FORMULA: The Loss + The Wire
WHY WE LIKE IT: Everyone's reactions to Ezri, especially Worf's.
WHY WE DON'T: Psychobabble is back. Ezri's bawling.
REVIEW: Ezri's first feature episode is actually a fairly good one, but it does make one aware of the pitfalls that come with such a character. For one thing, we can expect a lot of talking about previous hosts, which basically rehashes much of what's been done with Jadzia already. I don't need those conversations repeated, though at least she discusses them through a psychological lense, for what they bring to her psyche. For another, a new character in need of fleshing out is not what the last season of a series needs, especially one that has to wrap up the Dominion War. A number of feature episodes will have to be given over to Ezri at the expense of everything going on. And of course, as a counselor, she brings psychobabble back to Star Trek (groan).
Now to be fair, Nicole DeBoer is capable enough and sympathetic as Ezri (except in that horrid crying scene), a kind of naive Columbo of counseling, counseling you in a way that makes you think she's counseling herself. Of course, it's not so much a technique as something that happens as a result of her chattering (not as bad as in Shadows and Symbols though). The assignment Sisko gives her sends her up against Garak's claustrophobia, and though he gets to be cruel to her, he's naturally not in top form. Where's the web of lies we love so much? But the final answer is at least interesting, playing less on childhood trauma clichés and instead on what it does to the ultimate patriot to be forced to betray his own people. There's a very effective idea behind all the chest-clutching.
Where the episode succeeds most, however, is in people's reactions to Ezri. Whatever it takes, Sisko is determined to get his guide back. Quark sees her as a second chance. Bashir doesn't until Quark makes it a competition, and then she goes and tells him he has a chance ("if not for Worf, it would have been you" - way to make him feel better, counselor!). Jake sees a cute girl close to his age. Kira is awkward about all things alien, a character trait we often forget she has, but subtly written in. And then there's Worf.
He sees Ezri as an insult to his wife's memory, a grotesque abomination that holds Jadzia's restless spirit captive. He wants nothing to do with her, but also gets jealous when Bashir befriends her (the latter is grossly outmatched when the confrontation gets hilariously physical). It takes down-to-earth O'Brien to set Worf right, heading over ("oh no, not again") with a bottle of bloodwine and calling Worf on his crap. In the end, Worf does the right, honorable thing by letting Ezri stay, and that tankard held high at her promotion ceremony is the perfect ending.
Now if she can only keep from giving away Jadzia's secrets. It's actually a lot of fun to have the beans spilled about, say, Worf feeling intimidated by Sisko, but hopefully, this is done sparingly over the course of the season.
LESSON: Reincarnation is hard.
REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: Actually better than I remembered. The counseling plot is just ok, but the reactions from the regulars are well-judged and the Worf question answered successfully.