Star Trek: Deep Space Nine


3.5 stars.

Air date: 2/15/1993
Teleplay by D. C. Fontana and Peter Allan Fields
Story by Peter Allan Fields
Directed by David Carson

Review Text

Jadzia Dax is charged with the murder of a military hero from a non-Federation world that her symbiont's previous host Curzon allegedly committed 30 years ago. Now an extradition hearing may decide whether Jadzia can be held responsible for the actions of a previous life.

"Dax" is a captivating drama that successfully accomplishes a great number of things. First is the Trill background, as the episode poses and answers numerous questions involving the intriguing implications of a joined species. Then there's the emotionally probing exploration of the relationship between Sisko and "Old Man" Dax—highlighting a bond shared between Curzon and Sisko that both characters hope will survive the change in the host. Curzon's colorful backstory ("not the model Trill citizen") is also of interest.

Then there are the courtroom scenes, written with finely-tuned dialog and plausible arguments. Anne Haney as the 100-year-old no-nonsense extradition arbiter is a priceless gem. Odo's investigation proves almost as fascinating, as he locates the widow of the military hero and observes her problems and her concealed role in the matter. The plot unfolds on realistic terms that make plenty of character sense, highlighting personal regrets and sentiments. Every performance is praiseworthy, and the way the courtroom and character issues fit together with the intrigue-like plot is successful without ever colliding in discord. An exemplary effort overall.

Previous episode: Q-Less
Next episode: The Passenger

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80 comments on this post

    DS9 was okay with its courtroom episodes, but that is one category where it actually comes in third, behind both TNG and VOY. "Dax" was pretty good, but I didn't care for "Rules Of Engagement" (especially the Ron Canada character, who was ridiculous), and neither can compare with "The Measure Of A Man" (the first and still the best), "The Drumhead", or "Author Author".

    I agree with all the the positives in the review, especially Anne Haney's performance as the judge. But, I also felt the episode was a bit marred by Dax's unwillingness to say anything at all in her defense to anyone. That choice is explained by the story, but you would expect her to at least maintain her innocence, if nothing else. I found those scenes frustrating to watch, and it felt like a crutch to maintain some suspense in the murder investigation.

    Also, while I found the ending satisfying, it was probably best the story didn't dwell on the details. The murdered man's wife confesses to sleeping with the defendant, who were two of the people who could have given his location to the rebels -- not a great alibi. If anything, the affair would provide a motive for murder, which would seem to make the prosecution's case stronger...

    For me, one of the best character exposition stories for a first season of Trek.

    And some of the dialogue is as brilliant as you'd expect from Peter Allan Fields. But interesting too that original series writer DC Fontana was also involved. Given that she was originally Roddenberry's secretary, would it be sacrilegious of me to suggest the keeping-the-affair-secret-to-preserve-the-great-man's-legeacy part of the story may be a reference to her and the Trek creater?...

    I liked this episode. Not quite as much you, but I think you make a great case for your enthusiasm. Loved the exploration of Trill society (what is a Trill?) and Dax's background.

    Maybe Jadzia's colorless response to the situation dampened it for me.

    The strongest episode of the season thus far, and a welcome antidote to the insubstantial 'Q-Less'. Ths grabs you from the very beginning when the Klaestrons attempt to abduct Dax, right through the courtroom scenes until the eventual denouement at the conclusion.

    Jammer mentions the performance of Anne Haney as the Arbiter, who is superb, but also worth singling out is the excellent Gregory Itzin (Who appears in episodes of Voyager and Enterprise by my recollection) as the prosecutor. The regular cast's performances seem stronger as well - This is probably Avery Brooks best performance yet, and Odo (still for me in 'Blunt instrument' - to quote 'Duet' - mode) is driven and as relatively dispassionate as ever. The following exchange is for me a classic:

    Sisko: 'It's nonsense, I Tell you Constable, I knew the man!'

    Odo: 'Yes, but did you know the symbiont inside the man?'

    As far as courtroom dramas go, for me the Standard, as I think for many was set by the TNG episode 'Measure of a Man', and whilst this isn't quite as compelling as that episode , it does prove a very strong outing. Arguably only Terry Farrell's slightly dispassionate response to her plight, as pointed out by William jars somewhat, especially when viewing the episode now. Agree with the 3.5 star rating - for me a very strong episode.

    I'm astonished that no one mentioned a huge problem with this episode:
    The delegation from Klaestron IV attacks and kidnaps a Federation officer, knocks down another, sabotages the station (tractor beam) and knows how to override the all the codes.

    Are they arrested, put in custody or questioned ? Bah, no, security here doesn't seem to be an important matter to Sisko or anyone else for that matter.

    Although this is an interesting episode, I'd have done without the first act. It's annoying and unnecessary because the issue is not pursued. Also, I'd rather have had anything else than a love affair: for example, Dax preserving the "honor" of a traitor for friendship's sake. And it'd been much more interesting if the (very enjoyable) arbiter had to take a decision. I feel like I've been cheated beacause there has been no resolution at all.

    I thought Avery's (Sisko) acting has been pretty bad so far, but it was particularly bad in this episode. I'm only getting into DS9 now, but I heard that the acting gets better later, so I'm looking forward to that.

    I agree this was very good, especially learning more about the Trill, but I was very bothered by one aspect.

    Enina knows the truth, and she explains that her son has been "obsessed" with the murder of the father he never knew. Really? She allowed her son to become obsessed with this when she could have told him so many things that might have satisfied his curiosity?

    I understand that she wanted to protect her son from the knowledge his father was the traitor, but certainly she could have concocted some story to prevent his obsession.

    But that is a small matter that only bothered me at the end--until then, this was a great episode. FINALLY, the accused has a decent reason for staying silent. I hate those "have to stay silent for honor" crap things--this one actually made sense.

    So, wouldn't the legal question of culpability of Trills and their hosts have been long settled by Trill society? Instead of having the back and forth of the extradition hearing, couldn't they just cite (or even the Trill minister just cite) the relevant legal standard? Why didn't the prosecutor just ask him how it worked on the Trill home world?

    I like odo's cynicalnesss.

    to answer a question below.

    when the prosecutor hears from his MOM, that curzon is innocent. wouldnt it be kinda hard to keep on pursuing the matter?

    good episode. i think they just have farrell not say anything the last few episodes so she can learn to act...

    It was a good episode, the mystery was nice, the court scenes dragged a bit. The plight of the widows of military of political heroes was a niche touch but was not investigated enough 2 1/2 Stars

    An important character development episode for Dax, reminiscent of the TGN episode where data goes on trial. A good episode overall and well above average for a Dax-centric episode.


    Knowing what comes later with the suppressed host, perhaps Jadzia also stayed silent because her sense of guilt was so strong, even if she couldn't pinpoint why. She might have assumed it was Dax's memories of the affair that created such an overwhelming sense of guilt that she had to risk extradition and death to protext the widow - whereas, really it is the suppressed memories subconsciously giving her that sense of guilt.

    I know they didn't have the later episode in mind when they made this one, but I think the two hang together nicely. I *think* - I haven't seen the series in a long time, and only intermittently then; I'm rewatching the first season now.

    The very first DS9 episode I ever watched? "Let He Who is Without Sin...." Is it any wonder I took so long to continue? :)

    @RD GEEK: "So, wouldn't the legal question of culpability of Trills and their hosts have been long settled by Trill society? Instead of having the back and forth of the extradition hearing, couldn't they just cite (or even the Trill minister just cite) the relevant legal standard? Why didn't the prosecutor just ask him how it worked on the Trill home world?"

    Agreed. Maybe I'm a stickler for minutia, but this is a thing that really bothers me about the episode. The legal question of culpability of joined Trills for the crimes of previous "entities" is something that should be a basic and well-known issue of Trill criminal law. Wouldn't the very first thing on the agenda be to consult the Trill legal sources and simply apply the relevant standard?

    RD Geek and Paul M are correct. I'm no nitpicker myself, but there are problems here that even I can't ignore. The idea that the Trill wouldn't have their OWN procedure for this--and that neither the general's son nor DS9 bothered to refer to them--is quite a stretch. The beginning, in which the son and his henchman tried to kidnap Jadzia like thugs, bothered me even more. It made the station's security look like a joke, and the guy's tactics completely undermined whatever integrity lay in his cause. (And apprehending his own father's alleged killer? Talk about a conflict of interest!)

    Despite all that, I enjoyed everything that happened afterwards. The hearing scenes made this episode in a big way. The arguments were logical and compelling, and the 100-year-old arbitrator was a delight. All in all, a good outing for DS9.

    Another "court" episode in trek that gets WAY too much credit for being good. (see Measure of a Man)

    The whole reason for the extradition hearing is crap. It doesn't matter where Jadzia is serving, she's a member of Star Fleet and Trill is a member of the Federation. All Tandro had to do was submit the request to the proper authorities. The whole Bajor involved mumbo-jumbo is crap. The fact that Odo and Sisko didn't arrest Tandro and his thugs for any number of crimes is crap.

    The most interesting point of this whole episode was this:

    "SISKO: Exactly. From one host to the next. A different host, a different person. So I submit that the person he wants to extradite no longer exists, and I challenge him to prove otherwise.
    TANDRO: That's ridiculous.
    RENORA: It would have been easier on me, Commander, had you not raised that particular point. But the penalty for these crimes on your planet is death, and that is rather permanent. So before I grant extradition, you will convince me please, that the person named in your warrant is the person who is standing here now."

