Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Invasive Procedures”

“Invasive Procedures”
Written by John Shelpley and Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by Les Landau
Season 2, Episode 4
Production episode 40512-424
Original air date: October 17, 1993
Stardate: 47182.1

Station log: The station has been evacuated due to a plasma storm. Only Sisko, Kira, Dax, Bashir, Odo, and O’Brien have remained behind to make sure the station stays safe until the storm passes. Quark also volunteered to stay behind, but was confined to the bar. So Odo and O’Brien are a bit surprised to find Quark in an airlock, supposedly saying goodbye to Rom. In truth, Quark was leaving behind a device to neutralize the security scanners on the docking ring.

A ship sends out a weak distress signal, and Odo and O’Brien go unseal one of the airlocks to let them dock, at which point two Klingons (T’Kar and Yeto), a Trill (Verad), and a native of Khefka IV (Mareel) all hold them at phaserpoint. The Trill activates a containment unit into which they force Odo. T’Kar seems to be the leader, and Verad is meek and stammering and doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the group.

They first take the infirmary, forcing Bashir to put the containment unit in a stasis chamber, then go to ops, where they disable the primary and secondary systems. Yeto then takes Quark—who thought they were coming to the station to purchase some liquid data crystals—to ops. Kira’s pissed at Quark and Sisko’s pissed at the whole thing. He asks T’Kar what’s going on, at which point everyone’s surprised to learn that the boss is actually Verad. He’s a Trill who wants the Dax symbiont, which he claims is rightfully his.

Verad spent his whole life trying to qualify for the joining, sacrificing everything. And in the end he was rejected. So he’s going to steal one. Dax is a perfect match, partly because Verad’s research says they’re compatible, but mainly because Jadzia’s stationed by the wormhole, and Verad and Mareel can go to the Gamma Quadrant and start a new life after it’s done.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Invasive Procedures

Bashir refuses to perform the surgery. Verad then shoots O’Brien—and he seems quite thrilled that he was able to work up the courage to do it. And his point is made: Bashir agrees to do the surgery (after treating O’Brien’s shoulder wound).

Yeto takes Verad, Dax, and Bashir to the infirmary. Verad refuses to be put under, and insists on watching the operation and advising if necessary. Bashir does put Dax to sleep and then removes the symbiont from Jadzia and implants it into Verad.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Invasive Procedures

In ops, after Sisko and Kira make an attempt to escape (Sisko is more successful against T’Kar than Kira is against Mareel), Mareel explains that Verad saw her at the “accommodation house” (read whorehouse) when he was posted to Khefka IV, and invited her to come with him when he was recalled to Trill. She’ll do anything for him after rescuing her from that life.

Verad arrives at ops—or, more accurately, Verad Dax. There’s a noticeable change in personality, in confidence, and, to Mareel’s dismay, in his interest in being affectionate with her. He also refers to Sisko as “Benjamin,” and they reminisce about old times. Sisko deliberately goes all nostalgic to show Mareel what’s happened here—and also, apparently, proving that “bros before hos” is a universal truism. The last thing he mentions is discovering the wormhole, which Verad remembers as one of Jadzia’s fondest memories—prompting Sisko to remind him that she’s now dying in the infirmary. When Mareel asks why he’s wasting time talking to him, Verad snaps back that he’s his friend, and then dismisses her to watch the others. However, Verad’s unwillingness to put the symbiont back where it belongs leads Sisko to declare their friendship to be over.

In the infirmary, Bashir treats Jadzia, after bullying Yeto into serving as his nurse. Jadzia awakens, but she’s devastated and scared without the symbiont.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Invasive Procedures

Verad sits alone in Sisko’s office. Sisko tries to convince Mareel that Verad isn’t the same person, which she obviously knows but refuses to admit. Quark makes a particularly pathetic attempt to attack T’Kar, who fares much better against the Ferengi than he did Sisko. Verad orders Mareel to take the whimpering Quark to the infirmary.

The plan is for Verad to go ahead in their ship, with Mareel and the Klingons following an hour later in the last remaining runabout, making sure that no one can follow. Verad pays lip service to being grateful to Mareel, but he’s colder and completely unaffectionate toward her. He also tells her to wait for him at the rendezvous.

Quark has been faking the injury, and he and Bashir are able to distract Yeto enough so that Bashir is able to hit him with a hypo filled with sedative. They then remove the containment unit, and Quark is able to use his mad thief skillz to break it open and free Odo.

Verad realizes that Yeto isn’t responding, so he tasks T’Kar with getting him to the runabout. Mareel suggests a hostage, and Sisko volunteers, but Verad takes Kira instead. Kira’s fine with that. “If Odo’s free, there’s no way you’re getting off this station.”

Mareel admits to Sisko that she now knows that Verad has no intention of going away with her. The plan was for him to wait for her, yet he asked her to wait for him. He’s never lied to her before. Sisko urges her to help him save both Verad and Jadzia. Verad was obviously never meant to be joined. Reluctantly, she agrees, giving Sisko his combadge and phaser back.

