Hidden Pasts and secrets revealed on the episode that originally aired on November 18,1996. This is Things Past.
Station Log Stardate Undetermined: Things Past
Sisko, Odo, Garak and Dax travel back in time and find themselves on Terok Nor but everyone sees them as Bajoran Prisoners. It is now up to Odo to save them.
Returning from a Bajoran conference about the Cardassian Occupation, the Crew find Garak to be very unhappy with his time on Bajor. However, when the runabout arrives at the station, Bashir finds the entire team to be unconscious with strange levels of neural energy running through their cerebral cortex. The team awake and find themselves on the Station but sometime in the past.
Bringing them back on board, Julian can not seem to awake them from their coma’s but while he works to revive them, the team begin to discover that they are on DS9 before the end of the Occupation. They immediately realize that they are not seen by the others as who or what they are, and it is possible that their minds have moved through time and space to occupy four Bajoran workers. Odo is clearly bothered by the event and makes it clear that they need to leave as soon as possible as the Cardassians will not help them regardless of who they claim to be.
As Odo deals with ghosts of his past, Jadzia is separated from the group by one of the Cardassian soldiers resulting in Garak being punched in the face. In the present, Garak begins to show signs of an altercation as his nose begins to bleed.
Researching their past, Garak finds out their identities and are surprised when Odo knows who they all are. They are interrupted by Quark who offers them a job in his bar for 1 slip of latinum each. Taking the job, Odo escorts them to his bar. Meanwhile, Jadzia finds herself in Gul Dukat’s office where she introduces herself as Leeta. She soon finds out that Dukat brought her in ‘to talk with’ him as he is looking for a ‘friend’.
Back at the bar, the three men find themselves cleaning the bar when Odo has another vision. Seeing three Bajoran men walk by he shutters and is questioned by Sisko who learns that the three of them will be accused of trying to assassinate Gul Dukat on the promenade. They were innocent but killed regardless due to Dukat’s fury at them. Quark is soon visited by Thrax, Dukat’s head of security prior to Odo, who questions the Ferengi about a smuggling operation. After Thrax leaves, Garak finds out that Thrax should not be the security chief during this time period as it was when Odo was in that position. Odo plays it off as an anomaly but Garak is suspicious. It is clear that Odo is hiding something.
At lunch, Odo finds himself with blood on his hands only for the blood to vanish when the others ask him what the problem is. They are soon visited by another Bajoran who asks what they need. Making a deal with the Bajoran man, they begin their plans to escape the station before they are killed as the original Bajoran’s were. Just when the plan begins an explosion rocks the station and they attempt to save Dax only to be arrested by the nearby Cardassians.
Soon Thrax arrives and informs all of the Bajoran’s of their fates. Sending some to hard labor and others to further punishment, the Cardassian Security Officer informs Sisko and the others that they have been accused of attempting to kill Gul Dukat. Despite Odo’s argument against his suspicions, Thrax is determined to accuse them of this crime. It is clear that no matter what Odo tries, they are doomed to death and he is upset at Thrax’s resolution on the matter.
In Dukat’s office, Dax dines with the Cardassian commander. She finds that Dukat claims that he is too generous to his Bajoran captors and, when he is detracted, she knocks him unconscious.
Back in the Security Office, Sisko begins questioning Odo’s knowledge of the time period. Sisko wonders if there is a connection between Odo and their journey into the past. Just as it is clear that Odo is distraught, Dax breaks the three out only for them all to be caught by Cardassian soldiers in the hall. After the altercation, Sisko sees one of the Cardassians change shape shocking them all. They soon jump on an escape ship only to find themselves back in the holding cell with no idea how they got there and a Cardassian guard informing them that their execution will happen in less than 2 hours.
Sisko and Garak begin to question Odo as it is clear he knows more than he acts like. Soon Thrax arrives and agrees to discuss the matter with Odo and, soon finds that Thrax is determined that they are all guilty. After some debate, Odo informs Thrax that they are from the future and do not belong there. Thrax indicates that he knows and will not change anything calling Odo by his real name. Suddenly Odo finds himself in Thrax’s place facing the three condemned people. As soon as Odo admits that he was the Security Chief responsible for the Bajoran’s deaths, the four find themselves watching the events from across the Promenade. Ben is shocked to learn that Odo was the one who convicted and turned the Bajoran men over to Dukat. He has felt guilty for their deaths his whole life as he never bothered to investigate the cast as he was too busy maintaining order and the rule of law. Admitting his fault, they all find themselves returned to the present in the Infirmary.
