Netflix description: Bashir is enjoying a holosuite program that casts him as a super suave, 1960s Earth secret agent when Garak intrudes on his fantasy.
No complaints about this description—the last five words are beautiful.
This is another episode that is difficult for me to write about because I’ve seen it so many times. Fair warning to those who don’t like/don’t want to read about Garak/Bashir: it is impossible for me to write about this episode without being shippy, so skip this review if you don’t want to read about that.
One of the things that I want to talk about is the fact that Bashir uses his real name in the holosuite program. Let’s think about this for a moment: This is his program and he probably had to specify to the programmer what he wanted. I know that DS9 couldn’t use the name James Bond and that’s probably the real reason behind this; however, why wasn’t a made up character name used, ala Dixon Hill on TNG? This suggests to me that he’s not playing a character; instead, he’s essentially playing an idealized version of himself—the Julian Bashir he wants to be. This Julian Bashir is very smooth in every situation, whether it’s with women or when confronting a villain. He’s not at all awkward like the Julian Bashir we know. I find this very endearing, if a little sad.
Julian wants to play spy, while Garak is both amused and disgusted by his fake spy program, as well as his romanticized version of spies. At first he finds all the excess and the playboy lifestyle of Julian’s fictional spy to be ridiculous in a funny way, but when things get dire he’s not pleased with the decisions that Bashir makes. I’m sure the writers probably hadn’t planned this far ahead, but I’d like to think that part of Garak’s panic at wanting to call for the door is not just because they could be killed, but also part of his claustrophobia. Holosuites aren’t that large, and when you combine that with the fact that they know they can’t escape it until the crew members are returned intact, I’m sure that could trigger a person’s claustrophobia. I’m mildly claustrophobic and I could see myself panicking in a situation like this.
I need to take a moment to break down Garak interrupting Bashir’s program. Garak mentions that Bashir has been using this program a lot. I don’t doubt that Garak would notice such a thing, especially when it comes to the doctor. He also says Julian’s been secretive about the program. With Garak being how he is, of course this would intrigue him. At some point he made the decision to go see what this program was. After that decision was made, he had to have taken the time out to make himself a tuxedo. The amount of thought that he had to put into interrupting this program just to see what Bashir was up to is astounding to me.
So, yes, I do love this episode partially because I am a Garak/Bashir shipper and it’s probably second to “The Wire” in terms of the amount of G/B. Watching it yet again (I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this one), I tried to analyze why it’s mostly beloved amongst those of us who ship this pairing. Well, for one thing, it’s how close these two stand next to one another. In the opening scene, there’s a point when they are mere inches from one another:
They also argue all throughout the episode, and on any other show any two people arguing that much would usually end up making out. Finally, I think that Sid and Andy just have undeniable chemistry. Whether you just like Garak and Bashir as friends or ship them like I do, you have to recognize that these two actors work really well together.
- That clap that Garak does at the beginning is ridiculously long. I even checked the script to see if it was written in that way. Nope, there is nothing in the script about it; this was apparently Andy Robinson’s acting choice and I am delighted about that. The overly long applause is so wonderfully sarcastic.
- I feel like this episode is being a bit meta, as it combines both a holosuite glitch and a transporter malfunction. These are things that were Star Trek tropes at this point, and I can’t help but think the writers wrote this as a little nod to that.
- Garak’s face when he says “Parade?” is one of my favorite things. He looks a bit confused but also delighted.
- I have to mention Avery Brooks in this episode, because the man just looks like he’s having so much fun playing an over-the-top supervillain. He chews the scenery left and right and it is spectacular. Also, he looks really nice in that Nehru jacket.
- I didn’t realize this until going over my notes, but at 3 separate times I wrote something about how Garak and Bashir should “just make out.” Well, at least I’m consistent!
- No, no no. Nope: