Plot contrivance particles somehow force Bashir to live out his superspy holodeck fantasy.
I know this episode has its fans, and I have to admit Garak’s outsider commentary almost saves it from Facepalm Planet, but coming so soon after the s4e9 “Little Green Men” homage to sci-fi B movies and the s4e8 “The Sword fo Kahless” homage to “The Lord of the Rings,” this homage to James Bond movies was rough to sit through.
When it first aired 30 years ago I must have bailed on it, because I remember the unlikely premise — that an emergency forces the station computer to store the transporter patterns of Sisko, Kira, Dax, Worf and O’Brien in the holosuite that Bashir’s currently using for a superspy holonovel, and because TV Bashir has to let the stories play out, the safeties are disabled, and characters who die on the holodeck will die in real life, and there’s also a countdown timer to certain destruction.
I’m sure this episode must have been fun for the actors who get to play different roles, but only Avery Brooks was truly surprising — his Sisko regularly gets dark and intense when the pressure mounts, but his “Hippocrates Noah” gets perky and practically giggles through his villain monologues.
The supervillain plot to use lasers to flabbergast the Earth’s tectonic jimberjams is pulpy fun, as is Garak’s commentary as Bashir tries to charm the image of Dax who is playing the supervillain’s lab technician.
Yes, it was interesting that Bashir had to evade/defeat the thug with the face of his friend O’Brien, but because O’Brien wasn’t conscious and affecting the program, and because there were five different doppelgängers for Bashir to interact with, the story didn’t hold my attention.
Bashir is not actually interacting with his colleagues, but rather with stock characters who just happen to look like the series regular. No major character is going to leave the series or be permanently changed because of what happened during a campy holodeck fantasy, so I wasn’t all that engaged.
The only “real” relationship was the interaction between Bashir and Garak, and I can see why those who really stan their bromance have good reason to enjoy this episode, but the script that depends upon the warp core, the transporters, and the holodeck all malfunctioning in precisely the way the plot demands. The result for me was a cascading failure in my Coleridge disbelief suspension field, earning the episode a facepalm.