Episode 41: “Rejoined”

Jadzia Dax and Lenara Kahn kiss

In “Rejoined,” Jadzia Dax challenges a Trill taboo by “reassociating” with a former host’s love. Special guest Lisa of The Prolific Trek joins us to discuss Trill society of the future, and the allegory to how humans treat same-sex relationships today.

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Hosts: Sue, Grace and Jarrah

Guest: Lisa – Find her at theprolifictrek.wordpress.com and on Twitter @trekkie_47

Editor: Jarrah

Transcription: Rebecca – @carolinalady

Download transcript: PDF or Word

Notes and References: 


  4 comments for “Episode 41: “Rejoined”

  1. Nearly six years later, a new comment!
    I’ve made it this far and will get to the current podcast episodes in the coming months.

    I hear you wonder why there would be a taboo, and I can but think of how the most ancient of human taboos were developed. Instinct is one factor influencing the behavior of a species, but in an intelligent species experience, memory, and problem solving converge on what is detrimental to the species, and quite literally a taboo is created by ancient tribal people, from nearly a hundred thousand years ago to the beginning of the age of agriculture and the invention of writing.

    The trill must have, in the very distant past, experienced dynasties, slavery, and other exploitations caused by the lack of controls upon their most gifted and long-lived members, the symbionts. I imagine there were wars, massacres, and other horrors before trill civilization became stable again, the survivors emerging with a new covenant – both trill and symbiont making concessions, willfully obeying new laws.

    I’d say the taboo comes from there. The punishment, exile far from the symbiont pools, would mean certain death of the symbiont, considering that this would have been in pre-warp, perhaps pre-industrial, even pre-historic times.

    Just think what kind of power a symbiont can have in a society that hasn’t invented written language yet. You would remember hundreds of years, tens of thousands of details, committed to memory. Would a symbiont be a tyrant, or exploited?

  2. Let me just say I love the podcast!

    My interpretation of the reassociation taboo is that it only counts for joined trills. A joined Symbiont might experience a relationship with another joined Symbiont once, but never again.
    Similarly there is a theory that the early Catholic Church did not allow priests to marry, not so much for religious reasons, but to stop a dynasty of clergy from being formed. whether that was succesful or not is another matter.

    An interesting read is “Unjoined,” penned by Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin. Set some time after the end of DS9 and is part of the “worlds of Deep Space Nine” anthology. It makes the reasoning for the whole reassociation taboo a lot clearer.

    Even though Trill society presents itself as egalitarian, Joined Trills are more privileged simply by virtue of being joined. Starfleet officers with experience in multiple fields over several centuries are just more useful than others. (at least when they are not endlessly reminiscing or stuck in an identity crisis.) They get the best commissions. And The lengths they go to rescue symbionts is also problematic.
    Then there are the rigid screenings for compatibility, which we later learn is just a way to stop Symbionts from becoming a commodity for the highest bidder as most Trills are compatible anyway.
    In “Unjoined” all this comes to the a head when the unsatisfied unjoined majority of Trill society finds out about the compatibility secret with disastrous consequences.

  3. Thank you for this podcast episode, about my favourite ST episode, bar none. I came out in 1992 as a bisexual woman and I think it’s easy from a 2016 perspective to forget exactly what the mid-nineties actually felt like. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing my experience to those of lesbians in previous generations (I had it easy, in comparison). But I think we quickly forget what media representation there was (or wasn’t), even relatively recently. There was a reference to Ellen’s sitcom in your episode, but it’s important to remember that she then got no equivalent work for a decade.

    I loved three things about this episode: 1) the bait and switch of it being about a taboo (to explore social judgement), but not THAT taboo; 2) (for me, the most important) not one character comments on it being two women, it’s just not an issue, and 3) the love between the two characters is given an arc and a chance to grow, so the audience is with them emotionally at the end of the episode.

    I had a couple of issues with your discussion, and I wonder if it’s either 1) a generational thing, or 2) I’m being all gamergate and getting defensive of stuff I love (trying not to).

    I’ve always thought of reassociation as being less like homophobia and more like the incest taboo. We wouldn’t like the Trill if they were randomly prejudiced and I have to say I bought the taboo. In our society, the reason for the (sibling, parent is clearly exploitative) incest taboo is that it might be the most obvious pairing (you’ve known each other all your lives, in aristocratic societies you keep the power in family), but it’s a problem for reproduction. Incest is illegal (ie you can’t marry a sibling), but the taboo extends more widely, even where no kids are likely (we have issues with step-siblings who grew up together, even with no genetic problem, and I’m told kids that are raised together on kibbutzim find the idea “icky”).

    I totally get reassociation as a taboo. Imagine Trill symbionts without it. As soon as you’re joined to your new host, you go back to your previous spouse and kids. It would create an aristocracy rather than the meritocracy the Trill society has developed. Trill society would stagnate. I see the Trill symbionts as being at the cutting edge of exploration and new ideas. I totally get, particularly if there are as few as 300, why the society would stagnate if there isn’t an impetus to do new things, explore new ideas. Lenara nails it, saying that they would just get lost in the past.

    But (as with my step sibling example) Jadzia and Lenara aren’t doing that. Their previous hosts get closure in their discussion on the Defiant. And it’s the hosts that bond. But how would an observer know that? I’m not prepared to reject the taboo outright. I get the point of it. But I think any taboo in a civilised society should be examined (and rejected if it’s outstayed its purpose). We don’t need a homosexuality taboo when our society no longer has a population problem. We haven’t needed it since we had complex societies (ie lots of factors, beyond your parents’ input, contribute to your well-being – some of them will include people who aren’t parents at all).

    I also had issues with your take on the Sisko approach. I did not read this as patronising at all. At the beginning, good for him for seeing a cultural issue ahead and giving Dax the option. In their discussion later on, I heard that as “honest friend”; “you always said that you would never date X, and now you are, what’s happened?”, rather than bringing his own baggage to it. I’m not sure I heard that conversation as with Jadzia, although you’re quite right that he frames it as being with the host. Given that the point of reassociation is that the symbiont’s previous lives are influencing the emotions, I’ve always heard that conversation as speaking to both. I think it’s difficult as a human to imagine what a joined Trill would feel like. I doubt it would be so clear cut.

    As for Lenara’s reference to “I don’t have a little Curzon inside me”, I don’t hear that (or Sisko’s references to his conversations with Curzon) as referring to the host. It refers to the joined being, which is why Jadzia Dax has that in her. Who’s to say whether it’s Curzon or Dax that gives her the rebelliousness (or indeed Jadzia herself)?

    Anyway, lovely episode, lovely comments on it.

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