Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: If Wishes Were Horses   Rewatch 
June 14, 2015 4:05 PM - Season 1, Episode 16 - Subscribe

The station's crew get some of their wishes granted.
posted by Solomon (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ok, how much longer is Bashir going to keep hitting on Dax? He must stop being irritating at some point in the series, I don't remember disliking him back in the day, but, oh lordy is he my least favorite part of this rewatch.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:56 PM on June 14, 2015

In the DS9 Companion book, Colm Meany goes off on a rant about how they intended Rumpelstiltskin to be a leprechaun, but he furiously shot it down because he thought it was "racist". (I know people in the UK sometimes talk about it being "racist" for English white people to hate on Irish or Scottish white people, but that phrasing always sounds weird as hell to my American ears.) As great as Meany was on the show, you can read between the lines in that book and get the feeling he was an unhappy guy. He's not quoted as much as the other actors, and when he is quoted he's usually crabbing about something.

Looking at the Memory Alpha link now, there's more info about the dispute:

Michael Piller recalled his modifications to the script to placate Meaney: "We needed a reason for it to be happening and we came up with the idea that O'Brien would be telling a bedtime story about a leprechaun. We had the script written, and Colm Meaney called Rick [Berman] and said, 'Every Irish actor I know has worked his entire life to overcome the stereotype of Irish people and leprechauns. It's really racist, and I don't want to do it'. We had no idea there was any sensitivity to leprechauns in the Irish culture and certainly we did not want to force Colm Meaney to act with a leprechaun, but what the hell do you do after you've got a whole story structured around a leprechaun stealing a child? Well, we went through story tales and Robert [Hewitt Wolfe] came in with Rumpelstiltskin, and we went by it at least once, maybe twice, because Rumpelstiltskin wasn't exactly the same thing and wouldn't work in the structure we had. When I finally sat down to rewrite it, I said, 'Okay, Rumpelstiltskin - let's see where it goes'. It was one of those scripts where I had no idea how to resolve it or where it was going to go. I wrote each scene to see if it worked and had fun with it"

I think this is the episode where the Bashir/Dax thing begins to turn. He is mortified to have this fantasy Dax swooning over him, and it seemed like he backed off a lot after that. Now that I think of it, Trek has a surprising number of stories where somebody's embarrassing secret fantasies are exposed. (I'm thinking of the TNG with Barclay's pathetic holodeck thing, or a number of Voyager episodes where somebody walks into somebody else's holodeck fantasy and they're like, "What the hell IS this?") I guess for geeky writers (and audiences) it's a potent trope. The idea of our secret weirdo fantasies being dragged out into the light is kind of terrifying.

This is also the episode where Sisko gets the baseball that will sit on his desk and have a surprising amount of symbolism attached to it as the series goes on.

The one false note for me is Odo fantasizing about Quark being in a cell. Odo could probably arrest Quark for any number of things, whenever he felt like it. But they have a classic love-hate thing going, so he lets Quark get away with low-level shady stuff and (Odo later claims) kind of uses him to track illegal doings on the station.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:03 PM on June 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ok, how much longer is Bashir going to keep hitting on Dax? He must stop being irritating at some point in the series, I don't remember disliking him back in the day, but, oh lordy is he my least favorite part of this rewatch.

I don't have an exact pinpoint for this (I'm guessing Ursula Hitler may be right about this episode being a turning point), but I recently rewatched episode 22 of Season 2, The Wire (because I had a bad day and needed a large dose of Garak scenes). In between all of the Garak-y goodness, there's a little scene of Bashir hanging out with Dax and talking about what might be wrong with a plant she's taking care of. There's no flirtation of any kind, just two friends hanging out. It's nice.

I started rewatching quite a bit before the Fanfare rewatch started, so I'm in Season Six now, and while Bashir improves quite a bit, he's still my least favorite part of the rewatch. Part of it is that after some rather catastrophic events that might seem to change him, there are still some fundamental traits that never seem to change (the arrogance, mostly, and his weird horndog tendencies still pop up occasionally, but he thankfully finds targets other than Jadzia). Part of it is that the other characters just get even more awesome, so he just kind of can't keep up in comparison IMO.
posted by creepygirl at 9:52 PM on June 14, 2015

A lot about Bashir changes retrospectively in Season 5 which the actor did not like one bit but I guess we shall discuss that more later on.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:45 AM on June 15, 2015

This comment contains spoilers for a season 4 episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.

