Thursday, November 3, 2016

Deep Space Nine, Season 7: Afterimage Space Nine, Season 7
Airdate: October 14, 1998
151 of 173 produced
151 of 173 aired


 Ezri struggles to decide whether her future lies aboard DS9.

Throw pillows haven't really advanced much in 300 odd years.


Kevin: This episode has a couple of goals, and it largely achieves them for me. First is to explore in a little more detail what is going on with the new Dax from her perspective. The second to give her something to do to integrate her into the station. On the first front, I like they they directly engage these things, but I think they do so in a slightly leaden way. In particular that scene in the temple fell flat for me. Trills, particularly before the advent of space travel had to get pretty accustomed to being at or near the places of other hosts' death. I'm not saying they should be cavalier about it, especially in the case of violent death, but it seems there should be something a little more laid out culturally as to how joined Trill deal with this. I liked her scene with Quark a lot because it was the only one that flowed naturally as a conversation. The rest were a little too...meta, I suppose is the word I'm looking for. It was a lot of telling me and not showing me. Also, between the cultural taboo against repeating lives, but basically trading on that to accelerate her career, the sense of what being joined means gets muddled. That all said, I like that they spent some time dealing with the obvious questions. I even like the tack of how they will add her to crew. I know we've gotten mention of other counselors before, but never seen them. More than TNG, it seems like DS9 should have a senior officer with a background in mental health, especially in wartime.

Matthew: For my part, I found the notion that Ezri could be elevated to station counselor, with a promotion in rank, because she had "eight lifetimes of experience" to be a bit... wanting. Have other joined Trills been allowed to skip steps like this? I would have vastly preferred it if she were made assistant counselor under some other character. Then you can kill that character, or whatever, and grant her a field commission. I know it might seem like splitting hairs, but I just didn't like the cavalier way it was treated here. I agree on the rest, that addressing character reactions is necessary work. I do wonder whether it has to all be in the space of one story, since "characters reacting to an event" isn't exactly the most scintillating plot summary.

Kevin: Ezri's work with Garak is good. The solution gets a little pat, for both of them, but it's a 42 minute television show, so some stuff will naturally be abbreviated. Her sussing out what the real trigger for Garak's claustrophobia was good and largely organic, and the scene itself played well. I also liked watching Garak lash out at Ezri. It's harsh, even for Garak. He has no moral center as we understand it, but even he would normally, I think, feel kicking Ezri would be inelegant if nothing else, so it did a good job of showing how strung out he was. It's a good project for Ezri and I like that Garak's conclusion of "I'll keep going, what other option is there?" is the takeaway for Ezri, not merely that she's great at her job so she should stay. There's just living, and she'll have to do it wherever she ends up.

Matthew: While I thought that their character interactions were good, and Garak's lashing out was worth watching, I found the substance of the counseling itself to be kind of ridiculous. It did not resemble what I would call scientifically based therapeutic psychology. I get, of course, that it takes time to portray that, and things need to be condensed for television. I initially thought Garak was just toying with Ezri when he said his father put him in a closet. Come on, he's just toying with her, right, because it's such an obvious answer? Nope, it was legit. At least they made it a tad more complex with Garak's divided loyalties, which is a much more interesting story than the already completed Garak/Tain arc. But then Ezri's space sickness is basically the same sort of thing, too? It was all just too neat. 

Kevin: The Worf subplot. Ugh. I liked the callback bit with O'Brien and the bloodwine and that conversation was great and had real emotional depth, and even a slight science fiction element. We normally explore the effects of multiple lives on the Trill, but what must it mean to mourn someone who is gone but not gone? That has to be a bit of a mindfuck. And O'Brien's gentle everyman advice was good and well delivered. What would Jadzia want him to do? The scene served to make Worf's pain and distance credible and affecting. The BS with Bashir in the Infirmary was just absurd. He literally assaulted a fellow officer and it all stems from the same nonsense possessive abusive nonsense. (Yes, I know I said nonsense twice. It's that nonsensical.)

Matthew: I too found the infirmary scene distasteful. But in the balance of things, it's a nice thing to get to Worf's reaction and healing process. They're trying to give a Klingon a recognizable emotional response to a Trill maintaining half (or something) of his wife's personality. So suffice it to say, there was some work to be done. Overall, they did what hey needed to do, and at least they ended Worf's part of this story on a good note.


Kevin: DeBoer is stronger when she's being quirky and adorable. That is clearly her wheelhouse. I think she did a good job in most of scenes with Garak, particularly the final scenes when he breaks down about his role a traitor and when they both resolve to keep going. I think she was less effective in her breakdown in the temple and some of the scenes with Sisko. Maybe it's just how new she is to the role, but I didn't quite buy her investment in Jadzia's former life yet. That said, she had a good handle on the previous hosts and their personalities and it didn't sound like she was rattling off details she didn't understand.

Matthew: I think the script could have given her some better counseling to do. But for her own character work, I think DeBoer was effective. I especially found her stuff worrying about Worf and his feelings to be god work. I liked how she crumpled a bit under Sisko's tough love, too.

Kevin: Andrew Robinson is as always a gem. He gave real life to the inner turmoil, and his alternating between berating himself and berating Ezri played really well. He really gave some heft to the notion that he was suffering something akin to PTSD. His manic energy built in a really entertaining way. I loved the way he managed to make the word "Romulan" sound like a slur. He does a great job of investing Garak with a distinct worldview that comes across in all his interactions. His only virute, even by his own standards, is his loyalty to Cardassia and while he may intellectually understand that assisting the Federation is the only way to free them, the emotional cost is incalculable, and he portrays it very well.

Matthew: The same caveat applies as above - the script failed to give Robinson meaty "breakdown" scenes. But he was effective in his dressing down of Dax, and I believed his basic emotional journey.

Kevin: When Worf gets to act like not an asshole, he does it well. I really liked his scene with O'Brien. We've criticized Brooks hamminess over the years, but it really showed in this episode for me with such a younger, physically smaller actor who was still feeling out the part. He did a good job in quieter moments of really feeling like was ahead of the curve on adapting to the new Dax in his life, but the scene where he fakes dismisses her felt really off for me.

Matthew: That scene doesn't really get my ham sensors working, actually. I thought it was decent. Speaking of overdoing it, I found that Michael Dorn didn't (or couldn't) give Worf enough shades when he was getting up in Bashir and Quark's business over Dax. It just came off as dickish. I thought Alexander Siddig had a nice, understated turn in his scenes with DeBoer.

Production Values

Kevin: This was a very bottle show. The only effect of note was the holographic vista, which was decent. There were no obvious green screen lines, and physically ledge was good. Other than that, the revolving fashion show that is Garak's wardrobe always delights me.

Matthew: Yep. Nothing to see here, folks. I wanted Garak to jump off the ledge, personally (to be saved by safety protocols, of course).


Kevin: This is a solid if not exactly enthusiastic three for me. The idea is good and it's the obvious choice for Ezri's first solo episode. Garak is always a joy. I think the solutions end up too pat and I never quite hook into the emotional arc Ezri is going through, but it's a solid episode and Garak throwing that insult about Jadzia at Ezri alone is worth the price of admission for me.

Matthew: A few aspects almost annoy me into a 2 rating, but the effective actingkept me interested and engaged enough to call this an average outing. Not a whole lot happens, and some notes were off. But Ezri was likeable and I had no problem with her staying on board after this was done. So I agree with the 3 for a total of 6.

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