Important Episodes of Star Trek - 1/? - Rejoined - DS9 4x05
Kira: You know that woman?
Dax: I know her. She used to be my wife.
Star Trek as a franchise is no stranger to pushing the envelope. The TOS episode, “Plato’s Stepchildren” featured the first interracial kiss on television. When 1995’s “Rejoined” aired, it was not the first television show to feature a same-sex kiss. But it was still a groundbreaking moment in television, and still created quite the stir in its day.
Summary: Jadzia Dax, DS9’s friendly neighborhood joined Trill, is faced with an awkward situation when Lenara Kahn, another joined Trill, comes to DS9 for scientific research. Torias Dax, one of the Dax symbiont’s former hosts, was married to Nilani Kahn, one of Kahn’s former hosts. Torias’ death was sudden and tragic and happened when he was still young, separating the young couple forever. Because Trill society considers “reassociation,” the act when joined Trill get back into intimate relationships with joined Trill they were involved with in previous lives, to be a taboo, everyone around Dax and Kahn is worried about them meeting again. The punishment for breaking the taboo is exile, meaning that the symbionts within them will not move onto another host, bringing permanent death.
But Dax and Kahn are still very much in love, they realize rather quickly. In the end, Dax is willing to break the taboo, to accept what is essentially a death sentence, in order to be with Kahn. Kahn, ultimately, is not willing to make that sacrifice, and she leaves. In the end, you can’t blame Lenara for leaving — that kind of societal pressure is crushing, and you can’t fault anyone for bowing to it. But it’s tragic, and heartbreaking, and every time I watch it, I cry buckets.
- This episode features Star Trek’s first same-sex kiss and is one of the most controversial episodes in the show’s history. According to Ronald D. Moore, “some felt betrayed, didn’t want to see this in their homes. An affiliate down south cut the kiss from their broadcast.” Similarly, René Echevarria says, “my mother was absolutely scandalized by the episode. Shocked and dismayed. She told me ‘I can’t believe you did that. There should have been a parental guidance warning’.” Steve Oster says that a man called the show and complained, “you’re ruining my kids by making them watch two women kiss like that.”
- There is a story regarding the man complaining about his kids seeing the kiss: It was a production assistant who took the call. After hearing the man’s complaint, the PA asked if the man would’ve been okay with his kids seeing one woman shoot the other. When the man said he would be okay with that, the PA said “You should reconsider who’s messing up your kids”.
- Director Avery Brooks: ”It’s a love story after all. What’s extraordinary about it, you know, the love of your life, and somehow that love is taken away, and you have a chance, another chance, you know, a hundred and fifty years later, to be together again. It was an extraordinary story. I thought it was important that we tell this story honestly and truthfully about love, and so it’s not about sex, or same gender or any of the above, even though, obviously, in our world, that’s what people started to look at, but I mean it was so important for me to tell that story honestly and truthfully, especially for the people who have suffered, you know, in our world, needlessly, because of love. I was adamant that we were not going to sensationalize this kiss, because, again, I mean, you know, for Star Trek I suppose, or even at that time, you know, for television, prime time television, it was a big deal.”
- DS9 Writer/Producer Ronald D. Moore: ”To the audience, you’re playing out this metaphor of a taboo that you’re not supposed to be involved with somebody, and the audience sees these two women who are in love together, but the show will never ever comment on it, because it’s really about this Trill taboo, this completely other issue. But the idea of homosexual love is staring the audience in the face no matter what they do, but we never have to mention it in the show. It just became this lovely tale about these two forbidden lovers that just couldn’t get over that one had died and didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, and here they come together in these two other bodies, but what they once felt for one another is still there, but the societal taboo was so strong that one of them had to back out, one of them wasn’t willing to take it all the way. It was just a lovely bit of Star Trek because it really was an allegory for our society, and that’s ultimately what Trek does best.”