Second Union

Second Union

STAR TREK REWIND: “The Adversary”

“Why are you protecting these solids? You don’t belong with them. You belong with us. Let go. Don’t you see? You’ve lost. It’s too late for you to help them, but it’s not too late to help yourself. Link with me, Odo. We can escape together.”

“The Adversary” is an episode (like the previous season’s finale, “The Jem’Hadar”) of changes. That previous season finale introduced us to the soldiers of the Dominion as well as the Vorta, and upped the stakes for Deep Space Nine. The third season set a darker tone for the franchise after Star Trek: The Next Generation (and its hopeful message) ended. I think a lot of this had to do with Babylon 5, and the similarities between both shows. Babylon 5 was the anti-Trek filled with conflicts and critiques of society and the looming approach of fascism.

There was a brief window of time wherein Deep Space Nine was the sole Star Trek series on television. The window lasted about four months and then Voyager premiered. Voyager’s abbreviated first season ended around the same time this episode aired. “The Adversary” begins with the long-overdue promotion of Sisko from Commander to Captain. When word of an apparent coup on the Tzenkethi homeworld spreads to Starfleet, Sisko is ordered to escort Federation Ambassador Krajensky to quell the situation in light of recent Jem’Hadar activity in the sector.

During transit, crucial systems go down on the Defiant and sabotage is suspected. It isn’t long before Odo senses another changeling on board. This quickly becomes an exercise in paranoia as everybody suspects everybody else of being a changeling spy. Since a changeling can be detected with a blood test, Dr. Bashir immediately sets out drawing blood, and this is where we have the inevitable comparisons to John Carpenter’s The Thing, but I see this as more of a homage than a rip-off, unlike Tom Paris’ hilarious transformation to lizard-boy in the Voyager episode, “Threshold.”

So there is a mucilaginous creature slithering around in the Defiant’s innards, and it makes a bad situation worse when Odo confronts the changeling in the Engineering section. It is revealed to be the Ambassador, who may have been killed or replaced some time ago. The creature is killed but not before bestowing a warning on Odo: “You’re too late. We’re everywhere.” It makes it worse that Odo was responsible for the shapeshifter’s death. The repercussions will start to be felt in the following season with the two-parter, “Homefront” and “Paradise Lost,” in which Starfleet turns the Earth into a police state. Odo will be punished by his fellow changelings in the fourth season finale, “Broken Link.”

Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Janeway, Kirk to Picard, and Georgiou to Sisko — boldly read what no one has read before!

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