Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Passenger"


Air date: 2/22/1993
Teleplay Morgan Gendel and Robert Hewitt Wolfe & Michael Piller
Story by Morgan Gendel
Directed by Paul Lynch

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

In a fairly routine plot-based mystery, Bashir's attempts to resuscitate the critically injured criminal Vantika fail, and the man dies. Kajada (Caitlin Brown), the security officer escorting the convicted killer to prison, however, is convinced that Vantika's consciousness still exists and may be plotting to hijack a supply of diridium en route to the station.

"The Passenger" provides a workable plot, with few unexpected twists, so the whole thing pretty much rides on the execution. In a word, this execution is "okay." Not much jumps out here, neither favorably nor unfavorably. The script's setup of the "possession" idea is reasonably done, though straining the bounds of typical, established plausibility. The show throws up a decent smokescreen as it hints that Vantika may have transferred his consciousness into Kajada's brain; but it really turns out to be Bashir, who walks around for the first four acts without knowing he's the villain. Once Vantika takes over Bashir, however, the story doesn't deliver the stellar last act it could've. Siddig El Fadil's performance as Vantika is a bit off-kilter, with bizarre line delivery (that is reported to have been over-dubbed in post-production).

The technobabble-heavy solution to overpowering Vantika's personality is unconvincing and dramatically unsatisfying. But most interesting in the show (and in tune with the series' nature of interpersonal conflict) is Odo's friction with Starfleet security officer Primmin (James Lashly), which shows that change never comes easy. One of the best scenes is one between Odo and Sisko, that highlights the commander's calm ability to diffuse tough situations with diplomacy.

Previous episode: Dax
Next episode: Move Along Home

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16 comments on this review

William - Tue, Jul 24, 2012 - 11:18pm (USA Central)
I watched this a few days ago, and I've already forgotten about it. DS9 had a lot of episodes in its first two seasons like this -- entertaining enough for the hour, but then, there's nothing there afterward to latch the mind onto.

So many first-season episodes of Next Generation were spectacularly bad that they are memorable. This is just another DS9, no consequence mystery. Mysteries weren't their forte.
LastDawnOfMan - Thu, Aug 9, 2012 - 4:47pm (USA Central)
Love how the antispam asks the last name of the captain on DS9, Sisko wasn't a captain until very late in the series, I understand. Anyway...

Just wanted to complain that a glaring weakness in this episode, and the whole series, is that Quark is constantly doing extremely illegal things and barely getting a slap on the wrist for it. It really renders a lot of the stories implausible and cheap and makes the series seem cartoon-like. I don't get why they couldn't have worked any of that out better.
Van_Patten - Tue, Sep 4, 2012 - 3:47pm (USA Central)
The Passenger is one of those episodes that is often overlooked in summaries of DS9, a middling 'standalone piece' which does little to advance our understanding of DS9 and in terms of character development is weak.

The basic plot is a routine mystery - Bashir is unable to save an Alien criminal from dying and the accompanying Security officer who has had a lifelong obsession with the criminal thinks he has evaded capture by 'transferring his consciousness' to someone else.

The aspects of this show that worked were for me, the 'B Story' involving Starfleet bringing in a new security office (James Lashly) to work alongside Odo. Once more the interaction between Auberjonois and Brooks is exceptional - I had forgotten how good the Odo character is, and this episode reinforces him as the strongest link in the cast.

Caitlin Brown as Kajada is reasonable but the denouement of events is obvious by the second act and the penultimate scene features an extraordinary ( in the sense of surreal) performance from Alexander Siddig as Vantika, which destroys the 'jeopardy' premise. Whilst the episode isn't bad, it's no better than mediocre overall. 2.5 stars from me.
kavatar - Fri, Mar 15, 2013 - 9:54am (USA Central)
As mentioned above Odo's storyline was the highlight of a so-so episode, but for me Siddig El Fadil's terrible acting just makes it unbearable to watch!!
grumpy_otter - Wed, Apr 10, 2013 - 1:37pm (USA Central)
Are all the DS 9 shuttles named after rivers?

I really liked Primmin. When he first showed up, I thought he was going to be the idiot who tried to prevent the "genius" from his work, so I am glad they let him be a smart guy who wasn't one-dimensional.