    We learn that Jadzia remained silent in her defense because Curzon swore to be silent, but we never do learn if a Trill or new host can be punished for a crime one of the other hosts commit.

    I think Sisko made a great argument in this hearing that wasn't necessary.

    "SISKO: ... Madame Arbiter, how can anyone justify trying her for a crime allegedly committed by another entity before she was even born?"

    I don't know that we ever learn the answer to this question. I do remember that one of Dax's previous hosts was a psychopath/killer... guess no one ever prosecuted, eh?

    I thought Anne Haney was superb in her performance. I also liked Odo's persistence and the performance of Fionnula Flanagan. Sisko also gave a good performance during the hearing.

    But this hearing should never have taken place.

    How hard would it have been for there to have been no treaty between Klaestron Four and the Federation? Then this hearing would have been required. Oh, then we don't have action and technobabble to kick things off. I thought the DS9 writers we so good…

    This episode falls short because we don't get an answer to how Trills are treated within the law and because the writers were so stupid in setting up this hearing.

    All we really learn about Jadzia Dax is she was an outstanding student.

    Much like TNG's Measure of a Man, the performances elevate this episode to heights that when you break it down it shouldn't achieve.

    2 out of 4 stars.


    I think the biggest problem with the setup is that if the Federation has an extradition treaty the Federation would eventually order Dax to report for extradition. And then she'd have to resign her commission and be stuck on Bajor forever. Better than dying of course, but if Sisko won his court case Dax would still lose her career, be imprisoned, and never be allowed to report back to Trill when she died to have the symbiont joined.

    Just because Bajor refuses to extradite a person in their jurisdiction, doesn't mean that the Klaestron government would not eventually force the Federation to force her to leave Bajor. And yes, the absolute easiest way to have slowed the extradition would have been to require a new extradition party to show up because the old extradition party were all in prison cells for sabotaging a Bajoran space station. It was out of character for Kira (ESPECIALLY S1 Kira) to not be ready to hurl them out an airlock for that....

    @ Robert - Tue, Jun 24, 2014 - 10:52am (USA Central)

    There is no reason why she would have to resign her commission or be stuck on Bajor. She would have to report for trial, that's it. Jadzia isn't a citizen of Bajor. She's a Star Fleet Officer that is a member of the Federation. The treaty was already in place.

    Sorry Robert, none of your implications are valid. The treaty was there. She should have been ordered to appear in court. Simple as that.

    This wasn't a court case, I do not understand what you’re saying about Sisko winning and Jadzia having to lose her career... If Sisko wins here (extradition hearing) she never sees a courtroom.

    That's the crux of what's wrong with this episode, a court case would have revealed how a trill can be judged for past hosts conduct. (but we never got there, so we are left guessing)

    Teaser : *** , 5%

    So, Bashir is still hitting on Dax, anxious to cure her of all the exotic STI's he's picked up out here on the frontier. On the other hand, she's a damned cock-tease. Stop eating with him if you're just stringing him along!

    Dax is grabbed by the cloaked fellows, Bashir turns the corner and sees her...10 seconds later..."Dax!" It's a small thing, but if you're going to do an action scene, don't pace it so laughably. Since we aren't getting any tension from the music, it's on you Mr Director.

    The scene may look silly, but conceptualised, it's a good teaser: to the point, with an upward dramatic curve and looming questions.

    Act 1 : ***.5, 17%

    We get a decent and functional chase scene (held back only by Ferrel's confusing "injured" with "sleepy." Also what's with that smile when she steps off the airlock? While it seems like this whole chase is just a gimmick (Action Insert) since the Clytemnestra or whatever they're called were trying to *extradite* Dax, it is later revealed to be part of trying to circumvent a legal technicality.

    Act 2 : ****, 17%

    The next several scenes are good for the following reasons: the characterisation elements are *revealed* by the plot. Yes, we get from point A to point B (Sisko and Kira force the Clytemnestra into an extradition hearing), but everyone's actions say something about who they are; Odo is diligent and skeptical, with no particular attachment to Dax; Sisko is loyal to his friend, pursuing every avenue of aid at his disposal, even when she asks him not to; Kira is self-righteous and temperamental; Dax displays a conflict between Kurzon's and Jadzia's feelings; and the Clytron (or whatever) subtly reveals his anxiety over needing to capture Dax. None of these ideas is stated outright, it's DEMONSTRATED.

    RIshon Uxbridge returns from the dead with a new crinkly nose! So, we get opening arguments, and the premise is revealed; much like "The Measure of a Man," the trial will examine the nature life, individuality and sentience via sci-fi twist (Trill joining). This is classic Trek and presents a very absorbing draw. There's also the hinting of a deeper tragedy here in Dax's unwillingness to comment or return Sisko's smile. As we saw in "Emissary," so long as Ferrel doesn't have to talk, she can be counted upon to deliver.

    Act 3 : ***, 17%

    For the first time, Sisko's slippery brand of morality finds a fitting venue; he isn't breaking laws or violating ethics, but he is brushing aside all objectivity in his quest to save Dax. In this instance, it's okay, however. It would have been a little braver of the writers not to have the Clytemnestra practise capital punishment. Sisko is desperate because he wants to save Dax' life; this blurs the argument slightly as the Trills' nature is a relevant topic to pursue without this looming threat.

    There's a bit of legal griping to get out of the way: so Trill is a Federation world now (I don't think Odan was considered a citizen). This is why Sisko has Kira and Bashir look for Federation precedents on the legal status of Trills' antecedent selves' actions. So, shouldn't Dax get a Federation lawyer? In MoaM, the excuse for having Picard defend Data had to do with the JAG office's lack of personnel. What's the excuse here? Wait a minute, even if Dax is a Federation citizen, the basis on which they're holding the hearing at all is that the Clytemnestra are extraditing from *Bajor* and NOT the Federation, so shouldn't the legal precedent for Dax' status be determined by Bajoran law? It seems like they invoke the Bajor/Federation division of authority when it's convenient and ignore it when it's not (just like in "A Man Alone").

    Odo checks in to deliver news that adds a mystery element to the story and introduce us to Data's mother...I mean the Clytemnestra's mother. There's a bit of goofy block in this scene, with the widow walking sideways and backwards while fixing her gaze on Odo. Good thing she didn't trip and break her prosthetics. And, oh....widow wants to know about Kurzon. Well yep, looks like they were banging. There's a wrinkle.

    The Trill Peers gives his testimony. I guess the budget ran out on decent guest actors as we get the Mitt Romney-tron delivery. The arguments that follow are high on substance, low on style. Which is a good thing. Court room drama has to do a lot of exposition in order to cinch the closing arguments. I only wish they'd found a better actor for Peers.

    Act 4 : ***, 17%

    I like the arbiter's acerbic irritation with this whole affair.

    Bashir's beaming pride and moderate arrogance with his work is sort of charming here.

    Sisko : "[Kurzon Dax] probably wasn't the ideal Trill. He drank a little too much. He could be more interested in women than maybe he should have been...he was not at all like the young woman in this courtroom." Can't help but revel in the irony of Worf-era Dax (drinking, partying, gambling, lesbian-ing...)

    Sisko lays his little trap for Clytemnestra and, unfortunately, he walks into it a little too easily. He eagerly points out that Kurzon's culpability implicates Dax, thus proving Sisko's argument about the individual nature of each host-symbiont pairing. It's just a bit pat, especially against the rest of the episode. Brooks' portrayal is predictably distracting--smiling wide-eyed and over-enunciating. How about a little nuance there, Avery? Let me see; he's.....happy! Got it.

    Odo checks in to reveal what we already knew, that the widow and Kurzon were shtupping during the war.

    Act 5 : ***.5, 17%

    So it turns out the General was an asshole, but a national hero and both the widow and Dax are sacrificing themselves for the reputation of another. The question in Dax' case is, is this the same sense of honour of which Sisko spoke in his testimony a product of Dax, passed on from the man he knew, or is it the new host, Jadzia, applying her own flavour of morality to her inherited memories?

    My pondering this interesting question is painfully interrupted by Sisko raising his *fist* to Jadzia's face and lamenting that she is a woman now, and thus he can't punch her. Okay... then we get a story about how SIsko almost killed a man for throwing a drink in his face. Uhuh... Based on this and the events of "Tapestry," I'm starting to wonder if Starfleet isn't feeding their cadets crazy pills. Why is this man so damned angry?

    Anyway, Jadzia reveals that she is indeed struggling with her memories via the metaphor of Kurzon's scar-producing ring.

    So we get to the closing arguments. The question..."is not the new host responsible for the actions of its previous incarnations?" is interrupted by the revelation that Kurzon was ploughing the widow during the alleged betrayal. And we never really get an answer (which is okay, by the way).

    I'm a little tired of these conversations on the promenade while two people slowly walk to no place in particular. How often do people converse like this? Trying to see where they're going will walking *next* to someone so they can be seen by the camera? It reminds me of all those dialogue scenes in the Star Wars prequels. Just lazy blocking. In any event, the widow tells Jadzia to stop living other peoples' lives, which is an appropriate way to close the episode.

