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Star Trek DS9 - Season 3 - Episode 01

Star Trek DS9 - 3x01 - The Search, Part I

Originally Aired: 1994-9-26

Hoping to avert an invasion, Sisko takes his officers into the Gamma Quadrant on a dangerous mission to find the mysterious leaders of the Dominion. [DVD]

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 6.31

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Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Numerous major long term plot threads are serviced here.

- Why do Odo's people emulate his imperfect humanoid form? We're often told Odo is not an expert at shape shifting. I guess we're supposed to assume his people take his imperfect form as some sort of polite gesture of affection.

- The Defiant can house at least one shuttlecraft.

Remarkable Scenes
- The Defiant!
- Sisko: "I've brought back a little surprise for the Dominion!"
- Sisko: "Officially, it's Defiant is classified as an escort vessel. Unofficially, the Defiant's a warship, nothing more, nothing less." Kira: "I thought Starfleet didn't believe in warships." Sisko: "Desperate times bring desperate measures. Five years ago, Starfleet began exploring the possibility of building a new class of starship. This ship would have no families, no science labs, no luxuries of any kind. It was designed for one purpose only. To fight and defeat the Borg. The Defiant was a prototype. The first ship in what would have been a new Federation battle fleet." Dax: "So what happened?" Sisko: "The Borg threat became less urgent. Also some design flaws crept up during the ship's shakedown cruise. So Starfleet decided to abandon the project." O'Brien: "What sort of design flaws?" Sisko: "You'll have complete access to the ship evaluation reports. But to put it simply it's overgunned and overpowered for a ship its size. During battle drills, it nearly tore itself apart when the engines were tested at full capacity."
- Odo getting pissed about the Starfleet security officer "stealing" his job.
- Quark: "I'm a little confused, Commander. You want me to go with you to the Gamma Quadrant to help you locate the founders?" Sisko: "See? It's not so confusing after all." Quark: "You're joking with me aren't you, you're having a little fun with Quark."
- Bashir lamenting about the terrible medical facilities.
- Odo getting angry at Quark before reverting to his liquid state.
- Sisko leaving Dax and O'Brien behind.
- Odo describing his "return home" instinct.
- The Defiant blowing up a Jem'Hadar ship.
- Odo meeting his people.

My Review
Holy crap! The Defiant is awesome. I love the idea that the Federation secretly developed a warship due to the Borg threat. I like the continuity reference to DS9: Rules of Acquisition regarding Quark's dealings with Dominion member races. It makes a great excuse to bring Quark along to pester Odo. ;) They do a very good job showing us how "unusual" Dominion technology is and how secretive they like to be, what with all the implied oppression in the Gamma Quadrant. I love how Odo finally goes on a personal quest trying to find his origins. This episode covers a lot! And does it well. A fantastic episode to begin the season with.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From djb on 2009-04-09 at 10:34pm:
    Wow. This really ups the ante, doesn't it?

    I'm watching DS9 eps in order, so I don't know much about what comes next, except for a few spoilers I've read on Memory Alpha. So I'll try to keep this review from the perspective of someone who knows nothing about what's to come.

    First of all, the Defiant. Awesome. A Federation war ship! What a concept! This brings to mind a concern I've long held. I don't know if this is a problem with Roddenberry's vision, or a problem he intended there to be, or what, but basically it's this: the Federation is run by a bunch of bleeding-heart wimps. Now, I usually recoil from the term "bleeding-heart," as it implies things I don't like politically, but this is the best term. This was especially true in TNG. Examples: Season 3's premiere, "Evolution." Nanites become apparently intelligent and become a threat to the ship, and instead of eliminate them (as one character tries to do), they get all weird and act as if it has some kind of right to exist, even though it's threatening everyone on the ship.

    Anyway. The federation is all about exploration, but they don't seem to want to be realistic about the fact that very real threats exist out there and they have to be ready. They could be like the Swiss: peaceful yet armed to the teeth. But they're not. They didn't last half an hour against the Borg, with 39 ships (granted, the borg had Picard's knowledge on their side, but still). They start work on a warship, and once the Borg threat recedes, they abandon it? They should have a fleet of a hundred Defiants at the ready!

    And now, we're facing the Dominion, whose teeth (the Jem-Hadar) are even more ruthless/efficient/deadly, it would seem, than the Cardassians, who have weapons and transporters that make short work of Federation shields, and have no qualms about a suicide mission to gratuitously destroy a disabled retreating ship. Nothing to sneeze at. If I were the federation, I would re-open the Defiant project, perfect it, start building a ton of them, start training Federation-equivalents of Marines en masse, reopen development on a cloaking device, put a ton of energy in to weapons and defense development, and so on. This is all stuff they should have done long ago, but for whatever reason decided to act as if real threats like the Borg or the Dominion didn't exist out there.

