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Ambassador Lwaxana Troi visits the station to attend the Bajoran Gratitude Festival, resulting in an outbreak of passion throughout the station as people admit their secret feelings for others.



Jake is lounging on the couch in the quarters he shares with his father, gazing at an earring he intended to give to Mardah, instead of helping the residents of the station prepare for the yearly Bajoran Gratitude Festival as his father figured he would. It turns out that Jake doesn't "have much to be grateful for," since Mardah has been accepted to a school three hundred light years away on Regulus III.

Ben encourages his son to go to the Festival, since the point of the celebration is to let go of one's troubles "and make a new start." Jake reluctantly agrees to go, but promises not to enjoy it.

In the Replimat, Chief O'Brien and Dr. Bashir are drinking coffee and talking about the impending return of O'Brien's wife and daughter to the station, as they will be visiting for the duration of the Festival. It seems that O'Brien's having a rough time without them, and intends to make the most of their time together even if it is only two days. Bashir hopes O'Brien can convince his wife to stay, since, in her absence, they have played too many games of racquetball and he doesn't know how much more stress his elbow can take.

On the Promenade, Odo encounters Major Kira, who's slated to preside over the Festival and is busy helping put up decorations. Odo says that he would like to join Kira in celebrating the Festival, but it turns out that Vedek Bareil will be coming to the station to do the same… which dims Odo's enthusiasm.

Later O'Brien and Kira are in one of the cargo bay airlocks waiting for the transport to arrive. Bareil disembarks, and he goes off with Kira joyfully; a few moments later O'Brien's wife and daughter do the same, but they're not nearly as joyful. According to Keiko, the chief's wife, it was "the worst trip." Molly, his daughter, doesn't "feel so good" either… and when the chief asks her what's wrong, she vomits noisily onto his uniform.

Lwaxana candy fascination

"I should never have given you all that candy."

At just that moment Ambassador Lwaxana Troi steps out of the airlock. Lwaxana says, "Oh! You poor dear! I should never have given you all that candy."

Act One[]

In the security office, Odo outlines to Lieutenant Jones, a Starfleet security officer, the procedure by which he monitors Quark, when Mrs. Troi walks in and asks Jones to leave so that she and Odo can have some private time alone. It turns out that while she's on the station in her official capacity as Betazed's representative to the Festival, her real purpose is to see Odo and give him "a shoulder to cry on" about his discovery that the Founders are the power behind the Dominion. Odo does not relish the prospect of being the object of so much personal attention from Mrs. Troi, who seems keen to "delve into the depths" of Odo's "pain". Lwaxana promises to meet Odo before the Festival begins and leaves to her quarters, but suffers a sudden headache on her way.

The O'Briens have made it back to their quarters, where Miles and Keiko nearly get into an argument about their plans. They're anxious to please one another, but Keiko's wrung out and the last thing she wants to do is make any decisions and asks her husband to make the choice instead. The two of them ultimately make plans to go the Promenade, but it is plain that neither of them is pleased with the idea since it is something of a compromise that doesn't go far to please anyone.

Bajoran Gratitude Festival bigins

Kira sets the flames to burn

Finally, the Festival is about to begin. Celebrants and performers are walking along the Promenade toward the entrance to the Bajoran temple, where the Presider's dais is set up. After a showy but brief ceremony, Kira declares the Festival begun, and people start to disperse. Lwaxana gets another headache and at the same time so do Jake and Bareil. Ben notices Jake's twinge of pain, but when he asks if Jake's all right, Jake says he "never felt better" and starts to smile.

Act Two[]

Sometime later Jake walks up to Kira and offers her a jumja stick, asking for a few moments in private. They stand aside to talk, and Jake explains that he has feelings for an older woman but has no idea how she might feel. Kira believes that he's talking about Mardah, but Jake reveals a shocking surprise: the woman on his mind is actually Kira, who is speechless.