    Episode as Functionary : ***.5, 10%

    As an allegory, the Trill make a good soapbox for the issues of familial inheritance. Just like Odan was thought to be his previous host's *son* the question of living in the shadow of one's progenitors is magnified for closer inspection by the sci-fi conceit. Most of the character work with Jadzia is done vicariously, with other people examining her on her behalf. In this way, it's weaker than "Measure of a Man," where Data did a lot of his own heavy-lifting. That said, it was very good work. Sisko's character is softened a bit (anger issues aside) and we get some good characterisations all around as well as a strong guest cast, with the exception of Peers.

    Final Score : ***.5

    WHY did they have to have the hearing in Quark's bar?! There were only five or so people present. They could've had the hearing in Odo's office, or Sisko's ready room, or the holodeck! Why did they need that goofy scene with also pressuring Quark to shut down the bar and let them have the hearing there? It was pointless.

    I don't care for Avery Brooks' acting throughout the series, but I think Nana Visitor's acting takes the cake in the beginning of the series for being the most awful! The scene where she overacts in this episode is as laughable as it is painful to watch. I do think she wins the award for Most Improved Actor of the Series of award, though.

    Dax: B
    This is a good episode marred by a number of logical flaws. As an expose on Trill society, an exploration of Sisko and Dax’s relationship, and even as a courtroom drama, it works well, and scattered throughout are a number of powerful scenes. But the titular character remains almost toneless throughout the hour, which dampens the level of emotion at play.

    The Good:
    - Odo blackmailing Quark.
    - Sisko and Kira make a pretty great team, actually. The scene where they establish the illegality of extradition on Bajoran DS9 is fun.
    - I do like how devoted Sisko is to Dax. He comes very close to asking Kira and Bashir to falsify evidence in order to support his friend, which may not be admirable, but it’s an interesting character choice. Avery Brooks shows a pulse in this episode, and once again, righteous Sisko is, to me, entertaining Sisko.
    - It’s completely in character for Odo to be skeptical of Dax after hearing the charges, though.
    - Bashir punches both Tandro and, kind of, himself.
    - The arbiter is an awesome character, wooden sphere gavel and all. She gets many of this episode’s best lines.

    The Mixed:
    - The gist of the Trill discussion re: culpability for previous hosts’ actions is interesting, and I think Sisko makes very good points when defending Jadzia’s innocence. But I’m still waiting for an explanation as to why the Trill (both Dax, and, in this episode, the Trill ambassador Peers) act so mannered and distant. Curzon, apparently, was not like that. I have some theories, however.
    - So DS9 operates under Bajoran law, Federation law, or basically whichever one suits Sisko/Kira best at the moment? I’m not complaining too much, this only serves to make the show more ~morally ambiguous~.

    The Bad:
    - The Sisko voiceover that explains why O’Brien isn’t in this episode is almost comically sloppy.
    - They were supposed to be having an extradition hearing to determine the legality of extraditing Dax to Tandro’s homeworld, right? Characters keep insisting that this is the case, yet it ultimately ends up being a trial about A) Trill responsibility for their hosts’ actions and the line between symbionts and their carriers and B) the actual case of Tandro Sr.’s murder. The first I can kind of understand, but the second should not have been addressed at all, which makes Odo’s investigation and eventual revelation of the truth come off as a sort of deus ex machina. Sisko, I suppose, was grasping at straws when he asked Odo to start digging around on Klaesron, but the episode didn’t do itself any favors by making a distinction between hearing and trial and then basically putting Dax on trial. In other words, the goal of the proceedings at Quark’s bar was kind of confusing. Call a trial a trial.
    - The rest of the cast – Sisko, Kira, Bashir, Odo – rise to the occasion in her defense; Dax rises but little. In fact, she’s a bit of a cypher throughout. She (well, he) fell in love with another man’s wife (never mind that the man was a cowardly traitor who betrayed his own people) and feels guilty; we’ve established in previous episodes that Trill believe themselves to be somewhat above such emotions as lust and love. I can buy that she can’t reveal where she was during the transmission, or the true fate of Tandro Sr. But the episode almost seemed to imply that Jadzia Dax has a death wish (until Enina inspires her to keep on living during their final scene) which doesn’t quite track. And besides which: Couldn’t Dax have been a bit more convivial with her defenders? She makes the argument to Sisko that Jadzia and Curzon are different people in a bid to get him to leave her alone; this is exactly the sort of argument her “defense” might have used. I don’t know – Farrell smiles cryptically throughout the episode, but I never got a good enough feel for what Dax was thinking.
    - Wouldn’t the fact that Curzon and Enina were sleeping together actually provide motivation to him killing Tandro? We, the audience, only know that Dax is innocent because of the private scene at the end, but you’d think the arbiter and Tandro Jr. might ask additional questions after the affair became public.
    - Didn’t the folks from Klaesron engage in kidnapping, tampering, conspiracy, and various other acts that might get them in hot water on Bajoran DS9? Yet they were still allowed to have their hearing and presumably, go on their way.

    Surprisingly, though, I actually liked this episode, despite the length of my “cons” section. The premise might be DS9’s best yet, and if the writers didn’t quite land the delivery, well, the show is still young. “Dax” touches on some of the themes from earlier in the season – living with one’s own actions, the past affecting the present – and makes audience members question one of the regular characters in a way that some might find uncomfortable (I thought at the beginning that Curzon might have been guilty), which is always a good thing in my book. But the message we end up getting is muddled. Why is Dax so passive, when speaking in her own defense wouldn’t require betraying either Enina or the general’s legacy? Is she unwilling to publicly express that Jadzia and Curzon Dax are basically different entities? That can’t be it, as she willingly answers Sisko’s questions about her accomplishments before becoming joined with the symbiont. Hmm. Perhaps one of the reasons I like this episode is because it’s thought-provoking, even if some of that provocation comes from an unclear script. I can envision a slightly more interesting version of the episode where Curzon did kill Tandro, but for sympathetic reasons relating to the wife. A guilty Dax must make the case that Curzon is dead. Sisko would be doubly hurt by learning that his friend was a killer (although, again, a sympathetic one) and by hearing Dax say that she is not the same person Sisko knew years before, but he’d stick by his old friend anyway. In any case, this is just fanfiction.

    I liked the episode, but I do agree with RD GEEK on this:

    "So, wouldn't the legal question of culpability of Trills and their hosts have been long settled by Trill society? Instead of having the back and forth of the extradition hearing, couldn't they just cite (or even the Trill minister just cite) the relevant legal standard? Why didn't the prosecutor just ask him how it worked on the Trill home world?"

    After all, Trills have been known for decades now, so I think that they should know how to deal with such questions at this stage!

    I think that while RD Geek raised an interesting point about there being a trill legal standard regarding the culpability of joined trills the lack of a standard can be explained. For instance, we learn in later episodes that the number of trills that can be joined is limited and that an unstable host would reject there symbiont. We also learn that people who want to be joined of subject to various test before being given a symbiont. It is therefore possible that people likely to commit crimes are screened out before being joined which mean that a joined trill committing a crime is without precedent.
    On a different note I find the question about the nature of a joined trill to be interesting. While it is true that the episode never directly answers the question about whether or not a joined trill is responsible for the actions of previous host it does answer the question implicitly in that Jadzia was willing to risk her life to keep a promise made by Curzon.

    I will get to what I call the heart of the matter. Jadzia was real quick to say to Sisko, that was Curzon, but she was ready to die for the memory of a man that Curzonr knew, which is stupid. Jadzia was not even born, she did this in another episode, the one with the 3 Klingon warriors. She wanted to take Curzons honors but she could not kill the Albino when she had the opportunity. She knew a lot about Klingons but she was not one as Worf had to tell her.

    Avery Brooks is a very good actor.

    The strongest episode up to this point. Not only does this give a good introduction to who the Trill are and what kind of internal and external conflicts Jadzia Dax will face, it also is probably the first great vehicle for Sisko -- "Emissary" was okay, but he otherwise has been more part of an ensemble than lead.

    Criticisms out of the way first: it is odd, as others have pointed out, that there doesn't seem to be a set Trill policy on the culpability of new hosts for the crimes of their previous lives. Maybe there is such a policy, or maybe Trill society is so invested in the transcendence of symbionts that they deny that joined Trills could ever commit capital crimes at all (the cover-up of Joran supports this theory). Now, the way the episode gets around addressing this directly is by suggesting that there is a Klaestron-Federation unilateral extradition treaty -- but is that really plausible? I mean, if the Klaestrons do not have to show any evidence *at all* that Federation citizens committed crimes against them, what is to stop them from picking up any Federation citizens, i.e. to blame them for unsolved crimes or some such -- with no consequences? Along those lines, the idea that the Klaestrons *can* extradite Jadzia Dax for Curzon Dax's ostensible crime either suggests that the Federation accepts this transfer of responsibility from one host to the next (which would be good to know!) or that the Klaestrons can genuinely apprehend any Federation citizen they want even if the Federation would not even accept that that person was accused of crimes at all.

