Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Deep Space Nine--"Facets"

I am tempted to say I am of two minds about “Facets,” but considering the plot, I would hate to make such a pun. On the one hand, it is a Dax episode. Very few of those resonate with me. But this one is quite good for a number of reasons. For one, it is arguably an Odo episode too. Those do resonate. For another--and this is a surprise--the acting is unusually good.

Let us face it--Trek regulars are not always master thespians. You are fortunate if all the actors all sway in the same direction when the ship is supposed hit by enemy fire. Deep Space Nine is unusual in its number of classically trained actors. Avery Brooks is a tenured Drama professor at Rutgers, Rene Auberjonois worked with various respected theater companies before teaching at Julliard, and Armin Shimmerman teaches Shakespeare. Their talent and experience shines quite often.

But I am going to give props to all of the main cast. They each take part in a Trill process in which the current symbiont host’s closest friends temporarily take on the personalities of past hosts. Some of the performances are over the top. Quark has a woman inhabit him. The whole sequence is played for cheap laughs. Inexplicably, Leeta is used to host another of Dax’s former female hosts. I cannot imagine why Dax feels close intimate enough with her for this. But when she is possessed, Leeta does a somersault in a tight outfit, so I quickly figured it out. Overall, it was amusing to see the main cast take on different personalities.

The best was Sisko, who volunteered to take on the homicidal Joran. Brooks played the character in such a menacing, demented whisper, it literally gave me a chill. I remember the first time I saw this episode in 1995, I thought it was an homage to the first meeting between Hannibal lector and Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs. I have since grown passed the idea and appreciate the scene as a unique and very memorable sequence all of its own merit.

Odo is my next favorite. Heagrees to take on Curzon’s personality. Curzon’s characterization is the only real drawback to the episode. I expected him to be a fun, boisterous kind of guy, but still one a man like Sisko or those Klingon blood oath friends of his would speak so highly of. Instead, he came across as a drunken, womanizig con artist with no respect for rules. I do not think he measured up to the way he has been described. I do now understand where Dax gets her annoying cattiness from. I just did not expect it to be from Curzon.

Okay, I will give some kudos to Terry Farrell here, too. Particularly when Curzon is no longer a part of her, she visibly loses an aspect of her Daxcharacter. When he flippant Curzon personality is gone, she is meek, almost a terrified little girl full of self-doubt. That is the drama of the episode. She wants to know why Curzon washed her out of the joining program, then let her back in. she has nagging doubts she is good enough and judging by the way sheacts withot Curzon, I have a few myself.

Turns out, Curzon was infatuated with her. He rejected her out of the program with hopes he could romance her, but felt guilty and let her back in. Now he wants to stay in Odo and give it another shot. This appears to be fine with Odo. He has never experienced the joys of wine, women, and song before. Dax convinces him to return to her anyway. He will live on within her.

I the B-story, Nog passes a preliminary test to taking the Starfleet Academy entrance exam even though quark sabotages his first effort. It fits in better than the previous episode’s side story, but I still wonder why DS9 felt the need to do that sort o thing in virtually every single episode. They do not always complement oneaother. It is not so bad here, but there still were no discernable parallels.

I liked “Facets” overall. Outside of the few oddities I mentioned and the realization severe multiple personality disorder is far more detrimental than beneficial, much less exciting for your friends to participate in, it was a solid installment.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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