Oh, Wes. Punting is bad enough, but punting on the captain’s favorite genre? You might as well volunteer for KP duty.
I take general issue with clone stuff as a lazy explanation for things in sci-fi: the idea that you can just take genetic material and end up with a full-formed, fully-developed adult with a functioning, socialized personality is super duper problematic and the only really interesting treatments of clones are the ones that acknowledge this and deal with it one way or the other.
Needless to say, Star Trek with it’s soft-on-science approach to storytelling doesn’t necessarily tend to rise to that, and so we end up in this episode with the DS9 crew growing a clone in a vat just to see what happens and then declaring, as the blob takes human form, that in a couple days he’ll be “a living, breathing member of Bajoran society”, which implies that he won’t be e.g. an inchoate, infantile manbaby golem with a blank slate for a brain. Clever trick, that.
But they never say that in the episode, so it could by a stretch be taken as intentionally left such that the clone wouldn’t be socialized. The clone that gets murdered in the holodeck is presumably not the person who was wandering around baiting Odo, in any case; he was probably just chilling in the actual original-flesh dude’s quarters watching Spongebob or whatever.
So. Here’s what I’m going to pretend to think they intended: Ibudan (the perp, I didn’t mention his name in these strips because it didn’t really matter) grows himself a manbaby clone. He socializes it just enough to be able to, say, walk it to a holodeck without incident and let it lay down and mutely get and enjoy a massage. Then kills it, end of story. So this becomes a kind of clone-murder-infanticide thing, even.
And then Bashir solves the mystery by growing himself an additional manbaby. That’s what he means by “living, breathing member of Bajoran society”. Emphasis is on “living” and “breathing” as not a figurative image but a literal description of what it’ll be capable of. The “member of society” angle is just profound sarcasm, and the emphasis on “Bajoran” is his way of saying, hey, it’s not my problem, I’m too young and handsome to be a father. It can go live in a planet-side Home For Wayward Smuggler Clone Manchildren.
In totally-unrelated-other-than-being-about-analyzing-pop-culture news, I juuuuust launched a new every-other-week-or-so podcast with my internet buddy Yakov, in which we cheerfully discuss and pick apart each of the (nine!) Hellraiser films. It’s called We Have Such Films To Show You, the podcast feed is right here if you want to subscribe (it’s not approved in iTunes quite yet), and it’s a rollicking, bullshitting good time, so give it a listen if you’re fond or pointedly un-fond of Pinhead, of Clive Barker’s ouvre, or of 80s horror flicks in general.