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Star Trek DS9 - Season 3 - Episode 06

Star Trek DS9 - 3x06 - The Abandoned

Originally Aired: 1994-10-31

Odo tries to convince a young, violent Jem'Hadar that there is more to life than fighting and killing. [DVD]

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 3.99

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Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- This episode establishes several highly relevant facts about Jem'Hadar biology and their role in the Dominion. It also establishes Odo's odd quarters and their purpose.



Remarkable Scenes
- Odo closing his door behind him as Kira looks in curiously when he answers his door chime.
- Odo placing Kira's plant inside the bucket he no longer needs to use.
- The dinner with Jake, Sisko, and the Dabo girl.
- O'Brien: "Seems a pretty cold-blooded thing to do." Odo: "Chief, my people don't have blood."
- The Jem'Hadar boy fighting on the holosuite.
- Rules of Acquisition; (unknown number) Inspect the merchandise before you make the deal. Sisko suggests that there should be a rule of acquisition like this and Quark says that there is one like this, but doesn't provide a number or the exact phrasing.

My Review
I'm quite fond of this one. It was a clever way to show us more about the Jem'Hadar without a direct conflict with the Dominion. Additionally, Jake's relationship with the Dabo girl and Sisko's objections to it come to a climax here. Sisko is forced (once again) to accept his son for who he is, and it turns out he's pleasantly surprised. The ending is a little contrived. It may have been a cooler episode if more effort was put into capturing and studying the Jem'Hadar by Starfleet. Sending him back to the Dominion without a fuss seemed like a wasted opportunity for some good drama.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pete Miller on 2006-06-22 at 4:32pm:
    I agree with the problem about the Jem'Hadar's rapid growth. Bashir tells us that his cells have an extremely high metabolic rate. All that means is that his body processes almost 100% of the food it intakes and his cells divide accordingly. Metabolism should mean nothing if the body is not taking in any food. If his body was somehow altered to still maintain the high metabolic rate even when no food was consumed, he would simply die. His cells would start to break down his body's own proteins and muscle tissue in the absence of food. The only way to achieve growth like this Jem'Hadar has would be to have him on an I.V. of pure sugar water 24/7. And even then, the rate at which he grows is simply absurd. To go from an infant to a young boy in a matter of days is like watering a plant once and it blooming in two seconds. It's just absurd growth that defies the laws of nature.

    That's just a Biology major's point of view. I can certainly suspend my disbelief so the Dominion can be cooler! :)
  • From JRPoole on 2009-01-14 at 12:21am:
    I have similar problems to the ones listed here, but they don't take away from the episode too much in the end. This is a bit of a rehash of "I, Hugh" from TNG, but it's well done, and we needed to more about the Jem Ha'dar.
  • From MJ on 2011-02-08 at 6:06pm:
    Two episodes in a row that have hints of TNG in them, eh? First DS9: Second Skin (also known as TNG: Face of the Enemy) and now DS9: The Abandoned, also known as TNG: I, Borg. The writers must have been watching a TNG marathon back in October '94!

    I'm just ribbing, of course. There were quite a few TNG episodes (especially in Season One) with hints of TOS in them.

    In my review I'm kind of incorporating DS9: Chimera from Season Seven, in case anybody reads this and would prefer a spoiler alert.

    In both episodes, Odo fails to convince a Dominion race to accept the people around him as he has done. This Jem'Hadar (and Laas the Changeling) not only fail to share Odo's tolerance for the DS9 humanoids, they actually scorn him for the life he has chosen. I like both of these episodes, in this case because it doesn't have the "happily ever after" ending where the Jem'Hadar learns to love the Federation and settles down to a peaceful life. Also, as in DS9: Chimera, the people on DS9 do not warm up to this Dominion life form; instead, they are terrified of him, and want nothing to do with him.

    What this does is add dimension to the Odo character. In both episodes, Odo is really the only one who sympathizes with the visiting alien. Also, in both episodes, we actually see Odo is willing to leave his life on DS9 for them. In Chimera, it's to find the rest of the Hundred and link with them. Here, it's to reform a Jem'Hadar and prevent him from rejoining the ranks of the others. These episodes show that Odo is not firmly in the Federation camp. He has grown to love Kira and admire several of the humanoids, but he is not so invested in his life on DS9 that he doesn't consider leaving if a suitable alternative presents itself. DS9 almost loses Odo several times, and it shows how torn Odo must feel, and how isolated. He seems desperate for someone else from the Dominion to choose, and therefore, perhaps, to validate, the same life he has chosen. Not only is he isolated and torn, he is unsure. He is in a state of disorder, the ultimately unacceptable feeling for a Changeling.

    On another note, how mad must Admiral Nechayev be after this episode? First, Picard helps a young Borg become healthy and then leave, and now Sisko does the same for a Jem'Hadar. After this, I'm sure Nechayev made a new rule that any abandoned kids from Federation enemies are to be turned over to her pronto!

    The subplot had potential but didn't really take up enough screen time to get interesting. It was really overshadowed by the much more fascinating issue of having a Jem'Hadar on board. Still, Jake would seem to have a thing for Bajoran women!
  • From zex on 2011-09-07 at 2:43pm:
    I actually thought this was quite a poor episode, largely because the Jem'Hadar "child" was portrayed unconvincingly. I think if that role could've been written, cast and performed a lot better.

    There were other problems too... The idea of a rapidly developing humanoid could've been interesting... But this was never really explored. Instead the boy's mind just somehow matured "without external stimulus," which makes about zero sense, advanced genetic engineering or no advanced genetic engineering.

    Another missed opportunity was the weird cloaking capability they seem to have. It would've been interesting to get into that.

    Instead of anything really intriguing, we get some lame, lazily choreographed fight scene in a holosuite.

    The "enzyme addiction" thing is kind of interesting, but doesn't really make too much sense. I could see how genetically engineering a species to be dependent on a unique substance could be useful, but not so much in the way it's portrayed here. How would making your well-honed killing machine irritable, anxious, and with an elevated heart beat help you control it? Wouldn't that just make it desperate, angry, and even more violent than usual? That's just about what we see here when "the child" starts going into withdrawal. Really doesn't make much sense.

    Here's another thing that doesn't make sense: DS9 security can't apprehend a lone Jem'Hadar without killing him? I understand that Sisko was under pressure from Odo and his own conscience, but that conflict and its resolution just wasn't portrayed very well. He comes out with a team, his phaser ready, then suddenly does an about face and agrees with Odo that they have to let him go in order to avoid bloodshed. Isn't that what the stun settings are for? Again, I get that he probably didn't really want to apprehend the guy, but that part wasn't really conveyed very well on screen.

    So, this wasn't much of an episode, IMHO. Mostly because the Jem'Hadar child just wasn't a very convincing or sympathetic character. That topped by some problems with the plot.

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