To Boldy Sew: Star Trek Deep Space Nine S03E04: “Equilibrium”

To Boldly Sew is a recap of DS9 episodes, with a specific focus on the fashions of the many aliens and other characters that make up the series. Feel free to discuss matters of plot and general Star Trek things in the comments. 

All screenshots come from, which is the same place as the original TNG fashion blog (

Sisko is having a get-together at his place with Bashir, Odo, and Kira. Jake serves some appetizers.


Kira is wearing a casual outfit that we’ve seen her wear before, with layers and the Bajoran fashion of lacy crocheted vest.

Jake, meanwhile, has piled on the colors. I actually wouldn’t totally hate this shirt as although it’s a little loud I think it works well with his skin, but I don’t really like the weird pink stripe or seam or whatever that is going across his chest. It’s just weird.

Sisko explains to Odo how to make a soufflé. Odo claims to be interested in food even though he doesn’t need to eat it. He stirs the mix for a bit while Sisko tends to a pot that’s boiling over.


In contrast to his son, Sisko is wearing a pretty bland outfit, with kind of pastel stripes. I don’t hate this shirt either as it’s not overtly loud or anything, but it’s not the best colors for him as the beige stripes kind of blend with his skin. And again there’s this seam across the chest that’s weird. I do like the nice touch of the apron, though.

Bashir asks where Sisko learned to cook – his dad’s restaurant in New Orleans. Kira asks what they’re eating and says it smells delicious. Blackened redfish with creamed spinach and sautéed beets. I’ve never had blackened redfish but I like the other stuff, so I’d give this meal a try.


Those don’t look like beets to me. Also, did Bashir come straight from work or does he just not own casual clothes, because he’s the only nerd wearing his uniform right now. (Well, Odo also, but he doesn’t count since those aren’t really clothes.)

Bashir is hesitant about the beets – they’re not a favorite of his. Sisko says this is because he hasn’t had them prepared properly, and they’re a misunderstood vegetable. Bashir says he looks forward to understanding them better.

The door chimes and Dax comes in, still in her uniform. She says she was working on a sensor relay for six hours. Sisko says to help herself to something and dinner is coming soon. She says she’s been looking forward to it all day.

Odo is still stirring. Kira says he looks cute.

Dax picks up something out of the corner. It’s a musical instrument of some sort belonging to Jake. He says he took lessons for a bit but wasn’t very good. Dax says she relates – none of her hosts have had any musical ability. She plays a few notes and comments how one of them should have had some talent.

She’s playing a nice melody, and Kira says it sounds like one of them had some talent. Bashir starts to say it’s lovely, and Dax tells him to be quiet, then continues to play. The others watch with some amazement and interest. Dax pauses, annoyed that she messed something up.

Kira asked what it was, but Dax says she doesn’t know. Bashir suggests that it’s “beginner’s luck” and she hit on it by accident. I don’t think that’s how music works, unless you’re a prodigy. Dax says she knows it somehow.


Bashir is relieved that he’s not the only dork wearing a uniform. The keyboard reminds me of one of the Casio toys I had as a kid.

Dinner is served. Dax keeps trying to play the song.


Dax is still humming the tune she was trying to play and it’s distracting Sisko while they play chess. She wasn’t even aware of it.

All is quiet for a minute and then she starts humming again, much to Sisko’s annoyance. It’s her turn. She moves. He asks if she’s sure. He checks her. She’s surprised by the move and accuses him of moving illegally. He says her mind is not on the game and the move is legal and suggests they call it a day.

Dax says Curzon suspected him of being a cheat. Sisko wonders if it’s a joke, but Dax seems serious. She insists he’s trying to cheat her and then pushes all the pieces off the board and storms out, leaving Sisko astonished.


Dax goes to sit in the replimat. Kira comes to talk to her and Dax asks if Sisko sent her to apologize for him. No.

Kira sits down and says that Sisko is concerned about what happened and she thought Dax might want to talk about it. Dax says there’s nothing to talk about. Kira expresses disbelief that Dax would think Sisko would want to cheat her. Dax says that she knew Kira would take Sisko’s side. Kira denies taking a side. Dax says she should leave.