Verad, T’Kar, and Kira arrive at the airlock, but the ship is gone—because Odo released the clamps. He and Kira take T’Kar down, while Verad heads for the ruanbout—to find Sisko waiting for him. Verad is convinced that Sisko won’t shoot him, which he believes right up until Sisko shoots him.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Invasive Procedures

When Verad wakes up, the symbiont has been removed. He can’t remember any of it—the blending didn’t have a chance to complete, which means that Verad will survive, but he’ll be emptier. Jadzia, however, has been reintegrated with Dax—and she remembers everything.

The Sisko is of Bajor: It’s fun seeing Sisko play Mareel like a two-dollar banjo, but also manage to get the better physically of T’Kar—whom it later takes both Kira and Odo to subdue (and whom Quark utterly fails at subduing).

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Apparently being a prostitute on Khefka IV gives you the skills to beat the crap out of a lifelong terrorist. Right. (Sorry, didn’t buy for a second that Mareel could even hold her own in a fistfight with Kira, much less win one.)

Rules of Acquisition: Quark is informed by Kira that he’s finished on the station after he deactivated the security systems on the docking ring to allow Yeto and T’Kar to board the station armed. Yet if he thought they were there just to buy liquid data crystals, why would they need the security systems deactivated? In any case, Quark’s heroism at the end, helping Bashir subdue Yeto and breaking Odo free, is obviously an attempt to make up for it.

The slug in your belly: It’s established that Sisko met Curzon for the first time at Pelios Station, and they took a trip to the cliffs of Bole and served together on the Livingston. In the end, the Dax symbiont now has Verad to add to Jadzia, Curzon, Tobin, and the other hosts.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Invasive Procedures

Preservation of mass and energy is for wimps: Odo disguises himself as a cart in the airlock, enabling him to surprise Verad and T’Kar.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: Mareel worked in an “accommodation house” on Khefka IV. Gotta love those euphemisms….

Keep your ears open: “I know, I know. He couldn’t find a cup of water if you dropped him in a lake. But even if he is an idiot, he’s still my brother.”

“And you’d betray him in a second if it suited your interests.”

“But that doesn’t mean I don’t love him!”

Quark and Odo on the subject of the former’s affection for Rom.

Welcome aboard: Megan Gallagher makes the first of two appearances on DS9 as Mareel; she’ll be back in “Little Green Men” as Faith Garland and in Voyager’s “Body and Soul” as Jarytn. Future Voyager star Tim Russ appears as one of the Klingons, while Steve Rankin plays the other one, having played a dying Romulan in TNG’s “The Enemy” and a Cardassian in “Emissary,” and he’ll return as the infamous Colonel Green in Enterprise’s “Demons.”

But the big guest here is John Glover, one of the greats, playing Verad (and also Verad Dax).

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Invasive Procedures

Trivial matters: While “Dax” established the training and study that goes into being a candidate to be joined, this episode makes it clear just how difficult it is, and how many people don’t make the cut. (This will be turned on its ear a bit in “Equilibrium” in the third season.)

In your humble rewatcher’s Mirror Universe novel The Mirror-Scaled Serpent in Obsidian Alliances, it’s established that mirror-Tuvok was once a slave owned by a Klingon named T’Kar—both characters played by Tim Russ.

The first meeting between Sisko and Curzon at Pelios Station, and the woman named Anastasia, are seen in the short story “The Music Between the Notes” by Steven Barnes in The Lives of Dax.

Verad will be seen again in the TNG/DS9 comic book miniseries Divided We Fall, written by David Mack & John J. Ordover.

Walk with the Prophets: “Don’t call me Benjamin.” There’s a lot to like about this episode, but also a lot to dislike. We just did the station being evacuated last time, and to have an empty station again just feels repetitive. Also the fact that it’s just the opening-credits regulars who stay behind is tiresomely convenient.

Verad’s plan depends on the station being empty—there was no way they were going to pull this off if the station was fully occupied—and that plasma storm was defined from jump as unpredictable. So what would Verad have done if that storm hadn’t happened to come along? And how did he know he’d have enough time?

Quark’s role in this is also problematic. If he thought he was selling something, there’s no reason for him to deactivate the security systems. Kira baldly states that he’s finished on the station, and while he is instrumental in Odo’s rescue, I don’t think that’s really enough to justify his allowing four people to come in and take over the station, wounding O’Brien and almost killing Jadzia. The utter lack of consequences for Quark is especially glaring on a show that has already proven itself to be better than most about such things. Plus Kira losing a fistfight to a prostitute? Really?

Having said that, the episode has its good parts: Sisko and Kira both trying to get Mareel to talk to find out more that they can use, Sisko manipulating the joined Verad via his long association with the Dax symbiont, the sheer glee with which Tim Russ plays T’Kar (“Let’s go, ally”), and Megan Gallagher’s excellent use of facial expressions to show Mareel’s emotional anguish.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Invasive Procedures

But the episode is owned by John Glover, who gives two great performances here, first as the meek, insecure, unstable Verad—seriously, you have no trouble understanding why he was rejected for joining the moment you meet him—and then a magnificent combination of his own earlier performance and that of what Terry Farrell’s been doing for a season-plus when he’s Verad Dax. It’s a tour de force, and makes the episode worth watching even for all its logical flaws.

Warp factor rating: 6

Keith R.A. DeCandido has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a graphic novel based on the universe of his novel Dragon Precinct and its sequels. Art will be by JK Woodward, (the artist on the Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover comic book). Please check it out and spread the word!


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