Meanwhile the Vedek tracks down Jadzia Dax after she provides Morn with advice and starts laying on the compliments, leading up to an announcement that he'd like to get to know her "a lot better." Dax's response is one of annoyance, and she promptly excuses herself.

Elsewhere, Odo is enjoying some Bajoran music, and Mrs. Troi catches up to him. He tries to get away, but she follows him. While they're making their way they encounter Dax, who's still miffed at Bareil… and as Odo and Lwaxana move off, Dax feels the same twinge that Jake and Bareil did.

Miles and Keiko are in Quark's, where their conversation starts out cordially enough. However, Keiko has some bad news: her project on Bajor has turned out to be a lot more complicated than anyone expected, and as a result, it is likely to run two or three months longer than planned. When Miles shares his (predictably unhappy) opinion about that, Keiko says that one of her colleagues, Sebarr, whom she's taken as a confidant warned her about Miles' reception of the news. At that, the conversation devolves into a straight-up argument, with Miles expressing some suspicion that Keiko has discussed aspects of their personal life with another man, and the two of them march off from the table in separate directions.

Act Three[]

Later, it turns out that Commander Sisko has gotten the news about Jake's crush on Kira, and he tries to talk his son down… but it doesn't work. A few moments later Mrs. Troi and Odo are walking out of Quark's, and they pass by the chief as he sidles up to the bar. He apparently gets the same twinge as Jake, Bareil, and Jadzia.

Sisko changes into his civilian clothes and goes to the wardroom, which is being prepared for a party in honor of the Gratitude Festival. He finds Dax there, and hears all about her trouble with Bareil. He offers to help sort out the drama that's sure to result, and just then Dax starts draping herself all over him. The commander, meanwhile, is at a loss to understand what's going on.

Act Four[]

Kira Nerys and Jake Sisko

"Jake, do me a favor."
"Leave me alone."

In light of the strangeness with Jake and Bareil, he takes Dax down to the infirmary, where Bashir gives her a clean bill of health. Dax tries to play it off as a joke, and Sisko is embarrassed. However once they're outside Dax assures Sisko that this is no joke and she does indeed love him.

Miles apologizes fascination

He loves her, as always

Meanwhile, the chief has made it back to his quarters and he's under the impression that Keiko's re-evaluating their entire relationship. He asks Keiko to let him in their bedroom, but she doesn't want to talk with him. Standing outside the door, he apologizes at length for being "selfish and childish and pig-headed." Then he sits down dejectedly and goes on to say that he's left a letter of resignation on Sisko's desk, that he's ready to move down to Bajor (and ultimately back to Earth) so that he can be nearer to Keiko and Molly – without once making any conditions, because he loves her and always has. Keiko tells him that she needs time to think, and that he ought to go to the party in the wardroom.

Bashir and Kira kiss

They apparently can't keep their hands off of one another

Later, Bashir is with Lwaxana and Odo in the Habitat Ring where they encounter Kira, who's angry and depressed because of Bareil. She explains about Bareil and Jake, and Bashir points out that Dax was acting just as strangely. He decides to return to the infirmary and Kira decides to join him, but as they start walking, they both feel the same twinge as Jake, Bareil, and Dax. Once they get to the infirmary, they look one another in the eyes and without further pause begin to kiss passionately.

Act Five[]

In the wardroom, Jake is still obsessing about Kira, and Dax is trying to keep her distance from Bareil. Commander Sisko puts a call out to Bashir, who doesn't respond, so he sends Odo to the infirmary to retrieve him, and Lwaxana follows Odo. Once Odo gets to the infirmary, Dr. Bashir and Major Kira are still kissing, and Odo needs to order Bashir out of the infirmary.

