Star Trek 364: Rejoined

364. Rejoined

FORMULA: The Host + The Outcast + Blood Oath + Plato's Stepchildren + We'll Always Have Paris

WHY WE LIKE IT: Lenara Kahn is quite charming. (Ok, ok, girls kissing girls.) Worf's nightmares.

WHY WE DON'T: Dax's other reassociations.

REVIEW: Taking its place next to Plato's Stepchildren as a "tv first kiss", Rejoined will always be remembered for its girl on girl action, for which I think some stations either didn't air it or at least trimmed it, but like previous attempts to tackle homosexuality in Trek, it kinda misses the mark. Why? Because if you want to talk about gay characters, you should have gay characters in the show. Rejoined, like the truly awful The Outcast, has no gay characters. It's a thinly veiled allegory with an alien taboo that simply puts the characters in a gay situation. The kiss and relationship between Dax and Lenara Kahn (does that name crop up a little too often in Trek?) doesn't do as much for gay representations on Trek (or tv) as the fact that such a relationship isn't commented on for its same-sex aspect. At all. Kira doesn't understand why joined Trills can't continue a marriage across hosts, and it's never about THAT. So again, as in Rules of Acquisition, not mentioning homosexuality makes it so accepted in the Trek universe that it's not ever an issue. It's evolved in a way that might leave one wanting.

And that's not to say the relationship isn't a sweet and charming one. Susana Thompson gives a really naturalistic performance that makes Lenara immediately likeable and sexy. Terri Farrell isn't quite there yet, with her usual sad emphasis on certain words and awkward poses, though the effort is at least sincere. There is a sense that she's the "man" in this relationship, falling into Torias' old habits and mannerisms.

Of course, the whole premise is ridiculous when you consider the rest of Dax's life. You have to leave your old relationships behind? What about her friendship with Sisko? What about her blood oath? She wasn't exiled from Trill then. And really, if the symbionts are that precious, couldn't the Symbiosis Commission forgive the worm for its host's trespass? Throw in as well a technobabble plot that's only good for its effects (the wormhole, the imaginative use of a forcefield).

The rest of the cast does get some nice moments (though Odo is completely missing), especially Worf telling a relaxed Kira about what Klingons dream of. Funny as hell. Quark has a cute bit where he tries to understand a magic trick. And Sisko is excellent as the supportive, but honest friend. Quite touching, actually.

LESSON: Getting back together just means you have to split up twice.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: The premise and techie subplot are best ignored, but the emotion is genuine. For all its publicity, the episode isn't lewd or sensationalistic.

7 comments:

rob! said...

the most widely googled screencap of all!

Pout said...

If I were to imagine a reason why homosexuality wouldn't be talked about often in the Trek universe, I'd like it to be because it's become so widely accepted that it's just not worth mentionning anymore.

That doesn't change the fact that there aren't any homosexual characters though.

Matthew Turnage said...

I don't have much to say about this episode that you didn't address in your review, but since I'm about to leave town for a week I did want to give early congratulations on the first year of the Blog of Geekery. Thanks for the daily dose of entertainment.

Siskoid said...

Thanks Matt! Year 1 ends tomorrow, and then on to Year 2!

xylem said...

This episode always seems to get bad rap for not using "real" lesbians, but I really love it for its message of love beyond the boundaries of gender... which, if taken seriously in that light, may be even more brave and controversial a line to take.

That said, the inconsistency of the no-further-contact-premise with everything else we know about the trill annoys me to no end. I mean, the *whole* point of The Host was Odan's pity that Beverly couldn't see beyond such a little thing as a body, when considering love. That strongly suggests a long cultural history of relationship continuation across host-bodies amongst the trill!

Funny that these two episodes essentially have the same moral undertone, yet manage to contradict each other so badly in the details. You'd think the writer of Rejoined had never seen the episode The Host!

LiamK said...

You'd think that the writers Deep Space Nine period had never seen The Host.

LiamKav said...

Sorry, that should have read "you'd think that the writers of Deep Space Nine in general had never seen The Host!"

"I think some stations either didn't air it or at least trimmed it"

Either homosexual boundaries have fallen away, or TV stations have realised that "two pretty ladies kissing = ratings!" but it's noticable that you get much, much stronger stuff today. Hell, you had much stronger stuff by season 7!

 

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