May 17 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Dax”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Dax rewatch terry farrell trill“Dax”
Written by Peter Allan Fields and D.C. Fontana
Directed by David Carson
Season 1, Episode 7
Production episode 40511-408
Original air date: February 14, 1993
Stardate: 46910.1

Station log: Dax and Bashir are having dinner. Bashir is flirting aggressively, and Dax is studiously ignoring his advances. Dax excuses herself; Bashir offers to walk her to her quarters, which she says isn’t necessary. After she goes off, Bashir grins and rationalizes that not necessary means not forbidden, either, thus cementing his skills as a stalker.

He turns a corner to see Dax struggling with two thugs in hoods. Rather than call security, Bashir instead wades in, clubbing the thugs’ boss in the jaw and then getting his ass kicked by those same thugs. Dax does try to struggle free, and also tries to call for help, but it’s for naught. By the time Bashir comes to and it finally occurs to him to use the combadge that’s right there on his chest, Dax and the kidnappers are gone.

Sisko calls for a security alert, sealing off the station. He also discovers that they’ve disabled the station’s tractor beam. The kidnappers manage to get past every single security measure and escape in a ship, but Sisko manages to fix the tractor beam and bring their vessel in.

Odo takes the kidnappers into custody, but the leader identifies himself as Ilon Tandro—a name that Dax recognizes—from Klaestron IV. He has an extradition order to arrest Dax for treason and murder, the latter of his father. Sisko is less than impressed, given the manner in which they executed the warrant. The charge is actually against Curzon Dax who, according to the warrant, served as a Federation mediator during a civil war on Klaestron thirty years earlier. Sisko didn’t even known Dax had been on that world, but that was before Sisko met him.

However, Dax refuses to let Sisko help her, and is apparently willing to go along with the extradition order, even though the sentence for the charge is death.

Sisko, though, has another trick up his sleeve, and it’s an explanation why Tandro felt the need to be covert about executing his warrant: Deep Space 9 is a Bajoran station, technically, and Klaestron doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Bajor. The ease with which Tandro bypassed station security indicates that they got cooperation from the Cardassians, which, as Kira gleefully explains to Tandro, really annoys the Bajorans. If they want Dax, they need to make their case in an extradition hearing before a Bajoran arbiter.

Odo blackmails Quark into donating the use of the bar for the hearing, and then Sisko sends the constable to Klaestron IV to investigate on his own. A Bajoran arbiter comes to the station and hears the case. Tandro explains that it took three decades for him to go after Dax because the evidence was in classified military documents that were only recently unsealed. Sisko argues that the warrant is against Curzon, who doesn’t exist anymore, and that Jadzia wasn’t even born when the crimes occurred. To Sisko’s annoyance, Dax doesn’t seem to be pleased with Sisko’s arguments.

During a recess, Sisko instructs Bashir to find medical evidence that Trills are different people when they switch hosts, and Kira to find legal precedent that subsequent hosts are not responsible for the actions of previous ones. Odo then contacts Sisko from Klaestron. The man Dax is accused of murdering is General Ardelon Tandro, and Odo has learned a) that he is a national hero on Klaestron, with his death spurring his troops to win a civil war, and b) he and Curzon were the best of friends. Odo’s off to see Tandro’s widow, who might shed some light on the situation.

Enina Tandro is appalled at the notion that Curzon might’ve killed her husband. She dismisses her son’s extradition order as the obsession of a son who never knew his father. But General Tandro was betrayed by someone who gave away the route he took from the capital to the front, enabling him to be ambushed and killed; of the five people who knew that route, the only one who doesn’t have an alibi is Curzon. Enina also didn’t know that Curzon died two years earlier.

A Trill minister—who earlier found Dax for Tandro—is called as a witness in the hearing. He claims to have been sent by Trill’s government to observe the proceedings. Tandro’s questions are designed to make it clear that all the symbiont’s memories and feelings carry forth to subsequent hosts. Sisko’s follow-ups are designed to establish that the hosts all have distinct personalities—they don’t even join until they’re in their 20s. It’s a blending, with neither being dominant.

Bashir testifies that Solomon’s solution won’t work—they can’t send the symbiont to Klaestron to stand trial and leave Jadzia on DS9 because neither can survive more than 93 hours separated. Bashir also submits that the brainwave patterns of Curzon and Jadzia, which establishes them as unique individuals. Tandro gets Bashir to admit that the brainwave patterns of the symbiont haven’t changed.

Sisko then calls himself to the stand, since he actually knew Curzon. Kira directs questions to him, as he describes Curzon as a freewheeling, womanizing drunk, but also as someone who took a young Sisko under his wing and taught him about art and science and diplomacy, and that whatever sense of honor Sisko has, it was nurtured by Curzon.

Tandro and Sisko go back and forth, but ultimately the arbiter gets fed up and announces that they’re taking a one-hour recess, after which Dax herself will get on the stand. Complicating matters is Odo turning up evidence that Curzon and Enina Tandro had an affair. He confronts Enina with this, and she admits to it—but she also makes it clear that her husband was not the hero in life that he became in death. She has lived with being a legend’s wife for thirty years, because no one wants to hear the truth. Odo says that maybe now it’s time people did.

Sisko confronts Dax with this new knowledge, and recognizes that she won’t defend herself in order to protect Enina. Even now that Sisko knows, she insists that Sisko do nothing and let the Klaestrons take her away.

Dax testifies to her accomplishments before being joined, including premiere distinctions in exobiology, zoology, astrophysics, and exoarchaeology. Before Tandro can complete his questioning of Dax, Odo escorts Enina into the hearing, and she testifies that Curzon was in her bed when the transmission in question was sent. The arbiter tartly says that Ilon should reconsider his extradition request.

Enina and Dax take a walk, and we find out that Curzon swore to keep two secrets: the affair, and also that Ardelon Tandro was the one who sent that transmission. The rebels killed him for his betrayal, thus turning him into a martyr and a hero. Dax stayed quiet, not just to protect Enina’s reputation, but also to protect the legend of the great hero General Tandro.

The Sisko is of Bajor: Sisko considers Curzon to be his mentor and dear friend, and he also values the new friendship he’s developing with Jadzia. According to Jadzia, Curzon always warned him that his temper would get him in trouble.

