Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Facets   Rewatch 
December 23, 2015 8:24 AM - Season 3, Episode 25 - Subscribe

The DS9 cast "gets a chance to pretend to be someone else for a scene or two, which is goofy and fun until the sociopath shows up."

Trivia (Cribbed from here and here)

* Armin Shimerman, on playing one of Jadzia's hosts: “Before I shot it, everyone said to me, ‘This is going to be hysterical, you playing a woman. They thought I was going to do Milton Berle. But I thought that was too easy a choice. I never saw it as a comic scene. Instead, I found as much of my anima, my female side, as I could and played it as straight as possible,” with the exception of the point where Quark’s personality emerges to complain. That, admits Shimerman, was played for comedy, because “the woman wasn’t a comic character, but Quark is.”

* Throughout the series' run, Quark will be the only character on DS9 to have multiple transgender experiences. All are, unsurprisingly, comic scenes.

* Including Jadzia, there is a perfect balance between male (Tobin/Torias/Curzon/Joran) and female (Lela/Emony/Audrid/Jadzia) hosts.

* There are only two female main cast members on DS9: Kira and Dax. Not only are female members of the ensemble so rare that Quark has to embody a female host, it also means that a supporting character has to be drafted in for the ceremony. Originally René Echevarria wanted to use Keiko to portray Emony, as the only recurring female character in the show, but actress Rosalind Chao was unavailable, so he used Leeta. While the opening scene takes pains to suggest that Dax and Leela are close friends, this is only Leela’s second appearance, coming only a few episodes after she officially debuted as a flirty dabo girl in Explorers.

* Scenes with Sisko as Joran had to be shot twice because the producers were unhappy with the first set of dailies. The reason for this was they felt that Avery Brooks' performance was too creepy. According to visual effects supervisor Gary Hutzel, Brooks spoke in an almost inaudible whisper that "literally sent shivers up your spine."

* Behr did not like the final episode, commenting that it is "...all over the place. The story doesn't begin until act three. Before then, you don't know what it's about. Is it about Dax? Is it about Odo? Is it about Curzon? I dare anyone to figure it out until the show is halfway over. It's filled with scenes that exist just for the hell of having the scenes. They don't all advance the story. We do a whole act of meeting these hosts, one after the other. But the fact that the story moved so fast, and so many outrageous things are happening every two minutes, it works a lot better than I thought it would when I was watching the dailies. It has all the idiosyncrasies and eccentricities of a Deep Space Nine episode. Terry really does her best work when she's vulnerable, worried and trying to wrestle with problems.".

* Neither René Echevarria nor Behr were overly happy with how Curzon came across in this episode, either:
Echevarria: "If I had to do it over again, I would have been more careful about his character. He was almost always drinking or talking about drinking."
Behr: "The way Curzon came across was by no means the way I saw the character. I saw him as a kind of bon vivant. Instead he was like Shecky Curzon, a wacky, funny guy."

* When Curzon/Odo is in Quark's, he requests a drink of tranya. This is the same drink served by Balok in TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver."

* In the scene involving O'Brien as Tobin Jadzia mentions that Tobin had "the most original approach to the proof since Wiles over 300 years ago." regarding Tobin's work on Fermat's last theorem. This appears to be a nod to Wiles' solution to Fermat's Last Theorem which had just been published a month before the airing of this episode. This mathematical formula had previously been mentioned by Captain Jean-Luc Picard in TNG: "The Royale", who referred it as being having unsolved for over 800 years.

Sisko as Joran: "My strength is within you. You don't have to be afraid of it."
Dax: "I'm not."
Sisko as Joran: "Then let me show you how to use it. Lower the force field, Jadzia. Lower it, and you will never have to be afraid of anything ever again."
Sisko: "Let me tell you something about Curzon. He was my friend, he was my confidant, in a way he was my teacher as well. But he was also manipulative, selfish, and arrogant. Most people let him get away with it because he was so charming. Sometimes I let him get away with it too. But from time to time, he'd push me too far, and I'd have to stand up to him. Tell him he'd crossed the line."
Dax: "And how would he react?"
Sisko: "Sometimes he'd just laugh and admit it. Sometimes he'd be furious. But either way, he'd back off because he knew he was wrong. And he is wrong now."
Quark: "Root beer. This is the end of Ferengi civilization."
Rom: "My son's happiness is more important to me than anything, even latinum! Remember that, brother!"
Bashir: "What's the matter, Chief?"
O'Brien: "It just occurred to me. As soon as that kid graduates from the Academy, I'm going to have to call him 'sir'."
posted by zarq (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The two biggest problems I had with the episode were both mentioned above.