I was sort of left wondering what the point of this episode actually was. There's a hitherto unknown life form(s?) on the station, interacting with the crew through their imaginations, but in the end, they don't actually make first contact. Everything goes back to normal using some The Secret-type stuff, but nothing new is learned, there's no dramatic reveal, nobody is actually in peril. It's all just a bit pointless.

The episode of ST: E called Observer Effect did a similar thing. Aliens took over the crew to see their responses to an infective agent two crew members encounter on a planet. In the end, Archer's actions are shown to have an effect on the behaviour of the aliens, who actually do something to help the crew. The DS9 episode doesn't have any of that and just seems like a bit of an empty box.
posted by Solomon at 9:18 AM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's interesting you'd say that, Creepygirl. Bashir is one of my favorite characters, and part of that is because he is such an earnest, honest and kind of dweeby guy. The other characters are a little more willing to settle and compromise, even Kira becomes more weary and cynical eventually. But Bashir is the guy who is always going to have a problem settling. He wants to be a hero. There is some arrogance there, but to me it's more like he just cares about stuff so much and he is convinced he can fix a problem if he just works hard enough. He will cure any disease and redeem any lost soul... even Garak!

There's that scene near the end of the series where he and O'Brien think they're going to die, and Bashir says that while he loves Esri Dax, he LIKES O'Brien more. It really weirds O'Brien out, but I think it gets at the honesty of Bashir. He's a guy who doesn't mess around.

His flirting with Jadzia was awkward, but I think it was meant to be and it was no great shock to learn later that she enjoyed it. I'm noticing that these days people seem a lot more uncomfortable with flirty dudes on old shows, ESPECIALLY dudes who are clumsy at it. James T. Kirk seems to get a pass, but when I read reviews of various old shows there's a lot of, "Oh, God, the awkward flirty stuff again make it stop!!" Bashir's flirting is clumsy, but it's a small part of who he is and it doesn't come from a douche-y place.

Huh. I never thought of myself as having a Bashir crush, but the evidence suggests maybe I kind of do.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:04 PM on June 15, 2015

Bashir does and says lot of things over the course of the series that I find douche-y, enough of them that they seem like the douche-y moments are an essential part of who he is. But I'll wait to discuss them until we reach those episodes in the rewatch, rather than hijack this thread with a Bashir's Great Moments of Jerkitude rant. (And while he's my least favorite part of the rewatch, he still has some awesome moments, so I'll be sure to point those out when they come up too.)
posted by creepygirl at 9:31 PM on June 15, 2015

Well, I'll be curious to hear it. It's been a few years since I watched the reruns, but in my memory he was kind of the Dr. McCoy bleeding heart of the bunch, thumping the table and saying, "Dammit, this is wrong."
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:29 AM on June 16, 2015

Well, make sure to check in when we rewatch the Season 7 episode Chrysalis. I just watched it today, and holy crap will I have Things To Say about Bashir's behavior and attitude there.
posted by creepygirl at 4:09 PM on July 4, 2015

Well, I suppose we should wait to get into that until it comes up in the re-watch... but I don't think that episode makes a good case that Bashir's a bad person. I think part of the point of the episode is that in some ways he's spent his own life in hiding, like Sabrina, and when she comes out of her trance he's so desperate to meet somebody like himself that he falls too hard too fast and he pushes Sabrina way beyond what she's ready for. Yes, he makes some assumptions, and part of that is arrogance. I think as the audience we're expected to make some assumptions too, because of how stories like this usually go.

But when Bashir sees what he's doing and how he's actually harming Sabrina, he totally backs off and feels terrible about what he's done. He realizes that he was projecting on her, and he does not want to take advantage of her in any way. Characters have to have faults and problems to solve, and this is an episode where Bashir learns that Sabrina is her own person with her own needs, and she's not his fantasy girl.

Sorry, I suppose this doesn't count as waiting to discuss this episode. But if that's one you're going to use as evidence that Bashir is a jerk, I suspect we're never gonna see eye to eye on the guy.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:46 PM on July 4, 2015

Yeah, my reply would be long and detailed with many quotes from the actual episode to explain what exactly I find utterly awful about him, so I'll save it for when we get there.
posted by creepygirl at 7:14 PM on July 4, 2015

Wait. Was this the first time that the show acknowledges in plain-language that Quark’s holo-suites are for sex? Given when this was broadcast, I was kind of expecting them to dance around the issue for the show’s entire run...
posted by schmod at 12:01 PM on June 11, 2020

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