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Kira skewers Ilon Tandro magnificently in the scene where she and Sisko make it clear that they won’t release Dax without a hearing presided over by a Bajoran arbiter. Tandro tries to dismiss Kira as unimportant, and that just makes things worse for him.

The slug in your belly: We get some fleshing out of Curzon Dax, building on what Sisko told Bashir in “A Man Alone”: he was freewheeling, a bit of a wild guy, but still a fundamentally good man. He was also a womanizer, and he slept with another man’s wife—but loved Enina, enough to keep her secrets, both for her own good and the good of the Klaestron people.

Rules of Acquisition: Quark doesn’t want to close the bar for the hearing, not even for Dax’s sake, saying it’s just business. So Odo decides to throw a bunch of new Bajoran building codes at him, restrictions that would inconvenience Quark a great deal. When Quark accuses Odo of blackmailing him, Odo says it’s just business. Only then does Quark allow the hearing to take place in the bar.

For Cardassia!: The Klaestron government has a treaty with the Cardassians, and Ilon Tandro uses that connection to get information on the station that allows them to bypass security and kidnap Dax.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: Bashir’s aggressive flirting with Dax is met with an obvious lack of interest on Dax’s part. Bashir’s inability to take disinterest for an answer allows him to get hit really hard by Spice Williams-Crosby, but also alert everyone to Dax’s kidnapping.

Keep your ears open: “I am one hundred years old. I do not have time to squander listening to superfluous language. In short, I intend to be here until supper, not senility.”

Els Renora, the Bajoran arbiter, laying down the law.

Welcome aboard: A slew of familiar guest stars in this one.

Gregory Itzin plays Ilon Tandro, his first Trek appearance, but far from his last: he’ll be back as Hain in “Who Mourns for Morn?” as Dr. Dysek in Voyager’s “Critical Care,” and twice on Enterprise as Captain Sopek in “Shadows of P’Jem” and Admiral Black in “In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II.”

The late Anne Haney, having previously been brilliant as the re-creation of Rishon Uxbridge in TNG’s “The Survivors,” is equally brilliant as the Bajoran arbiter.

Richard Lineback is the Trill minister, having appeared on TNG’s “Symbiosis” as Romas. He’ll be back on Enterprise as Kessick in “The Xindi.”

Spice Williams-Crosby makes an uncredited appearance as one of the kidnappers. She’s probably best known for her stunt work (she’ll serve as a stunt double on both DS9 and Voyager after this, most notably doubling Jeri Ryan on the latter show), but she also appeared as the Klingon Vixis in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

Finally, the ever-delightful Fionnula Flanagan makes her first Trek appearance as well, as Enina Tandro. She’ll be back in TNG’s final season as Juliana Tainer in “Inheritance,” and will also be in Enterprise’s “Fallen Hero” as Ambassador V’Lar.

Trivial matters: This episode formally breaks with what was established about the Trill in TNG’s “The Host” regarding the relationship between host and symbiont. In the TNG episode, the Odan symbiont was dominant through three hosts, one of whom was Riker; the final host was obviously tabula rasa before being joined. This episode drops that in favor of a blending, and establishing that each host is a different person. It does not, however, answer the question of whether or not a Trill is responsible for the actions of previous hosts.

It’s also established in this episode that not all Trills are joined, that the competition among young Trills to become joined is fierce.

Curzon’s occupation as a diplomat is established here, as is the fact that Sisko met him when he was assigned to be his adjutant as an ensign. That first meeting between Sisko and Curzon was chronicled in the short story “The Music Between the Notes” by Steven Barnes in The Lives of Dax.

This is the only DS9 credit, and the last official Trek credit, for longtime Trek scribe D.C. Fontana. She’s best known for her extensive writing on the original series (from “Charlie X” in season 1 to “Journey to Babel” in season 2 to “The Enterprise Incident” in season 3, plus writing the seminal “Yesteryear” for the animated series), and she helped develop TNG, co-writing “Encounter at Farpoint,” and contributing to several first-season episodes before quitting in disgust. She has since written stories for a bunch of Trek videogames, as well as the “To Serve All My Days” episode of the Star Trek: New Voyages fan film series.

Colm Meaney didn’t appear in this or the next two episodes in order to film The Snapper, in which he had the top-billed role, reprising his supporting role from The Commitments (he would later also appear in The Van, thus covering the adaptations of all three of Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown trilogy of novels). The story reason given is that the O’Brien family is visiting Earth for Keiko’s mother’s hundredth birthday.

At one point, the government on Dax’s homeworld is referred to as the “Trillian government.” This is the only time that adjective is used, possibly because it makes it sound like the government is run by a character from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It soon went the way of Vulcanian, Bajora, and Kling.

Walk with the Prophets: “Live.” I haven’t rewatched this particular episode in ages, and I remember disliking it when it first aired. My main issue with it then was that it was an episode that supposedly focused on Dax, going so far as to be called “Dax,” and yet Terry Farrell does almost nothing in the episode except sit around and frown a lot. Indeed, the show had given Farrell almost nothing to do so far (a problem that wouldn’t really be solved until the second season), and there was serious concern that the character wasn’t going to work at all.

And that’s still true, but watching it now from the perspective of two decades—and knowing that the character of Jadzia Dax and the acting of Terry Farrell would both improve tremendously as the show progressed—makes this a lot better, and also makes it easier to deal with Dax’s silence as a plot point (trying to keep the Tandro family skeletons safely closeted) rather than a way to avoid making ex-model Farrell try too hard to have to act. While the questions raised by this episode about accountability of a joined Trill for the actions of previous hosts would be better answered in “Blood Oath” and “Rejoined,” it’s still an interesting philosophical issue. I especially admire the way the script doesn’t take sides, allowing both Sisko and Tandro to make strong arguments.

The episode also benefits from three strong guest turns. Gregory Itzin’s obsessed passion is well played, and Fionnula Flanagan’s intense feelings turn what could’ve been an awful cliché into a strong character whom you believe Curzon could’ve fallen for.


