Mark Watches ‘Deep Space Nine’: S07E13 – Field of Fire

In the thirteenth episode of the seventh season of Deep Space Nine, Ezri tries to solve a murder onboard the station with the help of an odd person. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

Well, this was a strange episode. It’s a fairly straightforward procedural with a Star Trek twist: Ezri summons the serial killer host that Jadzia and Curzon repressed in order to help her earn the case. At a distance, that’s a pretty cool idea, especially since there’s potential to explore Ezri’s ability to cope with being Trill. Unfortunately, while “Field of Fire” builds to a pretty cool climax, it doesn’t ever do anything.

Look, a murder mystery is neat in and of itself; one where the victims died by gunshot is even more interesting. Throw Ezri into the mix, and MY BODY WAS READY. But what does this episode say about anyone? Or anything? It’s tied to the Dominion War, but only loosely, especially since I’m still perplexed by Chu’lak’s justification. (More on that in a second.) Instead of exploring Ezri’s character, this comes off as a weaker version of The Silence of the Lambs, complete with an unnerving murderer who helps a young woman (who isn’t prone to violence) solve an unrelated case. But this is complicated by Ezri being Trill. Is this episode trying to tell us that Ezri does have an inclination towards violence within her, or is it only Joran Dax’s influence that pushes her to feel a connection to murder? I don’t actually know! There’s no distinction made between these two things, though the writers push towards something here.

I suppose I wouldn’t feel so strongly about this if the potential wasn’t there. It was smart of the show to spend more than a couple minutes introducing Ilario and tying him to Ezri. It gave this case a very personal sting for her, which is why she resisted calling on Joran in the beginning. The idea of murdering someone “in cold blood” was so frightening to her! (Another nitpick: why on Earth didn’t Julian mention during that scene that he, too, had been forced to deal with a sudden loss? THE PERSON HE LOST WAS RIGHT THERE, ARE YOU TELLING ME HE WASN’T THINKING OF JADZIA.)

Therefore, as the murders began piling up and it became clear Joran would need to be brought out, I thought this would be explored beyond the obvious. The obvious was right there! But then we never get further than Joran pushing Ezri to murder indiscriminately. Which…. why? The last time we saw Joran, he killed for very specific reasons. Here, Joran is like, “Murder’s cool, do it for any reason you want, JUST DO IT.” It didn’t make sense to me! Why abandon this characterization?

That scene at the end was thrilling; I’ll admit that. But I just couldn’t find interest in this, which is too bad because I wanted to! “Field of Fire” drags too much for my liking in areas where Deep Space Nine usually succeeds. Instead of addressing the moral complications of Ezri’s position or the complicated nature of this arrangement, the show sticks to the simplest story. Meh?

The video for “Field of Fire” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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