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Image in the Sand (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"Image in the Sand"
DS9, Episode 7x01
Production number: 40510-551
First aired: 30 September 1998
149th of 173 produced in DS9
149th of 173 released in DS9
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 173 released in DS9 Remastered  
528th of 728 released in all
The Image in the Sand
Written By
Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler

Directed By
Les Landau
Unknown (2375)
Arc: The death of Dax and the Sisko's purpose (2 of 3)
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Sisko tries to regain contact with the Prophets. (Part One of Two) (Season Premiere)

Summary

Teaser

Three months have passed since Captain Sisko left DS9. On the Promenade, Colonel Kira and Odo worry that he won't be coming back as they observe members of the cult of the Pah-wraiths, identified by red armbands. The cult has become very influential since the Prophets became disconnected from Bajor by the locking of the wormhole entrance.

Meanwhile, the USS Defiant returns to the station from convoy duty, which is now becoming a regular mission for the ship. When Nog comments that he'd rather be on convoy duty than being in battle Worf, who is frustrated at having to protect shipments as well as the fact the Federation's invasion of Cardassian space has made no progress since the First Battle of Chin'toka, takes offence and angrily leaves the bridge. Bashir and O'Brien assure Nog it wasn't personal, and that Worf is hoping that some combat might help him get over Jadzia's death.

On Earth, at Joseph Sisko's New Orleans restaurant/home, Jake watches his father play piano and tells his grandfather (Joseph) that he is worried because Sisko has been doing nothing and going nowhere. Joseph is concerned but suggests that they leave him alone. Suddenly, the baseball sitting on top of the piano (the one Sisko took from his desk on DS9), rolls off and lands on the floor. Benjamin has a vision of the desert planet Tyree, where he digs in the sand to uncover a woman's face.

Act One

Admiral Ross informs Kira that the Romulans will be setting up an office on DS9. She is concerned, but finds Senator Cretak, the Romulan official in charge, to be cordial. Later, Cretak continues to fascinate Kira with her congeniality, something not stereotypical of Romulans, and asks for permission to build a hospital for Romulan forces on Derna, an uninhabited Bajoran moon. Kira agrees to ask her government.

On Cardassia Prime, Weyoun and Damar discuss the war effort. They are pleased that the closing of the wormhole has somehow shifted the war in their favor. Nevertheless, Weyoun expresses worry about Damar's constant drinking.

Back on Earth, Sisko recreates the woman's face on a computer, and Jake recognizes it from a photo he found while cleaning a storage space. They show the photo to Joseph, who angrily refuses to say who she is.

Act Two

In his quarters Worf finds himself unable to sleep, his mind is full of thoughts of Jadzia. After looking at a photo from their wedding, he gets up and goes to the holosuite and activates the Vic Fontaine program asking the singer to perform "All the Way". Vic attempts to refuse, but Worf orders him to sing. As Vic reluctantly sings the sad song, Worf's face is a mixture of fury and indescribable sadness. Halfway through, he slowly stands and then, with a roar of anger, begins to trash the lounge.

Sisko asks his father about the woman again, shocking his old father by grabbing and shaking him. Joseph sadly reveals that the woman is Sisko's real mother Sarah, who married him after only three weeks of courtship, bore Sisko, then left soon after. Sisko wants to find her, but Joseph explains that he discovered that she had died.

Act Three

O'Brien, armed with bloodwine, approaches a reluctant Worf in his quarters for some conversation. Later, while nursing a hangover, he informs Bashir and Quark that Worf is upset that Jadzia will not enter Sto-vo-kor because she was murdered instead of dying in combat. In order to get her there, Worf must win a great battle in her name. They decide to ask General Martok for help. Martok stealthily enters a holosuite where Worf is practicing bat'leth form and attacks him. He asks Worf to be his first officer on a dangerous combat mission. At Quark's, O'Brien tells Quark and Bashir that Martok's lone ship will try to destroy a Dominion shipyard. Bashir declares he will accompany Worf to honor Jadzia's memory, and O'Brien decides to go for Bashir's protection. Quark thinks both of them are crazy.

Sisko is washing clams behind the restaurant when Joseph gives him a necklace that belonged to Sarah, which Sisko is surprised to discover is engraved with ancient Bajoran text.