But what makes the episode shine is the acid turn by Anne Haney as the arbiter, who cuts through the crap superbly. Credit must also go to Avery Brooks, whose frustration and anger and devotion to both Curzon and Jadzia lends a quiet strength to his performance here. More than Kirk, and certainly more than Picard, Sisko is a commanding officer character who wears his emotions on his sleeve, and he makes it clear that Dax is too important to him to just give up without a fight.

Ultimately, the episode works nicely as a Perry Mason story, with Kira in the Della Street role of assistant in the courtroom and Odo in the Paul Drake role of investigator, turning up facts in the field to help the case. And it cements the work the show would be doing with the Trill, including separating them from what was established in “The Host.”


Warp factor rating: 7

Keith R.A. DeCandido will have a review of Star Trek Into Darkness on this very site on Monday. Hide the kids...

1. Happytoscrap
I guess I better go see "Into the Darkness" this weekend then! :D

I didn't think much of this episode. Which is too bad. I really like Dax (in later seasons) but this episode really bored me for reasons I can't precicesly put my finger on.

I did think the acting by both Mrs. Tandro and the arbitor were well done and I enjoyed seeing Bashir get punched in the face.

That is about all I liked in this episode. Maybe I'm the slow one, but to me, it seems more than obvious that Jadzia could in no way be imprisoned for a crime Curzon committed just because they shared Dax. It wasn't like "the Measure of a Man" where the trial really did go back and forth in my mind.

Sure we knew Data was going to be exhonorated (just like we knew Dax was going to be exhonerated) but the trial in TNG was sooooo good, even I was debating if Picard or Riker was correct. This trial.....a sleeper.
2. Ashcom
I'll admit to having been disappointed that the episode sidestepped the central issue. The question of whether you can punish an innocent person for the crime of another that she is physically joined to would keep an army of philosophers busy for years, but instead of attempting an answer the episode took the old "oh, turns out he didn't do it after all" route.

Having said that, if Curzon had turned out to be guilty, it would have thrown a great big curveball into the series, and I don't think it could have coped with it this early on. Once the characters were established, maybe two or three seasons down the line, it would have made fascinating viewing to watch both Jadzia and Sisko struggle with the knowledge that Dax was guilty of a horrible crime. But at this point in the series, before we really know and have engaged with the characters properly, it would have just confused matters.
David Levinson
3. DemetriosX
DC Fontana seems to have had a knack for fleshing out alien cultures in the Trek universe. Here she does for Trills what she did for Vulcans. And I think I like her Trills better than those in "The Host". IIRC, I expected them to go for the "You can have Dax, but not Jadzia" out, and certainly it would have probably kept them from executing her. My only real problem with this episode stems from later developments in Dax's character. The later Dax would have kicked those guys' asses from one end of the station to the other.
Curzon always warned him that his temper would get him in trouble.
Like decking an All-Powerful Pan-Dimensional Energy Being, for instance.

Small point of order: While Colm Meany's character in the three Barrytown films is the same character in the three books, he is inexplicably three different people in the movies. Mr. Rabbitte in The Commitments, Dessie Curley in The Snapper, and simply Larry in The Van. I have no idea why they changed the names of all the characters in the last 2 movies, but they did.
4. RobL
I remember enjoying this episode except for one flaw: there was no discussion of legal precedent. Surely the Trill home world had dealt with this scenario before, right? Looking up legal precedent would be the first logical step in a case like this, so the writers should have explained it away even if didn’t want to go there.
Christopher Bennett
5. ChristopherLBennett
I loved this one. I thought it was a very clever way to flesh out the concept of the Trill and how they worked. That was a complex subject and a challenge to flesh out, and a courtroom drama was a nifty way to toss out all that exposition in a way that worked dramatically because it came out not in a lecture but in a series of debates with serious personal stakes to the characters. Also, Fionnula Flanagan was great and Anne Haney completely knocked it out of the park. As you may recall, Keith, Haney is my own mental casting choice for President Bacco from your Articles of the Federation, based mainly on her fantastic performance here.

One bit of trivia: This is the only episode in the entire Trek franchise whose title is the unadorned name of a series regular. Other regulars' names only appear in longer titles like "Spock's Brain," "Datalore," "The House of Quark," and the like; and all the other name-only titles are for guest characters ("Miri," "Bem," "Sarek," "Aquiel," "Melora," "Shakaar," "Jetrel," "Tuvix," "Alice," "Rajiin"... and maybe "Tin Man" and "Caretaker" if you stretch a little).
Keith DeCandido
6. krad
DemetriosX: The name changes were due to rights issues. 20th Century Fox owned the film rights to The Commitments, which also included the rights to the named Rabbitte family. So when the BBC bought the rights to the sequels, they had to change the name. It's unclear why the name was changed between the adaptations of the second and third novels, though.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
7. Ashcom
One thing I would have liked to have seen better explored in this episode was exactly how the whole Host/Symbiont memory works. (At least it would have given Jadzia something to do other than sit around looking stubborn.)

We've all had those moments when an old friend mentions something from the past that we'd totally forgotten had happened. And in this case, Jadzia wasn't even there when the events occurred. It would have been interesting to learn just whether she already knew of Curzon's affair (and possibly other dodgy doings) or if she had had to make a conscious probing into the symbiont memory in order to "remember".
Phil Parsons
8. Yakko
@2: They eventually did deal with a similar scenario in Season 3 with "Equilibrium" when it was revealed that Dax was briefly joined to Joran the Musical Murderer. Ezri even used those recovered memories to help her go all Will Graham and catch the homicidal Vulcan in "Field of Fire" in Season 7.

@3: You're right, Demetrios - I forgot how Dax is portrayed as a damsel in distress here when her later depiction as a warrior slinging bat'leths alongside Klingons makes that corrider struggle seem ludicrous.

But it's that Station Log that really strikes me as crazy. Keiko O'Brien, who was being portrayed by a 35 year old actress at the time, has a 100 year old mother??? Even allowing that life expectancies are longer in the 24th century and perhaps women are capable of bearing healthy children later in life it does seem a bit of a stretch to believe Keiko was born to a woman in her mid sixties.
Rob Rater
9. Quasarmodo
I was hoping they'd at least come to a resolution with the trial, but then when they didn't, it all seemed like a waste of time. Interesting that Jadzia feeling that she needs to hold up Curzon's promise kind of implies that there is responsibility passed along from one host to the next.
George Salt
10. GeorgeSalt
I've never been a fan of courtroom procedurals, in any century, so this one didn't do much for me. I did like the way that Sisko deftly exploited the station's dual status as sovereign Bajoran territory administered by the Federation to impede Dax's extradition.

