The one word that comes to mind is ‘filler’. Ex Post Facto just has an overwhelming feeling that this exists solely to fill out the episode count for the season. This in and of itself is not such a bad thing. It is after all not a horrible thing to watch, flawed and cliched, but not horrible. It’s just that is comes directly after a truly great episode in Eye of the Needle. It feels like a step backward.
“That rehab colony back in New Zealand doesn’t seem so bad right now.” – Tom Paris
It also feels unoriginal in that this could easily have been an episode of Next Generation. Simply put Riker in place of Paris and Data in place of Tuvok and volia! Heck its even directed by LeVar Burton. Again this is not technically a bad thing had this been just a few places back in the schedule or an actual Next Generation episode (in the first season).
Okay, I will give the episode points for attempting to do something interesting. It is trying to be an noir homage. There is a murder that needs to be solved, an innocent man who’s name needs to be cleared, a torrid affair, some gangster types, even a cigarette-smoking femme fatale; and the cold open is in black and white. It doesn’t so much hit you over the head with the noir pastiche as it bludgeons you into submission with it. It is cliche yes, but it does try.
I guess the biggest issue I have with the episode is the fact that the series is still trying to make the character of Tom Paris into a playboy or a handsome rouge. And it just doesn’t work. No matter how many times they attempt to tell us he’s Han Solo it is never going to stick, he simply does not have the charisma for that. The character of Paris works much better as the brilliant but flawed pilot with daddy issues and a healthy disdain for authority. The sooner they put playboy Tom to rest the better.
So in the end a not-horrible episode, but one that does nothing to advance the characters or the series arc. Moving on.