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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Assignment (Review)

The Assignment is perhaps the most conventional episode of the fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It is also one of the most disappointing.

The Star Trek franchise has long been fond of “possession” and “imitation” stories, dating back through Whom Gods Destroy and Turnabout Intruder to Lonely Among Us and Datalore and Power Play. It is easy to see the appeal of these stories from a production standpoint. An effective possession story can likely be filmed on standing sets and relies primarily upon an established member of the ensemble. For an actor, it provides an exciting opportunity to play against type, which is a great way to keep a weekly television series exciting.

O'Brien must suffer... through a terrible script.

O’Brien must suffer… through a terrible script.

However, it is very much a stock plot. There are only so many variations that a long-running franchise can put on the tried-and-tested formula before it begins to feel a little tired. Deep Space Nine has already had more than its fair share of “out of character” plots, from The Passenger to Dramatis Personae through to Crossover and all the other mirror universe episodes. It gets to the point where “there’s an evil alien inside Keiko O’Brien” feels like a fairly bland iteration of this particular type of Star Trek story.

In a season where Deep Space Nine spends so much time pushing the boundaries of Star Trek, it is frustrating to see the show offer up such a generic installment.

Rom is in a bit of a fix...

Rom is in a bit of a fix…

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