(written from a Production point of view)
Dax performs the Trill zhian'tara ritual, which allows her to meet her previous hosts.
Nog attempts to maneuver his runabout out of harm's way as an unseen enemy starship pursues him. The computer announces that a Cardassian vessel has locked its weapons on him. He successfully evades the weapons lock, only to be interrupted as Jake appears outside the runabout and knocks on the glass window. Nog is actually in a holosuite, so with Jake present, he ends the holo-program. As they exit the holosuite, Nog explains that he is trying to boost his scores for entry into Starfleet Academy, and his reaction times are almost high enough. While Jake is sure his friend will make it, Nog's uncle Quark is obviously pessimistic about the ordeal. Quark claims Nog would be better off in a more profitable industry, such as writing holosuite programs, especially "the more intimate variety". Neither Nog nor Jake finds his suggestion very appealing.
Later, Quark, Dr. Bashir, Leeta, Chief O'Brien, Odo and Kira join Dax and Commander Sisko in the wardroom, where Jadzia has something important to ask them. It is time for her zhian'tara, a Trill process in which she will meet former hosts of the Dax symbiont, and as her closest friends, she wants each of them to lend their body to one of her hosts. The process will be done telepathically by a Guardian, and at any time the host can reassert him- or herself. Naturally, everyone but Quark (who does not want "some dead person" inside him) agrees; however, a few touches of Jadzia's hand to his lobes make him much more agreeable. Kira agrees to embody the first Dax host, Lela.
While Jadzia waits for the Guardian to arrive from Trill, Nog meets O'Brien in a holosuite to begin his stress reaction test. However, the simulation is not a runabout but Ops aboard DS9. Nog panics, as he has not practiced Ops, but O'Brien explains that a test on the runabout would not be stressful.
The Guardian, a quiet, timid man, arrives to perform the zhian'tara and observes how long Dax has put it off. In Jadzia's quarters, he performs the ceremony and transfers Lela's memories into Kira. Although the sensation of Lela's memories being gone is strange for Jadzia at first, she and Lela get to know one another. She learns that her habit of talking with her hands behind her back comes from Lela, who learned to do so because her fellow politicians had mocked her excessive use of hand gestures.
The rest of the zhian'tara proceeds smoothly as Dax meets her other hosts. As expected, Tobin Dax (embodied by Chief O'Brien) is a nervous nail biter who apologizes too much, and Dax discusses gymnastics with Emony through Leeta. Quark's turn to embody Audrid does not amuse him; she is a warm, motherly spirit who talks about how wonderful it is to have children. When it is Bashir's turn, he lends his body to Torias, who claims Bashir should lay off his diet as life is too short to deny oneself the simple pleasures. Finally, the time comes for the most difficult host: Joran, the murderer, whom Sisko will embody.
In the security office, Sisko is voluntarily placed in a holding cell for the duration of the ceremony. Once the transfer has been completed and the force field is activated, the Guardian and Odo leave Jadzia and Sisko/Joran alone. Joran appears very passive but dangerous as he observes what a "pretty girl" Jadzia is. However, he claims she is nothing more and attempts to convince her to lower the force field. She sternly refuses. With complete calm and certainty, Joran places Sisko's hand, then both hands against the force field and begins banging his head against it until Jadzia lowers it. Sisko appears to have regained control when Joran comes back and tries to strangle Jadzia; she fights Joran off, and afterwards when Sisko wrests back control, he jokingly thanks her for not breaking any bones.
During the other hosts' time with Dax, O'Brien has continued Nog's testing in the holosuite while Rom eagerly anticipates his son's return. Quark is less than enthusiastic about the prospect of losing his nephew to hew-mon values, but that doesn't stop Rom from purchasing a Starfleet uniform from Elim Garak's tailor shop – regardless of whether Nog passes.
As the last host of the Dax symbiont before Jadzia, Curzon is the final part of her zhian'tara, and Odo has agreed to embody him. However, she seems apprehensive as she walks along the Promenade with Sisko. Part of the reason she has put her zhian'tara off is that she was afraid she would not "measure up" with previous hosts. Now, faced with meeting the man who rejected her original application to the Symbiosis Commission, she has the chance to ask whether Curzon did so because he thought she was not good enough – and she doesn't seem eager to finally hear the answer.
The Guardian performs the ceremony, which due to Odo's shapeshifting nature causes his face to mold itself to resemble Curzon's, and even includes Curzon's Trill spots. Curzon/Odo immediately heads to Sisko's quarters, where Sisko learns that Odo's unique chemical makeup has caused a blending of personalities, much like when Trill are joined. Curzon invites Sisko to Quark's for a glass of Tranya, where it becomes evident that Curzon is thoroughly enjoying himself in Odo's body. But when Jadzia arrives, Sisko carefully excuses himself to grade Nog's exam, allowing Jadzia to talk with Curzon alone about private issues.
