"Why do you sound so familiar?"
Odo meets another one of the Hundred, the Changelings the Founders sent out as infants to explore the universe. But this new Changeling is determined to take Odo away from DS9
This episode contains examples of:
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: A platonic version. Quark's rant about humanoid genes seems to stem from his genuine worry for Odo's well-being. Of course, he has to express it in the most grating way possible.
- Broken Aesop: The hostile reactions to Laas's "being fog" on the Promenade seem to stem from bigotry against shape-shifters (including internalized bigotry on Odo's part). O'Brien gives a legitimate, non-bigoted reason to object to that particular behavior: the sudden appearance of fog on the Promenade gives people the impression that there's something wrong with the environmental controls, which is a very serious problem on a space station. There's nothing wrong with being fog, and there's nothing wrong with changing form in public, but taking that particular form in the most public area of the station, without giving advance notice to anyone, is genuinely disruptive — the equivalent of shouting "fire" in a crowded theater.
- Comes Great Responsibility: Laas doesn't seem to realize that having the capability to assume forms such as fire and fog, doesn't mean that he should assume them on a whim. He doesn't seem to get Odo's subtle hints that assuming certain forms can incite panic or at the very least, paranoia. Odo doesn't limit himself to one form to "fit in", he limits himself to one form to help the solids, only changing form when his work demands it.
- Cultural Rebel: Laas rebels not only against humanoids, but also unwittingly against his own people- his chaotic personality is at flat odds with their seemingly innate obsession with order.
- The Cynic: Laas has no faith whatsoever in humanoids, believing that neither he nor Odo have any place with them. He also believes that Odo and Kira's relationship is doomed to fail and fails to understand why Odo would choose to stay with her instead of leaving with him.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Switch "Changeling" with "Gay" and the metaphor writes itself. Especially Quarks "Changeling pride demonstration" line.
- As in many prior episodes, Changelings linking is fairly blatantly a metaphor for sex. Odo guiltily admits he linked with Laas to his girlfriend, Kira, and when he tries to defend it by saying it's just something that comes as naturally to Changelings as talking does to humans, Kira responds nervously "it's a lot more personal than talking, isn't it?", to which Odo uncomfortably responds by changing the subject. Odo later refuses to link with Laas in public, saying "here?" incredulously when Laas proposes it on the Promenade, causing the latter to become annoyed. Later still, Laas tells Odo that his relationship with Kira will never work out, despite his romantic love for her, because they can't link, paralleling the real-world situation of an affectionate couple with a nonexistent sex life.
- Entertainingly Wrong: Both O'Brien and later, a pair of Klingons, initially assume that Laas is a Founder, a reasonable assumption, since just about every Changeling encountered in the series other than Odo has been one.
- Establishing Character Moment: Laas responds to O'Brien's caution at his appearance by addressing Odo and requesting he tell "the monoform" to lower "it's" weapon.
- Everyone Has Standards: Laas won't be winning any personality contests anytime soon, but he doesn't see any appeal in the Founders' fascist, conquering ways, albeit mainly because he prefers to avoid "monoforms" altogether.
- Fantastic Racism/Jerkass: From moment one, Laas flatly refuses to show any respect to humanoids, despite Odo's efforts. To be sure, it is reciprocated, to include a guard not letting Odo talk to Laas alone, but letting Kira do so.
- Hypocrite: While he does make some good points about humanoids in general, Laas is ultimately just as bigoted against them as he claims they are against Changelings.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Kira is willing to set Laas free and let Odo be with him.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- Laas' point about humanoids disrupting nature for their own needs isn't invalid; as if on cue, Quark shows up with a steak immediately after Laas' story about a herd of animals returning to their mating grounds to find it fenced off.
- The Klingons very much DID provoke and attack Laas and his reaction very much WAS self-defense. That Sisko had to resort to arguing that the dead Klingon was reaching for a knife instead of a disruptor speaks wonders.
- Quark points out the reason why humanoids fear the unknown. It is how they evolved, the unknown was often dangerous and recoiling from it kept them alive. When looking at Changelings shapeshifting, they see the unknown, something to fear, especially since they are at war with Changelings.
- Kick the Dog: Rather than explain that he's not affiliated with the Dominion when a Klingon accuses him of having Klingon blood on his hands, Laas callously mocks them, saying that his hands would still "stink" of it if that were the case.
- Never My Fault: Both sides of a particular issue are guilty of this:
- The Klingons act as though Laas was the sole guilty party in an officer's death, with the surviving Klingon claiming that Laas had been surrounding them "menacingly" (he'd been a cloud of fog) and try to claim that the dead man had been reaching for a knife instead of a disruptor.
- While Laas was acting in self-defense when he killed one of his attackers, he made no effort at all to de-escalate the situation, actively insulted the already hostile Klingons, and showed neither regret nor remorse for the man he killed. Despite this, he acts as though he's completely blameless in the whole thing and puts his imprisonment down entirely as anti-Changeling sentiment.
- Not Helping Your Case: Laas isn't evil but his egotism doesn't do anything to make the humanoids want him around. This reaches its peak when a pair of Klingons say he has Klingon blood on his hands, and his only response is that his hands would stink if such a thing had happened.
- Playing the Victim Card: Laas treats just about every encounter he has with a non-Changeling as a painful chore, generally throwing in some bragging or insults, then acts as though any awkwardness or hostility that results is down to racism on their parts. He's not totally wrong about people being uncomfortable with Changelings, but he certainly doesn't do himself any favors.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Laas isn't evil like the Founders, but he's just as egotistical, doing whatever he wants while bragging about how superior he is to humanoids.
- Shout-Out: Laas kills a Klingon by forming a sword in his hand and then extending it from where he's standing, a move that would make the T-1000 proud.