"Afterimage" Plot Summary:
After speaking with Morn, who has no idea who she is, Ezri Dax enters the Bajoran temple and tells Kira that this was where Jadzia was killed. She tells Quark she's not stayong on the station - she's having trouble to adjusting to drinking blood-wine, and being left-handed, and being treated differently by everyone but Sisko and Quark...the bigges problem being Worf, who comes in, sees her, and leaves. Sisko tells her that perhaps the taboo against rejoining former spouses is bothering him, but Dax says she explained that custom well enough for him to realize that it's not an issue. She wants to leave with the Destiny, the ship on which she's an assistant counselor.
Garak suffers an attack of claustrophobia in the bar and later in his shop. Bashir can find nothing wrong, but Garak insists that he wants to stop decoding Cardassian transmissions and go back to sewing to take his mind off his condition. Sisko asks Dax if she'll counsel him, to which she reluctantly agrees. She draws analogies between his condition and her own spacesickness, saying that her guilt over Torias Dax's death may be affecting her the same way something from his past is bothering Garak. He admits that his father used to lock him in closets, but says he deserves it.
Leaving the shop, Dax has an attack of space-sickness and runs into Worf, who says he has no desire to speak to her. Sisko informs her that Garak is better - he's decoding transmissions again - and offers to talk to Worf, since Dax has every right to be on the station and he believes Starfleet will promote her to Lieutenant and give her a commission as a counselor based on Jadzia's experience. Later, when she has trouble deciding what to eat, Bashir gets her a meal and flirts with her, though he previously told Quark that she wasn't Jadzia and he didn't know how he felt about her. Dax tells Bashir that if she hadn't met Worf, Jadzia would have gotten involved with him. Seeing the two together, Worf becomes enraged.
Garak tries to jump out an airlock and ends up in a holosuite with Dax, trying to get over his sense that the vast vista before him is really a holosuite wall. Meanwhile, Worf goes to the infirmary and informs Bashir that he had better stay away from Dax, because if he dishonors Jadzia's memory, Worf will make him pay. Garak goes back to the shop and throws himself into sewing work, calling Dax insipid and telling her she's not worthy of the name of Dax. She goes to Sisko with her resignation from Starfleet; he suggests that she go back to Trill and waste her life caring for symbionts since she doesn't want to face up to her challenges. O'Brien talks to Worf, asking him to treat Ezri the way Jadzia would want her to be treated, because Worf is dishonoring her memory more through omission than Bashir is through his attention to the new host.
Ezri goes to tell Garak that his last transmission has allowed Starfleet to plan an attack on Kalandra, which is where her former ship, the Destiny, is headed. Garak says that all those Cardassians will die because of him, then collapses, blaming himself for the extermination of his own people. Later, in the infirmary, she tells him that at least they know now what fears trigger his attacks, and he admits that stopping the Dominion is a necessity no matter what the cost to Cardassia. He thanks her. Dax goes to Sisko with a request to be reinstated in Starfleet, but he never sent her resignation. She packs to rejoin the Destiny, but Worf comes to see her and tells her that if she wants to stay, he thinks she should do so. At a ceremony later, she is promoted to Lieutenant.
A contrived yet effective story, "Afterimage" allowed Nicole deBoer to rise above the material, which isn't really a bad thing while Ezri Dax is becoming established. This actress has obviously done her homework: she had a few phrases, like her reaction to Worf calling her "Ensign" and the way she explained that she couldn't stay on the station if it would cause him pain, which sounded just like Terry Farrell's Jadzia. And Bashir's right: Ezri does have Jadzia's eyes. Now that the interminable perkiness has been toned down, I like this character a lot. I'm sorry that the new Dax is not a scientist but a counselor (a traditional role for women, and one we've already seen on Trek in the person of Deanna Troi), but for the most part, she's been an effective character, which is a great tribute considering that she's replacing a popular woman who's been around for six years.
The Garak storyline was somewhat annoying: entirely predictable that his father would be the psychological cause of his neuroses, and entirely predictable that the trigger would be his conflict about fighting his own species in the war. We've seen Andy Robinson play half-crazed more effectively in other episodes (with "The Wire" brain implant, for instance, and his previous claustrophobic incident in a Jem'Hadar prison camp), so his attack in the airlock came across as a little over-the-top. I was a little appalled that Sisko sent an untrained ensign to help him - it might have been good for Dax and for Garak in the long run, but considering his importance to the war effort and his long relationships with others on the station, I can't believe he didn't get Bashir or Odo involved; Bashir could probably have guessed the problem in ten seconds, given his knowledge of Garak's family history and his perfect memory.
I have found Worf's reaction to losing his wife to be rather flat in the first two episodes, so I rather liked the extent of his anger and grief here. This Quark-and-Bashir-vie-for-Ezri routine could get old really quickly (in fact it was old when it was Jadzia they were mooning over), but I did get a laugh out of Dax remembering that Quark owes her money. She seems VERY young with Bashir; I'd rather see her with Jake, even though, as his father pointed out, she's 300 years too old for him.
Next week, in honor of the World Series, Sisko and crew take on a Romulan baseball team. Yes, really.
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