It takes SO long to get to the plot. It's fun to explore Jadzia's past, and I love when we get to learn more about alien culture, but I feel like we jumped in the story too early. Or if the idea was to find a way to have Curzon take over Odo, there could have been tachyon radiation or a transporter accident.

My other issue is Curzon. We knew he wasn't perfect, and was sort of a free spirit (like Jadzia), but we also know how much he influenced Sisko and how much Sisko respected him. That he helped negotiate peace with the Klingons and was honorable enough to make a blood oath with Klingon warriors. I can't reconcile that Curzon with who we see here.
posted by 2ht at 11:05 AM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I agree with those two criticisms of the episode as well.

In addition, even though I snarked about the episode Playing God, I think the one silver lining was the backstory established for Jadzia: Curzon was hard on her and washed her out of the symbiont program because she needed to become a more fully-rounded person, which she did, and then she was allowed to reapply and receive a symbiont.

This episode blows that narrative to smithereens. Curzon says that he "robbed" Jadzia of the opportunity to be joined because he was in love with her. That means she was actually qualified, but he torpedoed her application because he was a dirty old man. And since she was the first ever to be readmittted, he had the expectation that his selfish decision would permanently deprive her of the chance to have a symbiont. This is not an improvement in any way over the backstory in Playing God.

Moreover, it's a serious abuse of power. We had the sense prior to this episode that Curzon was kind of a jerk, but this goes way beyond jerkishness. This revelation deserved some reaction from Jadzia other than instant forgiveness and reconciliation. Once again, it's a "Jadzia" episode that tries as hard as it can to not be about Jadzia.
posted by creepygirl at 12:45 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I liked this episode. It may not be as plotty as most of them, but the structure of meeting Dax's previous hosts and the actors getting to strut their stuff a little makes it fun. I've yet to see Profit and Lace and maybe I'd find it just as obnoxious as people say, but Quark's stuff here didn't offend me at all. It's funny in a way that's true to the characters, with this sweet, gentle woman speaking through Quark and him getting squirmy about it.

It also fits the trend of what seems to be a fine little run where the characters matter more than the plot. The only previous example I can think of for something like this in Trek is the episode of TNG where Picard goes home to the vineyard to deal with his trauma after getting assimilated by the Borg. Maybe Voyager did some things like this later, but they're not coming to me. DS9 was a show where the characters came so alive that we could just have a whole episode about them arguing about something or struggling to connect with each other. It really stands apart within the franchise.

I think Jadzia forgives Curzon because he's dead (so the whole issue is past tense now) and he's become a part of her. She's not just talking to the old guy who rejected her from the program. She's talking to an aspect of herself, a person who has been part of her mind for years now. She knows Curzon in ways we can't. And the albino aside, Jadzia doesn't strike me as a big grudge-holder. She takes the long view, as befits somebody with lifetimes of experience. She knows who Curzon was through his life, and she knows he was a guy who did great things but also plenty of bad things. Maybe I'd never forgive Curzon, but Jadzia has her own perspective on things.

Way back during the season one rewatch, I said something about Jadzia being kind of a passive character, that being joined made her kind of mellow in a way that was always going to be frustrating to some people. I think it'd been a while since I'd watched the show and I was forgetting how complicated and active she became as the series went on. It's true, there are plenty of Jadzia episodes that aren't really about Jadzia. But she does become a much more vivid character as the show goes on, and I was wrong to suggest otherwise.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:09 PM on December 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think there's a wide range of reactions that Jadzia could have to the revelation that fall in between instant forgiveness (it's the "instant" part that rankles a lot more than the "forgiveness" part) and holding a grudge.

For example:

Confusion: "So you couldn't make a fully objective decision the first time I applied because you were in love with me. Then you couldn't make a fully objective decision the second time I applied because you felt guilty. Did I really earn the Dax symbiont fairly?"

Curiosity (since there are apparently Curzon memories that Dax doesn't have access to): "Was I the only candidate that you couldn't be objective about? Were there others who were rejected for the wrong reasons?" or "Why didn't you resign from the commission? Why did you choose to punish me for your feelings instead?"

Brief "Wait, what?" reaction, taking a minute or two to process that the whole narrative she'd constructed for herself about the symbiont application process was a lie, and then accepting that Curzon is the kind of guy who would do something that awful. Even though he could have avoided the whole mess and saved face by resigning from the commission before the first decision about Jadzia was made.

I would have preferred any of those (and probably plenty more that I haven't thought of) to what we got here.
posted by creepygirl at 7:07 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't have a Netflix/Hulu/whatever subscription right now, so I'm actually reading transcripts.

