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DS9 1-12

DS9 1x12
"Vortex"

Original airdate: 4/18/1993
Rewatch date: 6/6/2013


A con artist from the Gamma Quadrant offers information about Odo's species, "the Changelings," in exchange for his freedom.

Spoiler-free notes:

The Quark/Odo dynamic is the first interpersonal relationship that is really clicking on the show. The two have quickly developed a comfortable rapport that is fun and intriguing.

I like how the writers include a nice, organic reminder of Odo's backstory at the start of the episode, when Quark yells, "Maybe that's why no one has ever seen another shapeshifter." It's a bonus that Quark's outburst also services the plot, as Croden obviously overhears it and includes that information in his con. Good, tight writing.

Dr. Bashir scans the dead Miradorn awfully quickly, given that, just a couple of episodes ago, in "The Passenger," he talks about how ineffectively the tricorder distinguishes between living and dead and how proud he is that he double-checked a person the tricorder thought was dead.

How can Odo be knocked out? Croden says he doesn't know much about his species, and that might be the writers' way of admitting that they're still working out the rules for Odo.

This is a well-written adventure, with a teleplay that was scripted by Sam Rolfe, the same man who wrote the screenplay for The Naked Spur, a Western that has many similarities to this episode. Rolfe also wrote the TNG episode "The Vengeance Factor," but this is clearly the superior script. Still, it's a little bit jumbled, thematically-speaking, never quite knowing what it is ultimately trying to say, though it is earnest in its attempts to say something. At the end of the day, though, it doesn't matter, because it's a good yarn that keeps you guessing. You know the guy is lying to Odo--and so does Odo--but you don't know how deep the lies go and whether or not Odo will compromise his principles to find out. In that respect, it's an excellent character study for Odo, helping to define him while very obviously setting up the second major character arc of the show (the first being Sisko's). I'm also glad that we're finally spending a little time with the Gamma Quadrant.





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