    This type of thing is a problem with most Trek courtroom shows, which tend to fudge the details for the sake of getting to the dramatic meat, which is generally exploring some fundamental issue -- liberty vs. security in "The Drumhead," the responsibility someone has for command decisions in "Court Martial" or "Rules of Engagement," and, most relevantly, the status of an artificial being as person/non-person or property/non-property (or author/non-author) in "The Measure of a Man" and "Author, Author." The courtroom scenes are a great way to introduce the relevant questions of Jadzia Dax's one/many joined identity from several different angles, expanding the Trill metaphor from its use in "The Host" (which was a good use for a one-episode story but limiting for a long-term one).

    I like Elliott's suggestion that the big allegorical question here is ancestral crimes and responsibilities -- should children pay for their parents' sins, in some way? This interpretation is given added weight by the fact that it's General Tandro's son who is pursuing Jadzia Dax's extradition and execution, suggesting the way a sense of responsibility passes through generations under normal, non-joining circumstances, where the bonds are of genetics and upbringing and name rather than of symbiont/memories. I think that most people would agree that children are not responsible for their parents' crimes, and so the idea of punishing someone for what one of their ancestors did is clearly wrong. However, in both metaphor frame (Dax) and literal frame (Tandro), people feel a real sense of responsibility to and for their progenitors. Tandro is acting in a legal capacity here, but he is also seeking something like personal justice (vengeance?) due to wrongs committed against his father, and believes that wrongs committed against his father still need to be answered for, both to the state and to him personally. As we'll see in the series, Jadzia has similar feelings about wrongs committed against Curzon and Curzon's "family" (c.f. "Blood Oath") -- where the responsibility to right past wrongs (in the Klingon way, no less) falls on future hosts, to ensure that injustices are not simply forgotten in death. And I think that's the rub: Tandro wants to believe that no crimes go unpunished, that even in death -- death of the victim OR death of the criminal -- there is some way to balance the cosmic scales.

    For the Trills, there actually is no simple answer of responsibility. That Jadzia, the host, is blameless for Curzon's crimes is obvious, and I was going to say that Sisko won the case in a slam-dunk (or home run, which I guess would be Ben's preferred metaphor) until Tandro pointed out that Trill hosts accepted all responsibilities when they joined. Now, on the one hand, the idea that Jadzia takes on responsibility for Curzon Dax's actions *about which she knows nothing* by joining, once again is clearly unfair. It's one thing if Jadzia knew that this hypothetical Curzon Dax was a murderer (and, again, we know from "Equilibrium" that this type of thing gets covered up, even from the symbiont), but it's quite another if she is not told that by joining she's both becoming a murderer and sentencing herself to death should the Klaestrons ever release their military files and extradite. AND YET, Jadzia benefits from previous Dax hosts, and agrees to give up some of her separateness in the exchange in order to carry on the Trill legacy. If she gets the benefits, is it not fair that she gets the drawbacks?

    And of course, there is also the question of what *does* happen rather than what *should*. It is unfair that Jadzia give up her life because of Curzon Dax's decisions, but Jadzia Dax certainly feels the weight of Curzon's desires nevertheless. Ilon feels the pain of his father's death acutely and wants to try to make it right, even if a generation has passed.

    The Sisko/Dax friendship, similarly, depends *entirely* on Sisko's bond to Curzon going to Jadzia. Sisko's frustration with Jadzia, though weirdly expressed (IF YOU WERE A MAN I WOULD PUNCH YOU), comes down partly, yes, to the fact that she is refusing to provide any explanation, but also because Sisko *wants* Jadzia to be Curzon -- take charge, be the life of the party, be expressive -- and she stubbornly refuses to be the withdrawn, aloof Dax she currently is (though Jadzia's character will be somewhat rebooted over the next season or so). Sisko's desire to defend Jadzia comes down to his bond with Curzon, which is also how/why he knows that Curzon didn't commit the murder.

    The explanation that Curzon did not commit the murder is a bit of a cop-out, but it reveals again that Jadzia puts stock in her loyalties to past lives. And it also, interestingly, shows a Dax who is willing to give up her life to do the opposite of Ilon Tandro holding grudges across generations. On the one hand, continuing to maintain the deception about General Tandro having betrayed his people is maybe a bit shady (the truth is a good thing?), but a lot of it comes down to an unwillingness to open old wounds that could destabilize the Klaestron society -- a willingness to die to let the past be the past. It's an appealingly complex situation.

    3.5 stars, I'd say.

    So late to this game.

    This is one of my favorite first season episodes. It's probably the first time, to me at least, where Kira comes off as a character I can like. The scene in Sisko's office early on has some incredible chemistry between him and Kira. You get an amusing and substantial glimpse into Sisko's and Kira's similarities with their penchant for sarcastic incredulity. You get the feeling that two are truly realizing that they have enough in common to make it all work.

    Strong episode this one, bringing forward a whole bunch of character development in a believable way. Of particular note is Odo's devotion to justice, whatsoever that might mean in practice for Dax. It has an exciting start before moving into the courtroom drama. And by introducing the gleefully acerbic Bajoran arbiter we get a hint as to how DS9 takes a different approach to TNG - a genuine highlight.

    Where I think we do get a little short-changed is that the twist ending (which is effective enough) negates the need to answer the question of whether the host is responsible for the symbiont's past actions. We don't actually need to know for the purposes of the story, but it would have been nice to have some resolution. And it's also fair to say that it would have been more interesting to have Dax take a more active role in the episode - appreciating that the story choice didn't allow that.

    And Bashir gets beaten up by a girl. What's not to like? 3 stars.

    The question raised above of the legal procedure regarding Trill culpability is more complicated than simply referring to Trill laws to resolve the case.

    It would be an incredibly complex issue for the judge to determine which laws apply, and one that the episode does not touch upon. It would need to be resolved according to Bajoran law (and possibly inter-world laws) whether Bajoran or Klaestron laws apply to determining culpability of host or symbiont. Trill laws would probably be irrelevant.

    Of course this is all based on the conflict of laws system we have now on earth, and I'm not even certain if it's the same outside the US and Commonwealth nations.

    Okay, since this is the first Dax-centric episode of the series, I guess it's as good a time as any for a little more personal confession time. Jadiza Dax is hands down my least favorite character among the main cast of DS9. If it wasn't for Neelix and Wesley, she'd probably be my least favorite main character in the franchise. Most of my dislike for the character, however, comes from later episodes (after they had jettisoned the whole "Spock: Version 3.0" character and created her anew) , so I'll save most of my disdain until then. Suffice it for now - I do not like this character.

    And "Dax" really doesn't help in that department. Aside from the episode's other flaws (being another example of a boring Trek courtroom drama, the fact that the argument against Dax is ridiculous on its face and Dax's reasons for remaining silent are stupid - she's really willing to throw her life away to protect the memory of a traitor?), Dax herself is just so damn bland! She practically becomes an non-entity from the moment she finds out what is going on until she takes the stand. This is the same problem "Rules of Engagement" will later have. If you're going to have a courtroom drama, the main character really has to standout - like in "The Measure of a Man" and "The Drumhead". Why should I care so much about Dax's fate when she, herself, barely even has anything to say in her defense?

    Still, there are positives to "Dax". The opening kidnapping scene is a good action sequence and does it's job well. Odo's investigation on the planet is a highlight of the episode (even if Odo again looks like a fascistic ass when he uses his connections to state power to bully Quark, apparently just for shits and giggles). And, of course, there's the world-building (desperately needed world-building) with the details and backstory of these new versions of Trills.


    The major issue that I can't stop thinking about is it seems highly implausible to me that the issue of Trill committing crimes has never been dealt with in the past. Surely this couldn't be the first time in all of history where a Trill was on trial, and I find it hard to believe that society prior to this point never thought of this issue coming up.

    In "Measure of a Man", because of Data's uniqueness, it was entirely plausible that the court hearing was setting a precedence. It was even made clear that that was the case and the weight of the proceedings was conveyed and part of the story. Here that is not the case. This rings like a bunch of armchair lawyers sitting around having a debate about something and not being aware of existing established precedence.

    Also the entire issue of Trill responsibility, which was made out to be so important at the start, ended up being completely cast aside by the new fact that Dax had an alibi (a fact that was weirdly never questioned, apparently it wasn't possible for the wife and Dax to have collaborated on a crime).

    It's equivalent to all of the important issues of "Measure of a Man" being thrown away at the end because, say, it was discovered that Maddox falsified his credentials and the trial was halted with no resolution. It was a weak way to avoid actually addressing the issue that seemed so important at the start.

    I strongly disagree with the 3.5 stars here. Purely for the alibi cop out at the end, I'd give it 2 myself, which may be generous, but I did find the first act gripping.

    I.e. At the end of the day we still have no sense of whether or not a Trill is responsible for the crimes of a past host. At the end of MoaM we had a sense of legal precedent for all AI sentience related issues that could follow.

    I don't know that I ever had a problem with the character Dax, or the way Dax was acted. She was supposed to be several hundred years old (sort of) and I thought she was written in a way that she would be old, wise and contemplative, in her own way. So if she didn't say or do much, I figured it was meant to be that way. And if Dax got especially excited or frantic about something, then you should really take her seriously, because Dax only did that when things were really going badly.

    Especially in the early part of the series, I was reminded how much I disliked TNG right off the bat, so I gave everything and everyone a great deal of latitude with how their characters would work out.

    A problem I had with this episode is that the characters are still pretty new, and I had a hard time feeling for Dax in any way. I did not have an emotional investment yet. If this had run a year or two later, I might have felt more.

