Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Image in the Sand   Rewatch 
October 3, 2016 12:01 PM - Season 7, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Three months have passed, and Kira's a colonel, Worf is sad, Damar is hittin' the sauce, the Prophets are MIA, the Pah-wraiths have their own cult, the Romulans are acting oddly friendly, and Sisko's still washing clams. What do the Romulans really want, who's that woman from Sisko's vision, who's the other woman who seems to know Sisko even though he's never met her, will Jadzia make it to Sto'Vo'Kor, and what's up with the baseball?

Memory Alpha warned you about listening to that song, and now look what happened:

- In relation to this episode, Ira Steven Behr comments that he and Hans Beimler were trying to achieve something very specific with it; "As we started the final season, we made a very bold and perhaps stupid choice, although I'd do it again. We wrote the quietest opening episode we've ever done on the show. If you look back at the first episode of every season, after the pilot, you'll see "The Homecoming", which was the first hour of a three-parter, then "The Search, Part I", "The Way of the Warrior", "Apocalypse Rising" and "A Time to Stand". All big shows with a lot of stuff going on. But this time, we decided we were going to play with the audience's expectations and give them something smaller, more intimate, quieter. A reflective breath, so to speak."

- This is the first appearance of Nicole de Boer as Ezri Dax, the ninth host of the Dax symbiont. The process of creating and casting this new character was not an easy one. According to René Echevarria, "Terry Farrell's exit was a big low for us. Once we knew for certain that she wasn't going to return, we decided to take the opportunity to create a new Dax." Ira Behr continues, "We knew we needed a female. We couldn't have Kira Nerys be the only female regular character. So we started the casting process, and all I saw was a lot of people who couldn't play the part. There was absolutely no one in the running." Echevarria picks up the story, "Initially, Ira was looking for someone who had a kind of spooky quality. We talked about it several times as a group, and I wasn't quite getting what he was going for. Finally, one day at lunch, I said, 'What if we make the character a little more complicated? What if she wasn't an initiate? What if she wasn't planning to be joined, but she was the only one available because of some circumstance? And she was completely unprepared for it." (That this was even a possibility had been catered for in the third season episode "Equilibrium", where it was revealed that being joined wasn't as difficult as previously thought). After hearing this idea, Behr redefined the character; "She's neurotic! She hears voices! She doesn't know which way is up!" This made the casting process much more focused; "We wanted someone vulnerable, because Jadzia, as the show went on, became a stronger and stronger character. And someone young." Of the eventual casting of de Boer, Hans Beimler had worked with her on Beyond Reality and TekWar, and he called and asked her to send an audition tape to the Deep Space Nine producers. She did so, and they invited her to Los Angeles to audition in person. Of her audition, Behr comments, "We got a good vibe off her. She knew the part. She got it. And that was it."

- This episode is the first to mention the Cult of the Pah-wraiths. The idea behind this cult, which would be revisited in the episode "Covenant", was to show that not every Bajoran was a disciple of the Prophets; as Ira Behr explains, "We wanted to show that, like war, religion can be a dangerous thing. We'd spent six years portraying the Bajoran religion, celebrating it, in a way, and establishing that there is something greater than technology. And that's good. But faith can be subverted very easily. It's what you put your faith in that ultimately matters. A lack of faith, I think, is bad. But unthinking religion is also bad."

- The events of TNG: "Hollow Pursuits" are referred to in this episode by Worf and Miles O'Brien. Geordi La Forge and Reginald Barclay are also both mentioned by name. It is the only time O'Brien refers to Geordi by his first name.

"The band is threatening to quit!"
"They can't quit... they're holograms."
"They don't know that!"

- Vic Fontaine and Quark

"Then what makes him think she's not in Sto-vo-kor?"
"Well for one thing, she never ate the heart of one of her enemies."
"She always was a little squeamish."

- Bashir, O'Brien and Quark on Worf's determination of Jadzia's status with Sto-vo-kor

"You wanna get Jadzia to Sto-vo-kor fine, fine, go for it. But can't you do something more sensible? Make a donation in her name! Or bribe someone!"
"It doesn't work that way, Quark."
"It'd be nice if it did."

- Quark, Bashir, and O'Brien
posted by Halloween Jack (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The idea that Jadzia's death wasn't heroic enough to get her into Valhalla, when she died fighting an actual god, was pretty bloody stupid, and weirdly insulting.
posted by dng at 12:27 PM on October 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Do they know yet that Dukat was inhabited by a Pah-wraith?

Either way, there seem to be easier and better ways to explain why she wouldn't get into Sto'Vo'Kor. She wasn't a Klingon. She's not fully dead since her symbiont lives on. She didn't eat the heart of an enemy or some other crazy ritual.

I'm still as in love with Ezri as I was when I was a kid watching this.

Sisko getting the vision was sort of random. Like... nothing set it off other than wanting really hard! Maybe if he'd had it after getting stabbed, or after seeing a photo of his mom.

