Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Afterimage"

**1/2

Air date: 10/12/1998
Written by Rene Echevarria
Directed by Les Landau

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Now get out of here, before I say something unkind." — Garak

Nutshell: A quiet, pleasant, by-the-numbers character show.

There's nothing at all wrong with what we get from "Afterimage," a show that plays like an extended coda to the season's opening two episodes. The problem is, I'm also having trouble finding much to say in praise of this episode. It's diverting, it's a necessary piece, it's nicely acted overall, but it lacks punch and lasting significance.

This is basically an hour of "getting to know the new Dax," which I was actually looking forward to. I only wish it had contained a little more complexity and a little less of the expected.

The episode essentially picks up right where "Shadows and Symbols" left off—perhaps the following day. Dax is confused. She's not sure where she belongs—completely understandable given her situation. What makes it particularly difficult for Ezri is the Worf factor—and Worf isn't exactly making it easy for her. He's in pain over the fact that he has to deal with the memories of his dead wife floating around in another person, and Ezri is also paying the price for Worf's pain. He avoids her. When he bumps into her in the corridor, he refuses to say anything to her beyond, "I do not know you, nor do I wish to know you."

Dax doesn't intend to stay on the station because of the uneasiness that would arise between her and Worf, which is perhaps one of the predictable aspects of "Afterimage's" plot: How much would you bet that Dax will come to terms with Worf and everything else going on at the station before the episode's end? I'd lay pretty good odds on it.

Meanwhile, Quark reinitiates his pining for Dax all over again, saying to Bashir, "It's not every day you get a second chance." But Ezri's a completely different person, Bashir responds. Perhaps so, but she's still Dax.

That's sort of the point of the entire Trill condition: the same person in some ways, but different in many others. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that "Afterimage" got to the heart of this key Trill trait as much as it could've. Especially given that Ezri is not totally compatible with the Dax symbiont, I hoped maybe we'd get a bit more of a look into Ezri's mind—into the uneasy psychological imbalance. I'd hoped she would struggle with the forces inside her, which might have been an interesting challenge.

What we get instead is reasonable: a series of emotional obstacles for Dax as she rediscovers her old friends as a new person, struggling with the weight of things around her. Most of these little issues play themselves out in a fairly by-the-numbers fashion.

Take for example, the whole idea of Ezri proving herself as a competent counselor. A fine idea, but executed without the slightest hint that a formula wasn't somewhere behind the characterizations, flowing from A to B. Applied to most of "Afterimage" is a workable but unassuming formula that provides Dax with a reassurance, then a setback, and then ends by conquering the setback.

For example, there's the Garak angle. A perfectly reasonable idea, but also formulaic. Dax tries to counsel Garak, who's suffering from intense claustrophobic attacks. At first, she's helpful and Garak is able to resume work on translating Cardassian signals for the Federation. But then he realizes the psychobabble is just a sham, and in the episode's best scene, he gives Ezri a complete dress-down on why she is destined to be a failure of a host, and then says to her, "Now get out of here, before I say something unkind." (Garak can be one menacing guy.)

Dax gives up for a moment and is lost in misdirection. By the end of the episode, of course, Garak tells her he was wrong. She has even helped him face up to his intense repressed guilt for undermining Cardassia to thwart the Dominion, which proves interesting in some ways (Andrew Robinson's performance helps, as always), but kind of simplistic in others.

There's also the Sisko angle. Sisko tells Dax that she'll do fine. But when she fails with Garak and considers quitting, Sisko rattles her by essentially saying: "You're right. You won't measure up. You should quit." Dax finds herself lost in misdirection. By the end of the episode, she realizes that being rattled with the truth has helped her face up to reality. It's a reasonable tactic that makes for a good scene, but did anyone not see the turnaround coming?

The Worf angle also follows a calculated format. And while we're talking about Worf, I would like to gripe a little about his transparency. Now, I understand that Worf has always been one who lets his inner-anger get the best of him at the expense of other people's feelings, but here he doesn't do a great job as coming off as particularly interesting in the process. He got on my nerves just a little too much. One scene, where he threatens Bashir in the infirmary because Bashir had earlier talked to Dax, had me downright rooting for Bashir to come back with some sort of cutting remark to put Worf in his place. (Alas, it was not to be.)

Worf, fortunately, doesn't come off as a complete bad guy, because the episode manages to show why he's acting the way he is and lets us in on how he feels. But again, I could see it all coming several scenes in advance. Looking for subtlety in his character is tough—because there's none to be found. That's a shame, because Worf has a complex history. It's too bad that he's so transparent much of the time.

Turning back to Dax, while I wasn't as taken back here as I was by her exuberance in "Shadows and Symbols," I did empathize with Ezri's various hardships. While evidence here suggests that deBoer doesn't make a particularly good crier, she does convey bottled distress very well. And if you look under the surface, you can almost see a touch of Terry Farrell in deBoer's performance of Dax. I'm not sure how much studying deBoer did on Farrell's acting, but it's an interesting aspect to note. Some of the vocal inflections and body language are quite Jadzia-like.

What's strange about "Afterimage," though, is that I can't quite place my finger on exactly why I couldn't get wrapped up in the story. A lot of things about the it were logically conceived. I think it was a matter of every story piece falling into place at the most elementary level, even though there was much richer material beneath the surface that wasn't exploited by the possibilities inherent in the setting and what we know of Trills.

For what we got, "Afterimage" is a perfectly competent and watchable show. But by the end of the show I couldn't help but feel there should've been more challenge and struggle—and less of the inescapable feeling that Ezri Dax's obstacles are now behind her, rather than still ahead.

Next week: Deep Baseball Nine!

