Jadzia Dax, who always thought she was musically untalented, plays a melody on a keyboard that she seems to remember from somewhere and begins to hallucinate. Dr. Bashir examines her and finds dangerously low levels of a neurotransmitter between the Jadzia host and the Dax symbiont. They take the Defiant to the Trill homeworld to consult Dr. Renhol of the Symbiosis Commission. Timor, one of the unjoined Trills taking care of the symbionts senses there is something wrong with one of the Dax hosts. Dax is plagued by hallucinations again, apparently of a time some 80 years ago. The music was composed by a man named Joran Belar living in that time. When Dax goes into neural shock, Dr. Renhol rules that the Dax symbiont has to be removed at the host's expense if their condition doesn't improve. In an attempt to find out more to save Jadzia, Sisko and Bashir contact Yolad, Joran's brother. The official story is that Joran had allegedly been rejected by the Symbiosis Commission and then murdered the doctor who made that decision. But Yolad eventually discloses that his brother was indeed joined for no less than six months - a fact that has been purged from all records. The symbiont was Dax, and Dax's memory was erased likewise. The two officers also learn that not just a tiny percentage but half of all Trills are fit to be joined. Having obtained information that could put the Commission into a precarious position, they can convince Dr. Renhol to abstain from the removal of the Dax symbiont and to save Jadzia by re-integrating the suppressed memories.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpickers Guide for Deep Space Nine Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. This episode commences an interesting use of the Defiant that will continue through the rest of this season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I find nothing in the previous episodes that indicates the Dominion threat has somehow waited away. Yet, when the mood strikes, Sisko hops on the Defiant, takes a few crew members with him, and strolls off to other star systems. Given the poorly armed nature of the station, does this seem right? Doesn't Sisko have a responsibility to protect the lives of the individuals on the station with the best tools at his disposal? How in the galaxy does he know that the Dominion won't try something while he's away? (Yes, I realize that The Search Part 2 established that the Dominion found out how stubborn Sisko and company could be. Yes, I realize that the Dominion knows that if they tried to establish as foothold in the Alpha Quadrant, Sisko would collapse the wormhole. Obviously the Dominion and I don't think alike, because if I were in charge, I would send a fleet of Jem'Haddar ships through the wormhole to blast the station and the Defiant to kingdom come – thereby wiping stubborn Sisko and his stubborn company off the face of the gaIaxy—and then seize control of the entire sector. But then, there wouldn’t be a show, would there?) There are probably other Starfleet ships in the immediate area, which could act as a reserve.
  2. Not a nit, just a further bit of interesting information on Trill psychology. During my review of Invasive Procedures, I noted that the moral framework for the consciousness of the joined Trill seems to derive solely from the host. This episode provides additional proof for that theory. Dax is placed in Joran, and six months later Joran kills a man. The symbiont’s response? “Oops, sorry. I guess it’s time for a new host.” (It's interesting that the Symbiosis Commission seems to completely miss the possibility that the problem might be Dax!) 1) They obviously though that the symbiont had been overwhelmed. 2) They would be reluctant to destroy a symbiont. CdnTim 1053 EST 5 Feb 2021 - GIven that the previous hosts all seemed to be upstanding citizens, it seems like a safe assumption that the new host was the problem.

Changed Premises

  1. At the beginning of this episode Sisko says that his father owned a restaurant in New Orleans. This piece of information does fit with dialogue in other episodes that describe his father’s culinary skills. However, in A Man Alone, Sisko says that his father used to have supper with his family every evening and try out new recipes. If you own a restaurant, isn’t supper one of your busiest times of the day? Did Sisko’s father assign the responsibility for his dining establishment to someone else during this time so he could eat with his family? (ll so, it is very, very commendable. We need more fathers like that in the world.) It could be later in the evening. CdnTim 1054 EST 5 Feb 2021 - the family dinner could also have been early, before the rush started. Also, maybe the family ate at a table in the restaurant kitchen, together but allowing his father to still oversee mealtime.
  2. What a difference a season makes. Toward the beginning of the second season - during Invasive Procedures - Dax said that only one Trill in ten is joined. In this episode Bashir guesses that only one Trill in a thousand is a candidate for joining. Guesses aren’t always accurate!

Equipment Oddities

  1. The user interface in the infirmary seems to know just when Bashir is pressing a panel because he wants to do something, and when he is just resting his hand there for support. Wanting to look over Dax’s medical history, Bashir walks over to a panel, places his hand flat over a cluster of buttons, and the display changes immediately. Moments later he picks up his hand, moves it just a bit, lays it back down on all but two of the buttons, and the display stays the same. Are those the only two buttons that do anything? The system could be tracking the movements of his hands.

