Jammer's Review

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.

Previous episode: Shakaar
Next episode: The Adversary

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30 comments on this review

Deathcrow - Thu, Dec 6, 2007 - 7:54am (USA Central)
"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."

Everytime i watch this episode this scene annoys me a lot. WHY?! This could have been interesting. But they turn the interesting persona of Joran into a sterotypical maniac. This does not fit how his brother described him and it doesn't make a lot of sense.

"How could Jadzia not know that Curzon was in love with her?"
There may be a possible explanation for that: It seems that joined Trills can subconsciously supress memories of their previous hosts (we've seen that with the memories of Joran). And of course the Curzon part of Dax would try to hide these feelings from Jadzia.
But i agree that the writers should have given some kind of explanation and not let us guess.
Anthony2816 - Mon, Mar 17, 2008 - 8:20pm (USA Central)
How come Odo/Curzon was able to drink in the bar? Odo has made it very clear in the past he doesn't have the anatomy to allow eating and drinking.
Aaron - Sun, Aug 3, 2008 - 11:04pm (USA Central)
Odo had mentioned that he was able to eat and drink and that he had tried it before, however he preferred not to because the process was "messy." No doubt since he doesn't have a digestive system. After he ate the food he would then simply store it in a space created inside him and later 'extract' it. Ewww.
Brian - Wed, Aug 20, 2008 - 6:05pm (USA Central)
One flaw in this episode is that each host character was a combination of their own personality plus the previous hosts. Take one specific host out on it's own surely it won't be exactly the same as people remember them, in particular curzon who Sisko knew well, presumably as a personality made of all previous hosts and the symbiant.
Rita - Sun, Aug 31, 2008 - 11:10am (USA Central)
Lost in the shuffle of the Dax-host vignettes is a nice scene where Rom finally stands up to Quark over the issue of Nog joining Starfleet ("My son's happiness is more important to me than anything, even latinum!").

Rom hasn't been a particularly sympathetic or memorable character up to this point in the series, so seeing him show a little backbone here was a pleasant surprise.
JD - Mon, Feb 9, 2009 - 3:58pm (USA Central)
""Odo had mentioned that he was able to eat and drink and that he had tried it before, however he preferred not to because the process was "messy." No doubt since he doesn't have a digestive system. After he ate the food he would then simply store it in a space created inside him and later 'extract' it. Ewww. ""

The writers have contradicted themselves on many occasions regarding Odo. In "The Adversary", Odo indicated that when a shapeshifter is impersonating something, scans will detect that something. The exact quote was "If you scan me when I'm a rock, you'll detect a rock". Now if you are for all intents and purposes a rock, then presumably when Odo is a humanopid, he should presumably scan as a humanoid (externally and internally) if we take this comment at face value.

However, a year later, in "Broken Link", after Odo was actually transformed into a humanoid by the Founders, Bashir noted (apparently for the first time) that he was reading Odo as having "a heart, lungs, a liver", etc.

Sloppy writing, but then what are you going to do? An early episode of DS9 suggested that Joseph Sisko was dead, but later we found out otherwise.
Destructor - Wed, Jul 8, 2009 - 8:18pm (USA Central)

I think it was implicit that Odo was not very good at mimicing humainoids (wheras the Founders are), and so didn't bother going to the trouble of creating internal organs for himself. A rock would be a bit simpler.

I liked this episode a lot.
klyana - Wed, Oct 28, 2009 - 1:05am (USA Central)
"How could Jadzia not know that Curzon was in love with her? "

It was an easy choice to not write into the characterization because we were shown how subtle traits and feeling-memories show up in Jadzia unconsciously as actually her very own. If Curzon's romantic erotic feelings showed up in Jadzia it would've begged the question of was Jadzia secretly in love with herself, turned on and masturbating in the mirror endlessly due to hosting Curzon memories? O_o Sort of an extra turn on thinking of Jadzia that way singing Right Said Fred "I'm too Sexy".
JD - Sun, Dec 26, 2010 - 12:43am (USA Central)
@ Destructor,

If changelings don't mimic internal organs, then blood tests wouldn't be necessary...a quick tricorder scan would suffice.
JD - Sun, Dec 26, 2010 - 12:53am (USA Central)
Plus, the changeling would have to mimick the entire internal structure to be able to physiologically perform basic tasks (talking and walking for a huumanoid, flying for a bird, etc.) He can't do these things if his innards are just his liquid goo.
Half-Blood Time Lord - Wed, Dec 29, 2010 - 9:02pm (USA Central)
@ JD
I think you've misunderstood the point being made.
Odo hasn't created internal organs for himself because, for whatever reason(I like to assume its because when he first took humanoid form, it was purely external), but the Founders, when they mimic humanoids, they do go all out on detail.
Lets also not forget that Odo isn't as adept at shapeshifting as the Founders, and only after coming back from finding his people did he decide to spend his free time taking on other shapes.

