Episode 2.12: The Alternate

Even if you can shapeshift, you can’t get away from family and their issues.  Odo and Mora have a rather contentious father-son relationship, with Odo having cut off relations once he left Mora’s lab.  However, Mora tempts Odo with the one thing he will drop anything for (even Kira, as we see at the end of the series), and that is the opportunity to learn more about his origins.  Ultimately, there proves to be little to learn about Odo’s origins from this expedition.  Overall, I felt this episode was a bit disjointed.  There was a lot of random lines that turned into nothing, such as Odo commenting on the relic moving, and in the very next line, Dax confirms that she was the one who moved it.  This one and others like it were lines to try to throw us off the trail that Odo was the monster, but to me, they mostly felt like distractions.  The “monster movie” vibe is rare in DS9, and I’m not sure if they ever return to it.  One key moment is when Mora underestimates Odo’s crewmates; they are able to look beyond Odo’s liquid nature and see him as a friend.  I think there’s some imagery with Odo trying to investigate himself, but beyond that, this is mostly a story to develop the characters.

I did like seeing Odo when he was flustered and seeing where he gets some of his personality.  I think most of us are unaware of how deeply our childhoods affected our present day personalities.  Odo drew a lot from Mora:  his analytical mind, the desire to learn about his origins, his haircut…  As we learn in future episodes, the changlings are driven to seek out their home, but Mora certainly helps this along.  His own curiosity in Odo’s abilities and origins are reflected in Odo himself.  Odo is quite bitter about Mora’s methods, but he is as interested in the exploration of Changling abilities as Mora is.  Mora himself is a typical father, both misunderstanding his son and knowing him well enough to encourage him in unique ways.  It helps build a coherent life story for Odo’s character.

True to DS9 style, there are smaller character developments embedded within the larger story.  The opening with Quark is very archetypal of Odo and Quark’s love-hate relationship.  Odo pushes just hard enough to figure out if Quark is the swindler or the swindled.  Turns out to be the latter, this time.  When Mora arrives, Quark gets the chance to make Odo squirm.  I enjoy how in many of these interactions both Quark and Odo get some shots in.  There’s a nice fatherly moment from Sisko towards Jake.  Dax continues to string Julian along and sees Julian only as a friend.  At least now he’s not naive about it and will only pursue her so long as he enjoys the chase.  I will say from experience, that’s a hard realization to learn.  Luckily, Julian is confident in himself and isn’t overly distraught; I think this is a rare outcome in life.

Random Thoughts:  1) The relic that is identical to one found in The Search (Episodes 3.1 and 3.2), but the one found in this episode has no further use that I can recall.  2) The background on the planet is really cheesy and not one I liked.  3) The “transporter realignment” was very odd.  If I were to try to explain it away, I would say that after transporting an inorganic object, the transporter needed to realign to accept sentient humanoids?  Maybe?  4) Reversing the polarity trope strikes again!

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~ by Joshua Black on May 31, 2016.

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