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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Prodigal Daughter"

by David E. Sluss

11 January 1999

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: A rather pointless and strictly by-the-numbers outing, following an unfortunate DS9 trend.


CLICHE OF THE WEEK: I'll let you, the readers, decide for yourselves. Don't fight, now, there's plenty to go around. We have the Troubled Family with a Skeleton in the Closet. We have the Unappreciated Child who turns to crime to impress the family. We have the Innuendo-spewing Mobster (who, by the way, sported the cheapest-looking Star Trek Nose [TM] I've ever seen). At least the lack of any mention of Ezri's father avoided any number of potential cliches on that front. So we're left to decide for ourselves which movie-of-the-week schtick is relevant to him. Ezri's father is:

  1. Dead, as a result of a mining "accident," thus leaving Ezri's mother to become overbearing and tough-as nails in order to protect her kids.
  2. Gone, having been a slug who abandoned his family, thus leaving Ezri's mother to become overbearing and tough-as-nails in order to protect her kids.
  3. A Prophet in human form.
  4. A Jedi Knight who went over to the Dark Side.

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: So how much time elapsed during this episode? At the beginning, Bashir tells Sisko Mrs. Bilby disappeared "three weeks ago." Later, when O'Brien is found, apparently the day after Ezri arrived home, he says that Mrs. Bilby had been dead for "six weeks." Does this mean it took Ezri three weeks to get to New Sydney? If so, O'Brien was out of contact with Bashir for three weeks. Was he fighting Nausicans the whole time? And doesn't this mean that, including the return trip to DS9, he will have been AWOL for nine weeks? So, shouldn't he be thrown in the stockade for his little stunt? And Ezri will have been away for over six weeks. I guess the station can make do for a while without some of its senior staff. It's not like there's a war on or anything...

AWOL OF THE WEEK: Besides the absence of O'Brien (and the war itself, despite a couple of half-assed mentions), you have to wonder where Keiko is during O'Brien's absence of over two months. She and the kids are still on the station (at least as of last year's "Time's Morphine"), and you'd think one of her whiny appearances would be warranted. I understand that Rosalind Chao is not always available for casting, but it seems that an explanation of some kind is in order (Sisko: "I'm going to kick your ass, Doctor Bashir, but first I must explain all this to Keiko, offscreen").

FILLER OF THE WEEK: Ezri, the titular "Prodigal Talker," (thanks, Matthew Murray) babbles about the finer points of Gagh for almost two minutes. What was that scene supposed to accomplish? That's no better than a Vic the Holosap song, as filler goes. And are we supposed to believe that Jadzia ordered Gagh over six months ago?

LAUGHABLE EXPOSITION OF THE WEEK: I'm willing to acknowledge that since not everyone may have seen last year's "Honor Among Thieves," which this episode is in some sense a sequel to (and since many who saw may have tried to forget it), it's necessary to have some dialogue summarizing what happened in that show. But you have to do better than Sisko's "Bilby ... Bilby ... The man he befriended in that undercover operation last year?" Har!

BAD COUNSELING OF THE WEEK: Counselor Ezri Dax appeared to be slightly more competent in her job than she did in last week's "It's Only a Paper Moon," though, of course, she could hardly have looked worse. But she did have one piece of lousy advice: "Norvo, your life sucks here. Come back to DS9 with me. It's in the middle of a war zone, right next to enemy space, so you'll have a much more fulfilling life there." Well, we can hardly blame Ezri for forgetting about the war when the writers so obviously have.

ILL-DEFINED MOTIVATION OF THE WEEK: So why was the Syndicate beating up on O'Brien and threatening his life? It wasn't the Syndicate who iced Mrs. Bilby, and they should have known, or suspected, that the Tigans had something to do with it. It seems to me they should want O'Brien to find Mrs. Bilby's killer. The resulting arrest(s) would destabilize (or destroy) the Tigan's mining operation, allowing the Syndicate to easily move in. This doesn't seem to have been thought out at all.

Previous: "It's Only
a Paper Moon
Next: "The Emperor's
New Cloak
NEXT WEEK: Two birds are killed with one stone, as the annual shallow Mirror Universe show and the annual idiotic Ferengi Comedy show are merged into one.



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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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