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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 1 Episode 12

Vortex

2
Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Apr 18, 1993 on Syndicado
7.7
out of 10
User Rating
186 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Stardate: 46689.6 Odo arrests a criminal from the Gamma Quadrant who offers to take him to his people on the other side of the wormhole.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • The story of Sheriff Odo and his prisoner

    7.0
    Of all the Star Trek's, Deep Space Nine is the closest to a space western. It has a frontier atmosphere complete with a bar and a sheriff. The latter is, of course, Odo. And the producers of Deep Space Nine figured that if they were going to have an Odo episode at this stage in the game, they might as well get an old western writer.



    Based on a story that's as old as the hills (the good guy has to take the bad guy from point A to point B, and they get to know each other along the way) "Vortex" serves as Sam Rolfe's swan song. He died a few months after the episode first aired. And while Rolfe's script doesn't reinvent the wheel, it has plenty of heart and offers an opportunity for Rene Auberjonois to lay the foundation for Odo's character an honorable sheriff who is nonetheless a lonely man; a creature with a desire to discover the secrets of his origin, and perhaps meet more of his kind.



    Guest star Cliff DeYoung is fine as Croden, yet another Gamma Quadrant resident who accidently ends up on Deep Space Nine. It might have been interesting, however, had someone with more comedic talents, such as Robin Williams, been given the part.



    But "Vortex" is fine, nonetheless. There's a reason this sort of story has endured over the years. It works.

    moreless
  • We get our first glimpse into Odo's character.

    7.0
    This is the 2nd Odo episode of the series. But "A Man Alone" was really just an "intro to shapeshifters"; here we really get a look into what makes this man tick.



    Odo's commitment to law and order is topped by his intense loneliness and desire to discover his origins. There's also an innate decency that sometimes conflicts with his role as a space cop. All these tensions come into play in this episode. The gruffness, the bickering with Quark - these are just a mask covering a much more complex individual.



    The story itself is moderately interesting, if pretty slow. I'd put it in the middle of the pack as far as season 1.moreless
  • For the first time in his existence Odo is presented with the possibility that there are more shape-shifters in the galaxy.

    8.0
    An arrested criminal from the Gamma Quadrant appeals to Odo's desire to find more of his kind, telling the chief of security that he can take him to see more changelings.



    That's the storyline for a tremendously good Odo episode. He gets so much to work with. For the first time really, we see Odo's compassionate side as he lets the criminal and his daughter escape on a Vulcan freighter. You feel for him as he displays a sorrowful longing to connect with a home he's not even sure exists.



    All that said, this is also one of those episodes where you ask yourself why in the world is Quark allowed to stay on DS9?moreless
  • A Gamma Quadrant refugee commits a crime aboard the station.

    5.0
    At this point in the Deep Space Nine series, things are starting to look more like a police drama in space than a show about space exploration.



    Perhaps the most disturbing plot-point is the willingness of the Federation and Bajor to extradite a prisoner to an unknown world without a hearing or even an explanation of the crimes which he was convicted. Indeed Sisko didn't even confirm whether or not Croden had had the opportunity for a fair trial on his homeworld. Sisko appears weak and this goes against precedent in other episode which shows that a space faring alien visiting the Federation or Bajor must be given due process in extradition!



    Furthermore this is the episode that introduces the term Changeling for Odo's species. A terrible word which actually refers to a fairy or elf child exchanged secretly for a human baby. The term is in fact used correctly in an original Star Trek episode interestingly enough entitled "The Changeling". Using the term "changeling" to refer to a shape-shifting creature is cute but probably a rip off from the script for Babylon 5 episode "The Gathering" in which a device that allows the wearing to morph his or her appearance was referred to as a changeling net. This episode was actually written before this episode aired despite the fact it aired after. Babylon 5's creator's pitch to Paramount for the series before it was ultimately bought by Warner is often credited as a major source of inspiration for DS9.



    Another terrible issue that this episode brings up is that of Odo's bizzare mass properties. Odo, who doesn't eat or drink water already seems to defy everything known about physics and biology. At the beginning of the episode when Odo is in the form of a glass Rom has no problem carrying him, yet in humanoid form Croden makes straining noises when lifting him and even comments that he's heavier than he looks. Luckily Odo does not revert back to genatinous form when he is knocked out, otherwise Croden would had had much more trouble getting back to Gangis.



    At the end of the episode the Vulcan seem all too eager too take on passenders without asking any questions about their origins. Is it to be assumed that they will be welcomed on Vulcan without any proof of their origin or indentities?moreless
  • What's more important to Odo: duty or discovering the truth of his origins?

    7.0
    Rene Auberjonois gets to flex his acting muscles in this solid, taut character study of Odo. 'Vortex' sees Odo have to transport Croden, a criminal from the Gamma Quadrant back to his home planet, but can he resist the allure of potentially discovering the secrets of his origins? The episode does suffer from a slightly erratic pace and an ending that's a little too saccharine for my tastes. But it is, nevertheless, an entertaining and well-crafted character drama, featuring a strong performance by the ever-reliable Rene Auberjonois, good directing and some excellent visual effects. This is the first of a few episodes that torment and tantalise Odo with the mystery of his origins, before they are finally and dramatically revealed in the early third season.moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman

Quark

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

Cliff DeYoung

Cliff DeYoung

Croden

Guest Star

Randy Oglesby

Randy Oglesby

Ah-Kel/Ro-Kel

Guest Star

Gordon Clapp

Gordon Clapp

Hadron

Guest Star

Max Grodenchik

Max Grodenchik

Rom

Recurring Role

Majel Barrett

Majel Barrett

Computer Voice

Recurring Role

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