Previous episode: Shadows and Symbols
Next episode: Take Me Out to the Holosuite

◄ Season Index

59 comments on this review

Masamune
Sun, Aug 9, 2009, 12:00am (UTC -5)
I liked Sisko's comment to Jake about her being "300 years too old for him." A pity, though. I think he would've been a better match for her.
Destructor
Mon, Dec 14, 2009, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
I really liked this one- thought it was nicely understated.
James
Fri, Mar 5, 2010, 3:30am (UTC -5)
Ezri had it coming, seeing how inept at counseling Garak she was, but man, he simply *destroyed* her (I think that might be the meanest thing one Trek character has ever said to another). It's lucky for her he was so close to cracking anyway, or I'm pretty sure she would've carried out her initial plan of leaving the station and would've regretted it later.

The first time I watched this episode I kinda thought of his abrupt turnaround as a deus ex machina kind of thing, but remembering "The Wire" and the fact that he used to be part of the Obsidian Order, it makes a little more sense. There is nothing so despised in Cardassian culture as a traitor, and coming from that background what he was being asked to do by Starfleet must have been nearly as trying to his convictions as what Sisko had to do in Pale Moonlight. And we know from Wire that when pushed enough, Garak can break down. An incredibly rare event, but it's consistent with the past and explains his actions without resorting to "luck" on Ezri's part.
Nic
Mon, Sep 13, 2010, 8:58pm (UTC -5)
Where did Counselor Telnorri go? You know, the one O'Brien had to consult with in "Hard Time"? If they had a counselor on the station back then (and they should considering there are 7,000 people aboard), why don't they already have one now?
Ken
Wed, Jan 26, 2011, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
This episode lays the groundwork for hating Ezri Dax as a character. The writers dug themselves in a huge hole that they never really could climb out of.
Adam
Tue, Jul 12, 2011, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Although I can see how she's annoying, I really felt it was a shame Ezri only got one season on the show. Terry Farrell wasn't that great an actor (wasn't that clear when I watched it as a teenager but pretty obvious now!) and it would've been nice if they'd been able to do the whole "Dax/Worf-death of Jadzia" thing a little earlier and give Ezri more time. As it was she got about 3 episodes before the final DS9 wrap up arc began.

Been rewatching the entire series from the beginning for a few months now. Not sure what I'll do when it's over! :(
Penny
Wed, Apr 25, 2012, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
I hate ezri, she's a useless and unworthu character and a bad councelor. The only thing i like in that episode was Garak's line about how Jadzia owned herself and that prety mach she was awesome and that ezri was unworthy of the Dax symbiont.
Krog
Sun, Apr 29, 2012, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
Adam nails it. It's the final season. We should be closing loose ends and building for the finale, not introducing new characters. I understand why Dax died in season 6 (the actor had to leave the show), but there is no reason to reintroduce Dax. Even though we've been with Dax for six seasons she still feels like a brand new character that I don't care about.
spock
Fri, May 4, 2012, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
Ezri sucked, she ruined the final season
Jan
Tue, May 8, 2012, 3:58am (UTC -5)
Ezri Dax must be one of the worst counselors I've ever seen. They should never allowed her stay on ds9
Vylora
Sat, May 12, 2012, 11:54pm (UTC -5)
As I stated in my post for "Tears of the Prophets", I really wish that Terry could have finished the season. And I am still of the belief that season 7 stories have been affected by her departure. But that does not mean I don't like the character of Ezri Dax. In fact I really like her. Her performances as a very confused newly joined Trill were quite good.

As far as this ep is concerned I would almost give it three stars. Lightweight yes but rather well done all around. I do strongly agree with what we learned of Trill society there wasn't more exploited in terms of storytelling. But this ep is what it is and did it well. Yeah...three stars.
Vylora
Sun, May 13, 2012, 12:09am (UTC -5)
I meant to say Terry should have finished the series but whatevs.

Anyway one sidenote...the one-two punch scenes between Garak/Ezri then Sisko/Ezri were very harsh and very well played out. Actually got a lump in my throat. Nicely done.
Van
Tue, May 15, 2012, 7:21am (UTC -5)
Another boring Ezri episode. I never cared for her, she's a crap character
Robau
Sun, May 27, 2012, 7:48pm (UTC -5)
I find Ezri super annoying too. The writers dropped the ball by bring her to the series.
Raider
Wed, Jun 6, 2012, 4:07pm (UTC -5)
Ezri is the most pointless and useless character of any star trek series, yes worse than Wesley and that's not easy.
TMB
Tue, Aug 14, 2012, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
Ezri had no business counseling Garak. She has a truckload of her own personal problems, and professionally she has the presence of a psychology STUDENT rather than someone with a medical license. Garak wiped the floor with her, and just to add insult to injury, Vic Fontaine showed her up a couple episodes later. When a hologram does a better job giving therapy than the therapist does (and her only comeback was "but you're just a hologram!"), it's time to hang it up.
Cindi
Wed, Aug 15, 2012, 2:50am (UTC -5)
Raider - oh c'mon now, there's a huuuge competition there, especially Voyager is chock full of boring and pointless characters. I really don't think Ezri is the worst of the bunch. Compared with such memorable bores like Kim, Chakotay, Torres, Neelix, both Crushers, pretty much the whole crew of NX01 except the doctor...at least she's pretty.
Frank
Sat, Aug 25, 2012, 8:03am (UTC -5)
Ezri can't figure out who she is and she's trying to counsel Garak? I loved it when he wipped the floor with her face!
Jock Strapp
Tue, Sep 18, 2012, 11:26pm (UTC -5)
Some of you are out of your friggin' minds. Leeta is the worst and most useless character on DS9 by far. It's not even close.
Spoon-head
Mon, Oct 1, 2012, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
Look at her. She's pathetic. A confused child, trying to live up to a legacy left by her predecessors. She's not worthy of the name, "Dax." We knew Jadzia. She was vital, alive, she owned herself. And Ezri, she doesn't even know who she is. How dare she presume to help Garak. She can't even help herself.

