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Adam E
Wed, Sep 16, 2020, 1:11am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Rejoined

The comments above are just so perfect. There's one idea that's repeated over and over again by commentators. I'll pick the best version of it and address it:

Eddie, in 2019, writes, "In the episode 'Dax' it is established that when a Trill joins with their host a new personality is formed. While the personality has memories of the host and the Trill it is still considered a new, unique person that is, in effect, neither the host nor the Trill. In this episode, it is explicitly shown that the Trill's personality still exists and exerts massive influence. We now have a contradiction."

It's so amazing how close they come to understanding the story, and how their prejudice blinds them to it. Yes, they're two new Trill! They're two new individuals!

And yes, they fall in love!

These are two women who have a full and complete romance apart from their status as joined Trill who's past hosts shared a life together.

They're not just resuming their marriage. In their first few meetings, sure, they resolve an issue from their past live's marriage. But after that? It's all new connection, separate from their past shared life: They share a new interest in Klingons. They share a new interest in science. They have a great shared sense of humor, and they're obviously deeply attracted to each other. Their attraction jumps off the screen.

Lenara is perfect for Jadzia. If they hadn't had shared a past life together, it's obvious to me that they would fall in love. There's no doubt about it.

But someone who views homosexuality as taboo wouldn't see all that. They'd see a "contradiction," as Eddie so eloquently put it. There's no contradiction if you believe that same-sex romance is possible.

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That's why this episode is just perfect for 1995. My parents, especially my mother, hated homosexuality. They were all-in on the culture war. This was the era of Don't Ask Don't Tell, The Defense of Marriage Act, and gay sex was illegal and actively prosecuted in many states, ours included. I recall numerous times when my mom complained about the lesbians and gay men she knew in our life.

My parents hated gay people thoroughly, and did their best to impart that hatred on their children. But we all watched Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. We all watched this episode, and not just one time.

This episode was fine, to them. They see this as a story of a ghost from the past. They don't see the gay romance, because they don't believe gay romance is possible. All they see is a sci-fi romance.

Their kids, I think, saw the message. Both myself and my sister have totally left that prejudice behind, and I can't help but wonder if it's due, in some small part, to Star Trek episodes like this one.
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Adam E
Mon, Sep 14, 2020, 3:32am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

I re-watched this just now, at age 34, for the first time in oh, at least 5 years.

I viewed it quite differently than I did before.

Yes, the episode pulls at your heartstrings. Yes, it makes you cry, over and over again. It's sad watching someone's life get destroyed by the loss of a loved one. It's sad watching them fail to achieve their goals. It's sad watching them die alone.

I am not sure there is much more to the episode than that. I'm not sure what the point of it is. Should Jake not have spent his life working out how to save his father? Sisko seems to wish that he had. Granted, that's super interesting from a science fiction perspective, but I'm not sure how much it reveals about us.

In some ways this episode reminds me of a terrible trend in modern television, of dramas that do little more than languish in horrifying, depressing situations: Think Handmaid's Tale or 13 Reasons Why.

I'm glad this is a rare episode in DS9's run. I understand the value in reflecting on the possibility of living a life that you're not happy with, and dying alone; I recognize the poignancy of a story about losing someone you love. But I'm glad that Star Trek usually doesn't have too many of those stories, and suspect that's why it's still incredibly popular as a whole today.

As others have said, this episode is great for people who don't like Star Trek. For me, for the first time on this rewatch, I found myself thinking it's not for me.
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