The AssignmentBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 10:30 AM GMT
See Also: 'The Assignment' Episode Guide
An alien presence takes over the body of Keiko O'Brien and threatens Miles, Keiko, Molly, and the station while making demands, before Miles drives it out by forcing an energy overload.
Fire Miles O'Brien. Fire Odo and Worf. For that matter, fire Benjamin Sisko. I've seldom been as unimpressed with Starfleet officers as I was during this episode. If the chief of operations was willing to put the safety of his wife over the lives of hundreds of people on the station - including his children both born and unborn, and all his friends and colleagues - and if Sisko merely demanded an explanation rather than throwing the book at him, then someone else needs to look out for the welfare of Federation and Bajoran citizens.
We've seen dumb O'Brien episodes before, but this one's in a class by itself. Even if I bought that Milese didn't think the alien's demands were a direct threat to the people on DS9, he could have been smart enough to let someone know something was up. He had ample opportunity with Dax to leave some sort of coded message, which was what I was hoping he was doing with all that rerouting and circuit-cutting - I half-expected DS9 to light up with some pictogram that the Ops staff would decode and use to drive the alien out of Keiko.
Instead, O'Brien let the Evil Menace win. He got lucky in that he guessed its intent and used it against the alien, but he allowed himself to be taken in by blackmail, used by a terrorist. Maybe they should give his job to Rom, who's increasingly impressive as an engineer and who doesn't seem any dumber than O'Brien despite what Rom describes as years of practice. I liked Bashir's ribbing too - sounds almost like harassment of O'Brien when O'Brien's not in the mood.
The saddest thing is that for parts of the episode, I wasn't sure I believed that Keiko was really under the influence of an alien. This is going to sound awful, but I could not tell Possessed Keiko apart from Perpetual PMS Keiko of last season; I figured that maybe she'd caught on to what was going on between Miles and Kira a few weeks previously and wanted his attention back.
When Miles was possessed on TNG, there was no doubt about it - his posture and gait were different, he talked differently, he was SCARY. Keiko merely sounded like an extreme version of whiny, nasty shrew she acted like in "Fascination" and various other episodes, and it's pathetic that she appeared more comfortable with her body and her sexuality while under alien influence. I kind of liked her possessed; at least she had an excuse this time for being so annoying. I wish we'd gotten to hear her reaction to the event.
Now that she and Miles have both had this experience, perhaps their marriage will be stronger, and perhaps she will feel differently toward the child she kept threatening while possessed. But I doubt it. That would require a character arc, something not even the regulars get with any consistency.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.