@4: Totally agree. I was disappointed because we never learned how the Trill themselves would handle such a case. A similar case must have occurred during their history.

One nitpick: why is it so easy to fool Starfleet internal sensors by leaving behind the combadge? It doesn't make much sense. One would think that combadges are sophisticated enough to monitor vital signs and perhaps even recognize the DNA of the wearer in order to detect deception. Even back in the 1990s such capabilities were hardly whimsical or farfetched. Leaving the combadge behind is a lazy plot device that is overused.

The best thing about this episode is that it develops more fully the culture of the Trill. Although there are many glaring inconsistencies between the Trill of TNG and DS9, I tend to overlook them because a symbiotic, joined species is a cool sci-fi idea. The rich and full development of alien cultures is an area where DS9 shines and the Trill are a good example of that.
Matt Hamilton
11. MattHamilton
I really could see her as President Bacco in my mind, now that you mention it. I like that. DS9 does some fleshing out of alien races probably more so than any other of the Trek series other than the original with the Vulcans. You see more of the Klingons later; though the Ferangi were supposed to be the main adversary on TNG (and fell flat on their faces), they could have vanished into obscurity but did not. DS9 really fleshed them out and made them kind of funny. WIth the Trill they did this too, though there are some terrible Dax episodes, I find the Trill to be a facinating people. But Dax has some really bad episodes, in my opinion, all the way up to season 7. This episode, however, is pretty good. This is not the episode I was thinking it was and when I started reading the rewatch, it all came flooding back and I was like "Oh, yeah!" I think that they were going for a Measure of a Man kind of episode and they failed with that, but it was still nice to watch the debates go back and forth. Unfortunately, they will do this what, two more times? Once with O'Brien and once with Worf, where someone is on trial and Odo finds new evidence and blah blah. I like the one with Worf because (SPOILER FOR ANYONE WATCHING FOR THE FIRST TIME) He actually did what he was accused of doing and I liked the balls it took to do that instead of just finding some Deus Ex Machina to explain everything away and save him at he end. That was a agood episode, betterthan this one. But they are finding their feet here on DS9 and I'm glad to be along for the ride once again.
Alan Courchene
12. Majicou
I remember reading a book by a biologist on the biology of Star Trek, in which she complained that some of the major alien races in Trek are impossible, but most of her arguments were incredibly half-assed, like saying that you can't have a society consisting entirely of warriors like the Klingons (they aren't like that, we just run into the warriors most often, like we most often encounter humans in Starfleet.) For the Trill, she apparently didn't bother with DS9, basing things only on "The Host" in which the symbiont completely subsumes the personality of the host. Nobody, she argued, would volunteer for such a thing, which is probably true.
All of this is in aid of saying that the retconning of the Trill was, for once, well-advised and arguably necessary. And I probably mentioned this back on "The Host"'s thread, but eh.
13. Erik Dercf
This episode was "meh" I imagine that the bugget was always tight but I would have loved if they had flashbacks in this episode to Curzon. This episode has " A Few Good Men" feel to it. This episode is a little funny because Dax is shown to enbody a joke of "Man, if you were a woman I'd marry you." Of course that doesn't happen to Sisko but its awkward to watch Sisko talk about J.D. and C.D.
Matt Hamilton
14. MattHamilton
The Klingons, at first glance, most resemble Spartan society which, as one might recall, was made up entirely of warriors. Even the women were trained, children taken at the age of sevento train and be the best of the best. Their adult initiation was to hunt and kill a slave, for the love of Khaless! So, warrior societies do, in fact, exist. One could make the argument that the Spartan civilization disappeared, however, it is more accurate to say that they adapated. That way of life vanished. And, as you pointed out 12, and as was pointed out in Enterprise, Klingon society is not made up entirely of warriors. There are politicians, doctors, lawyers and artisans. Also, I just want to say, Curzon was a terrible diplomat, it would seem. "Hey, I'm here to avoid further bloodshed in a civil war by mediating between the two sides but I'm going to put all that in danger and put the lives of hundreds if not hundreds of thousands in peril, bringing certain death to many, because I can't keep it in my pants. Hey, I'm a drunken womanizer, it's charming, what more could you want in a diplomat?" The Federation has some 'splainin' to do.
15. Amy Goldschlager
Do we not all love the moment in The Snapper when Sharon Curley goes into labor and Colm Meaney shouts "Red Alert!"?
Mike Kelmachter
16. MikeKelm
The problem here is that its a Dax centric episode before they've figured out who Dax is. Is dax a 900 year old in a models body or a really wise 30 year old. In this episode she is neither. I find myself wondering how season six Dax would handle it, which I think would be much more aggressive rather than resigning herself to the proverbial gallows.

Also I can't imagine in all the years of trill jurisprudence that the issue of is a symbiont held accountable for the actions of various hosts. By next season and psycho joran we sort of work out that they aren't.
Jeremy Clegg
17. Cleggster
Sigh. First off I feel that the issues raised here could have been really interesting to look at. If only they resolved it, but I did like the judge. yay

But a pet peeve of mine is the old cliché. Someone is kidnapped or some other crime is committed. The perps are chased and finally caught in the end. Just as they get grabbed they turn and shout that they are the law or some other authority. So of course everybody stops and hears them out after the commercial break.

This shows got it, but worse. In essence they snuck into Bajoran territory, sabotaged a Bajoran station and proceed to assault and kidnap Starfleet personal. Furthermore all this was preceded when they conspire with the sworn enemies of the Bajoran's against them. If not an outright act of war, it certainly counts as an act of pronounced aggression. Just once, I would like to see the next chapter in one of these stories followed up by the so called "officers of the law" to be locked in prison, there argument against whomever thrown out since they destroyed their own case by not communicating their grievance ahead of time. Like real officers of the law. Showing your ID after commiting crimes don't count.

