We return to the great question of what exactly we meet when we meet a Trill. Is it the body's personality we meet, or the personality of the symbiont? Or a combination of the two? Terry Farrell pulls off some seriously nuanced acting in this episode, making us see both her student Arjin's frustration and terror–and the much longer view of Dax.
In this episode Dax is at the center of two interweaving storylines about the episode's subject activity. She's mentoring a young man who wants to be joined as a Trill, and during the process, she and the team have to decide whether or not to destroy a Universe. In both cases, the overwhelming power of Dax can either save or destroy. What saves this episode from turning Dax into some sort of Mary Sue is Dax's overwhelming humanity (trill-anity?) Her stories about her initial failure as a potential joiner and subsequent rebirth into the Jadzia we know justifies her competence and recasts the initial chaotic nature of her interests and passions into the shadow of a great personality which is also another great personality. It turns what could have been some very smarmy interactions with Arjin into truly meaningful experiences. It's clear joining, and the access to history and memory and experience, is both an enlightening and frustrating experience at the same time. While all this is well acted... it's also old hat for the Trek Universe. Learning more about Jadzia's background, and that Jadzia chose Dax after Curzon rejected her is about the most new information we get from this storyline. (Oh, and that Jadzia has a very well-muscled friend named Trajok. Sorry, Bashir.) One great thing is we're still seeing scenes with Sisko and Dax working on their friendship with Dax in the new form, and I like that - I have the feel of Sisko gently questing for his old friend while being entirely entertained by the new.
The rest of the storylines for this particular episode weird me out. Kira and O'Brien are searching for Cardassian Tribbles on the ship. The tribbles eat through force fields, resulting in protomatter accidentally found by Dax and her initiate beginning to expand into a new Universe. Okay. I mean, can you imagine that as a cosmological mythology? "Grandpa, tell us again, how was our Universe made?" "Well, when the Great Vole of Space chewed through the Wire of Infinity, it made a hole–" "You mean, like a rat?" "What?" "A rat." "The Great Vole of Space is not a rat." "Sounds like a rat. It bites through things and makes holes. Remember my cheese sandwich?"
It doesn't bear thinking about. We do get the exciting Kira and O'Brien Butt Scene; this isn't enough to make up for the lack of logic. If it's a proto-universe, can it have started developing civilizations yet? Aren't those things that come upon a universe with age, like taxes and upholstery? Regardless of these vital questions, it felt like Sisko and the rest were more concerned about the voles than about Universe-level destruction and mayhem.
Oh, and Jake. Last episode he wants a non-Starfleet career. This episode he wants to date dabo women, not girls, women. How is Sisko surprised? "I'm tutoring her in entomology."
Bits and Pieces
When Arjin came to Dax's quarters and Trajok came out, I kept thinking Club Dax.
It's interesting how sort of sexist this show comes across while not being sexist at all. The Ferengi jeer at Dax for leaving and call her "Female." Dax herself points out how much longer it takes her to get ready as a female. At the same time she's very empowered and in control.
I had a weird Buffy flashback when Terry Farrell added "Safe trip!" to her departing... playmate?
Dax singing Klingon! That felt more like Curzon than Jadzia though. Ron Taylor, the Klingon in the episode, also played Bleedin' Gums Murphy on the Simpsons.
Quark: Do you play tongo, Arjin?
Arjin: Tongo? No, sir.
Quark: Then, you'll have to leave, Arjin. The risk's to you, Lieutenant.
Dax: Shame on you, Quark. Where are your manners. This is a Trill initiate you're speaking to. Of course he doesn't play Tongo.
Quark: I beg your pardon.
Dax: So, we'll have to teach him.
Dax: Look, let's get one thing straight. I'm not Curzon or Lela or any of the others. I'm Jadzia Dax, and Jadzia's only a few years older than you are. You're her first initiate. To be honest, in a lot of ways, I still feel like an initiate myself. I still can remember the pressure of the competition when Jadzia was going through it and I'm not going to make this difficult for you. You don't have to impress me, okay?
Arjin: So how did you? Impress him.
Dax: I didn't. Curzon recommended that my initiate period be terminated.
The Dax storyline was fantastic, but the voles and Universe birth storyline and its subsequent trashing in the wormhole makes zero sense to me.
Two out of two Great Space Voles.