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Star Trek DS9 - Season 7 - Episode 13

Star Trek DS9 - 7x13 - Field of Fire

Originally Aired: 1999-2-10

Ezri must solve a series of murders by summoning Joran, one of her previous incarnations. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 4.56

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Filler Quotient: 2, filler, but an enjoyable episode nevertheless. You can skip this one, but you'd miss out on some fun.
- One of DS9's best episodes, but nothing here is relevant to the overarching plot.

- Why the hell did O'Brien and Julian reject Ilario's request to join them in the holosuite? They invited Odo to be Santa Anna!
- Why does Odo have to wear goggles during O'Brien's melon demonstration? It's not as if his eyes needed protecting...
- You've got to wonder why the TR-116 with the microtransporter modification isn't something that Starfleet is producing en masse, especially with the war on and all. Maybe the microtransporter is subject to easy jamming.

- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of DS9 Award."
- According to Odo there are over 900 Starfleet officers on the station.
- According to the computer, there are 48 Vulcans on DS9. Well, 47 after this episode.

Remarkable Scenes
- Ilario: "You know something, Lieutenant, you're very beautiful." Ezri: "And you're very drunk." Ilario: "True enough. But in the morning, I'll be sober, and you'll still be beautiful."
- Ezri's dream, featuring a brief piano performance by Joran.
- Bashir and O'Brien discussing weapon fetishes and how some historical men would give female names to their guns changing the relationship from owner and object to something resembling man and woman. O'Brien in response: "Maybe I'll start calling my tricorder Sally."
- O'Brien realizing that the killer is using displaced targeting.
- O'Brien's melon demonstration.
- Ezri summoning Joran.
- Joran: "Handsome weapon." Ezri: "If you say so." Joran: "Come now, even you have to admire the aesthetic qualities inherent in its design, it conveys a sense of danger, of power, just looking from the trigger to the muzzle conjures up images of death. Take it down."
- Ezri using the TR-116 like the killer would, on Joran's advice, attempting to come up with a personality profile of the killer.
- Ezri talking to herself, or rather Joran, in public.
- Joran, regarding Quark: "How I'd love to slip a knife between his ribs."
- Ezri almost killing the man Odo was chasing because of Joran.
- Ezri discovering that the killer is targeting people who have pictures of laughing people in their quarters.
- I love the way onlookers kind of stare at Ezri when she talks to Joran in public, wondering who she's talking to.
- Joran staring into the face of the Vulcan on the turbolift, sure that he'd found the killer.
- Ezri looking up Chu'lak's history, then using the TR-116 to spy on him in his quarters only to discover that he picked her as his next victim!
- Ezri shooting Chu'lak.
- Ezri: "Tell me, why did you do it!" Chu'lak: "Because logic demanded it."
- Morn Appearances; 1. Walks down an empty and dark promenade with a giggling woman. 2. Is seen very briefly when Ezri fights the man Odo was chasing in Quark's.

My Review
Introducing the TR-116 with a microtransporter modification. The perfect assassin's weapon. It's a shame that we didn't get to hear Garak's opinion of the weapon. I think he would have been proud. Half the fun of this episode for me is my fascination over the ingenious weapon design. The other half is the wonderful character development we get for Ezri, finally. Joran was an underused concept when Jadzia was Dax, thankfully he gets another shot here and he excels as the murderous madman we thought he was. This is an episode which gets just about every detail right, Ezri as a psychologist is doing her job assisting Odo in a murder investigation, Ezri as a Trill is using the knowledge of her past lives, including that of Joran, and O'Brien the engineer discovers what the murder weapon must have been and builds a replica. For once, everyone is perfectly in character! The musical score is exceptionally good, better than usual, the overall tenseness of the episode is nicely high, and finally the murderer was a perfect fit. I absolutely loved the idea of a Vulcan that hates emotion and his singular reason for why he was doing this was just the perfect thing to say, "because logic demanded it." Overall, this is Ezri's best episode and one of my all time favorites of the series.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Remco on 2009-07-28 at 4:51pm:
    Did Ron Moore get the idea for a virtual Six in Baltar's head on BSG from this episode?
  • From JR on 2012-07-01 at 10:39pm:
    I don't understand how the crew jumped to the conclusion that the tritanium bullet was fired from close range.
    O'brien: " According to these readings, the bullet only traveled 8 or 9 centimeters."
    Sisko: "Then the killer must have fired at point blank range."
    Odo: "I don't think so; there are no powder burns on the body."