Score: 1.5

Now, get out of here before I say something unkind.
John (the younger)
Sat, Oct 20, 2012, 3:34am (UTC -5)
I think Ezri is quite good and breathed some much needed life into the old DS9 crew.

This episode is quite an excellent introduction for her.

And the scene where she and Sisko are discussing Worf being intimidated by him was awesome.
Arachnea
Fri, Nov 30, 2012, 6:11am (UTC -5)
Wow, there is a lot of hate in here.

Had the roles been reversed, the hate would have been the same because the fans are used to 6 seasons of Jadzia. Do you remember Jadzia in her first season ? Boring, monotonous, no life, very wise-ish ?

The problem is that the writers didn't have enough time to make her character grow, so they had to make it way too fast. The premise is interesting: Ezri didn't mean to be joined. In the Trill lore, it is often said that the symbiont can overcome the host if not prepared and that's exactly what's happening. I personally would have liked more than one episode to resolve the struggle, there was material for a good "self-search who Ezri Dax is" arc.
It was very much in character for Garak to undermine her; clearly she was not ready to do her job. But the fault is Sisko's who shouldn't have pushed her on the front line (with Garak no less!). Anyone should have seen that she needed time and help instead and, the further undermining from Sisko was very unwelcome (would have been right for Jadzia, not for Ezri). In a situation like this, with an already confused person, you don't add confusion. It's only the plot contrivance that makes it work. Oh, and by the way, 8 lifetimes make you experienced, not a counsellor. It's a real job that needs to be learned and assimilated, with all the subtelties that go with it. Again, the captain got it wrong by willingly erasing the right of Ezri to study, just to have Dax at his side.

What I'm trying to say, it's a shame because Ezri could have been a great character if better thought.
William
Sun, Jan 13, 2013, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
A definite minority on this one -- I'm touched and intrigued by Ezri. She had NO plans to become joined. Of course she's rattled and unprepared. Not every character needs to be confident and daring.
DavidK
Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 3:49am (UTC -5)
I gotta agree with William, Ezri is intriguing specifically because she's not your typical god-like Starfleet officer. She actually makes mistakes, which is really refreshing. They're not Gaius Baltar-level mistakes but they're interesting enough missteps.

Take the scene with Bashir, where she says "if not for Worf, it would have been you". I just rewatched the episode for the first time in years and it was as horrific a moment as I remembered. I was thinking: On jeez, on what planet is that a good thing to say? Ezri, Ezri. Seriously. That's such a bad decision it hurts just watching it.

But I like my characters to be magnificently flawed. I think I've said horribly inappropriate things like that at one time or another. Also since Garak voices an opinion almost exactly like what is being said here, I'd say the creators made her like that specifically, and then addressed it. Her nervous, awkward, uncertain nature is the whole idea of her character.

I'll agree about Ezri's free promotion though, that was insulting to counsellors everywhere.
Late_to_Party
Sat, Jun 29, 2013, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Receiving DAX should have made Ezri into a confident, capable person -- that's the established trill lore, and that's how it worked with that guy who stole the Dax symbiont for a few hours in 'Invasive Procedures'. Now it appears that the writers forgot everything they established about how trills and symbionts work.

Ezri pretty much ruined season 7 for me -- Jadzia Dax was one of my favorite characters, so it was tough to see her go, then there were so many episodes in season 7 featuring this dingbat Dax.

I haven't counted, but it does feel to me like there were more Ezri-centered episodes in one season than there were Jadzia-centered episodes in 6 seasons. And I cringed at all of them. Dax simply should never have been presented as existing within a goofy dingbat! A pathetic excuse for a counselor and starfleet officer.

No way would I ever go to Ezri for counseling. I agree with Garak.

JimmyDee
Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 8:04am (UTC -5)
yeah, you Ezri-bashers are full of crap.

She is good because she is weak. She can't cry worth a damn, but I liked almost everything else she did.

Characters that fail are almost always more interesting than characters that win at everything.

deBoer did a great job of capturing a hint of Terry's persona as if it were a portion of a mix of personalities inside her, jostling around for dominance - a bit like the penultimate scene in Terminator 2. Every once in a while, it does pop through, just a little bit.

As to her competence as a counselor, I think that's reasonable and Sisko is rolling on the fact that he's quite sure she'll roll into it somewhat naturally, albeit with a few bumps here and there.

Counseling isn't exactly a hard science you know. Any time I have been to counseling, the emphasis has always been on letting the client do most of the work and giving them a chance to air out the dirty laundry.

That's probably a fairly believable reason that few counselors stay long on DS9. It's a pretty rough and risky place to hang out if your professional skillset involves getting people to open up and cry a bit.

Given the fact that the Feds are at war with a fairly powerful alliance for most of the last few seasons and DS9 is the most strategic point, that's not a particularly strong set of skills for dealing with a militant invasion.

Might as well change the Counselor's uniform to a clean, bright red shirt.

Naw, her character fits and she did a good job (again, except for the crying - couldn't they have just killed a kitten in front of her or something???).

