Star Trek 426: Change of Heart

426. Change of Heart

FORMULA: You Are Cordially Invited... + Attached + The Arsenal of Freedom + Shakaar's subplot

WHY WE LIKE IT: The romance. The humor.

WHY WE DON'T: Dax laughing at death always annoys me, but it's meant to.

REVIEW: Change of Heart might have been more memorable if Dax had died as per Terri Farrel's request, but I agree with the production that it would have been too soon after the wedding. As is, it stands as a surprisingly touching portrait of Worf and Jadzia's marriage. It starts off as a comedy, with fun domestic scenes and banter. Worf is softening, and Dax's anal habits are outed. Dax supposing the Enterprise must've been a dull ship and Worf pulling the blankets off her. It's all sweet and playful and romantic.

When they're sent on a mission together to retrieve an informant on a very nicely realized jungle planet (it's hard to tell it's a set, and it's fun to see some funky wildlife in there), there's no real urgency at first. Dax's well-documented aversion to nature is played for laughs and Worf is the rock. But then she gets injured and the episode turns 180 degrees. Suddenly there IS urgency, and it quickly becomes clear that it's Dax or the informant, but not both.

Their goodbye is a potent moment, Dax stripping away her forced humor and aborting whatever speech he was going to make. It's a touching moment beyond words. In the choice between duty and love, Farrel's idea to have Worf choose duty at an incredible price might have worked, but bringing it all back to the story of the Klingon Heart from the wedding ceremony makes only one choice possible. This is actually the harder choice for Worf. Their reunion in the infirmary returns to the sweet romance and makes us care even more than before for their relationship, setting up the tragedy that's been left for another day.

The counterpoint for the emotional and dramatic story is computer-brain Bashir trying to beat Quark at tongo. If there was ever a contender... But Quark screws with his head with talk of "what might have been" between him and Dax (who is very much the emotional center of the entire episode) and forces him to make a mistake. It's a cute bit, though not much more remarkable than O'Brien's winning streak at darts that one time. Ok padding that manages not to take its eye off the ball.

LESSON: You can't ask a man to leave his wife to die, or a hoo-man to play a Ferengi game.

REWATCHABILITY - High: A surprise in the middle of the season. I'd forgotten how good Change of Heart was and had written it off as unmemorable. Worth rediscovering.


Anonymous said...

It was a good episode, wasn't it?

The end of one Dax, bring on the next!

While, I liked this Dax's character so much better than what follows.

I thought that Nicole de Boer was so cute, that I cut her way more slack than I probably should.

Shallow, I know.

Siskoid said...

A fellow Canuck and I'd enjoyed her previously in Cube, so I didn't mind Nicole. I do wish Jadzia could have remained with the series to the end however.

De said...

Dax's emaciated make-up is friggin' amazing in this episode. I was truly sold that Jadzia wasn't taking her situation well.


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