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

71 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.
JD
Sun, Jul 17, 2016, 4:23am (UTC -5)
I came away from this seeing an episode about Sisko more than anything. He's really the puppeteer of the episode. He's a smart, authoritative man mourning his friend, and he uses all of his calculated and manipulative juice to psychologically prod and pressure everyone, including Starfleet. It wasn't good for Dax, they probably acquiesced to Sisko at Starfleet more than agree with him (the war hero wants a favor), and it was just because Sisko wanted Dax back. It's no secret how much strain he's been under, and not having Dax...when he very much could get Dax back? Nah. He's getting Dax back. At the expense of major confusion and angst of everyone of Dax's other friends and husband, and new host, and against all established idea of what is supposed to be happening. The emissary is human, and letting Dax go is personally beyond him at this point.

PS: I had no idea people were that lowly regarding Terry Farrell's acting. I always thought she was quite competent and never one of the lower level actors of the main casts. Have her pegged as more of a mid-level actor on the show.
Chrome
Sun, Jul 17, 2016, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
@JD

I mean Sisko's an important driving force for Ezri and Garak, but I don't think this episode is about him. His character remains the static "Smart Boss Guy" throughout. He doesn't have an arc, his views or perspectives aren't challenged or changed. In other words, Sisko isn't the protagonist of the episode. No, this episode is about Ezri and how she fits into DS9, and to a lesser extent Garak grappling with fighting his people for the sake of his home.
Del_Duio
Mon, Jul 18, 2016, 11:25am (UTC -5)
@JD:

Same here. I always liked Dax and didn't think she was a horrible actress. If you want to talk about Trek horrible actresses I believe Kes is thataway ->

She was never on the same level as "I SENSE PAIN... GREAT PAIN!!!" Troi on the first couple seasons of TNG. And even she got a lot better as time went on.
Robert
Mon, Jul 18, 2016, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
For what it's worth (and this a completely baseless assumption) I'm not saying Marina Sirtis is the greatest actress ever to live or anything, but I feel like she was getting REALLY, REALLY bad direction in the first season.

I feel like, especially what she was doing in Episode 1, was exactly what they wanted her to be doing. She was even asked to create an interesting accent (supposedly a Betazoid accent) for the role that they then didn't make Majel copy. The whole character was BADLY knocked around S1 to the point that Marina wasn't even sure she was coming back in S2.

I love the character actually, but S1 was painful for so many of the characters.
William B
Mon, Jul 18, 2016, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Robert about Sirits, who I think was largely hamstrung by direction that was pretty difficult to make into what we would think of as a good performance, and what (more importantly) would connect to an audience. To be fair, everyone was asked to do a kind of impossible character in season one, to various degrees, and it's worth noting that despite having to be frequently annoying Spiner managed to make Data magnetic in a sort of positive way, while also playing under a really unusual set of circumstances. That said, "act like a robot, except when you aren't supposed to" is still cooler than "make up an accent which we will immediately contradict, just feel a lot but not usefully" as a set of weird contradictory initial conditions. I think the problems with Troi (in early seasons especially) are primarily about writing rather than acting. Even in largely weak episodes, where there is good material for Sirtis to seize on I felt like she did -- like the scenes with Armus in Skin of Evil, which I liked.

By contrast, and I'm not trying to be too negative here, I feel like Terry Farrell was given a not-fully-defined, but still pretty internally consistent and interesting character to play in season one -- a kind of Spock figure with lots of lifetimes of background -- and she seemed largely uncomfortable and insincere in the role. I'm not saying there were lots of great Dax scenes that TF failed to deliver, because the writing wasn't great for Dax in season one, but still, I feel like there was enough there for her to bring a certain presence at least, without embarrassing herself too much. (Note: I cut her slack for the embarrassments of Move Along Home and If Wishes Were Horses because no one, except for maybe Shimerman in the former and definitely Meaney in the latter, comes off looking good in those.) And she was just a blank. The party-girl character established throughout season two was something that TF could bring a verve to and it largely was successful. Though even there, I think that she struggled at times when the character material went far enough away from the primary Dax mode. I'm not really saying she was *terrible*, because I don't think she was, but she was largely unconvincing when not playing certain modes of Jadzia. To some extent, I think dramatic work in Blood Oath and Rejoined managed to largely work because they played TF's discomfort outside her comfort zone to enhance the text (and Dax, the episode, was all predicated on Jadzia clamming up as much as possible), but the first time I can recall TF really bringing it dramatically was in Change of Heart. As far as the cast, I think she's in the bottom tier of the DS9 main cast, but to be fair much of that is because the cast is overall quite good.
Peter G.
Mon, Jul 18, 2016, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
"I feel like Terry Farrell was given a not-fully-defined, but still pretty internally consistent and interesting character to play in season one -- a kind of Spock figure with lots of lifetimes of background -- and she seemed largely uncomfortable and insincere in the role."

