1.08: “Dax”

Note, October 7, 2019: for some reason, this post has been absolutely slammed with spam comments. No idea why this one in particular, but there it is. So, for the time being, I’m closing comments on it, just to try and cut back a bit.

So, first of all, I usually enjoy the political drama that results from the station not precisely being under Starfleet jurisdiction (or at least not solely under it), so even the little hints of that here, with the extradition treaty necessitating kidnapping Dax and the Bajoran arbiter presiding over the hearing.

In general, this is kind of a forgettable episode, though it does a decent job of doing some worldbuilding around the Trill. I do have some questions, though. Chief among them…

What even are the Trill?

No, seriously. I feel like there are some things here that they drop later in the series, mostly involving terminology. First, the language/references: do we ever hear “Trillian” used again? I feel like “Trill” is mostly used as both an adjective and a noun later. Ditto “Trills” — later it’s just “the Trill” to refer to the people/government.

But also, in this episode, “Trill” seems to be used to refer specifically to the joined being of symbiont and host. Having a specific word makes sense, but it does raise the question of what unjoined people are called. There’s mention of the selection process, and Peers discusses having to be old enough to even be considered for joining, making it clear that not everyone makes the cut. It’s later established that it’s a relatively small portion of the population that’s joined, as well, so…what’s the deal with the rest of the planet? Are they meant to be the “Trillian”, with “Trill” being reserved specifically for the joined?

I also wish we could learn more about Jadzia before she was joined. We learn a lot more about Ezri later, in large part because she was so unprepared for — and in fact uninterested in — joining, but in an episode where one of Sisko’s priorities is establishing Jadzia as her own separate person, you’d think we’d learn more about, you know, Jadzia. By the end, we don’t really know that much more about her than we did at the beginning. Enina Tandro’s farewell seems like an exhortation for her to go and be her own person, and she definitely becomes less sedate as the series continues, but we never really find out that much more about her own past pre-joining, as I recall.

That said, I still really love how they’re carrying through the thread of Sisko and Dax’s changed dynamic, and how both of them are just having to lean into the discomfort as they try to find a new one. Sometimes that just means an awkward lull in the lunch conversation, and sometimes it means an extradition hearing.

Speaking of character dynamics

I also really love how Kira and Sisko are starting to work as a team. It really shows in this episode — their barely-contained glee when he turns the initial discussion of extradition over to her and they fall into a good-cop/bad-cop routine, with him the level-headed Starfleet officer and her the hot-tempered Bajoran attaché, is a delight.

Ditto when he calls himself as a witness and has Kira question him. Lord, her “I’m just a simple caveman lawyer” routine when questioning him is amazing, the two of them have so clearly rehearsed this and it’s hilarious.

Annoyingly unchanged, however, is Bashir’s horniness for Dax. Which might have been almost bearable if it weren’t for how he proceeds to ignore her telling him she doesn’t want him to walk her home. “‘Not necessary, Julian’…but not forbidden, either,” fuck offfffffff, ugh. That he’s then able to help prevent the kidnapping, and therefore his refusal to take her polite rejection seriously is rewarded, is what really makes the grossness complete. At least he gets a good knock on the head for it rather than fighting everyone off himself, that’s something.

I do appreciate that we don’t see him again after he falls for Ilon Tandro’s trap, though (and so easily! “As a layman, there are things I don’t fully understand…” FFS Bashir have you never even heard of Columbo?). I have this vision of Jadzia taking Enina’s encouragement to live her own life as a cue to invite Bashir out for a drink or something, and whew, that would have just been too much. As with Miss Sarda, DS9 gets some things right, even if it’s not quite there.

MY verdict: gayyyyyyy

So Sisko and Curzon definitely boned, right? The way Sisko’s manner softens as he says “I think that was why I liked him so much”? GAY

“He took a raw young ensign under his wing and taught me to appreciate life in ways I’d never thought about before”? GAYYYYYYYYY, Ilon is just like

Community GIF: "this better not awaken anything in me"

Also, the arbiter looks sort of intrigued when Enina shows up, and then as soon as she talks about her affair with Curzon immediately gets an “ugh, gross, str8s” look on her face, ALSO GAY.

Horniness rankings

  1. Bashir, ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh
  2. Sisko, for Curzon, and also JUSTICE, probably in that order

2 thoughts on “1.08: “Dax”

  1. Keiko’s MOTHER is 100? Dang. People in the 24th century are well-preserved, but THAT well-preserved?

    Anyway. I was really looking forward to this review because I am a SUCKER for courtroom drama. I love all the tropes of a courtroom drama episode, and it works for me twice as well in a Star Trek courtroom drama. I love the stilted speeches, the subtle points of logic, the histrionic objections (I don’t think there were any in this episode, which is a shame)… it is the genre of both Trek and, anything, really, that I unapologetically stan. Even though this is an extradition hearing, I’m giving it full courtroom drama props. If someone bangs a gavel, it’s a courtroom drama. This one had it all… except it ended without really resolving the legal question, which left me dissatisfied.

    Also the Bajoran arbiter is DONE WITH EVERYONE’S BULLSHIT and I am here for that. (“It would have been easier on me, Commander, if you had not raised that particular point.”)

