Bonding with Our Man Bashir
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine may have been conceived, written and produced entirely in the 1990’s, but there’s plenty of 60’s spirit -- shaken, not stirred, shall we say -- coursing through the veins of the show. "Our Man Bashir," the 10th episode of DS9’s fourth season, which aired November 27, 1995, brought the spirit of Her Majesty’s favorite secret agent to a holodeck in the 24th century, and in doing so gave us one of the most-unique and impressively designed episodes of the entire series.
We join The Adventures of Julian Bashir, Secret Agent mid-flow as Julian, dressed in a classic tuxedo, hurls an adversary with an eye patch through a plate-glass window, dispatching a second with the cork from a champagne bottle. His adventure is paused as Garak claps, asking about the nature of the holodeck program that Bashir has been spending so much time in of late. Inviting Garak to join him, the mission begins.
Bashir takes Garak back to his 60’s styled apartment. Julian is playing a spy, much to the amusement of Garak, a spy in real life. Meanwhile, Sisko, Kira, Dax, O’Brien and Worf are returning from a conference when their shuttle hits trouble, threatening to explode. Lieutenant Commander Eddington swiftly beams them out, but the crew are caught in the pattern buffer mid-transport. To save them, Eddington orders the computer to wipe all memory to save their patterns before they degrade. They’re on the station somewhere, but Odo and Eddington have no idea where.
Back in the holosuite, Garak is now dressed in a 60's attire, when suddenly the bed swings round to reveal Major Kira, a/k/a Colonel Anastasia Komananov. Julian contacts Ops to find out what’s happened, and Eddington realizes the holosuite is where the missing crew have materialized. He tells Bashir to continue with the program while they search for a solution, in case the crew are lost again.
Komananov explains that she is working to learn the source of a series of artificial earthquakes, the only clue being an image of Doctor Honey Bare, Jadzia Dax. The door opens and Julian’s holo assistant Mona falls into the room, a knife in her back. The man with the eyepatch is back – the Falcon, now “played” by Miles O’Brien.
Komananov asks for one last kiss with Julian, and removes her earring, which in reality is a stun bomb. She hurls it at Falcon, knocking him out. Dispatching the rest of his henchmen, they notice that Garak is bleeding. The holodeck safeties are off, so if they are to save their colleagues, they’ll have to do it for real. Komananov explains that evil genius Hippocrates Noah has been meeting with the world’s greatest scientific minds in a Parisian club and abducting them. Bashir and Komananov head for Paris.
As the DS9 staff struggle to fit together the various pieces needed to bring the crew back safely from the holodeck, Bashir encounters Duchamps, a/k/a Worf. He challenges him to a game of baccarat to win the money required to meet Doctor Noah, but Duchamps stuns them with knock-out gas and they wake to meet Noah, who is… Sisko. Noah reveals his plan, to shrink the planet and flood the world, leaving only his Mount Everest base above the water. Falcon straps Bashir and Garak to a giant laser, leaving them to die.
Just in time, Honey Bare frees them and they enter the control room. The program demands that either Komananov or Bare die, but that can’t be allowed to happen. Garak threatens to end the program, seemingly forcing Julian to make a grim choice, but he instead Bashir shoots at Garak, wounding his neck. Garak is impressed. They face down Noah, and as a solution is found by Eddington and his team in the real world, Bashir does the unthinkable and activates Noah’s device, flooding the holographic Earth. Just as Noah is about to dispatch Bashir anyway, Rom activates the transporter, rematerializing Sisko, Kira, O'Brien, Worf and Dax. The episode ends as Garak praises Bashir for his solution, saving the world by destroying it.
While Niners adored the episode, MGM – the stewards of the James Bond franchise – were less than impressed. The show is absolutely crammed with very clear Bond nods, and as Nana Visitor said, " How many times, you know, is it a necessity to do a bad Russian accent? I was in heaven. It was ideal for me. And to come out of a wall in a round bed? It just doesn't get better than that."
It certainly doesn’t.
Re-watch, have fun finding those many nods, and remember what Garak fatefully said: "We're going to have a wonderful time, Doctor; after all, what could possibly go wrong?"
Mark Newbold has been an avid Trek fan since the 1970's, when TOS was shown on UK TV, but it was the original cast movie series and TNG era that sealed the deal. Mark is a writer for Star Trek: The Official Magazine, is editor-in-Chief of Star Trek: The Neutral Zone and was a stage host at Destination Star Trek Germany in 2018. At heart, he's a Niner. Follow him on Twitter.