    A bit of circular logic there...what exactly is the tricorder detecting to if not powder burns? The bullet's odometer? If that were the case, Obrien would say 8.63 cm, not "8 or 9 cm".

    Taking it one step further, why wouldn't some of the powder be present anyway. If it is as conventional as Sisko claims, there would in fact be hot gases expanding right aside that bullet at the muzzle and they would be transported as well.

    I liked the episode's premise, but between the Xray snooper scope, the false logic, and the very abrupt ending (Joran immediately convincing Ezri that particular Vulcan was the killer out of 28 possible, and actually being correct) I don't think it was particularly well done. I'd give it a 5 or 6.
  • From Lt. Fitz on 2012-07-07 at 6:01pm:
    Not a great episode. It seemed too easy to find the murderer, and Joran annoyed the heck out of me with his weird and creepy muttering. Lots of good bits, but just it didn't fall together for me.
  • From Damien Bradley on 2013-09-25 at 2:32am:
    This was a nice episode, but I'm surprised at its 10 rating here. The suspense was pretty well done, especially right as Ezri sets her sights on the Vulcan setting sights on her.

    Some things didn't work well for me: first, Trek has a penchant for ridiculously powerful weapons. A phaser that can disintegrate a person in one blast is a long-standing staple, and now a gun that can deliver a high-speed bullet anywhere in the surrounding area, complete with a headset that can see anywhere? That's arguably more powerful than a phaser. I'm surprised no one's thought of it yet. Even the headset alone means goodbye to privacy for anyone. But that's one of the unfortunate effects of technology in Trek. So much of it is so over-the-top powerful that the writers haven't really thought through the ramifications of it all.

    I really wanted there to come something after the climax. The Vuclan said "logic demanded it." I wanted to know his reasoning and some kind of epilogue to the whole thing.

    I felt the dynamic between Ezri and Joran was a little cheesy. So the Trill have a ritual they can do to where they can temporarily hallucinate one of their past lives and converse with them? And they have to do another ritual to make it go away? I would have preferred something more subtle. (I don't remember if we've seen this ritual before.) I also would have liked Joran to be a little less one-dimensional.

    Anyway, it's nice we're seeing lots of Ezri. She has a lot of catching up to do in terms of character development (and yes, she's cute as a button, maybe too much sometimes).
  • From Axel on 2015-06-06 at 11:27am:
    I agree with Damien's point about the Vulcan's motives. I was hoping to know a bit more, aside from the archetypical Vulcan "logic demanded it" response. That's the lazy way to wrap this up. Clearly there was some emotion behind what he was doing stemming from the loss of his companions. The inclusion of Joran was a fantastic story element, but his murderer profile was dragged on at the expense of the Vulcan.

    I do disagree with the point about the high-speed bullet, though. Phasers would have a lot of other advantages over projectile weapons. It's easier to control the intensity, you can charge them rather than continuously load them, and they are no doubt lighter and more wieldy.

    Overall, good Trill episode, good Dax episode, and good suspense. Murder mystery is rare for Trek, but this was done very nicely.
  • From ChristopherA on 2021-06-17 at 12:30pm:
    I thought the episode had pluses and minuses, it had a decent murder mystery flow with good suspense and somewhat interesting acting between Ezri and Joran, but I also thought it was overly contrived attempt to emulate one of those “Silence of the Lambs” stories where the heroes have to work with a killer to catch a killer. The idea that because Joran is a disturbed murderer, he must therefore be an expert homicide detective, is just silly. And there didn’t even seem to be any reason whatsoever to believe that Joran was similar in any way to the mysterious killer.

    I agree with the previous fan commentary about the abrupt ending and the super scope. Think of all the times they were sneaking around looking for the enemy instead of just using the scanner to view the entire station from a safe location and attack without reprisal. I can't be too critical because it is extremely common in Star Trek to invent incredible advanced technologies and completely forget about them later. However, in most cases these inventions are essential to the plot and are sufficiently foreign, experimental, or situationally specific to kind of handwave them away. In this case the superweapon was absolutely not required for the plot, the villain could have used any means to commit murders, so inventing a superweapon to do the job seemed a bit like lazy writing. Still, if you ignore the implications, the idea of two people with ultimate sniper technology trying to hunt each other down, and ultimately firing simultaneously, is an interesting idea that could have made a good science fiction short story.

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