People have been having a good time making character-mapping arguments in this thread from yesterday, so I almost hate to collapse the waveform a bit more already, but here we are.
Riker-as-Bashir doesn’t really speak much to Will’s imagination, but it seems like a pretty inhabitable character for him. I prefer to think that Riker would go into this expecting to basically play himself but more so and without any consequences; he’s a bit hemmed in trying to be the responsible First Officer, so why not dispense with some of that burden of duty and just be a brash, handsome, no-strings-attached medical genius on a space station away from prying eyes?
Should we talk about Riker-as-Kirk? Because I guess that’s sort of the inverse function here, in a sense. Riker is Kirk knocked down a rung on the command ladder and providing a buffer to Picard, to be reckless so the ship’s captain doesn’t have to — early episodes of TNG in particular have Riker making pains to object to Picard putting himself in harm’s way, which seemed like a pretty clear commentary on the original series’ habit of having half the senior staff plus a couple redshirts beaming down to every crazy planet they could find.
But if Riker is the Kirk id and Picard is the Kirk superego, what does that make Riker-as-Bashir? id-of-the-id? That’s a drug only a Riker-addict like Riker himself could have positive feelings about ingesting.