"Distant Voices" Plot Summary:
Depressed about turning thirty, Bashir comtemplates changing his life. But after an attack leaves him dying, he must confront and piece together the different pieces of his personality, manifest as members of the DS9 crew.
Sisko is Julian's finest side, the aggressive, confident, smart aspects. Kira's more his aggressions, while Dax is pure intellect...Odo, for some inexplicable reason, is a lot darker, while Garak is Bashir's inner core of self-destruction, or something very close. Though he ages dramatically and has to fight inner and outer demons, Bashir manages to triumph and wakes up whole and young again...or, at least, whole and thirty.
Considering that this was a Bashir episode almost entirely, I liked it better than I expected to. Oh, I DID want to kill him with the turning thirty business--in a future where people live to be 140, it seemed SO stupid, and so quintessentially Julian somehow. But he became a lot more interesting when we got to see who inhabited his psyche, and how. Interesting to learn that he sees Sisko as authoritative - a role we don't always see on the series - and I sort of liked knowing that his aggressive nature is feminine, and he associates Kira with that sort of strength. Oh, how I wanted Quark to be his libido, and Jake his inner child...
I generally dislike "alone on the ship" type stories - "Omega Glory" on TOS, "Remember Me" on TNG, and now this - but there was certain appeal to seeing Bashir having to deal with his own annoying personality traits superimposed onto characters we love. I also generally dislike aging episodes, it looked phony when it happened to Kirk on TOS, it looked phony when it happened to Pulaski on TNG, so it came as no surprise when a guy my age was unconvincing as an old man. Somehow, though, I got sucked into the plot, even if it was a sort of New Age-y get-in-touch-with-your-fears theme.
I really liked that Bashir saw Sisko as the best part of himself. I never realized Bashir looked up to his commanding officer so much...and that, annoying as Kira was with Julian's neuroses projected onto her, at least he didn't try to turn her or Dax into a wimp. His attitudes about gender at least seem pretty healthy even if his behavior towards the opposite sex can be juvenile. Poor O'Brien had a really thankless part, and Odo was really funny but reminded me more of his alternate universe self than was probably intended - although in the recesses of Julian's mind, since he was in that a/u, who knows?
It seemed phony to me that he was walking within a few minutes of breaking his hip...but that's the nature of these all-in-your-head episodes, all kinds of unreal things can go on with no internal consistency. I loved it when he saw himself on the viewscreen dying in Sickbay, but it made no sense to me. If this was all in his head he might have been aware of the monitors, but of how he looked? Not likely.
I would say that Garak almost outshone Julian at the end, but it's the two of them together that makes either appealing for me. That whole first scene was rife with innuendo on Garak's part, and then Garak turns into Julian's Inner Beast...but I won't even try to analyze THAT or I might get into trouble. I wonder what it means that Bashir is his own worst enemy? Does he dislike himself for some hidden reason we don't know about yet? I hope we find out, and this doesn't all get dropped!
Deep Space Nine Reviews