Rejoined #StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch (Season 4, Episode 6) Dax confronts a Trill taboo about the spouse of a former host

Rewatching ST:DS9

At the bar, Dax performs magic tricks that amuse Bashir and annoy Quark.

Sisko lets Dax know a Dr. Lenara Kahn is coming to the station with a Trill science delegation, and suggests Dax use her some of her personal leave. Clearly troubled, Dax says she won’t let her past lives interfere with her duties.

Kira and Bashir explain the backstory to Quark, in some detail. The symbiont Dax used to be joined to a man named Torias, who was married to a Trill woman who was host to the symbiont Kahn. Now Khan is joined with the woman Lenara.

Once we learn that Trill feel it is “unnatural” to have relationships with the lovers of former hosts, we know exactly what the plot is going to go.

At a reception to launch the mission to technobabble a space jimberjam, Lenara teases Worf good-naturedly, guessing that Klingons probably don’t dream about science missions.

Kira: What do Klingons dream about?
Worf: Things that would send cold chills down your spine and wake you in the middle of the night. It is better you do not know. Excuse me. (Leaves.)

Lenara notes that everyone in the room is watching to see how she and Dax will interact. They try to laugh it off, but clearly they’re both conflicted.

Later they were working together when Dax innocently uses a figure of speech that triggers emotions from Lenara’s former host. Though Dax refers to her former host as “he” and Lenara’s former host as “she,” Lenara uses “you” and “me.” Dax seems to be handling the situation better than Lenara, but impulsively asks Lenara to dinner, then backpedals saying she’d like her to join her for “dinner with some friends,” and then begs Bashir to cancel his plans so he’s available to chaperone.

Dax and Lenara have a grand time catching up, totally ignoring Bashir.

One of the Trill scientists sees them together, and tells Lenara’s brother Bejal, who later brings up his concerns with Lenara. She insists “nothing’s going on,” and then visits Dax to tell her she told her brother that “nothing’s going on,” but that scene ends with a kiss.

When asked for advice, Sisko carefully lays out the risk Dax is facing, and though he doesn’t exactly try to discourage her, he warns her that she’s got to be sure she’s willing to pay the price.

On the Defiant, the mission to flabbergast the space jimberjam runs into a plot contrivance particle field that endangers Lenara’s life, which heightens the emotional situation. 

Dax encourages Lenara to continue her work on the station, but Lenara asks for more time. Dax says she knows that if Lenara leaves now, she’ll never come back.

After thirty years, this episode holds up better than the similarly themed but much preachier TNG episode s5e17 “The Outcast” (where Riker falls for a member of a non-gendered species).

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