"Treachery, Faith and the Great River" 
Season Seven, Episode 6
Teleplay by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle
Story by Philip Kim
Directed by Steve Posey
Music by David Bell
Main Cast:
Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko
Rene Auberjonois as Odo
Nicole deBoer as Ezri Dax
Michael Dorn as Lt Cmdr Worf
Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
Armin Shimerman as Quark
Alexander Siddig as Dr Julian Bashir
Nana Visitor as Colonel Kira Nerys

Guest Stars:
Jeffrey Combs as Weyoun (#5 and #6)
Casey Biggs as Damar
Aron Eisenberg as Nog
J.G. Hertzler as Martok
Max Grodenchik as Rom
Salome Jens as Female Changeling.


Odo is summoned to a meeting by Gul Rusol, one of his Cardassian informants. He is initially suspicious given the rumours that Rusol was killed when Cardassian joined the Dominion -- and his fears were well-founded, for waiting at the arranged meeting place is none other than Weyoun. Odo is stunned when Weyoun offers himself to Odo as a prisoner: he's defecting the Federation.

He is the sixth incarnation of Weyoun, activated when Weyoun #5 (who we've been dealing with from season five's Ties of Blood and Water onward) was mysteriously killed in a transporter accident. But this new clone gradually began to see that the war with the Federation is wrong and decided to defect. Considered a "defective" clone, another Weyoun clone was activated -- and this Weyoun, along with Damar, is doing everything in his power to stop his predecessor from reaching the Federation. Weyoun #7 realises that he must be stopped as he has too much sensitive information that Starfleet cannot be given, but he has a problem -- to kill Weyoun #6 means to kill Odo, and Odo is a Founder. The Jem'Hadar will never fire on a Founder, but Damar suggests that they need not know Odo is aboard. They dispatch the Jem'Hadar to intercept and destroy Odo's runabout.

Meanwhile, Weyoun #6 informs Odo that an illness has infected the Great Link -- the Founders are dying. Odo is devastated by this, but Weyoun assures him that he will be the last of his kind and destined to take over and reform the Dominion. He will bring peace to the Alpha Quadrant and lead the Dominion into a bold new era. The Jem'Hadar warships intercept the runabout, which Odo pilots into a meteor belt where they successfully hide for a time. But once they are found by the Jem'Hadar, Weyoun contacts Weyoun #7 and Damar and tells him to call off the attack, and he activates his self-termination device, sacrificing his own life to save Odo's. The enemy ships withdraw and Weyoun dies in the arms of his god. Back on DS9, Odo tells Kira what has happened, how his people are dying. Kira gently points out that in spite of all else, they are the enemy, waging a bloody war against the Federation. Odo knows this, but realises that in the end, whichever side wins, he is going to lose.


Let me start by saying how much I love that title! Really cool and appropriate too, applying to both stories alike. As for the actual episode? Better than cool! Mega-cool, if you like...eek, before I start jive talking, let's see if I can't string together one or two intelligent sentences of well-balanced criticism. A tall order, but I'll do my utmost best...

Seriously, this is one hell of a good episode. We finally get back to some solid, "core" DS9 -- and it's about time, too. With a mere 20 episodes to go before the end of the series (now there's a sobering thought) I'd like to see Misters Behr and co. tighten the reigns a little. The season has been quite solid thus far, but I do think it's about time we got back to some of the show's core storylines -- in this case the Odo/Founders arc, which has some far-reaching implications for the future of the entire Alpha Quadrant.

Weyoun's decision decide to defect to the Federation is a concept which I initially had a bit of trouble accepting, until that is, we learn that this is an entirely different Weyoun. Weyoun #5, the Weyoun we've been dealing with since season five, has been killed in a transporter accident and his replacement clone is a Weyoun with a difference -- while still loyal to the Founders, he can see that their obsessive conquest to control the Alpha Quadrant is misguided. He believes the war is a mistake, so he has decided to defect to the Federation. This Weyoun is considered "defective" and must obviously be stopped by Damar and Weyoun #7 (the knowledge he has of Dominion strategic operations could enable the Federation to win the war). Ironically, though, this "defective" clone has more sense than practically all the rest of the Weyoun progeny put together! 

Let's first discuss the "faith" part of the title. Numerous times throughout the episode Weyoun expresses his sheer awe at being in the presence of a god, even though Odo is reluctant to accept that he is a Founder, much less a god. At one point Odo suggests that the Vorta believe the Founders are gods because that's exactly what the Founders have built into their genetic code. Weyoun immediately responds -- "Of course they did. That's what gods do. Why be a god if there's no one to worship you?" Now, isn't that interesting? 

In my opinion, this episode draws a line between faith and blind faith. The Dominion operates on blind faith alone; largely because that's how it's been created by the Founders (who are evidently master geneticists). Blind faith can be a truly dangerous thing, for when you follow without question you essentially give up your power to someone else. We've seen the tragic results of this many times before -- a notable example that stands to mind is last year's Rocks and Shoals. The Jem'Hadar -- and to a lesser extent, the Vorta -- would jump off a cliff if the Founders said so. And that's darned scary when you think about it.  

