Ezri Dax Was Crucial To Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Despite Fandom-Wide Complaints

Poor Ezri Dax. In the wake of the death of the well-liked Jadzia Dax (which definitely is one of the most devastating) on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," the young counselor forced to take the Dax symbiont after Jadzia's death was always going to experience a few growing pains when she returned to the space station. And trying to fill the large shoes of Terry Farrell, who played Jadzia, was likely quite the challenge for actress Nicole de Boer when she arrived to round out the cast in its seventh and final season.

It's no wonder that the fandom was slow to take to her. Ezri was necessarily different from Jadzia — she was young, enthusiastic, and inexperienced. While Jadzia had been very popular all throughout her run — SyFy.com called her "one of the most beloved (and unique) female characters the 'Star Trek' franchise has ever seen" — Ezri was considered, as YouTube commenter @Duricas put it, "annoying." She was very different from Jadzia, and not all fans were ready to accept a Dax replacement.

But, in retrospect, the tide has turned a bit. Some people now think she was good for "Deep Space Nine." u/Gorilladaddy69 on Reddit pointed out that she had a great mind and high spirits. She didn't let her anxiety rule her, and she had a desire to help others feel more secure emotionally. "In my mind, she brings a fresh element to the crew — that element being vulnerability over badassery. A more innocent and emotive point of view amongst this assembly of older, seasoned combat veterans," the Redditor posted. 

Ezri stepped in when Jadzia died — and she was a very different character

For six seasons, Jadzia Dax was an important part of "Deep Space Nine's" dark appeal. She was a Trill — an alien race in which some members were "joined" with another symbiont lifeform. As a character, she was smart, witty, driven, outgoing, and liked combat. She even ended up being a romantic match for Klingon Worf (Michael Dorn), which shows how tough and cool she was. However, Farrell's contract had ended, the actress told StarTrek.com, and she was moving on to the show "Becker." Apparently, there was also some bad blood between her and the show's producers. 

They decided to bring Dax back in another form — a very different one, and clearly one that rankled part of the fandom. Ensign Ezri was a Trill never meant to carry a symbiont. Though some Trill are "joined" with another sentient lifeform, they can decide not to, and pixie-ish Ezri had initially decided against it. But as the only member of that race aboard the U.S.S. Destiny when the Dax symbiont had a medical emergency on the way home to Trill, she was the only one who could save Dax. So she started out confused, reluctant, and didn't make a great first impression.

Ezri as a character was quite different than Jadzia. As StarTrek.com put it, "If Jadzia was Ginger, Ezri was Mary Anne." But that isn't necessarily a bad thing — on "Gilligan's Island," Ginger was high-profile but Mary Ann often won popularity polls for her understated charm. And some others online agree: Redditor u/F9-2002 called her "a better, more realistic character" than her predecessor while others pointed out, like u/Earthshoe12, that her addition "was a great way to expand on the trill life cycle and wring some drama out of the other characters coping with Dax's transition." 

One of Ezri's best scenes changed everything for fans

Although Ezri only lasted one season and fans didn't always love her, there was one particular moment that converted some of her fans — some consider it one of the best scenes in "Deep Space Nine." u/jsharkfan stated on a Reddit thread, "Her analysis of the Klingon episode was what finally sold me on the character." 

The scene in question takes place in the episode "Tacking Into the Wind." Worf asks Ezri's opinion of the conflict between Martok and Gowron, the chancellor whose defense of their people is being subsumed by his personal vendetta against Martok. She says, "The Klingon empire is dying, and I think it deserves to die." She notes that Worf is the most honorable man she has ever met — and if he is able to tolerate the corruption at the highest levels of the Klingon empire, what hope is there for the rest? Her insight on the issue is a major factor in leading Worf to challenge Gowron one on one. After he wins, he gives leadership to Martok, and after the war, Martok eventually purges the Empire of corruption.

A YouTube commenter, @pjlusk7774, explained that the scene, small as it was, proves why Ezri is a great character who was needed in the show. "This is the one thing that Jadzia could never have said; she had too much residual affection for the Empire and the Old Masters who were her friends to ever see how blinkered and unsalvageable it truly was," the commenter said. Another, @TerminalHamster, summed it up: "Ezri slipping under the radar to change the fate of the Alpha quadrant in under 2 minutes. Nice job."