December 7, 2021

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Weekend Trek “Shadowplay”

Odo and Dax investigate a rash of disappearances on an alien planet's colony.

At first glance, this looked like it could be a potentially disastrous turn of events for one of the series’s main characters, namely Odo.  Odo is taciturn, direct, and not one for socializing at all.  This point is driven home in a cold open where Dax, the opposite of Odo in every way imaginable, is engaging in a bit of gossip about how one of Odo’s deputies is a bit smitten with someone, and Odo sees it more as a need to issue a reprimand when the two return to the station over the deputy’s recent sloppy performance.  Dax didn’t intend that, but she’s had seven lifetimes and asks more direct questions as a result.  Odo prefers not to engage in things that are a waste of time.

The problem here is Odo needs to work with a small child to solve a series of disappearances.  That sounds like it could be a problem.

It actually–and, to be honest, completely unsurprisingly–doesn’t go wrong as Odo shows, in his own brusque manner, patience and tolerance for the little girl and her questions.  He needs her help since she’s the only witness to the last disappearance, but I am getting a bit ahead of myself.  Odo and Dax are on a survey mission in the Gamma Quadrant, and they stop to look into some strange readings on a small colony on a remote planet.  The pair are caught by the local law enforcement, a single sheriff who is in over his head as residents of the colony have been disappearing without a trace.  As strangers who seemed to just show up, Odo and Dax are natural suspects, but the fact Odo can just beam himself away and then come back earns a fair amount of trust, and between Odo’s detective skills and Dax’s scientific knowledge, they can hopefully find the source of the disappearances.

However, there is one witness:  Taya, a little girl whose mother was the last victim, and she was the last to see her mom.  Her grandfather Rurigan seems to be holding her back a bit, but the girl is very curious about Odo, asking him about shapeshifting, seeing if he’ll change for her (he’s reluctant), and eventually palling around with Odo and Dax as they investigate the situation.  Oddly enough, no one has ever left the colony in anyone’s memory.  No one has ever really wanted to for some reason.

Then Taya’s arm fades away when she holds out some plants for Odo and Dax outside of the colony’s boundary.  Her arm comes back once she steps back, but that more or less shows what’s happening:  the whole colony is an incredibly elaborate hologram, and the machinery responsible is breaking down.  Dax believes she can fix it after convincing the colonists of the truth by turning it off, working a bit on the equipment, and then turning it back on again.

Here’s where things get a little more interesting, and it helps that Odo bonded a bit with Taya.  See, someone had to build the hologram machine, and that would be Rurigan.  He was the sole survivor of an attack by the Dominion–there’s that name again–so he built this hologram generator of his family, friends, and neighbors.  Somehow the program kept going, even producing children like Taya.  Worn down, he’d just assume leave the thing shut off, but that just means Dax and Odo have to convince the old man in the white wraps and beads to let them turn the generator back on because, well, those people did seem to be alive, and Rurigan did admit to loving Taya, a girl that only existed because of the machine.

Wait, what was that old man eating for all those years?

So, given a promise from Odo and Dax not tell the others Rurigan is their creator, they turn it on, all the missing people are back, and Odo does a shapeshifting trick for Taya before the pair beam back to their runabout and leave.

See, that was sweet.  Now, there were other plot lines, like how Kira was trying to keep an eye on Quark during Odo’s absence and Quark’s rather clever means of distracting her, plus Jake finally telling his (unsurprisingly) supportive father that he wants to do something other than join Starfleet.  I’m pretty far into Deep Space Nine, and so far, it’s mostly character work.

I am absolutely fine with that.

That said, there was a point when Kira asked Bashir to keep an eye on Quark…and nothing came of that scene.  We never learned what happened with the doctor after that moment.  How…potentially creepy.

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