Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Facets"

***

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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21 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)
JD,

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.

5/10
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.

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