Ezri...I love ya, but they just didn't give you a ton to work with, did they? :(
Wiki-link here...think forty-five minutes of crazy cop/incompetent cop starring a figment and a person who has no business doing criminal investigation.
Fans hated this episode because, "Oh noes! the Vulcan was the bad guy again!" But I don't really care about that. I am personally deeply skeptical of the modern Vulcan anyway. Spock's balance of humanity, emotion, and logic always made way more sense than the dogmatic modern Vulcans and their wooden existences. I think the bigger problem with this episode is that it makes no sense and doesn't really follow its own rules. There are nice scenes throughout the story and it should, therefore, have worked well, but the writers evidently had no idea how to string those nice scenes together into a logical story. Here are a few examples of the problems I see with the concept.
- Why is Ezri doing this investigation and not Odo? Odo is the smartest guy in the universe when it comes to bizarre murder cases. I know he participates in the early stages of the investigation, but it sure seems like nothing Ezri did couldn't be done by Odo except for...
- ...magically figuring out who the killer is just by looking into his wooden face. Um...WTF? How does looking at a guy in a turbolift convince you he's the murderer. I guess we're supposed to swallow that it takes a killer to know one and that Ezri's killer background is helping her spot that evil glint in the eye. Ugh. But even once you get past that, she admits she needs evidence. So...
- ...she gets her evidence because the killer himself tries to shoot her because he somehow knew that she was onto him?! What...did he have magical Trill powers too?
- And...after Ezri attempts MURDER why isn't she in a holding cell for...um...attempted murder? Odo tends to come down hard on such lawlessness. And speaking of that...why was she speaking to SISKO in that scene? Shouldn't Odo have had her in the security office and been giving her the "WTF, Bitch?!" look?
The pop-psych stuff about the repressed Vulcan suffering from post-traumatic stress and it expressing itself as a hatred of joy actually makes sense to me...sorry Trek fans, but when you make a career of hating your own emotions and thinking they'll betray you as the Vulcans do, it's not a big step to go from that to hating other peoples' emotions if you can't deal with your own anymore. But that is about the ONLY thing that makes sense in this script. Well...that and the fact that O'Brien and Bashir would figure out the displaced targeting trick. Although...why Starfleet didn't figure that out a century ago and start using it to assassinate Weyoun clones one by one is beyond me. That weapon is BAD-ASS! We should be using it to kick some Dominion tail! Of course the magic "I can look anywhere the plot demands I look" spyglass of doom is um...a little disturbing and physically impossible. :) But moving on.
Overall...the scenes work nicely in isolation and if you turn off your brain and don't question the failed logic or the technobabble weapon. But that isn't going to fly...you have to have your story follow an internal logic that fits with the rest of canon law. This one fails miserably on that score. Ezri's character work...that still works, but it's not enough to save the script from utter ruin.
I'm giving the writing a bit of credit for being original and for doing some nice work with Joran and Ezri...but...only a little credit. The plot makes no sense, the gadget is never seen again despite its awesome superiority to the standard issue phaser, and the villain isn't given enough screen time.
DeBoer and guest star Leigh McCloskey (Joran) work pretty well together, though Joran bears absolutely ZERO resemblance to the guy we saw in the original third season episode.
I am dinging this episode just a bit for suggesting that getting inside the head of a killer is ever a productive thing to do. :) Otherwise, it's message-less.