Original air date: February 14, 1993
Notable guest stars: Gregory Itzin as Ilon Tandro, Fionnula Flanagan as Enina Tandro, Anne Haney as Els Renora, Richard Lineback as Selin Peers
In a nutshell: Jadzia Dax is put on trial for a crime she didn’t commit…or at least half of her definitely didn’t.
Say hello to: Nobody
Say goodbye to: Nobody
Missing in action: Miles O’Brien, Jake Sisko
Words of wisdom: “You may want to reconsider your extradition request.” – Els Renora
Murder! Kidnapping! Gender swapping!
As the episode opens, Sisko’s log tells us that Chief O’Brien has left the station to escort Keiko back to Earth for her mother’s birthday. In the Replimat, Dax and Bashir are pondering how to fix the station’s filtration system in his absence (well, Dax is at least). Unaware that she’s being spied on, Dax decides to call it a night and shoots down Bashir when he offers to escort her back to her quarters.
As she leaves, the mysterious interlopers leave their hidden perch and follow her. In the corridors, they confront her and after confirming her identity, attempt to kidnap her without any further explanation.
Meanwhile, our horny young doctor, having concluded that “no” must mean “yes,” decides to catch up with Dax on her way back to her quarters. He runs into the kidnappers as they attempt to make off with Dax. Bashir attempts to stop the intruders, but he’s even less of a fighter than he is a lover. The party quickly knocks both officers unconscious and makes off with Dax.
As Kira and Sisko discuss some anamalous readings in the graviton generator, Bashir contacts them and tells them that Dax has been kidnapped by a trio of strangers. Sisko immediately locks down the station, but the kidnappers slip past security and, having already disabled the tractor beam, manage to leave the station.
Sisko is able to fix the graviton generator just in time to capture the kidnappers with a tractor beam before they can go to warp. As the kidnappers emerge from the docking port, the leader of the group identifies himself as Ilon Tandro of Klaestron IV. He claims to to have a warrant for Dax’s arrest for treason and the murder of his father.
Sisko and Odo review the warrant, which claims that Dax betrayed and murdered General Ardelon Tandro while serving as a Federation mediator 30 years ago on Klaestron IV. At that time, the Dax symbiont was implanted in its previous host, Curzon.
Sisko visits Dax in her quarters hoping to get some answers about the charges, but she refuses to address the matter.
Having received confirmation of the extradition orders from the Klaestron IV goverment, Tandro demands that Sisko release Dax into their custody. Sisko instead confronts them about why they chose to kidnap Dax rather than simply requesting her extradition, pointing out the station is Bajoran territory and that the Klaestron IV-Federation extradition treaty holds no force there. Kira also confronts Tandro about the fact that his party’s detailed knowledge of the station’s security measures must have come from the Cardassians. Their conversation ends with Sisko declaring that there will need to be a Bajoran extradition hearing before Dax goes anywhere.
Saying there’s nowhere else on the station that’s suitable, Odo commandeers Quark’s bar for the extradition hearings. Since he’s getting nothing out of Dax, Sisko decides to send Odo to Klaestron IV to investigate the case.
As the extradition hearing begins, Tandro lays out his case – according to recently unsealed military files, Dax killed his father 30 years ago. There is no statue of limitations on such charges on his planet and despite whatever he/she may look like on the outside, Dax is still Dax.
Sisko quickly counters with his defense strategy: Curzon Dax no longer exists. Jadzia Dax is, in his opinion, a separate individual and cannot be punished for the actions of a previous host. The arbiter agrees that Dax’s culpability is of central importance and orders Tandro is prove that Curzon Dax and Jadzia Dax are the same person.
During a recess, Sisko orders Bashir and Kira to search the database for any medical or legal information which might help their case. Odo hails Sisko to let him know that he’s uncovered a few things already: Curzon Dax and the general were bosom buddies, and the general’s death made him a martyr in the eyes of his troops. Odo informs Sisko that he plans on interviewing the general’s widowed wife to see if she can provide any more background concerning Curzon Dax’s friendship with her husband.
Tandro’s widow, Enina, insists that Curzon has a dear friend of the family and couldn’t have been responsible for Ardelon’s death. She claims that her son’s obsession with prosecuting Dax is his way of claiming vengeance for a father he never really knew.
Enina tells Odo about the central evidence in the case – a secret transmission from Tandro’s base to the rebel camp that revealed the secret details of his transport route. He was shortly thereafter ambushed, kidnapped, and killed by the rebels. Having established alibis for everyone else who could have made the transmission, Ilon has deduced that Dax must have been the one to betray his father to the rebels. As Odo leaves her apartment, Enina asks him how Curzon is doing. Odo informs her that Curzon is dead and living quite happily now as a 28-year old woman.
Back on DS9, Ilon calls an envoy from Trill to the stand as an expert on the affairs of their species. The expert witness establishes that a symbiont is fully aware of its previous host’s lives and would remember the details of what happened while they were joined. During his cross-examination, Sisko gets the witness to say that hosts are indeed different people with unique personalities and that their joining with the symbiont creates a new, unique person during each pairing.
