A courtroom battle ensues, with Ilon Tandro representing Klaestron and Sisko representing Dax. The question is whether Dax's current host, Jadzia, is culpable for the alleged crimes of a previous host.
Meanwhile, Odo travels to Klaestron to learn more about the facts of the case. He finds that Curzon is the only suspect in the infamous murder of General Ardelon Tandro, Ilon's father, close friend of Curzon, and famous martyr of the Klaestron Civil War. Ardelon was killed by the opposing rebels after an anonymous transmission was sent revealing his position, and Curzon is the only person without an alibi who could have sent it. Odo's main source is Enina Tandro, Ardelon's widow, who was also a friend of Curzon and is convinced of his innocence.
Although Sisko appears to have a decent case, his job is made more difficult by Jadzia, who is suspiciously reticent and refuses to defend herself. Frustrated, Sisko nevertheless carries on in her defense, and argues that she cannot be held accountable for any crimes Curzon may have committed. Ilon argues that, as a joined trill, Jadzia is as much Dax as Curzon was, and should therefore stand trial.
The question is never resolved, however. Enina comes to the station with Odo to introduce her testimony that she and Curzon had been having an affair, and that they were together at the time of the crime. The real traitor was none other than General Ardelon himself, which Enina and Dax kept secret for years due to his status as a hero. Dax's extradition is denied, and Ilon returns home defeated.
This episode provides examples of:
- All There in the Script: Els Renora's name only appears in the script. The other characters exclusively refer to her by her honorific, Madame Arbiter.
- Chivalrous Pervert:
- When Dax refuses Bashir's offer to walk her home, he chooses to interpret her Exact Words of "not necessary" to mean "not forbidden, either" and follows her anyway. A bit stalkerish, but he doesn't hesitate to run to her rescue when he sees her being attacked.
- This was part of Curzon's character. Though Sisko doesn't believe Curzon would commit treason, he has no trouble believing that he might have had an affair with his friend's wife. Jadzia does say that, while what Curzon did was shameful, he did truly love Enina.
- Courtroom Episode: One of a few in the series. This one is more informal, as it is only a hearing and not a criminal trial, though the stakes are just as high.
- Deadpan Snarker: Renora, the Bajoran arbiter, has the sort of dry wit that only a 100-year-old woman can have.Renora: The answer seems simple enough to me: split her down the middle. Send the symbiont back to stand trial and keep the host here.
Bashir: I'm afraid it's a bit more complicated than that.
Renora: Oh, what a surprise.
- Renora gets an arguably even better line when Enina reveals her secret that exonerates Curzon Dax:"Mr. Tandro, you will want to reconsider your extradition request."
- Renora gets an arguably even better line when Enina reveals her secret that exonerates Curzon Dax:
- Drink Order: The first time someone orders a raktajino, or Klingon coffee. It would later become the most preferred drink among the protagonists.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- The adjective for the Trill used here is "Trillian," the only usage of such, much like "Vulcanian" and "Bajora."
- Dax is easily overwhelmed by the Klaestrons. Later she'd be established as an Action Girl who prefers to fight like a Klingon.
- Fantastic Legal Weirdness: The entire premise of the episode is, can The Nth Doctor be held liable for crimes committed by previous incarnations? Ben argues at length that despite having Curzon's memories via the Dax symbiont, Jadzia is factually and legally a different person and therefore can't be tried for something Curzon did. This is all rendered moot by Enina Tandro giving Curzon an alibi, which is itself a bit odd as the hearing was never about ascertaining his guilt or innocence. Though since it was an informal political hearing, and not bound by Klaestron's legal system (or even Bajor's, for that matter), the presumption is that the Arbiter had full authority to make a ruling for whatever reason she saw fit.
- Freudian Excuse: Enina suggests that Ilon's obsession with punishing Dax is because he grew up without a father and holds Dax responsible.
- Great Offscreen War: The Klaestron Civil War, which is implied to have been a world-changing event on the eponymous planet, though it doesn't seem to have had much impact on the rest of the galaxy since it hasn't been mentioned before or since.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: General Ardelon Tandro is remembered as a martyr, whose death rallied his people to win their civil war. In reality, he was a traitor who was killed by rebels when he tried turning on his people.
- Honor Before Reason: Jadzia would rather risk execution than besmirch Enina's reputation by revealing Curzon's alibi. She explains that this is in large part due to the affection for Enina that she inherited from Curzon.
- Hyperspeed Escape: The Klaestrons nearly escape into warp by sabotaging DS9's Tractor Beam, but Sisko manages to fix it just in time to snag them.
- Iron Lady: Madame Arbiter is a century old slab of iron.Renora: I am one hundred years old. I do not have time to squander listening to superfluous language. In short, I intend to be in here until supper, not senility.
- Knight Templar: Ilon doesn't care that his success would mean Jadzia's execution. He only cares about punishing Dax, even if that means its current host - who wasn't even alive at the time of the crime - must also pay the same price.
- Left Hanging: The original question of Dax's legal culpability is never resolved. Once Enina comes forth with an alibi for Curzon, the arbiter drops the issue then and there.
