The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Change of Heart

When a Cardassian informant indicates that he has vital information for the Federation, Worf and Dax are sent to meet with him. But when their rendezvous requires them to trek through a dense jungle, their mission becomes a challenging race against time. Meanwhile, O’Brien becomes obsessed with breaking Quark’s winning streak at tongo.

Poor Dax. She got her symbiont removed in Invasive Procedures, had to deal with the life threatening effects of repressed memories in Equilibrium, almost froze to death in Starship Down, was injured in Rocks and Shoals, suffered burns to her hands in Civil Defence, and in a recent episode got hurt whilst piloting the Defiant. She’s no O’Brien, but she does seem to have more than her fair share of injuries – and that’s without counting those incurred by sex with Worf.

And then we have Change of Heart. An episode in which the crux of the story hinges on Dax getting critically wounded, and Worf having to choose between saving her life and completing a mission that could ultimately save millions of lives. We know that Worf absolutely must choose Dax over those nameless millions, but it’s still an important moment, the culmination of an episode that finally wins me over to the Worf/Dax pairing.

This episode gives the couple plenty of exposure – from their home life and honeymoon planning, to their joint mission and Worf’s final decision. Worf has always come across as stoic and rigid, so much so that it’s difficult to imagine him having deep feelings for anyone. Meanwhile, Jadzia has always felt more like a fangirl living out her fantasy of dating a Klingon, than someone in a mature, committed relationship. Yet Change of Heart really helps to develop their relationship. We see that Worf is actually able to both compromise and have a sense of humour, whilst Dax can be serious and committed to both her husband and her career, without losing her fun-loving side. Worf has even taken an interest in tongo since getting together with Dax!

The B-story about O’Brien and Bashir challenging Quark to tongo is exactly the kind of light relief needed in a subplot. Unfortunately, whilst it’s entertaining overall, Quark and Bashir commiserating over their lost opportunity to get together with Dax is a bit of a step backwards. For one thing, it’s been years since both of them moved on from their infatuations, and for another – Dax didn’t choose them. She wasn’t interested, so no matter how much you regret ‘not trying harder’, it doesn’t matter. She said no (well, until Ezri comes along and says yes to Bashir).

Points of note

  • A disruptor is a directed energy weapon. How can it contain any anticoagulant in the first place?
  • Worf’s actions in this mission may well have jeopardised his chances to ever attain his own command. Given how many officers have been lost in the war, and his experience in command of the Defiant, can he really never atone for this?
  • It’s surprising that it took until now for Worf and Dax to have restrictions placed on the missions they could go on together. We’ve seen quite a few relationships between Starfleet officers, and yet still there’s no general guidance or policy on how to deconflict workplace relationships and the line of duty?
  • Worf feels guilty that, by letting down his guard and joking with Jadzia, he was responsible for the Jem’Hadar catching them unawares. As we know from Let He Who is Without Sin, Worf has long had issues about letting down his guard, ever since his reckless actions as a teenager caused the death of a human boy.
  • If tricorders don’t work in the jungle, how are directed energy weapons still able to function? I guess a tricorder is a lot more complicated, but back in TOS we were told that all this technology is based on the same basic component – the transtator.

Summary – Change of Heart: Worf, my love. Let me make this very clear. I do not want to spend my honeymoon climbing, hiking, sweating, bleeding or suffering in any way.”

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