Act Four

He is able to translate the necklace's writing as the words "Orb of the Emissary." There is no such orb mentioned in Bajoran religious texts, but he guesses that it exists, and is buried on Tyree and that it may not have gone dark along with all the others. Later, again in the dark alley behind the restaurant, Sisko is approached by a young Bajoran man wearing a red hood who praises him and mentions the orb. Sisko is polite and turns away before the man pulls a knife and stabs him, claiming he will never find it. Jake drops the attacker with a heavy sack of clams he was bringing out to be washed. After being treated, Sisko explains that the man was member of the Pah-wraith cult and declares his intention to go to Tyree and find the orb.

Act Five

Odo informs Kira that a Starfleet ship was turned away from the new Romulan hospital. Kira thinks it is because most of the wounded were Vulcans (historical enemies of the Romulans) before Odo shows her a scan indicating high trilithium levels. She barges in on Ross and Cretak with proof that the Romulans have armed the hospital with plasma torpedoes. Cretak claims it is for defense, but the Bajoran government will not allow the Romulans to have weapons on its moon. The news reaches Dominion Headquarters on Cardassia Prime. Having halted the Federation's advance into their territory, Legate Damar and Weyoun revel upon hearing of the Romulans' treacherous action, the kind of action that could destroy the Alliance.

The morning he is about to leave for Tyree, Sisko finds the restaurant closed and Joseph and Jake packed and ready to go. He agrees to let them accompany him when where is a knock at the door. A young female Trill Starfleet ensign enters and happily greets Sisko, who does not recognize her. She introduces herself as Dax.

Memorable quotes

"Romulans. So predictably treacherous!"

- Weyoun


"The band is threatening to quit!"
"They can't quit... they're holograms."
"They don't know that!"

- Vic Fontaine and Quark


"I just never thought I'd see a Romulan eating a jumja stick."

- Kira


"Who better than a Klingon to help a Klingon?"

- Bashir


"Your buddy needs some serious help... and soon!"

- Vic Fontaine, on Worf


"Are there any other secrets I should know about?"
"Just my gumbo recipe... but I'm taking that to my grave."

- Benjamin and Joseph Sisko


"So, what'd you find out?"
"That you should never try to match drinks with a Klingon."

- Quark and O'Brien


"So... how do you like convoy duty?"
"I don't."
"Good, I was afraid you might be getting soft!"

- Martok and Worf


"Miles, I don't know what to say. I'm touched."
"You're both touched!"

- Bashir and Quark


"You wanna get Jadzia to Sto-vo-kor fine, fine, go for it. But can't you do something more sensible? Make a donation in her name! Or bribe someone!"
"It doesn't work that way, Quark."
"It'd be nice if it did."

- Quark, Bashir, and O'Brien


"Life is full of choices. You make them and hope for the best. Sometimes you`re right, sometimes you`re not."

- Joseph Sisko to Benjamin


"Hello, Benjamin."
"Do I know you?"
"It's me...Dax."

- Ezri Dax and Ben Sisko


"Imagine what it must be like - hordes of rampaging Klingons, fighting and singing, sweating and belching."
"Sounds like this place on a Saturday night."
"Would you want to spend eternity here?"

