Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Our Man Bashir"

***

Air date: 11/27/1995
Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore
Story by Robert Gillan
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Kiss the girl, get the key. They never taught me that in the Obsidian Order." — Garak

Nutshell: A rather absurd premise, but it's put to good use. Very clever and funny.

"Our Man Bashir" is a lot like "Little Green Men" in that it is a comedic episode that has little bearing on the season or the series, and not really much bearing on the characters either. But it is different from "Little Green Men" in that it is a comedy with a little more spice and satire, and not so much a single joke that always seems on the verge of running out of steam.

It's nice to see that the series has the ability not to always take itself seriously—that it can step back and be downright ludicrous and still manage to hold our attention. This time, a freak transporter accident sends nearly the entire senior staff into the holosuite. (You would think we're in for trouble when the story begins with not one, but two Trek cliches, but never mind that now.) The premise is about one step away from total incredulity: When Sisko & Crew's Runabout explodes in the process of an emergency beam-out gone awry, Odo and Eddington frantically free enough computer memory to save their brain patterns (some extremely large clusters of data) in the station's computer. Somehow, the data ends up in the middle of Bashir's James Bond-type fantasy holosuite program, and holosuite characters begin to take on the forms of DS9's senior officers.

This premise is no more than an excuse to plug the characters into Bond movie milieu, with Bashir in the title role. Considering the release of the Goldeneye feature, "Our Man Bashir" couldn't be more timely. This episode takes great joy in poking fun at the larger-than-life nature of the Bond films. Naturally, Garak, who tags along to observe Bashir's fantasy life, gets the always-welcome lines of humorously biting sarcasm.

Bashir—Julian Bashir, that is—is having lots of fun defeating the villains and getting the girls in his holosuite fantasy (the episode opens with a ridiculously amusing scene where Bashir knocks out a bad guy by popping the cork of a champagne bottle into the villain's forehead). But things turn serious when Eddington informs him that if he attempts to leave the holodeck he risks erasing the data of the senior staff's transporter patterns. So Bashir must keep the program running until Odo and Eddington can come up with a solution. Wait...did I mention the holosuite safeties are disabled? Do I have to?

From here we follow Bashir and Garak through their adventure to save the world. "Our Man Bashir" has everything a Bond movie would need. There's the Sexy Woman Agent with an Accent (named Anastasia and replaced with Kira's image); the One-eyed Hitman with a Score to Settle (named Falcon and played by O'Brien); the Female Scientist with a Silly Name (Honey Bare, played by Dax); the Tuxedoed Gambling Mobster (Duchamps, played by Worf); and, of course, the Megalomaniacal Villain Trying to Destroy the World (Dr. Noah, played by Sisko).

Do you care about the plot? In all honesty, one of the weaknesses of this episode is how it tries to give us a plot to digest which turns out to be a fairly meaningless exercise simply because it doesn't matter. Do you really care if Dr. Noah is able to accomplish the absurdly unfathomable goal of destroying the world? I didn't, but then again, it doesn't much matter whether the holo-story means anything, because what this episode is about is the role playing chemistry and the acerbic banter between Bashir and Garak—and these elements work.

It's fun watching Bashir and Garak get into the typical spy movie jams. There's one crazy scene where Noah has them chained up in a cave where a laser is ready to drill into the ground and cause molten lava to fill the cavern. Garak's dry observation: "I only know one thing for sure, Doctor...when the molten lava begins pouring into this cave, you and I are going to be very uncomfortable." There's also his classic line, "I must say, Doctor, this is more than I ever wanted to know about your fantasy life"—one of the most appropriately timed lines in quite a while. These two are as fun to watch here as ever, and the episode's shining scene—where Garak reveals that being a spy means cutting your losses and giving up when things get tough—reveals the fundamental difference between the grim kind of espionage the Obsidian Order had made their business, and the superficial comic book adventures Bashir plays in his fantasies.

Winrich Kolbe's direction reveals a capable comic side (although the closing scenes get almost too hyperkinetic despite a waning supply of fresh dialogue). The performances in "Our Man Bashir" are right where they should be—way over-the-top. Avery Brooks as the very-insane Dr. Noah is a particularly goofy delight. Nana Visitor's accent sounds surprisingly good, and just seeing Worf in a tuxedo while lighting up a cigar is reason enough to watch the episode. Also, Jay Chattaway's appropriate Bond-style score is a pleasant change of pace.

If there's something this episode says through its satirical nature, it's that the Bond movies are just highly unlikely, stylized, comic book stories to be taken at the most basic entertainment level. "Our Man Bashir," similarly, is one zany, preposterous, amusing episode.

