442. Treachery, Faith and the Great River
FORMULA: The Defector + Vortex + Progress
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Great Material Continuum. Weyoun's suspect death. The ice field.
WHY WE DON'T: Weyoun 5 was my favorite Weyoun!
REVIEW: Let me start by saying how much I like the idea of the Great Material Continuum (or Great River) and wish it'd have been mentioned before. After all, Nog's had to navigate it before, like in Progress and In the Cards, for example. It's also a perfect metaphor to use in connection to O'Brien, who's been up a treacherous stream or two in his day. Nog's played into the "procurement officer" archetype briefly before (in Behind the Lines), but here is allowed to use his skill with sometimes hilarious results, painting the portrait of a very eccentric Starfleet at the same time.
The episode's main plot (which incredibly fits the complex title just as well) concerns a "defective" Weyoun clone who has decided to worship the Great Heretic, Odo. Turns out Weyoun 5, whom we've been dealing with since the start of the Dominion War, met with an unfortunate accident (cue guilty look from Damar) and had to be replaced. I'm sad to see the disdainful, snippy Weyoun go, but can't wait to see what nuance Combs brings to Weyoun 7.
Without the hidden agendas, Weyoun 6 can't really generate as much interest as his precursor, but he still has some excellent scenes. The way he eats pizza is a delightful comic moment, for example, and there's the mythic origin story of the Vorta too. This episode does a rather good job of presenting the Dominion "religion" from the Vorta perspective. It tells us why they would consider the Founders gods (quite aside from the genetic programming), but also shows Weyoun 6 "mythologizing" Odo's plan to "become the ice" by flying into a comet fragment and shutting the runabout down. Odo is certainly thinking like a changeling when he comes up with this, and the whole hide-and-seek game through the ice field has to be one of the better looking effects scenes in the entire series. Finally, Weyoun 6 dies as he lived, serving his god.
But he didn't turn stag without a trigger. This is where the Founders' disease is introduced, provoking a crisis of faith in Weyoun and sending him questing after the one true (uninfected) god. An interesting notion, and prophetic in retrospect.
LESSON: Don't ever give away your NIP.
REWATCHABILITY - High: I want quality episodes and the River provides.