Kira just stares at her. Dax says that she’ll go. She stands up. Kira stops her, putting her arms on her shoulders. Dax says to let go before she does something she’ll regret. Kira is speechless and lets go. Dax says this is the first smart thing she’s done since she walked over, and storms away.


Random Bajoran dude in the back keeps an eye on the drama.

Dax walks out of the promenade and down a corridor. The music starts playing. She’s in a different space, with red lights on the wall. She looks up, and there’s a figure wearing a robe and a white mask on an upper level. She looks away and then when she looks back he’s gone.

She turns to walk the opposite direction, and then the figure (or one that looks the same) is in front of her. She gasps. The figure takes off its white masks, revealing a similar blue one underneath. Dax turns to walk the other way and now the figure is in front of her. It takes off this mask and reveals a white one underneath.


Okay, this guy is pretty creepy. But I like the the robe thing he’s wearing. It’s pretty shiny.

The white mask has cutouts for eyes. The figure stares at Dax.


She turns the opposite direction and plows into Quark. She’s back on the promenade.


Quark is wearing my favorite jacket of his. He asks if there’s something wrong. She says no and walks away.


Bashir does a medical scan on Dax while Sisko looks on. Sisko asks how she feels. She says like an idiot and apologizes to him for saying horrible things. He says not to worry about it.

Dax sits up and says she feels like she has a lot of anger inside and doesn’t know where it’s coming from. Sisko asks about the masked figure and if she has any idea who it might be. She says he seems familiar but she doesn’t know from where. And the music – she has to find out what it is.

Sisko suggests putting the music into the computer to see if it can find a match in the Federation database. She agrees to if Bashir gives her the clear to leave.

Bashir has been running tests. He asks if she’s had hallucinations before this. No, and she hopes not to as it was terrifying. He asks if any prior hosts have. No, she says she’d remember if they had.

He goes to the computer and says that according to her file the only major trauma the Dax symbiont ever suffered was when Torias Dax was injured in a shuttle accident. Sisko asks if he was the fifth host. Yes, right before Curzon. Bashir says that Torias was in a comatose state for almost six months so there must have been some tissue damage. He also says the doctors couldn’t keep his isoboramine levels.

Sisko, like me, has no idea what isoboramine is. Dax says it’s a neurotransmitter that mediates synaptic function between host and symbiont. Bashir says that when the levels of Torias Dax dropped below 40% of normal, they removed the symbiont. Dax says that sometimes they sacrifice the host to save the symbiont.

Bashir is checking her isobramine levels. They’re at 73% of normal. Sisko asks what’s causing it. Bashir doesn’t know. There’s no tissue damage or synaptic degradation. Dax asks if she’s in danger of rejecting the symbiont. He says not to worry about that but they should get her isoboramine levels up. He suggests going back to the Trill homeworld and having the doctors of the Symbiosis Commision examine her.

Sisko says that Curzon said he wanted to show him the Trill Homeworld.

They fly off on the Defiant.

On the bridge, Bashir comes to ask Sisko when they’ll arrive. 37 hours. Dax is resting in her quarters.

Sisko says it’s been four years since Curzon died and he still misses him. At first, he thought he wouldn’t get used to a new Dax, but now if anything happens to Jadzia… Bashir agrees with the sentiment.

Bashir is in his quarters, reading on the small bunk bed.


Bashir is wearing pretty boring pajamas. I’m frankly shocked he doesn’t sleep either in the nude or shirtless, given his reputation as a “ladies man.”

Dax comes in.


I originally thought she was wearing black, but this screenshot shows that her nightgown or whatever this is is actually kind of purplish. It isn’t overtly sexy, but it shows more skin than Bashir.

He asks if she’s having trouble sleeping. A little. He says he could get her something. She says no, but she wants some company if he’s not busy. He says he was just reading. Dax looks to see what he’s reading. It’s about Trill Physiology.

He says it’s background reading. Then he says that he knows she’s worried but the doctors at the Symbiosis Commission know more than he does. She says she can’t believe she’s going back. She spent three years as an initiate and barely left the complex. After she was joined she swore she wouldn’t go back.