Damar and Weyoun speculating about the closing of the wormhole shifting the war in their favor was oddly superstitious of them. I guess they did recently see Dukat release a god from a doll.

Romulans, good. Romulan treachery, good.
posted by 2ht at 1:59 PM on October 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Jadzia wasn't fighting though, she was just shot.

I haven't rewatched this one yet, but can remember Ezri and liked her. I liked that she was very different to Jadzia, and I think the idea of her not being an initiate added another dimension to the whole joined Trill issues.
posted by marienbad at 2:00 PM on October 3, 2016

I remember a lot of backlash among fangirls toward Ezri. Jadzia had become this really formidable lady, and some women were frustrated when she was replaced by this shy, fumbly girl. Jadzia was sensitive, intelligent and femme, but she could also throw down with Klingons. Ezri started off more like some awkward kid, she was smallish and vulnerable and she had a pixie cut and eyes like a kitten. It was a big change! I get why the writers wanted to do a hard left turn from Jadzia, but the fangirls I knew were REALLY not happy.

But maybe Ezri plays differently now, when women aren't as starved for ass-kicking female characters. Maybe a character like Jadzia doesn't seem as revolutionary as she did in the 90s, when people were still boggling at Buffy and Xena, so switching from Jadzia to a more vulnerable character doesn't rankle quite the same way. Maybe there's more of an acceptance of a range of characters, when Jadzia doesn't have to stand for quite so much. Maybe. I'll be interested to hear what people think of Ezri in the rewatch.

For myself, I liked Ezri OK but she was a little bland... and I think that's mostly because she just showed up too late in the game. I almost think they would have been better off just keeping Jadzia but recasting her! As it was we were just getting to know this new character who had some of the personality of the character we'd liked, and it was weird. I don't know if Ezri had time to click before the show ended.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:54 AM on October 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

I don't know if Ezri had time to click before the show ended.

Having quite recently concluded my most-recent DS9 rewatch, I can concur with this. It didn't help that she got a couple of very weak Ezri-focused episodes ("Field of Fire" and …ugh…"Prodigal Daughter"). But I'll wait to go further on the Ezri topic, since we've got two or three more Ezri-centric episodes coming up.

I remember feeling a little perplexed that Sisko would be permitted to just up and take a vacation on Earth at the height of the Dominion War (i.e. the previous episode could've benefited from maybe, like, one bit of dialogue acknowledging it), but that this episode made that plot choice work. That said, I always felt the Tyree stuff was a bit out of place, like something from another franchise. Maybe it's just that, with those outfits, they look too much like Jedi on Tatooine.

The Romulan scheme worked well thanks to strong actors and the overall sense from the last couple of episodes that everything might indeed fall apart. Also, if Worf had never trashed Vic's during the run of the series, it would have been a glaring omission. Great payoff for the Worf storyline, too; thrilling and emotional.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:58 AM on October 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ursula Hitler, I agree that Ezri plays much better now that women's representation on TV has had a chance to grow up. In these post-Starbuck days, there's not the same sense that we're fighting for whatever scraps we can get. I certainly remember being disappointed in the character as a teenager, but as an adult I think she's one of the best things about the last season of DS9 (even though she wasn't any better served than Jadzia when it came to the episodes that focused on her).
posted by thesmallmachine at 8:16 AM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've seen the anti-Ezri arguments from both sides, either that she's not Jadzia or that she's too much like Jadzia (white, young, pretty, brunette, whatever). I liked the character in part because she's got some of that new-kid-in-town thing that Worf had at first, but going at it from a more obviously vulnerable position than The Frown That Walks. She's not just replacing a character, she's replacing a much-beloved character (both within the show and in fandom), and sometimes you can see that weight on her shoulders.

One thing that I liked very much was the juggling of the different plot threads. It gets a bit more intense next episode, but it also works well here, and one of the threads explains why Sisko can take off for an indefinite amount of time: Kira--that's Colonel Kira to you, buster--is ready for the big chair.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:10 AM on October 4, 2016

This was a strange way to open the series, but it kinda works, although I agree that letting Sisko just go on holiday for 3 months in the middle of the war is weird, even if Kira is ready for the big chair. Also agree that the way it was structured, the juggling of the plot threads, was well done, especially as it was a continuation episode.

Next episode (which I have just watched and am now waiting for the thread to arrive here...) is way better though.

I really liked the Romulan commander lady, and her interactions with Kira felt realistic and believable, and it was also good to see a different type of Romulan.

I'll save Ezri for when she is in it more, but just wanted to say that I felt for the actress who had to step into such big and well-beloved shoes, and think she did a good job crafting a new and different dax character.
posted by marienbad at 2:19 PM on October 5, 2016


Now that's a name I haven't heard in a long time.
A long time.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:01 PM on October 31, 2016

random late night channel flip brings this episode. hm. I remember being, uh, underwhelmed. I'll take a crack, I guess.
posted by mwhybark at 10:10 PM on March 1, 2018

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