"Image In The Sand"
Airdate: September 30, 1998
149 of 173 produced
149 of 173 aired
Sisko in exile receives a vision of his biological mother, sending him on a quest for truth and purpose. Meanwhile, Kira tries to manage the stresses of her new role on the station and Worf receives a little help from his friends as he mourns.
I was going to say something extremely rough in response to this image, and I said to myself, I can't do it. It's inappropriate. It's not nice.
Kevin: With the notable exception of Best of Both Worlds, we have found that Star Trek seasons tend to benefit from a season ender that sets up the story for the next season but doesn't necessarily dictate the next 60 minutes of story telling. I think this episode is a good example of that. The lack of traditional cliff hanger, much like last seasons, let's us jump forward and see some longer term consequences. I like that Kira is charge and she's good at it, but not exactly at ease with it. It makes sense that a new, though temporary they hope, equilibrium would be established. It also underscores the stakes for the Sisko character. For whatever faults I may tag this opening arc with later, the idea of Sisko retreating, much as he did after his wife died, makes sense from a character perspective. He's surrounded himself with the familiar, and nothing could be further from the high stakes of the station than the repetitive tasks of restaurant prep work.
Matthew: I found myself enjoying the Sisko story quite a bit, even knowing where it's going to end up. I totally agree that his retreat made sense and is pretty interesting. I thought the basic mystery progressed well, and then the confrontation with the fanatic was exciting and lent interesting dimensions to the story. Who are these nuts? Do they have special powers or is it just some fringe group? Speaking of character stories, I found the Worf story to be the least engaging of the episode. The way he trashed Vic Fontaine's club read as very phony, and then the scene in which he is supposed to unburden his soul to O'Brien... didn't happen on screen. Is this becoming an annoying tendency? First Kira/Odo get together off screen, now this? Anyway, I feel like this is something that deserved its own episode, instead of being shoehorned in like this. Does Worf believe in Sto-Vo-Kor, given his experience during the Kahless clone fiasco?
Kevin: On the station side of things, the story hums along at an enjoyable pace. I liked the introduction of Senator Cretak. I like that Kira has a cordial relationship with her that then gets blown up. It's good complex politicking. Yes, Bajor needs this ally, but no, Bajor is NEVER going to be okay with a foreign power seizing territory. Both the Romulan and Bajoran actions here feel like they make sense given what we know of them. I also like that it's a way to threaten the war effort without resorting to any Big Bad storytelling.
Matthew: I like the idea of introducing a Romulan as a foil for the difficulties of managing the station during wartime. It seems like such a good idea I'm shocked it wasn't tried before (oh, wait...). All joking aside, it was a nice little B story that added rather than annoyed. And, it gave Odo the opportunity to be something other than creepy and weird in Kira's direction. His advice and support worked well - and really, that's all they needed.
Kevin: On the Earth side, as much as we may find the idea of people in post-scarcity utopia volunteering to be waiters, I can't say I don't enjoy any look at Earth. I thought the Bajoran assassin was little too neat since Sisko was apparently fine in the next scene. I can also taste the major retconning of Bajoran religion coming. That being said, the emotional notes largely work. I buy the elder Sisko's emotional arc and having the new Dax show up certainly opens up a lot of doors.
Matthew: You pointed out in the podcast that symbiont hosts are supposed to avoid past friends, and that Dax seems to be flouting this cultural taboo without repercussion. I did find knocking the assassin out with a bag of potatoes to be pretty lame. Like, wouldn't he just shrug off the potato-beaning and stab the shit out of Jake, too? Give us a fistfight, at least!
Kevin: The two guest stars, Megan Cole and Brock Peters really deliver, particularly Peters. He seemed really on the verge of a breakdown when trying to get Sisko to not ask the obvious questions. We all have crotchety elder relatives and that is exactly how they flip out. I liked his rapport with Brooks in the scene when he finally reveals the truth. Megan Cole last appeared as the humorless and genderless J'naii in Outcast, so they've kind of typecast her as stern villain, but she plays it well. It's more imperial here, and it works for me.
Matthew: Although I do think it's weird that they have typecast these supposedly passionate and violent people with robotic, Vulcan rejects (like, isn't it odd that Sela has been the most Romulan Romulan?), I totally agree on Megan Cole. Whether or not she reads in a human way, she is interesting and believable. I think a shout out should be made to the Coombs/Biggs duo. Their scenes might be short, but they live in the memory. Brock Peters leaned a little too hard on the weak old man thing, and not hard enough on the stern and wise mentor aspect, for my taste.
Kevin: I liked Nana Visitor's work here. Her initial reticence, thawing, then break with Cretak was well done and I liked that she never shouted once. She didn't have too. Brooks does a good job just seeming...lost, and that fits the character arc nicely.
Matthew: Nana Visitor had a certain bemused, slightly scattered quality that made sense for someone who feels out of her depth in a new role. Although I think their dialogue was atrocious, I liked Colm Meaney and Alexander Siddig (and Armin Shimerman, for that matter) showing their concern for their comrade.
Kevin: I always enjoy the restaurant. It's a fun set. I liked the proto-iPad Sisko was working on. Save for what I assume was the battery pack the size of War and Peace on the back, it could have passed for actual early 21st century tech. Beyond that, there wasn't a lot in the way of effects, but there was certainly nothing that didn't work.
Matthew: I thought the sign on the restaurant looked faker than fake. Even if it looked real, it was in bad taste. Blue ad Yellow neon, ten feet high? What is this, Trump Tower New Orleans? The interior of the restaurant and the kitchen sets, however, rang really true.
Kevin: I am going with a four. The emotional marks are all there, even if there are some unanswered questions, and the political tension running through the war effort on the station certainly kept my interest. It's a brisk, efficient opening to the show's final season.
Matthew: This is kind of borderline for me. It's certainly a solid enough show. There were just enough "Huh?" moments to have me thinking 3. But in the end, the sheer sense of forward narrative movement is enough to edge it a little higher. It sets up a lot, and has me excited to see the next installment. So that makes our total an 8. But I won't be so kind to future installments of these "huh" moments don't get translated into "oh, cool!" moments.