#DS91sttime: Season 4, Episode 10, “Our Man Bashir”

December 6, 2013 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

Season Four, Ep 10, "Our Man Bashir"

Season Four, Ep 10, “Our Man Bashir”

Several years ago I was at Dragon*Con waiting for the start of an event in one of the grand ballrooms. Said event was running behind schedule, so the organizers had several people playing “You Don’t Know Jack”, live, while everyone else waited for the real deal to start. I’m pretty sure the demo of the game (which was all it really was) wasn’t supposed to run nearly an hour, but it did.

I knew the main event was delayed, and no announcement had been made as to why, as the organizers apparently thought “…Jack” would keep us sufficiently distracted. I had a lot of laughs, true, but I kept thinking to myself “man, this is taking a while”.

That’s what this season has felt like. We know the Dominion is circling ever closer, but the showrunners don’t seem to be interested in going to the show’s core plot just yet. So we keep getting distractions.

We’ve had an homage to old alien invasion flicks, a send-off to Indiana Jones, and now it seems we’re going to be delving into James Bond territory. “Our Man Bashir” is very much like “Little Green Men”, in that the plot is outlandish, and it makes few apologies for it.

The episode opens with Bashir slugging it out with two fictional villains in a 60’s secret agent entertainment holosuite program. He’s all set to kiss the girl and walk out a hero (having paid Quark good money for the experience, I’m sure), when a freak accident on an inbound runabout leads to havoc up on the bridge. Almost all the senior staff’s transport patterns have been lost. That will ruin your day.

But, wait–they turn up, right in the middle of Bashir’s holosuite program, and we soon find out that the program has to keep running, lest said patterns be lost.

Elim Garak is on hand, having somehow broken into Bashir’s holosuite session (an event one would think impossible, but which the show never addresses), and he and Bashir both soon deduce that the safety controls are offline.

All this has to be the case, otherwise we wouldn’t have a plot.

In the review for “Starship Down”, I mentioned that episode struck me as the DS9 version of one of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s episodes (“Disaster”). The phenomenon seems to repeat here, because Bashir and Garak’s adventure has a lot in common with “A Fistfull of Datas”.

The plot is ludicrous, as it was in “…Datas”, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good time. Everyone seems to relish their alternate roles, especially Alexander Siddig and Nana Visitor. Visitor’s guise as a Russian secret agent is handled with complete aplomb, and her costume is gorgeous.

Actually, everyone’s sharply dressed in this one, replicating the height of Cold War fashion. It’s done so well that I think the costume group should have been up for an Emmy.

Sharp-dressed villains.

Sharp-dressed villains.

And that says a lot about the show itself at this point. This is a much more seasoned and polished show than it was during the first two seasons. The production values have clicked right into place.

There are other nice touches, too: Rom gets to stretch his technical muscle again, having almost completed his transition from shallow, bumbling fool to sympathetic everyman. Lieutenant Eddington (who is so totally a changeling, I think) gets to show how cool he can be under duress. And I enjoyed seeing Garak lose his cool so much, and his paying Bashir the ultimate compliment he has thus far: that Bashir would make a great spy.

Where the episode flails is in the hamstringing it has to do to set up this entire plot. There’s just little sense that any of this makes any sense; we have a plot constructed out of spit and bailing wire, and it tries to fly apart constantly. We can tell the technical details were never a priority, probably because it was thought the audience wouldn’t care as much about those nuances. This demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of Trekkers: namely, they always care about the details.

Myself, I care a little less. I’m in this for the great interstellar war we’ve been promised, and I’m looking forward to circling back to it.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

See the rest of the review series here.

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