|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Avery Brooks|
|Teleplay by||René Echevarria
Ronald D. Moore
|Story by||René Echevarria|
|Featured music||Jay Chattaway|
|Original air date||October 30, 1995|
"Rejoined" is the 78th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the sixth of the fourth season. It originally aired on October 30, 1995 in broadcast syndication. The episode was the first that writers Ronald D. Moore and René Echevarria wrote together, and it was directed by main cast member Avery Brooks. The episode received a record volume of feedback from viewers for the series, both positive and negative, as it marked one of the first televised lesbian kisses.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures on Deep Space Nine, a space station located near a stable wormhole between the Alpha and Gamma quadrants of the Milky Way Galaxy. The plot of this episode expands on the Trill species, of who Jadzia Dax is a member. They are formed of a host and a symbiont, with the symbiont passed from host to host as the previous one dies. In "Rejoined", Dax is reunited with the ex-wife of one of it's former hosts, Lenara Kahn. The two struggle with their feelings for one another even, but during the course of a series of wormhole experiments, they rekindle their romance. After an accident, Dax saves Kahn's life but Kahn decides not to pursue the relationship because of the taboo in their species against reuniting with loved ones of former hosts.
Dax's former parter was written as male, but after this was changed, the story was cleared through studio executives. The Trill taboo was intended to be an allegory for homosexuality and homophobia. "Rejoined" received a Nielsen rating of 7 percent on the first broadcast in syndication. Critics have been mostly positive towards the episode, because of the message it was attempting to deliver, but there was criticism that the plot was not exciting enough.
Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) notifies Lt Cmdr. Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) that a group of Trill scientists will be arriving soon at the station to perform experiments related to wormhole physics. The Trill are a species formed of both a humanoid host and a symbiont which are implanted into them. The symbionts live far longer than the hosts, and are moved into a new host when the old one dies. Jadzia is the eighth host of Dax, the symbiont. Sisko tells Dax that the head scientist is Lenara Kahn (Susanna Thompson), and offers to grant Dax a leave of absence while the Trill scientists are aboard, but she turns it down. Upon Dax and Kahn's first meeting, Major Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) notices that they are very familiar with each other; Dax tells her that Kahn used to be her wife. Dr. Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) later informs Kira about the non-association rules that Trill follow regarding the family and friends of former hosts, and says that hosts of the Dax and Kahn symbionts have previously been married to each other.
A party is held for the team, and Dax and Kahn warm to one another's company once more. Afterwards, they begin to socialise as they work together on the USS Defiant on Kahn's wormhole experiment. They agree to have dinner, but that they would bring Bashir along as a chaperone. At the dinner, Bashir feels out of place and is effectively ignored by the two Trills. Returning to the tests, Kahn creates the first artificial wormhole in history and Dax hugs her in celebration. Kahn's brother Bejal (Tim Ryan), who is on the science team, speaks to her separately and highlights his concerns regarding her contact with Dax. Despite this, Kahn goes to Dax's quarters and a discussion between the two leads to a kiss; Kahn leaves before it goes any further.
Dax confides in Sisko that she knows she is in love with her former wife. He tells her that Trill customs mean that if they resumed their relationship, then they would be exiled from their homeworld and their symbionts would never be joined with a new host, but that she will have his support either way. Kahn and Dax continue to work on the experiment, but it goes wrong and the Defiant is severely damaged. Kahn is injured in the explosion, but Dax rigs a force field across a plasma fire that allows her to reach Kahn, coming to the realisation that the relationship is worth exile. After returning to the station, Kahn recuperates from her injuries. She decides against resuming her relationship with Dax, and chooses to depart with the science team now their experiments are completed, leaving Dax brokenhearted.
Writing and directing
"Rejoined" marked the first time that long time Star Trek writers Ronald D. Moore and René Echevarria had written a script together. They had both been hired by Michael Piller following separate unsolicited manuscripts that were submitted during the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and had remained on the staff of the franchise since. In Echevarria's first draft of the story, there was no lesbian element as Dax's former lover was male. The actual basis for the episode, the Trill taboo against reuniting relationships from past hosts was suggested by Piller early on in the creation of the series, in order for the society to prevent an "aristocracy of the joined" where joined hosts never met anyone that they didn't already know.
It was Moore's suggestion to make Dax's former partner a woman in order to tackle the taboo against homosexuality by way of the on-screen taboo against re-association. At that stage, they intended to not make reference in the script to any characters having a concern about Dax having a relationship with a woman in order to focus the story. Clearance was sought for the plot, first from Ira Steven Behr, then executive producer Rick Berman, and finally from the studio executives themselves. Moore later explained that they agreed to the idea, saying that "Star Trek stood for" making statements such as seen in "Rejoined".
