The Good: Excellent character development, Competent acting
The Bad: Simple plot
The Basics: Part of the essential Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Vortex" is of little interest to non-fans, despite being a solid hour of television.
"Vortex" is one of the essential Star Trek Deep Space Nine episodes that continues to explore the main characters. In this case, it's the first (of at least three) episode where Odo's mysterious origins are explored and the first where the viewer is truly jerked around.
When a petty criminal named Croden arrives on the station and gets into trouble, Odo does his thing and locks Croden up. However, Croden claims to recognize Odo as a "Changeling," a mythical race in the Gamma Quadrant. Odo, naturally, disbelieves him, until Croden produces a key with shape changing properties.
Odo then must make the tough decision of extraditing Croden back to his homeworld or enlisting his aid in finding his people. In returning Croden to his people, he and Odo are hunted by Croden's enemies, whose very nature makes Odo question the veracity of his prisoner.
"Vortex" is one of those episodes of television that is good, with fine acting (though the girl near the end is rather unremarkable) and a simple plot, but filled with wonderful effects. I don't mean simply the space battle scenes (which this episode contains and it's fairly cool); I'm talking make-up. Gordon Clapp (of NYPD Blue, one of my favorite actors) appears in this episode and for years I still could not figure out who he played! Thank the universe for the IMDB, for after years of watching the episode (and looking it up on the IMDB) it's clear he plays the administrator who wants Croden back in a lone scene!
Guest actor Randy Oglesby, who does quite a bit of character acting, is magnificently ruthless in "Vortex" as the Miradorn. Cliff de Young is wonderful as Croden, creating a morally ambiguous character excellently with his vocal talents (much of his face is hidden by prosthetics).
Rene Auberjonois brings Odo to life in "Vortex," keeping the emotional core of the episode close to the viewer's heart. Rene is gifted at creating Odo and making the character more than simply a curmudgeon.
"Vortex" does its thing competently, though it's of little interest or intrigue to a non-Star Trek Deep Space Nine fan; that is, the episode is a fine quest for Odo's origins, but the non-fan probably won't care that much about it!
[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the first season by clicking here!
For other Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode reviews, please check out my index page!
© 2011, 2007, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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