    Good Day to You... RT

    A bit of trivia. In an episode of "Northern Exposure", that aired 3 months before "Dax", Anne Haney, who played the arbiter, played a judge presiding over a very similar extradition hearing.

    In that case, Chris was facing extradition back to West Virginia on old charges. His defense was that he had changed so much since moving to Alaska that he was no longer the person named in the arrest warrant. A similar defense to the one used to defend Jadzia.

    I couldn't agree more with Luke on this one I also agree with RT in regards to not yet being emotionally invested enough in the characters to really care what the outcome of the court case was.

    I really truly don't understand all the praise the court case episodes of Star Trek get. I find them incredibly boring. One of the few positives to this particular court episode is that it was used as a vehicle for developing Dax as a character. Unfortunately at this stage in my viewing, I'm not convinced she's going to be a character I'll ever actually like or be particularly interested in.

    So far Odo is my favourite DS9 character. I'm intrigued to see how he develops as the series progresses.

    { The delegation from Klaestron IV attacks and kidnaps a Federation officer, knocks down another, sabotages the station (tractor beam) and knows how to override the all the codes.

    Are they arrested, put in custody or questioned ? Bah, no, security here doesn't seem to be an important matter to Sisko or anyone else for that matter. }

    Seriously. That was one huge problem with this episode.

    The other is that it should be no contest - Jadzia Dax is not the same individual as ____ Dax. Numerous episodes confirm this. The other side has no case at all.

    * The Federation would never extradite someone to a world where that person faced a death penalty.

    * Jadzia Dad is clearly, clearly not the same person as Curzon. I am not sure why they even needed to present medical evidence to prove that an old man is not the same person as a young woman.

    * The Bajoran judge, while obviously intended to be funny and badass, makes several arrogant comments that suggest her time spent doing her own job is worth more than Jadzia's and Dad's life.

    * The "prosecution" was a violent kidnapper who effectively crapped over Bajoran laws and Bajoran jurisdiction, assaulted two Starfleet officers, and has a personal connection to the case which constitutes a conflict of interest.

    *Dax, not Dad, in the above comments. Stupid CyanogenMod autocorrect.

    A great well-written and conceived courtroom drama here. Nice to get an understanding of trill and this host/symbiont arrangement -- it all makes reasonable sense (not seeming farfetched or arbitrary if we accept how trill work in the first place). "Dax" deserves to be mentioned up there with Trek's best courtroom dramas alongside TNG's "The Measure of a Man" (which is a tad stronger IMHO).

    Whether it was a trial or an "informal hearing", it worked the same. Good drama and arguments. This is one instance where Brooks' huffing and puffing style of acting works well -- when he's making courtroom arguments. The "prosecutor" (and son of the general) also did a good job and was a good match for Sisko -- he won the round with Bashir on the stand. I liked how Sisko turned the salt in water argument on its head as an analogy for trill -- example of clever writing.

    The general's wife turns out to be quite a character with an interesting backstory. Pretty good actress. Stunning revelation that Curzon was in her bed when the transmission to betray the general was sent (mic drop).

    And Jadzia Dax being silent for most of the episode was intriguing. It angered Sisko, which was entertaining to see. Dax was protecting the general's wife. So how it all fit together was well-thought out.

    Agree with Jammer's 3.5 stars rating for "Dax" -- the 100-year-old Bajoran arbiter was better than the one in "The Measure of a Man" and kept the pacing just right. This is a good episode for most of the important DS9 characters -- each doing something important (exception being O'Brien) -- and also getting the lowdown on Trill. Best episode of DS9 to this point in the chronology.

    While not up to the quality of "The Measure of the Man", the courtroom drama actually makes more sense in "Dax". I didn't buy the fact that they would make Picard the defense and Riker the prosecutor-it was very contrived. The situation was here was intriguing and well-conceived, and thankfully, the execution matches up as well.

    3.5 stars.

    Very nice, my favorite so far.

    Little time for more comment, as I've got a big bunch coming for Thanksgiving, but nicely done., especially the performance by the general wife.

    Only complaint is that tacked on, unsatisfactory, one sentence explanation of how the general really died.

    Good one, overall with good development for Jadzia.

    Terrible episode. At least it's not a Dumb Ferengi Episode. But it makes no sense at any point, starting right from the opening voiceover.

    * Keiko and O'Brien are off celebrating her mother's 100th birthday. While Keiko's age might be slightly different, Rosalind Chao was 36 at the time this episode aired. That means her mother would have been approximately 64 when she was born. Huh.

    * The Federation would never sign a treaty with any alien species that allows those aliens to simply abduct Federation citizens and carry them off for punishment.

    * Kira would have tossed the Klaestrons out the nearest airlock for sabotaging the station. The Klaestrons are the ones who should have been on trial here.

    * Curzon's supposed vow of silence is the central plot point of the episode, but there doesn't seem to be any particular reason for it other than that otherwise Jadzia could just tell the truth and then there'd be no episode. He's protecting who exactly? Obviously not himself, obviously not the general, who's dead. The only reasonably valid reason for this might be if this news would be so shocking that it would plunge the planet back into civil war. This isn't necessarily implausible, it's not too different from the situation with Mogh and Ja'Rod, but the secret comes out at the end and it's met with a collective shrug, so obviously not. Apparently Curzon decided to remain silent to protect the honor of the general's wife.

    * But she doesn't care enough about him to send off an email warning him that he's about to be arrested? Or tell the truth to Odo when he comes to talk to her? Or just, you know, going public with the actual story? Which is what she ends up doing in the end anyway. She's also OK with letting her son grow to middle age, wasting his life investigating this non-murder when she knows the truth the whole time.

    * There was no reason to close Quark's bar for this. There are no other areas available? I guess they haven't fixed the empty cargo bays from the first episode yet. Or that they couldn't fit the apparently five people involved in the hearing into some random conference room, holosuite or whatever. The only purpose of this is that otherwise Quark wouldn't be in the episode at all. Given how much of this episode was filler, they could have just given Quark a B-plot instead. It's more than ten minutes in before anyone even says why the Klaestrons are even there.

    * For some reason, the question is treated as a medical issue and something that Bashir has to actually research. How about this: "Curzon is dead. He's rotting in the ground. Jadzia is standing right here. Medically speaking, these are different people."

    * Neither the Klaestron nor the Bajorans can possibly have very much experience with the issue. The Trill necessarily must have extensive philosophical understanding and legal precedent regarding this issue, but nobody ever even asks the supposed Trill expert what their position is.

    * The Klaestron's arguments and behavior in court are pretty weird. I particularly like his contention that the Trill can commit "the perfect crime" by just not getting caught before they die. This is... not special about the Trill. Anyone can get away with crime by not getting caught before they die. Also amusing is the contention that having memories of a crime is equivalent to being guilty of it. This is a weird position to take in a universe in which memories are routinely modified. I guess the perfect Klaestron crime involves just having your memories wiped afterward.

    * Odo must have shapeshifted into one of the Game of Thrones ravens. Somehow, he goes from forcing Quark to close his bar, to traveling all the way to Klaestron, and conducting his own investigation (which uncovers the truth that none of the Klaestrons found after all this time), all in the space of what is, according to the episode, one day.

    * The Klaestron rebels murdered the general... while he was defecting to them? I'm not an expert on Klaestron politics or military traditions, but this seems like a pretty weird thing to happen.

    * Substantial portions of the episode involves everyone running around Dax overacting, while she sits there like a lump. But this isn't very different from the rest of first season DS9.

    * The most unbelievable part of this episode is that D.C. Fontana would allow her name to be put on such a preposterous mess of an episode.

    There is a real sci-fi issue here, continuity of identity, and the Trill are the right vehicle to address it. But the episode bases everything on plot holes and implausible actions, makes all the wrong arguments, and then ends without any resolution. The only part that comes close to working here is that Dax seems to take Curzon's commitment seriously, implying that she actually is closer to accepting the Klaestron side of the argument than anyone else. Nevertheless, there is no way that I believe that Jadzia is willing to die to protect this secret that, in the end, turns out to be completely unimportant.

    One and a half stars.

    Above comment is a great critique of this episode that (because of its good execution, dramatic subject matter and early point in the series) seems better than it actually is... it doesn't live up to the sum of its parts.

    I really don't understand the praise this episode is getting. The whole story makes no sense and is full of plot holes. The philosophical question at the plot's core, though interesting, is never resolved. And worst of all: The episode puts the two worst actors of the cast, Farrell and Brools, at the forefront, who do nothing to get the viewer invested in anything that is happening on the screen. I found this much harder to watch than "Q-Less", which, though silly, was at least entertaining and featured two guest actors who actually knew how to act.

    Dax's first vehicle of DS9 is also the best episode of the season so far. Dax is a smart
    and intriguing court room drama. All of the performances are strong. Dax provides good insight into Trill physiology and culture. It also gives us a useful back story on Jadzia Dax. This episode is a well written and acted drama.


