Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Air date: 6/12/1995
Written by Rene Echevarria
Directed by Cliff Bole
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"Well, if we tested you where you practiced, it wouldn't exactly be stressful, now would it?" — O'Brien to Nog, before beginning the "stress reaction" test
Dax finally makes plans to undergo her Zhian'tara, the Trill Rite of Closure, in which she has the chance to actually meet her previous hosts by temporarily transferring each one's memories from the symbiont into the minds of each of her friends.
A good but far-from-great installment, "Facets," like "Equilibrium," delves into Trill intrigue with some success at using the connection between host and symbiont as a story springboard for Dax's underutilized character. "Equilibrium" was a pretty good episode, save some overplotting and somewhat unnecessary life-threatening jeopardy. "Facets," finds a more direct approach, with fewer plot distractions.
However, there's a major implausibility with this episode that goes against the grain of established Trill lore. The story centers around the fact that Jadzia hopes to learn quite a bit about herself from talking with the previous hosts. But from what we know of Trills, doesn't a new host get the entire sum of the previous hosts' memories from the symbiont? This leaves some important portions of the show basically unexplainable, particularly the "revelation," which I'll get to momentarily.
Apparently, Jadzia has been putting off her Zhian'tara because she fears what she will hear from the previous hosts. In particular, she doesn't want to face Curzon, who washed her out of the Trill initiation program.
This is another episode in which the DS9 players masquerade as other personalities. (The other episode this season was "Distant Voices.") Dax gets everyone's agreement to let her borrow their bodies for a few hours each.
The premise is a good idea—I was genuinely interested to see Dax's previous personalities in a literal sense. The cast, for the most part, did a believable job of appearing to be "under the influence." Unfortunately, little is done with many of these personalities, who basically show up to tell Jadzia, "Hello, I did such-and-such when I was alive and that seems to be characteristic of you."
This rush-through of the personalities is apparently a factor of limited time, since the story really focuses more on Jadzia's confrontations with Joran and Curzon.
If you don't recall Joran, he's the crazy doctor-killing musician from "Equilibrium" who had the Dax symbiont for six months. Sisko volunteers to let Joran inhabit him. Joran flat-out tells Jadzia she can't compare with any of the other hosts and isn't worthy of being joined. Then he tries to break out of his cell and attack her. This is good for a little bit of excitement, but it's ultimately disappointing. From what we learned in "Equilibrium," this guy was just temperamental and a little imbalanced, not a serial strangler. Here, Joran comes across completely over-the-edge by trying to choke Jadzia to death.
The Curzon scenes, however, make a lot of sense. Someone's good judgment at the writers' meeting decided that Curzon should borrow Odo's body. Because of Odo's shapeshifter properties, Curzon's consciousness merges with Odo's, creating a combined Odo/Curzon personality. The combination is unique to say the least. Curzon is a lively character, brought to life by Rene Auberjonois, who is wonderful as usual. You've gotta love this fun-loving guy. Between messing with Quark's mind, drinking with Sisko, and morphing into a new change of clothes, Odo/Curzon practically makes the episode.
What this episode rides on is Jadzia facing up to Curzon—and this is the part that works. Jadzia wants to know why he washed her out of the program and then let her coast through the second time around. He tells her that he didn't think she had what it takes the first time, then felt sorry for her the second time. Then he tells her that he wants to stay joined with Odo rather than returning to the Dax symbiont.
Naturally this is troubling to Jadzia, and Sisko gives her the reliable Commander's Pep Speech, telling her how stubborn and downright wrong Curzon can be. When Jadzia works up the nerve to confront Curzon again, we get the episode's aforementioned "revelation," in which Curzon reveals that he washed Jadzia out of the program because he was in love with her and couldn't handle the pressure of the situation. I like the revelation, and I also like the way Curzon and Jadzia come to terms with the situation, ending with Curzon accepting his rightful place inside the Dax symbiont.
This could have been a terrific episode had the execution been better. Unfortunately, there isn't enough important material in the opening acts, and the episode chooses not to address a very relevant question: How could Jadzia not know that Curzon was in love with her? This one question brings up a host of others involving how Trill joining works. This oversight isn't enough to sabotage the episode, but it's plenty enough to make me question some of the plot handling.