In the sixth episode of the seventh season of Deep Space Nine, Odo is tricked into a secret meeting with a shocking person. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
Wow, this was a good one. Seriously, Deep Space Nine’s continued exploration of faith and belief is so rewarding, and this episode is a fine example of that. LET’S TALK.
The Great Material Continuum
The secondary plot in this episode is pretty cute; it’s overshadowed by how heavy Odo’s story is, though. That’s mostly due to the fact that it provides the only comic relief within an otherwise emotionally intense episode. That’s not a bad thing, though. Nog’s story is fulfilling for a different reason: it highlights his characters growth from the beginning of the show. He’s so utterly unlike what he was before. Remember when he wanted nothing to do with Starfleet? Or humanity, for that matter? Yet the writers don’t strip him of his Ferengi identity in the process. He didn’t become human by joining Starfleet. Instead, he came to understand others different while still remaining a Ferengi himself. And he wouldn’t have been able to pull off what he did here if he weren’t!
Y’all, what a journey. In multiple ways, the show has addressed the complexity of faith, but one of the coolest things they’ve done is blur the lines between believer and god. Kira has an excellent moment towards the end of this episode where she addresses the fact that to Starfleet, her gods are wormhole aliens. And yet, she can accept both realities; she feels no need to see it as a contradiction. The wormhole aliens are the Prophets, plain and simple, and she places her faith in them. This is further complicated by Benjamin Sisko, a non-believer who was placed in the role of Emissary. Who else gets to interact with a figure in their spirituality like these people do? What happens as Sisko begins to believe in the Prophets as a force for good within the galaxy?
This episode works as a brilliant exploration of these themes, just through a different means. I appreciated that “Treachery, Faith, and the Great River” finally explained the connection between the Vorta and the Founders in greater detail. In doing so, it exposed a contradiction: the Vorta are genetically programmed to believe in the Founders and see them as gods. Does Weyoun 6 view that as an impossibility or something that should be rejected or rectified? Nope. The circular logic confuses Odo because, as an outsider, it makes no sense to him.
And yet, he’s a “god” to this person. Initially, I thought that Weyoun 6 was specifically exploiting this to cover up some sort of secret plan. Seriously, I had no reason to believe Weyoun wasn’t lying to Odo, and I WAS JUST TRYING TO PROTECT MYSELF. Yet the reveal of there being multiple clones of any given Vorta made this so much more fascinating! First of all, the system allows for (largely) seamless replacement of any Vorta that dies. But I was intrigued by the idea that Weyoun 6 was defective. How does that factor into someone’s genetic programming? If the Vorta believe they are manufactured perfection, made as such by the Founders, what does that say of someone who is broken? Of course, we don’t even really know what happened during the cloning process that led to Weyoun 6 defecting from the Dominion. Was it a flaw in his design? Or did Weyoun 6 just exhibit free will?
The details is irrelevant because the story still works either way. Weyoun left the Dominion to serve Odo, the only “god” of his that was opposed to the war against the Federation. So it’s not so much that Weyoun chose the moral option over everything else; he’s still just as dedicated to his gods. It’s still a vital choice, but throughout his time on the runabout, Weyoun worships. He gapes in the presence of a god. The whole thing is very strange, but that’s the brilliance of this plot. How often does a believer get to meet a god? Work in service of them? And what happens if your faith takes you far, far away from your own people? My gods, there’s just so much depth to this story, y’all! The parallel between Odo and Weyoun 6 abandoning their people; the multiple journeys of faith and understanding; THE HORRIFYING INEVITABILITY OF ODO BEING THE LAST OF HIS KIND.
I still can’t deal with it. The thought that Odo started out this show alone and then will end it alone is SO MUCH. Many things could happen before then. Would Odo give the Founders a cure if he found one? Will he pursue Weyoun 6’s idea of becoming the head of the Dominion specifically to end the war? It’s a shocking idea, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility yet. Yet. Ah, I love that this episode unlocks so much potential for the future. That’s some good storytelling.
The video for “Treachery, Faith, and the Great River” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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