Featuring one of Star Trek's longest teasers (clocking in at over eight minutes), "Image" breaks the tradition of loud, action oriented season openers and instead gives viewers an introspective, character-based hour with four separate storylines and no resolution.
The centerpiece, naturally, is the show's leading man, with Avery Brooks stepping back into the same Sisko we closed season six with: a lost man who has come home to search for a direction. With a little help from (and a connection between) the Prophets and his family, he finds one. The idea behind it is bold but makes quite a bit of sense: with the Prophets existing outside of time, Sisko's connection to them should not be bound to the present but should also include the past and the future. In the short term, by crafting this dynamic in an abstract way, the writers create mystery and intrigue. In the longterm, they subconsciously make the entire tapestry of his life more understandable and his story more powerful. It's heady stuff, but it comes across well here and (pardon the human idea) in the future, with Brooks eschewing his usual dramatic acting and internalizing just about everything instead. His plot threat ends here with the introduction of a new character; and it's curious that it doesn't have any connection to the other events of the episode; but that makes it all the more of a pleasant surprise as it plays out as a poignant and underplayed moment itself.
Meanwhile, the station-based B story features "Colonel" Kira being forced to work with a Romulan. The worst part? The Romulan is actually reasonable and polite. Eventually, however, the Romulan turns out to be a Romulan and Visitor gets to play to her strengths as Kira interrupts a high level meeting with the same feistiness she has in her first scene in the series, way back in "Emissary". (I love scenes where a low level character interrupts high level characters with a self righteous rant. It always plays well. See: X Files)
Meanwhile, in the C story (also station-based) Worf is really depressed over Jadzia's death, and his friends try to figure out how to help. This includes an appearance from holographic lounge singer Vic Fontaine that's gratuitously shoehorned in, with Vic singing "Jadzia's favorite song" for Worf before the Klingon smashes the holographic furniture. This might mean something to fans of the show if we'd ever actually heard Vic sing it to her. As is, it would make more sense to us (and be shorter) if Worf were to catch sight of a Tongo game at Quarks and break the bar in half instead. But the writers probably figure that with a new character like Vic it's important to keep him involved to continue to build his part in the show.
Last (and least) is a D story on Cardassia with Weyoun and Damar assessing the situation.
The interesting thing to think about in real world terms is that all four stories were probably shot right next to each other (apart from location shooting). But Star Trek has always been good at establishing different looks and feels from the same stages. It has to. It supposedly takes place all over the universe but has always shot its television in quite limited locations in California. This episode demonstrates just how well Star Trek does it: we have New Orleans, DS9, and Cardassia all shot on adjacent stages, and they're all believable locations that seem lightyears away from each other. That's how you bring your viewers the universe on a budget.