|4.06 / Original air date October 30, 1995|
|Written by: Ronald D. Moore and René Echevarria|
|Directed by: Avery Brooks|
I’m well aware that by the end of this review I am going to sound like a total geek, but I feel that it’s important to write to fans as well as to people who are new to any particular program or TV Universe, as the case may be. The fact is, you can’t look at any Star Trek series in isolation from the others, as much as the writers and producers of Trek would like to think. The DS9 continuity people must have had weekly fits as they received scripts for new episodes, and if they didn’t, they should have.
An obsessive fan base has been both the greatest asset and the greatest curse for the writers of all four Star Trek spin-off series. We (yeah, I’m going to include myself as an obsessed fan) demand that the writers pay as much attention to continuity in the Star Trek Universe as we do. After all, they get paid to do just that. I know a lot of fans who happily do it for free.
The race known as the Trill has been one of the screwups of the Trek franchise. The problem is, they’re also one of the most interesting races ever invented on Trek. Initially introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Trill are a race of humanoid-looking creatures that have the ability to join with a long-lived, wormlike symbiotic species to enable their consciousness to continue from host to host over a huge span of time. (Initially they also had lumpy heads, but the spots concept was added for DS9 when producers decided that if you were going to hire gorgeous, ex-model Terry Farrell to play a character, you didn’t then give her a lumpy head.)
The idea of the symbiotic relationship is that each host contributes to the life and experiences of the symbiont, while the symbiont brings to the host a wealth of experience and knowledge that would otherwise have died with their previous hosts. Once joined, the host and symbiont blend into a single entity. Twenty four hours after joining, if the symbiont is removed for more than a few hours, the host will die. It is normal for a symbiont to live inside both male and female hosts over the course of its lifetime.
In ST:TNG, joined Trill could not use transporters (it caused trauma to the symbiont), the symbiont could be temporarily placed inside a human host (as it was with Riker), and there were no rules mentioned about the romantic life of the symbiont and who it could or couldn’t be with, especially since the original Trill we met, Odan, chased Beverly Crusher through the span of three different hosts. (Interestingly, Dr Crusher finally rejects Odan when he becomes a woman.) As we know, Jadzia Dax had no problems with transporters. Ezri Dax had to receive the Dax symbiont when Jadzia died because she was the only Trill onboard the ship carrying the symbiont to the Trill homeworld when the symbiont went into distress. Finally, with “Rejoined” we are given the concept of reassociation, which forbids joined Trill from resuming romances that their symbionts had in previous hosts.
Sound complicated? It is, and overly so, but the Trek writers were most likely looking for a way to spice up Jadzia’s love life and to further explore the Trill, so they came up with the wacky concept for “Rejoined”, and we got an episode that tiptoes Jadzia’s sexuality along the borders between gay and straight. Personally, I think Jadzia counts firmly as bisexual. Maybe even omnisexual, as it was often revealed throughout the series that she wasn’t averse to trying (or sleeping with) anything once.
All this is to say that yes, the episode had holes, big enough to fly the Enterprise through. However, for all the lesbian fans of Jadzia Dax (and I’m sure I’m not the only devotee out there) this episode was also like manna from heaven, because it also contains what I like to refer to as “the kiss”.
The basic plot is this. A Trill science team arrives on DS9 to use the Defiant in their project to attempt to open the first artificially-created wormhole. (Even reviewing Star Trek technobabble is a laborious task.) The team is led by Dr Lenara Khan, a joined Trill. As it happens, when both the Dax and the Khan symbionts were joined to previous hosts (Torias Dax and Nelani Khan) they were husband and wife. Torias died in a shuttle accident leaving Nelani a widow, and this is the first meeting of the two symbionts since the accident. Dax was a man then, but when the two symbionts meet again in the bodies of their new hosts, sparks fly immediately, regardless of what gender the two are now.
Funnily enough, this gender-switch is never really mentioned. It’s like a big, old white elephant sitting in the corner. Instead of dealing with the “gay” issue, the writers turn the whole thing into a social taboo against this concept of reassociation, or getting together with a lover from a past life. The storyline is a metaphor for tolerance and acceptance of alternative sexualities, and not even a subtle one at that. The odd thing is, they could have just played the story straight, I mean gay, and it might have made more sense. Perhaps they thought the concept would play better to conservative Trek audiences wrapped in cotton wool, and considering the backlash that occurred when the episode aired, perhaps they were right.