That's not to say that faith is a bad thing. Not as long as that faith is well-earned -- and to recognise this you have to use your powers of discernment. That's what Weyoun #6 does: he opens his eyes and dares to challenge the dogma and make up his own mind. In this respect, he's far stronger than any of the Vorta we've seen before, because not only does he make up his own mind (and not let someone else do it for him) and then he has the strength to follow his convictions. This Weyoun is far nobler than the slimy, Vorta we've come to know. It's interesting to note that he still believes in the Founders (as he was designed to do), it's just he doesn't believe in what they are doing, so now he decides to follow the one Founder he believes in -- Odo.

The relationship that is built-up between Odo and this Weyoun is beautifully-crafted, with excellent work both on the part of the writers (David Weddle and Bradley Thompson deliver their best script to date) and the actors (more about that in a minute). Odo's initial scepticism was only natural but when he learns the truth about this Weyoun he sees the common element they share -- they've both turned their backs on their people...and it ain't easy. From this point on Odo finds a degree of sympathy, or more to the point empathy, for Weyoun, for he's been in exactly the same place. It takes great strength and conviction to break free of the crowd to follow your own truth and it's a road that's not at all easy, but it's a path Odo's chosen to tread for years now, and he's more than willing to help Weyoun along the way.

But while they share that in common, what serves to alienate the pair is Weyoun's continued belief of Odo as a god. Odo is understandably uncomfortable with this, but it is after all part of Weyoun's very nature. He's had the courage to take a look and question the Founders' motives and actions but he still needs the reassurance that he is still, in some way, serving his gods. He rationalises that by alleging himself with Odo, that is what he is doing. Getting back to the faith versus blind faith issue for a moment, it's interesting to note that Weyoun's eventual sacrifice, where he gives up his life to save Odo demonstrates the real virtue of faith. For he knew that Odo was a man of honour, a man who would truly do all that he could to help the Dominion. That's an instance of faith in a good, positive context and I must say that his sacrifice made for quite an emotional punch. And I very much doubt his sacrifice will be in vain, for it transpires that Odo may have a bigger part to play in the Dominion than he ever could have realised. You see, the Founders are dying.

This revelation wasn't much of a surprise, as I was spoiled in advance, but it's nonetheless fascinating and opens up a veritable can of worms as far as the future of the Dominion is concerned. Without the Founders, it's wholly possible that Odo, the last of his kind, could step in and take over the Dominion. Here Weyoun tells him that he can build a new Dominion, one based on peace and co-operation as opposed to conquest and war. Obviously it wouldn't be easy -- hell, the Jem'Hadar are genetically programmed "killing machines". But remember that it is blind faith that binds together the Dominion. Imagine what could be done with it in the right hands. I'm pretty certain that this is the direction the writers are going to take the series as it ends, and this serves as a wonderful bit of foreshadowing. However things are resolved, I'm certain that Odo is going to figure prominently. (And yes, I've been trying sooooooo hard to avoid Spoilers! It's hellish!).

Well, that about deals with the plot, but let's not overlook the acting. Just about any episode which features Odo prominently is bound to be worth watching (unless it also happens to feature a cerain Betazed Ambassador...) for you're automatically guaranteed a strong performance by the brilliant Rene Auberjonois. This is no exception. It's been a long time since we've seen Odo do anything other than getting "luuvy-duuvy" with his new girlfriend. Treachery... sees Odo make a welcome return to his acerbic best. Auberjonois does a particularly commendable job when Odo learns that his people are dying and later when Weyoun dies in his arms, instilling some real emotion into the episode. 

Equally good is Jeffrey Combs in his double-role as Weyoun. He superbly adjusts both characters to be recognisable as Weyoun, yet with subtle differences, effortlessly making us care for Weyoun #6, whilst giving Weyoun #7 a slightly darker edge. I think this is Combs' juiciest role yet and he carries the episode just magnificently. The episode also saw some strong work by director Steve Posey and musician David Bell, whose typically bombastic score never fails to give an episode an energetic boost. And those special effects, I must say, were absolutely beautiful! Really, really lovely. I recently told a friend that I considered DS9 one of the "best looking" shows on television, and I whole-heartedly stand by that claim.

A quick note on the sub-plot: it's a little unoriginal, but quite amiable nonetheless. So what if it bears a striking resemblance to In the Cards and another Nog sub-plot back in the first season's Progress? It was fun -- particularly Nog's lending the Captain's desk to someone who collects holo-images of famous Captain's desks! Colm Meaney was just a delight to watch as poor O'Brien has to face the rap for Nog's wheeling and dealing. His attempt to replace Sisko's desk was especially amusing:

Heh heh. :-) I also enjoyed seeing Nog and O'Brien interact -- I'm not sure why but they work well together. It's kind of nice to see O'Brien have something of an apprentice. I also rather enjoyed that little insight into Ferengi philosophical beliefs. The concept of the "Great Material Continuum" is oh-so appropriate and while the "lobe" jokes were old before they were new, I did chuckle at the notion of Ferengi having different "sets" of ears when they're young. The downside is that the sub-plot occasionally jarred a little, detracting from the more serious Odo/Weyoun story. A notable example was toward the end when the episode rather awkwardly cut from Weyoun's poignant death back to the station B-plot. But for the most part it was fun and quite enjoyable.

Here are one or two other comments:

Overall, I'm pretty darn pleased with what we've got here. A strong, engaging character piece which works both as a standalone story and as an advancement of the show's continuing narrative. Treachery, Faith and the Great River is nicely focussed and beautifully-executed on just about every level. More, please. More, more, more!

Rating: 9

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