Facets #StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch (Season 3, Episode 21) Dax’s colleagues channel the personalities of her previous hosts

Rewatching ST:DS9

The lead characters channel the personalities of Dax’s previous hosts, in a low-stakes episode that gives the cast some acting challenges and advances Nog’s character arc, but as a stand-alone episode this was just okay. I hadn’t seen it since it originally aired ~30 years ago, and I think I must have bailed out or gotten distracted during the last few acts, because I didn’t remember the main plot twist.

The B plot involves Nog preparing for his “Academy preparatory program” exam, as Jake, Rom, O’Brien and Quark each engage him in their own, sometimes conflicting, ways.

This episode goes out of its way to make sure we don’t think of Leeta as just another pretty face, which suggests to me her character may be fulfilling an arc originally designed for Mardah, a different not-just-a-pretty-face dabo girl that Jake briefly dated. (A visit to a Trek nerd site reveals that actress Chase Masterson auditioned for the role of Mardah, but was considered too old for a romance with Jake. Leeta’s character was initially intended as a one-off, but Masterson’s performance encouraged the show-runners to make her a recurring character.)

As part of the ceremony, Kira channels a distinguished politician (actor Nana Visitor adopts mannerisms and vocal patterns that help sell the conceit that we’re talking to another personality). O’Brien channels an anxious nerd with a penchant for biting his nails and solving math problems; Leeta channels a gymnast; Quark channels an administrator who fondly remembers nursing babies; and Bashir channels an epicurean risk-taker (who reminds me a bit of Julian’s mirror universe counterpart).

There’s little time to get to know each host before Dax interrupts to announce what lesson she has learned from each encounter. The pattern slows down a bit as Sisko channels the musically gifted murderer Joran– but just a bit. The first three acts are prologue to a scene in which Jadzia worries about her upcoming encounter with Curzon, who rejected Jadzia’s first application to the symbiosis program.

When Odo takes on the role of hosting Curzon, something is very different — as one might expect given that Odo, as a shape-shifting liquid life form, doesn’t have a brain, as such, so the details about how, exactly, the memories and personality are being transferred are kept vague. Obviously the story someone pitched at a writers’ meeting required Curzon and Odo to decide they like being joined, and the treknobabbble details are pretty sparse.

After a few scenes in which CurzOdo embarrasses Sisko in front of his son and shocks Quark by kissing him on the forehead (“Did I ever mention you’re a magnificent scoundrel?”), Dax says it’s time to talk, and because this is episodic TV, hitting the “end-of-episode reset button” is just a scene or two away.

But wasn’t it the symbiotic entity Curzon Dax who fell in love with Jadzia, not just Curzon himself? Through Dax, wouldn’t Jadzia have inherited all of Curzon’s memories, including the memory of being in love with Jadzia?

Obviously this episode didn’t ask us to look too closely at the plot contrivances.

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