Friday, February 9, 2024

Star Trek: Equilibrium

Episode: "Equilibrium"
Series: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 3, Episode 4
Original Air Date: October 17, 1994

via Memory Alpha

Dax is having terrifying hallucinations.  Commander Sisko and Doctor Bashir are worried that she's at risk of rejecting her symbiont, a likely death sentence for Jadzia.  They take her to the Trill home world in hopes of finding answers.  We soon learn that there are previously unsuspected dark elements to the history of Dax's hosts.

"Equilibrium" is the most important Dax story so far and our first broader glimpse of Trill society.  The inspiration for the episode was the act of professional magician Jeff Magnus McBride who also appears in the episode as Jolan Belar.  McBride's act involves facial masks, each removed in turn to reveal another mask underneath, a distinguishing feature of Jadzia's hallucinations.  

The episode also marks a welcome change in the Dax/Bashir relationship.  In "Equilibrium," he expresses concern for her as both doctor and friend without any suggestion that he's also trying to bed her.  It's a moment of growth for Bashir, especially.  He becomes more likable instantly.

Food Notes

In the tease, Commander Sisko is preparing a meal for his friends.  For the first time, we learn about his father's restaurant in New Orleans.  Bashir expresses an aversion to beets to which Benjamin responds, "Beets are a very misunderstood vegetable."  Originally, the line was about rutabagas, an homage to Frank Zappa.  Screenwriter RenĂ© Echevarria thought beets were inherently funnier.

Odo, quite comically, pitches in to help cook, though he mentions he doesn't eat food.  That led me to wonder, what does Odo do for nourishment?  He is, after all, a living thing and by definition, a living thing must consume energy in some form.  There are fan theories, of course, but evidently, there is no canonic answer to this question.

Game Notes

Many of the chess games played between Sisko and Dax in DS9 are based on real-life grandmaster clashes.  The moves represented in this episode, for instance, come from a 1956 game between Bobby Fischer and Donald Byrne, dubbed by enthusiasts as the "Game of the Century."

Acting Notes

via Wikipedia

Lisa Banes played the role of Renhal, the Trill Doctor who attends to Dax.  She was born in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, July 9, 1955.  She studied acting at the Julliard School in New York.  

Banes's highest-profile work came on stage.  She won a Theater World Award for Look Back in Anger and a Drama Desk Award nomination for Isn't It Romantic.  She was in the original cast of the first American production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia.  Films included Cocktail, Freedom Writers and Gone Girl.  In television, she had principal cast roles in The Trials of Rosie O'Neill and Son of the Beach.  She had recurring roles on The King of Queens, Six Feet Under and One Life to Live.

In 2021, Banes was killed while crossing Amsterdam Avenue in New York when she was struck by a man driving an electric scooter.