The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: The Adversary

Sisko has just been promoted to the rank of captain, but no sooner is the new pip on his collar than he is ordered to the Federation-Tzenkethi border to deal with rising tensions. But en route the crew discovers that reports of Tzenkethi unrest are false, and that there is a Changeling aboard who is trying to embroil the Federation in a costly war.

Season three ends as it began, with a reminder the Dominion are the big threat now, and they’re not going away. Whilst the setup of this episode is a bit dodgy – did no one check the Federation newswire- it’s a well-enough executed horror story, with no one on the Defiant quite able to trust anyone else, and a decent number of twists. To top it all off, at the end, the crew are forced to realise that this isn’t going to be a one-off – being wary of Changelings and their abilities is going to strain everyone’s vigilance and trust from now on. The greatest weapon the Dominion has is not the Jem’Hadar, but the mere fact that they can make their adversaries doubt and mistrust each other.

Character moments

  • It seems like some effort is being made here to give recurring character Eddington a bit of a personality, but it doesn’t really work. He just seems like an average Starfleet goon, a bit frustrated at his lack of promotion prospects, and a bit racist towards Odo. Why should Odo necessarily think like all other Changelings? I guess in general their mental diversity is less because they share so much in the Great Link, but it’s a bit like Odo saying “you’re a human, can’t you tell me what this murderous human would do?”
  • Up until now, no Changeling has ever harmed another, and Odo has never killed anyone or fired a phaser (he did brandish one at Fake-Kira). In this episode, Odo kills another Changeling, thus breaking two records, and further distancing himself from his people.

Points and observations

  • Why did Sisko and the others just take the ambassador at his word, instead of checking the Federation news or contacting Starfleet command? They could have at least asked why a beefier ship like the Enterprise wasn’t being sent along.
  • As I said in The Die is Cast, if the Tzenkethi are such a threat to the Federation, why are they never regarded by the Dominion or anyone else as players on the galactic stage?
  • Staying in pairs was always dangerous, as what happens to the one humanoid paired with a Changeling? Why not have groups of three, so that there will always be at least two humanoids in the group.
  • Why are there non-essential personnel on this trip to the Tzenkethi border? Surely everyone sent on that mission should have a purpose? Also, as per usual, who is looking after the strategically important DS9 whilst all the senior staff are swanning off on the Defiant?

Summary – The Adversary: The Changelings are bad.

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