Man, there is a lot of Farrell criticism on this site. I don't recall reading one review praising her, which makes the Ezri hate all the more curious since if Terry was so bad then what was the big deal about bringing on Ezri?

I have to be honest, when I watched DS9 in its initial airing as a teenager I didn't like Dax. I found her boring for the most part. Watching it again multiple times as an adult I was surprised at how engaging I found her performance, despite the writing for her in S1 being flat at the best of times. She comes right out of the gates in Emissary swinging, doing something really interesting that I'd never seen before or since. She played an ethereal, enlightened character, so old that even the idea of flirting or adventure were childish to her. The air about her was wise, and at the same time, quietly bemused. I thought her choices were excellent, and her delivery very gentle and decisive.

Now, we know the writers didn't know what to do with her and that they (along with Terry) tried to expand on her character as the series went on. Some of what they wrote into her may seem to somewhat contradict what she did in the early episodes, since it's somewhat inconsistent to both be so wise that you aren't concerned with sex, and then to see a Dax who's a hopeless gossip, a party animal, impulsive, and with a sarcastic sense of humor that never turns off. My chosen interpretation of the progression is that Jadzia was newly joined at the start of the series and only began integrating her hosts as time went on. My observation has been that Curzon predominantly took over her personality, and this only happened after Sisko and Jadzia have discussed him several times so we know a bit about him. Maybe Farrell got inspired by those dialogue scenes and decided she wanted some Curzon in her, who knows.

When I watch the series now I always find Farrell to be among the strongest of the performers. Granted, she's rarely called upon to do the kind of firebrand explosive acting Kira is, or the tortured moments Odo routinely goes through, but I found her verve and intelligence in dialogue to be a cut above. I don't think the primary cast has any weak links (a la Beverly Crusher, Kes, Travis), and even then I feel she's around average within the group. Shimmerman is usually very engaging but I felt he occasionally fumbled the acting. Same with Bashir, who as the series progressed tended to fall into a rut of doing the same things over and over. I think Farrell is more or less a rock, always delivering the goods in her scenes, but rarely exceeding expectation. So she's not at the Picard/Data level, but maybe closer to Riker in this sense.
Robert
Mon, Jul 18, 2016, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Dax didn't fail as hard for me as it did for William post-reboot, but I do see what he means pre-reboot.

They changed the character's centuries of experience from projecting an otherworldly intelligence and coolness (I actually think what they wanted was what Famke Janssen did what Kamala) to having her centuries of experience cause her to have a devil may care attitude to life.

The first rang more true to me as to what such a character would be like, but the second was certainly better as to the way Farrell played it. And it is interesting in a sense... are these hosts servants to the symbionts in a way, gaining immortality in exchange for giving the symbionts experiences. In that way, and it's interesting that the reboot largely occurred in the episode where she gets a Trill recruit, they made it almost part of Trill culture that the worst crime a host can be is boring.

I feel like in a lot of ways they reiterate that theme throughout, and it is in a lot of ways one of the things Ezri is anxious about. But really the reboot was necessary because writing, direction, acting or other the initial version of Dax DID NOT WORK. I personally really liked Dax and Farrell, but I didn't care for "Dax " (the episode) and that was the only one where she was serviceable in S1 and I didn't care for it.

If you look "A Man Alone" you'll see what they were going for. And for whatever reason she does not pull it off.
Alex (in the UK)
Mon, Jul 18, 2016, 2:09pm (UTC -5)
I also liked Terry Farrell's performances. I don't really understand the frequent dislike I've seen expressed about her. She always seemed to be putting a 100% into her role and rarely was noticeably "acting". Not to mention she is one of the few Star Trek "babes" who wasn't put in ridiculous cleavage showing costumes. She more than earned her place in the cast of DS9, in my opinion.
William B
Mon, Jul 18, 2016, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
I might check out some of Dax's early scenes to see how well the ethereal, slightly bemused presence speaks to me. I rewatched the series recently, of course, but it is possible I simply was

