Mark Watches ‘Deep Space Nine’: S03E04 – Equilibrium

In the fourth episode of the third season of Deep Space Nine, Jadzia has an alarming memory attached to a piece of music that none of her past hosts can recall. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of nonconsensual medical procedures, memory/reality disruption.

Well, this was a disturbing episode at times, and I’m really thankful that we finally got a chance to explore the planet of Trill for the first time! I think what upsets me so much about this story is that it’s very scary to think about the idea behind “Equilibrium.” For over eighty years, Dax didn’t even know that there was an eighth host in their life. The Symbiosis Commission blocked Dax’s memories from Curzon and Jadzia! They violated someone’s consent in order to protect themselves, and that’s just so unnerving to me.

I wonder, then, what the implications of this episode are for the Trill. Jadzia’s behavior over “Equilibrium” is erratic, and once we learn about Joran, we’re led to think that this is her previous memory coming back. It manifests in a really strange way, though, doesn’t it? For brief moments, Jadzia becomes Joran. She is highly violent, argumentative, cruel, and uninteresting in anyone other than herself. Her treatment of Sisko and Kira is appalling, and she knows this. So… does this mean she can become any of her past hosts? Or can Dax? Or was this solely because of how intense the memories were once they started breaking through into her conscious mind?

And what of the joining ceremony? I believe that Sisko will keep the secret of the joining for the remainder of the show, but HOW FUCKED UP IS THAT? Pairings are actually far more likely to succeed than the Commission let ALL INITIATES think. I understand their reasoning; if the Trill knew just how scarce the symbionts were, disaster could strike. And given the treatment that they get from people like Timor, I imagine that they don’t breed easily or readily, so that limitation will always be there. That means that the initiation process isn’t there to make sure the physical joining works better; it’s to weed out “undesirable” people, right??? Joran had failed because he was terrible, yet still got joined with Dax successfully. FOR SIX WHOLE MONTHS! They forcibly removed Dax from Joran, he flipped out, he murdered his teacher, died in the process, and Dax was put into Curzon.

Jesus, that’s fucked up. Actually, I’m not even sure I have the order of events right. Did Joran kill his teacher before the joining? Oh god, HE TOTALLY DID. He was rejected, killed his teacher (while wearing that creepy fucking get-up??? WHY???? That was never explained), and that’s another reason why he was not a good fit for the joining. And he still got one, and the Commission didn’t find out for SIX MONTHS.

Perhaps the Commission will be more careful in the future, and perhaps the horrible thing they did to Dax and Jadzia made it easier for them not to make a mistake. That doesn’t justify what happened to Jadzia, though. I do tend to enjoy episodes centered around her, but I don’t know that “Equilibrium” ever felt like it was truly about her experience. While it was great to see Sisko and Julian come to her defense and uncover the mystery of Joran, I think the story would have packed more power had Jadzia herself been able to confront Dr. Renhol. The scene where she accepted Joran into her “memory” was beautiful and visually stunning, but why couldn’t she also get an outlet for her anger? Why wasn’t she part of that element of this journey? It made the story feel less about Jadzia and more about other people.

Still, it’s a decent episode with a creepy backstory for Jadzia, and I’m glad that she gets to accept her whole past instead of just part of it. And look, while I may have wanted more of Jadzia in one respect, I do love that I got to see Sisko unequivocally prove his respect and admiration for this version of Dax. That was awesome.

The video for “Equilibrium” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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