To continue, the taboo against reassociation carries with it dire consequences. If two symbionts reassociate, their hosts are exiled from the Trill homeworld. This means that when the current hosts die their symbionts will not be joined to new hosts, the symbionts simply die with them. Since nothing is more important to a joined Trill than protecting the life of the symbiont, this is a life-quaking decision.
After spending time together and trying desperately to ward off feelings they both obviously share, Jadzia and Lenara succumb to their passion and… kiss. Oh boy, do they ever. I don’t actually have a top ten most passionate lesbian kisses list, but I think if I did this one would be on it. Anyway, later on aboard the Defiant, Jadzia saves Lenara’s life in a plasma-fire accident. They vow on the spot never to let anything come between them again, but Lenara’s courage fails her and she eventually decides to go back to Trill, leaving Dax heartbroken.
Part of the debate is, as veiled in metaphor as this story is, does it even count as a lesbian story anymore? Sure, the two women kiss, but it seems the “real” couple involved here are Torias and Nelani. I would say yes, and here’s why. Lenara freely admits that she’s never had so much trouble separating her feelings from those of a past host. The reason for this is obvious; the attraction between Dax and Khan isn’t the only attraction going on here. Jadzia and Lenara are obviously attracted to each other as well, and hit it off on a physical and intellectual level. That’s what makes Dax so unwilling to accept this taboo when she’s been the first to champion all matters of Trill honour and duty in the past. She’s not Torias, she’s Jadzia Dax, and she’s in love with this woman she can’t be with, simply because their symbionts have history. As Dax says, the irony is that she and Lenara have more in common than Nelani and Torias ever did. But the word irony isn’t really appropriate, it’s more of a tragedy.
The point, I’d like to think, is that fear and intolerance should never get in the way of love, regardless of who that love is between. People who try to explain away the storyline in terms of the symbiotic relationships and try to get it to fit into their limited (and often homophobic) mindset are missing the whole point. The episode also tells us a lot about Dax’s strength too, and how far she’s willing to go for love. Dax is a bit of a romantic at heart and awfully stubborn. Actually I think “Rejoined” sets the stage nicely for the interracial Klingon/Trill romance and wedding that happens later on in the series. Dax always likes to do things her own way, and we love her for it.
Susannah Thompson and Terry Farrell both do a pretty good job with this episode, especially with acting romantic tension while speaking line after line of nothing but technobabble. Thompson especially I thought was wonderful, with her luminous eyes and having the unsympathetic role of being the one who folds under social and family pressure. She despises herself for her own weakness, while she’s in absolute awe of Dax’s strength of will and moral certainty. It’s a finely nuanced performance which is so different from the passionate, raw sexuality of the Borg Queen she went on to play successfully in Star Trek: Voyager. (She’s also starred on Once & Again.)
Whether you agree that “Rejoined” was successful or not, it certainly caused a stir, and very few other episodes of DS9 are talked about with the same level of fervour as this one. As a political statement it kind of falls flat, and as a gay episode it has plenty of problems (this was one of the earliest examples of “sweeps lesbianism“), but I’m willing to forgive a lot of that simply for that kiss that I never thought I would see on Star Trek.
If people will insist on comparing Babylon 5 and DS9, with the former always coming out on top, ultimately it comes down to this: regardless of where the idea originated, at least DS9 had the guts to show the lesbian kiss that the B5 producers chickened out of showing between Ivanova and Talia. That earns a lot of lesbian brownie points in my book.
Note: The second ST: DS9 episode to deal with lesbian characters (including another onscreen kiss) was the seventh season episode “The Emperor’s New Cloak”.
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And I just want to add one more thing here in addition to the article,
With regard to good kisses and since I am a Niner & a Gater, this one caught me by surprise and it was funny as hell. Great performance from Rodney, all the way during this episode. Just a Hats off to Stargate Atlantis, a one awesome series and a one awesome franchise.
Season 2, Ep. Duet