Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Muse   Rewatch 
March 13, 2016 6:29 PM - Season 4, Episode 21 - Subscribe

A mysterious woman helps Jake write a novel; Lwaxana Troi, pregnant with a son, asks Odo to help her escape her husband.

From Memory Alpha and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion:

- The original idea for this episode came from Majel Barrett Roddenberry who pitched an idea to Ira Steven Behr that Lwaxana Troi becomes pregnant, and claims that the baby is Odo's. This led René Echevarria to write an episode with four primary storylines, all focusing on couples: Rom and Leeta, Sisko and Kasidy Yates, O'Brien and Keiko, and Odo and Lwaxana. However nobody was happy with the concept. According to Behr, the script meeting for a standard episode usually lasts two days, three if there are problems. The script meeting for "The Muse" lasted six days – the longest script meeting in the entire seven year run of Deep Space Nine. Because Echevarria's story wasn't working out, the producers decided to try to pad it with a good B-story. They'd wanted to do something involving Jake's creativity ever since the popular reception of "The Visitor", so Ronald D. Moore suggested that if Jake became involved with a woman who inspires his writing, it would fit into the overall design of the episode. That idea ultimately evolved into having him getting involved with a much older woman who is interested in him only because he is a writer. That, in turn, evolved into the character of Onaya. The planned four romances were reduced to two, and the Odo/Lwaxana A-story was switched with the Jake/Onaya B-story, so the episode became more about Jake than Lwaxana.

- Onaya, the titular Muse, inspired artists but took their lives at a young age, similarly to the Leanan Sidhe of Irish folklore. She lists a "Keats" as one of the artists she's inspired. John Keats (1795-1821) was an English poet who died at the age of 25 yet is widely considered among the most accomplished poets in English literary history. The other two names she mentions are Catullus (a 1st century BC Roman poet) and Tarbolde (an alien from Canopus Planet who wrote the poem "Nightingale Woman" which Gary Mitchell quotes in the Original Series episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before"). Interestingly, when writing the teleplay for this episode, René Echevarria was instructed by Rick Berman to use one Human name and two alien names. After Echevarria had decided on Keats and Tarbolde, Robert Hewitt Wolfe then chose Catullus because, being an ancient Roman poet, the concept of muses would have been very important to him. However, in the episode itself, Meg Foster mispronounces the name, which disappointed Hewitt because it now sounds "like some wacky alien name."

- Jeyal is portrayed by Michael Ansara, who also appeared as Kang in TOS episode "Day of the Dove", and in the DS9 episode "Blood Oath".

- "The original notion was that this wedding involved her and Odo having to be together in a box for sixteen hours, standing in a closed casket kind of thing," says Echevarria. "We wouldn't see it, but we'd just know that they did it." The point was that somehow the experience would force Odo to realize that he did have feelings for her. But Echevarria didn't buy it. "I remember calling Ira on a Sunday afternoon and saying, 'This is just ridiculous,'" he says. "'Why doesn't he just declare his love? What if it's in the ceremony?' And Ira said, 'Okay, forget the box.' The construction department already had started building the box, but we got rid of it and I tried something sweet."

"Someone once said, 'Life is a search to find the peace that you once had when you were safe inside your mother.'"
"I didn't have a mother."
"Don't worry, it's alright. You'll find your peace."

- Lwaxana Troi and Odo

"Before I met her, my world was... a much smaller place. I kept to myself, I didn't need anyone else, and I took pride in that. The truth is, I was ashamed of what I was, afraid that if people saw how truly different I was, they would recoil from me. Lwaxana saw how different I was... and she didn't recoil. She wanted to see more. For the first time in my life, someone wanted me as I was. And that changed me forever. The day I met her is the day I stopped being alone. And I want her to be part of my life from this day on."

- Odo, pronouncing his love for Lwaxana
posted by Halloween Jack (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I love seeing Patricia Tallman appear in random small/non-speaking roles, because it always means a stunt is about happen. (The funniest time was when I was at a karaoke mefi-meetup, and someone picked Patsy Cline's "Crazy" - instead of just the lyrics onscreen, it also had a music video and there was Tallman playing a bartender or waitress who gets punched out.) I was surprised she was moonlighting as a DS9 stuntwoman while Babylon 5 was still running, but looks like this episode must have been filmed before she rejoined B5 as a series regular.

I enjoyed the Lwaxana/Odo plot, but, wow, the Jake story was pretty lousy.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:30 PM on March 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I really think that the Lwaxana/Odo story should have been the A plot. Not only was it Majel Barret-Roddenberry's last regular appearance in Trek (she went on to do computer voices, including some for the 2009 reboot movie), but the whole storyline is incredibly poignant; the bit where Odo morphs his arm into a blanket for the sleeping Lwaxana just gets me right in the feels. Even Michael Ansara's character, who is set up to be just the worst space-sexist villain, has a nice bit where he accepts that there's something to Odo's and Lwaxana's relationship, regardless of how long they're actually together, and asks Lwaxana to speak kindly of him to their son. It's much more resonant than the A plot, with the psychic vampire that just poofs off into the ether, with a hint of that just-say-no preaching that occasionally creeps into Trek. (A mysterious entity that makes you write faster but also messes you up physically? Why not just call her Bethamphetamine?) Jake had better moments in the last episode.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:54 AM on March 14, 2016 [5 favorites]

A terrible episode due to the reasons already mentioned. Starts well, and then just plods along, with the Jake stuff getting more and more ridiculous. I agree with the above comments that the Lwaxana/Odo story should have been the A story, especially given what has happened before between them (the episode where they were trapped in the lift comes to mind.) And (again as already mentioned) Jake was good in the last episode, where he meets his mirror mum, and its like having his mum back. I can understand that maybe they were going for a "Jake loses his way after losing his mum for a second time" sort of vibe, but the whole thing is weak.

Bethamphetamine is a great word/name. I might use it in a NanoCamp story!
posted by marienbad at 3:01 PM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Boy, this has just really been a horny string of episodes, hasn’t it
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:23 AM on November 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

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