Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Alternate

**** (4 stars out of 5)

Quark's hawking his wares (dismemberment discs with chunks of Plegg, a famous modular holosuite designer). Boy, does hocking chunks of plague sound terrible. Of course, it's no better when Odo confirms Plegg's not dead yet. Wherever he is. He feels happy. He doesn't want to go on the cart.

Dr. Mora Pol is the Bajoran scientist who, tragically, is the closest thing Odo has to a dad. He's a dismissive narcissist ass, or, at best, not overflowing with compassion. (Still, nicer than Gregory House.) Pol leads a mission to planet LS VI, Gamma Quadrant. It's got ruins and a vegetable silicate life form similar to Odo.  When the away team beams up a glyph-covered obelisk, they are gassed unconscious. Uh, serves you right for terrible archeological procedure straight out of humanity's primitive imperial era? Which is to say the 'Me likey, Me keepy' procedure?

Still, everybody seems to recover from the gas. Dax relates sneaking out of sickbay in a hospital gown that wouldn't close in the back... because Dr. Bashir hid her clothes. It's the best story I ever heard. Especially because it makes no sense, but it involves a bare backside.

The science lab is wrecked up at night, and once freed the shape-shifting vegetable wandered off and died in a conduit. Poor, sweet, Moldo, we hardly knew ye!

Bashir of bare bum fame continues to hit on Dax and be rebuffed. He is accosted at night by a blob from the conduits. Although no headway is made in the case, Dr. Mora tells Odo how proud he is of his police work. The hard-bitten scientist privately tells Dax that he always expected Odo to fail in society and return to the lab. The arrogant, two-faced nozzle is clearly ignorant of religion as well, at one point exclaiming in wonderment "Dear God!", when for a Bajoran that expression is more commonly "By the Prophets!" I also would have accepted "Sweet Christmas!"

Mora is the first to realize the attacks occurred while Odo was supposedly regenerating in his pail. The gas must have affected the Constable after all, making him behave with hostility in his 'sleep'. Mora argues that the others will imprison Hyde Odo, or put him in a zoo. Really? Mora's theories sound dubious to me, but are nonetheless disturbing to Odo, who freaks out and chases his tormentor/father figure. Lucky for Pol the Rampage-Proof forcefields are working today.

Mora realizes, probably for the first time, how Odo regarded their time together as a painful imprisonment. He forgives Odo's rage. "You had to speak in a voice loud enough for me to hear." Kudos again, actor James Sloyan!

"The Alternate" is a look into Odo's upbringing, alluded to but never very specific. What it boils down to is Beaker probably has a happier time in Muppet Labs than Odo ever did in his lab. And also, don't keep people (or people-like things) in labs! It's in your own interest: one day they might burst your head like a Honeydew melon.

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