Oh, and the character in Invasive Procedures was a personality that was quite well suited and well prepared for joining, but had a psychotic streak. Ezri is a personality that is simply not suited for it and was never prepared for joining. I think the difference in the characters matches what was shown on screen.
ProgHead777
Wed, Aug 7, 2013, 5:03am (UTC -5)
@JimmyDee, I'd say the crying scene is completely in line with the rest of her performance. She was pretty consistent with the whole "After School Special actress" routine.
Take it easy
Thu, Sep 5, 2013, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
Totally agree with Arachnea and William. I feel sorry for the haters.
Kotas
Mon, Nov 4, 2013, 9:25pm (UTC -5)

Not a good episode. It is impossible for a new character to replace one with 6 seasons of development. So far I'm left wishing they just continued the series with one less main character. She's not that good and they are wasting time trying to build her up when there's much more interesting things to be done.

3/10
Aaron
Mon, Nov 11, 2013, 11:30pm (UTC -5)
I have to agree with those that think Ezri has potential.

Personally I never really liked Jadzia. Didn't like the character much - seemed like she was a kind of female Kurazon - all adventurousness, arrogance, smugness, and a know-it-all. Not much heart. I usually found her annoying and predictable - like Deanna Troi but worse. Hotness was what she had going for her.

Compounding the problem was the fact that Terry Farrell was probably the worst actress of the regular ensemble. She had 2 or 3 "looks" that she always used and not much else, generally very bad at emotion and no depth.

From this episode it's clear Nicole de Boer is a couple steps above Farrell as far as acting skill. Terry Farrell is not working as an actress anymore and I think we know why. Nicole de Boer still gets okay roles.

I also like the Ezri character - that she's vulnerable. Compared to Jadzia who seemed to never make a mistake and was oh-so in control, she's a breath of fresh air. Plus, she's attractive but not the same kind of model-hot that Jadzia was.
Ric
Sat, Jan 4, 2014, 3:32am (UTC -5)
I am one of the few that, at this point, actually like Ezri portrayal. I think acting got a million better than when we got Jadzia. The character is much more dimensional and feels alive.

The problem is, in line with what Jammer has pointed in the review, that the episode is just too shallow and predictable. And as Kotas has mentioned above, developing such a character to substitute a 6-seasons-old one seems like a lost battle. And in the last season, it seems to have been quite a waste of time.
Dusty
Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 4:19am (UTC -5)
I think this was a very interesting episode. I miss Jadzia, but I don't let that stop me from liking Ezri too. Far from a waste of time, developing Ezri's character during the season was essential. Look at it this way: if they hadn't focused on her, we'd be complaining that she was just a cardboard cutout with Dax's name. THAT would have been the real insult. The writers also knew they had to make her different from Jadzia, just as Jadzia was different from Curzon--not just because they are different people, but because Jadzia trained all her life to be joined and Ezri was not prepared at all.

As for Ezri's appointment as counselor: no, it was not ideal. Evidently the old counselor who helped O'Brien was unavailable, and as an assistant counselor before her joining, Ezri was the best they had, and Sisko nudged her into the position before she was ready. Her first attempts to counsel Garak were a disaster. Anyone could see she was so distracted by the other hosts' memories that she forgot everything she learned about psychology and made a hash of it. She got Garak to open up the third time by coaxing information out of him, then standing back and listening.

I liked her interactions with Worf and Quark the best. Quark takes the change in stride better than anyone, and Worf shows that he can begin to move on. I'm still not a big fan of Bashir, but they played off each other pretty well.

Count me in as an Ezri fan, too. Terry Farrell as Jadzia had undeniable presence, physicality, and charm. But Nicole de Boer was a natural and versatile actress who brought more life and humanity to her own 'Dax', and I'm happy that we got to see it--if only for one season.
Bravestarr
Mon, Apr 14, 2014, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
"If it wasn't Worf it'd been you." Screw you writers, Jazdia had three years/seasons to do something about Bashir and all of sudden you say she had actually liked Julian but Worf came into the picture? I call bullshit.
eastwest101
Sun, May 4, 2014, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
A necessary episode given the introduction of a new/replaced character, so the scriptwriters sort of had to do it. But did they have to make it so twee and predictable? Very average.

Two stars.
Nick P.
Fri, May 9, 2014, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
OMG, she is BRUTAL!!! This is hard to watch. This is my first time watching season 7 DS9, and I am so glad for dvds, because I cannot watch entire scenes with her. Farrel was a terrible actress, but at least she was hot, this actress is ugly and a bad actress, how did she even get this part.
Dave in NC
Sun, May 11, 2014, 11:15am (UTC -5)
The Dax character should have been killed off . . . it made little sense to recast the role with one season left. Besides, it would have reinforced the whole notion of the Dominion war being a dangerous thing (and not just for offscreen fleets of starships).

The actress who plays Ezri is almost cringe-worthy in her performances (especially this episode and the one where she and Worf are held captive on the Breen ship). I'd rate this episode a charitable half star- don't watch unless you have literally run out of any other Star Trek and you are very VERY bored.

(PS- after viewing Ms De Boer's terrible acting throughout the last saason, I'm not really sure why she ended up getting a prominent role on The Dead Zone series).

Dave in NC
Sun, May 11, 2014, 11:25am (UTC -5)
And if any future Star Trek pproducers/writers are watching . . .

Please don't have a character scream/cry unless they can do believably. My first urge shouldn't be to laugh when we're in the middle of a serious moment.

Case in point: Ezri's tears, Kes's screams, Troi being mentally overwhelmed, etc.
DavidK
Thu, May 15, 2014, 10:39am (UTC -5)
@Dave in NC
I thought she was at least passable in Dead Zone. I agree with you, for the most part, about DS9 though.

The thing with Star Trek is, I don't know if it's the directors or what, but the acting on Star Trek often...comes across differently. It's certainly not naturalistic, put it that way. It has a very specific cadence, a bit of a slow and laboured ring. Realisations are over-emphasised, laughs are never quite convincing.

