Story: Afterimage
Written By: René Echevarria
Series: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Year: 1998

Now that she has been added to the show, it is time to actually get to know our new character a bit. She’s on the station attempting to figure herself out…she can’t even figure out what she wants to eat half the time. But she is also struggling with the memories of the station and Worf…who won’t even talk to her. When Garak’s claustrophobia begins to debilitate him more than ever, Sisko asks Ezri to try and help him…she is a counselor after all. Unfortunately when her attempts don’t really work and Garak continues to get worse…and verbally assaults (quite the scene…I love Garak) she breaks down.
She wasn’t ready for being joined, and her complications in having it thrust upon her are definitely an interesting idea, but again the execution comes down to her essentially rambling about things her previous hosts did. I liked the stuff with Worf, when he threatens Bashir after he sees the Doctor and Counselor holding hands while talking to each other…but I just feel on the whole the Ezri thing struggles to work in the show.

Terry Ferrell leaving was a blow to the series. Death was really the only option for the character, being married to Worf made anywhere she would go seem confusing if he didn’t go too, and Dorn wasn’t leaving…the options were pretty damn limited. I think it would have been stronger for the series as a whole to kill her off, and NOT replaced her. De Boer is not as strong an actress (her breaking down and crying scene is completely unbelievable especially when compared to Ferrell’s breaking down and crying scene in “Change of Heart” last season). But not only is her replacement a lot less convincing as an actress and a lot weaker as a character on the whole, but the idea of a show with so many wartime themes not taking advantage of having an empty seat where a beloved character once sat is a really unfortunate move. Think of the story possibilities if the characters actually had to deal with a real loss, rather than a temporary one.

This episode isn’t bad, but it has its flaws (mostly in the form of De Boer’s acting). It does introduce us to our new character well, but that doesn’t mean she is any more likable. Sometimes replacing a character has a bad fan reaction because they don’t want to replace something they love with something new. Doggett in the X-Files had a big fan backlash at the time, but when you really look at the show he helped reinvigorate a show that had become stale…at least for a year. Ezri is a different story…she just isn’t played by an actress up to the task, and in the long run trying to spend a few episodes integrating her into the cast and storyline just derails some of the series major themes for a short time.

NEXT TIME: The Ol’ Ball Game