Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Facets

Commander Sisko: “Let me tell you something about Curzon. He was my friend, he was my confidant – in a way, he was my teacher as well. But he was also manipulative, selfish, and arrogant. Most people let him get away with it because he was so charming. Sometimes, I let him get away with it, too. But from time to time, he'd push me too far, and I'd have to stand up to him, tell him he'd crossed the line.”

In which Jadzia gets to meet her former hosts through the Zhian’tara Trill ceremony.

This episode’s main plot allowed each of DS9’s company of actors (save Cirroc Lofton) to play a different role. First, let me say that I appreciated the set-up much more than I do other excuses for this, such as we’re-in-an-alternate-universe trope, or we’ve-all-been-infected-by-a-menopausal-Betazoid trope. Meeting Dax’s other hosts was an incredibly logical thing for Jadzia to do; it felt organic, not forced.

That said, the execution was uneven. Some bits were excellent, some mediocre, and other bits plain awful. The writers had to bring in Leeta for one of the roles and have Quark accept the memories of a female, because DS9 is from an era when they didn’t have enough primary female roles. Let’s dispense with the worst part of the episode now. Quark did not want to participate, but instead of respecting his wishes (“No” should mean “No”), Jadzia goes and starts fondling his earlobes, in public. This oo-mox is such an awful move on so many levels. The only saving grace is that Quark doesn’t seem to mind, so maybe this sort of behavior is considered acceptable among Ferengi.

Another uneven element was when Captain Sisko took on the memories of Joran. Of course, Star Trek writers like to incorporate some danger to ratchet up the tension, and this, the release of the homicidal maniac host, was their best opportunity. Except the last time we saw Joran, Jadzia was welcoming him, even hugging him – so why would Joran, on this occasion, attempt to murder her? What’s the point? Obviously they were ready for something, as Sisko was put into a cell before the ceremony, but it would have been nice to have even a throwaway line such as, “We have reason to think Joran could be even more unstable now, after the 80+ years of repression when he was with Curzon.”

Nana Visitor was absolutely terrific as she transformed herself from the former resistance fighter to Lela, a peppery old broad with the mannerisms of a woman who would be many decades older than herself. The other actors, except for Rene Auberjonois, had little to do. "Meeting" Curzon, about whom we’re heard so much, was a great segment. Auberjonois did a terrific job incorporating this particular host, with his machismo and his arrogance and his joie de vivre.

What was also interesting was Jadzia without Curzon. When the ceremony was performed for the other previous hosts, we saw little difference, but Jadzia Dax gets much of her self-confidence from Curzon. I thought it was interesting that Odo and Curzon wanted to stay together, and that the desire was mutual. Of course, Curzon was delighted with being a shapeshifter, and Odo got a jolt from Curzon’s confidence and his enjoyment in life. Let's call him Curzdo.

Curzdo’s refusal to return to Jadzia meant that Jadzia (with Sisko’s assistance) had to fight to get back Curzon’s memories. (The fact that she had to take on an older male who was in the wrong seems pretty relevant these days.) Curzon’s reluctance to return could easily be understood by the fact that being a shapeshifter would be so cool, or it could be understood by the fact that he turned her down for joining. The twist that he had been in love with her seems weak; I didn’t feel it; I wish the writers had found something else, but I admit I cannot think what.

The B-story, about Nog and his test for Starfleet Academy, sets an important arc in motion. I’m not referring to Nog’s entrance into Starfleet (which I think was a brilliant move on the part of the writers; I only wish they’d done something similar for Jake, such as setting him up as Quark’s apprentice) but how Rom behaves. Quark sabotages the test and Rom threatens him over it. We finally see that Rom will not take everything lying down. This is great news for Rom (who, at this point, finally starts getting decent character development). Note that Quark doesn’t seem to get into trouble with Sisko for the sabotage, but maybe Sisko views this as an internal Ferengi affair (and we know he’s got mixed feelings about Nog’s application anyway).

Title Musings
I love a deep meaning for a title, but this one is pretty clear. Facets refers to the different personalities, and the nuances within them. It also serves to show how many different things can be seen from different points of view – Curzon’s personality, for example.

Bits and pieces

Nana Visitor and especially Rene Auberjonois were terrific.

The make-up for Curzdo was super.

Sisko may be friends with Jadzia and he may be friends with Curzon, but most of all he is friends with Dax.

Have to wonder how strange it would be to be the first host for a symbiont, but someone has to be the first.

The pride that Rom shows in his son tugs at my heartstrings.

Quotes

Rom: "You reconfigured the Holosuite so that Nog would fail the spatial orientation test!"
Quark: "I did it for his own good, Rom! I couldn't just stand by and watch my nephew throw his life away!"
Rom: "You had no right to interfere!"

Lieutenant Jadzia Dax: “You've given me a special gift.”
Odo: “Oh?”
Lieutenant Jadzia Dax: “You see... now I have Curzon's memories of what it felt like to be a Changeling. I never realized how much joy it gives you.”
Odo: “And I never understood how much joy you humanoids experience in things like eating, drinking... staying up all night playing tongo. Frankly, I don't see how Curzon ever managed to get any work done.”

Overall rating

Two and half out of four cadet Starfleet uniforms.

Victoria Grossack loves math, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.

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