As for the internal structure, well, he's a shapeshifting alien, he doesn't need the internal physiology to do anything.
Half-Blood Time Lord - Wed, Dec 29, 2010 - 9:09pm (USA Central)
As for the issue people seem to have regarding a Symbiont taking everything over to the next host - I think "Dax" makes a very strong episode reference here as its clear that Sisko points out that Curzon/Curzon Dax/Jadzia Dax/Jadzia are all different beings, so its very plausible that the symbiont can only take memories/thoughts/feelings that either the host wishes them to take or that are specific to blended being, ie if Curzon, not Curzon Dax, had feelings for Jadzia then Curzon would retain them and they would be stored in a pocket of the Dax's subconscious that other hosts could not access.
JD - Tue, Dec 27, 2011 - 1:07pm (USA Central)
Talking is a physiological process involving vocal cords, exhalation of air, and muscular movements of the mouth and lips. Without these internal structures, Odo or any other shapeshifter couldn't use spoken language.
Jay - Thu, Feb 23, 2012 - 4:01pm (USA Central)
So in the era before they made first contact with other species, presumably the Zhin'tara would be partaken with fellow Trill. That would make things confusing, with the participants in the Zhin'tara having their own collection of former host memories, unless only unjoined Trill were used.
BennyRussel - Sun, Feb 26, 2012 - 2:26pm (USA Central)
To add to JD's last comment.

When humanoid, Odo also seems to "see" with his "eyes" and "hear" with his "ears". This would suggest he was able to shape those organs and make them function as designed.

I think it's safe to say that the technobabble behind how changelings really work is a bit underdeveloped. At some point, I just accepted it.

One thing I could not accept is how Odo's Bajoran communicator magically appears and disappears when he changes shape. Are we to believe that he has the ability to shape part of his body into a complex piece of equipment like a communicator?
BlightedSight - Sun, Feb 26, 2012 - 4:22pm (USA Central)
BennyRussel, is a communicator any more complex than a central nervous system - something we know that a Changeling can mimic because Bashir tells us when in humanoid form a changeling is indecipherable from a human.
We also have Odo telling us that when he is a rock, he is a rock.

I agree that he the abilities of a Changeling and how they function is underdeveloped but I don't question their ability to change themselves, or even part of themselves, into any think(living or not) that they come into contact with.
Late_to_Party - Fri, Jun 28, 2013 - 3:59pm (USA Central)
Great minds think alike -- I had exactly the same objection and reaction that you did, Jammer -- how could Jadzia NOT know that Curzon loved her? How could she NOT know everything that Curzon did in regard to her initiation, and why he did it.

Loved fun-loving Curzon/Odo. I wouldn't have objected to keeping them that way!

Cloud - Tue, Jul 30, 2013 - 2:56am (USA Central)
Rewatched this last night after reading the novel "Lives of Dax" and it gave me a new appreciation for it. It's quite interesting going back on the source material knowing more about those past lives (even if it's not strictly canon, but TBH, as the original Trek timeline has been thrown away now by JJ Abrams I consider them all canon personally - there's nothing to lose. If I'm wrong and the original timeline is resurrected one day, it'll be one of the happiest mistakes I've ever made anyway).
On that basis, the loosest connection was Audrid, who I think might've been a bit more solemn.

Anyway as a cap off for that novel I loved it, a charming look back through the perspective of the best DS9 Dax. I don't really understand the fuss about her memories or the nature of Odo - it's Star Trek, holes and contradictions appear all over the place (look at the original Trill from TNG - they had ridged foreheads, the symbiont had greater control and humans could become hosts) and as it's a sci-fi world if you put your imagination to work you can usually create an explanation for anything (as the books often do, it seems). You'll enjoy it far better when accepting that they didn't have time to explain every little inconsistency, and maybe even have a bit of fun filling in the gaps!

Even an individual can suppress his or her memories, or forget things, so why not the symbiont. I view this whole thing as a bit like being put into hypnosis to delve into your brain's more difficult-to-reach long term memories or something along those lines and that of course means repressed memories might come out too.

