Episode 1.17: The Forsaken

Odo has some hardcore barriers.  It isn’t until this episode that I see the depth of his loneliness and how distant he is from the rest of the crew.  Ironically, it is being trapped in a turbolift completely cut off from the crew that bring’s Odo’s hidden privacy to the surface.  Another paradox is how he hides his privacy here in the first season.  Even talking to Lwaxana, he is hesitant to tell her how private he is.  Walls within walls.  Notice the name of this episode.  It isn’t only talking about the computer program.

Lwaxana Troi is a much better crossover character than Q ever was.  Which clearly shows, since she appears thrice to Q appearing once.  As an antagonist and creator of conflict, Q failed to be a proper foil to any DS9 crewmember (quite unlike Picard).  Lwaxana though foils Odo perfectly.  She is a very open person.  On a world of mind-readers, she’d have to be!  She knows what she wants and aggressively pursues it.  And she enjoys pursing him!  The chase for romance can be fantastically enjoyable, if we let ourselves have fun.  Despite Odo’s protestations and scoff at romance (“Sacrificing various plants to show one’s affection”), Lwaxana is drawn to his sense of justice and deductive mind.  Once in the turbolift, Odo can no longer run, so he must tell Lwaxana outright that he craves silence and solitude.  Even this admission is difficult for him, and the fear of intimacy, even a smidge, is palatable in the lift.  Odo’s fears escalate as he struggles to maintain his shape.  This is core to him; it is a source of shame in his past and emotional separation in his present.  Lwaxana though is far more aware than her behavior would imply, and she recognizes this in Odo.  As it gets harder and harder for Odo, Lwaxana tells of her own struggles that mirror Odo’s deeper emotional walls.  She tells of her own loneliness, being different, and being a toy for others.  Odo’s liquid state is the source of the same shames.  No one can be with him while he regenerates (as far as he knows at this point); he is so different, he’s a different phase of matter than the rest of the crew; and his liquid state is what permits him to be a toy for others.  By connecting to him first in mutual struggle, Lwaxana shows him that vulnerability is not a weakness.  And thus by seeing the vulnerability she exposes, Odo is able to trust her to care for him in his weakest moments.  After they exit the turbolift, Odo has a much deeper respect for Lwaxana.  I like to think of Lwaxana as the woman who prepares Odo for Kira.  She’s the first girlfriend who shows Odo all the things he’s doing wrong before he pursues true love.  Here Lwaxana takes down the tallest of Odo’s emotional barriers, his hesitancy to be vulnerable and trust.

As is common in the first season, I find the surface conflict mundane.  O’Brien struggles with a new lifeform that’s a needy computer program.  Maybe it’s because they call it pup that I’m biased against it.  He figures it out though, and is able to contain the creature.  The key he needs is to start treating it like a lifeform, and not a broken subroutine.  Last comment, I find Bashir’s interaction with the ambassadors quite comical.

Random Thoughts: 1) Quark is no petty thief, and Odo respects that about him.  2) Ferengi are immune to telepathy, mirroring how they are immune to just about everything.  3) Ambassadors of Unhappiness!!

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~ by Joshua Black on September 27, 2012.

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