Yeah, the new story with Curzon was weird, and so was the reaction. There are any number of ways to explain it away. Personally, I choose to believe Jadzia [1] was saying whatever she thought would convince Curzon to come back in. But you've got to admit, it's the kind of thing that needs to be explained away.

I don't know how to reconcile Odo's later apology with the Curzon+Odo entity's claim that the Odo part was on board with staying Curzon+Odo. Odo is one of the most honorable people on the show. I don't think he would choose to remain a person who failed to live up to his own standards. It's not clear whether the Curzon part was running the show and lying about it, or Odo as part of Curzon+Odo genuinely had different desires than Odo alone, or Odo both disapproved of Curzon+Odo's behavior and also wanted to remain Curzon+Odo, or what.

[1] Is it still appropriate to refer to her as Jadzia Dax in this state?
posted by d. z. wang at 8:56 PM on December 23, 2015

As for the B plot, it's cool that Rom discovered Quark's sabotage. I like that twist. Rom's supposed to be good with machines, so it makes sense that he'd figure it out.

In their own ways, both Rom and Quark are acting in (what they consider) Nog's best interests. I'm adding this scene to my collection of evidence that Ferengi, rules 6 and 111 notwithstanding, are actually super family-oriented. The "Family Business" episode was heart-warming in its depiction of Rom's close relationship with Ishka. And despite being cast as the villain here, Quark seems like a good son (by Ferengi standards of goodness). He's not lavishing generous stipends on just anybody.
posted by d. z. wang at 9:09 PM on December 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Creepygirl, the reactions you describe would have made sense, and perhaps may have made for a better episode. If one of those had happened earlier in the episode, that could have led to an episode with a more straightforward plot. For instance, maybe Jadzia is convinced she doesn't deserve the symbiont, has a big freakout and is determined to give it back even if that may well kill her. Or maybe she's so furious at Kurzon that she decides she wants him removed from her symbiont somehow, and in the end has to accept that while he was flawed he is a part of her now. But the reaction they came up with seems very Jadzia-ish to me. (I don't know if Sisko would have forgiven him that fast!) Jadzia sees Kurzon with all his flaws, more flaws than she knew, and forgives him and accepts him as a part of herself. And as I said, he's dead, and things worked out the way they did. Jadzia earned her symbiont and now Kurzon is part of her. Being angry about his old mistakes won't change things for the better. (But that's not the same as saying she has no reason to be angry!)

There are a zillion ways this episode could have gone. (Memory Alpha points out the John Glover persona is missing, which could have taken this in a much different direction too.) The way they went isn't perfect and it sounds like they struggled to get there, but it's a novel and interesting way. It becomes a weird ensemble piece with lots of little stories, and the fun comes from seeing all the people who made Jadzia who she is, acted out by other characters we know very well.

D.z. wang, you raise some interesting questions about Odo's role in this, but I'd have to see the episode again before I'd feel ready to speculate on that.

If this episode has a real missed opportunity, I think it's that we don't hear anything about what the personas experience when they are part of Jadzia. Do Kurzon and the other personas have individual awareness in there? Do they communicate with each other? How much say do they have in her actions? Do they ever feel trapped or frustrated in there? With Ezri, I often wondered how much the Jadzia we knew was contained in her, if Jadzia was always just behind Ezri's eyes, giving her advice somehow. I wish they'd explored those questions more.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:15 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

This episode blows that narrative to smithereens. Curzon says that he "robbed" Jadzia of the opportunity to be joined because he was in love with her. That means she was actually qualified, but he torpedoed her application because he was a dirty old man. And since she was the first ever to be readmittted, he had the expectation that his selfish decision would permanently deprive her of the chance to have a symbiont. This is not an improvement in any way over the backstory in Playing God.

Also, how can Jadzia not have been fully aware of Curzon's 'love' for her already? She has all of his memories of his friendship with Sisko, his blood oath with the Klingons, the affair with the married woman that Jadzia was willing to be put on trial for murder for rather than let the infidelity come to light. How could this info have been inaccessible to her before the ritual?

