Review originally printed in ORACLE
Newsletter July 2011
Review written by Mary Shaver
The Jem’Hadar boy, now confined in a holding cell, is becoming more anxious and agitated with every passing minute. He begins hurling himself against the forcefield in desperate attempt to escape. On the other side of the forcefield, Bashir tells him his condition is the result of the enzyme that is missing from his system. The boy is belligerent and argumentative with Bashir until Odo arrives. Interesting that the boy denies to Bashir that there is anything wrong with him, but when Odo releases him from the holding cell and inquires about his health, the Jem’Hadar admits there is something wrong with him and catalogues his symptoms to Odo.
Bashir needs to run more tests to help him replicate the missing enzyme. The boy resists until Odo says he should agree. At once he becomes compliant and cooperative. Bashir leaves to retrieve the equipment he will need and Odo makes some friendly overtures to the boy. When he offers to show him around the station the Jem’Hadar defers to whatever Odo wishes. This isn’t what Odo wants – he wants to know the boy’s wishes and desires, and is somewhat startled when the boy jumps out of his chair, gets right in Odo’s face and announces that what he wants is to fight. Not Odo, but everyone else. He asks Odo if that is wrong and rather that criticize the boy’s choice, Odo suggests they find other interests. He then tries to get the Jem’Hadar to relax and even encourages him to smile – something Odo himself hardly ever does. Perhaps in this instance the Constable should take his own advice!
Chief O’Brien thinks he may have found a supply of the drug needed by the Jem’Hadar to replace the enzyme missing from his system. Odo joins him in the salvage ship to examine the container. O’Brien wonders aloud why the Founders would engineer the Jam’Hadar to be addicted. Odo’s explanation illustrates the stark difference between himself and his people. What better way to ensure total control over the Jem’Hadar, as well as guarantee their loyalty, than to addict them to a drug that can’t be replicated and that only the Founders can provide? Odo understands all too well what it is like to be controlled by others and now vehemently opposes the idea of exercising control over anybody (well, except perhaps Quark!). When O’Brien comments that it seems like a cold-blooded thing to do, Odo responds with a hint of sadness in his voice. “My people don’t have blood.” And this, perhaps is as good an explanation as any for why the Founders have no compunction about enslaving others. Is Odo wondering if the basic and fundamental differences between his people and the solids prevent his people from having any feelings of compassion for beings who are different from them?
The drug found in the salvage ship works and introduces into canon the vial of what will become known as Ketracel White, and the tygon feeder tube that delivers the drug into the Jem’Hadar’s carotid artery. Revived now and at full strength, the Jem’Hadar now poses a huge potential danger to the station’s inhabitants. When the boy requests and then insists that he stay with Odo in his quarters, Odo is initially uncomfortable with the idea, and then sees the value in having the Jem’Hadar with him. Not only will it give him a chance to work with the boy and help him move beyond the limitations of his programming, but it will also assure a measure of safety to the DS9 personnel.
In Odo’s quarters, the Jem’Hadar is enthralled by Odo’s Changeling abilities. When Odo points out that some shapes are more difficult to master, like the humanoid face, the Jem’Hadar challenges him to explain why he would want to look like a humanoid since he (Odo) was better than them. Odo’s explanation that being different is not the same as being better confuses the boy who admits he instinctively knows that he is inferior to Odo, but superior to everyone else. Odo attempts to re-wire the boys ‘hard-wiring’ by telling that they are all equal and that he needs to ignore his instincts because they are wrong. Rather than accept Odo’s words however, the boy instead concludes that he must be defective because he also knows that Odo can never be wrong. Odo stubbornly persists, insisting that he is not infallible and urging the boy to begin to think for himself. Odo might be realizing that he’s in for an uphill battle, but he isn’t about to give up. He asks the boy what he wants, not what he thinks Odo wants. After a moment’s reflection, the Jem’Hadar says he wants to know more about his people – who he is and where he came from, something Odo can certainly relate to. Odo shares with the boy his own history of being orphaned, found and raised by aliens, and their common connection of not knowing who his people were or what they were like.