Previous episode: The Sword of Kahless
Next episode: Homefront

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25 comments on this review

AJ Koravkrian - Sun, Nov 25, 2007 - 10:52pm (USA Central)
Why would they make the premise so ridiculous though ? You need entire space station's data worth of computer memory to store their brain patterns ? How stupid is that ? Do they mean to say that the space station's transporter can't hold more than a couple of people into the transporter buffer ? What about when Voyager holds all those telepathic aliens into the cargo bay transporter buffer ? Why, oh why would they do this to us ?
Occuprice - Fri, Apr 18, 2008 - 11:27pm (USA Central)
Because, like most things on Voyager, the Aliens are dumbed down with limited mental capacity. Thus, more of their minds could be stored in less area.
Necros - Wed, Jul 9, 2008 - 6:30am (USA Central)
Do I care about the plot? Of course! It's a bit silly but it's allright. I think many times you are over-analyzing and trying too hard to be a reviewer.
Jayson - Wed, Nov 26, 2008 - 9:23pm (USA Central)
If you really care about a plausible reason as to why the stations computers couldn't hold the patterns, well its a Cardassian station. I suspect if this were a Federation starship or starbase it wouldn't be a problem but is just an old mining station.
Destructor - Tue, Jul 14, 2009 - 7:40pm (USA Central)
Watching a holodeck episode is the 24th century equivalent of watching our favourite characters watch TV. I don't care and it's a waste of time. This was a snoozer that only had laughs because it was laughably bad. Next!
Jake - Tue, Nov 24, 2009 - 10:12am (USA Central)
I enjoyed this one, & find it interesting that this episode aired at roughly the same time that the Bond film Goldeneye was in theaters. Likewise, TNG's equally memorable "A Fistful of Datas" aired more or less the same time Unforgiven was in cinemas.
An interesting coincidence these 2 holodeck episodes share.
jilly - Mon, Jan 4, 2010 - 10:29pm (USA Central)
This was just intended to be a good time, and that is how I took it. I got the feeling the actors, director, writers, set designers, et all really let loose and enjoyed themselves. It was just a fun romp to see our characters in new, but also stereotypical roles. :)
Anthony2816 - Fri, Feb 5, 2010 - 2:28pm (USA Central)
How come when the lasers that Bashir and Garak had been chained to were activated, and the five minute countdown was well underway, Dr. Honey Bare chose that moment to saunter in and begin a casual review of the controls?

Just askin'...
Peter Cordes - Tue, Sep 20, 2011 - 11:00am (USA Central)
Normally in a spy movie, the goal is to thwart the villain. Thinking outside the box, realizing that was unnecessary, was creative. The goal here was to keep all the characters alive, and the idea of the super-spy having a goal other than stopping the bad guy made the last few scenes novel.
Jacobian Tee Teetertotter the Third - Wed, Feb 1, 2012 - 1:26am (USA Central)
Its great that Julian can actually be himself in the holodeck, being genetically enhanched and all it is possible that he could do those things which would be a fantasy for most people to be Bond, but not for the genetically enhanched Doctor Bashir. I got this idea from the SFDerbis fellow and thought it so clever I had to post it here, because it truely is the great irony of this episode. And as a Bond Fan its great fun! Here ye here ye Calling all Bond fans, now you can be Deep Space fans to if only for a day!3 popcorns. Also liked the bit about neural energy being able to be stored in a computer. I thought this to be intersting, because i would think when i die, that engery must go somewhere, where does it go? Hope i have a deep space nine nearby to escape death
Latex Zebra - Tue, Apr 17, 2012 - 4:22am (USA Central)
Finally watched this on my box set Sunday night. This had always seem an inconsequential episode. I liked it. Earns a couple of stars for a valet named Mona Lovesit.
I also thought the end, which turned spy conventions on its head, as Julian attempted to buy time was excellent, as was the villians response.
3 stars seems very fair for this.
Mister P - Sat, Aug 25, 2012 - 11:53pm (USA Central)
This is not a bad episode, but I would have enjoyed it a little more if it wasn't scheduled so closely to Little Green Men. Both are "silly" episodes taking place in 20th century settings with no impact on any of the major DS9 story arcs. Still, I did enjoy how they remixed the DS9 theme music into a 60s-James-Bond espionage style.
Cail Corishev - Mon, Sep 17, 2012 - 4:54pm (USA Central)
A fun episode, but I do wish they could have come up with something more plausible than "the entire station doesn't have as much RAM as one set of transporters." That took a while to get past. There's no way that makes sense, in any era or with any technology. That's nearly as bad as Voyager getting away with running the holodocks 24/7 because they use a "different kind of energy" than the rest of the ship.

