(written from a Production point of view)
|DS9, Episode 7x11|
Production number: 40510-561
First aired: 6 January 1999
|←||159th of 173 produced in DS9||→|
|←||159th of 173 released in DS9||→|
|←||549th of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
Bradley Thompson & David Weddle
Ezri returns to her home to ask her family's help in finding O'Brien, who disappeared while searching for the widow of a dead friend.
Kira, Odo, Ezri and Bashir are at Quark's. Odo mentions to Ezri, that her shipment of gagh has arrived. This gagh was ordered by Jadzia for Martok's birthday, 51 cases, each one containing a different variety. Ezri remembers the tastes telling about them and gagging at the same time. She tells Odo to dump it. On the question why she wouldn't just give it to Martok, she says that he would insist on sharing as a point of honor.
Bashir is waiting for Miles. When he doesn't arrive on the transport, he goes to Captain Sisko revealing that Miles didn't visit his father. Miles O'Brien is investigating the recent disappearance of Morica Bilby, the widow of the Orion Syndicate operative he had previously been involved with. He went on his investigation under a false pretense.
Angry but still pragmatic, the captain asks Dax to contact her mother since she is an influential business woman in the Sappora system, where O'Brien went missing. Ezri's mother, Yanas, uses the opportunity to force a visit from her daughter, to Ezri's annoyance.
On Sappora VII, Ezri's brothers, Norvo and Janel, are both happy to see her. Her mother, however, reveals to be a very authoritative figure and greets her daughter very coldly. As the conversations go, we understand that everyone is a little stressed due to the precarious financial state of the company.
Norvo is in a particularly bad phase as he had also just been refused admission from the Andorian Academy. He is on the verge of abandoning a very promising art career to do the company's bookkeeping, following his mother's (strong) suggestion. Ezri's plea in her brother's favor has no effect on Yanas, her mother even goes on to accuse her of having a bad influence on Norvo. Their conversation is interrupted when a police officer arrives with O'Brien.
After the presentations, Yanas takes advantage of having a Starfleet engineer in her house to ask him to have a look at a trans-sonic drill problem. The chief finds the problem to be a very strange one, even suggesting sabotage. In the following conversation between Janel and a man named Thadial Bokar, we learn that the company is involved with the Orion Syndicate and that Janel knew Morica Bilby.
O'Brien and Ezri, on their side, find Morica's name in the company's financial records. The rest unfolds pretty quickly when they inform Yanas of the fact. Janel admits getting the company involved with the Orion Syndicate to prevent them from going bankrupt a while ago. Morica's "salary" from the company was a way to return the favor to the Syndicate. But, since she was always asking for more money, the favor became more and more difficult to repay. Because of that, Norvo took unto himself to solve the new problem, killing Morica.
Back at Deep Space 9, Ezri and O'Brien have a conversation about the recent events, conversation in which Ezri admits feeling responsible for her brother's fate. She wishes she would have gone back earlier to help Norvo getting out of the influence of her mother for a while and giving him a chance to live his dreams.
"There are varieties of gagh?"
"Oh, yes. I can remember what each one tastes like... and the way they... move when you swallow them. Torgud gagh wiggles. Filden gagh squirms. Meshta gagh jumps. [...] Bithool gagh has feet. [...] Wistan gagh is packed in targ blood... I have to go now."
- - Kira and Ezri
"I haven't talked to my mother in almost six months."
"Last time I saw her was just after I was joined. She came to visit me on Trill and I was still a little confused... When she walked into my room, I put on a big smile, looked her right in the eye and said: Hi mom, it's me... Curzon..."
- - Ezri and Sisko
"What's wrong with your painting?"
"Well, the composition is puerile and obvious, the colors belong on a child's toy, and the technique is laughable."
"But other than that?"
- - Ezri Dax and Norvo Tigan
"Ezri... You always were too proud for your own good."
- - Yanas Tigan
"I hate your hair."
- - Ezri Dax and Yanas Tigan
- The title of the episode is a reference to the Biblical parable known as the "Prodigal Son", as told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke 15:11–32.