Not a terribly exciting episode, but Security Bounty Hunter chick was awesome. That's the only problem with shows like this--sometimes the guests are more fun than the regulars.
Eric - Wed, May 15, 2013 - 3:35pm (USA Central)
In this episode, did they even bother to hire science fact-checkers? They repeat that old "we only use a small portion of our brains" myth.
T'Paul - Sun, Jun 30, 2013 - 10:56am (USA Central)
Is it just me or is Bashir's evil disembodied voice here somewhat like Voldemort from Harry Potter?

Enjoyed the tension between Odo and Starfleet security guy... I wish this story had been explored a lot more throughout the series.
azcats - Fri, Sep 6, 2013 - 2:28pm (USA Central)
@LastDawnOfMan. um..unless things have changed...it says captain of ST:TNG. hmm..picard, not sisko

i dont like the staggard speech of the Doctor....with the alien in Bashirs body.

i didnt like..how they "just thought about how to separate them..." didnt even think about it...

something about having JUST my head being in the transporter would seem scary!

Jadzia..seems to sweet..i miss her sarcasm from Becker.

The best part of the episode was the conflict with Starfleet and Odo along with their interatctions with Sisko. 90% of the time the unknown security officer either dies or becomes the bad guy. great interaction. and i did like that he got to be a smart guy and not just a stubborn fool.

i loved the last scene...about time they executed a bad guy. i love that Jadzia had a smile on her face...SOOOO NOT STarfleet.

fun episode. 3 stars.
Peace of Landru - Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - 6:37pm (USA Central)
I've been re-watching a lot of Star Trek on Netflix, and just watched this one again recently. It seems like anyone who's seen 'The Search for Spock' would have a pretty strong clue that Vantika transferred his consciousness to Bashir. The big reveal that it's Bashir then as Vantika is pretty ho-hum.

The technobabble problem and solution strains credulity. Most of the time, techobabble truly doesnt bother me. It's just a plot device and Star Trek is not hard science. But, they can't phaser the runabout because there's a chance the material dispersal would necessitate an evacuation. But...this is in space? Huh?

This episode does no favors to Bashir. I almost forgot going back to the season 1 episodes of DS9 what a lousy character he starts off as. He starts off as a condescending ass and ends up chewing the scenery as a possessed evil alien.

Still, Primmin and Kajada are excellent guest stars. The scenes with Sisko and Prmmin and then Sisko and Odo are excellent.
Snitch - Sun, Oct 13, 2013 - 7:55pm (USA Central)
Pretty standard body snatcher fare. Good guest stars but van Batten nailed the problems and highlights of this episodes. B-Plot was more interesting. 2 stars.
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 1:47pm (USA Central)

Another forgettable season 1 episode. Not bad, not good.

tec - Fri, Oct 25, 2013 - 12:31am (USA Central)
With ho hum acting this is my lest favorite ep of DS9

And some good missed opprtrunaties like what mesure of a man even if he is just a micro genaratior did Kajada have a right to termenate him?

How about the crew of the dirituim? Killed whould that wight on you that they died by your on hand?

And Quark is an accorory to murder.

Zero stars from me the only DS9 ep that I rate this low
Dusty - Tue, Feb 11, 2014 - 3:13am (USA Central)
Pretty generous rating for this one. I'd give it 1 & 1/2 stars. Poor acting (especially with Bashir!), uninteresting body-snatching plot; Vantika-as-Bashir was not an impressive adversary. Only the Odo/Primmin subplot made it worth a watch.
Paul M. - Mon, Jun 23, 2014 - 8:54am (USA Central)
Yeah, what's with Siddig's acting here? The guy's an excellent actor as evidenced by a bunch of different projects he's worked on, but Prophets help me, he was terrible here.
Jammer - Mon, Jun 23, 2014 - 12:39pm (USA Central)
If memory serves, a producer told a magazine that Siddig chose to use a voice as the character that they realized during post-production didn't work, so they ended up having him re-dub all his lines in a different voice. That might explain the strangeness of the performance.
Yanks - Tue, Jun 24, 2014 - 11:30am (USA Central)
I'm in line with Jammer on this one.

I'll only give 2 stars because Alexander's performance once he knows he's the bad guy is just that bad.

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