The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Fascination

It’s time for the annual Bajoran Gratitude Festival, and DS9 is hosting some special visitors. Bareil and Keiko have returned from Bajor to see Kira and O’Brien respectively, whilst Lwaxana Troi has dropped by to spend some time with Odo. But what is meant to be a lighthearted celebration takes on a life of its own when various members of the crew start feeling unexpected attractions toward each other.

Fascination is one of the lowest rated DS9 episodes on IMDB, and whilst it’s not as outright awful as the likes of Spock’s Brain or Genesis, it is one of the weak points of season three. Clearly intended to be a romp, the bulk of the episode revolves around characters becoming infatuated with each other for no apparent reason, and then pursuing the often reluctant object of their affections round the station. The only thing that could have made that storyline worse was if Q were involved and had whisked them all off to Sherwood Forest. Thank god no one ever made an episode with that as a storyline.

Meanwhile, the B-story features O’Brien looking forward to a visit from Keiko and Molly, only to find that his wife is exhausted and out of sorts. O’Brien then spends much of the episode being an insufferable prick, whilst I could only sympathise with Keiko’s desperate need for a good night’s sleep.

Would any of the fake couples have worked?

All of these pairings were based on subconscious latent attraction on the part of at least one participant.

  • Bareil and Dax: Before he gets infected, Bareil doesn’t have much time for Dax – he finds her unpredictable and even seems a little jealous of her friendship with Kira. Even though infected Bareil is the most animated I’ve ever seen him, I don’t think this pairing could ever have worked – Dax would crave someone more fun and exciting. Or maybe Dax and Kira could cut out the middle man and just get together.
  • Dax and Sisko: I think they’d make a cute couple, but part of what’s so great about their relationship is that they remain such good friends over multiple lifetimes.
  • Jake and Kira: A one-way crush that could never blossom into a relationship. Besides, Jake’s still on the rebound now that Mardah’s left.
  • Kira and Bashir: Well, the actors got together in real life, but I think that once their sexual appetites had worn off, they wouldn’t find much in common. Friends with benefits only.
  • Quark and Keiko: Obviously impossible – Keiko would never leave Bashir.
  • Odo and Lwaxana: Not a fake couple, per se, but it was Lwaxana’s feelings for Odo that sparked off this whole incident. Does she like him because his stoic nature and unreadable thoughts make him a calming influence – or is he just the latest in a long line of infatuations?

Other bits and pieces

  • Another one from Meridian – Quark claims he can get a holoprogram of the Pleasure Goddess of Rixx. Is she connected to the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, as owned by Lwaxana Troi?
  • Lwaxana is the first to say what we were all thinking – that Odo has feelings for Kira. He even tries to spend the Gratitude Festival with her, only to learn that Bareil is coming to visit.
  • Mardah has finally left DS9 to attend a science academy. This was her initial ambition when Jake first started going out with her, but when we last saw her, discussion had turned to her writing. I guess she’s a woman of many talents.
  • Odo claims that he might as well take the Gratitude Festival off since none of his Bajoran deputies will be at work. Just as well Starfleet Security’s there to step into the breach, eh, Odo?
  • This is the third year that the Gratitude Festival has been celebrated on DS9, but the first time we’ve seen it on screen.
  • Quark claims that there is no divorce or broken homes amongst the Ferengi, but we later learn that Rom’s wife left him.

Summary – Fascination: DS9 does kiss-chase.

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