|Out of the past: Dax is reunited|
with the wife of a previous host.
A team of Trill scientists come to Deep Space 9 to conduct experiments on the wormhole. They hope to find a way to produce artificial wormholes. Their team leader is Dr. Lenara Kahn (Susannah Thompson), a brilliant Trill scientist - and, in a former life, Dax's wife!
Trill society holds association with spouses and family from past lives to be strictly taboo. Those Trill who have chosen to "re-associate" have been exiled from society, with the symbiont never again able to join with a new host. Effectively, the symbiont is sentenced to die at the end of the current host's life - a horrifying prospect for a joined Trill.
But despite all the time that has past and despite their new hosts, Jadzia and Lenara find their old feelings far from dead. Which leads Jadzia to the brink of an unthinkable choice...
Capt. Sisko: Offers Jadzia and extended leave so that she can avoid dealing with Lenara's appearance on the station. She turns down the offer, but he repeats it when it becomes clear how hard this is for her. Later, when she goes to him for advice, he gives it bluntly. He does not allow her to shut him down as he reminds her just how much the continuity of the symbiont means both to her culture and to her. Still, he adds that no matter what choice she makes, he will back her decision completely.
Dax: Terry Farrell's performance has always been best when the script gives her a strong nonverbal element to play. Ronald D. Moore and Rene Echevarria have crafted a script tailored very well to that strength. Dax's torn emotions on hearing of Lenara's arrival, and the re-growth of her bond with Lenara, are largely seen through Farrell's expressions and body language, rather than voiced through dialogue. This makes her feelings much more real, too, as that is the way most people bond with partners: With as little spoken as possible, at least until it's clear that those feelings are returned.
Worf: During small talk at a reception, Kira asks Worf what it is that Klingons dream about. "Things that would send cold chills down your spine, and wake you in the middle of the night... It is better that you do not know." When Worf excuses himself and walks away, Kira confesses that she isn't certain whether he was serious or joking.
Hot Alien Space Babe of the Week: As Dax observes with amusement, she and Lenara (Susannah Thompson) have far more in common now than when they were actually married. Lenara is a scientist, like Jadzia, which helps them to work in concert on her experiments. She is the first to broach the subject of their former relationship, expressing her continued hurt over the previous Dax's death in a shuttle accident. But once their feelings for each other are clear, Dax is the one who aggressively pursues a renewed relationship, with Lenara more hesitant.
Each season, we get one or two episodes looking at Trill society. Over the course of the series, that society has gradually evolved into one that's both complex and a bit dysfunctional. Rejoined adds another layer onto what we know about the Trill, by crafting a script around the idea of intolerance and taboos.
Obviously, the script works as a parallel for the treatment of gays by society, a parallel made all the more clear by making the relationship one involving two women. It's much stronger in this respect than TNG's more heavy-handed The Outcast was, in part because both lovers are of the same gender (whereas Riker's love interest in that episode was very clearly female), and in part because of the reactions of the other characters. Lenara's brother is concerned, but he clearly wants to protect his sister, even telling the other Trill to say nothing. Sisko assures Dax that he will back her choice, but pushes her to consider what she's willing to give up. The conflict is left as primarily an internal one, Jadzia wrestling with her own feelings and how much she will give up for them even as Lenara does the same.
Though Avery Brooks' previous episode as director was the misfire Fascination, he has otherwise been a very reliable director. This episode sees him return to his strengths - particularly in his patience, allowing scenes to play out uninterrupted, complete with pauses and even occasional repetition. This probably shows Brooks' experience with stage directing, but it's been evident in all of his episodes and has heightened three out of four of them. This trait, along with his sensitivity to his actors, suits this script, making the relationship between Jadzia and Lenara feel like something genuine, rather than simply something to titillate the male fanbase ("Two hot chicks, dude!").
Overall, Rejoined is another in a long line of good Deep Space 9 episodes. A good script by two of the series' best writers combines with good performances and good directing. The series is firing on all cylinders at this point, and honestly has been for some time.
So a really bad one must be coming down the pipe anytime now...
Overall Rating: 7/10.