Bashir asks if it was really bad. She says no, but there were endless tests. Bashir says that is reasonable considering the risks of rejection. She agrees and says she had a hard time because she put a lot of pressure on herself to be joined. He says that at least she won’t be an initiate this time.

She says that she’ll be going as a patient and that’s much worse. She says that she’s always been afraid of doctors. He says most people are and he was when he was a kid, because they seem to hold the power of life and death in their hands. As he got older he decided he wanted to know what they knew and be as smart as they were, so he went to medical school and realized all he wanted to do was help people. Doctors help, so there’s nothing to be afraid of.

He says she’s welcome to stay and have the top bunk. She agrees and then says she’d prefer the lower bunk since Curzon once fell out of a tree. Bashir agrees. They both settle in, she to sleep and he with his reading. He asks if his light is too bright, but she’s already fallen asleep.

They arrive at the Trill Homeworld, which is sunny and bright.


The buildings look like they’re copper, like shiny new pennies. I assume they’re not actually, or they’d be green, but the asthetic is kind of modern and bright. After our trip with Quark to the grim Klingon homeworld in the last episode, it’s nice to see a bright planet where it’s not always cloudy and stormy.

Dax, back in her uniform, explains the tests she’s had to Bashir and Sisko. Bashir has some other medical questions.

A Trill woman – Dr. Renhol – comes in and is pleased to see Jadzia. She says everyone is happy that she is here and says that Jadzia is the only initiate to ever successfully reapply to the program after being dropped.


Renhol actually kind of reminds me of one of my doctors, so good job on the casting there. Purple isn’t a bad color for her, and her hair is interesting but not elaborate. I also really like her voice for some reason. There’s again a weird seam thing across the chest, but it doesn’t look as bad here as it did on the Siskos.

Sisko and Bashir introduce themselves. Bashir asks about the medical stuff. Renhol says that they put her on a benzocyatic regimen to compensate for the low isoboramine levels. There’s been a three percent improvement.

Dax asks if she’ll have to be there to administer it. No, Bashir can do it. But Renhol does want to see Dax again the following day to follow up and have lunch. Dax agrees. Renhol excuses herself and leaves.


In orbit on the Defiant, Dax laments that they ought to go on a tour of some ice cliffs. Bashir and Sisko both insist she ought to get some rest. She says she can’t sleep in the afternoon. They give her some unhelpful advice – “lie down, close your eyes, and try not to think” – and she reluctantly heads to bed.

Walking through the corridors, Dax again starts to hear the melody, and then she sees the masked figure. She asks who they are.

The figure, in a masculine voice, says “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

From another door, two people in gray uniforms come forward and grab Dax. She struggles and elbows one of them away, then bangs the other against the wall, gets free and turns to punch him in the face. A voice shouts her name.

She’s about to punch Bashir.


Back on the Trill Homeworld, Bashir says he doesn’t know why Dax would have another hallucination, and her isoboramine levels have risen another six percent.

Renhol says that’s a larger increase than she anticipated, and the sudden increase might have triggered the hallucination. She advises more frequent treatments at a lower dosage.

Dax says the people who attacked her were from the Symbiosis Commission. Renhol says that hallucinations often take the form of latent anxieties and they all know her time there was not easy. Dax says their uniforms were more than 100 years old, from before she was an initiate, and none of her other hosts had bad memories from the period. Renhol is still not concerned, saying that seven lifetimes of memories means things are likely to get jumbled.

She does think they’re on the right track, and wants Dax to return the next day.


As Renhol walks out, we get a full body shot of her outfit. It looks like a dress thing over top of some pants, with simple flats.

After she leaves, Sisko asks what’s bothering Dax. She says that she wishes she knew what the hallucinations meant. He says the computer is trying to identify the music – maybe that will tell them something.

Bashir says maybe she has some issues about the time she spent there, but she dismisses this, saying she doesn’t need therapy – she needs answers. She suggests the Guardians can help her. Bashir is not familiar with them, but Sisko explains that they’re unjoined Trill who have devoted their lives to the care of the symbionts and know more about them than anyone.


