With the season’s end almost upon us, a lightweight, character-oriented episode prior to the big finish, and any potential cliffhanger, was to be expected, and we got this in a Jardzia-centric episode in which everyone’s favourite Trill goes through a ritual that enables her to meet and talk with, in chronological succession, each of the previous hosts of the symbiont, Dax.
It was an interesting notion but one that, for me personally, never quite came together.
There were several reasons for this, but the primary one is the same old reason, that Terry Farrell simply isn’t a good enough actress. Her range is not wide enough, her emotional depth is not deep enough. This is all but three full seasons in and she hasn’t developed enough to play roles that require more that competent functioning.
If that wasn’t enough, there was the imbalance of parts. Dax has had seven previous hosts. The technical process by which Jardzia ‘meets’ them is by having a Guardian extract each host’s memories and superimpose them on a willing host, for which Jardzia chose the seven people closest to her, i.e., the main cast, except for Jake Sisko, in whose place we got, improbably, the dabo girl, Leeta.
She got to contribute a pretty face and a supple body to the unnamed host who was a gymnist (that’s what she said, people not gymnast). The rest – the Major, the Chief, the Doctor, Quark – just did quick pantomime turns, enjoying the Mirror-Universe-esque chance to play against type for the sake of it.
But also these turns went by so fast and so briefly that it rather undermined the point, so that by the time we got to the heavier stuff, for which the episode had really been written, the active mind was detached from the storyline, and wasn’t being tempted back.
The first to get anything more than a sideshow was Juran Dax, accepted by Commander Sisko: Juran was a deranged murderer who tries to kill Jardzia. But this is just a prelude to the one Jardzia really is afraid of meeting, her immediate predecessor, Curzon, Sisko’s old buddy.
With good reason. Curzon originally failed the young Jardzia as a potential host but, when she determinedly reapplied, did not oppose her, making her the only Trill ever to be readmitted to the joining programme. Jardzia doesn’t know why, and is afraid of finding out the reason. Supposedly, she feels inferior to her predecessors (though the underwritten previous scenes make you wonder what she’s got to feel inferior to about the gymnist and the mother, not to meention the psycho!)
Really, it’s Curzon who’s the problem, and we can see a little of why that is when he ‘joins’ with Odo, who promptly turns Trill, with spots, and discernible features, and goes all roguish and rakish, eating, drinking, gambling, avoiding Jardzia’s questions, and ultimately deciding (with Odo’s agreement) to stay where he is.
This forces Jardzia to confront CurzonOdo and demand her memories back, at which point the air is cleared and the secret is out: Curzon fell in love with the young and beautiful Jardzia, still is in love. He chucked her out because it was inappropriate, allowed her back because he felt guilty, tells her she’s remarkable (not that she is, shes just a pretty woman with limited acting skills). The explanation did not convince at all.
I’ll pass over the close, with a deeply embarrassed Odo talking to a serene Jardzia and just mention the understory, which was once again slight, especially in terms of the time it was given, but which was more substantial in concept. This was about Nog taking, and failing, his preliminary exams for acceptance into Spacefleet Academy, except he only failed because Quark gimmicked the programme against him, leading to a long overdue furious confrontation with Rom, threatening to burn the bar down if Quark ever screwed around with Nog’s future like that again. Nog passed with the proper programme, of course.
So to the season climax, next week. I know nothing of it thus far except it’s title, ‘The Adversary’, from which I am expecting something very strong. Don’t correct me if I’m wrong.