Monday, January 2, 2017

Deep Space Nine 4x10 "Our Man Bashir"

rating: ****

the story: A systems malfunction significantly raises the stakes for Bashir's secret agent program.

what it's all about: If you somehow can't watch the earlier "Little Green Men" and embrace it for the classic romp it is, then "Our Man Bashir" is waiting in the wings for you.  It joins a suite of such episodes from the franchise ("A Piece of the Action" from the original series; "A Fistful of Datas, Next Generation; "Bride of Chaotica!," Voyager) to toss Star Trek into unexpected storytelling with wonderfully entertaining results.

"Bashir's secret agent program" means that the good doctor is playing James Bond in all but name, and so at heart "Our Man" is a spoof of Bond movies, with every main character factoring into the plot in surprising ways, including Sisko (as he was in the original Deep Space Nine Mirror Universe episode, "Crossover," playing the part of a villain, which he also does memorably in "Facets;" no other lead character in franchise lore ever convincingly played the part of ultimate hero and ultimate villain, let alone three times!).

The great thing about the episode is that it ends up later as foreshadowing of Bashir's reluctant involvement with the nefarious Section 31, the covert operations division of Starfleet that was later prominently featured in Star Trek Into Darkness.  It's also the one time we get to enjoy Bashir, with or without O'Brien, enjoy one of his much-discussed holosuite programs, and that alone makes "Our Man" pretty noteworthy.

It also serves as a pretty handy dividing line between the apparent mandate for a greater focus on episodic storytelling in the fourth season to the more serialized form that would pick up with the two-part "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost" after it and in fact the rest of the season, nearly all of which had something useful to say about matters of a slightly more weighty significance to the rest of the series.

It's a resounding triumph for Bashir, meanwhile, arguably his most enjoyable lead appearance to that point in the series, making up for the grimness of "Hippocratic Oath" earlier in the season and making way for "The Quickening," which also feels like an apology for "Oath," after it. 

criteria analysis:
  • franchise - A classic Star Trek romp.
  • series - An unexpected link to storytelling elsewhere in Deep Space Nine.
  • character - An excellent Bashir spotlight.
  • essential - Entertaining in a very easy-to-approach manner!
notable guest-stars:
Andrew Robinson (Garak)
Max Grodenchik (Rom)
Ken Marshall (Eddington)

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