Episode 3.25: Facets

This episode is quintessential for the journey of Dax portrayed in DS9.  Dax’s stories usually revolve around some sort of inner discovery or judgement of her inner qualities.  Here, Dax faces the memories of her previous hosts in the Trill rite of zhian’tara, and these encounters let her engage directly different parts of her persona.  The ending was a bit odd for me.  Dax is used by the writers to often push norms or social mores, such as an elderly man falling for a younger woman, but this revelation for Curzon washing out Jadzia was completely unexpected and felt forced.  This really makes Curzon look childish.  He refuses to go deep with Jadzia, he selfishly thinks of his own existence outside of Dax, and he reacted to loving her by rejecting her from one of her life dreams.  All perfectly believable behaviors in a person, but certainly childish and immature.  It also really blunts the symbolism of Jadzia facing her own issues of self-respect.  It pulls the viewer out of the literary element and into a more trivial conflict, in my opinion.

Jadzia’s zhian’tara is a experience in inner reflection.  Jadzia faces a myriad of selves within her, and she finds selves that have brought her inner strength (such as Lela in her courage or Tobin in his intelligence), selves that are neutral parts of her past (Audrid who is wholly unlike Jadzia), and selves she fears (Joran who finds Jadzia unworthy or Curzon who seems to lack respect for her).  Jadzia, as the active host, has to integrate these selves into her one, whole self.  Because of she faced her fears and learned from her strengths, Jadzia comes out the far side of her zhian’tara a better person for it.  I see great value in these kinds of reflective exercises in our lives.  We do have dissonant components of our personality, and we must either blend them into our whole person or they end up churning and bubbling beneath the surface our whole life.  Or we might fail to empower our strengths for even greater good.  I find myself too easily distracted by life (smartphones, discourteous driving, children…), and this kind of reflection is exceedingly difficult.  But it is worth my time to engage in.

Lela claims that a person is nothing more than the sum of their memories.  The activities portrayed in this episode, I think, clearly show that we are far more than simply memories.  We are thinking, feeling, choosing individuals.  Jadzia isn’t simply 7 prior hosts + a current host.  Her zhian’tara is a journey that is an act to harmonize her memories.  As each set of memories is drawn from her, Jadzia retains her core personality; she isn’t obliterated because memories are extracted.  Her choices and feelings throughout the experience are Jadzia; perhaps more so than any set of memories she retains of the zhian’tara after it is complete.  Her memories help shape who she has become at any given moment, but those memories are not the sum total of her person.  She is full of the capacity for agency, creativity, and emotion, as well as her memories.

Nog’s subplot has a similar theme, where his inner character is tested.  The passion Nog has for joining Starfleet is unparalleled.  In this episode, we start to see how qualified Nog is for Starfleet.  He’s tested for his stress reactions, his deductive reasoning, and spatial orientation; all of these he passes (once he’s given a fair test on all of them).  This episode is where Quark finally backs off completely on the topic of Nog joining Starfleet.  Rom is passive toward his brother in everything in his life, except when it comes to Nog.  Rom’s an entirely different and far more confident person toward Quark when Nog is involved.

Random Thoughts:  1) Verad from Invasive Procedures (Ep. 2.4) isn’t a host that is part of the zhian’tara because he wasn’t in possession long enough for his memories to imprint upon the symbiont.  2) Nice, realistic touch on Nog falling over by ending the holosuite program sitting down.  3) I appreciate Quark’s bluntness with Jadzia on having his body taken over by a memory of a dead person.  I think most of us would react in that way.  4) This is a nice opportunity for the actors to try out new roles, even if it’s only for a scene for most of them.  5) Kudos to Armin Shimerman for being able to switch from the Quark character to an extremely motherly figure in the same scene.  6) This is the last episode with Commander Sisko.  He’s promoted in the next episode.  7) Root beer becomes a humorous symbol of humanity in the rest of the series.

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~ by Joshua Black on May 22, 2017.

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