Everyone has their Trek. It’s the show that introduced them to the Star Trek universe, the one that wormed its way inside their brain and took hold until they were thoroughly and truly hooked. For me, technically, that gateway show is Star Trek: The Next Generation, but if you asked which Trek show was ultimately the best one, for me, it’s Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
My fellow SYFY Fangrrls writer Swapna put together a binge-watching guide for her favorite DS9 character, Kira Nerys, so this time around I thought I’d give a little love to my favorite character on the show. Lieutenant (and later Lieutenant Commander) Jadzia Dax, played by Terry Farrell, was on the series for six of its seven seasons. She was a joined Trill, meaning that her body served as host to a symbiotic lifeform. Jadzia was the eighth host of the Dax symbiont, and possessed all of the previous memories and life experiences of its previous hosts. Think of it as the Star Trek equivalent of Doctor Who, if the Doctor had a slug living inside his body.
The guide below contains spoilers for DS9 and is by no means entirely comprehensive for the show -- but these are the episodes to watch if you want to get to know Jadzia Dax a little better, and fall in love with her the way I did, before she ultimately departed from the series.
“Emissary, Parts One and Two” (Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2)
Jadzia is appointed to the role of science officer aboard the Deep Space 9 station under the command of Benjamin Sisko. This two-parter is a great jumping-off point for the entire show, as it introduces you to most of the important characters, but it also highlights the beginnings of Jadzia and Sisko’s attempts to navigate their new relationship. Sisko was a friend and mentee of the last Dax host, Curzon, and this leads to an interesting dynamic when Jadzia shows up. (This also eventually results in Sisko referring to Jadzia as “old man” as a term of endearment, which I love.)“Dax” (Season 1, Episode 8)
Jadzia’s forced to reckon with the past — Curzon’s, more specifically — when an old murder case gets reopened and the previous Dax host becomes the number one suspect. This is a fascinating look into the intricacies of the Trill society, and asks both characters and audience alike to consider the question of whether a Trill is responsible for the actions of its prior hosts. It’s also a great furthering of the Jadzia/Sisko friendship.
“Invasive Procedures” (Season 2, Episode 4)
An unjoined Trill, Verad (played by John Glover), kidnaps Jadzia and forces the removal of the Dax symbiont after being turned down for his own potential symbiosis. While Jadzia and the Dax symbiont are eventually rejoined, the experience takes a toll on her. "Invasive Procedures" was intended to highlight the very selective joining process, but also emphasize the differences between Jadzia and Dax as two separate entities.
“Rules of Acquisition” (Season 2, Episode 7)
Technically, this episode is more Quark-heavy, but I include it because it establishes some of the relationships Jadzia begins to build with some of the other characters on the station. This is one of the first episodes that sees her hanging out in Quark’s bar playing a game called tongo with the other Ferengi, something that she continues throughout the rest of her time on DS9.
“Playing God” (Season 2, Episode 17)
Jadzia hosts a prospective joined Trill candidate who confesses he’s more than a little intimidated by the Dax host. Although she’s harsh to him at points, she ultimately winds up telling him that she’ll be recommending him for symbiosis — when he’s ready for it. (We also get a hint at the possibility that Curzon may have not made the road to becoming a joined Trill very easy for Jadzia when she was a candidate herself.)“Blood Oath” (Season 2, Episode 19)
A group of old Klingons show up at the station looking for Curzon, with whom they’d entered into a blood pact in order to seek revenge on an old enemy. They find Jadzia instead. "Blood Oath" is the first episode that gives us a look into Jadzia’s longstanding respect and appreciation for Klingon culture, an aspect of her character that is revisited several times over the course of the series. (She also gets to don some Klingon armor, which she looks fantastic in.)
“Equilibrium” (Season 3, Episode 4)
Jadzia begins to experience disturbing hallucinations that point to an unknown past for the Dax symbiont, as well as a previously installed memory block to keep her from recalling the truth about a particularly psychotic and murderous host. We visit the Trill homeworld for the first time in "Equilibrium," and also learn some new information about the mysterious Symbiosis Commission.
“Meridian” (Season 3, Episode 8)
It’s a one-off romance! Seriously, though, when you encounter a planet that disappears into an alternate dimension and reappears every 60 years, any relationship you try to embark on is basically doomed to fail. Jadzia has to learn this the hard way by falling in love with a citizen of said planet named Deral, though they eventually go their separate ways when her physiology doesn’t allow her to shift into that separate dimension. We all know how that goes.
“Fascination” (Season 3, Episode 10)
A lighter, silly episode that doesn’t really contribute to any rich storylines but is a fun viewing experience nonetheless. Lwaxana Troi shows up on Deep Space Nine, and her resulting case of Zanthi fever strikes everyone around her with misplaced feelings of romance. In Jadzia’s case, it conjures up a subconscious attraction to Sisko. After things have calmed down, they agree never to speak of it again. Like friends do.
