“The Search Parts 1 & 2″
Review Originally printed in ORACLE
Newsletter July 2010
Review written by Mary Shaver
The Odo/Kira Link:
It’s not by accident that many viewers of DS9 envisioned a relationship between these two long before the idea was conceived by the DS9 writing staff. From the series premiere “The Emissary”, Odo and Kira demonstrate a bond of trust and respect that only deepens as the series unfolds. Kira, fiercely loyal to her friends, goes to bat for Odo time and again. There a certain irony that in “A Man Alone,” when Odo is the prime suspect in the murder of the Bajoran Ibudon, the only two people who actively come to his defense are Kira and Quark. Likewise, Odo often acts as Kira’s mentor and adviser, perhaps even her alter-ego. He is her touchstone for burning away Kira’s internal conflicts, helping her to honestly evaluate her motives and actions. Their friendship has already survived a major breech of trust when Kira confesses that she lied to Odo about her guilt in the murder of the Bajoran chemist, Vaatrick (“Necessary Evil”).
Never is this bond more evident than in “The Search”. In an eerie parallel to the events a year earlier (“The Circle”) when Kira is removed as First Officer and Odo angrily lashes out at its gross injustice, so now Kira expresses her outrage at Starfleet’s idiocy. She contrives an implausible reason for Odo to accompany the Defiant crew as they prepare for their foray into the Gamma Quadrant. Odo sees through the fabrication but ultimately uses it as a convenient excuse to accompany the crew on its mission. Kira rants and raves to Sisko about Starfleet’s stupidity in its treatment of Odo and when Odo coolly defies Sisko’s order to take his station on the bridge and Sisko has finally had enough of the Constable’s surly insubordination, it’s Kira who offers to talk to Odo and smooth things over.
Odo’s distress is obvious and although initially reluctant to discuss the matter with Kira, he eventually admits to being drawn to a portion of the Gamma Quadrant called the Omarian Nebula, by forces he doesn’t understand and seemingly can’t control. It’s a big admission for Odo, for whom order and control are paramount. Kira tries to mollify her friend with the offer that she will help him, after they’ve completed their mission but that’s not good enough for Odo. He needs to leave now.
Their conversation is aborted by the Jem’Hadar attack on the Defiant and subsequent boarding of the ship. Odo and Kira fight their way out of Odo’s cabin but Kira is injured in the melee. She wakes up on board a shuttle with Odo and is dismayed when Odo tells her that the last he saw of the Defiant, she was dead in space and that they are not headed back towards the wormhole as she would have thought but instead towards the Omarian Nebula. They land on the only class M planet, a rogue planet and are greeted almost immediately by beings who form out of a pool of amber colored liquid. The “leader” of this small contingent addresses Odo with words he has longed to hear his whole life: “Welcome home”.
The Odo/Female Shapeshifter Link:
If I remember correctly, a few years ago, TVGuide equested an interview with Rene where in they asked him to provide THE defining moment for Odo. Rene in turn solicited the opinions of ORACLE and RAFL members. The overwhelming response was when Odo found his people. With the benefit of hindsight, we can look back to this moment and feel at least some ambivalence, knowing how this discovery will affect Odo, how he will be racked by his conflicting desires and the devastating decision he makes in the end. But those are for other reviews.
Odo’s life up to this point has been dominated by two things – his job and his obsession with finding out who he was, where he came from, if there were others like himself. By all accounts, this fixation began soon after he “awoke” in Mora’s lab and has been an ongoing quest ever since. So, imagine how Odo must feel when he hears those sweet, sweet words: “Welcome home”.
And his rejoinder is equally poignant: “You really are… just like me.”
Understandably, Odo is full of questions. Viewed critically and again with the benefit of hindsight, the answers seem just a little too vague. More on that later. The Female Shapeshifter offers Odo his first taste of the Link, over the objections of one of the other Changelings, all of whom subsequently disappear and do not appear again in the episode. The Link (a merging of their liquid forms together, in this case, only their arms) puts Odo into a trance. When he “comes to”, he tells a concerned Kira that he’s fine and then, breaking into a genuine smile of happiness, acknowledges that he really is home.
Odo’s next encounter with the Female Shapeshifter comes several hours later in an arboretum designed for a Shapeshifter’s pleasure. Kira is with him and here we get our first glimpse of the colossal arrogance common among Changelings (Odo notwithstanding). Kira questions the Female Shapeshifter’s use of the word “Solids”. Her reply is both condescending and disdainful: “Our word for monoforms like yourself who will never experience the joys for the Great Link”. She dismisses Kira both literally and figuratively and speaks directly to Odo – has he made use of the Shapeshifting opportunities offered by the arboretum?” Odo doesn’t know what she is talking about. She tries patiently to explain as though she is speaking to a child and finally concludes in another sideways slap at the “Solids”, that living among humanoids has done him serious damage. He must do more than simply “become a thing”, he must “know that thing, understand it’s existence”.
Evidently this skill is part of what Odo needs to learn in order to qualify for entry into the Great Link. She presses a rock into his hand and leaves him to contemplate her words. Odo eventually returns to the shuttlecraft to regenerate. He’s frustrated and depressed. He can mimic the various forms but he stills has no idea what being those forms “feels” like. Kira tries to be understanding but she is as confused as Odo.
After regenerating, Odo returns to the Changeling garden to hopefully learn more from the Female Shapeshifter. The beginning of this scene never made it to the final cut but is revealing of the evolving relationship between these two.
The Female Shape-shifter is seated before an ornate water fountain we haven’t seen before. She studies it carefully, pleased with what she’s seeing. She runs her hand through the water.
Female Shape-Shifter (addressing the fountain):
That’s very good, Odo. Now don’t worry about holding your shape… you will. Just let go. Allow yourself to feel the texture of the stone, the warmth of the water. Allow it to become real to you.
A beat then the fountain begins to MORPH back into Odo.
Female Shape-Shifter (watching Odo morph):
How do you feel?”
Odo (who has MORPHED back into his humanoid form):
Like a baby learning to walk
(off her look)
It’s a Solid’s expression.
You have lived among them too long.
(Is it my imagination or is there something decidedly sensual about the way the Female Shapeshifter interacts with Odo in the form of that water fountain? A scene I would love to have viewed!)
Odo commences with more questions, notably, why his people dislike Solids. Odo’s own experiences have been that many are kind, decent people. The Female Shapeshifter picks up on this immediately and asks if he is referring to Major Kira. Odo acknowledges that he is. This seems to confirm her suspicions that Kira is a potential rival for Odo’s affections.
More questions from Odo and more obscure, vague answers. Of interest in this conversation is that part way through, the Female Shapeshifter displays a significant change in her demeanor. Up to this point, she has been patient, serene and some would say almost maternal, in her interactions with Odo. But suddenly there is a shift. She goes all a twitter, tremulous, like a teenage girl about to go out on her first date. Her voice becomes elevated and slightly quavering and her mannerisms display a nervous flutter. When Odo says “It’s (referring to his homeworld)… different than I imagined it would be”, she responds with what can only be described as a bald faced come-one, riddled with sexual overtones: “Whatever you imagined… I promise, it will be better…”. She then initiates what will become a full-fledged Link, as their two bodies liquefy into one.
The running script described their “torsos undulating in liquid rhythm” as they melt together, becoming a “column of swaying shapeshifters…”. It doesn’t take too much imagination to see what’s going on here (canonical evidence for the sexual nature of this encounter can be found in “A Simple Investigation” where Odo tells Arissa, “Once on my homeworld, I had an experience you would consider sexual”.