DS9: S7E03: “Afterimage”

In which reintegration takes a lot of work. 

I love literally everything about this shot.

Life on the station is ongoing, but to Ezri it’s both new and familiar. She’s also having problems with interacting with people as if they know her. This is probably why the Symbiote Commission has guidelines about not reliving the same life over again. I wonder if that’s going to come up. She also passes by the Bajoran Temple. You know, where she got murdered, and goes to confront the memory. That’s not something you just bounce back from. Although again, Ezri seems to be a little less prepared for all the things that killed past hosts. Could be the recent trauma, or it could be that she was never prepared.

Ezri doesn’t like a lot of things that Jadzia did, which puts a definite, if fuzzy,  boundary around which aspects of a personality are stored to, or overwritten by, the Symbiote. Quark also may see his chance with her, but Ezri’s not staying – she says it’s to help people take time to heal. It’s also probably to avoid Worf, but he’s making that pretty easy.

Sisko may be hearing things – his door panel is chiming and nobody is there. Or else someone’s coming in around the back way. It is, of course, Ezri, trying to avoid Worf. Sisko suggests that Worf might be trying to honor the Trill tradition of not falling back into old lives. Also, Ezri is having difficulties with pronouns.

Bashir, O’Brien, and Odo are all going to play Alamo together, but Garak isn’t going to make their costumes. Garak makes their costumes. In a world with replicators, Julian and Miles regularly have their costumes hand-made. Although Garak won’t be making these. His shop is taking a back seat to his work with Starfleet Intelligence, decrypting Cardassian intelligence transmissions. As he works late into the night, he’s clearly getting anxiety attacks, as we can hear his heart pounding out of control. Odo sees him collapsing, and takes him to the infirmary. He’s getting claustrophobic attacks in his shop now. It’s getting worse, and he’s starting to only feel comfortable on the Promenade. Garak wishes to have Sisko relay his regrets to Starfleet Intelligence, since he will no longer be able to do any decoding. Instead, he’ll have to hem some pants. It’s relaxing. Bashir suggests that Garak needs a therapis more than a doctor.

That’s one way to get your head shrunk.

Fortunately, there happens to be a nearly-fully-trained counselor on the station. She is still a slave to the impulses of her past lives, even when they’re completely unsuitable for the Ezri host. Anyone who remembers Garak’s first years on the station will remember how he tended to chew Bashir up and spit him out, back during the naive times.

Quark and Bashir are discussing Ezri. Quark insists that she’s the same-enough woman for him to still be infatuated with her. Bashir disagrees. In service of demonstrating who’s right, Ezri starts her session with Garak, by opening up to him about her Torias-induced space-sickness, and giving Garak an opportunity to solve her problems. She’s already gotten him to be more forthright about his past at a time than anyone else has, although it’s only regarding things that he’s already had to reveal over the years. The session may have generated some breakthroughs after only five minutes, but caused some minor relapses for both of them.

Ezri is recovering from this when she bumps into Worf, who barely acknowledges her presence and flatly shuts down any possibility of camaraderie. She’s taken the hit hard. Garak seems to be better, though. Sisko also wants Ezri to stick around to be the counselor for the station. He’s even talked to Starfleet and gotten her a full clinical certificate and a promotion to Lieutenant based on 300 years of people skills. Also, Sisko offers to step in on her behalf because apparently he intimidates Worf.

“WHY DID YOU THINK THAT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO SAY?”

Ezri’s currently so mixed-up that ordering food for herself is as fraught as trying to find a restaurant for all your friends with different fad diets. Bashir steps in with the right answer, and they sit down for tea. Ezri does not want to be flirted at by Bashir, because she doesn’t enjoy it the way Jadzia does. Then she punches him right in the ‘gnads by telling him that he was Jadzia’s second choice. Also, Worf watches this exchange and does not seem pleased.

Bashir is then called to the airlock, where Garak is trying to get out. That’s one hell of a panic attack. They clearly manage to talk him down, and Ezri takes him to a holosuite program of a cliff overlooking an ocean. Sadly, Garak can’t really fool himself into believing it. But it may make a useful band-aid, which Ezri will make sure is constantly available.

Quark’s in the Infirmary after getting a feather stuck in his ear from a sex act when Worf barges in to throw Bashir around for macking on his woman. Or some such macho garbage. It’s not about hitting on Ezri per se, but about ‘dishonoring Jadzia’s memory.’ I bet Ezri’s going to love that.

Garak’s not taking particularly well to Ezri’s attempts at therapy, and getting to the barbed phase of his recovery. This has the intended effect, and sends her to the Bajoran temple. Not exactly the most comforting place to recover. This solidifies her resolve to transfer, and indeed to resign. Now it’s time for Sisko to kick her back into shape with his patented ‘all of your counterfactual options are terrible, so stop whining.’ Only he doesn’t quite get to the ‘build her back up’ phase.

Speaking of people getting kicked back into shape, Miles drops by Worf’s place to make him shape up. So while Ezri stops by Garak’s place to announce her intention to quit, but also to tell him about the effects his work has had – helping Starfleet plan offensives against Cardassian territories. You know, even though it’s in the service of freeing Cardassia from Dominion occupation, Garak’s still helping plan offensives that will kill Cardassians. And there’s the guilt – he’s not even helping save Cardassians because the Dominion will keep them fighting until the end. So after seven years of exile, trying to walk the line on the side of Loyal Cardassian, he’s finally become a traitor.

After some medical intercession for his panic attacks, he’s ready to actually face his responsibility as a citizen of the galaxy, if no longer of Cardassia. And now, seeing the result of her work, she’s trying to rescind her resignation, but of course Sisko was one step ahead. Sadly, she’s still leading the station. But as she’s packing, Worf shows up, trying to apologize and explain. And to ask her not to leave just because Worf was throwing a tantrum. And for Sisko, there’s quite a lot of strings that Starfleet is evidently willing to pull. Oh, and also Jake may want to hit that. It would continue the Sisko-Dax legacy in the most hilarious way imaginable.

Did we miss something awesome?