    So on the Trill (I think Trillian was a one-off script typo in this episode), I think they hadn’t made up their minds yet how mysterious and elusive they wanted the Trill to be, and in retrospect this interpretation of them doesn’t make much sense. (I tend to ignore “The Host” back in TNG when they were clearly intended to be a one-off – they couldn’t even be transported without killing the symbioant in that story.) The Trill are in the Federation (right?) and have multiple officers serving in Starfleet. There HAS to be more awareness of their basic biological processes and cultural practices than this episode implies. If nothing else, Starfleet has to approve having Trill officers and crew serve on starships and space stations, and you can’t imagine that without them knowing things like… what is this creature inside your body? Or at least more of the basics than seem to be known here. Of course, they were looking for a way to convey some of these concepts to the audience, and this was an acceptable way of doing that without making it a total exposition dump.

    Including – hasn’t Trill civilization had to deal with this issue of a crime crossing hosts at least once in the last 300+ years? Maybe they have and they don’t want to “speak of it to outsiders” but consider the stakes here – Dax, a symbiont more than 3 centuries old who has lived distinguished lives, is going to be EXECUTED by the Klistrons if they don’t find a way to make the case right. Given later revelations about the duplicity of the Trill when it comes to pairing symbionts with hosts, it makes no sense that they wouldn’t mount a strident defense against the Klistron extradition case just to save Dax. (Or perhaps they were worried the Joran thing would come out somehow and were ready to let Dax die to protect that secret?)

    (That line of thought made me wonder if all the symbionts with several hosts are all elite, high-prestige, distinguished individuals, or whether there are any that are just dirtbags, like, ugh, this symbiont, again? This guy has been a jackass for 300 years, do we have to transplant him AGAIN? Well, he’s paid up, so… here we go, jackass #9.)

    Julian. CHILL. Jesus… it’s not okay. But it’s almost redeemed when he gets his ass handed to him while ineptly trying to rescue Dax from the Klistrons. And why does he get his ass handed to him? Because he freezes in shock (horny shock) when one of the Klistron agents is revealed to be – a woman! Who promptly knocks him cold while he stands there gawping like a dumbass. Did anyone learn anything? No. No they did not. But it was kind of satisfying to watch his horniness be his undoing. Also hard to square this incident with later Dax development where she was a Klingon martial arts expert… but in fairness, I guess they did dose her with some kind of sedative.

    You took the Sisko/Curzon lines in a direction I… didn’t… (although I do now); what struck me about them was the unusual (for Trek) acknowledgement of complexity in the relationship – where Benjamin could point out Curzon’s flaws and still be friends with him.

    Great Kira material continues, including her confrontation with the Klistron extradition agent. “You Klistrons,” she spits, “are allies with the Cardassians…” *You Klistrons.* Fantastic.

    This episode was co-written by D.C. Fontana! I hadn’t remembered that at all. I looked it up and this was her last writing credit on an official episode (although some of her work on TNG wound up being credited to a pseudonym because, as far as I can tell, Gene Roddenberry was kind of a cock), which is a shame. Given the contributions she made to Vulcan culture on TOS it would have been interesting to see what more she would have done on this show, which did such great cultural development on the Bajorans, the Cardassians, and even the Ferengi.

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  2. And why does he get his ass handed to him? Because he freezes in shock (horny shock) when one of the Klistron agents is revealed to be – a woman! Who promptly knocks him cold while he stands there gawping like a dumbass.

    Oh MANNNNNNN I didn’t even make that connection, of COURSE. Especially with Sisko’s line later in the episode about his frustration with Dax’s silence/apparent acquiescence and how “if you were still a man…”

    I’d also wondered about Dax being so easily overpowered given the Klingon martial arts expertise, and yeah, like you, I fell back on the sedation, although I suspect the actual reason is Doylist, namely that they just hadn’t thought of that part of Dax’s backstory at this point. We know Curzon was an ambassador, but there hasn’t been much mention of his particularly extensive history of working with the Klingons.

    (That line of thought made me wonder if all the symbionts with several hosts are all elite, high-prestige, distinguished individuals, or whether there are any that are just dirtbags, like, ugh, this symbiont, again? This guy has been a jackass for 300 years, do we have to transplant him AGAIN? Well, he’s paid up, so… here we go, jackass #9.)

    YESSSSSSSS WE NEED THIS, PETITION FOR A JOINED TRILL WITH A DIRTBAG SYMBIONT ON ONE OF THE NEW SERIES

    I also had the “wait, I get that they had to provide a bit more background on the Trill, but this seriously hasn’t been an issue before now?” reaction to the whole trial. It’s an interesting question, philosophically, of who bears responsibility for a previous host’s actions! But also, it seems so unlikely that it’s never come up before, since the Trill have been in the Federation for some time, let alone just in their own society, before they made contact with any other races. Of course, Dax later discovers there was a whole extra host in there who was a murderer and that the Trill had just kinda papered over that and hoped for the best, with Jadzia nearly dying before the truth comes out, so their way of dealing with the issue mayyyyyy have some flaws.

    Also the Bajoran arbiter is DONE WITH EVERYONE’S BULLSHIT and I am here for that. (“It would have been easier on me, Commander, if you had not raised that particular point.”)

    YESSSSSSSSSS she’s so grumpy and I LOVE IT.

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