The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Facets

The time has come for Jadzia to undergo the zhian’tara ritual, a Trill rite in which her best friends will temporarily embody the memories of her previous hosts, enabling Jadzia to talk with them and better understand her previous lives. But with the prospect of having to meet the murderous Joran, and Jadzia’s desire to understand why Curzon washed her out of the initiate program, it could be a difficult experience. Meanwhile, Nog must take his first set of preparatory exams for Starfleet Academy.

As a big fan of Trill episodes, I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. It’s a great chance to meet all of the previous Dax hosts, and whilst all but Curzon get only a brief snatch of screen time, I still enjoyed seeing them. The bulk of the story is given up to exploring the relationship between Jadzia, Curzon and the Dax symbiont, which affords us the opportunity not only to meet the fabled Curzon, but for Rene Auberjonois to play a much less uptight character. Meanwhile, we also get to check in on Nog’s progress as he works towards becoming a Starfleet cadet – a story which I followed with interest.

The Lives of Dax

In fact, check out the book, The Lives of Dax, a collection of short stories about each Dax host.

  • Kira takes on Lela, the first Dax host. Lela was a politician and also the first woman to become a council member – in the 22nd century. Could Trill gender equality be slower than that of humanity? Lela’s habit of talking with her hands caused her to make a conscious decision to start clasping her hands behind her back, as her male colleagues were mocking her gestures. As we’ve observed from the start of DS9, Jadzia now also does this.
  • O’Brien becomes Tobin, who is as shy and apologetic as we’ve come to expect from previous anecdotes. Tobin’s love of science and engineering resonates most strongly with Jadzia’s own scientific career. She is particularly impressed with his original approach to proving Fermat’s Last Theorem, which is said to be distinct from Wiles’ proof.
  • Leeta becomes Emony, a professional gymnast who enjoys Leeta’s lithe and supple body. Emony implies that Jadzia’s interest in Klingon martial arts came from her.
  • Quark becomes Audrid, who was head of the symbiosis commission and also a dedicated mother. This could have been a progressive gender moment if not played for laughs and making Quark uncomfortable.
  • Bashir becomes Torias, the host killed in a shuttle accident. He is keen to experience the good things in life because his time was so short.
  • Sisko becomes Joran, and has to be kept in a holding cell – even so, he tricks Jadzia into letting down the forcefield and thus has to be subdued with force. He plays on Jadzia’s fears that she isn’t good enough to be a host. Jadzia also reveals that, since learning about Joran, she has been practising music when she has the time.
  • Odo joins with Curzon, with his shapeshifter nature causing him to physically alter and become almost a proper joining of the two minds. Curzon-Odo embraces a new lust for life, but ultimately admits that the reason he dropped Jadzia from the initiate program and then readmitted her wasn’t because he felt sorry for her, or wanted her to work harder. Curzon was in love with Jadzia, and washed her out over embarrassment at his inappropriate feelings. He then felt so bad for ruining her lifelong dream that he was glad when she reapplied.

Other points

  • We learn that the Guardians have some telepathic ability, whether innate (no other Trills appear to have such an ability) or as a result of training, technology, and that weird goo the symbionts inhabit. It now makes more sense that the Guardian in Equilibrium was able to tell there was something wrong with Jadzia’s link to Dax just by putting his hand on her stomach.
  • If the zhian’tara can permanently transfer away memories of a host, why not use it to get rid of memories of an unsuitable host, such as Joran? Maybe it only works when there’s a second person to receive the memories, and they can’t just be piped to /dev/null. It would therefore be unethical to force Joran’s memories onto someone else.
  • The memories transferred from the symbiont seem to include memories the host had prior to their joining. The symbiont wouldn’t have directly experienced these, but they might retain an imprint of them from when their mind was intermingled with that of the host.
  • Odo has mentioned before that it got messy when he tried eating and drinking, yet as Curzon he is able to manage it. Did he shapeshift a rudimentary digestive system as well as Curzon’s face and spots?

Summary – Facets: Seven things you never knew about the Dax symbiont!

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