June 12, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Weekend Trek “Chimera”

Odo meets another Changeling, not part of the Great Link, who challenges various assumptions.

Actor J.G. Hertzler, who usually plays General Martok, here plays a Changeling named Laas.  Yes, the actor used a different name for the episode, but it also means Martok is referenced multiple times but never quite appears on screen.

This episode may be a prime example of “Jerk Has A Point”.

The story here begins as Odo and O’Brien are returning from a conference when some weird thing flies out in front of them.  Said thing is apparently a Changeling who works his way into the ship.  He wants to meet Odo, says his name is Laas, and he has never been part of the Great Link.  Odo deduces correctly that Laas was one of the One Hundred, a group of Changeling babies sent off into space as explorers who weren’t given the option on leaving their home planet or not.  Odo is one of them, and he’s never met another before.

Now here’s the thing about Laas:  he actually more or less hates the solids.  He’s been “aware” much longer than Odo and prefers simpler animals to sentient beings because sentients just wreck everything.  Also, despite the fact he has never linked with another Changeling, he is a much, much better shapeshifter than Odo is, becoming at various points in the episode a fire and a fog bank.  Given Odo turns into light at the end of the episode to delight Kira…how the hell are the Changelings not winning the Dominion War easily?  Yes, the Changelings are sick with something, a key reason why Odo is quick to believe Laas is what he says he is, but if they are that versatile, then they should be able to do a hell of a lot more.  Maybe if they didn’t let other races, some they genetically engineered, do all the work they might do a lot better.

Regardless, the issue is Laas doesn’t like solids, and despite Odo’s attempts to help him get to know the more tolerant people of the station, Lass is kind of a jerk to everybody, and he insists on doing things like Linking and changing into all kinds of stuff out in public for all the station to see.  Odo doesn’t want to do that, and Lass suspects it’s because Odo is ashamed or he doesn’t want other people to know he’s different.

And Odo, well, he doesn’t seem to have a good answer for those suspicions.  I could suggest Odo sees that as something to do in private, like sex or something, and that’s just a sense of propriety that he picked up by spending time with folks who don’t just slap their genitals together in public.

Then again, Laas is rather rude to everyone.  Now, O’Brien is being a bit short with the guy, and there’s a war on, but Laas doesn’t seem to be very good at socializing.  Like, he’s openly dismissive and rude to everyone else even though he’s right to point out how different he and Odo are from everyone else.

But then Laas questions Kira’s affections for Odo, to the point where Odo questions if she really does love him the way he loves her.  Laas has been encountering the solids for 200 years.  Odo has had maybe a decade or so.  Laas said his own attempts at love didn’t last.  And he wants Odo to go traveling with him, maybe find the rest of the One Hundred.

Of course, then two Klingons accuse Laas of killing other Klingons because they can’t tell one Changeling from another.  One pulls a knife.  Laas produces one from his shapeshifting body.  The one with a knife stabs Laas.  Nothing happens because, you know, no internal organs.  Odo restrains the first  Laas stabs the second.  He dies, and Odo locks him up.

Now, the rest of the episode deals with whether or not Odo will let Laas out and run off with him.  And there is a moment when Quark of all people comes along to say how Laas is freaky and whatnot, but the language Quark uses actually made me wonder if it was Laas in disguise trying to get Odo to run away with Laas.  Except, you know, since when did Odo listen to what Quark had to say about anything?

Oh, and it was Kira who let Laas out without telling Odo because, you know, power of love.  Despite all that, Laas just doesn’t get it.  The guy may have been right about how Changelings make humanoids uncomfortable, but that also meant he was quick to judge, oh, everybody, and a generally gloomy guy like Odo would fall for that sort of thing.  But it is because Laas can’t believe Kira can love Odo that the whole thing falls apart.

Then again, I have yet to see a Changeling that did think Kira wasn’t going to break Odo’s heart, so what does that tell me?