    Fascinating episode. I'm intrigued by its choice to make no ruling on whether or not Jadzia Dax can be charged for the crimes of Curzon Dax, and I don't feel it's too fair to criticise it for that. Not all exploration of issues needs to have the story settle on a definite answer. Simply raising the questions, with each side allowed to voice their own opinions, is a valid method. In fact, I feel it's stronger for this. In terms of the plot, you'll naturally be led to side with the protagonists, and they're arguing in favour of the distinction between Curzon and Jadzia. Meanwhile, the argument that they're enough of the same entity is hypothetically going to lead to the removal of one of our main characters -- and of course that's not going to happen, so maybe you're even *expecting* Sisko et al to win the debate. Allowing the question to remain unanswered in-story liberates it from the attached plot and consequences, and essentially equalises the two sides of the argument. You can believe in a continuity between Curzon and Jadzia all you want -- Dax is no longer endangered by the answer.

    The comparisons to The Measure of a Man are obvious, and practically draw themselves. Both are courtroom episodes where it's not a person on trial, but rather a concept relating to a major character's personhood. But TNG's take did come to a conclusion, and one that surely everyone has to have been rooting for, for Data's sake. When viewed in isolation from Jadzia's possible imprisonment, the fundamental question at the heart of this episode is far less black and white. It can't be equated with TMoaM's question of whether a beloved character should have his choices respected. The question of whether different forms of Dax should be treated as different entities doesn't fundamentally threaten their status as a character. Rather, it makes the character richer for it, and there's fascination to be found in both answers. Hell, I don't think there even *should* be an answer (when talking purely on a level of character analysis -- the pragmatics of criminal justice are, of course, a different matter). Dax is interesting from both perspectives, and to fully understand the character, both *should* be considered.

    Imagine finding out your dad was not only cucked by the same man you've been obsessed with bringing down, but it was your own dad who actually betrayed your own people. Absolute humiliation! If I were Bashir I would put that dude on suicide watch.

    2 stars at most.

    The central premise is “is a trill guilty of crimes committed by a past host?” is debated, but then labelled meaningless and forgotten because the wife arrives to prove the past host was innocent. So all the courtroom drama didn’t really go anywhere...

    And this episode is meant to develop Jadzia as a character, but she barely talks for the entire show.

    It would have been much better if Curzon WAS guilty with Jadzia defending herself, and the situation was forced to a resolution. But instead it takes a cheap way out and we don’t really get to see Jadzia in the spotlight.

    @ Millions,

    Since this one isn't a favorite of mine I'm not exactly going to defend it against the charge that it wasn't as exciting as it could have been. This was no Measure of a Man, but should have been. That said, I think the issues brought up during the hearing were muddy enough that, like in Measure of a Man, it was really not possible for a judge to come to a positive determination in such a setting. It is a ridiculously complicated question to ask how much culpability people have without even bringing in the idea of changing bodies. Once you get the host/symbiont thing going, I really don't see how courts of law are even supposed to work. I have to admit, the prosecution's argument that a Trill murder is the perfect crime does have some sense to it, since the symbiont apparently lives on but isn't held responsible. Benjamin's argument that it's a "completely new person" may be technically true but seems philosophically weak to me.

    So I agree I would have liked, at minimum, to see them all realize just how sticky this matter is. The deus ex machina is actually ok, because getting them off the hook of a decision they can't make anyhow is a reasonable way to end things. But I would have preferred more of a sense in the end that we really did think Jadzia bore some responsibility for what Curzon did. That should be the price you pay for taking on a symbiont, one which I suspect the Trills would be willing to accept even though it carries some risk.

    The other thing I'll add in the episode's defense is that the episode's structure is designed to highlight the ambiguity of the situation. Sisko argues that Jadzia is not responsible for Curzon's actions while simultaneously Jadzia endangers herself by honouring a promise made by Curzon, which she clearly feels responsible for. I think maybe Sisko provides true and correct but incomplete arguments which Jadzia's own actions belie. Kind of interesting.

    I'm glad to see some of the later commenters didn't much care for it, because I certainly don't. I think this episode is so badly flawed that 1.5 stars is being generous.

    Back when season 7 first aired, it was hampered by far far far too much focus on Ezri Dax. But early DS9 was also vastly overly focused on Dax!

    In seasons 1 and 2, It seems like the production assumed Dax would be the breakout character and practically acted like Jadzia was the star of the show. But that never happened. I doubt it ever would have happened, but rolling out these deep Dax backstory episodes BEFORE the current character was even established certainly didn't help.

    Would TNG Measure of a Man have been so compelling if it was one of the first few episodes, before we got to know and like Data?

    Note that the very Spock-centric Amok Tine and Journey to Babel came about AFTER and BECAUSE Spock was a hit.

    Probably this episode should get a little leeway for its clunkiness because it's a very early one before the show got its sea legs. But that doesn't fully absolve it because the extreme doting on Dax was quite deliberate.


    I can understand why DS9 would put a ton of emphasis on Ezri at the start of S7 as we've got a new character etc. and I wasn't a fan of it. But I don't really feel early DS9 put an excessive amount of emphasis on Jadzia. What I think DS9 had to do was to flesh out the whole Trill host/symbiont thing which TNG basically just introduced. As a character, I feel Jadzia was given less "air time" than Sisko, Kira, Odo and maybe even O'Brien in the early going -- and rightly so. Even this episode "Dax" is less about Jadzia than it is about hosts/symbionts. From what I remember, there's actually very little Jadzia does in this episode.

    Jadzia was a well-conceived character and there was some potential with host/symbionts to tell some interesting stories (like this episode IMHO) but the actress Farrell wasn't good enough to make the "Trill episodes" stand out. In fact, I'd say the "Trill episodes" as a DS9 theme are generally mediocre and could even have been omitted except for the fact that the show needed to fill 7 seasons of like 26 episodes each.

    Good post, Silly. I think a big problem with this episode is that it dodged the only interesting question - what do you do about a Trill murderer after they change hosts? - by making Curzon innocent of the crime.

    Measure of a Man wouldn't be a classic if it had dodged the central issue of the hearing in the same way.

    @ Tomalak,

    "Measure of a Man wouldn't be a classic if it had dodged the central issue of the hearing in the same way."

    Interesting, it did dodge the issue! But just not in the same way. Curzon not having done the crime is a story cop-out if we were looking for a direct answer to the question, but I think the point was that it may not be simple to come with such an answer. Sisko's arguments were...sort of persuasive, but not entirely IMO. But in Measure of a Man there was similarly no definitive argument made giving us a clear understanding of how to understand the identity of the person in question. All we learned from Data's example was that no one knew enough to dare to say he *wasn't* sentient. Beyond that it was anyone's guess. In Dax's case they didn't quite even get as far as that, since at no point did anyone finally just say "look, none of us really understands what to make of the Trill legally speaking, so let's put this aside rather than risk doing something unjust." That would have been the most logical solution if they had gone as far as Maddox's trial did. But nevertheless, both episodes copped out (properly so) of reaching a conclusive verdict.


    But what about The Sisko? It seems to me the Emissary business all but disappeared until well into season three with "Destiny". I was quite curious of what was up with that, yet it seemed practically dropped. For Dax, in season 1 there is "Dax" (seventh episode), season 2 has "Invasive Procedures", "Playing God" and "Blood Oath".

    And yes, it doesn't help that they skirt the issue, (which MUST be well settled law with the symbiont issue anyway). Enina's "Curzon was in bed with me" just doesn't cut it.

    This reminds me a bit of TNG's "Too Short a Season", focusing on characters I couldn't care less about. Memory Alpha says the writers were enthralled with Dax, and it shows.

    I have so many issues with this episode:

    * The Bajoran Judge's attitude is ridiculous. The "I'm old as hell and won't deal with BS" is fine but when Sisko says Jadzia isn't Curzon the judge says "It would have been easier on me, Commander, had you not raised that particular point." Well damn, sorry to inconvenience you having to do your freaking job.

    * There is absolutely no way "Klaestron Four" has a "unilateral extradition" treaty with the Federation. Wtf??

    * The station isn't "technically" Bajoran, it IS Bajoran. And it's unlikely Bajor has any diplomatic relations whatsoever with Klaestron. Meaning, there would be no mechanism for even an extradition request. These Klaestrons kidnapped someone and should be charged for that. I certainly think THAT issue would take priority.

    * The Klaestron kidnapping makes Odo look pretty bad.

    Some of that is early installment weirdness, like Odo's poor security. But a lot of it seems like they thought they were telling a great story so just kind of glossed over some problems. But it's not a great story.

    There are some pluses here and there. I did like they grabbed the ship with the tractor beam after it seemed to have gotten away.

    As mentioned above, it is pretty weird how quiet Jadzia gets about all this. Kira even lampshades it.

    It does put quite a damper on the drama when the central character apparently couldn't care less. It's vaguely justified by the script (she's hiding something) but I can't help but think the production minimized Jadzia's role here because Farrell couldn't carry much weight in the acting department.

    I don’t know why people are bothered by Ferrell’s acting. She plays the role they created for her, a “wise beyond her years” literally young woman who lived lifetimes before. She behaves as she should and has the right amount of feminine aspect for Jadzia being a new woman as a new person.


    Agreed. I've never understood why so many people are of the view that Farrell is bad at acting.

    Of all the actors/actresses in Trek, Farrell doesn't stand out as particularly 'bad' for me, and I really don't get it. She's fairly natural and likeable in almost all episodes.

    Maybe some of the criticism is that Dax as a character wasn't given much to work with.