- Quark and Bashir

Background information

  • In relation to this episode, Ira Steven Behr comments that he and Hans Beimler were trying to achieve something very specific with it; "As we started the final season, we made a very bold and perhaps stupid choice, although I'd do it again. We wrote the quietest opening episode we've ever done on the show. If you look back at the first episode of every season, after the pilot, you'll see "The Homecoming", which was the first hour of a three-parter, then "The Search, Part I", "The Way of the Warrior", "Apocalypse Rising" and "A Time to Stand". All big shows with a lot of stuff going on. But this time, we decided we were going to play with the audience's expectations and give them something smaller, more intimate, quieter. A reflective breath, so to speak." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • There are a large number of firsts in this episode:
    • This is the first appearance of Nicole de Boer as Ezri Dax, the ninth host of the Dax symbiont. The process of creating and casting this new character was not an easy one. According to René Echevarria, "Terry Farrell's exit was a big low for us. Once we knew for certain that she wasn't going to return, we decided to take the opportunity to create a new Dax." Ira Behr continues, "We knew we needed a female. We couldn't have Kira Nerys be the only female regular character. So we started the casting process, and all I saw was a lot of people who couldn't play the part. There was absolutely no one in the running." Echevarria picks up the story, "Initially, Ira was looking for someone who had a kind of spooky quality. We talked about it several times as a group, and I wasn't quite getting what he was going for. Finally, one day at lunch, I said, 'What if we make the character a little more complicated? What if she wasn't an initiate? What if she wasn't planning to be joined, but she was the only one available because of some circumstance? And she was completely unprepared for it." (That this was even a possibility had been catered for in the third season episode "Equilibrium", where it was revealed that being joined wasn't as difficult as previously thought). After hearing this idea, Behr redefined the character; "She's neurotic! She hears voices! She doesn't know which way is up!" This made the casting process much more focused; "We wanted someone vulnerable, because Jadzia, as the show went on, became a stronger and stronger character. And someone young." Of the eventual casting of deBoer, Hans Beimler had worked with her on Beyond Reality and TekWar, and he called and asked her to send an audition tape into the Deep Space Nine producers. She did so, and they invited her to Los Angeles to audition in person. Of her audition, Behr comments, "We got a good vibe off her. She knew the part. She got it. And that was it." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
    • Deborah Lacey makes her first appearance as Sarah Sisko, Benjamin Sisko's mother.
    • This is the first episode to establish that Admiral Ross' first name is Bill. This somewhat confused actor Barry Jenner however because for the scenes set in his office on Starbase 375 during the six-episode arc which opened the sixth season, realistic diplomas and awards had been made as props, and although they were not legible on screen, Jenner had read them, and had seen that Ross' first name was listed as Cliff, not Bill. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
    • We first learn of Kira's promotion to Colonel, which took place in the interim between the end of the sixth season and the start of the seventh. Promoting Kira was Nana Visitor's idea; "I asked for it to happen. I thought it was high time for it after six years of good service. Everyone around her had been promoted – Sisko, Bashir, Jadzia, and even Nog – so why not?" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
    • Kira also sports a considerably different hairstyle from the previous season.
    • The show's opening credits are once more changed to include "Nicole de Boer as Ensign Ezri Dax", placing her alphabetically right after "René Auberjonois as Odo". Ezri Dax's rank is changed later to Lieutenant in the opening credits of the episode "Take Me Out to the Holosuite", after her promotion at the end of the episode "Afterimage". Nana Visitor's character now appears as "Colonel Kira".
    • This episode is the first to mention the Cult of the Pah-wraiths. The idea behind this cult, which would be revisited in the episode "Covenant", was to show that not every Bajoran was a disciple of the Prophets; as Ira Behr explains, "We wanted to show that, like war, religion can be a dangerous thing. We'd spent six years portraying the Bajoran religion, celebrating it, in a way, and establishing that there is something greater than technology. And that's good. But faith can be subverted very easily. It's what you put your faith in that ultimately matters. A lack of faith, I think, is bad. But unthinking religion is also bad." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • According to René Echevarria, the idea to reveal Sisko as part-Prophet came from a desire to foreground his status as Emissary of the Prophets; "As the show began winding down, we realized that we wanted to be a bit more specific about the whole Emissary thing, which as an arc had been so interesting to us. We settled on this idea that Sisko was, in some way, half man, half god." Not unsurprisingly, in a franchise which rarely engages with religion, having the lead character revealed as part-god was an extremely controversial notion, but Ira Behr claims that it was actually something of a commentary on the Star Trek mystique itself; "I just felt that all the Starfleet captains are treated like gods by viewers. Clearly, the next step was to actually make one of those captains a god, or godlike." Indeed, the idea that he was only half-Prophet was the very key to the idea. As Behr explains, "If both parents were gods, then you couldn't relate to him. You can't relate to someone who is a god. He's got to be partly human." Similarly, Echevarria points out, "We originally thought that Sarah was a Prophet – there was no human woman involved. But we ultimately nudged the idea into something a bit more oblique, saying the Prophets could take over another person's form. That still had all the right mythic overtones, and it certainly answered the question of why Sisko was the Emissary. We were all very excited by the whole notion." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Sisko's status as part-Prophet would go on to have great significance for the rest of the season, especially in the finale, "What You Leave Behind".
  • Early in this episode, Admiral Ross informs Kira that there is to be a permanent Romulan presence on the station. When it seems as if Kira is about to protest, Ross says, "Let's get one thing straight, colonel. I came here as a courtesy to you. This decision has already been made," to which Kira responds, "And I have to live with it." This would imply that the decision to have Romulans come aboard Deep Space 9 was a Starfleet decision and not something discussed with the Bajoran government (something which is confirmed in the following episode, "Shadows and Symbols"). However, as has been clearly established numerous times, Deep Space 9 is a Bajoran station, and the Chamber of Ministers has the final say in terms of what does and doesn't happen on the station. This issue is clarified in such early episodes as "Emissary", "A Man Alone", "Dramatis Personae" and "The Circle", and is also seen in the episode "Call to Arms", when all Starfleet personnel have to leave the station because the Bajorans have signed a nonaggression pact with the Dominion. As such, it remains unexplained how Starfleet could take such an important decision without first getting the approval of the Bajoran government.
  • The events of TNG: "Hollow Pursuits" are referred to in this episode by Worf and Miles O'Brien. Geordi La Forge and Reginald Barclay are also both mentioned by name.
  • In the scene in which Ben Sisko returns to his father's restaurant after the stabbing, David B. Levinson can be seen as a waiter emerging from the kitchen carrying two plates. Levinson is more regularly seen in Ferengi make-up as Broik, a waiter in Quark's.
  • The song Sisko plays in the restaurant before his vision is "Round Midnight", by Thelonious Monk.
  • This episode has one of the longest teasers in Star Trek, lasting just over eight minutes.
  • The Monac shipyards are named after special effects supervisor Gary Monak. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • Tyree was named after the Richard Harris character, Benjamin Tyreen, in the 1965 Sam Peckinpah film Major Dundee. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)