Terry Farrell was happy with the storyline, saying that it made sense for Dax to have this issue because the symbiont had been in both male and female hosts, adding that "Gender wasn’t the issue. For the worm/symbiont, it was a matter of the being it was embodied in." She was pleased to be able to "stand up" for the LGBT community. A similar story had been approached during the first appearance of the Trill in The Next Generation episode "The Host". In this story, however, when the symbiont is transferred from a male to a female host, the Trill is rejected by the character who was the Trill's female partner, Beverly Crusher. The subplot featuring Kahn's artificial wormhole was described as a "macguffin" by Moore, and simply a way to get the character into "Rejoined".
The episode was directed by main cast member Avery Brooks, who played Benjamin Sisko in the series. He later said that "Rejoined" was his favourite out of the episodes he directed. He said that the episode was about love, and the choices that result from that. He added that it was an extraordinary story about losing someone you love and having that person restored to you some time afterwards. Following the death of Dax in the sixth season finale, "Tears of the Prophets", Farrell suggested that the symbiont could be moved to a male character resulting in a similar situation as "Rejoined" between the new Dax host and Worf, as the two were in a relationship at that point.
Visual effects and guest stars
Visual Effect Supervisors Gary Hutzel and Glenn Neufeld were busy completing post-production work on the opening episode of the fourth season, "The Way of the Warrior". In their place, Visual Effects Co-ordinator David Takemura led on the visual effects work on both "Rejoined" and "The Visitor". For this episode, his two main tasks were the creation of the artificial wormhole and the sequence where Dax uses a forcefield as a walkway to reach a trapped Kahn. He was relieved that the wormhole was intended to be artificial in nature, as it meant he did not have to attempt re-create the detail already seen in the Bajoran wormhole on the series. Once he came up with the basic design, visual effects company VisionArt completed it.
For the force field scene, Farrell was shot "skating" down a board painted blue against a blue screen. A mixture of liquid nitrogen and hot water was used to create a fog around the ground. These shots were then combined with shots previously filmed of the engineering set on board the Defiant and the force field itself was added in post production by VisionArt, while a staff animator added a "plasma glow" around her feet as she made contact with the field.
Before appearing in "Rejoined", Susanna Thompson had previously appeared in two The Next Generation episodes; "The Next Phase" and Frame of Mind. Following this episode, she later appeared in Star Trek: Voyager as the Borg Queen. This character had previously been portrayed by Alice Krige in the film Star Trek: First Contact, and Krige resumed her role, replacing Thompson, for the final episode of Voyager, "Endgame". Farrell praised Thompson's part in the episode, calling her a "wonderful actress and a joy to work with."
During that 1995/96 television season there had been an increase in the number of homosexual characters appearing in major television series, and so the same-sex kiss in "Rejoined" was reviewed in the context of that. An article published by The Associated Press stated that the kiss in Deep Space Nine wasn't a same-sex kiss due to "extenuating circumstances" because one of the characters was an "alien who used to be a man". But "Rejoined" was still considered controversial because of its subject matter, which depicts two women who engage in a same-sex romantic relationship, and included one of the first televised lesbian kisses. During the course of the episode, there is no concern seen from characters about Dax being involved with a woman, only that she was an ex-spouse.
David Greven, literary critic and author of Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek, said that "Rejoined" was one of the well received episodes of Star Trek which dealt with homosexuality, but that the franchise overall had typically avoided LGBT issues. Bryan Fuller, who also wrote for Deep Space Nine, said that the franchise had usually avoided those story-lines because of the paranoia of the studio regarding homosexuality. Dale Palmer, in an essay on gender and sexual politics, suggested that the choice was made to have a female same-sex kiss on screen because a male one would have alienated the main viewer demographic for the series.
Becky Chambers, writing at the website The Mary Sue, said that since "Rejoined" was originally aired that there was a change in how producers perceived an on-screen lesbian kiss, resulting in it even being used to increase number of viewers. These viewers too have a changed mindset; they no longer react negatively to the kiss due to homophobia, but because they perceive it as unecessary and not in-keeping with the storyline. This in turn has changed how some watchers will see "Rejoined", as it is taken out of the original context.
"Rejoined" was first broadcast on October 30, 1995 in broadcast syndication. It received Nielsen ratings of 7 percent, placing it in eighth place in its timeslot and lower than the episode that aired the previous week, "Indiscretion", which gained a rating of 7.2 percent. This was lower than the share received by "Indiscretion", broadcast in the week prior with a 7.2 percent share and "Little Green Men" in the week afterwards with 7.7 percent.
