The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Prodigal Daughter

When O’Brien goes missing on New Sydney, Sisko asks Ezri to help out, since her family runs an influential company on the planet. Ezri has not been home in years, and feels more distanced from her family than ever now that she is joined to the Dax symbiont. Nonetheless, she returns home, only to discover that her family is just as dysfunctional as ever.

Although this episode starts out by appearing to be a follow-up to Honor Among Thieves, it is in fact an excuse for another family episode – this one exploring Ezri’s family life. As such, it’s a serviceable piece, introducing us to her mother Yanas, a strong and forceful woman, and her two brothers. Janel is the dutiful son, working at the family business and putting aside any plans of escape, whilst Norvo is the creative one, desperate to be an artist, but not quite talented enough. Of course, from seeming to have nothing to do with the main plot, which involves Ezri’s family getting involved with the Orion Syndicate, and O’Brien investigating the disappearance of Liam Bilby’s wife, it turns out that troubled Norvo is actually a murderer. It’s a decent twist, but still a bit of a leap from “troubled artist with self-esteem issues” to “killer”.

DS9 Family appearances

Ezri has only been in DS9 for half a season, and she’s already doing better than some of the regulars when it comes to family. Let’s take a closer look at the stats.

Character Family seen on the show Mentioned but never seen
Ben Sisko Son Jake (another regular), deceased wife Jennifer, father Joseph, second wife Kasidy, biological mother Sarah Stepmother, brothers, sister, unborn second child
Kira Nerys In flashback: father, mother, brothers
Odo The Great Link, mentor and father figure Dr Mora Pol
Jadzia Dax (previous lives not counted) Husband Worf Parents, sister
Miles O’Brien Wife Keiko, children Molly and Yoshi Parents, brother
Julian Bashir Parents
Quark Brother Rom, nephew Nog, mother Ishka, sister-in-law Leeta Father
Worf Son Alexander, wife Jadzia, brother Kurn Adoptive parents (seen on TNG), father
Ezri Mother Yanas, brothers Janel and Norvo

So actually, it’s not as bad as I thought, but still, Kira’s family didn’t even appear until season six, and Jadzia and O’Brien’s siblings and parents never appear on screen. Even Sisko’s siblings don’t show up, even though he talks about visiting his sister in one of his logs.

Other points

  • The Tigan family are clearly concerned about making profit, to the point where they no longer live in the Federation.
  • Once again, we see how important reputation is in the Federation, where wealth is no longer a mark of success. Norvo could have left New Sydney, gone and lived in the Federation and created as much art as he wanted to without needing it to be any good or for anyone to purchase it. But he is still obsessed with being a good artist, because even if you don’t get paid for it, Federation citizens are conditioned to want to be the best at their chosen profession.
  • O’Brien knows the difficulties and dangers of infiltrating the Orion Syndicate – and also that he is known as an associate of Bilby’s from the events of Honor Among Thieves – but he still foolishly tries to infiltrate the Syndicate a second time by himself.
  • The Tigan family run a pergium mining company. Pergium was the resource mined on Janus VI in The Devil in the Dark.
  • There are at least 51 different varieties of gagh.
  • When O’Brien finds out that Marika Bilby is involved with the Tigan family, he becomes really hostile towards Ezri. Having worked with her for six months now, and knowing that she isn’t close to her family, why is he so accusatory towards her?

Summary – Prodigal Daughter: It’s always the fault of the parents.

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