Sunday, April 10, 2011

2-16. Shadowplay

Odo bonds with a missing woman's daughter.


Dax and Odo take a runabout to the Gamma Quadrant, Dax for scientific purposes, Odo in hopes of discovering clues to his origins. Detecting unusual interference from a planet, they beam down to investigate and are quickly confronted by the Protector (Kenneth Mars) of the settlement they've beamed down to.

They learn that there has been a string of disappearances over the past few months, the most recent of them just a few hours before Odo and Dax beamed down. Once they satisfy The Protector's initial suspicion of them, Odo volunteers to help and begins methodically investigating. Meanwhile, on Deep Space 9, Vedek Bareil (Philip Anglim) makes an unannounced visit to the station. Though he is there on official business, he's specifically interested in seeing Major Kira. But they have an unwelcome observer in Quark, who sees an opportunity to turn their liaison to his own advantage...


Commander Sisko: Pushes Jake into taking a job working with Chief O'Brien - the very task he got O'Brien to agree to in the previous episode. A nice bit of inter-episode continuity. He reacts quite reasonably to Jake telling him that he doesn't particularly want to join Starfleet, and in a rather nice scene tells Jake that all he really wants from him is to find something he loves to do and to do the best he can at that.

Major Kira: The relationship between Kira and Vedek Bareil is developed further, with the two almost consummating their mutual attraction. At least, right up until Bareil lets slip that the man who invited him to the station owed money to Quark - at which point Kira realizes the trap Quark has laid. Kira sidesteps it this time, and even makes sure that Quark understands that she knows exactly what he was up to. But I'm guessing this relationship is going to create problems for both Kira and Bareil, probably somewhere around the season finale.

Odo: Scenes opposite Taya (Noley Thornton), the young daughter of the missing woman, allow Rene Auberjonois to show a softer side to Odo. He bonds quickly with the little girl, whose sadness leads him to promise to do all he can to find her mother. This is not at the expense of Odo's innate gruffness, though, as he continues to be downright surly in his responses to Taya's story about a changeling tricked into turning into a loaf of bread.

Dax: Enjoys seeing Odo bonding with Taya, observing their interactions with a clear smile. Her scientific curiosity draws her repeatedly to the particle generator at the center of the village, and her skills come in handy at the episode's climax.


Two episodes in a row involving runabouts going through the wormhole in order for two regulars to get stuck on a planet in the Gamma Quadrant. An unfortunate bit of repetition, that had me bracing for another mediocre filler episode.

Fortunately, Shadowplay is a much better episode than Paradise was. The standalone plot is intriguing and well-paced. The solution is actually unexpected, and yet makes perfect sense given what's been established prior to that point. It also raises some intriguing questions of its own, ones which would go on to further development in later Trek series.

Nor is this entirely a filler episode. The subplots with Vedek Bareil and Jake advancing character and plot arcs for the series, with the Kira/Bareil subplot probably laying groundwork for the season's end. Even the "A" plot isn't a complete standalone, as more mentions of the Dominion are dropped - and more hints that the Dominion are both powerful and malign. At this point, I'm guessing there can only be so many more hints before we actually start to see members of the Dominion first-hand.

Overall Rating: 7/10.

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