I understand that in TV, you can't bring in a second set of actors for the trial. And it makes sense for the antagonist to be personally involved. But, like I said, this cliché is a bit of an issue for me. That and when the hero makes their way through elaborate traps only for the bad guy to just walk arrive like it was nothing. Or when something of monumental import is discovered, only to be destroyed or gotten rid of in some manner. Never to be mentioned again. So, yeah it kinda over shadowed the whole episode for me.

That being said, I typically love D.C.’s work.
Chris Nash
18. CNash
I too was bothered by Dax's constant silence. Perhaps they should've given her a few more lines, even if it was just to say "I can't talk about it"? I did, however, like how the scenes between Sisko and Dax in her quarters were shot - the shelf between them represents the barrier that's come up between these two old friends, and it's only when one of them crosses to the other side that they start talking to each other properly.

I was also disappointed that Kira's task of finding legal precedent for crimes committed by former Trill hosts wasn't followed up on; Enina showing up to put the kybosh on the charges also means that all the back-and-forth arguments between Sisko and Ilon were slightly pointless, just filler to allow Odo to collect the evidence. And are we to assume that Klaestron IV is very close to Bajor, then? Odo certainly made the trip there and back very quickly.

Anne Haney's Arbiter was fantastic, of course, and the highlight of the episode for me. Second place is Kira letting Ilon know that the Bajorans are very annoyed by his antics...
19. tortillarat
Not fond of this one. The only thing I like about it is the arbiter's performance; before she showed up with her opening line I nearly turned the episode off. I find everything else about it awkward and bland, and I don't feel it truly tackles the issues it tries to.
20. Mac McEntire
I find it interesting that the big dramatic reveal in the courtroom, complete with swelling music and everybody’s shocked reactions, is the fake one. Then, the actual reveal of what really happened is casual and low-key, strolling along by those big windows. Someone not paying close attention might even miss that the entire episode hinges on that one small moment.

People say that this is a Dax episode in which Dax does nothing. I don’t quite see it that way. Dax makes a choice, to be silent and stay silent, and that choice affects everything that happens throughout the rest of the hour. While Sisko argues passionately that Jadzia can’t be held accountable for Curzon’s actions, but, by maintaining her silence, Jadzia shows that she certainly feels responsible. It's true that the Dax of later seasons is more dynamic and aggressive, but perhaps this episode can be viewed as a first step toward her becoming that more aggressive Dax?

Then there's Bashir. People are supposed to be all enlightened and whatnot in the ST universe, correct? So maybe when Bashir is humiliating himself in his pursuit of Dax, she smart enough to know that it’s harmless flirting and he’s smart enough to know that it’s all a game and… no, I can’t make this argument. The poor doc is clueless.
Joseph Newton
21. crzydroid
I was pretty annoyed by the fact that he didn't take the 1 second to tap his combadge and call security before rushing in to help.

One thing that took me a little by surprise was the reveal that Jadzia was 28. According to IMDB, Terry Farrell would've been 29 when this aired, so that matches. I used to watch shows and movies with these adult characters that were all significantly older than me. Now it's kind of an interesting intellectual exercise to realize that I'm older now than a lot of the actors were when those things were filmed, as is the case with Terry Farrell/Dax in season 1 here. Princess Leia is even starting to look positively young to me now.

I'm glad to find out that Enina was also Juliana Tainer; I knew she seemed familiar but I was too lazy to look it up. It also sheds light on another feeling I had: When she expresses her surprise at learning that Curzon was dead, it felt very familiar and I chalked it up to being a trope for this type of episode. Now I realize it's because I've seen the same actress express the same surprise and heartbreak at learning that Noonien Soong had died.
23. Clomer
The thing that always bothered me about this episode is how the officers from Klaestron IV essentially committed crimes of their own in their attempt to arrest Jadzia. They should be locked up, pending their own trial in Bajoran court, and their own case thrown out on those grounds alone. Then, even if Bajor didn't want to take that step, Jadzia was a Starfleet officer, which means the Federation would certainly have a thing or two to say about it.

In that case, Federation courts would probably look to Trill legal precedence. Even if the issue of host accountability for previous hosts actions hadn't yet come up in a Federation court (the whole symbiont thing was hidden until recently enough that it's possible that it hasn't yet), it seems likely that the Federation court would honor whatever precendent/law had already been set in the Trill legal system. So there, too, the grounds for extradition are pretty flimsy, as it is pretty firmly established (even if it isn't ever outright stated) in later episodes that they are not.

Seriously, could Jadzia, and later even Ezri, be locked up for the murders committed by Joran? To me, that's insane on the face of it, and yet that is the argument that the Klaestron reps were trying to make.

(I was an occasional commenter in the TNG rewatch, but I'll probably comment more often here because DS9 has always been my favorite ST series)
Christopher Bennett
24. ChristopherLBennett
On the question of Trill legal precedent, is that relevant here? After all, the alleged crimes were committed in Klaestron territory, and the attempted extradition was in Bajoran territory. So while Trill precedent might've been useful to hear about as a guideline, it wouldn't have been binding on the parties in this case. It was necessary to figure out what Bajoran law or Klaestron law would rule about a situation they'd never faced before.
George Salt
25. GeorgeSalt
@24: The question of legal precedent and its place in Bajoran law is a real minefield for the writers. Bajor is not a Federation world, so perhaps Federation law wouldn't have much weight; on the other hand, precedent set in an alien court might hold some weight in a unique case such as this one.

The writers created a sense of expectation when Sisko tasked Kira to search Federation databases for legal precedent. I found it unsatisfying that the writers just left that dangling.

For me, the problem is that this episode is a space-operatic take on a fairly standard TV courtroom procedural. Aliens would have radically different judicial systems and this one feels too familiar for my taste.
26. lvsxy808
I think the issue of Jadzia seeming so passive and damsel-like in this ep as compared to later Jadzia can be explained by the idea that the Jadzia Dax joining is still quite new.

While it's never stated outright, it's implied that Jadzia was joined only fairly recently before the start of the show. And it takes her a while to figure herself out and establish herself as a character, both to the viewers and to herself. She doesn't develop into the fighting, swinging, loving badass we know until the second season and later, once she's more comfortable with all the various lives she's lived. At this point, so early in her joining, she's still the shy and nervous unjoined Jadzia in many ways, not having incorporated Curzon's fun-loving or Emony's athleticism or Joran's violence yet, as we know she will do.