Video and DVD releases

DS9 7.1 UK VHS cover

New VHS sleeve design.

  • UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 7.1, catalogue number VHR 4811, 1 March 1999.
A significant redesign of the video sleeve is seen from this volume on. The traditional "character-in-the-wormhole" image is replaced with episode-specific art, with the episode titles contained in a gold surround, with images of Sisko, Kira and Worf.

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Guest stars

Special guest stars

And

Co-star

Uncredited co-stars

Stunt doubles

Stand-ins

References

47; "All the Way"; Aj'Rmr, PWB; ancient Bajoran texts; Armstrong Park; Australia; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran interceptor; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran wormhole; Barclay, Reginald; baseball; bat'leth; Bishop, Joey; blackjack; bloodwine; Cardassia Prime; Cardassians; Chin'toka system; clam; Colonel; convoy; craps; crawfish étouffée; Council of Ministers; Template:ShipClass; Dax, Jadzia; Defiant, USS; Derna; dime; Dukat; Dominion; Dominion War; Emissary of the Prophets; Enterprise-D, USS; facsimile construction program 047; Federation; Federation Alliance; Feh'lhr; first officer; gagh; Template:ShipClass; Gamma Quadrant; gumbo; holo-photograph; hologram; holosuite; hospital; House of Martok; hovercraft; isotope; Jackson Square; jazz; Jem'Hadar; jumja; kanar; Klingons; Koderex, PWB; La Forge, Geordi; Monac IV; Orb of the Emissary; osol twist; Pah-wraiths; photograph; piano; plasma torpedo; Promenade; Prophets; Quark's; raktajino; Romulans; Romulan Senate; Romulus; Rozhenko, Alexander; runabout; Russia; Saltah'na clock; self-sealing stem bolts; shrimp; shrimp creole; Sinatra, Frank; Sisko's; squadron; Starfleet Security; Starfleet transport; Sto-vo-kor; system module; Tecumseh, USS; Third Fleet; Third Order; Three Musketeers, The; Trills; Tomal, PWB; tongo; toothbrush; trilithium; Tyree (planet); Template:ShipClass; Victory, USS; Vulcans; Warbird; Wyoming, USS; Yaltar.

External links


Previous episode:
"Tears of the Prophets"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 7
Next episode:
"Shadows and Symbols"

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