- Meaningful Look: Enina's reaction upon hearing of Curzon's death strongly hints that he was more to her than just a friend of her husband. Odo gives no sign that he notices, but given his powers of observation, there's a good chance this informed his eventual conclusion that they were having an affair.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
- Ilon's failed attempt to kidnap Dax works against him. Although Klaestron's agreement with the Federation allows for unilateral extradition, the station belongs to Bajor, with which they have no such agreement, and Ilon was concerned that they might not agree to extradite Dax. When he later argues that they should, since they have no reason not to, Kira points out that he gave them one by compromising the security of the station. It is also not lost on them that Ilon's detailed knowledge of the station implies that he dealt with the Cardassians to get it, which is definitely a Berserk Button for Bajor.Kira: [The Cardassians] must have given you the layout, which not only compromises Bajoran security, but also annoys us.
- It is not said why the rebels of the Klaestron Civil War killed General Ardelon when he tried to defect to their side, but in doing so, they instigated their own defeat.
- Ilon's failed attempt to kidnap Dax works against him. Although Klaestron's agreement with the Federation allows for unilateral extradition, the station belongs to Bajor, with which they have no such agreement, and Ilon was concerned that they might not agree to extradite Dax. When he later argues that they should, since they have no reason not to, Kira points out that he gave them one by compromising the security of the station. It is also not lost on them that Ilon's detailed knowledge of the station implies that he dealt with the Cardassians to get it, which is definitely a Berserk Button for Bajor.
- No Hero to His Wife: Enina has a very poor opinion of her late husband, and she is tired of pretending for years that he was a hero when, in reality, he was anything but.Enina: My husband was not the hero in life that he was in death, Mr. Odo. In death, he became a legend, and I became a legend's wife. There are people who did not even know my husband who still contact me. Decades after his death, they still mourn him.Odo: But you don't.Enina: No, because I knew the man before he became a legend. But I also know my place in history. My place is to carry on bravely, never to remarry, to represent my husband at the banquets given in his name. But never, never to talk about who he really was, because nobody wants to hear that.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Jadzia's stubborn refusal to participate at all in her own hearing frustrates and worries Sisko to no end. Though he never loses faith in her innocence, he knows something is wrong.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The Bajoran arbiter appears to be every bit as rational and impartial as she ought to be.
- Retcon: To "The Host" from TNG, the episode which first introduced the Trill species—Odan told the crew then that his true self is the symbiont and the humanoid body is taken over. On the stand, Sisko directly asks another Trill if the host is subsumed by the symbiont and he says no. As detailed on that episode's recap page, the two are so different they might as well be unrelated species that coincidentally have the same name.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: This is what happened to General Ardelon Tandro. He betrayed his people to the rebels, and the rebels killed him once they got the information they needed.
- Shameful Source of Knowledge: Neither Jadzia nor Enina will willingly discuss Curzon Dax's alibi... which turns out to involve being in Enina's bed at the time of Ardelon Tandro's death.
- Tap on the Head: Played more realistically than usual. Bashir takes several blows to the face during the struggle with Dax's kidnappers and is knocked out, but only briefly. He wakes up in time to alert ops, which proves crucial in stopping the kidnappers from escaping.
- Villain-by-Proxy Fallacy: Curzon Dax, the man Ilon suspects of murdering his father, is dead, but the Dax symbiont that lived in his body now inhabits Jadzia Dax, so Ilon reasons that Jadzia and the symbiont can face punishment in Curzon's place.
- We All Live in America: Bajoran court customs are shown to be remarkably similar to those of 20th century USA.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl:
- When Bashir is trying to help fight off Jadzia's hooded kidnappers, the hood of the person Bashir had been fighting slips down, to reveal that he's been fighting a woman. Bashir hesitates just long enough for her to beat the crap out of him and knock him unconscious.
- The kidnappers, by contrast, have no problems assaulting and abducting Dax, though they wouldn't be very good kidnappers if they did.
- Sisko has to restrain himself from punching Dax when she refuses to talk about what happened on Klaestron. Instead he punches the wall, exclaiming, "Dammit, if you were still a man!".
- Writers Cannot Do Math: The O'Briens are off the station to celebrate the birthday of Keiko's mother. Her mother has turned one hundred. Meaning she gave birth to Keiko while in her sixties. Of note, the original script indicated that they were attending her funeral.
- To be fair, it's not unheard of (albeit rare and extremely dangerous) for women that age to have children today with medical assistance, which would have progressed significantly in 400 years. It's also been shown that people in Star Trek tend to remain physically active well into their 100s (DeForest Kelly shows up in the TNG premiere as Admiral McCoy) so we can assume that people's bodies age slower and suffer fewer complications. It's not much of a stretch to have a baby at 60.
- Your Cheating Heart: Curzon's alibi was that he was in bed with Enina at the time of the crime. Communication records showed that they spent a lot of time talking to each other while her husband was out fighting the rebels. Sisko goes so far as to speculate that Ilon might actually be Dax's son. Jadzia accuses Sisko of having an overactive imagination (which, he points out, is not a denial).