Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Dax" Is On Trial For Her Backstory

The Good: Character building, Establishes xenobiological details, Fair acting, Lack of political correctness.
The Bad: Weak plot, Lack of resolution
The Basics: Exceptionally useful for building future plots using Jadzia Dax (and the planet Trill), but slow and inbred for non-fans.

Following a delightful attempt to woo Jadzia Dax, Dr. Bashir follows her back to her quarters only to witness her being assaulted and getting himself knocked unconscious in the process. So begins "Dax," an episode that features remarkably few lines from the title character.

Rather quickly, "Dax" turns into an extradition hearing. It turns out a foreign government wants to charge Dax (the worm-like symbiont) with treason, and Sisko, being the pal that he is, decides to fight the deportation of his officer by pointing out that they're trying to extradite Jadzia, a woman who wasn't even alive when the crime was committed.

Confused? Most people not into Star Trek's modern incarnations would be. Jadzia Dax is a Trill, a joined species introduced in the Star Trek The Next Generation episode "The Host" (reviewed here!) and the point of the episode "Dax" is mostly to explain what the Trill are (though we saw the symbiont briefly in the pilot "Emissary"). Using a courtroom setting, various characters flesh out the Trill race and explain what exactly a "joined species" is.

This episode does a whole lot of exposition and occasionally it feels that way. One of the guest stars (the only other Trill in the episode) is thoroughly bland on the witness stand. On the other hand, the aged Bajoran arbiter is wonderful.

One of the things I did enjoy about this episode is a refreshing change from most other Trek episodes or series'; a distinct lack of political correctness. I actually like the sheer number of distinctions that are made between men and women in the episode. Bashir, for instance, is making a pretty heavy pass at Jadzia in the beginning and rather than getting uppity and crying "sexual harassment," she seems somewhat charmed and that's nice because Julian is fairly charming (or he's supposed to be!). In the fight scene, Bashir hesitates when he realizes one of the assailants is a woman and that costs him. But, basically, there's a nice sense that there are differences in the genders and that's a good thing here. I liked that.

"Dax" isn't terribly entertaining for non-Trek, especially non-DS9, fans. It's like an episode of The Practice in space, but without the intensity. It tries to be more important than it is, exploring the ethical dilemma as thoroughly as possible, but basically coming off as a wonderful potential pilot for a "Dr. Bashir's Adventures In Xenobiology" spin-off. If you're into Star Trek Deep Space Nine or getting into the series, this episode answers some essential questions that come up in far more important episodes. This does serve as an excellent example of how the show plans ahead. Certain details about the relationship between the host and symbiont are brought out.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the first season by clicking here!


For other Star Trek reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2011, 2007, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

| | |

No comments:

Post a Comment