The Good: Decent character development, Good Acting
The Bad: Almost nonexistent plot
The Basics: While Sisko works to keep Ezri aboard the station, Garak suffers from claustrophobia which, conveniently enough, requires a counselor in “Afterimage.”
Despite ending with one of the longest sustained plot arcs in the Star Trek franchise and going out with a resounding bang, the final season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine began with a somewhat rocky start. That is, arguably, because the show had to accommodate the new character, Ezri Dax before it continued along. Even as the b-plots continue to develop the main characters, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine did not simply become the Ezri Dax Show, in contrast to the way Star Trek: Voyager became The Seven Of Nine Show when Jeri Ryan appeared on it. That said, the show did have to devote some time to making viewers care about newcomer Ezri Dax. That is, inarguably, the whole point of “Afterimage.”
“Afterimage” is a “necessary evil” episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that serves the purpose of getting Ezri Dax to remain past the first three episodes of the new season. It is in this episode that Ezri struggles with who she is, who she might become and how those around her react to her. In true Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fashion, it is in this episode that Ezri Dax proves that she actually has something to contribute to the cast and the mix of characters aboard the station.
Having returned once again to Deep Space Nine, Sisko has resumed command and Kira is getting to know Ezri Dax. Ezri is unsettled because she remembers being killed in the shrine, Worf is standoffish to her and part of her is unfamiliar with the station and the other portion knows the station in intimate detail. While Ezri’s problems encourage her to abandon StarFleet and return to Trill in order to learn how to better integrate the Symbiont, Sisko and Bashir find use for her talents. Garak, as it turns out, is suffering from crippling claustrophobia, which is preventing him from focusing enough to complete plans for a Federation assult.
As Garak tries to rattle Ezri, the young counselor uses the holosuites to treat the Cardassian and she puts up with his uncharacteristically abrasive personality. But her solution does not get to the root of the problem, which forces her to look deeper. In the process, Ezri learns an important lesson about herself.
In many ways, “Afterimage” is a filler episode that explains why Ezri Dax would remain with the crew. Theoretically, Deep Space Nine already has a Counselor and a counseling staff; one was alluded to in “Hard Time” (reviewed here!). But the viewer has never seen the station’s counselor and as a result, the idea that only Ezri can solve Garak’s issue may seem contrived, but it works. It also gives the show a chance to add more personality aspects to Ezri Dax that are distinctive. She gets motion sickness and she is deeply insecure, something which Jadzia Dax could never credibly be called.
It also gives a chance to realign the dynamics aboard the station. Worf is hostile to Ezri and in “Afterimage,” we learn that it is not just Worf being a jerk; he is actually trying to honor Jadzia’s wishes (not endangering the Dax Symbiont through reassociation) as well as keep his own emotional health. He, understandably, misses Jadzia, but he does not want to live in the past by getting too close to Ezri. So, “Afterimage” gives the two a chance to start a new, if distant, relationship. It also gives Ezri and Garak a chance to start a relationship, which is interesting because Jadzia and Garak seldom shared scenes.
Ultimately, “Afterimage” is not bad; it is fairly average. But not much happens in it, none of the performances are bad or superlative and it is hard to muster up much enthusiasm to write more about such an average episode.
[Knowing that the season is a much better investment, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Seventh Season on DVD, which provides the full story for the conclusion to the series. Read my review of the final season by clicking here!
See how this episode stacks up against others in the franchise by visiting my specialized Star Trek Review Index Page where the reviews are organized from best of the franchise to worst!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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