    @Bok R'Mor

    If I were to sum up my criticism of Farrell's acting, I'd say it is very underwhelming. I don't think it's that she wasn't given much to work with either over 6 seasons either. Granted she's not one of the main characters like Kira or Sisko, but she had "her" episodes and they usually wound up being dull for me.

    It's not a question of understated acting, it's just she doesn't bring out any reactions in the viewer. Farrell is consistently "out-acted" by her co-stars -- DS9'a main cast has some pretty good actors by 90s Trek standards though.

    Take a look at "Meridian" where she is in a romance, but it is so wooden (also due to the guest actor Dax falls in love with). There are other examples where I was hoping for more, but didn't get it.

    In this particular episode, Dax basically having nothing to do is a choice the writers made so it isn't a good barometer for Farrell's acting.

    @ Rahul et al,

    "If I were to sum up my criticism of Farrell's acting, I'd say it is very underwhelming. I don't think it's that she wasn't given much to work with either over 6 seasons either. Granted she's not one of the main characters like Kira or Sisko, but she had "her" episodes and they usually wound up being dull for me."

    I still think I liked what she was bringing to the table right out of the gate in Emissary. They didn't know where to go with it, and perhaps in theory that can be blamed on the actress (since the performance inspires the writers to do more). But in a newly spun series you also need to first inspire the actors before they can inspire you back. The production has the first duty to make everyone excited.

    Did Farrell fail to deliver on the episodes where she finally got a chance? Let's look at some of her first ones. And let's bear in mind that she, herself, when she was cast on the show knew very well she was green and needed help from Avory and others to get up to snuff. So it's not like anyone was expecting Anthony Hopkins type performances from her. But she could improve, and be interesting, if given a chance. Here are some chances:

    -Dax: 7th episode, so already Kira (Emissary), Bashir (Babel), Odo (A Man Alone), O'Brien (Captive Pursuit & TNG), and the others had way more to do than her. What's worse, the 'science officer' role had already achieved a bad reputation from TNG where (a) there actually was no science officer a la Spock, and (b) even Geordi tended to be relegated to tech plots rather than getting rich stories like Worf and Data got. So right out of the gate Farrell was almost given the job of being the show's science nerd, which is a thankless role. She may as well have been giving the weather report. But at least this episode is about character and not science. And yet it's a pretty boring performance, certainly not a breakout show to make us fall in love with her. Her fault? Well look at the episode itself, compared to its counterpart Measure of a Man. This one just plain has a boring story, stakes we can't relate to because, unlike with Data, the question of sentience and personhood is not on the table. It's really a sci-fi question about a hypothetical species not analogous to us, and the treatment of it is less than thrilling. I would suggest that Farrell's first chance was sabotaged for her.

    -If Wishes Were Horses & Dramatis Personae: These are not actually Dax episodes, but I thought I'd mention that these came along before she got a second chance, and both give her the dubious opportunity to play a dumb bimbo rather to impress us in some positive way.

    -Invasive Procedures: holy moly, S2 and this is her second chance to grow on us? Talk about shades of Denise Crosby. And also this is a super-weird episode to feature prominently in. It's an odd situation since she's mostly not playing her actual character but really a new one, plus she's totally out of it most of the time. I don't know how anyone, even a strong actor, could come out of this looking good.

    -Rules of Acquisition: This is far from a Dax episode, but she does get some significant scenes that IMO make her look really good. It's a nice small chance at least.

    -Shadowplay: A joint effort with Odo, but at least she gets significant screen time. It's more an Odo episode, though. Dax has little to do in it that's going to make her shine like a star.

    -Playing God: Aha, finally a real star episode, Farrell's first since Dax in S1. This is really her 2nd chance to come off as a real fleshed out character and to gain a fan base. And guess what, it's also the episode where her Curzon gets permanently activated, as many of us have discussed. Some call it a retcon, I'm not sure I agree (I think it makes logical sense that he was suppressed before this), but either way this is the first time she gains any more definition than she had in the pre-Emissary character bible. So really on only her 2nd outing we begin to get closer to the final version of Jadzia. This could easily have come back in S1 and got the ball rolling much quicker. Why didn't it? It's not the best ep, but it gives her character a lot for future episodes.

    -Blood Oath: And here we go, Jadzia is really rolling now as a character IMO, and it took 1 1/2 seasons for it to happen. I like her a lot in this one, I have no complaints at all. She gives it gusto, shows some colors, and the episode really really works. It may not be world-class performing, but it's totally legit for TV, certainly decent.

    Dax's next big episode is early S3 in Equilibrium, another totally lame script that gives her little to do but wander from one sound stage to another as we hear exposition. And after that, the notorious Meridian. After that, Facets, near the end of S3, another episode mired in Trill lore that gets us nowhere better in knowing her and is mostly unrelatable mumbo jumbo.

    So in three seasons, Farrell's big chances to shine are IMO mostly bogged down in third-rate scripts, with some especially poor ones like Meridian (I challenge you to find a couple of actors, film that script, and come up with a product that looks excellent). The only episodes out of the above (not very long) list that I even like on paper are Playing God and Blood Oath. Playing God ended up being underwhelming but still ok, giving us perhaps more than we suspect but still being way less involving than it should have been; and Blood Oath which I love, both on paper and on screen. Think about it: Blood Oath gives Farrell classic TOS characters to play with, a huge adventure to enjoy, and all the energy that a great story needs. And she accomplished it just fine. Now *that* is giving someone a chance, and she passed. The rest of the eps on this list are barely any kind of chance at all. More like "how to trip up newbies 101". Some kinds of anemic writing are especially impossible for any but accomplished actors to play. Sure, Ian McKellen can take lame lines from X-Men and make then sound like Shakespeare, but very few can do that. Mostly bad writing tends to make sub-excellent actors look much worse than they actually are. You have to be really talented, like Michael Caine level of genius, to be able to look amazing in absolutely anything.

    So I think Farrell got shortchanged for quite a while, and when she was given good chances she got there. Maybe she needed more good chances early on in the series so that she could have had a better batting average over 7 seasons. And for all that I always do like her, she is very pleasant to watch (physical beauty aside) and plays nicely with others. I think she gets unfairly maligned, personally.

    @Peter G., et al.

    Peter G. provides a truly excellent, comprehensive overview and assessment of the 'Farrell/Dax question' here. Impressive post. Thanks.

    Taken together with Rahul's directly above, which I also agree with for the most part (see below), we all seem to be agreeing that the problem is more with the weak writing afforded Dax, which consistently limited Farrell. I don't know why Dax was given such short shrift by the creative staff. It's a pity.

    However, I don't agree that Farrell was in any way 'out-acted' by her co-stars. It's all subjective, naturally, but while I dearly love them both, I notably sometimes found Avery Brooks' and Nana Visitor's acting to drift into uncontrolled scenery-chewing, which Farrell's never did. (That's not to say Brooks and Visitor aren't good at acting - they obviously *are*, which made their occasional over-the-top moments all the more striking.)

    @Bok R'Mor
    @Peter G., et al.

    Interesting discussion on Farrell's acting -- there can definitely be some subjectivity to assessing it and taking into consideration the scripts she got, but there are also some fairly objective evaluations possible with acting. I can't help feeling that she's the weakest actor in the DS9 cast, which is one of the better casts in Trek (2nd only to TOS).

    I'd say she is best used in light-hearted, secondary roles. But maybe Farrell's best script/opportunity was "Rejoined"? I wasn't a fan of the episode but did comment that she did reasonably well in it. Certainly one of her better outings, though not outstanding.

    One final point I'd make is to look at a hypothetical. Based on everything I've seen of Farrell's acting, I find it hard to believe she could deliver a standout performance like Nana Visitor did in "Duet" or Brooks in FBTS or Meaney in "Hard Time" or "Whispers" -- just a few examples. Granted those were great scripts but the actors really delivered as well. I'd even add that Lofton who was given table scraps for opportunities hit it out of the park when given his chance in "The Visitor".

    @ Rahul,

    I don't disagree with your last paragraph, but I don't think it's a fair comparison when asking whether Farrell is a *bad* actress. Visitor is an absolute beast, way beyond most TV actresses. I feel like she could have held her own on the big screen, personally. Farrell doesn't need to be that good to still be good. Rejoined is ok for me, but Dax's best episodes to me are Blood Oath + Sword of Kahless (sort of a duology), Looking for Par'mach (my personal favorite), and Change of Heart. It's not a Dax-only episode, but I'm also very partial to Trials and Tribble-ations, where her awe and nostalgia come in a big bag of fun.

    @Peter G.

    I hope I haven't conveyed that I think Farrelll is a *bad* actress in absolute terms. Everything's relative of course. The hypothetical I brought up was just to illustrate what I think her limitations would be.

    But one other comparison I thought would be useful is with Linda Park as "Hoshi" on ENT. I think Park is clearly superior to Farrell and while the characters are slightly different -- there are similarities: they are both secondary and were occasionally given a chance to shine. Hoshi outshined Jadzia Dax I'd say.

    Park also runs circles around Anthony Montgomery, for example, as another character who I think was intended to get roughly the same opportunity, but who ultimately couldn't run with the ball. Farrell did better than Montgomery, but would still be one of the weaker main cast Trek actors for me.