I mean I still love it, but I don't quite believe the events in front of my eyes because of it. Even Bashir and O'Brien, who have one of the more believable-looking relationships in Trek, get stung by it. In that scene in Explorers where they get drunk, it's a pretty good scene but it has this air of forced "ho ho look at this mateship!" to it.

Hopefully someone knows what I'm talking about. I've been a Trek fan for most of my 33 years...by that I mean more than 20 of them, and it still has a really special place in my heart. But yeah, looking back, I think the actors were actually discouraged from inserting any sort of natural rhythm, inserting "uh"s, stumbling slightly on words, all that sort of thing. That's one thing I think Battlestar did well, for the most part.
Dave in NC
Sat, May 17, 2014, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
@ DDavid K

It's the people running the shows.

They told the actors not to "over-emote", they told the composers to "tone it down" and they told the writers not to write too much interpersonal drama. Mix in some technobabble, an over-reliance on time travel, deux ex machinas and a lack of episodic/character continuity and you get the disjointed result that we have: wonderfully interesting shows that could have been much much better.
Yanks
Thu, Aug 21, 2014, 11:06am (UTC -5)
Poor Ezri... not only is she going to get it from the "fans" because she will be seen as replacing Jadzia, but Sisko sends her to the wolves right off the bat.

lol .... her first assignment on DS9 is GARAK!!! How's that for a lucky draw? :-)

...and she did fine didn't she, she got Garak to come clean and realize what was hurting him didn't she?

Garak does destroy her... but does she leave? Nope. Pretty strong kid here I think. Garak himself says she deserve credit at the end.

This episode starts at 3 stars simply because Garak plays such a large role. Just how awesome was his performance in this one! This is truly epic stuff here!

"EZRI: You can be very charming. You want to know something? If Worf hadn't come along, it would have been you."

lol .... damn.... glad she wasn't counseling Bashir :-)

Sisko goes from telling star fleet she can't hack it to promoting her to LTjg all in one episode? I guess she gets bonus points for straightening Garak out :-)

3 stars, not higher because Worf seems like a whiny little Klingon in this one.
zzybaloobah
Sun, Oct 12, 2014, 12:35am (UTC -5)
I like Ezri more than Jedzia.
Yes, she's vulnerable and confused. But, she's kind and strong in her own way. While it probably was a mistake to re-introduce Dax (or any main character) now, I'm glad she's there.
And I think she's more attractive than Jedzia (which is not necessarily the same as hot).

Not only was the Garak dressing down the best scene (isn't Garak always the best?), but I loved OBrien's counseling with Worf -- no one else on the station could have pulled that off.

Robert
Tue, Oct 14, 2014, 8:49am (UTC -5)
I LIKE Ezri. I still wish Jadzia had not died, made captain, transferred, not gone to Becker, whatever, but I LIKE Ezri. I just think she was severely overused in S7.

S7 is VERY short if you don't count the intro arc which continues off last season and the 10 hour finale. I enjoyed her in the final 10 (I thought she was a nice foil for Worf dealing with his feelings over Jadzia and even really helped out in a positive way in the Klingon arc). I enjoyed her in the 2 part season intro. Sisko needed his old man. It fit nicely.

That being said, let's look at the rest of the season.

7x03 - Afterimage
Ezri episode. But I won't complain here, she was the new character and we had to get to know her. Strong performance.

7x04 - Take Me Out To The Holosuite
Ensemble episode with a Sisko focus. I liked the little bits with her here, she was always good in the ensemble.

7x05 - Chrysalis
Bashir episode.

7x06 - Treachery, Faith And The Great River
Odo episode with an O'Brien/Nog B-Plot

7x07 - Once More Unto The Breach
Worf/Klingon episode

7x08 - The Siege Of AR558
Good ensemble show, Ezri was fine here.

7x09 - Covenant
Kira/Dukat episode

Ok, so far so good. We're 10 episodes into the season and her use has been about the same as everyone else, she's grown on me and while she'll never replace Jadzia I'm enjoying her fine. The actress is doing a nice job with the part.

7x10 - It's Only A Paper Moon
Excellent Nog/Vic episode with an Ezri focus.

7x11 - Prodigal Daughter
What should have been an O'Brien episode (and would have been the only one in the season) turns out to be an Ezri episode. And a mediocre one.

7x12 - The Emperor's New Cloak
Mirror Ezri stars in the S7 Ferengi episode...

7x13 - Field Of Fire
Another mediocre Ezri episode.

See, now that's where my Ezri problem ends up. The mid season focus on her (in mostly crappy episodes) instead of getting some preciously valuable last few minutes with the characters we've been with for 7 years just sucks.

7x14 - Chimera
Odo/Kira episode

7x15 - Badda Bing Badda Bang
Ensemble

7x16 - Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges
Bashir episode

So ya, as you can see most characters got 1 episode, Bashir got 2, Ezri got.... anywhere between 3 and 5 depending on how you look at it. I think most fans problems with Ezri is just based on how she monopolized the season. I could have used a good O'Brien episode, another Sisko episode or even something featuring Quark that wasn't "Emperor's New Cloak".
$G
Fri, Oct 17, 2014, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
I'm pretty shocked at the comments in here. I had no idea Ezri was so disliked. I suppose it depends on how people enjoy their TV narratives. Do they value the evolving narrative of the series or prefer the reliability of the characters they've grown accustomed to doing new things each week? DS9 is kind of caught in limbo between week-to-week adventures and serialized narratives, so some of the writer's choices are always going to service one aspect of the show while being incompatible with the other.

But here's the thing: Ezri is the best thing to happen to Jadzia's story in the whole series. She was literally a character who would reincarnate after every life. How could the series *NOT* eventually utilize this element in its own narrative? A Trill character is pretty much designed to have this function.

