The BegottenBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 10:33 AM GMT
See Also: 'The Begotten' Episode Guide
Odo takes custody of a baby changeling, which he tries to raise along with the help of his former mentor Dr. Mora. The changeling dies, but restores Odo's shapeshifting abilities as a farewell gift. Meanwhile, Kira gives birth to Miles and Keiko's baby as a jealous Shakaar looks on.
This was one of the best and worst DS9 episodes in years, rolled into one. Every time the A plot had me in tears, the B plot came along and reduced it to banality. Mostly I shut my ears.
The Odo story was a stunner, movingly written, superbly acted, and (other than the manipulative music) well-directed. It must be very hard to film a man holding blue jello in such a way that the audience believes it absolutely as that man's child. This is brilliant material, and Rene Auberjonois brought it so vividly to life--even the gratuitous Odo-Quark scene worked.
Odo's relationship with Mora and the baby changeling they were raising was subtle and stunningly played--I wish one of the Trek shows could find a permanent place for James Sloyan, because he never hits a false note. He reminded me uncomfortably of my own parents and grandparents, and of myself now that I have kids. Amazing how Odo's perceptions of Mora and our own have changed in the few brief episodes in which we've seen him. I liked that the material was understated--there were no grand declarations of forgiveness, no unqualified understanding--in some ways this rang truer than Sisko and Jake's relationship has this season.
There were moments when the changeling looked a little too much like motor oil and others where it reminded me very much of the creatures from "The Abyss" which could mimic human faces, but it hardly mattered as the story wore on. That last scene where the little changeling was dying in Odo's hands was agonizingly sad - I get a little tired of all the father-son bonding on Trek to the exclusion of any serious consideration of the mothers, but in this case it made for a brilliant episode. And the end, with Odo soaring over the Promenade, was magnificent - could have been over the top, but rang true emotionally.
From the sublime to the ridiculous. "Next time you have a baby, leave my girlfriend out of it!" Please, someone send Keiko AND Shakaar back to Bajor, and give Kira and O'Brien their jobs back. I must say that I enjoyed the idealistic Bajoran childbirth scenario - almost as realistic as the Doc beaming the baby out on Voyager. My biggest regret is that they didn't invite Worf in to watch, too; he probably would have enjoyed seeing an O'Brien child born without a single labor pain. And if Shakaar really thought Kira would be in The Mood for him a day after giving birth, I REALLY want to do it the Bajoran way next time...
Since women seem to do very little work bearing or raising kids on Trek, no wonder mothers are so unimportant! That said, the final scene sounded false and nasty, and as preposterously rushed as did the announcement of Kira's pregnancy in the first place, with so little attention to Nerys' feelings. After going through the whole Bajoran ritual of birth, the O'Briens didn't let Kira nurse the baby? Did they throw her out that night? Are they going to let her see the child regularly? Or did they pay her off like a surrogate and run away with the kid? Even considering that this was a plot born of necessity when Nana Visitor became pregnant, they did a ROTTEN job with it from beginning to end.
I just hope that, now that we have the real Odo back in body, we get him back in spirit, too.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.