This week’s Danger Gal profile is of Lt. Jadzia Dax, played by actress Terry Ferrell in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Jadzia DaxLieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax was chief science officer on the space station and a joined Trill, which means she carried a sentient, nearly-immortal creature called a symbiot in her body named “Dax.” Jadzia had access to the memories of all of Dax’s previous hosts, and their personalities were enmeshed.

To my recollection, there has never been a gender assigned to symbiots, and Dax has been joined to both men and women. Part of Jadzia Dax’s uniquely balanced personality comes from Dax’s experience of being joined with both genders, but also due to Dax’s sheer experience due to age. Jadzia possessed a wisdom derived from having lived many lifetimes and simultaneously experienced life naively for the first time. Revena over at Hathor Legacy makes a great point about how the Trill view gender, based on the fourth season episode “Rejoined:”

What’s interesting about this episode is what is not considered taboo by the characters. The current hosts of the Dax and Kahn symbionts are both female – and nobody has the slightest problem with that aspect of their relationship. . . What the episode “Rejoined” says to me about the fictional society of the Trill is that heterosexuality and homosexuality become non-issues in a society where people aren’t tied to fixed, binary gender roles. I don’t read Jadzia and Lenara’s famous kiss as a lesbian kiss — I read it as a kiss between two characters for whom gender plays no significant role in a romantic relationship.

Not only does Jadzia Dax have a basic confidence in herself, but she acts assertively in all areas of her life from work to romantic pursuits. Additionally, Jadzia’s outward femininity is juxtaposed with her ability to not just physically defend herself, but to excel at it. Case in point, she injures her Klingon husband Worf, while working out together. I don’t think Klingons are defeated very often by anyone other than fellow Klingons. Aside from the symbiot relationship, we don’t know exactly how Trill and human physiology differ, but it’s a safe bet that a Klingon would have much more muscle mass than either. Jadzia’s ability to defeat Worf has to come from technical prowess, not from physical strength. It would be an interesting exercise to compare the Jadzia-Worf/Trill-Klingon relationship to the B’Lanna-Tom/HalfKlingon-Human one in Star Trek: Voyager.

Overall, I agree with billz who said in a discussion over at Whedonesque:

Jadzia could meditate for hours or equally drink the Ferengi under the table or kick ass with her Klingon homies.

Jadzia Dax was a rare character, even more so because she was female. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was, in fact, my favorite Star Trek series because it combined the best of the qualities that I’ve always liked about the Star Trek universe — equality among genders, ethnicities and races — but pitted those qualities against a darker universe not so evolved.



4 Responses to “Danger Gal Friday: Lt. Cmdr. Jadzia Dax”

  1. Jadzia was one of my favorite characters EVER. I’ve had two computers named Dax (they dual-boot Windows and Linux, ha ha ha). She was just so interesting–somehow Terry Farrell managed to make her seem like an ancient being merged with a young woman.

    I loved DS9 because the story arc actually spanned seven seasons and got deeper and more complex with each one (the “Vic” episodes notwithstanding–despite my deep and abiding love for James Darren). It didn’t fizzle at the end like most series that last that long; even though it was a little uneven in the last season, at least the story kept going.

  2. I agree, and see it as a good sign that it took me this long to get to profiling her. At the time, I wasn’t thrilled with the last season, and with Ezri in particular. In hindsight, though, I do see a character arc and think if they would have had the opportunity, the writers probably would have developed Ezri into as interesting a character as Jadzia.

    When the show was on, I was really surprised that Star Trek actually killed off someone. Sure, Spock “died,” but not really. There isn’t really a good comparison to how they handled the death of Jadzia until they killed off Data — both were “reborn” in similar ways.

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