Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Afterimage   Rewatch 
October 10, 2016 9:25 AM - Season 7, Episode 3 - Subscribe

There's talk on the street; it sounds so familiar/Great expectations, everybody's watching you/People you meet, they all seem to know you/Even your old friends treat you like you're something new/Ezri come lately, the new kid in town/Everybody loves you, so don't let them down...

There's so many things Memory Alpha should have told her...

- René Echevarria's original draft of this episode focused more on Garak than it did on Ezri. Garak had gone on a dangerous mission for Starfleet, and at one point, to avoid capture by the Jem'Hadar, he had to lock himself inside a torpedo tube. As a result, when he gets back to Deep Space 9 and is being debriefed, he suffers a breakdown and forgets the information he was sent to retrieve. This is when Ezri comes into the story. The problem with this structure however, as Echevarria explains, was that "Ezri would have to be a very, very effective counselor. And that would make the scenes between her and Garak more about psychotherapy than about Ezri's character. The plotlines were fighting each other. This person who didn't know who she was would not be an effective therapist – and that was a major part of the story. So I radically simplified Garak's problem in my second draft. And by that time, I'd seen Nicole, which gave me more ideas. She became more quirky, standing on her head and stuff like that. We decided to let her almost stumble onto the solution to Garak's problem, and allow her vulnerability to bring it about."

- In relation to Garak's role in this episode, Andrew J. Robinson comments, "Garak is Cardassian, and I think of them as really working from the reptilian part of their brain. They're very suspicious when anyone tries to interfere or pry or get inside their very carefully constructed perimeters. So although Garak was suffering this terrible anxiety that was affecting his breathing, he was driven to fence with Ezri, daring her to get inside him, and trying to stop her. But finally his anxiety overwhelms him and he realizes that he does need her help. And in the end, he is grateful." Robinson commented "["Afterimage"] was a difficult episode because I'm also somewhat claustrophobic and having to go to that place is always tough. It was a very emotional trip but an important one because it shows the passion Garak has for his race and his planet and the agony he's experiencing by having to betray both. The Cardassian military transmissions he's been deciphering for Starfleet have helped its forces destroy even more enemy warships and subconsciously, he blames himself for the deaths of his fellow countrymen. The way in which the writers tied that in with Garak's claustrophobia was superb and it made the episode that much more interesting to do. I also liked how they set up the relationship between the older, experienced spymaster Garak and the young, inexperienced counselor Dax, so that was a lot of fun as well".

"It's a strange sensation, dying. No matter how many times it happens to you, you never get used to it."

- Ezri Dax

"I want someone to help me get back to work. And you, my dear, are not up to this task. I mean, look at you. You're pathetic – a confused child trying to live up to a legacy left by her predecessors. You're not worthy of the name 'Dax.' I knew Jadzia. She was vital, alive. She owned herself, and you... you don't even know who you are. How dare you presume to help me? You can't even help yourself. Now, get out of here before I say something unkind."

- Garak, responding to Ezri's help

"You are not Jadzia. Jadzia died and went to Sto-vo-kor. I do not know you, nor do I wish to know you."

- Worf
posted by Halloween Jack (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Easily my favorite Ezri-focused episode. Not like I'm anti-Ezri or anything—I like what they did with the next Dax stage and I thought the actress was very up to the task—but Garak's takedown is just so wonderfully brutal. It's might be Star Trek's best and/or only Alec-Baldwin-in-Glengarry-Glen-Ross moment. And when you add the Worf factor, it really helps make Ezri sympathetic.

OTOH, some part of me wonders if the psychology behind this storyline wasn't a little too tidy. But that's a profession about which I'm at best an armchair dilettante.

posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:45 AM on October 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have been waiting for this episode. Oh how I have been waiting for this! It was odd how non-nonchalant Garek was about working for Starfleet. That can’t be the real Garek. Whatever the lizard man feels about the Cardassian state, he is a patriot to the point where he would die for his people.

The thing that was not mentioned, oddly, is that Garek’s work means he will never be allowed to rejoin Cardassian society. He made his exile is permanent. When the war ends, he is going to be seen as a collaborator. Yes, the events of the finale opened up the potential for him to return home, but Garek doesn’t know that yet. As far as Garek is concerned, he has justified the reasons for his exile in the first place.

The counseling parts were thin, but they were just a means to introduce Ezri. Starfleet counselors are incompetent anyway, so the less we see of them at work, the better.

I don’t have strong feelings for Ezri, as she wasn’t on the show long enough. For a lot of TV shows, it usually takes a season for the actor to work out their character, particularly on an oddball format like science fiction. Nicole de Boer* wasn’t provided enough time to make Ezri into much. Granted, there are plenty of Trek actors who get 3-7 years and fail to bring their characters to life. I feel closer to Ezri than, say, Chakotay.

De Boer toned it down a bit from the previous episode, but she plays Ezri like a quirky/slight neurotic girl that was much a big trope back in the ‘90s. To me, it’s one of the few things that date DS9. It’s an odd characterization to bring onto this show, but Ezri would have fit in perfectly on just about any sitcom on NBC back then.

Also, Worf’s a dick, but we knew that already! A little detail I liked was when Bashir couldn’t break Worf’s hold. Maybe the director forgot or was unaware of Bashir’s genetic enhancements, or the writers intended that. Either way, it’s canon that Klingons are stronger than enhanced humans.