Julian informs Odo that the four of them were trapped in a form of the Great Link and it seems that when the Plasma Storm hit their ship, Odo’s body reached out and formed a link with his three crew-mates. Odo is soon visited by Kira where she asks how many more innocent people died under his watch. He is unsure if any others did but he hopes they were the only ones.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a great powerful stand alone episode that really dives into Odo’s past as much as it does his character. For much of the series, Odo has stood for Justice and Order and, to everyone around him, was the single person who remained untainted by the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor. He has been the pinnacle of honesty, making it clear that he does not lie, cheat or steal no matter the situation. To Kira and the rest of the Bajorans he was almost Legendary in his determination to rise above the oppression and truly be a neutral party in the horrible situation that was the Occupation. However, as with all heroes, Odo is not without his flaws, no matter how much he has appeared to be flawless in his pursuit of justice.
The idea that Odo would have been without any guilt from his time serving as a Constable during the Occupation is almost ridiculous. Being what was essentially a police officer, no Cardassian would have allowed him to subvert or bend Cardassian Law, especially Dukat. By his nature, Odo would have followed much of Cardassian law as they were legally the one’s in control of both the planet and it’s people at the time. In fact his memory of the events shows Odo (appearing as Thrax) making statements like ‘When your people resort to terrorism and violence they are fighting against order, against stability, against the rule of law, and this must be stopped.’ This statement indicates that he viewed the Cardassian people as the true ‘law of the land’. So, despite his feelings, he would not subvert this law by his own will. This poses a little bit of a continuity problem with the events of Necessary Evil in which he lies to Dukat about Kira’s involvement in a crime, but then again, Odo has been in love with Kira since they first me so, even then, he was fallible.
Additionally, even though Odo was known for his pursuit of Justice and order, he did not have any training as a Constable that we know if. In fact he was little more than a novelty for so long that, when he arrived on Terok Nor, he was seen as an outsider. This Outsider status is what encouraged Gul Dukat to place him in the role of Constable after Odo successfully investigated a murder of a Bajoran collaborator. So, his position on the station was granted and everything he learned was while under Cardassian rule. Sure, he had a kind heart and tried to do what was right but that view had to have been tainted by the oppressive leadership of the Cardassian people.
That being said, I have to wonder if it was not Thrax himself that took a young Odo under his wing with the Shapeshifter ultimately replacing him as the Security Chief aboard Terok Nor. This would actually fit well with Odo’s demeanor at the time and would provide a solid reason as to why Dukat and his men would accept Odo as a Security Chief, outside of solving a single crime.
That brings us to the events of this episode. After being responsible for the deaths of three innocent Bajorans, Odo has harbored a guilt that he has kept hidden for much of his time on the station. It seems that the stoic and determined demeanor we have seen from Odo is little more than a shield that he uses to keep his emotions and fears at bay due to his past mistakes. That, coupled with the loss of his powers, has revealed a fragile and tragically flawed being, one that is much more relatable than the stern, almost harsh Constable we have come to know.
All in all, this was a great episode directed by Levar Burton and certainly goes down as one of the best Odo-centric episodes in the series. Rene Auberjonois really shows his acting ability in this one, owning the screen through and through. While the events of this episode are really never spoken of again, this new revelation will continue to have an impact on Odo’s character changing him in subtle ways.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We learn that Odo’s shape-shifting abilities may not be completely removed, indicating that he might eventually be able to return to his normal self.
- Garak gets a first hand look at the Cardassian occupation from the Bajoran side, unfortunately I don’t think it had much of an impact on him though.
- Fans will recognize Thrax as actor Kurtwood Smith, who will appear again in Star Trek Voyager, albeit as a different character. I am sure we will talk about that at a later time.
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Late To The Game 11/13/2021 (Originally published 10/23/2019)
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