On the weaker side of things, and I seem to recall the other major DS9 reviewer (Tim Lynch) mentioning it: we have Jadzia doing the Ferengi equivalent of reaching down Quark's pants and stroking him off in the middle of the room, and basically implying he'll get more sexy fun times if he co-operates. Gross. Why so keen to get someone who doesn't want to help and just looks out for himself (some friend) anyway, but I guess DS9's writers did have a bit of a thing for the hilarity of Quark as a female, it happens a couple more times in the show's run.

Curdo (I'd forgotten there was a Tuvix before Tuvix!) would be a bit much in the long term I think unless he mellowed out a bit. "I'm Fun Odo! Fun fun fun! Yay, fun!", er no. It'd wear very thin. It works really well when he gets serious and confesses his feelings, though, and Odo was an inspired choice for this character in hindsight knowing what Odo was like when it comes to internalising matters of the heart.

Agreed on others' comments about Rom. I was proud of that guy when he stood up to Quark and said his son's happiness is more important than any latinum, it was very touching particularly coming from a Ferengi, who genuinely do tend to put profits before family.

A 3.5 for me in context, I just wish the time had been more evenly distributed between the past hosts, then it would've been a 4.
Kotas - Wed, Oct 23, 2013 - 9:05am (USA Central)

Another decent Dax episode.

Dusty - Sat, Feb 15, 2014 - 1:18am (USA Central)
"If you don't mind, I'd like to borrow your bodies for a few hours." That was just goofy, and the plot is just a thin premise for the writers to show us what Dax's previous forms were like. Still, it's an interesting idea that deserved some exploration. It was all worth it just to see Sisko as the creepy Joran and Odo as Curzon. Curzon not wanting to leave Odo's body was weird (so he's like a Paghwraith?), but I guess they needed some kind of conflict in the episode. It wasn't great, but I'd watch it again.
Yanks - Tue, Aug 5, 2014 - 9:22am (USA Central)
Odo/Curzon was the most interesting part of this one. I can see where both would like this merger.

The other's were fine and of course Quark,s was frellin halarious!

If you can take these out, why would anyone want to put Joran back in?

2.5 stars for me. Average episode.
Vii - Mon, Mar 9, 2015 - 12:45am (USA Central)
I didn't care for Joran's characterisation here either. Much like what they did to Dukat, the producers took a fascinating grey-shaded character and turned him into a psychotic maniac.

I wish they'd been able to hire Jeff Magnus McBride for 'Field of Fire', he made a much more charismatic Joran imo.

And as for the Odo-Curzon person, I found that one hilarious. It's going to take a long time for Quark to forget being kissed by Odo!
Teejay - Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - 2:51am (USA Central)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Dax have seven hosts before discovering Joran's memories? Making Joran the eighth? And what about Verad? Does he count as well? or was he not joined long enough?
Teejay - Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - 2:57am (USA Central)
Other than my questions above, I did enjoy the episode, although it further muddies my lack of understanding of the Trill as a species.
Robert - Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - 7:36am (USA Central)
@Teejay - Fanwank time! I think that Jadzia (based on a comment she made at the time) will always remember her time connected to Verad (because those hours are hours that Dax has memories of) BUT I think that if you remove the symbiont during the grace period where it won't kill the host yet that they haven't fully absorbed the persona.

I personally think Dax (the symbiont) remembers everything that happened while it was connected to Verad but does not remember Verad's pre-joining childhood (to use an example), whereas I think that Dax knows everything Curzon ever knew.
William B - Mon, Sep 28, 2015 - 3:55pm (USA Central)
This episode has an odd structure: if we go act-by-act, a teaser and one act setting up the Zhintara, one act running through all the boring hosts, then a bit of time focused on Joran and the rest of the show on Curzo. And that is fine; that Jadzia might have something to learn from her past hosts pre-Joran makes sense, but we know little about them, and we find out little else. I guess we find out an origin story for why Jadzia puts her hands behind her back, or has original scientific thinking, or is physically active, or...uh, takes care of her hair?...or has a carpe diem attitude. The "OH THAT IS WHY I DID X" repetitive tone of the scenes is already old by the time she gets to Tobin, and I am not so sure about most of the performances -- Nana Visitor's OLD WOMAN face/voice is hilarious. And the Quark stuff is awful; Jadzia holding out the prospect of sexual favours to get him to agree seems to run counter to the way their friendship goes, in that she knows he has feelings for her and keeps a respectful sexual distance usually, until now when she wants something. Then after implying sexual gratitude she laughs at his discomfort playing a woman. Classy. Oh well, it's good that we got to learn that Andrew Wiles' Fermat's Last Theorem proof is now part of the Trek verse, contradicting "The Royale."

