Possession is nine-tenths of the law in the episode that originally aired on October 26,1996. This is The Assignment.
Station Log Stardate undetermined: The Assignment
Keiko is possessed by an alien life form that forces Miles O’Brien to do as he is told or he will we be forced to watch his wife die.
Rom arrives at Quark’s bar for breakfast and orders O’Brien’s favorite dish, Bacon & Eggs with Corn-beef hash. Desperate to convince his brother he is in the wrong job, Quark tries to convince Rom to quit but finds no success.
In O’Brien’s quarters Miles is lamenting the death of Keiko’s bonsai trees after Julian over watered them. Knowing she will be dissapointed, he tries to get Molly and Julian to join him in welcoming Keiko back to the station after she has been gone for a week on Bajor. Greeting his wife at the airlock, he is shocked and relieved to hear Keiko dismiss the bonsai trees as ‘just plants’. She then drops a bomb on him by telling him that she is not Keiko, in fact she is an entity inhabiting Keiko’s body and convinces him when it stops Keiko’s heart in front of him. Now, if he does not follow it’s instructions, Keiko will die.
Asking him to readjust the sensors and communication arrays for an unknown reason, the entity, Miles soon finds himself alone and unable to inform his friends of the situation without risking his wife’s life. In their quarters, they are visited by Julian who is reminded of Mile’s birthday party that very night. Although he has no desire to have the party Possessed Keiko insists to avoid any suspicions.
Returning to his quarters he is greeted by his friends who are already celebrating his birthday without him. Trying to play it cool, Miles has difficulty with the situation at hand. There he overhears Odo and Jake talking to Keiko about the Pah-wraiths and asking her if she encountered any. She claims to have only seen some plant-life and soon, under the stress, Miles breaks a glass in his hand, cutting himself. Leaving the party, Possessed Keiko follows after and informs Miles that his work today was only a test, the real work begins in the morning. She informs him that he needs to get back to the party so as not to raise suspicions. That night, Miles finds himself unable to sleep, fearing that his wife may be inhabited by a Pah-wraith.
The next morning possessed Keiko gives Miles his instructions and he heads off. Soon he finds himself headed to security to discuss the matter with Sisko when Keiko calls to him and jumps off of the upper balcony. Later in the infirmary, Julian informs Miles that Keiko will be okay and narrowly missed dying as a result of the impact. Possessed Keiko awakes and tells Miles that this was just a demonstration and he needs to complete his task. She gives him 13 hours to complete his task, making a show of them being a couple in front of Julian.
Working on his assignment, Miles finds Rom in the tunnels of the station where he learns that Rom has managed to complete his tasks in record time. Miles asks Rom for his discretion on a secret assignment and begins to task the Ferengi engineer with some of the changes Possessed Keiko asked for. Working through the alterations, Miles is soon stopped by Dax who informs him of a strange anomaly in the stations sensors. Believing there is a saboteur on the station, Dax wakes Sisko and Odo who are informed about some interesting fluctuations in the systems. Sisko insists that they investigate further thinking that this is the start to a more insidious work of sabotage. Just as Miles is about to tell Sisko the truth, he receives a call from Molly and Possessed Keiko who provides a veiled threat against Keiko and his daughter. Miles decides to use Rom as a scapegoat letting them catch the Ferengi Engineer in action.
After Rom refuses to talk to anyone, Miles is called to security where the Ferengi asks to talk to the Chief alone. Disconnecting the listening devices, Rom informs Miles about what he is doing. Rom asks why they are focusing a chroniton beam at the wormhole in order to kill the wormhole aliens. It is then that Miles realizes that the Pah-wraith is attempting to kill the prophets in revenge for being ejected from the celestial temple. With regret, Miles asks Rom to continue to play the fool while he makes further adjustments to the station. Just as he is about to make changes again, he is confronted by Odo who informs Miles that the chief of security suspects O’Brien of the very sabotage he blamed Rom for. Thinking quickly, Miles knocks out Odo and contacts Pah-wraith Keiko.
Taking a runabout, the two head to the wormhole and soon activates the changes to the station. The Pah-Wraith instructs Miles to activate the weapon but Miles had a plan all along using the blast to free Keiko of the Pah-wraiths possession. Free of the being, Miles returns to the station with Keiko and explains the situation to Sisko.
That evening, Keiko describes the experience to her husband while Rom visits Quarks bar to inform Quark of his new promotion to the day shift. It seems that O’Brien has found a new engineer for his crew. Rom further disgusts Quark when he orders the breakfast of choice for the day shift, pancakes, sausages and…pineapple.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is yet another in the ‘Miles Must Suffer’ sub series of episodes. For much of the series the writers have singled his character out to endure everything from torture by Cardassians to years of mental incarceration to even being a clone of himself. So, it is no surprise that their first encounter with a Pah-wraith would involve everyone’s favorite Chief of Operations. I really enjoyed the notion that Miles had to handle the situation on his own, isolating him from the rest of the crew even though they were always within arms length. It is a painful experience for him for sure but then again, Miles must suffer.
While the story was a pretty basic one, I was really impressed by Rosalind Chao, who portrays Keiko O’Brien. This was a great opportunity for the actor to stretch her legs a little and her casual switch from kind to sociopathic is nothing short of brilliant. She has an uncanny ability to become a completely different person and, even when she is pretending to be Keiko, you can tell she is not quite who she appears to be.
All in all, this is a pretty solid filler episode that would ultimately have some ramifications further down the line.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- It seems Odo once again finds his limitations as a solid being knocked out with a single punch from Miles O’Brien.
- I am thankful that Miles rewarded Rom for his diligence and duty by giving him a better shift. O’Brien is a good boss.
- We get to finally see Rom’s ability as an Engineer in full. They guy is good and it is awesome to see his character grow.
- This is the second time one of the O’Briens have been possessed, the first time being Miles in the TNG Episode, Power Play.
- This is not the last time we see the Pah-wraiths. They will be back.
- The fire caves are mentioned again but still not seen.
- Jake wishes he could meet a Pah-wraith, something he would certainly regret…
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Late To The Game 10/31/2021 (Originally published 10/16/2019)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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