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DS9 4-10

DS9 4x10
"Our Man Bashir"

Original airdate: 11/27/1995
Rewatch date: 2/24/2014

Several members of the senior staff are trapped in the transporter buffer and become characters in Bashir's British spy holodeck adventure.

Spoiler-free notes:

If I had been a producer for the show and was pitched this script, I probably would have rejected it. While there are things about it that make perfect sense--it explores Bashir and Garak's fascination with espionage and narratives, for example--it feels, on the surface, like a big step backwards for the show. Holodeck malfunctions became a common trope on TNG, and doing the same thing in the fourth season of DS9 may be a bit of a cop-out. Also, making Bashir explore James Bond is kind of like having Data explore Sherlock Holmes, only campier. After all, James Bond, as satire, is low-hanging fruit, and doing a serious take on James Bond in this context is virtually impossible. Don't get me wrong; I love James Bond and I love TNG's romps in the holodeck, but as an idea, it seems all wrong for DS9.

Having said all that, it's pretty difficult to not enjoy "Our Man Bashir." Everybody involved is clearly having a good time--especially Nana Visitor (Kira), who gets to play an over-the-top, scantily-clad KGB operative--and yet the writers still do some clever and interesting things. The solution to let the insane supervillain win is classic DS9, and of course, any episode that has dozens of Garak quips is worth it. The character of Garak, too, refuses to accept the light-hearted tone of the episode, with his expositions about the virtue of saving one's self at the expense of others and his downright hostile attitude towards Bashir for daring to believe otherwise. These keep the story from tilting too far into absurd territory, and because of that, I can admit that I would probably make a terrible television producer.

Spoiler section:

Much as they had legal trouble following TNG's "Elementary, Dear Data," the producers got an angry letter from the owners of the rights to James Bond, resulting in halted plans to have these holodeck adventures be a recurring plot point. As such, we don't ever see Julian Bashir, British spy, again.

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