Continuity And Production Problems

  1. Instead of using the established Star Trek tradition of three-dimensional chess as a game Sisko and Dax can play, the creators of DS9 opted to return to the same game of chess that we play today. I believe Playing God is the first time we see this happen. Frankly, it’s a nice change. The game of chess has been around for well over a thousand years. No doubt it will be around for at least another four hundred. In “Equilibrium” the creators return to a chess game between Sisko and Dax to highlight Dax’s odd behavior. After Sisko makes a valid move that puts her king in check, Dax first accuses Sisko of cheating and then sweeps the pieces off the board before storming out. Interestingly enough, the chess board is oriented the wrong way! According to the traditional setup, the corner square to the right of each player should be white. If it's black, the king and the queen won’t be placed in the correct orientation at the start of the game for their respective colors. _(The easy way to remember this is: “White on the right and queen on her color.") In case you're wondering if the rules have changed in the future, the board is oriented correctly in Playing God. This could be a subconcious symptom of the failing memory block.
  2. Just before entering a pool where the symbionts breed at the end of this episode, Jadzia drops her cover-up on the ground. She walks down into the pool to have a psychic meeting with Joran and welcome his memories into her own. As she looks straight ahead - with her wrap visible behind her - the camera angle changes to show Joran emerging from the water. When the scene returns to Jadzia, we see that the cover-up has disappeared. In fact, once the camera pulls out a bit we find that Jadzia - at some point when we weren’t looking - executed a quarter turn to‘ the right! (There is time for her to do this. It just looks funny.) Either the wrap is no longer in view, or it was quickly removed by an attendant.

Nit Central

  1. Keith Alan Morgan on Friday, May 07, 1999 - 6:41 am: At the beginning Jadzia begins playing a pianolike instrument. Is it just me or did it sound oddly tuned? dotter31 on Thursday, August 31, 2006 - 1:56 pm: It was, but I think it was supposed to be that way.
  2. Aaron Dotter on Sunday, July 11, 1999 - 9:43 pm: The Symbiosis Commission tells us that they have to hide the fact that a large percentage of Trills could be joined if there were enough symbionts. Publicly they say only a select few can be joined. Well, doesn't Ezri Dax prove that anyone can be joined if they are in the right situation? She didn't want to be joined, she was just the only Trill on the ship with the Dax symbiont. I guess the Commission does not care about hiding this.Keith Alan Morgan on Monday, July 12, 1999 - 1:06 am: How many people on the Trill homeworld would know about her? I'm sure the Symbiosis Commission could cook up a cover story that would keep people satisfied. Besides, she's far away from the Trill homeworld with little chance to interact with the larger Trill society. Trickster on Monday, July 12, 1999 - 11:23 pm:Good point, Aaron Dotter, but remember Ezri had a lot of personality problems when she joined. The Trill Symbiosis Commission could probably hold her out as an example and say, "Aye, look at her, she's F+U+C+K+I+N+G crazy! Do you want to end up like her?"
  3. Field of Fire had me thinking about Joran's killing the doctor. If I remember this episode correctly, the doctor was going to reccommend that the symbiont be removed from Joran. Since removing the symbiont would result in Joran's death, then isn't his killing of the doctor actually self-defense? Seniram Can you really see that working as a defense in a court of law? CdnTim 1057 EST 5 Feb 2021 - Is it possible that six months was still in a window to survive the removal with medical assistance? Also, potential hosts probably have to agree that preserving the symbiont takes priority over the host, since they will live on through future hosts.
  4. Capt.Redshirt on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 2:35 am: Any Idea why TPTB changed the actors playing Joran?.. Now that I've seen this ep. a few times and then saw Field of Fire I can picture the 2nd actor as more of a "killer" type, ie more aggressive. dotter31 on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 7:50 am:According to the DS9 Companion, the actor in this episode (who is also a magician) was not available for Field of Fire.

Deep Space Nine Season 3
The Search Part 1 I The Search Part 2 I The House of Quark I Equilibrium I Second Skin I The Abandoned I Civil Defense I Meridian I Defiant I Fascination I Past Tense Part 1 I Past Tense Part 2 I Life Support I Heart of Stone I Destiny I Prophet Motive I Visionary I Distant Voices I Through the Looking Glass I Improbable Cause I The Die is Cast I Explorers I Family Business I Shakaar I Facets I The Adversary
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