‘THE ALTERNATE’ (DS9)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
I would like to say that this Odo-focused ‘DS9’ episode was a great one to watch, especially with the prospect of revealing more about his origins. But I felt that things were getting confusing by the climax.
In the episode, Odo receives a visit from James Sloyan as Dr. Mora Pol. Dr. Mora is the Bajoran scientist who studied Odo when he first came to DS9. The reunion between Odo and Dr. Mora is not so smooth.
Mora tells Odo that a probe exploring the Gamma Quadrant found some DNA signatures similar to his shape-shifting anatomy. Odo requests to have a runabout from Sisko to explore the Gamma Quadrant.
Very soon, Odo and Mora with Dax and Mora’s assistant Matt McKenzie as Dr. Weld Ram visit the Gamma Quadrant in the runabout. They find a planet where the DNA signatures were found via probe.
There’s a sense of resentment on Odo’s part with Mora. Mora has a fatherly attitude, which Odo’s quite embarrassed and irritated by. It’s like he wants nothing to do with Mora anymore from long ago.
Odo does have concern for Mora though, especially when they, Dax and Weld suffocate on the planet from its gases after transporting a mysterious obelisk to the runabout. What is the obelisk they found?
I don’t know from this episode, but it’s clear it’s connected to Odo’s people. I’m also not sure if it’s connected to that shapeshifting key that was given to Odo in the episode ‘Vortex’. No connection is made.
Sisko sees Odo seemingly worried about Mora when he’s out cold in the Infirmary. Sisko tries to connect with Odo as he shares about what it was like with his father. But Odo denies Mora is his father.
It’s ironic this episode occurs before we meet Sisko’s father in Season 4 of ‘DS9’. But that’s something to talk about when we reach the first appearance of Sisko’s father. It’s nice it’s mentioned here though.
As well as finding the obelisk, Odo, Dax, Mora and Weld also found a tiny lifeform that may be a distant relative of Odo’s. Whilst analysing this lifeform aboard the space station, trouble soon starts to ensue.
After putting the lifeform in a containment field, the lab is found damaged the next morning. The lifeform is gone, having escaped into an air duct, before O’Brien discovers the lifeform to be dead goo.
Now this is where I think the episode could’ve been better. That lifeform the DS9 team found could’ve been the monster attacking the station. Odo could’ve tried to reason with the lifeform for this episode.
But that’s not what happens here. Instead, this episode is about the space station being attacked by a shape-shifting monster and it turns out to be Odo. So this is actually a Odo ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ story now.
Now I wouldn’t mind this, except I’m not sure how Odo became a horrifying monster in the first place. Was the planet’s gases that affected him? It seems to be that way, although I don’t think it’s made very clear.
There’s also the resentment issue going on between Odo and Mora once our DS9 constable becomes a monster. This is especially when Odo the monster attacks Bashir in the Infirmary while Mora’s in bed.
It also comes from Mora wanting Odo to come back to Bajor to do more research on him, to which Odo is against. This causes Odo to transform into the hideous monster before he goes on the rampage.
The rest of the DS9 team work together in order to trap Odo and tame him whilst he’s become this monster. Mora offers to be the bait as he was the one that caused Odo to be a monster in the first place.
Thankfully, Odo is restored to normal once Mora and the DS9 team contain him in a forcefield that reverts him back to normal. The effects of the gas are removed from Odo as he’s put into the Infirmary.
I did like how the episode ended with Odo apologising to Mora for attacking whilst Mora apologised to Odo for ignoring his feelings. Mora still wishes to be a ‘small’ part of Odo’s life and the two reconcile.
The obelisk featured in the episode is left unresolved. I’m not sure if it’s stored away on DS9 and never gets addressed again. It would’ve been great for the obelisk and the ‘Vortex’ key to be connected here.
‘The Alternate’ is a pretty average episode for Odo. I appreciate it addressing Odo’s past with Dr. Mora as well as a hint of his origins and where he came from. But it wasn’t a daring enough TV story for me.
‘The Alternate’ (DS9) rating – 7/10
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