Jadzia vs bareil round 2 fascination

Dax is serious about keeping Bareil away

In the wardroom there are an awful lot of unhappy and confused people, but the chief brightens up when his wife shows up, wearing an outfit that he's especially fond of (Her tight red dress). She tells him that he should not resign, gives him a long kiss, and tells him that she loves him. However, there's still a lot of tension elsewhere in the room, and it comes to a head when Dax goads Bareil into starting a fistfight with Commander Sisko. Sisko blocks all but one of Bareil's punches with ease, but then Dax steps in and knocks him out.

Keiko wearing red dress

She loves him, too

Quark, who's moving around the room trying to serve food, nearly trips over Bareil but only says, "Commander, you throw one hell of a party." Quark continues to move around the room, then feels a twinge of his own… and proceeds to put his serving tray down and declare his deep attraction for Keiko. The chief pulls Quark away from Keiko by the lobes and is about to take things even further when Sisko stops him, saying that it is not Quark's fault… and then points at Lwaxana.

In the infirmary, Bashir diagnoses Lwaxana with Zanthi fever, but she's certain that's impossible since it only affects "older Betazoids." Bashir explains to Sisko that, as a result of her condition, Mrs. Troi has been projecting her feelings of affection (in her case, for Odo) onto those who are nearby her when she suffers an attack, which handily explains the day's misplaced amorousness from people who'd been near Mrs. Troi that day, and felt latent, subconscious attraction to others on the station. Curing Mrs. Troi's condition is a simple matter and everyone else will, Bashir says, "be back to normal in a day or two" – which is how long Sisko tells Bashir to avoid Major Kira.

With the Festival over, Mrs. Troi, Keiko, and Molly are leaving the station. Lwaxana tells Odo that she knows about his feelings for Kira, but understands and promises to keep it a secret before assuring him that if he ever gets tired of waiting, she'll be happy to have him in her life. As for the O'Briens, things have been set right – there's nothing latent about the chief's love for his wife, and she'll be back to the station in a few months.

Log entries[]

Memorable quotes[]

"Odo… don't worry. I'm here to help you."
"What… kind of help do you mean?"
"Oh. Well, a sympathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on… a lap to melt in?"

- Lwaxana Troi and Odo

"I never expected Kai Winn to make me one of her principal advisors."
"I think she asks your advice just so that she can do the exact opposite of what you recommend."

- Bareil Antos and Kira Nerys

"Jadzia, of course. I've never understood how the two of you could be such good friends. She's so… unpredictable. And you're so…"
"Well, I didn't mean it like that."

- Bareil and Kira

"I love you, Nerys. Want to go out with me?"

- Jake Sisko, to Kira

"Miles, I didn't say I was going to! I just meant I could use some."
"That's okay. If you need to sleep, go ahead! I'll understand."
"No, you won't. You'll be disappointed and you'll start brooding and stomping around like an Andorian bull."

- Keiko O'Brien and Miles O'Brien

"Morn, It's hard to believe a handsome, fun-loving guy like you could have so many problems! My advice to you is to burn this as quickly as possible and don't look back."

- Jadzia Dax, seeing the size of Morn's renewal scroll

"Oh, dance with me, Odo!"
"I'm sorry. I don't dance."
"Nonsense! I saw you moving to the music!"
"That wasn't dancing. That was… swaying."
"Oh, then sway with me, Odo! Sway with me."

- Lwaxana Troi and Odo

"Commander… you throw one hell of a party.'"

- Quark, after Dax knocks Bareil flat on his back

"Zanthi Fever?! Oh, that's ridiculous. Tha- that's impossible. That only affects older Betazoids."

- Lwaxana Troi, to Bashir

"My headache was just a headache. I never was affected by Mrs. Troi."
"Well, I guess that means you don't have a latent attraction to me after all."
"Nothing latent about it. Or weren't you paying attention last night?"

- Miles and Keiko

"You're saying Dax…?"
"Only on a subconscious level. Best not think about it too much, if you ask me."

