Well, this is kinda neat. Among the guest cast for this episode is Faith Salie. I listen to NPR on the weekends, and many times that means I get to hear the comedic current events quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! where Salie is a regular panelist. This is the first time I can claim to see her face, knowing her mostly for her voice, so naturally she doesn’t have any lines in this episode.
Oh, and Anson “Potsie” Williams directed this one. Huh.
However, since Dr. Bashir was genetically enhanced and able to work in Starfleet and behave like a functional human being, four enhanced folks who are not so lucky have been sent to Deep Space Nine to show that they too can live normal and productive lives. Then again, these seem like extreme cases. Jack is paranoid and possibly prone to violence though he just threatens to do so here rather than actually perform any such act. Patrick is childlike. Salie’s Sarina is just this side of catatonic. And Lauren is a nymphomaniac or something, as seen by how she seems to be literally lounging around on a bed for the majority of the episode, even beaming off the station in that position by the end of the episode.
Well, here’s the thing: these people are difficult, and at about the time the new Cardassian leader Damar is set to give an address, they complain that their quarters has a high-pitched whine. Bashir can hear it too. O’Brien, not really, but he does find the problem with Patrick’s help, and that means the Enhanced Bunch get to see Damar’s speech.
They have notes.
Just by watching the video, the four–well, three since Sarina doesn’t really say anything–deduce that Damar is scared, feeling guilt over the death of someone close to him, and not really the man in charge. That would be Weyoun, and don’t worry: if you didn’t think it was possible for these folks to draw the correct conclusions, later in the episode when Damar and Weyoun come to the station for peace talks, scenes between the two of them make it very clear that Weyoun is the one in charge.
As it is, Bashir’s, let’s call them a team, prove themselves so adept at reading the situation that Starfleet arranges for them to monitor a peace conference Damar (or, more accurately, Weyoun) asked for. The group proves good enough to figure out the Dominion is making concessions to get a very specific planet, one that can provide the material necessary to make more Ketracel White for the Jem’Hadar.
You know, this is really good work from these folks. But there’s still a season and a half to go, so what do they do wrong?
Simple: they decide it is impossible to win the Dominion war and argue the Federation should just surrender and wait a couple generations to build a revolution that will successfully overthrow the Dominion.
OK, here’s where I have a problem with this episode: why does Bashir go along with this plan?
See, Sisko won’t surrender, and neither will Starfleet, even if it will save billions if not trillions of lives. But Bashir really believes this is the right path to take, and it’s only from talking to O’Brien does he realize the path the Enhanced are suggesting is wrong. Did it really take that? Since when did Bashir go that far? He’s been hanging around the station for a few years now. Besides, Bajor is right there. You’d think if anyone could give a good example of resisting at all costs, it would be, you know, Bajor. It’s what they do.
Instead, three of the four decide to just leak some intelligence to Weyoun and Damar, but fortunately Sarina was smart enough to realize that was dumb, and since one person can throw off even the smartest of projections, that means a lot of things could happen. Damar and Weyoun are disappointed, but I suppose that’s to be expected. Bashir learned there’s more to life than being smart I suppose.
Granted, I would have thought he would have figured that out by now…