It is clear that one of them is a fake and O’Brien sees this as just a distraction from his mission. Finishing his task, O’Brien manages to kill the force fields giving him access to the devices. Desperate, the Changeling attacks and incapacitates Odo. Odo fights back and slams the changeling against the unprotected warp core causing him to deteriorate. Just before dying, the changeling whispers to Odo clearly causing the security chief distress.
Regaining control of the ship, Sisko returns to the station and finds that their entire mission was a lie. There was no coup, and the Ambassador is missing. Odo arrives in the briefing room and informs Sisko of what the changeling told him. His last words, ‘You are too late, we are everywhere…’
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Holy crap, what a dramatic ending to the third season. Not only are Changelings taking on a more aggressive position against the Federation but, they have possibly infiltrated the Federation and other governments as well. For the first time in the series we see the true threat of the Changelings and how dangerous the Dominion really is. Imagine, not being able to trust even your best friend as they may be the very enemy you are fighting against. This story-line is far from over and we are fast approaching some major events in the Star Trek universe. Heck, the series itself gets some big changes in season four including the arrival of a certain Klingon…
One big change to the series in this episode is that Sisko is finally promoted to Captain. I mean, seriously how has he not been promoted yet? This guy has been through a ton of crap that any other officer would have been promoted ten times over for. Well, any other officer except Ensign Harry Kim but that is a whole other series.
This episode also contains a huge event for Security Chief Odo. Ever since we met the Founders, they have made it clear that no Changeling has ever harmed another, leaving open a huge door of foreshadowing that you knew was going to be addressed. Now that Odo has broken that one cardinal rule, what do you think the punishment will be? I mean, we have seen the extremes these people have gone through, do you really think they will let this go so easily? Yeah, not likely.
Playing off of the classic film The Thing, this episode really does a great job with the ‘something is chancing us that can change shape’ story. I mean, they even go as far as to use the blood test method to determine who
the thing the Changeling is. Even though it borrows heavy from that film, they do a heck of a job reworking it for the Star Trek universe. All in all, a great way to end the season on a slight cliffhanger to the overarching story but also managing to wrap up the episode as well. That being said, although I do love a good two part episode, I do appreciate not seeing that ‘to be continued’ at the end of the season.
So there you have it, the finale to season three. Join us in a couple of days for Star Trek DS9 Season Four!
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We learn that when shapeshifters change, they will be detected as the very thing they are scanned as. If they are a rock, you will detect a rock. Dangerous stuff there.
- Eddington gets to be an even more established character on the show. hmmm, I wonder why we are seeing more of him so suddenly…
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: Season Four Premiere The Way of the Warrior
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Late To The Game 7/11/2021 (Originally published 8/7/19)
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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