Bashir takes the stand and explains why Dax cannot just be separated from Jadzia so the slug can stand trial alone. They are biologically intertwined, and neither would survive the separation. He also testifies that Curzon Dax and Jadzia Dax are physically different beings for a number of reasons, including the presence of totally different brain wave patterns. As Ilon cross-examines him, Bashir is forced to admit that he cannot isolate brain waves from the symbiont and the host, so he has no way of knowing if Dax has changed at all from its joining with Jadzia.
Sisko calls upon himself as a witness, leaving Kira to question him. He provides testimony about his friendships with Curzon and Jadzia, and how they are very different people in his estimation. He then gets into a debate with Ilon about the dynamics of the symbiont-host relationship and its legal implications.
During a recess, Odo contacts Sisko to let him know he’s uncovered evidence that Curzon and Enina were having an affair. Odo unnecessarily points out that doing the hanky-panky with another man’s wife is a classic motive for murder.
Odo questions Enina again; this time she admits to having an affair with Curzon. Although Ardelon has been lionized as a hero by their people, Enina says he was not one before his death. She has been handicapped by popular opinion for decades, unable to let people know exactly who he was.
Back on DS9, Sisko tries again to get Jadzia Dax to speak in her own defense. He lets her know that he knows about the affair and that he doesn’t believe she should sacrifice her life to protect Curzon’s reputation. She admits to Curzon having the affair, but still won’t discuss the murder charges.
The hearing reconvenes and Dax takes the stand. Sisko questions her about her life before becoming a host, establishing that her career in Starfleet has been shaped solely by her experiences as Jadzia, not those of Curzon Dax or the symbiont’s hosts. As Ilon begins his cross-examination, Enina suddenly enters the room.
She tells the arbiter that the hearing is unnecessary; Curzon Dax could not have been responsible for her husband’s death. At the time the transmission was sent, Curzon was in bed with her doing the horizontal mambo. The arbiter adjourns the hearing and tells Ilon to rethink his request for extradition.
Afterwards, Dax and Enina take a walk together and the widow thanks Dax for being willing to sacrifice her life to protect the general’s honor and his place in history. Dax responds that Curzon is still a part of her. Enina says that he will remain a hero to his people, even though he himself was the traitor. Having wrapped up everything in about fifteen seconds, Enina creepily bids Dax farewell.
Thoughts and ruminations
- There are two hard and fast rules involving the quality of Star Trek episodes (see below). Fortunately, this episode is an example of the latter and not the former:
- Colm Meaney is conspicuously absent from this episode, as well as from the next two. Maybe he was off filming a movie or something?
- I like the use of wide-based mugs, but they’d make more sense on a constantly moving starship than a stationary space station.
- They really need to do something about those large gratings on the Promenade that seem to serve no purpose other than giving misanthropes a spot to spy on people from.
- Unsurprisingly, the doctor is pretty useless in a fight.
- Again with the gravitons. And the Chicago font makes another appearance.
- The lack of decent internal sensors and communications certainly makes the station ripe for intrigue.
- Cadderon force fields? What the hell are those? Why can’t they just be force fields? As far as I can tell, this is the only mention of a “cadderon force field” in all of Star Trek.
- Again, the complicated and ill-defined relationship between the Federation and Bajor as far as DS9 is concerned is twisted to suit the needs of Sisko (and the writers).
- I like this arbiter. She’s direct and to the point.
- Why was Curzon Dax so cozy with the general? Should a mediator really be the close friend of one of the factions’ military leaders in a civil war?
- Odo’s abrupt hang up at the end of his subspace conversation with Sisko is a nice, subtle reminder that he’s not a solid and he doesn’t subscribe to their social niceties.
- In general, the makeup artists on DS9 did a fantastic job when creating various alien species. The makeup on the Klaestrons, though, isn’t very convincing. In some scenes, it looks like their side ridges are about to peel off.
- This episode deftly fills in some needed background and furthers our understanding of Trill society.
- There’s really no reason the hearing had to be held in Quark’s bar. There was what, a max of 6 people in the room at any one time? It could have been done in Sisko’s office.
- Why doesn’t anyone ask how the Trill legal system would handle this? It wouldn’t be binding in a Bajoran arbitration hearing, but it would certainly establish some sort of precedent to consider. Wouldn’t that be the first question you would ask at such a hearing?
- The general’s widow’s apartment is reused art from TNG.
- I really enjoy Sisko using Odo as an investigator-on-assignment. It gives out grumpy curmudgeon a chance to get off the station and do something other than spy on people while pretending to a painting.
- If the general was the traitor, why did the rebels assassinate him? I think this plot point brings up more loose ends than it ties up.
- It seems like the legality of holding Trills responsible for the crimes of their previous hosts would have been addressed by now. And the question never really gets resolved here either, since the widow’s revelation makes the hearing irrelevant.
- I immediately recognized the actress playing the arbiter as the same one who played the wife in the TNG episode “The Surviors.” It turns out all of the key guest stars in this episode were habitual Star Trek stand-ins – the actors portraying Ilon Tando, Enina Tandro, and the Trill expert all either had or would again pop up on one of the other series.
Again, I’m a sucker for courtroom dramas. That said, this still stands out as a strong episode even if they conveniently wrapped everything up rather conveniently in about sixty seconds at the end. Three out of four Odo buckets.