the story: With the help of the volatile Joran, Ezri hunts a killer.
what it's all about: This is actually another of those valuable war stories. Fans at the time thought it was a pretty random and poor excuse to put Ezri in the spotlight again, but really, it's best seen as a war story, once you reach the end of it, and understand it for what it is.
"Field of Fire," like "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" before it, was part of a trend that season to depict Vulcans in unusual ways. Both times it's how they're processing their experiences in the Dominion War. If there's a weakness, it's that both episodes feature characters who mean nothing except in the context of their stories. The Vulcans, I mean. It's odd to think Deep Space Nine, which had about a billion recurring characters, didn't have a Vulcan one. In hindsight that would've been really helpful in these particular episodes. But I still think they handle their insights well.
"Field" really owes its greatest debt to the third season, in which the hidden host Joran is first explored in "Equilibrium" and "Facets." Here it's Ezri dealing with him instead of Jadzia, who was the one who had to go to the trouble of reintegrating his memories into the Dax symbiont and thus the current host as well. It's actually pretty neat to see Joran again. It's a shame that more prior hosts didn't become relevant. Even Curzon, the "old man" Sisko was always referencing to Jadzia and/or Ezri, really didn't have that much of a legacy (except "Blood Oath," and "Facets"). That's another creative oversight of the series. Curzon was basically Deep Space Nine's Sarek, and in seven seasons it seems he could've been fit in more than he was. But that's nitpicking.
Ezri ends up a curious means to solve a mystery, regardless of how she does it, because her function aboard the station really has nothing to do with such things. It's always odd when characters do that in TV shows. But then, the history of TV shows is all about unusual people solving crimes, in some respects.
Not the most consequential episode, but enjoyable.
franchise- Casual fans will probably be baffled.
- series Connects nicely with existing lore.
- character - Especially concerning all things Dax.
essential- Not especially.