It was fun getting to see everyone getting to show off their acting abilities playing the different characters (except for Leeta, since this is only the second time I'm seeing her, she hasn't made much of an impression on me yet), and the Rom+Nog+Quark stuff was great, but the Curzon plot goes over to WTF-land. And doesn't make much sense for Odo's characterization either.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:31 AM on December 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Some of the lack of knowledge of past hosts' memories might be handwaved away by the Symbiosis Commission's tampering with the Dax symbiont's memories (in "Equilibrium"), and Verad (the John Glover host) wasn't joined for long enough for his memories to "set", or something. And WRT the appropriateness of the bits with Curzon, yeah, they probably could have been done a lot better, but I think that the episode did what it was supposed to, which was to remind us that Curzon--who sometimes gets portrayed as The Most Interesting Man In The Galaxy--really was kind of a charismatic fuckup, who did great things in his career but whose personal life was a mess. This may have been the last thing that Jadzia needed to get past the whole thing she had about trying to live up to her more famous and well-regarded previous host.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:07 AM on December 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't think I can add anything that hasn't already been covered - the Curzon stuff didn't work. I could kinda believe that Odo would enjoy the release of being flamboyant and carefree, but there should be lots more explanation of that particular plot point. Maybe in a way the show's great strength amongst its peers in the franchise - that its characters are generally much more round and interesting - is also a weakness for its syndicated nature. Characters do grow and develop on the show, but the writers needed to take great care not to go too far out with plot points that they couldn't let linger (so I don't think we're going to see more of "kooky" Odo, or the repercussions of Odo wanting to be kooky).

I would say Nana Visitor and Avery Brooks do get super high marks for their roles as the hosts, with Colm Meaney and Armin Shimerman coming next. Major Kira doesn't outweigh the franchise's problems with sexism, not by a long shot, but she is both a well-written character and someone who is portrayed by a talented actress. I am not near as much a fan of Sisko as most DS9ers, but his role as the creepy host was quite good. I actually thought that that was going to be the plot of the episode - basically Sisko is taken over and gets to show off that he's very talented and dangerous.
posted by Slothrop at 12:32 PM on December 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

The reason for this was they felt that Avery Brooks' performance was too creepy.

I'd love to see these.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:14 PM on December 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:14 PM on April 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Uh, never mind, wrong thread.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:15 PM on April 6, 2018

A couple loose threads that really should have been followed up on later:

- Trill have psychic powers? I'm pretty sure that's new. Are those psychic abilities involved in making the joining process work in the first place? Do the symbionts have their own psychic abilities?

- The psudo-joining that happens when you do this with one of Odo's people. That's a new discovery, and one that I think has the potential to benefit both the founders and Trill society, once everybody's on better terms. The female changeling repeatedly makes a stink about how the Solids could never possibly understand changelings. This could be a great tool for building that understanding!
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:40 AM on February 22, 2023

So what happened to Joran? We don't see him float back into Jadzia, do we? Sisco just says that he's gone, which made me think he was going to pop up again later in the episode.

Kira's transition to what's-her-face was terrible. I felt like I was watching an improv class.

Curzon fell in love with a young woman -- generations younger than him -- then used his power to have her expelled because she wasn't in love with him. Jadzia hears about this and within a few hours not only forgives him but says she loves him, too. WTF. I know it was the 1990s, but come now.

I loved the scene with Rom standing up to Quark.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:22 PM on January 7

Also, how can Jadzia not have been fully aware of Curzon's 'love' for her already?

Seriously. My head cannon says that maybe there is some important emotional experience to be gained from physically talking to your past self, but Jadzia should already on some level know everything that they might say. It's well established that the symbiont remembers the past lives quite well.

I think Jack's head cannon about the tampered memories is pretty good, but I wish they'd spelled it out as such. Instead, it looks more to me like they just didn't think this through. Also, if the memories have been wiped, then it's dubious that you can get them back by projecting them into Odo.

When Leeta is with everybody in the board room, it sent me straight to Memory Alpha to figure out where I must have had a brain fart. It felt a bit like that TNG episode where the alien inserts himself into the Enterprise crew and everyone's memory is screwed up so that they think he's been there all along.
posted by polecat at 6:31 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]

Here's something else that I don't understand that fucked-up thing that Curzon did...had it somehow been pre-determined that Jadzia had to be his successor? I've been getting the impression that the candidates are paired with symbionts from a waiting list. So what a coninky-dink that after Curzon kicks Jadzia out of the program, she comes back only to be paired with him.

I figure that before Curzon had Jadzia kicked out, he should have instead said to the rest of the committee, "hey guys, I have to recuse myself from being paired with this one." And after he lets her back into the program, he should have said "hey guys, I have to recuse myself from being paired with this one. Maybe you could set her up with that Trill that's dating the doctor on the Enterprise." Instead, he decides to merge with the woman that he wronged. That's two counts against you, Curzon.

OK, so Jadzia loved him too. I guess it's not beyond belief. It's a letdown, though, because here we have premise for some drama with weighty exploration of morals, and why do I suspect it's not going to really go any deeper than what we saw in this ep? I mean, this could be some dark stuff worthy of Greek or Norse myth...but like if you let Loki have monster children there's consequences, right?
posted by polecat at 8:33 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]

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