They all go down to a cave. There’s a pool filled with what looks like murky water. Bashir asks if this is where the symbionts breed, and she says yes, there are interconnecting pools that stretch back for kilometers.


She points out two of them surfacing, and we see two little slug-shaped creatures move near the surface of the water. As they do so, some electricity of some sort appears to emanate from them. Sisko asks about it, and Dax says this is how the symbionts communicate with each other.x

Another person enters the cave, arrying a bag and some sort of device that looks like a camera with a long lens on the end. He kneels by the pool and points the device at the water. A beam of light shoots out. He pauses to adjust the machine.


I theorized a few episodes back that maybe the Trill fashion is boring, and this guy is not changing my opinion. He’s also wearing a long tunic thing over a pair of pants, similar to the style Renhol has, but his outfit is beige, making it more boring than hers. There’s like a hint of a decoration type thing on the chest, but mostly it’s just a plain grey-brown outfit. I guess since he works underground and probably gets dirty, there’s no point to being fancy.

Dax explains that this is one of the Guardians. She warns the others that he might seem a bit distracted – they’re not used to visitors.

Bashir goes over to talk to to him and asks if he can ask what the guy is doing. Yes, says the man. After a brief awkward pause, Bashir asks what he’s doing. He says making sure they’re comfortable. Checking ion concentration, temperature, viscosity. He says they get cranky if everything isn’t perfect. He says they can be demanding and sometimes he doesn’t know why he puts up with it. He gathers his equipment and walks away.

He pauses at a stone table and messes around with his equipment and then asks Bashir about the weather outside. Sunny, very pleasant. He says he misses sunshine.

Then he looks over and recognizes Dax. She asks how he knows. He walks over to her and just says he knows. He looks at her closely and then says something’s wrong. She says yes.

He asks and then reaches out to place a hand on her stomach, then immediately says that it’s not good at all. He asks how bad the dreams are. She says they’re not dreams, hallucinations. He says they’re memories. She asks why she doesn’t remember them.

He says the balance is off. The balance between host and symbiont? What other balance is there? He says someone isn’t playing fair. It wouldn’t be Dax, so it must be the host.

Sisko asks if he’s saying the problem is with Jadzia. No, he says, could be any one of the hosts. He takes Dax’s hand and leads her off to see what they find.

Back on the Defiant, Bashir and Sisko are looking at something when Dax comes onto the bridge. She says that Timor, the Guardian, is convinced that her hallucinations have something to do with one of the previous hosts but he doesn’t know which one, so he wants her to come back the next day to see him.

Sisko says the computer has identified Dax’s music. She wants to hear it, so Bashir plays the melody. She immediate recognizes it. He says the piece was written by a Trill named Joran Belar 86 years earlier. Bashir asks if the name is familiar. Nope.

She asks if there’s photo of him, so Sisko brings one up.


Joran Belar looks like a relatively young Trill man wearing a dark blue shirt.

Dax looks at the photo and immediately has a wash of memory.

An old man is sitting at a desk in a dimly lit space, reading on a padd.


It’s of course too dark to see who the man is, or make out clearly what he’s wearing. It might be purple or gray. His desk is pretty modern, with a very small reading lamp.

Dax is in the room with him. The figure with the mask comes out from behind the old man, holding a knife, and stabs the old man in the back of the neck.

Looking toward Dax, he says “he left me no choice.” She demands to know who he is, but he doesn’t answer and turns to leave. She chases after him, pushes him up against the wall, and goes to remove the mask. The face begins to glow, and the mask vanishes to reveal Joran Belor.


Dax returns to reality. She starts to shake and shiver and loses consciousness. Bashir and Sisko catch her. Bashir says she’s in neural shock and rushes to get something to help her. “Neural shock” looks like a seizure to me, but what do I know.

Back on the homeworld, Renhol and some assistant in the same color clothing are working on Dax.


This dude has the same outfit, but he’s got some nice hair. Normally, the men on this show don’t give much attention to their hair (while the women have fancy updos) but this guy seems to have used a blow dryer and maybe even some gel. It’s a pretty 90s look, but I like it.

