The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Invasive Procedures

Whilst DS9 is running with a skeleton crew due to a plasma storm, a Trill named Verad takes the opportunity to launch a daring raid on the station. Verad was never allowed to join with a symbiont on the Trill homeworld, but he is so desperate for one that he plans to steal Dax and flee to the Gamma Quadrant. Can Sisko stop him before Verad endangers both Dax and Jadzia?

I always enjoy Trill episodes, and whilst this is not one of the better ones, it’s still reasonably entertaining. There’s a lot to think about here with regards to the nature of a joined being, and we start to learn a bit more about what will be a recurring theme – the exclusivity of having a symbiont. The overall plot is rather predictable, but still leads to some good moments – particularly between Sisko, Verad and Mareel, as Sisko deals with a Dax in a new body and tries his best to save Jadzia.

Trill facts

We already know that a symbiont and host form a blended personality and that somehow their two brains effectively function as one. Can we use this episode to try to determine what happens when they are parted?

  • Is Jadzia with Dax removed the same person as Jadzia before joining? Obviously she is now physically dependent on the symbiont, but how much does she remember of being a joined being? Verad remembers nothing after Dax is removed, but he didn’t fully integrate with the symbiont.
  • When the Dax symbiont is joined with Verad, it doesn’t seem to resist on principle. Yes, it can’t physically resist, but it doesn’t seem to have a strong enough will to override Verad’s desire to stay joined. Does the symbiont care less about Jadzia than its own survival? It’s true that symbionts are more valued than hosts in Trill society, but the Dax symbiont seems supremely uncaring here. Could it just not help itself? Was it in shock from the transfer? Was it overwhelmed by sadness for Verad’s plight?
  • Apparently only one Trill in ten is chosen for joining, but is this one tenth of the population or just one tenth of the Trill who apply? Later episodes seem to indicate that it’s the latter.

Other points

  • DS9 was only just evacuated for The Siege, and here it’s been evacuated again for a plasma storm. It would have tied together so much more elegantly if it had been the case that the station was still empty because they hadn’t started shuttling people back after the events of The Siege.
  • O’Brien has two brothers, who will never be seen on screen or play any important role.
  • Jadzia has a sister, who is not joined.
  • Plasma storms are apparently extremely rare, but they occur several times during DS9 and Voyager.

Summary – Invasive Procedures: Not every Trill gets a symbiont.

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