Although we are done with DS9 and have travelled back to the past with The Original Series!, that doesn’t mean you can’t go back and catch up on the episodes you missed. You can find the rest here!
Bashir’s genetically enhanced friends return to the show but this time they need help from Julian to save Sarina. Originally airing on Octorber 28, 1998, this is Chrysalis.
Station Log Stardate undetermined: Chrysalis
Bashir discovers a cure for Sarina’s Catalepsy only to find himself falling for his patient in the process.
After finding his usual friend busy, Bashir retires to his quarters for the evening. Just as he gets to sleep he is interrupted by a call from Nog indicating that Admiral Patrick is on the station requesting his attention. Soon Bashir discovers that ‘Admiral’ Patrick has brought with him his fellow genetically enhanced friends, Jack and Lauren to ask Bashir for his help in finding a way to cure Sarina’s Catalepsy.
Julian convinces Captain Sisko to not press charges against his friends and, with them assigned to their old quarters in the cargo hold, Julian begins working on a cure for Sarina. Using a device invented by his genetically enhanced comrades, Julian soon begins the procedure to repair Sarina’s synaptic pathways.
After days of work and much despair, Julian asks Ezri Dax for her advice. As she begins to tell him how he is not the failure he thinks he is, Julian notices Sarina standing in the promenade. Both He and Sarina are shocked when they discover that she can now speak and is no longer trapped in her own mind.
Finally free of her mental prison, Sarina begins to explore the infirmary and the station. With Ezri close by for support, Sarina thanks Julian for finding a way to allow her to communicate with the outside world. They soon return to the Genetically Enhanced group where Sarina is encouraged by her friends as they try to work on her monotonic vocalizations through a rousing moment of harmonizing together.
Excited by her miraculous recovery, Julian soon finds his joy is not shared by his best friend, Miles, who is dissapointed that Julian’s work has caused him to miss their weekly dart game. Returning to his quarters, Doctor Bashir is shocked to find Sarina waiting for him in his room. Unable to sleep, Sarina confides in the Doctor that she is afraid to fall asleep as she fears that she will wake back up in her catatonic state. Comforted by his words, Sarina falls asleep on Bashir’s chest forcing him to remain on his couch for the night.
The next morning, Julian finds Sarina working on his antivirus project, giving him an insight he had not thought of. Feeling a sense of gratitude, it is clear that Sarina is beginning to attach herself to the Doctor and, when he is called away, she goes to visit her old friends. Upon her return to her friends she soon finds that they are not the same people she remembered.
Returning to the cargo hold where his Genetically Enhanced friends are, Bashir finds Sarina acting as if she is still in a catatonic state. She confides in him that it is how her friends know her and, when he invites Sarina out to visit his friends, Lauren takes it upon herself to get Sarina ready for her date. After meeting his friends, Sarina begins to realize that she no longer fits with her old group and she will likely not be returning with her old friends when they depart. Trying to find her place in the world, she and Bashir make their feelings clear for one another with a kiss.
Informing the group that Sarina will not be returning with them, the Group are clearly upset. Knowing they can not be ‘fixed’, they find Julian’s attachment to Sarina to be convenient at best. Taking Sarina to Quark’s Bar for a night out, the young woman begins to feel overwhelmed by the stimulus around her causing her to pause.
After dropping Sarina off at her quarters, Julian tells Miles how being with Sarina is such a refreshing experience. Miles is happy for his friend but advises that Julian take things slow with his former patient. Julian is excited at the prospect of having another ‘misfit’ in his life and feels that she is ‘the one’. The next day, Julian prepares a meal for Sarina and himself but, when she fails to arrive, he begins to worry. Rushing to her quarters, he finds Sarina back in her catatonic state staring out of one of the view-ports.
Returning her to the infirmary, Julian finds her slipping away despite no changes in her brain. Staying by her side he takes her to her old friends to get help from them. He soon learns from the Group that Sarina is not in fact catatonic again but forcing herself to act that way as a self defense mechanism. It seems her relationship with Bashir has frightened her. Returning to her, Bashir pleads with Sarina to speak to him even if it means they never see one another again.
Opening up to him, Sarina tells Bashir that she does not know how to be the woman he wants her to be. She has no experience with love or deep emotions and is ill equipped to be with Julian in a romantic manner. Understanding her reasoning, Julian sees her off at the airlock allowing her to go find herself with her new life. Having arranged a position for her at a research station, Julian knows that she will make a good life for herself in the galaxy, with or without him.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
To me, this is one of the best Bashir-centric episodes in the series which is ironic because I thought the last episode we saw The Group in was one of the worst. For so long Julian Bashir’s stories have focused on his ego and determination to be the best at his career but always managed to sideline his desperation for love and acceptance. When it was revealed that he was genetically enhanced, it soon became clear that Julian’s greatest faults were really only to cover up his feelings of guilt and shame in being ‘more than human’. Since this revelation, Julian has become somewhat of a tragic, but no less egotistical, character who is in a desperate struggle to find acceptance in the larger world. Enter Sarina.
Having already helped her friends, since meeting Sarina, Bashir has quietly been working on a cure for her catatonic state. When he finally cures her he and she both end up in a rather interesting predicament. For Bashir, he feels he has finally found someone her can relate to. Here is someone that he can be himself with in every way holding nothing back and, had Sarina been in a better head space, it might have actually worked. The problem is, Sarina is still not out of the water. Having been in a catatonic state with really only herself for company, she has not developed emotionally. Even though she is highly intelligent and able to function well above others, she simply can not handle any real emotions as she has never had to.
Now, you would think that, being a Doctor, Bashir would have considered this possibility. I mean, even Miles pointed out how it was somewhat inappropriate for Julian to even pursue Sarina to no avail. In a way this was a hint of the old Julian, the one who was not only egotistical but also a little clingy when it came to romance. He certainly wastes no time falling in love with the lovely Sarina and she does her best to be the person he needs her to be, nearly to her own detriment. To Bashir’s credit, however, he values her health and safety above his own happiness and lets her go. I have to think that the old Julian would have tried to talk her into staying with him even though he knew she would be unhappy, so yeah, he’s come quite a ways.
Another interesting aspect in this is the presence of Ezri Dax. Ezri is present during much of Sarina’s awakening and even tries to encourage Julian in his attempts to help his patient. It seems that the person Julian is looking for might actually be right under his nose.
Overall both Alexander Siddig and Faith Salie (Sarina) do an incredible job in their roles. There is not a moment in the episode where you have hope that both of them find happiness even if it is not with one another. One of my favorite scenes in this episode is where Sarina finds her voice. Presented in a manner reminiscent to the classic ‘Do Re Me’ song from The Sound of Music, this moment is one that still brings me to tears to this day. It is a moment of pure joy and emotion and one that is entirely unforgettable.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- This episode loosely resembles the classic book Flowers for Algernon which was made into a film entitled Charly. Only this episode has a much brighter ending.
- We never see or hear from Sarina again in the series but we can assume she is still doing well. Hopefully we get to see her return in a future series.
- This is also the last we see of the Group, Bashir’s Genetically enhanced friends. Although I have a feeling Nog might start getting some interesting messages from time to time.
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: Treachery, Faith and the Great River
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Late To The Game 4/30/2022 (Originally published 2/14/2020)
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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