#DS91sttime: Season 4, Episode 6, “Rejoined”

September 27, 2013 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

Dax and Lenara, Season 4, Ep 6, "Rejoined"

Dax and Lenara, Season 4, Ep 6, “Rejoined”

Okay, I take it back. “The Visitor” created a challenging review to write, but this? This is walking into a minefield. And that very aspect of the debate surrounding this episode’s metaphorical subject also happens to lead to my chief bit of criticism. But let’s hit the plot first.

“Rejoined” is our regularly-scheduled Trill episode, which means–sadly–that we’re going to launch into yet another exploration of their society, because Dax can’t be her own person. Literally. Almost all episodes centered on her have to be within the confines of the symbiont in her torso and the plot devices the writers keep building around it. I get that this is a challenging character to write, but there are surely plots that don’t involve either the symbiont’s past, or Jadzia’s seeming enslavement to it. I am so over hearing about what Curzon did. Let’s start talking about what Jadzia does.

This time, the hot potato of Dax’s past lives lands on a prior experience as a husband. This is responsible for a wave of intense feelings that come upon Jadzia when another Trill, Lenara Kahn (Susanna Thompson), arrives on the station as part of a science team dabbling in wormholes. Lenara was the symbiont’s past host’s wife. Lenara is female. Dax is female. Any rekindling of their prior love is forbidden in Trill culture, on penalty of exile. You can guess where this going.

There’s no room for subtlety here, this episode says of its metaphorical issue. This is a subject so profound and so important that you need to get it, and to make sure you get it, we’re going to go full-tilt hamfisted in our approach. We’re going to sing as loud as a bunch of drunken Klingons at a pre-war celebration.

The problem with this is that while it will make sure the point is heard, by the time the credits roll those you might want to have swayed may have left much earlier. They’re more inclined to just tune you out. In that aspect, this episode shares a lot with TNG’s “Rightful Heir”, in which Worf has a crisis of faith, and the writers extol the virtue of belief.

Both of these episodes are strongly scripted, and well-performed, yet both are so overt, I wonder if they really changed many minds.

Even if we can see the plot coming a mile away, “Rejoined” is still made better by the performances of the actresses behind our two main characters–Dax and Lenara. Thompson (as Lenara) is simply, completely believable, and Terry Farrel’s performance is full of gravity and depth. This is a long, long way from the faux-drama of the miserable “Meridian” of Season Three. Sisko’s counsel is well-rendered, too, and their deep friendship continues to get good air time.

But, sadly, there was a better way to handle this topic, if the end-goal was to open dialogue.

See, here’s the real issue: homosexuality is one of an increasing number of subjects that create firestorms out of civil discussion. Thoughts and opinions run so hot on this topic that I’ve seen discussion ruin friendships and send otherwise cordial people into bitter shouting matches. I would argue–recognizing that many would disagree–that the real danger is that no one talks about this subject. They just yell.

With the exception of just a few instances of sympathy or caution from Sisko and some of the other supporting characters, “Rejoined” isn’t interested in addressing all that yelling. From the beginning–from Kira’s disbelief and incredulous near-speech on the topic–the show telecasts that it has picked its “side” and is sticking with it. I respect that boldness, but I also find it lacking.

Because I think there’s a better method–and I admit it’s asking a lot for a show running just forty-five minutes. If this is a message show, then the pointlessness of tearing into our fellow man might make for a better focus of the story. I wanted a “Let This Be Your Last Battlefield”, where the needless nature of bad blood between those that are inherently brothers and sisters is the focal point. You’ll recall the original series episode featured two surviving members of a species, one of whom was white on the left side of his body, and black down the other, and another who was the opposite. The point was the invalidity of racism, and it dared to suggest the phenomenon wasn’t just confined to one race.

“Rejoined” gives us one side of the coin, one stance, one color, and says it’s enough for us. Whether that is enough is going to be up to each viewer. This one was disappointed.

But hey–the acting was great.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

See the rest of the review series here.

"Beacon" Part IA young couple’s miracle at the last star left in the Universe will lead to a specter from the past returning to confront mankind…and the end will become the beginning. Try Part I of the Beacon Saga Serial, for your choice of ebook platforms.