Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 2 Episode 12

The Alternate

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Jan 09, 1994 on Syndicado
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Stardate: 47361.7 Dr. Mora Pol, who first studied Odo as an infant, announces that he may have found Odo's homeworld in the Gamma Quadrant.

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  • We have met the monster, and it is us!

    This character driven Odo episode is essentially an old time "monster story", although it takes its own sweet time getting there, adding a twist towards the end that's less unique than the writers might realize. "Who does the detective discover to be the man/monster/murderer he is looking for?" Without giving anything away, let's just say there's a "shocking" answer to this question that gets used a lot by detective and horror writers trying to be unpredictable. In fact, this isn't this trope's first or last appearance in Star Trek. Fortunately, the twist isn't so much a sucker punch as it's a catalyst to explore the relationship between Odo and his mentor, the real plot of the episode. The show deserves credit for introducing the idea of Dr. Pol in previous episodes, with Odo even saying in "The Forsaken" that his hair is a copy of this man's. By seeding ideas like this, the new character comes across as more familiar and less Throughout the course of the story, we learn much about Odo even in scenes where he's not on screen. Favorite Star Trek guest star James Sloyen is excellent as the doctor, substituting for the actor the part was originally written for, Rene Auberjonois. (The size of the doctor's part and the complexity of Aurbejonois's makeup made the double role impossible). Throughout the course of the episode, we learn much about Odo, with his character being defined even when he's not on screen. The "takehome" is enormous, though the episode itself is slow and a bit clumsy.moreless
  • The relationship between Dr Pol and Odo is genuine and touching. But the scifi plot is a big mess.

    First, the good stuff - the relationship between Odo and his mentor, Dr. Pol, is genuine and touching. Given that Dr. Pol is already part of Odo's backstory, there's none of the contrived feeling we sometimes get when a "long lost relative we've never heard about" arrives in a character's life. The opening with Quark is nice as well - Quark's superlatives for Odo seem sincere.

    The scifi story just left me shaking my head. Yeah, it allows Odo to take out some of his resentment at Dr Pol. But despite some twists it never takes off and barely makes sense.

    The hints at Odo's heritage would of course get fuller airing later in the series, but here they are quickly forgotten once Odo becomes a monster.moreless
  • An excellent character piece for Odo, offset by a rather goofy subplot

    As a character study of Odo 'The Alternate' works extremely well: the relationship between Odo and his Bajoran mentor, Dr Mora, is well written and powerfully performed by both Rene Auberjonois and James Sloyan (who has made several guest appearances in modern Trek over the years). Some of the scenes between them reached an emotional intensity not common on Trek.

    Unfortunately, the 'alien on the loose' subplot is a little hokey in execution and almost seems to parody cheesy 50s B-movies. There are plenty of red herrings and some decent special effects (perhaps all the budget was spent on FX, explaining the somewhat unconvincing alien planet set). Still, in spite of the flaws, the emotional fireworks more than compensate for any weakness of the subplot.moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

Lt./Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax (Season 1-6)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Alexander Siddig

Alexander Siddig

Dr. Julian Bashir

James Sloyan

James Sloyan

Dr. Mora Pol

Guest Star

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie

Dr. Weld Ram

Guest Star

Mark Allen Shepherd

Mark Allen Shepherd

Morn (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • As he claimed in "Necessary Evil", Odo did indeed copy his hairdo from the scientist that worked on him.

    • This episode marks the first appearence of Dr. Mora Pol, Odo's surrogate father. He returns in the fifth season episode "The Begotten".

    • Goof: At Time Index 13:04 and several seconds after, you can clearly tell that the scenery in the background is a painting.

    • Goof: Sisko describes the death of his father to Dr. Mora. That same father is a recurring character later on in the series.

    • The significance of the pillar taken from the planet is never explained. It was a "red-herring" to mislead the audience into believing it was the cause of the random attacks.

    • Nitpick: When Odo is trapped by the forcefield, Dr. Mora says: "Dear God, what have I done?"... but Dr. Mora is a Bajoran and the Bajorans don't believe in God, but in the Prophets.

    • Nitpick: Odo is obviously injured and weakened by the force field they finally capture him in. Yet when he loses the strength to fight against it, he bothers to take on humanoid form. It would be much more logical to just melt and lie there in a puddle until he would feel better.

    • Nitpick: Sisko calls for a red alert and confines all non-essential personnel to their quarters. Several minutes later, Odo says that he will have the promenade cleared. Wouldn't the red alert taken care of that?

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Dr Mora: (referring to the new life form) Any indication of intelligence?
      Odo: Not unless you consider wanton destruction of the lab an indication of intelligence.

    • Dr Mora: Still having trouble with social integration.
      Odo: I integrate as much as I want to.
      Dr Mora: Define, 'as much as I want to.'
      Odo: As much as I want to means as much as I want to!

    • Bashir: I prescribe rest, because it's hard for a doctor to go wrong with that one.

    • Odo: Humanoid death rituals are an interest of mine.
      Quark: Death rituals...
      Odo: Everybody needs a hobby.
      Quark: Uh-huh.
      Odo: Some species burn their dead, others pack them in blocks of ice... some even surround themselves with the company of family corpses. But the Ferengi ritual of chopping up their loved ones and selling them... I find that... irresistible.
      Quark: I'm very busy.
      Odo: What a fitting and distinguished way to honor the memory of great Ferengi entrepreneurs. I'm thinking of starting a collection. Putting up a display case in my office. There'll be a special space reserved just for you in there, Quark.

    • Sisko: Dax? Dr. Bashir released you from the Infirmary?
      Jadzia: Dr. Bashir hid my clothes so I wouldn't leave. I had to sneak into my quarters, wearing a hospital gown that didn't quite close in the back.

  • NOTES (0)