The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: The Muse

When a heavily pregnant Lwaxana Troi arrives on the station, she explains that she is on the run from her husband – and that she needs Odo’s help to retain custody of her unborn child. Meanwhile, Jake encounters a mysterious woman who seems able to stimulate his creative abilities, but her assistance comes at a price.

Whilst The Muse is generally considered as one of the more unpopular episodes of DS9, I actually don’t mind it. I’ve generally enjoyed the Odo-Lwaxana dynamic, and I think it works well here – the pair have fun together, and there are deeper aspects to their relationship than Lwaxana’s usual indiscriminate man-chasing. In her loneliness, we’ve seen Lwaxana try to tie the knot with many a man, and this time she finally went through with it – only to flee when the customs of her husband’s society demand that she surrender her son to be brought up exclusively by his father. Odo, for his part, has grown to enjoy Lwaxana’s company, but in the long term, even though he would care for her to his utmost capability, he will never return her love.

It’s interesting to think how their relationship might evolve if Odo’s love for Kira wasn’t destined to get in the way. Lwaxana has, in her way, helped Odo to let down his guard around other people, and make friends with humanoids instead of merely regarding them as an interesting puzzle to be solved. Similarly, she has learnt to be more open around him, instead of purely relying on her over-the-top TNG persona. Could they have had a long-term future together, becoming closer and more comfortable in themselves and each other, perhaps even raising Lwaxana’s son together? I guess we’ll never know.

The supposed A-story about Jake meeting an alien who is able to stimulate his creativity at the cost of his life force, feels quite weak and forgettable in comparison. Is it just that Jake and his career aren’t all that interesting? Maybe it’s just that scenes of him writing whilst Onaya sucks energy from him aren’t really that engaging.

Other points

  • Lwaxana tells Odo about the death of her first child, Kestra. We learnt about this back in TNG’s Dark Page.
  • Jake manages to write most of his first novel, Anslem. In The Visitor, this was alternate Jake’s first and greatest full-length work.
  • Sisko is ready to essentially murder Onaya – that’s not very Starfleet.
  • Onaya’s life draining power is apparently why Keats and other famous writers died so young. Is she the only one of her kind, or are there other muses out there?
  • Onaya mentions Tarbolde, a famous alien poet who was quoted by Gary Mitchell way back in Where No Man Has Gone Before.

Summary – The Muse: Jake gets his life energy sucked away, and Lwaxana makes her final appearance.

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