Post-reboot, I guess I was probably a bit harsh. The reason I don't think TF "brought the dramatic goods" in Blood Oath, for instance, is because the episode very deliberately gives the emotional climax over to the Klingons, with Dax not quite crossing over into making the choice whether or not to kill the Albino. Stating that the episode works because it plays up TF's uncertainty about moving out of her comfort zone is probably an unkind assumption, so maybe I should just say that I think she does well at portraying Jadzia who is *somewhat* shaky, tempted to but not quite going over into a fundamental shift in who she is. It may be that my problems with Meridian at believing a Jadzia who really *does* go through a sudden transformation are purely writing-based rather than TF. Rejoined is somewhere between those two -- where Jadzia is on the one hand getting herself ready to abandon her life as it was and also does not *quite* have to follow through on it because Lenara makes the call she does; I know that Meridian prevented Jadzia from ditching her current life at the end, but I tend to think that in Rejoined, Jadzia was maybe not *entirely* certain that she was ready to leave her life behind, and a part of her may have been relieved by Lenara being the "voice of reason" so that she would not have to face her newfound mortality and exile. But anyway, after Rejoined, the main dramatic material for Jadzia is in her relationship with Worf, and so it's Change of Heart where that reaches its most dramatic point, IMO, even though there are non-performance-related problems I have with that. I think that TF is good in Looking for Par'Mach... and You Are Cordially Invited, but both are mostly comic (YACI does have the big scene with her and Sisko). So it's actually probably that TF didn't have many opportunities to do the "big dramatic" pieces that I'm claiming she failed at.

Moving away from TF (the rest of this has nothing to do with TF criticism or praise): Anyway, my best interpretation of Jadzia's personality change is that we know that Jadzia was an extremely shy, studious, responsible initiate. It seems as if s1 Jadzia may really have been a combination of Jadzia's early personality along with a sense of what joined Trills are supposed to be. The shift from "with all my experience, I am above flirting and other worldly things," where her favourite activity is brain teasers and her favourite food is steamed [vegetable name], to "with all my experience, I am above restraint or worrying what people think of me" where her favourite activity is ACTIVITIES in capital letters, is probably a combination of her settling into herself and, yes, basically becoming Curzon. That there is something disturbing in her basically becoming Curzon is something the show sometimes gestured to but tended to back away from, which disappoints me -- in particular, Curzon's obsession with Klingons makes aspects of the whole of Worf/Jadzia seem suspect, as if Jadzia's attraction to Worf starts entirely as a way for her to renew her Klingon cred. That Facets and Rejoined are the last major Dax stories before most of her material is about her and Worf underscores this point. It's not really that I think that badly of Jadzia, so much as that this is one character arc that seems incomplete. While I am not happy with Ezri's episodes exactly, I do like that Ezri works very hard to disentangle what she wants from what Jadzia (and, consequently, Curzon, Joran etc.) wanted. It gives the weird sense that Ezri is able to do what largely didn't occur to Jadzia, probably because she did not seek out joining the way Jadzia did.

It sort of raises the question of why someone wants to be joined in the first place. This is somewhat covered in Playing God, but not in a way I found satisfactorily. Obviously the pros are huge -- one will become effectively immortal (on humanoid time scales anyway), gain access to lifetimes of experience -- but the possibility of doing so at the cost of losing one's own identity, and effectively becoming *just* a host for another life form, is also huge. (Rejoined is *really* interesting in this regard, because the renewal of Dax/Khan suggests two contradictory consequences: Jadzia and Lenara would effectively give up their current hosts' lives to renew a previous life romance, and by agreeing to banishment for that they would effectively guarantee the death of the symbionts, thus cutting the line off.)
William B
Mon, Jul 18, 2016, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
"...possible I simply was not paying enough attention to Farrell," in the first line.
Peter G.
Mon, Jul 18, 2016, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
@ William B,

I think we're on the same page to a large extent about Jadzia and her arc, including it's incomplete telling. It's one the sad things in the series and actually I credit Farrell even more on this account since in a sense she largely had to fill in the blanks herself where she wasn't given a clear direction by the writers. In a given episode should often would be sent in a particular direction, but overall there's unevenness in how the various writers wrote her (not nearly to the scope of Janeway, though). I think Farrell brought a fairly steady through-line to her as time went on. She changed, but linearly and smoothly. There were no jagged edges or sudden reversals such as we occasionally got with Quark, Kira, and even Sisko. Farrell's character evolved but never reversed or dropped.

