3.08: “Meridian”

This one is…fine? It’s fine! There are some good moments, and it’s a Dax-centric episode where she’s actually conscious and doing things, which is nice. I just…really don’t have a lot to say about it, and am also a bit under the weather and trying to write through brain fog, so this may be a pretty short post.

Overall, I feel like this one just doesn’t quite come together for me. Any given scene is decent, generally, and the A-plot has a very Original Series feel to it. But the various pieces never quite cohere into a solid whole. The writers seemed similarly dissatisfied; Ronald D. Moore said that “it never gelled”, and Ira Steven Behr felt there were some missing pieces.

Honestly, I’d say it’s probably one of the season’s weakest episodes, but would also say that this episode being one of the weakest points is an indicator of just how strong the season is overall, because this one isn’t really bad! It’s just that the rest of the season is so strong that “fine” is a relative low point.

Part of the problem, for me, is that this one feels very unconnected to the rest of the series — there’s only the barest token mention of the Dominion, and they’re mostly spoken of as a mild inconvenience rather than a serious threat. Which is weird! You don’t think the people of Meridian should have some warning about what they could be in for after their planet is stabilized? The closest thing to that connection here is Odo joining Kira for coffee in the morning, though that was a nice touch — both another example of Odo spending more time with the crew, and hints of his developing feelings for Kira.

Jadzia falls in love! Or something.

I love how Dax and Deral are just…immediately horny for each other, and it’s pretty much entirely mutual right from the start? It’s just really charming. Good for them.

I was a bit put off by the ease with which Jadzia decided to just…leave the physical plane for 60 years with a guy she literally just met a few days ago? I mean, I get that at Dax’s age, 60 years probably doesn’t seem like quite as huge a commitment as it would even to a 24th-century human, let alone to me, a 21st-century one, but still. By that logic, having to wait 60 years to see him again isn’t as big a deal for her as it would be for a human, right? But maybe I am just too grumpy and cynical for romance, I dunno.

One thing I hadn’t fully appreciated was that this was the first time Jadzia has ever fallen in love with someone. She and Sisko talk a little about Curzon — and their exchange is definitely one of the highlights of the episode for me, in terms of character interactions; Brooks and Farrell are just lovely together — but it’s not really made clear that Jadzia has never actually felt this way before. A little more examination of that, I think, would’ve helped a lot.

(Which, if anything, would be more reason for caution, IMO, but see above re: grumpy and cynical.)

Creepy dudes leave Kira alone in 2020 challenge

This is the second episode in a row in which Kira deals with a creep’s horniness for her, so that’s annoying. Though Tiron, at least, never shows up again. A 2016 Bustle article described this as an episode without a traditional villain, which…I get their point, since the main A-plot doesn’t have one. But the B-plot…I mean, it’s about a dude who’s so incapable of accepting Kira’s refusal of his advances that he literally pays Quark to not only use her image, but steal her records, including her psych profile, so that he can have her as a sex doll?

(Honestly, if they used her psych profile, I would’ve loved to have seen Kira’s alternate revenge plan be to turn the safety protocols off and let holo-Kira kick the dude’s ass.)

I mean, the whole thing is still less gross than the TNG episode where the real Leah Brahms discovers Geordi’s holodeck version of her, then later apologizes to him for having been upset about it; DS9 seems, here, to take it as a given that using another person’s likeness in your holo-fantasies, particularly someone who barely knows and doesn’t like you, is weird and creepy.

This seems like an excellent opportunity to link to Anthony Oliveira’s lovely essay “A Trick of the Light: On the Ethics of Holograms”, which I absolutely adore:

What right, if any, does a person have to a ‘Do Not Simulate’ clause? To what extent, if any, can stipulation be made about what can and cannot be done with one’s image? What obligation, if any, do we have to the facts of history?

Like, it’s striking that using real people’s images in your holosuite program is generally considered weird and creepy enough that even Quark hesitates! I mean, it’s Quark, so he still does it in the end, but even he seems put off by the idea, and it takes a lot of money to make it worth the attempt. Although I may be giving him too much credit; possibly (probably?) it’s just that it’s Kira in particular, and if it were someone less willing and able to kick his ass he wouldn’t have been as reluctant.

With all of that said, three things about this subplot:

  • This was apparently Jeffrey Combs’s first appearance on the show, which is fun.
  • Kira’s excitement over winning something was friggin’ adorable???
  • I love that, when it all falls apart, Quark doesn’t even try to fight Kira and Odo about it.

Horniness rankings

  1. Deral for Jadzia.
  2. Jadzia for Deral.
  3. Ughhh, Tiron for Kira.

One thought on “3.08: “Meridian”

  1. I could not even with this episode. I thought it was dull and predictable. Fundamentally, I think the romance felt untrue to Jadzia’s character. Like… this guy seemed fine and all and he was a scientist, sure, but beyond that he seemed aggressively not her type and the idea of her deciding in an instant (essentially) that she’d bail out of her life and career for 60 years to go be noncorporeal with him was too absurd. When Worf shows up and that romance began, it felt much, much more authentic than this.

    What they actually could have done that might have been interesting (other than casting someone more magnetic to be The Least Interesting Man in the Gamma Quadrant) would be to explore exactly why Dax was ready to literally bail out of her entire life, her career, her relationships, and so on for six decades at the drop of a hat. That seems pretty extreme! Makes it seem like the character doesn’t have connections that she values back at home. Would have been interesting for someone to call that out and explore it. (If Kira had been on the mission she would have done this.) Of course, that doesn’t happen and as far as I remember this episode is never mentioned again. (Then again, it might be that someone who has lived over 300 years has a different conception of relationships and time… all things being equal, Dax can reasonably expect to outlive all of her friends and colleagues in subsequent hosts, and, eh, work is work, the inbox will still be there when she gets back.)

    Terry Farrell plays it well enough and the moments where she says goodbye to Bashir and Sisko are well-done. But in general I think this is easily the weakest episode of the season and probably in the bottom 5 of the series so far.

    I found the B plot simply revolting and I’m extremely impressed you were able to use it as a platform for meaningful discourse. I was really too busy retching.

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