    How would you compare Terri Farrell to Denise Crosby or Garrett Wang? To me they all have something of a "tamped down" feel to their acting/characters. Sure each has had some big moments, but there's a bit of stilted woodenness which is also to be found in other cast members. Part of that comes from the producers. Human characters were told to tone down their emotions to help the alien characters stand out. That's risky because it makes the people we as the audience are supposed to relate to and care about feel detached and unrelatable.

    Dax is not a Human character though. She doesn't come across as Alec Guinness' Obi-Wan Kenobi which I think is more what they were going for. Odo as possessed by Kurzon Dax feels more like how the character should've been played. Wise but also unperturbed and fancy free. We get some of that in "You are Cordially Invited" and Dax's hanging with the Ferengi, but more often she just comes off as stoic, which is completely uninteresting.

    I don't disagree with what Peter or anyone has said about Farrell specifically but for me there is this admittedly subjective feeling that everything she says is somehow flat and contrived. It feels like she is barely above reading her lines. I can't describe the feeling more than that. I don't get that same vibe from anyone else in the main cast.

    I didn't realize people hated Farrell's acting until I started reading the comments on Jammer's website, and a few other Trek forums.

    I always thought Dax was wonderful and wonderfully acted - aloof, sensual, playful, smart, wise, mischievous like an old man, always with a glint in her eye. For me the character only suffered once her romance with Worf started. Lots of bad dialogue came her way.

    I think DS9 had the best Trek cast. It didn't have anyone of the caliber of Spock, Bones or Picard (arguably), but all its secondary cast were amazing. Ironically, I think Avery Brooks was the weakest of the main cast, not in terms of ability, but in terms of the sheer number of "bad choices" his director's let slip into an episode. Sometimes, out of nowhere, he'd do an odd gesture or inflection that calls attention to itself.


    'I didn't realize people hated Farrell's acting until I started reading the comments on Jammer's website [...] I always thought Dax was wonderful and wonderfully acted - aloof, sensual, playful, smart, wise, mischievous like an old man, always with a glint in her eye.'

    Yes, same here.

    @Jason R.

    Thanks for this explanation. It seems to be quite a common feeling regarding Farrell's acting, even though I don't share it myself. It may be comparable to the sudden failure of suspension of disbelief I sometimes get when Brooks and Visitor veer into intrusive over-acting. (Most people have mentioned that aspect of Brooks' performance before, but not Visitor's.) It is definitely subjective and hard to describe as well, as you say: I'm trying to think of examples of the latter and am a bit stuck. I'll do a bit of digging.

    I should clarify that I myself never *hated* Farrell's acting - I think at the time I found her serviceable if unengaging (maybe for the reasons Peter stated). But she would definitely rank at or near the bottom for the reason I stated.

    To be sure, this episode is not an acting showcase for Farrell. She has surprising little to do in an episode named for her character.

    Dax spoilers!

    I was probably a little hard on Farrell when I rewatched the show, though probably way too kind to this episode.

    I think the problem is that she was given too difficult a character to do very well, and gave her frequently bad material. An episode like Facets is pretty doomed from the get go but could only really work at all with a performer convincingly playing a person with parts of their personality carved out. Farrell doesn't rise to that challenge, though in fairness not many could. Auberjonois gets to run away with the second half of that episode by playing Odo combined with Farrell's Curzon joie de vivre, both doing excellent acting work and getting to have fun, whereas Farrell is stuck playing...Dax with her energy sapped out, which is bound to be a drag even if she could fully do it. Similar with the Daxless Jadzia parts of Invasive Procedures, same with the "what if you've got a psycho killer in your head" stuff in Equilibrium.... I don't know if it's reasonable to expect anyone to sell this stuff, but Farrell didn't. Most Dax episodes in s1-3 are Trill episodes and they're mostly bad, and then she gets Meridian on top of it.

    Anyway. Blood Oath is a blast, I like Rejoined, she's fine in Sword of Kahless though I don't like that ep's take on Worf, she's strong in a supporting role in The Quickening and Tribble-ations, she's great in Change of Heart, etc.

    @Jeffrey Jakucyk

    Interesting to compare Farrell with Crosby and Wang. Personally I think Farrell is somewhat more natural than Crosby (whose acting is also unfairly maligned, I think), but both Farrell and Crosby are light years ahead of Wang, who is the very definition of wooden. Crosby had some stilted moments and was awful as Sela, but I never had many complaints about her performance in TNG S1, 'Yesterday's Enterprise' or 'All Good Things...'. Wang however always seemed to be simply mechanically reciting his lines, and was consistently unconvincing to the point of distraction.

    Farrell, for me, was much better.

    Just for the record, for my own part I mentioned 'shades of Crosby' in reference to Farrell in DS9 S1 not on account her acting skills, but rather in refence to the fact that she quit over not being given anything interesting to do on TNG.

    Well to be clear, I don't think Farrell is a bad actress by any means. When I see Jadzia Dax, I'm not thinking "well, I'm watching an actress", I see Jadzia. And I think she held her own throughput the series with Brooks, Visitor and really all of them. Good chemistry.

    I do question her range at times, but that's not a slam. Not everybody is a Meryl Streep. And to be fair to the actress, they were rejiggering the Dax character from season one to two. Meaning, the production couldn't decide what the character was, so it's hardly surprising Farrell couldn't hit it out of the park, particularly with the very alien backstory of Dax.

    But it is weird here how explicitly Dax is sidelined in her own story.

    It could just be the episode is flawed. There's talk of this episode not being as provocative as the production intended. It kind of seems like they were enthralled with Dax previously being a straight male and now being a straight woman and what happens when Jadzia meets a former lover. Except, TNG already did that exact story much better and more directly when the Trill were introduced.

    The judge said son, what is your alibi
    If you were somewhere else, then you won't have to die
    I spoke not a word, though it meant my life
    I'd been in the arms of my best friends wife

    Now she walks these hills, in a long black veil
    She visits my grave, when the night winds wail
    Nobody knows, nobody sees
    Nobody knows, but me
    Nobody knows, nobody sees
    Nobody knows, but me

    (Long Black Veil, The Band, 1968)

    The story is a well-travelled trope, but well done here. The episode keeps its secret until the end, like all the best whodunnits. I must confess that I was drumming my heels with impatience, waiting for the crucial point of the hearing: which of the symbiant pair was to be accused - Curzon or Dax - and I wondered why it took Sisko so long to get there!

    3 stars for being a good courtroom drama, though as already mentioned, it’s not the equal of The Measure Of A Man.

    Good to see Fionnula Flanagan again in a Trek episode.

    Doing a second go-around with DS9 and I just watched this last night-- I have changed my mind about a lot of the characters I didn't like the first time around (e.g., Major Kira) but I still really don't care for Dax. I agree wholeheartedly with the person who said she's a third to Neelix and Wesley (also, that was hilarious). Understanding this is subjective, this is just my personal opinion.

    I have never seen Farrell in anything else so I suppose I can't really comment on her as an actress, but the Dax *character* comes across as painfully boring and wooden to me. Kind of like Beverly Crusher in 98% of her episodes. I did feel like she was reciting lines in the early episodes; especially when she had a lot of scientific jargon/technobabble to say, which as science officer happens constantly.

    She'd just be banal if it weren't for the other characters constantly going on about how amazing she is: Bashir embarrassing himself to get her attention or Sisko zestily remembering old times and her woodenly reciting some fact the symbiont remembers, or Worf in the later episodes. It was particularly off-putting in this episode though, because again, everyone around her was working overtime on her behalf and she came across like she was drugged and out of it. Her explanation for why she wouldn't argue on her own behalf could have proved the Klaestron guy's point. To me, that made the side-step of the question of her individuality even more irritating. The whole thing just seemed half-baked, and so did Dax. 2 stars for the Odo parts (except where he quasi-extorts Quark) :).

    Just a bit of trivia; I was a fan of Northern Exposure, and remembered Anne Haney, who played the arbiter in this episode, as having a similar guest role on that show. To quote directly from IMDB:

    "Anne Haney plays Judge Percy, who hears arguments that Chris Stevens should not be extradited because he is not the same person as he was in the past. Also, in Dax (1993), Anne Haney plays a Bajoran arbiter presiding over Dax's extradition hearing and tasked to determine if Jadzia Dax and Curzon Dax are two different people."

    This was an excellent episode right up to the eleventh-hour intervention by the widow.

    The "Oh gosh, well, you see now, what actually happened was X, which means there was no crime to answer for anyway" routine was a pathetic, cheap cop-out. It was clearly designed to provide a quick and easy (non-)resolution to what was an intricate and complex question touching on law, definition of "personhood," ethics, and a whole lot more. It would have been very interesting to see what the arbiter would have decided and why.

    That, to my mind, reduces the score by a full star, hence three stars from me.

    There are a lot of flaws to this episode, but the one that bugs me the most is this.

    This episode treats the situation of a Trill host being prosecuted for the crime of a previous host like it's never happened before. As if, in the entire history of the Trill, this has never come up.

    I'm sorry but that is just ridiculous and too hard to swallow. There must be cases they can call on as a precedent to support their defense. But no.

    JonR makes a good point: There has never been another incident like this - a Trill dealing with crimes committed by a previous host? It's strange for this to be such a complicated issue.

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