- Commander Sisko and Bashir

Background information[]

Story and script[]


  • Director Avery Brooks gave his evaluation of this episode; "I guess it was over the top. But what is over the top, after all? If you're having a pint of Guinness and you see the foam pouring over the top, you think, 'That's great!' But in a television episode, there's this concern about action being too large. It all comes down to rhythm, and whether a scene has it or not." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)
  • Ira Steven Behr commented that the episode was: "the show that now and then runs the risk of pissing everyone off. It was a show that we had developed for the second season and never got around to doing. What I like about the episode is I thought Avery [Brooks] did some nice work with the direction. Another nice thing was the Keiko/O'Brien relationship. I think it was one of the most interesting threads we've ever done on the series, and some of the most real dialogue between two married people who have expectations but at the same time can't quite sync up with each other. I remember when we were watching dailies, everyone was uncomfortable because it really did strike close to home. Everyone had something in their lives they could relate it to, how a relationship could seem to be bad over such small things – what seem to be small things but are not, really. I thought it was a nice Human story. I thought Jake was very sweet with Kira, wanting to go out with her. Dax going after Sisko was kind of fun. I didn't think the Bareil stuff worked that well. The show was better than it had any right to be". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 88)
  • Ronald D. Moore commented: "We thought it would be fun to come up with all these pairings and see what happens. It got a lot of divided opinion in the mail that we got. People either loved it or hated it. We think you have to have a mix of shows. They can't all be with the fate of the universe hanging in the balance. Sometimes you just want to kick back and have a little fun". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 88)
  • Moore added: "One of the great things about the original series was that every once in a while they did 'Trouble with Tribbles', something that was just a romp. If there was one flaw that TNG had was we didn't do nearly enough of that. They were just so straight-laced and stiff. We just didn't have enough fun with the cast. We knew 'Fascination' was going to be a love it or hate it show, but it was also one that we definitely wanted in the mix. Just enjoy it for what it is and don't get too caught up in the tech solution and the hows and whys". (Cinefantastique)
  • Robert Hewitt Wolfe commented: "I'll take the blame for that show. What we wanted to do was Midsummer's Night's Dream, the show where everybody falls in love with the wrong person but still reveals some things about themselves. I think we learned some things about Odo and his feelings for Kira. I think that's the justification of that. We tried a lot of different ways to do that show and putting Lwaxana Troi in not only gave us a little bit of an emotional bottom, because she really is suffering, but it also, we thought, was a nice way to explain all of these strange things". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 88)
  • This is one of director of photography Jonathan West's favorite episodes due to the fact that director Avery Brooks allowed West to try some new cinematography techniques: there was more light on the set than usual, color was emphasized much more so than in a standard show, all the characters were bathed in a subtle pink light to enhance the mood, balloon foil was used in the background of many shots to get random sparkles, and purple (a color forbidden from the Star Trek color palette due to its association with "old science fiction artificiality") was allowed to be used. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)
  • Costume designer Robert Blackman and composer Dennis McCarthy also love this episode because of the freedom they got to experiment and try things which they would never have been allowed to try normally. According to Blackman, "It was a nice opportunity we hardly ever get. Everybody gets nice dress-up stuff." Similarly, McCarthy enthuses, "It gave me the chance to compose a little bit of humorous music. On Star Trek shows, we're normally leery of doing comic music." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)
  • This is Armin Shimerman's least favorite episode of all DS9 episodes. Shimerman, who teaches Shakespeare, has said of the show "I thought it was embarrassing". Alexander Siddig was also unimpressed with the episode, saying it is "memorable for not quite pulling off what it attempted to do". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)
  • Terry Farrell greatly enjoyed the episode. Farrell commented: "What's really wonderful about 'Fascination' is that we all get the love bug so all of us are being the opposite of what you'd expect. I fall in love with Avery, and Nana and Sid fall in love with each other. Quark falls for Keiko. Keiko and O'Brien are in love again. Majel is all over Odo. It's really sweet and it's very wondeful and Avery did a wonderful job of directing it". ("Value Added Dax", Star Trek: The Official Fan Club of the UK Magazine issue 9)
  • Farrell also commented: "["Fascination"] was such fun. It was more comedic for me than just about any other show we had ever done. So, that was great. I felt really comfortable doing the comedy, and I loved the way Avery directed the show". (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 14, p. 7)
  • René Echevarria commented: "There are some really nicely staged scenes. There are these beautifully orchestrated tracking shots through the Promenade – really impressive stuff. A change-of-pace episode. A lot of fans despised it, and a lot of people thought it was very funny and enjoyed it". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 88)
  • Majel Barrett commented: "It was marvelous. It was great being with everyone again and it was also kind of nice doing a part that wasn't just the lead character all the way through. I loved the idea of working with all the other characters. It was the first time since the show started that all of the DS9 characters were together on the same show". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 88 - p. 89)
  • David Livingston thought that the episode was "cute". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 89)


