Episode 4.10: Our Man Bashir

This episode does not take itself very seriously (like the Bond films that it parodies). I love how fun it is, and this is why it is one of my favorite episodes. Comedy, fantasy, and archetypal heroism are generously mixed together. Julian is spending time in one of his fantasies where he’s a suave, heroic secret agent. To rescue his friends, he has to go more deeply into his fantasy and play out the story he’s in. Julian has the opportunity to treat his fantasy as completely real; a scenario I’m sure many of us would envy. A key component to this story is how the crew is split between the good and the bad sides of Julian’s story (Kira, Dax, Julian on one; Sisko, Worf, O’Brien on the other). This means that Julian can neither win nor lose the story. So he ends up doing the unexpected. He joins Dr. Noah’s side.

Bashir’s character is proudly on display here. This is a fantasy for him, and I think he exercises a freedom he would not otherwise allow himself. He gets to play out the fantasy in a way that saves his friends outside the secret agent story. This fantasy is wholly his. Garak’s cautious and self-serving suggestions would even be detrimental. Secret Agent Bashir is supposed to win while taking the most outrageous of risks that only a playboy jetsetter would. He resolutely refuses to bend to Garak’s suggestion that some will have to die to save others. This is his fantasy, and everyone will make it through. Julian juggles the two sides, refusing to “win” as long as possible, even as it endangers himself and Garak. I think it’s perfect that in the end, Julian sacrifices the world to save the day. This is indicative of who he is at the core: he will sacrifice all he can to be the hero. He’s not even willing to allow the possibility of disrupting the program, via calling for the exit. And he does so not because he wants some accolade; he simply follows the best past he sees to help those around him. His portion of Starship Down (Ep. 4.7) had a similar theme.

I love how Garak is utterly offended by the fantasy. It’s similar to when a doctor watches ER or House; to Garak, the fantasy is a mockery to his reality. Garak thinks that Julian is getting lost in his fantasy and that Julian thinks this is all just a game. The end shows how Garak is wrong in this perspective. Julian is willing to destroy the holosuite world to save the crew. He had his wits about him the entire time. Julian just knew that his fantasy secret agent world would not react well to Garak’s Obsidian Order style of spywork. I don’t think Julian tried to kill Garak. I think Julian is finally beginning to understand Garak, and that he needs a show of confidence to get Garak to fall in line. Julian uses Garak’s perspective at the end to stall for time. In a way, it is Garak’s perspective, not Garak himself, that helps save the day.

I’m a fair fan of the Bond films, so I tried to catch as many Bond references as I could. I’m sure I missed some, but here’s what I did see. The overall tone felt like a Roger Moore style movie. From the 60s/70s with plenty of tongue-in-cheek moments, such as the suggestive women’s names. Obviously, “Bashir.  Julian Bashir.”  The setting, Kowloon, reminds me of The Man With the Golden Gun. Bashir playing in the club with Worf is similar to a scene in Diamonds are Forever. Professor Honey Bare reminds me of Holly Goodhead in Moonraker. Dr. Noah is clearly a reference to Dr. No, both in name and demeanor. The crazy plan to create a new paradise in an extreme location (the mountain of Everest) is similar to the plot of The Spy Who Loved Me. The absurd 5-minute killing scenario where the heroes are left alone is like every Bond movie ever from the Connery/Moore/Brosnan eras. The gun in the shoe is sorta similar to the knife in the shoe of From Russia With Love. Finally, it ends with a “Julian Bashir Will Return” sort of moment.

It also has a lot of excellent one liners; so many that I don’t think I caught them all.

  1. “I think I joined the wrong intelligence service.” – Garak
  2. “Try to stay cool, Mr. Bashir.” – Dr. Noah
  3. “Kiss the girl; get the key. They never taught me that in the Obsidian Order.” – Garak, and one of my favorite lines in the whole series
  4. “There comes a time when the odds are against you and the most reasonable course of action is to quit.” – Garak
  5. “You’re a man who dreams you’re a hero because deep down, you know you’re not.” – Garak, which in this case is categorically false about Bashir
  6. “I don’t intend to destroy your console; I intend to use it!” – Bashir

Random Thoughts: 1) Runabout down! Orinoco destroyed. 2) I think this episode was sequenced  so that there was a lighter episode before the heavy two-parter where Earth is under siege, which is coming next. 3) The invasion of privacy into Bashir’s fantasies is similar to If Wishes Were Horses (Ep. 1.16). 4) I love how Garak expertly manipulates Bashir into saying “I have nothing to hide!”, which is the opening that allows Garak to stay. 4) The line “What could possibly go wrong?” is clearly a reference to the TNG prevalence of malfunctioning holodecks. 5) It is Quark who realizes that the neural patterns of the crew are held in the whole of the station. 6) Hypocrisy is a key character trait of Hippocrates Noah. 7) I think Garak gains a stronger respect for Bashir in this episode. Julian is more confident and knows enough to use what Garak is saying to his advantage. Garak respects both of these things. 8) I think Avery Brooks plays Noah extremely well. He channels the likes of Donald Pleasence. He also has a brilliant look of confusion on his face when Julian tells him he is right about the decadence of the world. It’s like I can see the holosuite program being confused at this response from the player.  9) This episode was nominated for two Emmy awards (music and hairstyles).  10) The owners of James Bond, MGM, apparently didn’t like the overt references to their copyright.  They sent a letter to the showrunners.  That caused the Bond references to be severely toned down in A Simple Investigation (Ep. 5.17).

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~ by Joshua Black on August 10, 2017.

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