|"So alone..." Jadzia, without her symbiote.|
A plasma storm has led to an evacuation on Deep Space 9, leaving Sisko to run the station with only a skeleton crew. While the storm is raging, the station receives a distress call from a ship requesting emergency docking clearance. But the emergency is a ruse. When O'Brien and Odo go to greet their guests, they find themselves victims of an ambush by two Klingon mercenaries and their employer, a Trill named Verad (John Glover).
The Klingons quickly gain control of the station, thanks to inside information provided by Quark. Once everyone has been taken hostage, the Trill reveals what he is there for. He has come to take what he sees as something rightfully his: Jadzia's symbiote!
Commander Sisko: Remains calm as he tries to find a way to return the symbiote to Jadzia before it is too late. When the procedure has been done and Verad comes back to Ops, Sisko plays on his friendship with Dax to try to convince him to voluntarily return to Jadzia. When that fails, he plants doubts in the mind of Verad's girlfriend (Megan Gallagher), which proves effective in making her doubt her relationship with this changed Verad. He also displays an icy anger when Verad/Dax disappoints him. Avery Brooks plays the scene in which he promises that he will see Verad again with steel. Watching, you know that you do not want to be Sisko's enemy. It would be... unhealthy.
Dax: Resigns herself to Verad's procedure in order to prevent her friends and colleagues from being harmed, and urges Julian to accede to his demands as well. Once the symbiote is removed, Jadzia is left more vulnerable than we have ever seen her, weakly crying to Bashir that she has "never felt so alone" and that she's "empty inside." Verad Dax's refusal to risk returning to Jadzia after the procedure again raises the question of how much of the personality we see is Jadzia and how much is Dax. Certainly, Dax without Jadzia seems to lack the courage and self-sacrifice that we have seen, which gravely disappoints Sisko.
Dr. Bashir: Though he performs the procedure, under protest, he does everything in his considerable powers to stabilize Jadzia afterwards. When his Klingon guard sneers at him for wasting his time on someone who "will be dead in a few hours," Bashir snaps back, earning a modicum of respect from the warrior for his display of will.
Quark: I'm not sure I entirely believe that Quark wouldn't be prepared for the Klingon mercenaries to try to take his "merchandise" by force. With the unsavory types Quark deals with almost daily, he would surely be ready for those who would prefer to rob him than pay him. It would make the scene in which Quark is captured more interesting if some attempt to defend himself is thwarted, rather than having him simply mewl about his poor treatment. He fares better in the second half of the episode, in which he feigns an escape attempt in order to be taken to the infirmary, where his quick thinking helps to turn the tables - and redeem him enough for him not to be blown out an airlock for his part in getting Verad and the Klingons aboard!
Invasive Procedures falls well short of the 3-parter that opened the season, and also of the last Trill-focused episode, but it's still a solid and enjoyable piece.
As with Season One's Dax, the episode takes a well-worn story type and uses it to develop the intriguing Trill/symbiote relationship. The Season One episode was a courtroom drama. This episode is the requisite hostage episode. Dax was a well-executed courtroom episode, and this is a reasonably well-executed hostage story. But once again, the real interest comes from the development of Trill society, of the thin line that separates Jadzia from Dax, and of the friendship between Sisko and Dax.
The earlier episode dealt with Sisko's uncertainty at maintaining a friendship with a Dax so different than the one he knew. Since then, he has formed a friendship with Jadzia that is very much its own relationship. A lot of that comes from Jadzia's own qualities, including a strong amount of empathy and a quality of self-sacrifice. "Verad Dax" is still Dax, but lacks the traits Sisko valued in Curzon and in Jadzia. He lacks empathy, and it is probably as much the Dax symbiote as Verad speaking when he says, "What is the life of one girl to the knowledge of eight lifetimes?" Sisko has a typically direct, almost wordless response that recalls what he said to Q when he announced: "I'm not Picard."
I do wish we had seen more of Jadzia without Dax, to get some sense of her unique personality. To me, it's a missed opportunity not to have a big scene or two in which we see her interacting with the others as just her, a chance to see how Jadzia alone is different than Jadzia Dax.
A good episode in any case. Season Two is off to an excellent start so far!
Overall Rating: 7/10