Star Trek 439: Afterimage

439. Afterimage

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.


Anonymous said...

So they had me wanting to like the the character, but it just continued to feel off to me.

But too often here, like the crying scene, I just feel too embarrassed for the character.

Anonymous said...

I was always bummed out about the Bashir / Worf scene. For all the big deal they made about Bashir being engineered, it would have been nice to see a reference to it here. Especially since we've seen regular humans manhandle klingons in the past.

I imagine it like this...

Worf shoves Bashir against the wall. Bashir breaks his grip, and shoves him back.

Worf: "You are stronger than you look, Doctor."

Worf grabs and lifts Bashir SLAMMING him against the wall, effectively immobilizing him.

Worf: But not strong enough. Stay away from her, blah, blah, blah.

Sorry for anonymous. Have to leave for work. Great site.

Siskoid said...

Not a bad scene, Dan!

But to be fair, it was never established that Bashir was any stronger than normal. Brains and dexterity were his main gifts. Might've slipped free or escaped the first attack, but that wouldn't be nearly as dramatic as your take on it.


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