I realize the writers, still boxed in by Trek restrictions, were probably happy to keep the crew together for the whole series (despite that series being about war). After all, Jadzia's death was due to business rather than writing. But even though they were backed into the move, the writers did the right thing - more so that Ezri is almost an anti-Jadzia. For once the viewer gets to feel the same shock at the Trill-symbiont life cycle that we've been watching the characters go through the whole series. "Rejoined" and "Facets" were both great Trill episodes, but Ezri is the Trill story in Trek.

One's enjoyment of this episode pretty much depends on how much one agrees with that, I think. If you object to Ezri in principle then you've already made up your mind.

Anyway I agree with Jammer that "Afterimage" itself is pretty well handled as an episode and has a couple of stand out moments. It's predictable but still works well. 3 stars from me.
Robert
Fri, Oct 17, 2014, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
@$G - I think you sort of hit the nail on the head with "DS9 is kind of caught in limbo between week-to-week adventures and serialized narratives, so some of the writer's choices are always going to service one aspect of the show while being incompatible with the other."

I would have had no problem narratively if the writers decided to kill Jadzia and then built the show around it that would be fine. As I mentioned about though, they rammed her down the show's throat for the final season because they didn't have enough time to "explore" the new character otherwise.

If they wanted to play reincarnate the Trill they really should have planned for it (instead of been backed into a corner) and done it earlier.
$G
Fri, Oct 17, 2014, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
@Robert:

I haven't gotten to the Ezri-heavy mid-S7 on my rewatch, but I seem to remember a bit too much of her as well. I didn't mean my last comment to come off that Ezri's story is perfectly integrated in the show. It's just that it works conceptually for me and, up this point, is one of the better character moves on DS9.

The writers on this show have a tendency of being really clever but also surprisingly negligent (see also: "bad"). Odo's one of my favorite characters on the show and has a lot of great development over the series even though there are at least two enormous gaping missed opportunities that the writers seemingly just didn't feel like writing.
Robert
Fri, Oct 17, 2014, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
I'm actually not one who hated Ezri. I just feel that they introduced her too late. I think that in the end I'd would have preferred to see her get promoted to captain and sent away for all but guest appearances and Worf get his happy ending (especially given what happened with K'Ehleyr) than to have just offed her.

I wouldn't have been opposed to seeing the reincarnating thing happen, but I think that they would have needed to introduce a new character in S4/S5 like VOY did in order for it not to be a bit too much.

I think given the option I'd have liked to see Cretak and perhaps another female character be added as recurring characters to replace Dax (and of course have Jadzia recur) than to have done what they did at this point in the game.
$G
Fri, Oct 17, 2014, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
Cretak showing up in a couple more episodes would have been neat. In fact, it would have been a cool subplot to have her live on the station and eventually butt heads mid-season with her "hospital" stunt. It would have felt like more of a betrayal, too. That was my favourite storyline from the premiere episodes.

I do agree that Jadzia should have been written off earlier in the show if a Trill storyline like this was in the cards (it clearly wasn't though). It would give us more time to get to know the replacement Trill.

That said, I think having Jadzia getting re-assigned would have been a waste of the whole Trill concept. I don't think it's worth keeping Jadzia alive just for the sake of it only to have her just be a recurring character.

They get some good stuff out of Ezri, IIRC. It's just that the writers felt the need to go overboard with it in terms of how many episodes she gets. One day I'll watch S7 and skip a couple of the mid-season Ezri shows. I have a feeling the season will hold together just as well *and* still have given Ezri enough development.
stallion
Fri, Nov 28, 2014, 2:01am (UTC -5)
I actually feel like Ezri benefitted by coming after Jadzia Dax. It's pretty obvious the writers understand the whole thrill concept and they did a great job writing it. I like the idea of an episode dealing with an unprepared thrill being joined. In away this kind of remind me of the Doctor regerating and a new doctor taking over.
stallion
Fri, Nov 28, 2014, 2:06am (UTC -5)
It took until season two for the the staff to figure out Jadzia character and race and I feel like they were able to figure out Ezir character straight off the bat. It's pretty obvious in season one of DS9 Jadzia was a spock like character.
MsV
Tue, Mar 3, 2015, 2:56am (UTC -5)
I never cared for Ezri and its the writers fault. She was not compatible with the Dax Symbiont, confused, and underdeveloped. Also, they needed and 8th season to allow people to adjust to this Dax. I wished they had just transferred Jadzia to another sector and let her make occasional appearances. I think the Powers that be, were upset with Terry for leaving and killed her off.
Eric
Sun, Jun 14, 2015, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
I always had a crush on Nicole Deboer so I of course loved the addition of Ezri Dax to DS9. Her relationship with Worf was intriguing and I was gratified later in the season to see her and Julian hook up (he finally got Dax)! I think people are way too hard on her...
Nissa
Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 12:20am (UTC -5)
Ezri Dax could have worked if she'd had more than the last season to be developed. She started out cute, but the writers dropped the ball in several areas.

- she lacked confidence and was often snarky. That's not good behavior for counselors.

- nothing about her indicated that Dax was there. The symbiont clearly affects people's personalities, but Ezri acted as though she simply had memories from past lives.

- many episodes were wasted introducing her when they should have been wrapping up the rest of the cast.

You can like Ezri if you wish, but that doesn't mean her character was used properly.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Feb 20, 2016, 6:44am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode, even if it's far from being a classic. For me, Ezri works here because she's a screw-up. Yes, she's a terrible counsellor. But she's been thrust into a position she's not ready for - both on DS9 and being joined - and I think the episode portrays the confusion and vulnerability of that situation really well. It all feels organic to the story.