As the conversation progresses, Jadzia tries to bring up her candidacy for joining, when Curzon was her instructor, but he becomes distracted when he notices a Ferengi tongo hustler. They challenge the Ferengi to a game, and together they clean him out. Meanwhile, Nog has failed his spatial orientation test, disqualifying him from entering the Academy, but Quark reassures him there will always be a place for him at the bar. However, he asks Curzon and Jadzia to leave, as it has now been an hour since the bar closed and they are still playing tongo.
Heading to the security office, Curzon opens a bottle of Saurian brandy which Odo confiscated from a Yridian smuggler, and shares it with Jadzia. He admits to dodging her inquiry earlier. Confronted with the question of why he did not object to Jadzia's second application for joining, despite rejecting her the first time, he reveals that he probably felt sorry for her. His one-time thoughts on the matter don't seem to bother him, but Jadzia is bothered by his carefree attitude. Curzon comes to a decision that he believes will benefit all parties involved: he and Odo like what they have become and wish to stay as they are.
In Sisko's office, the Guardian informs Jadzia and Sisko that he cannot remove Curzon's memories from Odo without Odo's consent. Sisko and Jadzia talk in private, and while the thought of losing Curzon seems troubling to Jadzia, she does not intend to interfere if both Curzon and Odo wish to stay as they are. However, Sisko does not agree; he believes Curzon is being selfish and will back down, as was the case on several occasions when Sisko did as much. Jadzia considers the issue at length.
Meanwhile, Rom catches Quark in an empty corridor to confront his brother about the fact that Quark sabotaged Nog's tests in the holosuite. Quark admits to doing so and feels he is justified as his actions are in Nog's best interest. Furious, Rom confrontationally tells Quark he has already gone to Sisko about the matter and warns Quark not to interfere, threatening to burn his bar to the ground. Nothing (not even latinum) is more important to Rom than his son's happiness.
Jadzia goes to Odo's quarters, where he and Curzon have been oozing around the room and enjoying themselves. Confronted about the memories, Curzon claims Jadzia is and has always been nothing but a little girl. She is not intimidated and stands her ground. Finally, he admits that she is not, nor was she when she was an initiate, as he touches her face with one hand in an intimate manner, a little girl; as he quietly looks away and several moments pass, it is evident that Curzon was in love with Jadzia when he washed her out of the joining program – and is still in love with her now. He reveals that he rejected her because he loved her, but felt so guilty he nearly quit the Symbiosis Commission. When she reapplied, it was a blessing to his conscience, which is why he did not object to her second application. They both agree that Curzon's memories rightfully belong to Jadzia, and Curzon agrees to go back to the way things were.
Back in the bar, Nog has passed the tests necessary for his entrance into Starfleet Academy, and he is dressed in the cadet's uniform his father purchased for him; Sisko asks if he may be jumping the gun a bit, but Nog explains that he didn't want to hurt his father's feelings by not wearing it. Everyone celebrates, even Quark, albeit begrudgingly. Quark knows he has "lost" Nog when the young Ferengi orders a root beer, claiming it is what they drink at the Academy. Jadzia and Odo are sitting together on the second level, where they discuss the recent events. Each has had a wonderful experience, Odo having had the best time of his life and Jadzia having gained the memories of what it feels like to be a Changeling and morph into different things. Odo expresses his appreciation of Curzon's ability to mix his hectic social life with his work, and that he was a remarkable man. Jadzia replies, "Yes, he is."
Memorable quotes Edit
"There's nothing quite like holding a child to your breast, nursing it. (pause) The entity which lent me this body wishes to speak!"
"How much longer am I gonna have to do this?!"
- - Audrid Dax, inhabiting Quark's body
"If you don't mind, I'd like to borrow your bodies for a few hours."
- - Jadzia Dax, to the DS9 senior staff
"Will you please stop saying you're sorry?"
- - Jadzia and Tobin Dax (via O'Brien)
"My strength is within you. You don't have to be afraid of it."
"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."
- - Joran Dax (via Sisko) and Jadzia
"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."
"And how would he react?"
"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."
- - Sisko and Jadzia, on Curzon's decision to stay merged with Odo
"Why can't you take after your friend here? He knows enough to stay out of Starfleet. Even a hu-man can see there's a lot more profitable out there for a young man with ambition."
"Uncle, he wants to be a writer There's no profit in that!'
"On the contrary. Writing holosuite programs — especially the more intimate variety — is very "profitable!"
- - Quark, Nog, and Jake Sisko
"Root beer. This is the end of Ferengi civilization."
- - Quark, on Nog's acceptance to Starfleet Academy
"My son's happiness is more important to me than anything, even latinum! Remember that, brother!"
- - Rom
"What's the matter, Chief?"
"It just occurred to me. As soon as that kid graduates from the Academy, I'm going to have to call him 'sir'."