Having Brooks play a psycho is a reasonable choice, but I agree with what others have said above about Joran -- that he seemed to be an angry guy who became increasingly unbalanced as a result of his symbiont back in "Equilibrium," and this episode spins a brief, not very effective Hannibal Lector/Clarice Starling scene out of it. What it does do is solidify the emerging theme of (as my girlfriend put it) Impostor Syndrome for Jadzia -- does she deserve the Dax symbiont, and can she stand proud before the parade of hosts before her? Maybe Emony's saying "that's what I thought" about the idea of Jadzia not being much of an athlete pre-joining falls into the same category, but I doubt it. Joran, possibly projecting his own recognition that he has gone down in history as Unfit Host, launches the diatribe against Jadzia: she is unworthy of the Dax symbiont.

The episode basically *starts* here, and then becomes primarily about Jadzia confronting Curzon, with the twist that Curzon merges with Odo to become let's call him Curzo (as was suggested above). This is a really bizarre choice, for a number of reasons, but largely turns out to be one of the better things about the episode: Curzo starts *intensely* living it up. I like the idea that Curzon and Odo, despite never having met, join and are able to combine in a way that gives them both something they have been missing. Odo is a solitary, unhappy man who largely fails to understand human(oid) pleasures, whose tragedy comes down to his inability to connect to others, and here he is suddenly joined with another being (who is *not* a changeling), who has an understanding of fun and the pleasures of food and drink that somehow Odo can finally understand. Curzon, by contrast, was always hyperactive and continues to be, but given that he lived a very long time, his continuing to live large may have been his way of staving off the recognition of his inevitable mortality. Death in some ways is the ultimate form of stasis -- one's body rots, but the person one was has no more opportunities to change and grow. And now he suddenly can break out of the "box" of his set personality in the memories (of Dax, of Sisko) and even ooze around the room as Odo, untethered even to a specific form. Odo's having a full identity to build on and Curzon's having the opportunity to be free of the restriction that he remain a memory in a symbiont for the rest of his life satisfies them both, and briefly makes it seem hard to give it up. The episode's focus is more directly on the Curzon of it, especially since this is through Dax's POV (if the episode were focusing more heavily on Odo's side of things, there would have surely been a scene of Curzo talking to Kira about his new combined identity, rather than only the Quark scene). That we get to meet and spend time with Curzon (with a twist) at some point in the series is, I think, a good decision, since he looms so large over the series.

The episode does not exactly talk about the moral dilemma of whether Curzon continuing to exist within Odo would be ethical, which is probably for the best. (This is not actually "Tuvix.") What we quickly learn is that Curzon is largely seeking an escape from the guilt that he harbours over his treatment of Jadzia, which comes down to the fact that he loved her and so flunked her out of the program. And, well, that's fine, I guess. It is not that interesting a reveal. It is believable in some sense -- mentors do sometimes push people away because of their developing feelings for their proteges/pupils -- and it has the extra effect of reflecting on Odo's issues with intimacy. And people in the less powerful position (the pupils in question) sometimes go their lives feeling that it was their fault that they suffered some slight from a person in a more powerful position who merely was unable to deal with their feelings. So all that makes some sense. I further can see how Jadzia confronting Curzon would be *extremely* important for Jadzia's closure, particularly as much of her life really is in Curzon's shadow, particularly in the way her relationships with Ben and the Klingons and her love of tongo etc. grow out of her identity as Curzon. (One detail I liked: that Jadzia sits bored while Curzon plays tongo, because she is now missing Curzon's tongo skills. Cute.)

Still, I wish that we learned more about Jadzia (or even Jadzia Dax) in this episode, after all is said and done. Jadzia needs to prove that she can confront Curzon, which is partly about proving that she is still who she is even without the Curzon part of her, and that could be very interesting. However, the Jadzia Dax minus Curzon looks a lot like the Jadzia Dax minus all her other hosts earlier in the episode, which is Terry Farrell doing her "somewhat despondent" face. The emotional core of Jadzia confronting Curzon could/should hav been about Jadzia (re?)asserting her primacy; she is the Dax host alive now, and she should not be beholden to Curzon as a ghost, who lived a long life and is now dead. As I see it, the ancestral metaphors of the Dax material in the show suggest that Jadzia's rite of closure is equivalent to a person recognizing that they have considerable influence from their family members (living or dead) and owe a great deal to them, but that it is now their own decision to live their own life. Jadzia confronting Curzon does somewhat deal with that, but the reveal that Curzon was in love with her somewhat obscures that issue and brings up a new one. And I guess I really did not feel that Farrell was able to convey Jadia's insecurity and uncertainty.

