Synopsis: A Trill ritual enables Jadzia to meet Dax’s past hosts, and she finally confronts Curzon about his treatment of her as an initiate. Nog prepares for the Starfleet Academy entrance exams — despite his uncle’s continued objections.
This is…actually another one where it feels a bit too short, I think — with the A plot, the real meat of the story is clearly Jadzia and Curzon, so all the other hosts end up just as a comic scene (except Joran, which…I’ll get to later). I would’ve liked to have seen more of them — on the one hand, I feel like the rest of the cast doesn’t really do as great a job of really differentiating their respective Dax from their usual character, but on the other hand, maybe given a bit more time to stretch out in the role, they could’ve.
Shimerman and Brooks do the best work — apparently they had to reshoot the Joran scenes because Brooks was even creepier initially — but we still don’t get much of them. The Audrid scene is a lot of fun because Shimerman, bless him, doesn’t try to go full drag with it, and plays Audrid pretty straight. He even mentioned that he thought the writers may have been a little disappointed, since he suspected they wanted something bigger and more comic when they gave Quark a female host, but that he didn’t see Audrid as a comic character — just Quark, which is why he only goes bigger and more comic when Quark emerges.
The original plan was to have Keiko embodying one of the hosts rather than Leeta, but Rosalind Chao was busy — hence the line at the beginning about how Leeta and Jadzia have started spending a lot of time together. Which the writers felt was awkward but necessary, to establish why a character we’ve only met once before would suddenly be one of Jadzia’s closest friends, but…she and Keiko haven’t really been established as particularly close, either, so it doesn’t feel particularly jarring to me. Though that may also be, in part, that Leeta is a character who fits so well on the station that it’s easy for me to forget that she hasn’t been there since the beginning.
I noted in “Playing God” that a lot of Sisko and Jadzia’s conversation about Curzon ends up suggesting he was…really not a great dude. And this episode really just furthers the impression of Curzon as kind of an asshole — I’d side-eye Sisko for having been friends with him anyway, despite openly acknowledging he could be a dick, except that one of the interesting things about this episode is that…I also kind of get the impression that Sisko has grown past him; a lot of his air throughout his scenes with Curzon is that of someone who’s just putting up with this because he knows it’s going to be a short visit.
It’s satisfying, now, to see Jadzia given the chance to confront him — and it’s interesting that even now, Sisko has to help bolster her confidence and nudge her into not just letting this happen. It’s also interesting that Curzon is clearly aware of having fucked up, as he’s increasingly blatant in scrambling excuses to not be alone with Jadzia.
I also would’ve liked to have seen a little more of Odo’s point of view on this. I know they tell us that the two of them have sort of…integrated, the way the symbiont does with a host, so that it’s not Odo or Curzon, but both. But perhaps before the ritual combined the two — give us some idea of why Odo would be happy to stay joined with Curzon. Does he enjoy the socializing, now that it comes easy to him? Is he thinking that perhaps Curzon’s influence will give him the nerve to approach Kira? We hear more about Curzon’s feelings, and what he gets out of this, than what Odo does, but it’s reportedly both of them who want to remain joined.
Rom and Nog and Quark though!!!
Max Grodénchik has pointed out that in this season, we see a lot of growth from Rom — in the first season, he didn’t want Nog attending classes with Keiko, and had to be talked into it. Now, here he is, bursting with pride over his son, the future Starfleet cadet.
It’s also worth noting that this season, we’ve seen Rom standing up to Quark for the first time — first, in “Heart of Stone“, when he tells Quark to back off, that it’s his decision whether or not Nog goes to the Academy; second, in “Family Business“, when, first, he confronts Quark with the fact that there’s a lot about the family that he missed after he left Ferenginar and later when he forces his mother and brother to talk their differences out; now, for the second time, he physically confronts Quark, even threatens him, when he realizes his brother has sabotaged Nog’s exam. Grodénchik felt there was a straight line between Nog deciding he wanted to join Starfleet and next season’s “Bar Association”, when Rom organizes the other employees at Quark’s and forms a union.
I’m actually a little surprised by how moved I am by the fact that Rom didn’t really ever learn to stand up to Quark on his own behalf, but refused to let Quark walk all over his son, and in standing up for Nog, eventually began to stand up for himself as well? It’s just really poignant and feels…emotionally real, maybe, that he’s not, initially, able to conceive of Quark’s treatment as something he doesn’t deserve, only as something his son doesn’t deserve. As with “Family Business”, for all the comical Ferengi trappings, there’s a lot of very real, serious stuff going on about people in a family who don’t quite fit in with their culture, and don’t always understand each other
A couple other notes
- My roommate made me promise I would note that Rom is a DILF.
- I love that Leeta is actually pretty well-informed on Trill customs? It helped make the idea she and Jadzia are friends seem a little more realistic, that the two of them have been talking enough to learn these things about each other and each other’s cultures.
- I…actually really might’ve liked to have seen some more Jadzia-Odo interaction following this, the two of them striking up something of a friendship. (Or possibly being friends with benefits for awhile? I…might not have hated that? If anyone wants to write that fic, I would read it, is all I’m saying.)
- NOG WEARS THE UNIFORM EVEN THOUGH HE’S NOT TECHNICALLY A CADET YET BECAUSE HIS DAD IS SO PROUD OF HIM, MY EMOTIONS!!!!
- Quark remains deeply horny for Jadzia, and really, who can blame him?
- …as does Curzon, actually. I mean, Curzon is pretty horny in general, but apparently his heart was horny for Jadzia, as well.
- Leeta and Bashir are just…kind of charmingly horny for each other, honestly? They’re both so cheerful and unembarrassed about it, I love it.