*People’s Victory of the Farmer
posted by riruro at 10:43 AM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I honestly did not like this episode. The only good bit were the beginning, in the Bajoran temple, when Kira walks in, the bit with the Garak quote in the FPP, O'Brien visiting Worf, and the little end piece when they are all together.

I appreciate they are trying to show Ezri's confusion now she has so many memories inside of her, and how strange it must be to meet people and go places where you sorta remember and know them despite never having been there or met them, but still. Some of that was not too bad, but overall it made Ezri seem even weaker.

Her talks with Garak were so lame, the only good bit was Garak - when he talked about his father and the closet, it reminded me of "The Wire" episode, and I was hoping it would all turn out to be more of Garak's lies. I am still not quite sure how she actually persuaded him to continue selling his people out and acting as a traitor to Cardassia. Garak was excellent, as usual, though.

The bit with Worf attacking Bashir was fucked up - surely either Quark or Bashir would report that, particularly as Bashir is the medic, and this could be read as Worf being mentally unbalanced and unfit for duty - which he clearly is if he is threatening staff. But he gets away with it, and Bashir even sends him a bottle of Blood Wine! Fuck me, Starfleet staff can behave like mentally unhinged bullies and there are no consequences? He would be sent for counselling lol!

I am not a fan of the Worf/Ezri romance that comes along either. I know Ezri is struggling but still, Jadzia didn't start sleeping with Klingon women a la Curzon. And yes, I am aware that Jadzia was trained, but still, is Ezri really that weak? How did she manage to pass the academy then? The portrayal of her (and this is the writers fault, not the actresses) is as someone so weak and insipid (so far, I can't honestly remember if she improves much over Season 7) that you wonder how she got through the academy or even got in there in the first place.
posted by marienbad at 1:07 PM on October 10, 2016

On the other hand, the Jadzia/Worf romance was freakin' awesome! (And I can't stand Klingons, and find Worf to be pretty dull and one-dimensional.)
posted by marienbad at 1:08 PM on October 10, 2016

And yes, I am aware that Jadzia was trained, but still, is Ezri really that weak?

That's about like saying that Rom is "weak" on first aid skills by comparing him to Bashir. Jadzia had wanted to be joined since she was a little kid, was an honor student in several fields at the Academy, and was accepted for joining for three years before getting the Dax symbiont. Only about five hundred symbionts a year become available for joining; it's extremely competitive.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:56 PM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm still finding it kind of contrived/shoehorned that the new Dax would want to (or be permitted by Trill customs) to return to DS9, and still super irked that they rolled the Julian/Jadzia friendship back to an unfulfilled romance. But this was a Garak episode, and I don't think I'm capable of hating on a Garak episode.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:27 PM on October 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

That Jadzia liked leading Bashir on and shamelessly flirting with him I can totally buy. That if Worf never came along it "would have been him"... no chance.

Ezri staying on the station I'll let then hand wave away, because otherwise there is no more Dax.

The feelings Garak has toward his role in the war are surprisingly complex and realistic for a tv show. And even though they simplify it down so they can resolve it in 44 minutes I'm glad we got to see it.

One thing that has surprised me in these late seasons is how honest Garak became. He's practically shed all pretence of deceit and guile
posted by 2ht at 4:57 PM on October 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

One thing that has surprised me in these late seasons is how honest Garak became. He's practically shed all pretence of deceit and guile.

I'm glad you brought this up, because on this latest rewatch of the series finale, one of Garak's final moments (if not THE final moment) struck me as possibly being very ambiguous on this score. But that discussion will have to wait!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:18 AM on October 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ezri is not playing well in our house...

I think knowing the backstory on why Farrell left makes the Ezri character like 1000x worse. You've got a completely badass female character whose actor gets pushed out by a bunch of misogynistic bullshit... and replace her with a snivelling space sick manic pixie. So. Lame.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:36 PM on January 8, 2020

Maybe I'm in the minority and maybe watching for the first time now and having known ahead of time exactly when Farrell was going to leave the show meant I wasn't going to be raw about it (plus I'm just happy Farrell said an effective "fuck you" to Rick Berman after years of mistreatment) but holy shit I love Ezri Dax. I don't get MPDG vibes from her if only because she exists first and foremost for herself. Jadzia was so confident, so unflappable, and that's what made her one of my favorite characters, but having someone come in who feels in some ways like the Dax we know (and Nicole de Boer can flash her eyes in a way that makes Farrell shine through for an instant), but who wasn't trained for the joining, wasn't ready for it, and is having to find her own way and who she is as a Trill via trial-by-fire is great! And quirky is great!

Also, I was into NuWho long before getting into Trek, and so the reincarnation of a favorite character is old hat to me and something exciting and fun rather than upsetting. I like Ninth Dax.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:14 PM on May 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

I agree with Kaibutsu’s take on Ezri. It also really pissed me off that there was this touching, meaningful moment when Sisko’s father and son announce they’re all staying together and going to Tyree with Ben - but then Ezri shows up and Jake and dad are pushed way back on the sidelines. They’re not even in visual range of Ben during most of the desert trek. Jake says to her at one point how much better his dad’s mood has been since she showed up, that’s got to hurt, right? Yes , she has Dax’s memories, but less actual life experience than even Jake. The Siskos couldn’t have helped their loved one during his crisis in the desert, a new cheerleader has to show up?
posted by acantha at 9:30 AM on February 22, 2022

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