Part of what I like in an actor/actress is the ability to tell us a story, and while many actors feel this means being really emotional when the script calls for, I (as both a viewer and an artist) place much higher weight on bringing one's intelligence to bear and communicating *ideas* to the viewer. That, I think, is what really moves the story along, and Farrell is in my opinion one of the top 2-3 regulars on DS9 who lent her character intelligence more so than emotional verve much of the time. Even when playing scenes of indecision (like in Blood Oath) I felt Farrell portrayed the issue as being more of an intellectual crisis than an emotional one, which I like a lot. It's certainly not that common to see on TV, to be sure. Contrast with Kira, whose typical crisis involves her struggling to contain her emotions and to direct her passionate energies this way or that. Kira does face intellectual issues, but tends to deal with them emotionally. That's great if the actress can deliver (Visitor surely does), but for me, at any rate, when Dax deals with emotional issues intellectually I find that much more interesting. Kira frequently needs reassurance; she's going to do what she's going to do anyhow, but wants to confide in someone or be comforted. Dax, however, goes to Benjamin for actual guidance; to solve her problem with her mind. And I think this comes across in her regular performance, and I think that's something special. There are a couple of big exceptions to this, one of which is "Blood Oath", which I think was meant to be a problematic situation for her (i.e. she knew, and the Klingons knew too, that she wasn't really exactly feeling the call of vengeance as they were, but rather was fixated on proving she was still one of them), and the other was "You Are Cordially Invited", where she really did have to overcome herself and put her emotions aside do to what she already knew was right.

I'll agree with you right away about Meridian, and I'll just go ahead and say that I think it's a dumb-ass script. Farrell did what she could with it. There just isn't the possibility in a one-week shoot on TV to establish falling in love immediately unless maybe you have the best actors in the world. Even then it would feel rushed but maybe you could sell it anyhow. I'm willing to simply ignore this episode and pretend it never happened, both in terms of the Dax 'arc' and in terms of Farrell's work on it. You rarely come out looking good in a turkey (one reason why Colm Meaney is so good; he's unshakeable and will look solid no matter what). The episode isn't necessarily terrible to watch, but the romance is impossible to accept which makes everyone involved look incompetent. The writer's fault, 100%.
William B
Mon, Jul 18, 2016, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G., I think I see what you are saying about the intellectual weight behind TF's performance. It is not something I have thought about. I think I went a little too negative on Dax in this latest rewatch, partly because I think I was just getting a handle on what my big frustrations were with her story in my first adult rewatch, but certainly thinking about some of my favourite moments of hers -- Blood Oath, her role as a stopper on Julian's/Quark's excesses in The Quickening and Business as Usual -- her attempt to deal with things in intellectual terms does come through, especially as you say in the contrast with Kira. It is hard to imagine Kira being able to figure out exactly what to say to Bashir in The Quickening to puncture his bubble, because Kira, as we've seen elsewhere, does not really think in terms similar to Bashir's and would not be able to put her finger on *what* fundamental errors Bashir is making, but would probably instead go at him entirely emotionally (in something like the way she attacks him in Emissary). Even in You Are Cordially Invited, Sisko successfully *reasons* with Dax to get her to do what she knows she needs to do, and as you say her emotionalism got in the way. To some degree, this is also true in Equilibrium; I do think that Jadzia's ability to take steps toward embracing Joran the way she does at the episode's end is partly an intellectual recognition that it does no one favours to shut out the violent elements in society entirely, despite what one's visceral emotional reactions of disgust might be (again, compare Kira with her mother's far less severe crimes). Interpreting her crisis as primarily intellectual also might help me appreciate Facets better, come to think of it.

In Change of Heart, one of the things that I really noticed is the way TF seems to play Dax in that last scene with Worf as...hesitant, almost, about what she should say to Worf after this huge action that he has taken. People like Yanks suggest that Jadzia mentioning Worf's career rather than the potential lives lost is a big sign of the episode's having the wrong focus, and I sort of agree...but TF really does seem to be playing it as if Jadzia is choosing her words carefully to protect Worf from the collapse of his value system, that Jadzia is thinking through how to try to ask Worf about why he did it without hurting him further now that his choice is done. She sounds grateful and sad and a little guilty that people might die because of Worf's choice but trying to hide it for his sake and for her own. It's why I singled that episode out, and looking at it it does seem to be a performance that brings Jadzia's intelligence to the fore, as well as her attempt to manage the reality of what happened. It's so subtle that I'm not positive it's all there, but the tone feels very delicate and precise. So it might just be that it took until CoH in my rewatch for me to clue in to the kind of work TF was doing and separate it from the difficulties I was having with Dax' story.

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