    Anyway. I don't know what comes next, so the Federation may very well grow some balls over the next few seasons. I hope they do. But it's nice to see the Defiant and what it's capable of.

    Of course, a major highlight of the episode is Odo finding his own kind. I already know (spoilers ahead) that the Changelings are the Founders, but for someone who doesn't know what's to come, it's still a powerful moment. I'm still aching to find out what happens: why did the Changelings form the Dominion? What happened to Sisko and the others? Why does Odo go back to the Alpha quadrant and not stay with his own? If they all seem to occupy the same "lake" on their planet (a rogue planet?), do the Changelings have individual identities the way we do or not? What would they look like if they hadn't just matched Odo's default form? Do they have a default solid form? Why and how do they have genders?

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to the rest of the series immensely.
  • From rpeh on 2010-07-28 at 3:39pm:
    A magnificent episode that really starts the new season with a bang.

    One minor problem: why is it when the Defiant is boarded by the Jem'Hadar that their first instinct is to use their guns as clubs? They were all locked and loaded and could have stunned the crew in an instant.
  • From MJ on 2011-08-08 at 5:01pm:
    This episode would seem to establish that the Jem'Hadar cannot instinctively recognize Changelings unless seeing them shapeshift. In DS9: THe Adversary, the Jem'Hadar only recognizes Odo as a "Founder" after passing through him. Here, we see the Jem'Hadar attack Odo with the same ferocity as they did Kira, obviously unaware who or what he is.

    There is a minor annoyance in this in DS9: The Way of the Warrior, I have a very hard time believing that a bunch of humans can defeat Jem'Hadar (and Klingons) in hand to hand combat. In reality, I think the Jem-Hadar, who let's not forget are genetically engineered warriors, would likely have taken over the ship in a matter of seconds, given how accustomed they are to boarding attacks.

    That aside, this was one of the better starts to a DS9 season. It's got plenty of action and intrigue. The Odo subplot is very well done; Odo is already very disgruntled because of Starfleet's decision to "augment" him with Eddington, and when he sees the Omarii Nebula, it becomes a singular obsession that will reveal the most stunning discovery of his life!

    The Romulan assistant was in character: highly mistrustful, a bit cold, and also possessing one of the most interesting Romulan traits: that is, preferring to avoid brash, direct confrontation in favor of a strategic advantage and saving the fight for a different day. This trait will frustrate Starfleet and the Klingons during the Dominion War.

    The Defiant's introduction is brilliant, and it's easy to see why the ship gains the affection of Sisko from the get-go.

    Nicely done!
  • From * on 2011-09-03 at 5:55pm:
    Dax' hair looks like a spray painted cinder block in this episode. Thank you for reassuring me that it won't last.
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-27 at 3:30pm:
    T'Kul was played by Martha Hackett who also plays the (somewhat) major character Seska in ST: Voyager.

    Fully agree with comments on the Jem'Hadar. I also noticed in the previous episode (DS9: The Jem'Hadar) that the Jem'Hadar did an astonishingly poor job of subduing Sisko and Quark after they escaped confinement. At the beginning of the altercation, one of the Jem'Hadar attacked Sisko with a phaser rifle he was using as a club, similar to the Jem'Hadar attack not the Defiant in this episode. Possible explanation in that episode was that the entire escape was designed as a ploy to allow one of the Vorta to infiltrate DS9 as a spy. Still, Sisko reasonably should have noticed that the Jem'Hadar did not simply shoot him.

    Also agree that Dax's hair in this episode (as well as part 2) was not that nice.
  • From peterwolf on 2013-11-08 at 6:07pm:
    I like this episode very much, in particular Odo┬┤s quest for his origins and his altered behaviour. However, some inconsistencies concerning his shape-shifter abilites were never really resolved: He could perfectly imitate the feathers of a bird or the fur and the ears of a rat, but not human ears!?!
    I take it that these imperfect ears are simply symbols indicating that Odo or the female shapeshifter belong to a different species.
    Also, my only other dislike in this great episode is that the Defiant was to easily defaeted by the Jem Hadar. After failure of the cloaking device the defiant should have had enough firepower to take out more than one Jem Hadar ship. Her shields and armour (I am not quite sure when the ablative armour was introduced?) should made her more resilient than we saw it. Whatsoever, we may blame it to the quite unexperienced crew, like Dr. Bashir being abused as weapons officer ...

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