I don't see anything inconsistent in her characterisation here - I just see her at the beginning of her character arc rather than the end of it.
27. soupytwist
lvsxy808 - that is EXACTLY what I was coming in to say! I do think it would do with a better treatment within the episode, in retrospect, because obviously it's not clear, but I definitely thought that Jadzia Dax being a very new joining this early on was a big, big reason why she didn't feel able to just go in swinging, even if she wanted to. (And I thought it was also pretty clear that she is at best not sure she wants to - that letting the secrets out will have consequences, and possibly also some guilty feelings on Jadzia's part about what Kazon had done, means there's some internal moral conflict at best about defending herself.)

I definitely think the biggest hole in this otherwise pretty decent episode is the lack of Trill precendence. Whether they've only just told the rest of the universe about joining or whether that's being retconned into always having been a thing everyone was aware of, there should be SOME! And it really should be mentioned, because it's so glaringly obvious. I don't care how Trill deal with it, I just want to know that they DO, because as a culture they must have faced this exact problem before and have come up with some sort of solution to the dilemma. Even if being tried under someone else's rules, what the Trill themselves do is relevant, dammit.
Christopher Bennett
28. ChristopherLBennett
@26/27: Sorry, but it is stated outright in this very episode that Curzon died two years before. And we saw in the flashback in "Emissary" that Jadzia received the symbiont mere moments after Curzon died (and it had to be within 93 hours anyway or the symbiont would've died). So Jadzia is not a new host at this point; she has two years of experience with being joined, and that's in addition to the extensive training and preparation she received before joining. Ezri was the one who was supposed to be a new and inexperienced host, in direct contrast to Jadzia, who was already at peace with herself from the moment we met her.
29. MikeKelm
@26, 27... I don't know (and maybe Chris or Keith confirm) that the writers had figured out that Jadzia was no shrinking wallflower yet. TNG had two damsels in distress, it seems to me like the DS9 writers were trying to decide if Jadzia was the beautiful but vulnerable scientist or not. In the end they went the or not path.

But I stil think that Trill jurisprudence would have settled the host/stmbiont legal question- even if it were to be brought up and dismissed by the arbiter because this wasn't Trill or the Federation. But if think it would be clear by the fact that the Dax symbiont wasn't punished for the actions of Joran that new hosts/symbionts cannot be held accountable for actions of previous hosts.
Phil Parsons
30. Yakko
@26/27... Besides in second season's "Invasive Procedures" when Verad steals the Dax symbiont the transformation and blending in his personality is immediate. By your reasoning he should remain largely insecure and desperate for some time after the procedure.

I've always thought that part of the problem with early Jadzia was that the writers seemed to think that the best way to portray a character with centuries of experience was with solemn dignity and serenity. Dull dull dull. It was how Guinan was often written on TNG but an actress with Whoopi Goldberg's skill was able to bring nuance and flavor to bland dialogue whereas Terry Farrell wasn't quite up to it. As the show developed they figured out that it was much more interesting (and believable) that someone with several lifetimes under her belt might have a zest for life and not sweat the small stuff so much and be so serious all the time.
Christopher Bennett
31. ChristopherLBennett
I never had the problems with first-season Jadzia/Terry Farrell that I'm hearing from others here. I always thought she did a good job of conveying a sense of someone very mature and experienced who looked on the relative children around her with amused fondness and patience.
32. bigray1999
I think the DS9 writers should have made Jadzia Dax the station's counselor, like Deanna Troi. I didn't feel Terry Farrell was very believable as a science officer. She doesn't come across as a scientist as me.
George Salt
33. GeorgeSalt
To reiterate something I said previously, I feel the problem stems from the fact that the writers established an expectation when Sisko asked Kira to search Federation databases for legal precedent concerning joined Trill. They exacerbated that expectation when they had a Trill ambassador testify as a expert witness, and yet no one saw fit to ask him the obvious question: how do the Trill themselves handle such cases.

Although Trill law would not have the weight of binding legal precedent on Bajor, it would not be unreasonable for the Bajorans to examine Trill law. I believe the legal term of art is "instructive, persuasive or confirmatory authority." It is clear that the Bajorans have no prior experience with joined species so it would not be unreasonable for them to look to other worlds for guidance.

Having said that, it does not follow that Trill legal precedent is necessarily just or correct. In this episode it is established that only a small minority of Trill are joined with symbionts. So I wonder if the joined Trill essentially run Trill society and comprise a ruling class. If so, a precedent that states that a joined Trill is not responsible for the actions of a previous host just might be a bit too convenient for the ruling class.
34. Rancho Unicorno
@32 - Why not?
Joseph Newton
35. crzydroid
@32: What would feel like a scientist to you? Is there some specific way a scientist is supposed to be? Why can't anyone be a scientist?
36. soupytwist
@29/30 - I'd forgotten it said it specifically! But I will say that I still don't think two years is all that long, really, to learn how to cope with being basically a totally new person. Having had training helps (I always felt sorry for Ezri being just completely bowled over by the whole thing!) I'm sure, but doesn't mean the practice is necessarily that easy. If I recall correctly there were some pretty clear indications later that Jadzia specifically didn't always find it easy. :) And I do think that even people who are perfectly confident within themselves might think keeping schtum is the best way to deal with a big situation like this.

(Especially, as I said, if Jadzia is morally conflicted about the whole thing, which I also got - that she's not at all sure standing up for herself here is the honourable or right thing to do.)

Later Jadzia is even more awesome, though, no denying that. :D

@32 - I happen to know quite a few scientists and one at least actually reminds me quite a lot of Jadzia, if Jadzia were 5'2 and did kickboxing instead of tall and wielding a ba'atleth. She might take umbrage at the idea that she's not what a scientist is supposed to be like...
37. TBGH
Decent episode.

The one thing I seem to remember is didn't this episode have the first girl-on-girl kiss ever shown on network television? I remember the news article saying the original series had the first black-white kiss and DS9 had the first girl-girl kiss, but not sure if that was this episode.

Both times however, they really chickened out. Kirk and Uhura were being mind-controlled and the girl-girl kiss was from the echo of a previous boy-girl relationship. So even though they set history neither showed a girl-girl or black-white relationship.
Christopher Bennett
38. ChristopherLBennett
@36: I really object to the notion that being quiet and serene is a sign of insecurity and that confidence equates to fighting and aggression. I believe it's more often the other way around.