“Facets” (Season 3, Episode 25)
Jadzia participates in the Trill ritual called zhian’tara, which gives her the ability to meet her previous hosts. The catch is they’ll be hosted by the bodies of each of her friends. From Kira to Odo to Sisko, Jadzia gets to talk to (and occasionally wrangle) some of the old Dax hosts, including a Curzon who would much rather stick around in Odo’s body than go back. We also learn that Curzon initially rejected Jadzia from the symbiosis process, although she eventually reapplied and got accepted.“Rejoined” (Season 4, Episode 6)
One of the most beautiful episodes of Deep Space Nine ever, hands down. Jadzia Dax encounters Trill scientist Lenara Kahn, whose previous host had been married to her previous host. Although Trill society seriously frowns upon “reassociation” in terms of joined Trill resuming romantic relationships, Jadzia and Lenara come very close to picking up where their previous hosts had left off. It’s a lovely yet bittersweet episode about a tragic love story.
“The Sword of Kahless” (Season 4, Episode 9)
One of Jadzia’s old Klingon friends, Kor, shows up on the station with a mission for her and Worf. (Yes, Worf has joined the show by now!) The three go on a quest in search of the mystical Sword of Kahless, who was a legendary figure in Klingon culture. This ep has been compared to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and with good reason; it’s a fun adventure romp that builds up the Jadzia/Worf pairing while integrating Worf into the show a bit more.
“Sons of Mogh” (Season 4, Episode 15)
Jadzia’s deep understanding of the Klingon homeworld allows her to come to Worf’s aid when his brother Kurn arrives with an unexpected request. This is the first instance where the show hints at a possible attraction between the two characters. Three words: Klingon training exercise.“Looking for par’Mach in All The Wrong Places” (Season 5, Episode 3)
Quark’s Klingon ex-wife Grilka (yes, you read that right) needs his help with a financial matter, and in the process earns an admirer from Worf. However, it turns out that Jadzia has plans to pursue a romance of her own. This episode culminates in Jadzia and Worf finally acting on all that unresolved sexual tension, although they agree to take things slow in their relationship without jumping right to marriage first. Worf laughs at the end! It’s very cute.
"Trials and Tribble-ations" (Season 5, Episode 6)
Another fun episode that is one of DS9's best, both in terms of how they show off the digital effects of the era and what we learn about our characters. The crew has to go back in time to meet up with the characters from the original Trek series to prevent the assassination of Captain Kirk, and Sisko and Jadzia get to don some vintage Starfleet duds and run around the Enterprise together. (We learn the fun tidbit that one of Dax's previous hosts probably definitely hooked up with Dr. McCoy back in the day.)
“Let He Who Is Without Sin…” (Season 5, Episode 7)
Jadzia and Worf join Dr. Bashir and his then-girlfriend Leeta (and Quark, for some reason) for a vacation on the “pleasure planet” Risa. Most of the episode revolves around Jadzia trying to get Worf to loosen up and enjoy his time off, which she sort of succeeds at toward the end. Only these two would manage to encounter a minor revolution during their vacation.
“Soldiers of the Empire” (Season 5, Episode 21)
Worf is temporarily given command of a Klingon bird-of-prey ship during a mission assigned by the planet’s High Council, and Jadzia helps him to navigate the tensions with his uneasy crew. It’s always fascinating to see Jadzia handle the Klingons in a way Worf often can’t because of his status as an outsider.“You Are Cordially Invited” (Season 6, Episode 7)
Jadzia and Worf get married! We get appearances from Worf’s son Alexander, who is basically full-grown at this juncture. Worf has also been made a member of the House of Martok by this point, and Martok’s wife Sirella doesn’t make things easy on Jadzia at first. Either way, it basically winds up looking like a royal wedding, and if you’re a Jadzia/Worf shipper like I am, "You Are Cordially Invited" was a long time coming (though heartbreaking in terms of timing).
“Change of Heart” (Season 6, Episode 16)
While on a mission, Jadzia is seriously wounded. Worf has to debate whether to leave her behind or to sacrifice the mission and save her instead. Although he takes a hit to his Starfleet career in the process, Worf promises Jadzia he has no regrets over the decision he made to prioritize her well-being, which results in the two of them recommitting to each other.
“Tears of the Prophets” (Season 6, Episode 26), “Image in the Sand” (Season 7, Episode 1), “Shadows and Symbols” (Season 7, Episode 2)
Jadzia and Worf have just learned they may be able to conceive a child in spite of their biological differences when she is unexpectedly killed by a possessed Gul Dukat. This devastating episode kicks off the trilogy of episodes that culminate in the Dax symbiont ultimately transferring to Ezri, its newest host, who joins the show in its final season.