Ironically, I actually found the Garak scenes to be a trifle histrionic - his devastating critique of Ezri notwithstanding - and it does very much feel of having to cram a new character into the existing story. I just feel that it does it well. 3 stars.
JC
Sat, Mar 5, 2016, 12:40am (UTC -5)
I agree with this review.

I was disappointed that we didn't get to learn more about *Ezri*. We knew a lot about Jadzia Dax. We knew what Jadzia brought to the table, we had some sense of who she was before receiving Dax. Ezri is still not much more than a confused container for Dax with no discernible personality of her own.

Granted we had 6 seasons to get to know Jadzia, but given that there's only 1 season for Ezri you'd think they would have crammed a little more character development into an episode like this one.
JC
Sat, Mar 5, 2016, 12:48am (UTC -5)
Oh, yeah, I was also disappointed by ezris reaction to garaks recovery, where she said the captain would be pleased. I was really hoping her character wouldnt fake that direction, it feels too much like a starfleet agenda than a counselors agenda.

What I was hoping is that she'd have a bit more empathy for garaks plight, and focus on how the decision to continue was his to make, showing some more obvious concern for his mental health, like bashir shows concern for the health of all his patients regardless of which side of the war they're on.

That's one thing TNG actually got right with troi, for the most part she was unbiased in her private sessions with people.

I think this also wouldve helped develop a more interesting ezri garak friendship. I always enjoyed the bashir garak interactions in earlier seasons, and when dukats daughter died it also took away from some of garaks socialization. I'd like to see him become close (not romantically) with some more characters.
JC
Sat, Mar 5, 2016, 12:49am (UTC -5)
Wouldn't take* that direction, not "fake".
William B
Tue, Mar 8, 2016, 9:13am (UTC -5)
My number one problem with this episode (which will likely turn out to be my number one problem with the show's handling of Ezri) is that I genuinely feel like she *should not be on the station*. In Shadows and Symbols it is established that she felt out of place with her coworkers on the Destiny because of her major, traumatic life change, and I guess eventually we'll get Ezri's family in Prodigal Daughter. So Ben suggests she stay on DS9. And no. That is a bad idea. No. A year from now, maybe two, it might be possible to conclude it might be a good idea. I don't know. But lots of episodes pointed out how difficult it is for a Trill who *trained* for years not to be overwhelmed by past hosts. This is what Jadzia told Arjin in Playing God, this is what people pointed out in Rejoined, this is what was the subject of Blood Oath and Dax, and so on. New hosts are supposed to have their own lives, not repeat the previous ones, and while the reassociation taboo has become quite dogmatic in a way I don't approve of, I think that the basic point seems reasonable. Ezri Dax should have her own life apart from Jadzia Dax's, and she should not "have to" give up on Ezri Tigan's as a result.

While I found her annoying at parts, mostly in this episode I was thinking "you poor girl." Sisko, Julian and Quark basically treat Ezri as Jadzia 2.0 (Curzon 3.0 in Sisko's case) and Worf is so insistent on her being *not* Jadzia as to be rude and chilly to her. She should not be here. She is at the site of Jadzia Dax's recent traumatic death, with a station full of people who have made their minds up about her. Her job is to be an *assistant* counselor, which she has training for, and she is clearly unqualified for it at this moment. Sisko's regular argument that she is qualified to be a real counselor with promotion is based on her "eight lifetimes of experience," but we are reminded over and over again that she has not integrated these into her, and it is a bizarre idea that Starfleet somehow accepts that joining automatically confers a promotion. I didn't see anyone assuming that because Jadzia had seven lifetimes of experience she is qualified to be a station's counselor; these things require training, and Ezri needs counseling more badly than almost anyone around her. Her social instincts are such that she tells Julian, incredibly, that his dead unrequited love would have been with him if her husband hadn't come along, which, I hope to heavens that is not true (because it certainly did not fit with what I observed of Jadzia/Julian, but mostly it is a terrible, awful thing to say, and the kind of first impression that seriously undermines the (spoiler) future Julian/Ezri as being more than Julian projecting his old feelings onto the next Dax. Her counselling sessions with Garak (more on this later) similarly show some serious gaps in judgment, which I do not fault Ezri for all that much -- she is young and in turmoil -- but which demonstrate to me that she is obviously *wrong* for this job.

In particular, I viscerally disliked the way Sisko dealt with Ezri here -- insisting that she should be on DS9 when she was reluctant about it, yes, and then when she offered to resign her commission because she was traumatized and shaken, he gave her his reverse psychology speech. Yes, I get it, he was trying to rile her up to get her to see her worth, etc. But he says she did it to him in the past. *She is not Curzon. She is not Jadzia.* She is Ezri Dax, and yes she is Dax but she is also traumatized, an unwilling participant in a lineage, a young woman who has had *her own life* basically ripped away. Sisko has no idea what *Ezri* needs. And by suggesting that she has a responsibility to do Great Things as a Dax, even by reverse psychology, he is putting ridiculous pressure on her, mostly as a way of pushing her into taking his offer to stay on the station, which frankly I still think is a terrible idea for her, an obliteration of a chance for Ezri to have her own life apart from the entire social world that Jadzia had. I am totally unconvinced that anyone sees her as her own person based on their behaviour here, and while not everyone is as bald about it as Quark (who, bless him, is honest that he sees her as basically another shot at Jadzia), they mostly do regard her as a new incarnation of Jadzia, a short and neurotic one perhaps.

