In which I try to avoid gender politics and it lasts almost a full paragraph.
Bashir and Quark sit mesmerized as Jadzia performs some light legerdemain, which loses a little of its shine when you wonder just how much faster a human-scale transporter pad could materialize something as small and relatively simple as an egg. Shortly thereafter, she’s called to Sisko’s office, and he does not look happy. A Trill science team will be joining them for experiments with black holes, and apparently one of the science team members has a … History with either Jadzia or Dax. The kind of significant-pause History that means Sisko suggests Dax take some vacation days to go literally anywhere else. If Sisko knows about it, Lenara Khan was probably an old ex of Curzon. But no, Jadzia’s a little tougher than that. She can face up to seeing her ex-wife again.
So, the Trill were introduced in Next Generation, and since then many words have been spilled over the allegory for gender and sexuality politics. I’m not going to try to do that, except as it pertains directly to the episode, because that’s how this blog works. What are you, new?
We can see Kira’s a bit surprised by Jadzia’s statement, but then again Quark is only just now getting his lobes around the fact that the Dax symbiote passes from humanoid to humanoid, so the reactions of others aren’t really a strong method of inference. After the initial moment of surprise, Kira and Bashir are there to explain matters – the Khan symbiote was married to the Dax symbiote while they were ‘wearing’ Nilani and Torias, respectively. Meanwhile, Bashir also has some slight-of-hand skills, which apparently was never a thing on Ferenginar, because Rom is looking speculatively at his brother’s secondary sexual characteristics in case there’s any more down there. As far as any sexuality taboos go between Jadzia and Lenara go, Kira doesn’t even understand why they couldn’t be together now if they wanted to be. Network decency standards aside, the Trill problem with such a relationship would be that Joined Trill aren’t supposed to relive old lives – the whole system exists to accumulate as many new experiences as possible. That is hindered by the temptation to get re-involved with someone during your next reincarnation. The word is Re-association.
It’s a very strong taboo. It often results in exile, and the death of the symbiote at the end of the host’s natural lifespan, and the final death of the personalities of everyone that Symbiote has been with. Knowing this, Sisko keeps offering Dax an out, and she, being in a perfectly composed mental state to deal with the arrival of an ex where the relationship was cut tragically short (rather than being extinguished) boldly presses on. This run-on and concoluted sentence has been brought to you by a rather jaunty pinapple IPA.
Worf will have command of the Defiant during the research sojourn itself. He may not be excited about it, but he has the darndest exit lines. Jadzia and Lenara make small talk over decoy plates and flirt in ways that would send Jayne Cobb to his bunk. Later, aboard the Defiant, the Trill go over some pre-flight configuration. Dax and Khan have to go input some data into the bridge computer, and after some time at work their chaperone has to leave to get a macguffin. This gives Jadzia and Lenara a chance to go over unclaimed baggage. The kind of baggage where Jadzia has to force Bashir to cancel plans to play chaperone. Where he will get to watch a woman he’s been infatuated with for at least a year try not to hit it off with her old flame and fail miserably. His look of abject boredom and misery is just about perfect. They also chat about Curzon’s streak of rebelling against social mores and taboos. I’m sure that, and the fact that Lenara and Jadzia have more in common than any of their former hosts, won’t come back to bite anyone in the ass. Not too hard, anyway.
The Defiant has deployed and is getting ready to begin their testing. Jadzia is taking every opportunity to hover over Khan, and one of the Trill scientists, who saw them Re-associating at dinner, is getting a bit suspicious. But more importantly is that the experiment is working, and seems to have created a singularity. In the moment of joy, Jadzia slips up a bit, and the others on the team are no longer sanguine.
Lenara’s brother is Asking Questions, to make sure nothing is going on and no taboo is being broken. After this, Lenara has to go and see Jadzia immediately to vent. Surely this is healthy. Thing is, they both have The Feelings, and they’re not going away. And I’ll be in my bunk.
Jadzia goes to Dax’s old friend Sisko for advice. Even Curzon wouldn’t push the Re-association rule – the price was too high even for him. After the initial ‘are you crazy’ speech, he does have some softer advice. Be sure whatever you’re going to do is worth the price. From there it’s a quick transition back to the next test on the Defiant. They make another wormhole and try launching a probe into it, but this destabilizes the singularity and creates a backwash that severely damages the Defiant, taking Eddington, Khan, and the engine room out of commission. Jadzia charges to the rescue, where there’s a plasma fire that probably killed Lenara and is about to take out the warp core. The correct action in the event of an unstoppable plasma fire is to vent the compartment to space. So instead Jadzia literally walks across fire to save the woman she loves. That sounds pretty sure to me. They escape into a maintenance hatch and presumably someone takes care of venting the engine room.
After this cathartic release, Jadzia goes to help Lenara convalesce, and her brother saying “I’ll leave you two alone” has decidedly uncomfortable undertones. There’s no permanent damage to any people or equipment, so despite any setbacks, it’s a really important scientific achievement. Maybe they’ll be able to use it to bring Voyager home and we won’t have to watch that show any more. Sadly, Lenara and Khan don’t have the rebellious streak that Curzon provides, and it’s a hard goodbye.