Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Deep Space Nine, Season 7: Chimera

http://www.treknobabble.net/p/rating-system.htmlDeep Space Nine, Season 7
"Chimera"
Airdate: February 17, 1999
162 of 173 produced
162 of 173 aired

Introduction

When he finds another of his kind roaming the Alpha Quadrant, Odo is faced with the dilemma of staying on DS9 to live like a humanoid or leaving his beloved in order to live as he was "meant to."

 Oh, yeah, baby... give me that big, beautiful golden light shower like only you can...



Writing

Matthew: My first thought was "Oh god, not another space-dwelling creature..." but luckily things got way more interesting quite quickly. Picking up on the "100" changeling probes was a good idea. I kind of wish this had been taken further - it's kind of silly to broach this in Season 7, given the potential there could have been to develop it. Do these changelings side with the Alpha Quadrant forces? Do they become new Founders after the old Founders die? Do they try to create their own empire in the Alpha Quadrant? Sadly, this is the last we'll hear of the idea. Instead, this story goes in quite a few (probably too many) other directions.

Kevin: I agree that I had the same trepidation, down to the fact that the creature Laas assumed was so reminiscent of other space creature designs. It is fun to pick up this thread, and I do like that they gave this changeling a different perspective than Odo and the Founders. I think he had an "otherness" was interesting to watch. Odo has done such a good job assimilating and the Founders are so directly antagonistic that seeing one who is passively uninterested in solids at all is a fun angle.

Matthew: I would say the most successful angle that is explored is the romance story? What's this, you say, Matthew enjoying something revolving around Kira/Odo? Well, with the possible exception of the squicky final scene, this is the most realistic Kira and Odo have seemed together - troubled by their differences, not knowing whether they can make it work. Actual emotions! Kira loves Odo enough to let him go... of course, there is basically no danger Odo will leave for good, because Lass is such an obvious dickhead and Odo so clearly dislikes him. On that final scene - I get it. I get that we want to show Odo doing something other than what we might expect. So I guess he's always been wanting to pull the "golden light shower" move in the sack. But Kira getting off on it? Unless he is either 1. doing something to her or 2. displaying lots of his own getting off, which subsequently gets her off, I just am not going to buy it. And since neither alternative is shown or told on screen, I just don't buy it.

Kevin: I think this works well because the relationship dynamics would have worked almost as well had they still been just close friends. Kira and Odo have a level of intimacy and mutual respect for each other that even outside romance is something of value, so watching Kira balance her desire to have Odo in her life versus his needs is fun and identifiable. I agree it was a foregone conclusion that Odo would choose to stay, but the scenes between Kira and Lass and then Odo and Laas were certainly super interesting to watch.

Matthew: The rest of the story is a bit of a jumble. Each scene is interesting on its own, but the sum total is a bit less than its parts. We get a gay rights metaphor, I guess: people only tolerate you because you hide it. No one wants a changeling pride parade on the promenade. I like that Quark yet again delivers these cutting lines. But then, not much is made of it. We get Laas' crime of "Self defense" and prosecution - the bottom line is, he was being a dick, and he killed the Klingon needlessly. There needed to be more shown on screen that would give us a potential view from his side, but there wasn't. Odo as a "lost" being? Asked and answered many times, counselor.

Kevin: My sixteen year old ears perked up right away at the "changeling pride parade" metaphor. I liked that Laas is casual about linking in a way that Odo never was. Particularly since they've used sexual metaphors so often, it does ring the bell of PDA for same sex couples. I like that the episode directly engages Odo's desire to fit in. I agree that Laas could have been less of a dick about it, but I still enjoyed the overall effect. I do think they should have pitched the scene with the Klingons a little differently. Maybe the Klingon could have gone for his disruptor or something. Worf's point that Laas was never in real danger is so valid it tips the balance of the scene.


Acting

Matthew: J.G. Hertzler is the real chimera here, isn't he (well, chameleon, anyway)? He was almost unrecognizable, and he gave a very "alien" performance. I'm not going to fault him for how much I disliked the characters. He delivered what was on the page exactly as he needed to. Laas was interesting, even if he was off-putting.

Kevin: I remember having to go back to the credits to see if it was him once I realized why I knew that voice, and he even was credited by a different name to throw off making the connection. The producers went with a recurring actor to make sure they could act opposite Auberjonois and through the make up, and it was a smart call. Laas, for whatever the faults of his character, was a fully realized being the entire show.

Matthew: Nana Visitor's Kira was a bit downbeat, wasn't she? But it made sense, because her character sensed the threat Laas posed to her relationship, and also sincerely worried that she was holding Odo back. So I definitely bought everything she brought to Kira... except for the sex-look on her face in the last second of the episode. Auberjonois did his usual subtle job of showing us Odo's shades. He has really found his character over seven seasons, graduating from horrendous "pain" acting to this much more restrained and interesting portrayal.

Kevin: I like the idea of attempting to depict how different a relationship with Odo can be, but given the confines of family friendly television, there was no way it wasn't going to come off as cheesy. I liked her scene with Laas in the holding cell quite a bit. She has a slightly resigned air that I found very moving.


Production Values

Matthew: So the space creature was OK, but not inspiring. The other two big VFX shots were the "link" scene early on and the amber sexy light show at the end. The linking shot didn't do much that hasn't already been done in other link shows. The light show was... uninspiring.

Kevin: We are still a few years away from when such fine grained particle work would be rendered really well, aren't we?

Matthew: This show had a very somnambulent pace, score, and scene settings. I'm not saying I wanted a few random explosions to liven things up, but something should have been done to avoid the snoozey feeling that DS9 shows like this can some times take on.


Conclusion

Matthew: I'm torn between a 3 and a 4. There are a lot of interesting story ideas here, but I would go so far as to say all but one (Kira's feelings) are half-baked. Add the whiff on Changeling-Humanoid sex, and I think I'll stick with a 3. Easily the best Kira/Odo show, but lacking follow through and some plot editing.


Kevin: I'll agree with the 3, though it's a 'high' three for what that's worth. Everyone had interesting, layered emotional reactions in keeping with their established characters and the end result was something of an insight into how Odo views himself and the world. And Quark making a hip check reference to the gay rights' movement is always going to be good TV. That's a total of 6.

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