That Curzon had romantic love for Jadzia and that was something that makes him afraid to remerge with her via Dax is an issue which does seem potentially very interesting -- is that an appropriate relationship for different hosts? is Curzon more like a family member, a lover, Jadzia herself? is one of her past hosts having romantic (sexual) feelings for her healthy, incestuous or masturbatory? and so on -- but is pretty easily dismissed. I liked Ben's advice to Jadzia about what confronting Curzon entails. So the Jadzia/Curzon stuff has some interesting elements, though the overall effect is a little muted.

I like the Nog subplot fine. Nog's moment of panic when he finds out hes' doing an Ops simulation instead of a Runabout one is fun. The big emotional fireworks of the episode center on the Quark/Rom conflict, once Rom realizes what Quark has done. I do genuinely believe that Quark is acting in what he considers Nog's best interests, though whether this is part of specific rejection of the Federation or a fear for Ferengi values is hard to say. Still, either way, Starfleet is a hard career path, with few of the rewards that Quark would appreciate, and a pretty significant chance of getting injured or dying in the line of duty. Had Quark succeeded, after all (SPOILER) Nog would not lose his leg, right? However, as before, Rom demonstrates his willingness to confront Quark when it has to do with his son, and it is an effective little scene; I like too that Rom recognizes what may have happened by recognizing his brother's behaviour. I enjoyed the subplot and I like how this material is being dealt with.

Overall, the main plot is probably worth 2 stars but with the subplot in the episode comes up to 2.5.
William B - Mon, Sep 28, 2015 - 3:57pm (USA Central)
The thematic link between the A- and B-plots, by the way, is that Jadzia moving past her past hosts, and finally Curzon, frees her to live her own life and make her own decisions (and her own mistakes), which is what Rom helps Nog to do here by blocking out Quark's interference.
Grumpy - Tue, Oct 6, 2015 - 11:16pm (USA Central)
So the Trill perfected mental possession. Call me crass, but their ancient ritual surely has some practical applications -- even tactical applications. A joined Trill is a whole squad in a nesting doll, able to override the conscious minds of others. Coulda come in handy during the war, eh?

But since it was only a gimmick for this episode, the ramifications went unexplored, just like every other aspect of Trill culture. Who are the Trill, apart from the symbionts? The vast majority of Trill are unjoined, we're told (unfortunately), but for all we learn about them, they're nothing but spotted humans.

Except for this Guardian guy, who can transfer minds more easily than a mountaintop full of Vulcan Masters.
Grumpy - Thu, Oct 8, 2015 - 8:14pm (USA Central)
To be fair, we do get some glimpses into broader Trill culture. For one, we hear some untranslated language (the UT must've been fritzing that day), though it sounds like standard Space Hebrew. Second, Kira-Dax mentions being the first female something-or-other, indicating that Trill were previously male chauvinists... just like humanity. How boring.

Too bad the Chronicles of Dax never had enough time to breathe. The concept could've been spread over multiple episodes, the prior hosts handled like visiting relatives. Or this: some psychic mishap causes Dax to go schizoid, manifesting one host's personality at a time. Like, permanently. Assuming her condition didn't jeopardize her job (read: role in the cast), that would've made the character actually, y'know, interesting.
Easter - Fri, Oct 9, 2015 - 1:07pm (USA Central)

I think they made a point that it isn't a proper override and can be fought against by the host so you couldn't use it to possess enemy soldiers and convert them. Also, yes, you could split a trill with dozens of soldiers' memories among a dozen newly enlisted privates. But the main host now lacks the combined force of all that experience so you're trading one supersoldier for a dozen normal ones and if any of those privates dies in battle you lose the memory with them so you're giving up 80 or so years of experience each time making it of limited tactical value AND requiring one Symbiont to have been a soldier for centuries to use even once.

The idea in your second post is an awesome one that I wish they'd explored. I really wanted to get to know the other Dax's better and that would have been a great way to let us do that and make the Dax character more than just a relatively normal person with a disproportionately long backstory.

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