Thank goodness for Garak, though alas, his story was by-the-numbers and unconvincing. That Garak would feel tremendous guilt about helping to fight his own people I have no doubt, and it is an important story that absolutely should have been told. I am also absolutely glad that it was, even though I am disappointed in the episode as it happened. The thing is I just don't believe the story in execution; I don't believe that Garak would open himself up again and again by talking about his father, I don't believe he would get to the point of pounding on an airlock to get out (!), I don't believe that he would break down as viscerally and as violently at the mention of the Callandra system, and I don't believe that he would turn on a dime and treat Ezri as something like his saviour after the fact. (Hilarious moment: when Garak is pounding on the airlock trying to get out, Ezri yells "Garak, open the door!" That's what he was *trying* to do, Ezri....) I *do* believe that he would chew Ezri out with the rage and bile that he used against her, in what is a fantastic takedown, which I do not think is entirely deserved but which does also nicely summarize the repeated failures that Ezri makes in her counselling with Garak: she is simplistic about the depths of his difficult situation, spends most of the time going on about her own problems despite Garak's repeated signals that he is disinterested, and is clumsy in her attempts to get him to open up further. And when she finally does "succeed" in getting Garak to open up, it is purely by accident, bringing up Callandra until he breaks down. As a demonstration in the episode of Ezri's value as a counselor, it makes the Troi material with that widow in The Loss look like a masterpiece of nuance. I completely agree with JC above, too, that Ezri doesn't actually seem all that interested in how difficult it is for Garak to be "betraying" his own people like this, and fails to communicate to him that this is really his choice, not hers and not Sisko's -- though who can blame her, when Sisko more or less tells her that if she quits Starfleet she might as well go hide in a hole for eighty years and waste her life? Such is the value of freely choosing one's own life and destiny in this episode.

All that said, I love Garak and I want to salvage this story, so here is my interpretation: back in the early years, Garak was circumspect about *everything*, taking delight in his games. But that was then. Things are different now. Since Improbable Cause/The Die is Cast there is not much point pretending that he wasn't a member of the Obsidian Order, and since In Purgatory's Shadow even the secret about Tain being his father is out. We know from IPS (and, really, since The Wire, in a way) that Garak very desperately *wanted* Tain to acknowledge him, as a protege and as a son, and now that that acknowledgment happened and the Order has been destroyed, there is no point pretending any more -- and yet to admit that he badly wants his father's approval even still, even now that he is dead, is to admit to a level of neuroticism and vulnerability that he still cannot forgive himself for. And yet he's been among humans and has seen where the frankly fascistic values of the Cardassians have led (to the Dominion), so he actually *wants* to be able to open up, and so continues talking openly about his father the first chance he gets while at the same time claiming to be disinterested in Ezri's psychobabble. In fact Garak wants very desperately for Ezri to acknowledge his pain, while at the same time needing to hide from it, hence his deep ambivalence. And his feelings for his father and his feelings for Cardassia are deeply intertwined, hence his repeatedly going over and over again the fact that he is failing his father while he works to save Cardassia from itself, the thing he could never exactly do for Tain.

I wish that we had spent more time with why Garak knows the Dominion must be stopped, if it won't save his people. Does he still, ultimately, believe that what is left of Cardassia will be better than what currently exist under Dominion rule? Or is it more that he has a general partiality to the Alpha Quadrant peoples, whom he sees as morally superior to the Dominion even if he cannot believe that he is fighting for humans, Klingons and Romulans instead of Cardassians. I think that it's something of the latter, especially given (spoilers) his lines in WYLB where he tells Bashir about Cardassians betraying the Alpha Quadrant; Garak loves his people and owes them, but he also on some level knows that they are wrong, fascistic, destructive, and the Dominion is more so, and that this philosophical position is more important than anything else.

Ezri and Garak, in a sense, are similar -- it seems to me that both are "trapped" on DS9, in their bodies, with Garak's claustrophobia and Ezri's space sickness as representations of the same feelings that they are not where they should be or doing what they should be doing. The difference is that I actually do believe that in the end, DS9 is the best (only) place for Garak right now. While I don't quite believe it as a breakdown, the image of Garak pounding on the airlock trying to get out is pretty powerful -- he wants out of his whole life, yet also can't leave it behind. With Ezri, I just find myself wishing again and again that she would go back to the Destiny, finish her training, maybe transfer to a new ship or get a new job even, but build a life for *herself*; be Ezri first, Dax second. Dax will have other lifetimes, Ezri won't, and Ezri did not *want* this life. If in a year or two she still realizes that she'd rather continue being with Jadzia's social circle and Jadzia's friends rather than something unique to Ezri, well, I'd believe that she had taken enough time to believe that, but at this point I don't, and everything just seems *wrong*.

Despite my reluctance about the Garak plot, it seems to me that my biggest problems are not with the episode's execution but with the ideas behind it, which seem to me to be misguided. So I don't think it's going to get too low a rating. But...I dunno. I think I dislike it a bit more than Jammer in his review, so I will go with 2 stars.
William B
Tue, Mar 8, 2016, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Most unintentionally funny line of the episode: Worf yelling THERE IS NO WAY FOR US TO KNOW about what Jadzia would have wanted regarding how to treat Ezri, which I took as a line about how inconsistently Jadzia treated her relationships with her past hosts and how all over the place Jadzia's attitude about Trill customs was.
Niall
Tue, May 31, 2016, 10:02am (UTC -5)
For me, this episode is a surprising and jarring misfire that damages the characters that appear in it, especially Garak, Ezri and Sisko (perhaps to some extent also Worf, Bashir and Quark). The Worf/Ezri material mostly works (though not as well as it could), but the Garak material doesn't work at all (for the reasons William B outlines), and Sisko and Garak aggressively using reverse psychology on a vulnerable individual comes over as misguided in the extreme (as William B also writes above). Fortunately, Echevarria was able to fix in Penumbra/Til Death what didn't work here in terms of Ezri/Worf - I felt Penumbra did a much better job of handling the two characters and their complex situation.

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