Nice to see Sisko chewing the scenery on purpose, though. And Julian wants to be a real spy so badly that it's fun to watch him play at it. Garak steals his scenes as usual, especially with his remark that he's been spying for the wrong intelligence service.
William - Mon, Oct 15, 2012 - 6:48pm (USA Central)
Not a fan of most holodeck episodes, but this one was pretty fun. And I like the additional insight into Cardassian vs. Human approach.
Maestro - Thu, Nov 1, 2012 - 7:32pm (USA Central)
Kira's accent is hilarious - the rest is irrelevant... Maybe Dax as a mad scientist too.
Maestro - Thu, Nov 1, 2012 - 7:34pm (USA Central)
I mean... How did they manage to shoot it? They must have rolled on the flour every time Kira had started to speak.
Maestro - Thu, Nov 1, 2012 - 7:50pm (USA Central)
And the very final lick on guitar, taken straight from TNG theme.
ProgHead777 - Mon, Jul 22, 2013 - 11:39pm (USA Central)
"You've destroyed zee vorld!" ~a shocked and dismayed Anastasia to Julian Bashir, secret agent XD

This one was a hoot! Anyone who spent any time analyzing the premise missed the point. This episode was a sugar pill to gird us for what was immediately to follow. That's all. It's okay for a show to have silly fun once in a while. Even Star Trek.
floodgeology - Mon, Oct 21, 2013 - 3:34am (USA Central)
I loved how Garak pointed out the upsurdity of everything (even up to including the 60's distint lack of bad taste in decoration) He's what pulled off the episode.
Also, is it coincidental that Julian Bashir and James Bond have the same initials?
Kotas - Wed, Oct 23, 2013 - 12:54pm (USA Central)

The best "just for fun" episode of the series thus far.

8/10
Jons - Sun, Feb 2, 2014 - 3:20pm (USA Central)
Third filler episode in a row... What did we do do to deserve that??

I really enjoyed Little Green Men but the Indiana Jones and the Bond rip-offs ("omg! we don't know what to do! oh I know, how about we ripoff another genre so we don't have to come up with an actual original story??")

The only thing interesting here is Garak, but he speaks for only 5 min in the whole episode, which leaves 40 minutes of murderous boredom...
Dusty - Thu, Feb 13, 2014 - 9:35pm (USA Central)
Not crazy about two comedy episodes back to back. It killed an hour, but I'm not crazy about the James Bond stuff or technobabble and this episode had a lot of both. Plus Bashir's not exactly one of my favorite characters. O'Brien, Worf, and Sisko as the villains were much more entertaining. It was interesting, but I probably won't watch this one again.
Vylora - Sun, Feb 23, 2014 - 9:52pm (USA Central)
I agree over-analyzing this type of episode is completely missing the point. I actually didn't find the premise all that absurd either. It's been stated before in Trek that holding transporter activity within the buffer can cause degradation of the signal. Seeing as its still a Cardassian transporter system and an old mining station to boot, it seems feasible the memory required to keep the signals stable would take up so much resources.

As it is, this was a really fun episode and is obvious their was a lot of fun put into it by all involved. I'd say high end of 3 stars.
Rivus - Tue, Apr 29, 2014 - 2:28pm (USA Central)
Not gonna lie, I was laughing from the moment the champagne popped, to every completely absurd Bond-ehr... Bashir girl name cooked up (Mona Luvs... What, exactly?), to Garak being Garak, to Kira giving the most hilarious "DA" I've ever heard (not that I hear much Russian)... But out of all of it, EVIL MASTERMIND OF MOUNT (SOON TO BE ISLE) EVEREST BENJAMIN SISKO was where I just lost it. It's like Brooks crossed Sisko's normal talking with Mirror Sisko's enthusiastic rabblerousing, and I just couldn't stop laughing. Granted, I missed sleep last night, so it could just be the delirium talkin', but this was quite enjoyable. Also, some of the most memorable music in Star Trek since The Inner Light (which REALLLLY feels twisted to say, now that I think of it), they really went all out.

Well played DS9. Somehow, this feels like a redemption after having to put up with those dull, plodding Dixon Hill episodes back in TNG. I'm hesitant to give this three and a half stars because of a lack of real plot... How about 3.33 repeating stars?
Hlau - Sat, Jun 28, 2014 - 7:37am (USA Central)
Looks like this was fun for the actors, especially playing the villains. Kira looks great as a Bond girl too. A shame Sisko didn't put on a stronger hammy accent.

I did love how nonchalant everyone was on that shuttle during the set up about their possible death 'in 10 seconds.'

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