Some interesting stuff going on in this one! And some really fun performances, as well. I did feel like the conclusion to the B plot, with the proto-universe, was…weird. They just…left this proto-universe, whose expansion threatens the station, in the Gamma Quadrant? Is it gonna keep expanding? I have a lot of questions!!!
I…had actually forgotten that Jadzia had been full-on rejected from the initiate program; I knew that Curzon hadn’t wanted her as Dax’s host initially, but for some reason I was remembering that as something she found out later. (I obviously have not watched this one in some time.)
In general, I liked the story thread of Arjin being pretty ambivalent about the prospect of joining. It made, in some ways, for an interesting parallel to Jadzia, who admits that she really just doesn’t feel like it’s her place to confront him. Her attempts to scandalize him notwithstanding, each of them is just going along with this because they don’t really feel they have a right to say no. I also really appreciated the ending, that there wasn’t a definite conclusion about Arjin’s future as a host — to me, the implication from his “I know what I have to do” was that he planned to quit, but I liked that they didn’t say one way or the other.
Also, speaking of endings, apparently the Klingon chef never actually appears again after this episode? BOOOOOOOOOOOO. Terrible decision on the part of the show, IMO.
“But I am Dax. And I’m coming to terms with what that means to me.”
Speaking of missteps on the part of the show, a couple of lines in Sisko and Dax’s one-on-one were, uh, uncomfortable. Sisko mentioning that “Curzon was tough, maybe even abusive in his own charming way”, immediately followed by Dax’s “you don’t know what he did to me”…yikes. Like, I don’t think the show was going for something as sinister as that sounds (particularly now, post-#MeToo), but it definitely sounds pretty sinister!
(See also: the Jake-Mardah thing, which continues to be REAL uncomfortable. BENJAMIN YOUR SON IS SIXTEEN, WHY IS HE DATING A DABO GIRL???)
I did think it was interesting, too, that Jadzia still clearly feels a lot of resentment toward Curzon, and perhaps even Dax as a whole (which would have to be strange and difficult, post-joining), and that she’s struggling with what seems a lot like impostor syndrome, with a sense that she doesn’t really have the right to make calls like the one she’s now expected to make. Her advice to Arjin that a person who isn’t sure of themselves, confident in their own personality, will essentially disappear into the symbiont once joined, suggested to me that it’s something she may still be wrestling with herself.
Sisko appreciation time
Sisko’s general amusement with the vole situation, at least initially, was truly delightful to me? Avery Brooks just plays the air of “oh thank god, a problem that appears to be a mere annoyance rather than a major crisis” to perfection. Combined with Jadzia showing up with Arjin in tow, visibly pleased that on top of her own efforts to scandalize him, his introduction to Ops involves senior crew members chasing vermin, it’s just a really fun scene. The entire cast play off of each other in some great ways more generally, but it’s particularly delightful when a newcomer to the station deals with culture shock.
I also really enjoyed Sisko and Dax’s discussion later in the episode — the two of them haven’t really had a lot of one-on-one time since the first season, when the awkwardness between them now that Dax’s host is an attractive woman a few years younger than Benjamin himself was being emphasized more. As I mentioned at the time, I liked that both of them acknowledged the changed dynamic, and the contrast, now, when they have another one-on-one, is striking: their friendship feels very real and easy now, and I can truly believe that they’ve spent the last year-plus having the occasional drink together and working to forge a new relationship.
Other things I enjoyed
- Sisko’s “…okay” in response to Jake’s impassioned declaration of love for Mardah.
- O’Brien being so desperate to deal with the voles that he actually calls a Cardassian military representative, followed by his hanging up on the gul in question.
- Armin Shimerman’s delivery of Quark’s line, re: Kira, “The girl insists on fighting her latent attraction to me” is absolute perfection.
- Half the quadrant for Jadzia, apparently. But, really, it’s hard to blame them.
- Jadzia, in general, which is frankly one of the things I love about her.