They have to stabilize her synapses so they do some medical technobabble stuff. She says that Dax’s isoboramine levels are down to 51 percent – a decrease that severe is usually the result of tissue damage.

She asks Sisko about whether they’ve done surveys of diametric fields the wormhole generates. He says yes, and Dax did the most recent survey herself. She wants to see the reports. Bashir asks if she thinks that’s what’s causing this? Renhol says something unusual is happening and they can’t afford to rule anything out. If they can’t get her isoboramine levels up in 48 hours they’ll have to remove the symbiont.

Sisko protests that this will kill Jadzia. Renhol is aware of that but their primary responsibility must be to the symbiont.


Sisko and Bashir go back to the caves to talk to Timor. They tell him that she went in to neural shock and they need her help. The doctors don’t know what to do.

Bashir says that Timor said that her condition had something to do with a previous host. Timor hesitates and says it was only speculation. Sisko says he said he was certain. Timor apologizes and says he’s sorry he gave that impression, but he has to go help the symbionts. Bashir tries to get him to come and consult with the doctor.

Sisko is suspicious and asks if someone asked him not to pursue this. Timor asks why anyone would do that. He says he’s very busy and he hopes Dax recovers. He walks off. Bashir agrees with Sisko that Timor is scared. Sisko wonders what anyone would want to hide.

They conclude that someone doesn’t want an investigation of Dax’s past hosts, and they ought to do such an investigation. Sisko theorizes that one of the hosts had something to do with the composer Belar. Bashir agrees saying that Dax lost consciousness when she saw his picture. Sisko agrees they should investigate him.


They go back to the Defiant and Bashir accesses the Trill central database to find information on Joran Belar.

They bring up his records and find nothing more than his birth and death dates. This is unusual and suspicious. They suspect the file was purged and a study of the data compression ratio confirms this.

Sisko says to put Dax’s records side by side with Joran’s. Sisko looks at the dates and they see that Belar died the same date that Torias Dax died, the same day the Dax symbiont was put into Curzon. This can’t be a coincidence.

They next bring up the enrollment records of Trill music academies during Belar’s lifetime. He’s not listed but there’s a Yolad Belar so maybe they’re related. They then check the central database for Yolad. He’s alive. Bashir tries to locate him and they establish a comm link.

Sisko uses the main viewer to call Yolad Belar. He’s an old man. Sisko introduces himself. Yolad is confused why a Starfleet officer would want to talk to him. Sisko says they’re trying to find information on Joran.


In keeping with Trill fashion, Yolad is wearing pretty boring clothing in beige. Unlike Timor, he has a v-neck shirt, which I don’t know what I think about. I don’t think it’s a dramatic enough difference to have an opinion on.

Yolad confirms that Joran was his brother. He was a composer and they graduated from the same music academy. Sisko asks if he knows that Joran’s record was purged from the academy’s files. Yolad says this makes no sense.

He then asks if Joran knew a joined Trill named Torias Dax. Yolad says his brother died 85 years earlier and he has a hard time remembering what happened yesterday. He doesn’t remember the name, but that doesn’t mean Joran didn’t know him. If Torias Dax was joined, they might have met when Joran went to become an initiate.

Sisko asks if Joran had a symbiont. Yolad says not according to the commission, who say he was dropped after the second year. They also say he murdered the doctor who recommended dropping him, and then was killed trying to escape the scene. Sisko says Yolad doesn’t seem convinced.

Yolad says he believes his brother killed the doctor as he had a violent temper, but six months prior Joran called him and he sounded more confident and colder than usual and claimed he was different because he was joined. Did he say the name? Yolad says he was so surprised to learn his brother was joined he doesn’t remember much else about the conversation. Sisko thanks him for his help.

Sisko then has Bashir bring up Dax’s records. He says that according to official records, after Torias died, the Dax symbiont was put into Curzon. What if that’s not what happened – and Dax had a different host before that – a host who should never have been given a symbiont?


Dax’s levels have dropped to 44 percent so Renhol wants to transfer the symbiont. Sisko and Bashir come in and say this won’t be necessary.