Fan, cast and crew response
When the episode was originally broadcast, there was a strong negative reaction from some viewers. As Deep Space Nine was broadcast in syndication, one channel in the Southern United States took the step of editing out the kiss from the initial broadcast. Echevarria's mother told him that they should have issued a parental guidance warning before broadcasting it. More responses were received at the production office from viewers than for any other individual episode of the series, resulting in a variety of staff members having to take turns on the phones in order to cover the load. The staff found that while the majority of the phone calls were negative about "Rejoined", the letters were mostly positive. Terry Farrell said in a 2015 interview that "Rejoined" was her favourite episode of all time and that she still has people thanking her for the episode, because "it gave them strength, and that it made them feel like they weren’t alone, it inspired them to be themselves – all the things I was hoping it would do."
In 2013, Zack Handlen reviewed the episode for The A.V. Club, praising the natural manner in which the romance was progressed, saying that this was "refreshing" to see. He felt that the relationship did not appear to be "manipulative" for the sake of male viewers but added that the ending was expected and that the episode never communicated to the audience the need to care about the duo. Handlen said that the overall story itself was "shallow" as the episode suffered from an "enervating lack of fun" which was only saved from "complete tedium" through "strong acting and an admirable lack of stigma". Jordon Hoffman, reviewing the episode on his website, commented that Farrell's acting "really steps up to the plate" for this episode, and gave "Rejoined" a rating of five out of five.
Keith DeCandido, in 2014 on Tor.com, compared "Rejoined" structurally to "Lessons", an episode of The Next Generation which also had a "love-interest-in-danger climax". He praised the episode, saying that at the time of broadcast it was considered "radical" and said that both Farrell and Thompson managed to get across the romantic message. He called it a "Trek message" episode, but said that it was one of the better ones as it "shines a light on an inadequacy in our own culture via an alien culture, but in this case it muddies the waters a bit because the taboo actually makes sense on the face of it." He gave "Rejoined" a rating of eight out of ten.
Home media release
The first home media release of "Rejoined" was on two episode VHS cassette alongside "Indiscretion" on March 25, 1996 in the United Kingdom. The first release within the United States was on a single-episode VHS release on August 1, 2000. It was released on DVD as part of the season four box set on August 5, 2003.
- DeCandido, Keith (February 11, 2014). "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Rejoined"". Tor.com. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
- Erdmann & Block (2000): p. 279
- Erdmann & Block (2000): p. 280
- Krug, Kurt Anthony (May 27, 2015). "Terry Farrell Reflects on Her Career and ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’". Showbiz Junkies. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- Spelling, Ian (July 21, 1996). "`DS9' Actor at Helm of Arts Project". The Washington Times. Retrieved June 3, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (. ))
- Spelling, Ian (September 1998). "The Death of Dax". Starlog 1 (254): 19–23. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
- Nemecek (2003): p. 370
- "First Contact's Borg Queen - Alice Krige". StarTrek.com. November 22, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
- "TV makes room for more gay characters". The Daily News. January 14, 1996. p. 31. Retrieved June 3, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Ramsey, Nick (February 10, 2013). "Superheroes and sci-fi: Is there really a lack of diversity in science fiction?". MSNBC. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
- Greven (2009): p. 93
- Epstein, Jeffrey (July 2003). "Dead Like He". Out 12 (1): 23–24. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
- Palmer (2014): p. 107
- Chambers, Becky (September 1, 2011). "Fan Service: On Losing Patience for Women Kissing". The Mary Sue. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
- "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 4 Ratings". TrekNation. Archived from the original on October 4, 2000. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
- Handlen, Zack (January 10, 2013). "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "Rejoined"/"Starship Down"". The A.V. Club. The Onion, Inc. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
- Hoffman, Jordon (August 30, 2008). "Rejoined, DS9 4". JordanHoffman.com. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
- "On Screen". Star Trek Monthly 1 (13): 57–58. March 1996.
- "Star Trek - Deep Space Nine, Episode 78: Rejoined [VHS]". Amazon.com. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
- Ordway, Holly E. (August 12, 2003). "Star Trek Deep Space Nine - Season 4". DVD Talk. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
- Palmer, Dale (2014). "Redefining the Masculine Hegemony: Gender and Sexual Politics in Star Trek". In Eiss, Harry. Electric Sheep Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Newcastle on Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 9781443858625.
- Erdmann, Terry J.; Block, Paula M. (2000). Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 9780671501068.
- Greven, David (2009). Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek. Jefferson, NC; London: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4413-7.
- Nemecek, Larry (2003). Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (3rd ed.). New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-5798-6.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Rejoined|
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