Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1994): S03E04 – Equilibrium


Introduction

“Equilibrium” is the 50th episode of the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the fourth episode of the third season.

This episode is centred on the Station Ops crew, with several guest stars. Specifically, it focuses on the Trill character Jadzia Dax, and the mysterious occurrences that begin to happen to her. This episode also further explores the Trill alien species, especially the nature of their “symbionts”.

It achieved a Nielsen rating of 7.4, which is an estimated percentage of viewership out of the total number of U.S. households.

Outline

At a dinner party, Jadzia Dax toys with a piano and finds herself playing an unfamiliar tune despite having no musical training in this life nor in her previous ones. Later, she experiences odd mood swings and hallucinations of a masked figure. Bashir finds that these symptoms are linked to her symbiont. According to Dax’s medical history, a previous host experienced similar symptoms when he went into a six-month coma. Sisko and Bashir take Dax back to her homeworld, where Doctor Renhol of the Trill Symbiosis Commission stabilises Dax’s symptoms. But Dax relapses, and experiences a new hallucination of Trill hospital guards accosting her. Frustrated, Sisko, Bashir, and Jadzia visit the caves where unjoined symbionts are spawned to consult the caretakers. A caretaker there believes that Dax’s problems stem from memories of one of her symbiont’s previous hosts.

Sisko and Bashir identify the musical tune Dax heard in her hallucinations as a composition by a Trill named Joran Belar. When Dax sees his photograph, she experiences another hallucination of the masked man murdering someone, and when she rips off his mask she sees Joran’s face. She then goes into neural shock and is hospitalised. Doctor Renhol plans to remove the Dax symbiont, which will kill the host Jadzia. Sisko and Bashir revisit the spawning caves, but the caretaker there has been scared into keeping quiet. Bashir finds that the Trill government deleted information on Joran Belar from its records. However, they manage to contact Joran’s brother, Yolad, who says that Joran was a candidate for being joined with a symbiont. According to the official report, Joran was rejected due to his violent temper and murdered the doctor who evaluated him, and was then killed by hospital security. However, Yolad doubts this story, because he remembers Joran telling him that he had been successfully joined. Sisko and Bashir deduce that Joran was one of Dax’s previous hosts, and to cover this up Joran’s files were altered and Dax’s memories of him were suppressed.

Sisko and Bashir confront Doctor Renhol, and accuse her of letting Jadzia die in order to protect an even bigger secret. The Trill government claims that only one in a thousand Trill are physically and psychologically fit to be joined with a symbiont. If a symbiont is placed in an unfit host, both host and symbiont will die in days. Joran’s psychological problems should have disqualified him, but the doctors failed to detect them and gave him a symbiont. By the time the doctors discovered their mistake, Joran had been carrying the symbiont for months when he ought to have been dead after a few days. This proves that the official criteria for being joined are excessively stringent. Renhol admits that nearly half of all Trill are in fact fit to carry symbionts, but if the truth came out the small supply of symbionts would be fought over fiercely, jeopardising their welfare and destabilising Trill society. To prevent this, the government pretends that only a tiny minority of the Trill population can be joined so as to artificially lower the demand for symbionts to a manageable level.

The only way to stabilise Dax’s mind would be to allow her suppressed memories of Joran to resurface. Renhol removes Dax’s memory blocks after Sisko agrees to keep the truth secret. Dax recovers and must come to terms with her disturbing new memories.

Star Trek TV Series

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Cliff Bole.
  • Writer(s): Christopher Teague.
  • Release Date: 17 October 1994.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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