  • No stardate is given in this episode, however dialogue mentions that it takes place two months after Keiko left on the expedition to the Janitza Mountains in "The House of Quark" and obviously before Bareil's death in "Life Support".
  • Frequent references are made to previous DS9 episodes, including Lwaxana Troi mentioning her carrying Odo's liquid state in her dress in "The Forsaken", Keiko O'Brien leaving on a botany expedition in "The House of Quark" and Odo's discovery of his people in "The Search, Part II".
  • Lwaxana Troi's line "…a sympathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on…" is the same line spoken by Quark at the beginning of "The Circle" regarding his reason for coming to Kira's quarters.
  • This episode is important in the development of the O'Brien-Bashir friendship. The writers originally wrote Keiko out of the show so they could develop this friendship, and at the conclusion of this episode, as Keiko leaves the station, Bashir throws O'Brien a racket, symbolically "replacing" O'Brien's wife. Indeed, the notion of "competition" between Keiko and Bashir for O'Brien would become a comic thread upon Keiko's return in the fourth season.
  • The Bajoran Gratitude Festival symbol seen on a banner and small pennants on the Promenade bears a striking resemblance to the logos of Tantalus V and Elba II, minus the dove.
  • The attraction that Kira and Bashir displayed in this episode was even more evident off-set: Nana Visitor and Alexander Siddig, the actors who play Kira and Bashir, had a son and were married while DS9 was still in production. Kira's pregnancy in the fourth and fifth seasons was written into the show as a result.
  • This is the first episode to openly acknowledge that Odo has feelings for Kira.
  • It is revealed in this episode that despite the animosity between them, Kai Winn appointed Vedek Bareil to a senior advisory position after her election. This information would return three episodes later, in "Life Support".
  • Molly O'Brien's stuffed animal "Piggy" appears to be a stuffed targ.

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest Stars[]



Uncredited Co-Stars[]

Stunt Double[]



47; 2355; 2369; advisor; agrobiology; Andorian bull; antiviral agent; babysitter; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran betrothal bracelet; Bajoran Gratitude Festival; Bajoran language; Bajoran music; Bajoran shuttle; Bajoran temple; Betazoid; botany; brain; candy; collector; conjugal bliss; Constable; cup; Deep Space 9 levels; deputy; distant past; divorce; dress; Earth; ecosystem; elbow; emotion; empathic ability; Ermat Zimm; facial expression; Ferengi; Ferenginar; generation; heart; Human; humanoid; humor; I'danian spice pudding; infection; intoxication; lap; latinum; leader; letter of resignation; lute; Mardah; marriage; minute; "Old Man"; peldor joi; Piggy; pinch; practical joke; Presider; Promenade; Prophets; pudding; Quark's; racquetball; red; Redab; regeneration; Regulus III; Regulus III Science Academy; renewal scroll; Replimat; ritual; Sebarr; sense of humor; Starfleet Academy; storm; symptom; tradition; virus; vital signs; vomiting; Winn Adami; Zanthi fever; zoologist

External links[]

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