Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Deep Space Nine 7x6 "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River"

rating: ****

the story: Weyoun's latest clone goes rogue.

what it's all about: So, Deep Space Nine never got the memo that Star Trek is supposed to be unfriendly in matters of faith.  This usually took the form of the Bajorans, but there were many branches, and one of them involved the Dominion, which although it's known as the element of the series that took it in a completely different direction from the show's origins, actually complements it quite nicely.  Because the Dominion, among other things, consisted of the Founders and the Vorta.  The Founders, who turned out to be Odo's people, engineered the Vorta, and others, to view them as gods.  This proved to be a somewhat nebulous concept, except, finally, in "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River."

This is also, by the way, the Weyoun episode.  I call it that, even though Weyoun as a character goes back to the fourth season ("To the Death"), because this is the one real spotlight the character had in the series despite numerous appearances.  It only figures, because Weyoun was, generally speaking, an unapologetic bad guy in a series that found shades of gray in nearly everyone.  Weyoun certainly had less than completely adversarial appearances ("In the Cards" is actually pretty relevant to the b-story in the episode, but more on that in a bit), but those were the exception that proved the rule.

What was most fascinating about Weyoun was that he was a clone.  The first time we see him he's already gone through nearly half a dozen iterations.  The one present during the sixth season war arc occupying the station apparently died off-screen prior to "Treachery."  The one that is featured in "Treachery" is "defective," deficient in the programming the Founders use to ensure loyalty.  The results are a little like the Next Generation classic "The Defector," in which a Romulan comes to Picard requesting asylum and with a lot of useful information (or so he thinks).  This Weyoun wants to tell Odo what he knows, too, and that makes him a huge target, so the episode spends its time with him and Odo hunted by the next Weyoun, all the while Odo having the most peculiar conversation he'll ever have.

Because Odo has long struggled with the legacy of his people, above and beyond their relationship to the Dominion.  That it means he's invariably treated as a god, too, when confronted by representatives of the Dominion has been as uncomfortable to him as Sisko's relationship to his role as the Emissary.  But like "Chrysalis" before it, "Treachery" is less about the main character featured in the episode, and more about the guest-star (again breaking the rules).

It's fascinating, compelling stuff, and suspenseful!  And heartbreaking.

And there's a b-story, too, and it's equally good, even if it has a completely different tone.  It features Nog getting to get his Ferengi on, which is something that had been denied him ever since he decided to join Starfleet.  There were flashes of it in "In the Cards," but it's alarmingly and awesomely on full display in "Treachery," which proves all over again how unique Nog has become.  He may not subscribe to Ferengi notions of greed anymore, but he still believes that business is a unique phenomenon and if respected can pull off miracles.  He proceeds to make a series of incomprehensible deals to pull off yet another war story that Deep Space Nine was wise enough to pursue, other than the business of war itself (which will also come home to roost for Nog, soon enough), how to come up with needed supplies when the supply line has been stretched thin.  It's also a fun way to watch more day-to-day concerns come to the surface, which was another thing Deep Space Nine so reliably did well.

criteria analysis:
  • franchise - A completely unique Star Trek experience.
  • series - Yet another unique war story.  Or two.
  • character - It's the Weyoun story you never expected.
  • essential - A classic is defined by the ability to do the previously unthinkable, and that's exactly what this one does.
notable guest-stars:
Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun)
Aron Eisenberg (Nog)
Casey Biggs (Damar)
J.G. Hertzler (Martok)
Salome Jens (Female Founder)
Max Grodenchik (Rom)

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