@37: There's no kiss here; Enina just brushes Jadzia's cheek with her hand. You're thinking of "Rejoined," where Dax was reunited with a former host's wife. That was the one with the rather passionate kiss between Terry Farrell and Susanna Thompson. It wasn't the first "girl-on-girl" kiss on TV; that was on LA Law four years earlier. But it still provoked a lot of ire and controversy from certain quarters.
39. soupytwist
@38 Yes, definitely! Feeling the need to go round yelling and throwing their weight around is not at all something I associate with people who are confident in their ability to get stuff done.

And aw, I really liked 'Rejoined'.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
40. Lisamarie
As a first time watcher, I took Jadzia's silence as a kind of inner strength. She had convictions and reasons - that she was keeping close to the chest - and was going to stand by them. She just didn't need to flaunt it.

I was also disappointed that the resolution of the episode was 'oh, he didn't do it after all!'. I agree that it would certainly be a bit problematic to have one of your main characters at least partially responsible for treason/murder right off the bat, but it's kind if irritating that they bring up this issue, which is quite interesting, and then just kind of weasel out of resolving it.

I kinda think I'd want to be a joined Trill :) It would be so cool to have all that knowledge and perspective and experience to draw on :)

As for the actual issue, I am not totally sure how I'd feel about it. I don't think merely sharing memories means sharing responsibility, but it seems like it is more than just inherited memories - they are getting a 'person'. But it does seme like it would be unfair to hold the new host (who is also a person in their own right) accountable for things like that. Perhaps if something like that were to happen, that joiner could no longer be joined after its current host died? Assuming you can determine if it's the host part or the non-host part that is responsible...

Do we ever figure out how they deal with it on their homeworld?
41. Data Logan
Trill society does turn out to be very elitist, with the small number of
joined Trill apparently ruling over all important aspects of Trill
society. We do see this on film, and a lot more developed in print

Seems like the legal precedent on Trill is that a joined
Trill cannot be forced into making repercussions for anything a past
host did. Like when Jadzia and Ezri where never sentenced for Joran's
crimes (although that fact was mostly covered up). In fact, all of
Trill society seems to revolve around the different host really trying
to live unique lives, free of any burdens from past lives. Dax never
talks, for instance, about staying in touch with children or
grandchildren from past hosts; she only every mentions staying in touch
with the family of the current host .

The one place we do see a
symbiont held accountable for "wrong-doings" is in the prohibition of
rejoining. Here again, the crime is being TOO similar to a past life,
versus living a new one. And the punishment? Not imprisonment or
censure, etc., that would punish the current host for a crime really
committed by the symbiont. Just the decree that the symbiont will not
be allowed a new host after this last one dies. This is very much a
punishment set up to punish only the symbiont and not the host. The
host will still get to live out the one life they were always going to
get anyway.

Personally, I've always had a real problem with
elitist Trill. Just didn't feel right as a Federation world to me. I
wish something more would have been done with the race on screen. Some
kind of reforms in the government, etc, that gave the unjoined the
rights they should really have had all along. There was, finally, some of that
done in books, most especially the Worlds of Deep Space Nine: Trill
story. But even that I thought wasn't enough. And it was never
followed up on. It's been almost 10 years (in-universe) since that
story and we have yet to revisit Trill society or how it's changing now.
Brian Carlson
42. images8dream
This episode wants to make the philosophical question more complicated than it actually is. Both parties in the debate are already defining personhood in as a psychological relation between person stages, so that rules out some other views. There are two interpretations then: Jadzia and Dax actually blended to create a new person, or they did not blend and exist as two persons located in the same spatial region. The first is clearly not morally responsible, as by definition is a differrent person from Curzon Dax. If they are actually separate, we might hold Dax responsible for the murder (assuming he really did it, and it wasn't Curzon at all), any punishment would also punish the innocent Jadzia (the whole thing about her "taking responsiblity for Dax" is laughable). Killing innocents to punish a murderer is murder (e.g. the problem with drone strikes). I think that this sufficiently protects Jadzia Dax from the death penalty. However, if Dax really is guilty, then maybe certain measures should be taken to monitor Jadzia Dax to make sure that the negative influence of Dax doesn't assert itself. But most of this is moot since the show seems to come down pretty strongly on the fusion of Jadzia and Dax.
43. David Sim
I agree that there are just too many scenes with Jadzia sitting in silence, acting like the shadow of a great atrocity hangs over her. At this early stage the producers may have been unsure about Terry Farrell's acting ability, what with her coming from a background in modelling; fears that would prove unfounded (They took a similar chance with Jeri Ryan from a more confident position and that paid dividends). It was not until Season 2 that they started to get Jadzia's character right, and became the rich, complex individual she should have been in Season 1.

Although Jadzia is supposed to be nursing a private shame, the downside to that is she gets upstaged by just about everybody in the episode. When Anne Haney or Fionnula Flanagan take centre stage, the episode soars. When the camera fixes on Dax's sullen expression, the episode grinds to a halt. The producers would make that same mistake with Worf in the Season 4 episode Rules of Engagement.
Christopher Bennett
44. ChristopherLBennett
I keep hearing this assertion about how the producers were unsure of Terry Farrell's abilities as an actress because she'd come from modeling, and I don't understand where it's coming from. According to IMDb, she'd been acting for a full decade prior to DS9. Granted, her initial roles (notably a starring role on the short-lived Paper Dolls) called specifically on her modeling experience and her beauty, but by the time DS9 came along she'd done a good number of TV guest spots and some notable roles including the Anne Francis character in the remake of "The After Hours" in the '80s Twilight Zone revival, the Cat in a failed American Red Dwarf pilot/demo film, the young Al's love interest in an episode of Quantum Leap, and the female lead in Hellraiser III. Yet people are talking about her as if DS9 was the first time she'd ever had to speak in front of a camera rather than simply posing.
45. David Sim
I've seen the episode of Quantum Leap Terry Farrell appeared in, A Leap For Lisa, and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. In the former she only played a minor part before being killed off, and the latter was overburdened with special and makeup effects that didn't allow Farrell to do anything. DS9 was her first real chance to shine as an actress; it just took a whole season before the writers got around to it.
Christopher Bennett
46. ChristopherLBennett
@45: Well, I don't recall having a problem with her performance in "The After Hours," although admittedly that's one of the few episodes of the TZ revival that I have any memory of at all.

