The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: The Begotten

When Quark is sold an infant Changeling, Odo decides that he must take care of it and teach it how to use its shapeshifting abilities. Odo’s former mentor Dr Mora Pol arrives on DS9 to contribute his knowledge of studying Changelings, but Odo is reluctant to work with the man who subjected him to so many tests and experiments. Meanwhile, Kira is ready to give birth to the O’Brien baby.

After a run of underwhelming episodes, DS9 is back on form with this tour de force focussing on Odo, Dr Mora and a dish of gelatinous goo. We saw the friction between Odo and Mora way back in The Alternate, but here we delve even deeper into their relationship, and even see age-old wounds begin to heal.

For Odo, cut off from his people and his abilities, taking on a baby Changeling is an amazing opportunity – a chance at parenthood he never knew he wanted. Determined not to put the infant through the same tortuous regime of experiments that he experienced under Mora, Odo aims for a softer approach – at least until Starfleet starts pressing for results. Meanwhile, Mora is not only determined to defend his methodology, but to not let Odo forgot how hurt he felt when Odo walked out on him. Mora is an expert in victim-blaming and passive-aggression, but at the same time he is not entirely sympathetic – if only because we know, deep down, that Odo deeply respects and loves him.

With the infant’s development, Odo and Mora are brought together by their shared success; Mora admits that Odo’s gentler methods worked, and Odo acknowledges that Mora did have a positive effect on his life after all. I have to admit that I would have liked Mora to be a bit more apologetic about his actions instead of the show putting all the onus on Odo to forgive him, but even so, I enjoyed the interactions between them.

Meanwhile, the B-story sees Kira finally give birth to the O’Brien baby, and whilst the O’Brien/Shakaar posturing is somewhat annoying, the conclusion of this plotline is rather touching. Kira has just spent the last five months essentially being a surrogate parent to this baby, and now that she’s given birth to him, what’s left? The baby goes to his biological parents, and Kira has to step aside – back to her old life and her old quarters, both of which will surely seem a lot lonelier, at least for a little while.

Bits and pieces

  • As always with TV births, Kira loses the baby weight almost instantaneously.
  • The cytoplasmic separator and protein decompiler both sound like they could be fatal to a living being.
  • Where is a Changeling’s brain when it is in the form of an inanimate object? Are there still synaptic pathways present at some low level? Clearly the Changeling is still conscious and sentient, so there must be something.
  • Bajoran births are swift and painless, but they require the woman to be relaxed before they can happen.

Summary – The Begotten: In which Rene Auberjonois stars opposite a plate of gelatinous goo.

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