Monday, October 26, 2015

7-6. Treachery, Faith and the Great River.

Weyoun surrenders to Odo.


Odo receives a message from Gul Russol, a former contact whom he had assumed assassinated when the Dominion took control of Cardassia. He travels to the rendezvous point, in a cave on a deserted moon. But it's not Gul Russol who is waiting for him - It's Weyoun, claiming that he wants to defect!

They have only begun the trip back to Deep Space 9 when they receive a transmission from Damar, and from his Dominion handler - Weyoun! It turns out that the Weyoun Odo knew and despised died in a suspicious "transporter accident," and the Weyoun defecting (Weyoun 6) was a replacement who was judged "defective." Weyoun 7 and Damar demand Weyoun 6's surrender or death, insisting they will not allow the runabout to reach Deep Space 9.

Weyoun 6 is certain that no member of the Dominion would fire on a ship carrying a Founder. But Damar sees no reason to tell the Jem'Hadar that a Founder is on board. The target is the runabout, and if the Jem'Hadar are ordered to ignore transmissions then they will do so. One changeling who doesn't consider himself a Founder versus the fate of the entire war?

Even the fervently devoted Weyoun 7 can do that math, and reluctantly authorizes Odo's destruction...


Capt. Sisko: Sisko may just be my favorite of the various Star Trek captains. But in this episode... Sisko is an ass. The comedy "B" plot starts because Sisko gives O'Brien a ridiculous timetable for replacing a part on the Defiant. O'Brien explains that it's impossible to get the part in three days, let alone install it, and Sisko's response is to make it O'Brien's problem. After that impossible deadline is miraculously met, Sisko responds by giving the engineer yet another impossible deadline to install it. Since there's no sense of this being an emergency, I'm left thinking that it would serve Sisko right if he took the Defiant out only for every system on the ship to crash, thanks to Engineering not having proper time to install and test all systems.

Col. Kira: She and Odo both acknowledge that the message from Russol is a trap, but she does not argue with his insistence that he owes it to his contact to make the rendezvous. At the end of the episode, she lends some perspective on the actions of Weyoun 6, equating his faith in the Founders with her own in the Prophets. At the same time, she doesn't hesitate to remind Odo that his people are the enemy, and that what they learn in this episode makes them even more dangerous than they were already.

Odo: At the start, Odo is as he usually is with Weyoun: Utterly dismissive of the awe the other man feels for him, wary of traps, and callous of emotion. When it's revealed that "Weyoun 6" is a clone who has been labeled defective for not believing in the war effort, Odo becomes considerably more sympathetic, and from that moment the two work effectively as allies. Odo reveals just how much he does care about his people, even as he fights them, which prompts Weyoun to make one more revelation, one with heavy implications for the future of Odo and of the Dominion itself.

O'Brien/Nog: The "B" plot sees Nog using his Ferengi expertise to secure an elusive part for O'Brien. The comedy shenanigans that follow, in which Nog trades away Martok's blood wine and Sisko's desk, are great fun - not least because they never take up enough screen time to come at the expense of the main plot. Colm Meaney and Aron Eisenberg make an enjoyable comedy duo, with No's enthusiastic assurances that all these deals will work out in the end a perfect contrast for O'Brien's weary resignation as the situation spirals ever more out of control.

Damar: His dislike of the Dominion, and particularly of Weyoun, has reached the stage of active sabotage. It's obvious that Weyoun 5's "accident" was arranged by Damar, and it's also obvious that both of the current Weyouns know it. He's likely still alive because: (a) They can't prove it; and (b) He's useful, and more malleable than Gul Dukat had been. Damar may drink to excess, but he is clear-headed about strategy, and he is able to persuade Weyoun 7 to sacrifice Odo to protect the war effort. It isn't even a particularly hard sell.

Weyoun: A spotlight episode for Jeffrey Combs' Weyoun, seen in two different incarnations - neither of which is the one we've been watching for most of the series! It's a clever use of the "clone" aspect of the Vorta. Both Weyouns have fundamentally the same personality. Both fervently believe in the Founders, though Weyoun 6 believes this war is against the Dominion's best interests. Combs is fantastic throughout, and it's a credit to him that there's just enough difference in the performances of the two Weyouns that they become distinct individuals, and that the interactions of Weyoun 7 and Damar are almost as interesting to watch as those between Weyoun 6 and Odo.


"There are millions upon millions of worlds in the universe, each one filled with too much of one thing and not enough of another. And the Great Continuum flows through them all like a mighty river, from have to want and back again. And if we navigate the Continuum with skill and grace, our ship will be filled with everything our hearts desire."
-Nog, persuading O'Brien that his multiple deals will work out in the end.

Treachery, Faith, and the Great River is one of several Deep Space 9 episodes tying a serious "A" plot and a comedy "B" plot together. To their credit, writers David Weddle and Bradley Thompson strike an effective balance between these seemingly incompatible strands. The O'Brien/Nog subplot gets enough screen time to work, but is never allowed to take up too much time. And by anchoring that plot to Nog's religious beliefs as a Ferengi, it is able to fit thematically with the main story.

Previous episodes have made Weyoun's devotion to the Founders apparent. Here, we get some sense of the depth of his feeling, and the ways in which he can reconcile his faith and his reason. For instance, when Odo points out that the Founders have surely coded the Vorta's worship of them into their genome, Weyoun isn't bothered in the slightest. He says of course the Founders have done so - "That's what gods do. After all, why be a god if there's no one to worship you?"

Odo's discomfort with Weyoun's worship of him never changes, but it does evolve over the course of the episode. He stops treating Weyoun's devotion as a joke during their time together. Odo spends a fair bit of the middle of the episode seriously debating questions of faith and the Founders with Weyoun, who tells Odo the story of how the Vorta were uplifted. By the end, Odo is willing to give Weyoun 6 his blessing, even though he still hates the thought of being anyone's god.

In addition to the closer examination of Weyoun's faith, and what that means to Odo, this episode also pushes events forward. In the course of the episode, we see the Female Changeling (Salome Jens) appear unwell, something Damar picks up on even as Weyoun 7 denies even the possibility. By the end of the episode, Weyoun 6 has confirmed this to Odo. This leaves Odo, Kira, and presumably Starfleet as a whole aware of the Founders' weakened condition... and leaves Kira warning that their desperation will now make them even more dangerous.

Overall, this is a very strong episode, one that entertains on its own merits even as it teases more developments to come.

Overall Rating: 8/10.

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