- - Bashir and O'Brien, on Nog
Story and scriptEdit
- This episode originated with Ira Steven Behr's desire to do a version of the 1976 Daniel Petrie television movie Sybil in the sphere of DS9. Sybil was a psychological study of a woman, played by Sally Field, who, due to a traumatic childhood, suffered from an extreme form of multiple personality disorder, and had at least 13 distinct personalities. Behr thought this would be a fascinating approach from which to examine Jadzia Dax in a new light, and he assigned René Echevarria to write the teleplay. However, at first, Echevarria couldn't shake the notion that if Dax suddenly started to experience resurgences of her past hosts, there would need to be a reason why. In the case of Sybil, it was a dark psychological trauma in her past, but Dax had already had one such trauma revealed this season (in the episode "Equilibrium"), and Echevarria felt it would be unacceptable to present viewers with another nasty experience from her past. Echevarria next came up with the idea for the zhian'tara ritual, but originally, the ritual involved simply the suppression of the Jadzia host, and the resurgence of the former hosts, one at a time. This meant however that the episode was essentially going to focus exclusively on Terry Farrell, with her simply playing various different characters, and Echevarria was unhappy with this because it meant that there could be no interaction between Jadzia and the previous hosts; "Once she became each host, it was kind of 'Okay, let's sit back and watch Dax be this person now.' There was no true interaction between Jadzia and that host." It was then that Echevarria hit on the idea of using the cast regulars to 'embody' the various hosts. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 246-247)
- When composing the teleplay for this episode René Echevarria soon realized that there were three female hosts, but only one female character (Kira) in which to embody them. Dax's first host was Lela, so Echevarria used Kira for her. He then decided that it would provide some good comedy to use Quark for Audrid. This left him with Emony. Originally, he wanted to use Keiko, as the only recurring female character in the show, but actress Rosalind Chao was unavailable. As such, he decided to use the character of Leeta. There had been no indication of a friendship between Dax and Leeta prior to this episode, so the writers added a line in the teaser about the two "spending quite a bit of time together." Ira Steven Behr noted, "It didn't make any sense. We paid lip service [to the relationship], but it never really paid off again. It was just one of those things. Sometimes you've just gotta shoehorn ideas into an episode to keep it going." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 246-247)
- Neither René Echevarria nor Ira Steven Behr were overly happy with how Curzon came across in this episode. According to 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, for his part, says, "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." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 248)
- The scenes involving 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". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 247)
- To achieve Odo's new look after he embodies Curzon, make-up designer Michael Westmore got a photograph of actor Frank Owen Smith, who had portrayed Curzon in "Emissary", and digitally morphed it onto the Odo makeup. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 248)
- Ira Behr commented that the episode 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". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages p 98)
- 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".
- This episode continues two Ferengi-based plots originally appearing in "Heart of Stone"; Nog's attempts to get into Starfleet Academy, and the evolution of Rom's tendency to stand up to Quark in certain situations.
- 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.
- When O'Brien briefs Nog in the Holosuite about Starfleet Academy entrance exams, the prop PADD the Chief carries reads "GO AWAY". It is a reuse of the PADD that Bashir hands to Dax in "Explorers" to get her to leave while he flirts with Leeta.
- This is the last episode of the series to be directed by Cliff Bole.
- This episode reuses elements from Jadzia's past already established in previous episodes. Lela and Joran have been mentioned in "Equilibrium". Jadzia's troubled initiation (eliminated by Curzon and then re-applying) was first mentioned in "Playing God". Emony, Audrid and Torias would be mentioned again in subsequent episodes.
- Verad Dax, the hijacked Trill host from "Invasive Procedures" does not appear as one of Dax's former hosts during the Zhian'tara. The reasons behind this are left unexplained in the episode.
- The uniform Rom had made for Nog had a commbadge when it was in the gift box, but Nog wore it to the party without the commbadge. This was the first appearance of the gray Starfleet Cadets uniform, albeit not one issued by Starfleet. The real one, which indeed is the same design, appears in "Homefront"
- This episode marks the first mention of root beer in the series. The beverage would end up being a humorous topic of discussion between Quark and Garak in the episode "The Way of the Warrior".
Video and DVD releasesEdit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.13, 25 September 1995.
- As part of the DS9 Season 3 DVD collection.
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- Rene Auberjonois as Constable Odo / Curzon Dax
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Julian Bashir / Torias Dax
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Jadzia Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien / Tobin Dax
- Armin Shimerman as Quark / Audrid Dax
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys / Lela Dax
Guest stars Edit
- Jefrey Alan Chandler as Trill Guardian
- Max Grodénchik as Rom
- Aron Eisenberg as Nog
- Chase Masterson as Leeta / Emony Dax
Uncredited co-stars Edit
Stunt double Edit
Cardassian; Constable; dabo; Dax, Audrid; Dax, Curzon; Dax, Emony; Dax, Joran; Dax, Lela; Dax, Tobin; Dax, Torias; Delvan fluff pastry; Earth; Ferengi; Garak, Elim; holosuite; hustler; Klingon; latinum; martial arts; "Old Man"; Pelios Station; Promenade; Quark's; reaction time; runabout; Starfleet Academy; stockboy; storeroom: stress reaction test; Symbiosis Commission; toad; Tranya; Trill Guardians; Trill symbiont; Wiles, Andrew; Yates, Kasidy; Yridians; Zhian'tara
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