Why did Odo not change his face at the end of season 4 and beginning of season 5?

  • At the beginning of season 5 the doctor surgically alters his appearance so he looks like a Klingon.

  • Why didn't they just make him look like a Human at the end of the mission? Or just leave him as a Klingon for that matter so he does not have to look like a changeling anymore.

It was his decision, but what was the reason behind it?

  • 1
    Can you really call spoilers on a show that ended 15 years ago?
    – BBlake
    Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 11:28
  • 3
    @BBlake yes, of course, there are plenty of people who haven't watched it yet.
    – o0'.
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 17:27
  • If I could cite it, I would, but there's an episode where Odo says that he can't get it quite right. It's not that he doesn't want to--he just simply can't.
    – miltonaut
    Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 11:20

4 Answers 4


Even though Odo didn't quite identify with the Changeling race, he didn't consider himself human either (except physically, for a time).

While the surgery itself may not have been any more complicated to make a human face or a changeling face, the face has to be designed first. And that design would have required aesthetic decisions on his part. He would have had to want to look more human, and put forth some small amount of effort to accomplish it. In my opinion, it's just not something that he would ever choose to do.

Slightly less unlikely, but still not very probable, would be for him to choose to look Bajoran.

  • 4
    "it's just not something that he would ever choose to do" - in that context, absolutely, although "ever" is a long time - in Children of Time, the alternate future Odo had learned to imitate humanoid faces much more accurately, and seemed happy to do it. Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 9:24
  • @luser droog odo is supposed to be Bajoran yet he can't get the face or nose ridges correct. Commented Jun 26 at 16:56

Counter: Why didn't he make his face more Bajoran/Human-like when he was a changeling before/after?

Odo intentionally went out of his way to mark himself different and isolate himself somewhat from the other crew members on DS9 - although, he did become more social towards the end of the series.

  • 1
    He definitely went out of his way to isolate himself, or at least until he began his relationship with Kira. But I thought it was pretty clear that his face remained that way because he wasn't good at imitating humanoid faces (one of the many changeling-related plot holes). This is why Odo never shapeshifts into another humanoid other than the female founder (who all have similar appearances to Odo for some reason). I suppose if he did master shapeshifting enough to imitate humanoids competently, he might retain his existing appearance because it's become his identity. Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 7:37

I chalk it up to production and Star Trek philosophy. Firstly it would have been cheaper to have Rene use his own skin in portraying Odo. But as a member of the Changeling species, his appearance was his on-screen signature and a presentation of the be-yourself pride that Star Trek espouses. Also one can't be a formidable mystery if you don't stand out and pose a question to all the folk who encounter you, even if you rest in a pail in your off hours.


I think (and I love Star Trek, especially DS9 for Quark's appearances and more...) Odo is not your everyday character which you can read in 10 minutes. He's very complex although he might seem simple. Remember, he's part of the Founders, and the Founders are an ancient race.

Odo just took a humanoid-like face (+ form) and he sticked with it out of probably simplicity, modesty, and other characteristics which form his character : righteousness, fairness, simple values and maybe few rigid rules that made him maintain all his other values in his life.

So his face I think he thought represented "all that he is" meaning all that he thought he would be, as a single character (even though he belonged to a collective).

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