In any case, I have a hard time believing they'd have hired her at all if they had so little faith in her acting skills. I mean, sure, she's a staggeringly beautiful woman, but there are lots of beautiful women in Hollywood, and they knew that whoever they cast would have to be able to pull off playing a scientist with 300 years of life experience. Granted, she was the last performer cast, so it was a role they had a hard time finding the right person for, but it's hard to believe they were so unsure of her talent.
David Levinson
47. DemetriosX
Re Terry Farrell, I recall hearing that she had problems with the technobabble early on. Wil Wheaton has written about the unique difficulties that technobabble presents actors: it's a lot harder to learn your lines, it's difficult to figure out where to put emphasis, it's hard to make it sound like you know what you're talking about and that it means something. Maybe Colm Meaney, who is no mean hand at the job, was able to give her some pointers.
Joseph Newton
48. crzydroid
@47: I've often wondered why this is. I mean, I can understand the "where to put the emphasis" part up to a point, certainly. But in terms of memorization, it seems like it shouldn't be that much more difficult than remembering any other set of words. And you should be able to tell whether something is a noun, verb, etc. Is it just because we've watched so much Star Trek that we find it easier than they do? I remember at a convention once, Tim Russ and Garrett Wang had been talking about how hard the technobabble was, and then they had a little Voyager-based skit they had written and invited people up from the audience to help act it out. One of the kids who was up there was given a line of technobabble, and he got it on the first try. They both kind of paused and looked at each other dumbfounded. One of them said, "You weren't supposed to get that right."
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
49. Lisamarie
At least for me, context and knowledge has a huge part on my ability to memorize something. So, I doubt I'd have problem with technobabble, because I have a general idea of what they would be babbling about.

But if I were cast in a legal procedural, for example, and was supposed to rattle off a bunch of legal-ese (especially if there was such a thing as made up legalbabble)...I think I'd have a lot more trouble with that because to me, they would just be random words and sounds.
Christopher Bennett
50. ChristopherLBennett
I've heard it said that one reason so many Shakespearean actors have been cast in Star Trek is because they have lots of experience memorizing lines that they don't entirely understand and delivering them as though they know what they're talking about.
David Levinson
51. DemetriosX
Wheaton was actually addressing this topic in terms of his recurring role on Eureka, rather than TNG, and he specifically talked about the problem of transmitting the character's enthusiasm for the subject. With Trek, we generally have to replace "enthusiasm" with "sense of urgency", but it's the same principle.

Shakespearean actors have the rhythm of the language to guide them, both in memorization and delivery. I'm not sure if that really applies to technobabble. I think LisaMarie @49 really hit it on the head. Wil Wheaton could do it, because he was a SF reader; he could assign ideas to the words he was speaking and give them some sort of context in his head. I don't know if that applies to Levar Burton or Colm Meaney (who isn't related to the Irish SF author), or if they had other tricks. That kid at the convention was obviously far more of a geek than either Tim Russ or Garrett Wang. Those words had more meaning to him than they apparently did to the actors, so it was easier for him.

In any case, it was one more problem for Terry Farrell, along with coming along late, needing to insert herself in a group that had already started to form, and getting into the mind of a character who has lived for 300 years and was until recently a dirty old man.
Christopher Bennett
52. ChristopherLBennett
@51: The problem with that idea, though, is that it presupposes that technobabble actually means something that prior knowledge of science and science fiction would assist in understanding. That was true in the early seasons of TNG when the technical advisors provided genuine scientific concepts for the writers to work with; for instance, TNG: "Evolution" provided an excellent portrayal of a periodic nova star, and the "Kerr loop of superstring material" in "Yesterday's Enterprise" was, aside from the misuse of "superstring" to mean "cosmic string," a pretty solid scientific explanation for a time warp. But once you got to Voyager and Enterprise, they were pretty much making up random nonsense. A scientific education or SF literacy won't help you parse gibberish like isolytic discharges and thalaron fields. (For some reason, their science advisor Andre Bormanis was inordinately fond of words containing "-lytic," which means "tending to dissolve." "Isolytic," which ENT insisted on using in place of "electric," basically means "dissolving equally," which doesn't mean a dadblasted thing.)

Although what could be even more annoying was using a legitimate term in a nonsensical way. In VGR: "Caretaker," the title alien was referred to as a sporocystian life form, which presumably means an asexual organism that had some kind of saclike organ where reproductive spores were generated; but by "Cold Fire" they'd more or less fallen prey to the reflex to treat all hyperadvanced life forms as energy beings, so you heard characters talking about detecting "sporocystian energy," which is an infuriating non sequitur.
David Levinson
53. DemetriosX
There is something to what you say, but generally it isn't too hard to say this is a device, this is fuel, this is a byproduct, etc. But you have to be able to get past the weird words, and some people have problems with that.

For me, the most egregious technobabble is what I think of as the "germ theory of radiation". Radiation is almost always treated like a virus or something. Drives me nuts. (Cue Morbo.)
Christopher Bennett
54. ChristopherLBennett
@53: I think the problem is that too many people confuse radiation itself with the radioactive substances that emit it. So they assume that being exposed to radiation equals being contaminated by radioactive material, or otherwise made radioactive.

One bit of technobabble that I really can't stand is in the "Burning Bright" episode of The Six Million Dollar Man, with William Shatner as an astronaut rendered superintelligent/insane by some space radiation phenomenon. He's spinning these supposedly cutting-edge scientific theories that nobody else understands, and the main one is something about "the Sun as the origin of space." Mercifully this seems to be "origin" in the coordinate sense rather than in the generative sense, but it's still infuriatingly nonsensical. Almost as bad is the way the OSI computer is somehow able to verify the accuracy of this theory based on nothing more than a single phone conversation where the theory is described briefly and without a shred of mathematical detail.
55. Etherbeard
Wow, Keiko's mom was pretty old when she had her, at least by today's standards.

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