- This episode began life as a Sisko show in which he travels into the future and encounters his own future self, who subsequently warns him that if he follows a particular course of action, there will be dire consequences. David Weddle and Bradley Thompson wrote a teaser which they really liked, but they then found themselves completely stumped as to where to take the rest of the show; "There was nothing to say beyond the fact that these two Siskos have a great struggle. There was no bottom to the show." However, the main problem was that Thompson and Weddle didn't have enough time to work out the kinks, as principal photography began in two weeks. As such, Ira Steven Behr suggested that they abandon the story altogether and do a show about Ezri's backstory, which he himself had been tinkering with for several weeks. Behr's basic idea was that Ezri's family was involved with the Orion Syndicate, with Yanas Tigan being a particularly powerful member of the organization. In this conception of the story, Ezri would be like the character of Michael Corleone in the 1972 Francis Ford Coppola movie The Godfather – the son/daughter who has no interest in the family business, who left home to pursue their own dreams, and who now has returned. When Ezri returns home, her mother reveals that it was the Syndicate who "arranged" for Ezri to be given the Dax symbiont on the USS Destiny. This idea was dropped however, because, as Thompson explains, "It was a little too sleazy to suggest that Starfleet could be manipulated like that." However, it was now only a couple of days before production began, and the script still had no central crux. The writers wanted to keep Behr's Orion Syndicate plotline to some degree, but they needed a reason for it to be there; why would a story about Ezri's family involve the Syndicate? Eventually, Ira Behr suggested that they bring in O'Brien and the Liam Bilby story from "Honor Among Thieves" and have O'Brien searching for Bilby's widow. As Ronald D. Moore, who helped compose the final draft of the script, explains, "The show was already in prep, so it was a case of 'First thought, best thought.' Just throw it down and move on, because we've gotta get ten pages out today. So boom! You just blaze through it." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 639-641)
- It seems that every season of Deep Space Nine has an episode which the writers and producers universally regard as the worst of the season. In Season 1 it was "Move Along Home"; in Season 2 it was "Rivals"; Season 3 was "Meridian"; Season 4 was "The Muse"; Season 5 was "Let He Who Is Without Sin..."; Season 6 was "Profit and Lace"; and in Season 7 it was "Prodigal Daughter", which is not surprising given the problems getting the script in order. According to Ira Behr, "There's plenty of blame to go around on this one. The script never came together." Ron Moore is more blunt, "It was just a mess." René Echevarria points out, "None of O'Brien's story could happen on-screen, so there was no investigation. The story got so diluted that it felt like a soap opera." According to Nicole de Boer, "Ira apologized to me for the episode afterward." Even director Victor Lobl was unimpressed, "Other than the trappings, it never felt part of Deep Space Nine. It seemed like O'Brien had been brought in just to bear witness to these events more than anything else. But that only got us to a location, and then we just watched things unfold. The feeling across the board was there was nothing very powerful driving it." In fact, the crew became so disillusioned with the show that they dubbed it "Audra Goes Home", a tongue-in-cheek reference to the TV show The Big Valley. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 641)
- One aspect of the show which the producers did like was the Tigan family house on Sappora VII. Designed by matte artist Syd Dutton, the house was based on the work of legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, particularly Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 642)
- The Tigans' living room was a redress of Vic's lounge. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 641-642)
- Pergium is pronounced differently in this episode than it was in TOS. In "The Devil in the Dark" it was pronounced Pur-GEE-um, while here it is pronounced PUR-gee-um.
- Armin Shimerman (Quark) and Michael Dorn (Worf) do not appear in this episode. It is possible that Worf is involved in the events depicted in Star Trek: Insurrection. See also: DS9: "It's Only a Paper Moon".
- A script for this episode was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. 
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction for a Series.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 7.6, 21 June 1999.
- As part of the DS9 Season 7 DVD collection.
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Nicole de Boer as Counselor Ezri Dax
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Colonel Kira Nerys
- Kevin Rahm as Norvo Tigan
- Mikael Salazar as Janel Tigan
- John Paragon as Thadial Bokar
- Clayton Landey as Fuchida
Special guest star
- Sam Alejan as a science division officer
- Ivy Borg as Vulcan Starfleet officer
- Amy Kate Connolly as a command division officer
- Brian Demonbreun as a science division officer
- David B. Levinson as a transport passenger
- Angus McClellan as an operations division ensign
- Daniel Reardon as a miner
- James Lee Stanley as a Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown performers as
Accountant; Alamo; Andoria; Andorian Academy; Andorian tile (Andorians); Bashir, Amsha; Bashir, Richard; Bilby, Liam; Bilby, Morica; chief engineer; Dax, Audrid; Dax, Curzon; Dax, Jadzia; Destiny, USS; Dominion War; Ezri's father; Farian; Federation; Ferengi; Finok, Brinner; gagh; Gran; hamsha; House of Martok; Hovarian Cluster; Jem'Hadar; Korella; latinum; Lorkin; Martok; O'Brien, Michael; "Old Man"; Orion Syndicate; Nausicaans; New Sydney; New Sydney police bureau; pergium; Quark's; Rigel IV; Saltah'na clock; Santa Anna; Sappora VII; Sappora system; Saurian brandy; servant; socks; sonic shower; space sickness; Starfleet; Starfleet Intelligence; suicide; symbiont; targ; Timor II; trans-sonic drill; transtator; Trill; Trills; waveguide; Zee
| Previous episode:|
"It's Only a Paper Moon"
| Star Trek: Deep Space Nine|
| Next episode:|
"The Emperor's New Cloak"