Renhol is annoyed by the intrusion until Bashir says they know about Joran Belar. She orders the assistants out. She says she doesn’t have time for this and can’t do anything about Jadzia.

They argue about what she can and can’t do and what she’s willing to do. She says she knows nothing about this secret. He says the records are altered and their memory erasure is failing after 86 years. She wonders why anyone would want to create such an elaborate cover up?

Sisko agrees he wondered this. It wouldn’t be enough that Joran was an unsuitable host – it had to be something that would shake the very foundation of Trill society.

Bashir asks how many people are suitable for joining – he understands the percentage is very low, maybe one in a thousand. She agrees. This is why the candidates get such rigorous testing, to make sure the symbionts aren’t given to an unsuitable host.

He asks what would happen if a symbiont was given to an unsuitable host. She inisists this doesn’t happen, but if it did, rejection would set in. Both the host and symbiont would die. How long does this take? Three or four days. So someone with a violent temperament like Belar should have experienced rejection quickly, right? But according to his information, he had the symbiont for six months.

Sisko says that if Belar can be joined successfully for six months – how many others could be successfully joined – a lot more than the Symbiosis Commission would have them believe. That is what they’re trying to hide. That’s why they’re willing to let Jadzia die.

She says nothing. He says he doesn’t want to expose her secret, he just wants to help Jadzia, but if she dies he’ll make sure the planet knows why.

Renhol says that this would result in chaos – there aren’t enough symbionts for that many hosts and the potential danger to the symbionts would be enormous. She says nearly half the population is capable of being joined – that’s what they learned with Joran Dax.

She then says that they have to stabilize the synaptic functions between host and symbiont, so Joran’s memories would have to be allowed to re-integrate with the other host memories, and this might be disastrous. Sisko says they should give Jadzia the chance. Renhol worries that he’s wrong and Joran overwhelms Jadzia.

Sisko says the point is that it’s Jadzia’s life and her decision. Renhol pushes some buttons and removes the thing on Dax’s head and wakes up, then sits up. Bashir says she has a decision to make.


Dax has been wearing a light pink sort of outfit. Interesting that they bothered to change her out of her uniform just so she could lie there unconscious.

Dax goes down to the caves in a silky white nightgown. She stands on the edge of the pool and takes off the robe over top, then walks into the water.


This is a completely different outfit from what she was wearing in the last scene. This is the most times that Dax has changed outfits in a single episode (that I’ve watched) but also I find it interesting that this is an outfit just for going into water.

The other symbionts in the pool start zapping her with electricity. After a moment, Joran appears. He is impressed that she knows his name. She says he’s a part of her and takes his hand. She hugs him. Electricity crackles around him.


He vanishes, and she’s standing alone in the pool again.

Back on DS9, Dax is in her quarters looking out at the stars. Sisko comes in. She asks if he’s checking up on her. He says he just thought he’d see how she was doing. She says Bashir did the same thing 15 minutes prior and that she’s all right, just needs time to sort things out.

He says maybe it would be easier if she hadn’t found out about Joran. She says she’s glad she did. If you want to know who you are, it’s important to know who you’ve been.

Sisko says good night and leaves.

Dax goes over to the keyboard on the table and starts to play music.


Stray Thoughts

* Yay, it’s an episode exploring Trill society! I feel like we’ve gotten a series of episodes with tiny glimpses into Trills and Jadzia Dax, and this one was the most in-depth so far. It still could have been a bit more detailed, but it was more than we’ve had in the past.

* Dax could have spent more of the episode awake, but she did seem to have a bit more agency, and she ultimately did get to make the decision on whether or not to accept Joran.

* So did the Symbiosis Commission not know that Joran was unacceptable, or did they just decide that Dax needed a host and he was the first person who was even slightly qualified? Were they bribed or threatened? I feel like there’s more to the story than “he had violent tendencies.”

* Renhol mentions that Jadzia is the only initiate to ever successfully reapply to the program after being dropped, but this is never elaborated on. Did we know that she was dropped on her first attempt? If so, no wonder she put a lot of pressure on herself to succeed.