Love is in the air at the Bajoran Gratitude Festival on the episode that originally aired on November 28, 1994. This is Fascination.
Station Log Stardate Undetermined: Fascination
Lwaxana Troi returns to DS9 to attend the Bajoran Gratitude Festival where she accidentally infects the crew with a emotions of passion, resulting is everyone admitting their secret feelings for each other.
As everyone prepares for the Bajoran Gratitude Festival, the crew begin preparing for the nights festivities. Jake is depressed as Mardah has been accepted to a school some three hundred light years away from the station. O’Brien is preparing for the return of his wife and Odo is dismayed when he learns Kira is planning to celebrate the night with Vedek Bareil. After Kira has a heartfelt reunion with Bareil, Miles is greeted with his daughter Molly throwing up all over his uniform. Things get become clear when Lwaxana appears apologizing to Molly for giving her too much candy on their trip.
As Odo preps his Junior Officer on his duties while Odo is at the Festival, he is surprised with a visit from Lwaxana Troi. She informs him that she has come to be his support after learning that Odo’s people are the leaders of the Dominion. Much to his dismay, she promises that he will never be alone again. Just as she is leaving, she reacts with a slight headache.
As everyone continue their preparations, Miles is relieved to have Molly’s illness under control and his wife all to himself. He soon finds that Keiko is more interested in sleep that spending time with her husband. After a small debate they agree to go to the festival together.
Conducting the opening ceremonies of the Gratitude Festival, Kira informs everyone that for the next 26 hours she expects everyone to enjoy themselves. As the Festivities begin, Jake gets a headache as Lwaxana passes by and suddenly he looks smitten by something or someone. Pulling Kira away from Bareil, Jake tells Kira that he is in love with her. She is flattered but is suddenly in an awkward position. At the same time Bareil makes his move on Jadzia Dax making her very uncomfortable in the process. As Lwaxana continues through the Promenade with Odo, she continues to infect others including Jadzia and even Quark. It is only when Dax makes her love known for Ben Sisko that the Commander realizes that there is something amiss.
That evening, at Sisko’s party, things escalate even further with everyone at Ben’s party begin professing their love for one another. Demanding that Bashir finds a way to figure out what is going on, Bashir soon finds himself unable to un-knot himself from the arms of Major Kira. When Quark shows his affection for Keiko Sisko puts two and two together and it is soon discovered that Lwaxana has Zanthi Fever, a disease that causes everyone to act on their romantic feelings for others when they are near the Betazoid who is having an attack.
In the end, Lwaxana is cured and the crew is cleared of the amorous feelings for one another except for the ones that were real to begin with…
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Every Star Trek series has an episode where the crew ‘lose their inhibitions’ The Original Series had The Naked Time, Star Trek The Next Generation had The Naked Now (a sequel to the original) and this one is the DS9 version. For some reason the writers of these shows like to let the crew ‘let loose’ every now and then and, while it can be a great way to explore the characters in new ways, the ‘romantic trope’ seems to be pretty played out, even at the time that this one was aired. Is it a fun episode? Sure, it is clever and sets up some key future plot points from Odo’s love for Kira to the friendship between Bashir and O’Brien, but for the most part, it is a pretty forgettable episode that falls into the filler category.
My biggest issue with the episode is a bit of a continuity problem brought about by what was most likely meant as a joke. Early on in the franchise it is made abundantly clear that Betazoids could not read or affect Ferengi’s in any way due to the structure of their brains. This was a huge plot point for several episodes, even some involving Lwaxana herself. So, when Quark is affected by Lwaxana’s illness, this is completely contrary to what has already been established. It would have been much more realistic had another character been in this spot, heck, even Morn would have worked! Regardless it is a funny moment even though it makes no sense continuity wise.
This episode does have a special place for me though as it is an episode that marks my wife’s transformation into a Geek. I been purchasing the Boxed sets as I found them used at various stores and we were working our way through the series, having just finished all of Star Trek The Next Generation. It was likely my fourth or fifth time through but this was my wife’s first time watching the series. When we got to the moment that showed Molly playing with her stuffed animals, I casually remarked something about the warthog plush she was holding. My wife turned to me and with every bit of seriousness she said ‘That’s A Targ, hon.’ and went back to watching the show. I have to admit, I was very proud of her that day as I had finally turned my wife into a Geek.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
This is the penultimate appearance as Majel Barret as Lwaxana Troi with her appearing once more in Season 4.
Lwaxana makes her love clear to Odo, something she has only done a few times in her life. To her, Odo is not just an infatuation, he is someone she genuinely cares for.
It is not un-ironic that Kira and Bashir should have a passionate make-out session as the two actors, Siddig El Fadil and Nana Visitor where very much involved with one another at the time, in fact they even had a few kids together!
This marks the last time we see Keiko for a while but in turn is the start of the epic friendship between Miles and Bashir.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Past Tense Part I
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Late To The Game 5/15/2021 (Originally published 7/1/19)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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