Odo killed one of his own people at the end of season three, and here I am at the end of season four, and it’s basically about Odo’s punishment for that action.
Because, apparently, no Changeling had never hurt another before.
I’d like to reiterate that, quite frankly, I have a hard time believing no Changeling had ever hurt another before. You mean to say that there was never one that was something of an asshole before? One that just snapped and hurt another one? OK, I suppose the fact the Changelings have that Great Link or whatever they call it when they all merge like a giant living ocean provides a lot of mental health benefits, and while they aren’t a Borg-like hive mind or anything, it does make it unlikely that a Changeling could even keep a secret from the others. What exactly the Changelings get out of this is never really clear, but it’s still something.
Then again, perhaps abandoning Odo in the first place was harming another Changeling. I don’t think Deep Space Nine is going to go there, but that is something I think is worth thinking about.
Regardless, Odo is having problems on the station, problems beyond Bashir’s knowledge, as it becomes harder and harder to hold a solid shape. Odo doesn’t want to be a test subject, so the only real solution is to find the Founders. That involves a trip to the Gamma Quadrant and a message asking for help with the hope that the Dominion might answer them.
They actually do.
I have a few questions here, actually. The Female Changeling is there, suggesting this problem may have been their doing all along to force Odo to come back. He’d been refusing up until then, so how much of this was to force him back? Odo is a solitary character, and not by choice. He is lonely, and Garek in this episode even tries setting him up with a Bajoran shopkeeper. That doesn’t exactly work, but Odo’s insistence that he doesn’t need or even understand that sort of thing seems wrong or even dishonest on the part of the constable. He has expressed some sort of general longing for Kira, he “won” Lwaxana Troi’s hand in marriage by saying how lonely he is, and even Quark has noticed how Odo got when Kira was spoken for again. Heck, the Female Changeling always sites how Kira will never reciprocate Odo’s feelings as a reason why he should come back.
Wait, why do Changelings have gender? You know what? Never mind. I don’t really want to know.
For the most part, the Changelings and the Federation are formal and polite with each other. The Jem’Haddar do guide the Defiant to the new Changeling homeworld in such a way as to prevent the Federation from knowing where it is, and even if they aren’t friendly, no one is overtly hostile either with one noteworthy exception: Garek. Garek, hoping for word of Cardassian survivors from the attempted attack on the Dominion, is soundly and bluntly rebuked by the Female Changeling that there were none, and that the Cardassians were a doomed people as a result. Garek actually takes this statement politely, but then he takes it a step further when no one is looking and tries to rig the Defiant to attack the Changeling planet while Sisko, Bashir, and Odo are down there and knowing full well that it would be a suicide mission. Fortunately, Worf is nearby, and he’s no slouch in the security department.
But it’s probably worth remembering the Founders don’t forget slights and can be rather ruthless, even by Cardassian standards.
If anything, Odo’s punishment is to let him live on the outside, in a human body (save his old humanoid face to remind himself what he is no long a part of) and without his shapeshifting powers. That means he’ll need to eat food and wear actual clothes from here on in.
Oh, and he thinks Gowron, the belligerent Klingon leader, is a Changeling in disguise.
Hell of a way to end the fourth season.