For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here
Overview – Quark makes a disturbing discovery in some salvage that he has just purchased: a baby. The infant grows rapidly and it soon becomes apparent that this is an infant Jem’Hadar. Odo takes on the task to raise the child in a hope to convince it to move against its genetic programing. Meanwhile, Commander Sisko gets to know the dabo girl that has been dating his son Jake, and makes some surprising discoveries of his own.
Score: 7/10 – A good episode that provides the audience with a better understanding of a new foe as well as develop the characters of Odo, Ben, and Jake. The B-story line with the Siskos is fairly routine and predictable, but adds some good filler. It could have been pared back a bit to allow Odo’s story to develop a bit more, but it was still good.
Relevance - 3 points. More than anything else, this grants us a deeper insight into the Jem’Hadar, establishing for the first time that these super soldiers have been genetically modified to be lacking an essential enzyme, which will later on be revealed as Ketracel-white. Odo shows footage from the battle shown in “The Search”. We also see the promised dinner between Ben Sisko and Mardah, the Bajoran dabo girl that Jake is currently dating. There is also a repeat appearance of the Boslic freighter captain that has had dealings with Quark.
Continuity - 3 points. Character continuity is solid. Odo wanting to turn the young Jem’Hadar and in essence show that his people can be redeemed works. Sisko as the overprotective father wrestling with the romantic development between his teenage son and an older woman is typical
Character Development – 2 points. Odo shines in this episode and grows the most. As he struggles to help the young Jem’Hadar renounce the instincts built into his genetics, he must ultimately face the truth that such an endeavour is doomed. He has a conflict with Kira over the issue, but true to their relationship they stay closely connected. Jake’s writing is further developed as it is what drew Martah to him.
Social Commentary – 3 points. I had a hard time deciding whether this would score two or three points. I did a lot of research and discovered that there are many different ideas and concepts that are being explored here. The Sisko story line shows how our children seem to grow up without us parents really noticing, and that we can still be surprised by them. The main story line gives us a chance to explore some deeper subject matter. Director Avery Brooks compared the story to an exploration of racial issues, specifically in gang culture. It is difficult to take someone out of a culture that has spent so much time conditioning them. Writer and producer Rene Echevarria described the story as a tragedy in that the Jem’Hadar youth could not be turned and redeemed. So many times we hope to be able to influence someone for good and help them change the pathway that they are on, only to learn that their effort is futile. I think many of us know someone whom we have tried to help overcome something deeply rooted in their life, such as addictions or negative cultural issues, but in the end realize that we just cannot help them.
Cool Stuff – 2 points. A point is scored for the more in-depth exploration into the growth of a Jem’Hadar soldier. This is the only chance we get to see how the Jem’Hadar start out it in life. It is very cool. It is also a nice insight into Jake. The realizations that Ben have about his son further strengthens their relationship. Cool point for that.
Rank – Captain (17 points). A solid outing that gives us our only glimpse at the life of a young Jem’Hadar. The Odo story is solid, and the B-line story with the Siskos is decent.