Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Passenger"

2.5 stars

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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52 comments on this post

Tue, Jul 24, 2012, 11:18pm (UTC -6)
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.
Thu, Aug 9, 2012, 4:47pm (UTC -6)
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.
Tue, Sep 4, 2012, 3:47pm (UTC -6)
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.
Fri, Mar 15, 2013, 9:54am (UTC -6)
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!!
Wed, Apr 10, 2013, 1:37pm (UTC -6)
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.
Wed, May 15, 2013, 3:35pm (UTC -6)
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.
Sun, Jun 30, 2013, 10:56am (UTC -6)
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.
Fri, Sep 6, 2013, 2:28pm (UTC -6)
@LastDawnOfMan. um..unless things have 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 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 (UTC -6)
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.
Sun, Oct 13, 2013, 7:55pm (UTC -6)
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.
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 1:47pm (UTC -6)
Another forgettable season 1 episode. Not bad, not good.

Fri, Oct 25, 2013, 12:31am (UTC -6)
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
Tue, Feb 11, 2014, 3:13am (UTC -6)
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 (UTC -6)
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.
Mon, Jun 23, 2014, 12:39pm (UTC -6)
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.
Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 11:30am (UTC -6)
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.
Wed, Aug 6, 2014, 2:42pm (UTC -6)
Teaser : **.5, 5%

The Bashir masturbating scene is pretty damned funny and Kira's wordless exasperation with him definitely hits home--my only gripe is, how old is Bashir supposed to be? Mid 20s right? I'm sorry but this degree of self-unawareness befits a teenager, not someone of his age and position. He's obviously a prodigy and that tends to inflate one's ego, but I don't remember Wesley Crusher being so clueless about social interactions (and that's saying something, isn't it?). So obviously, Bashir's arc in this story will be about confronting his motivations; does he act out of a need to heal or the demands of his ego, or some combination of the two? I'll keep my ears open for that.

The two of them respond to a distress call and Bashir is unable to save the prisoner, who gives him a friendly little trachea squeeze before passing on. Not a whole lot to look forward to, but the character stuff in the beginning was okay.

Act 1 : **, 17%

Apparently, the prisoner has some sort of life-sign masking abilities which have allowed him to fake his own death (maybe like the blue guy from "Suspicions"). We're told he was responsible for "horrors"--about which we hear basically nothing. Well, thanks to this little scene we now know that the guy isn't really dead, but faked it somehow. I'm sure that this will be revealed soon so the story can start saying whatever it is it intends to say.

I'm awarding an extra half star to this act for the following bit :

QUARK to DAX : "Iced Ra'qutajino, extra cream" [wink] "just like you like it." I'm a sucker for snuck-in innuendo.

Despite his purposefully gross delivery, Quark shows us subtly how he differs from the typical Ferengi. Yes, he greedily desires Jadzia for her body (one wonders why Ferengi would be so attracted to species which do not resemble their own), but he also speaks about companionship and familiarity--partnership in other words (to taunt Odo) which is at odds with the Ferengi sex code as we have seen it.

Odo, for his part, tips Quark off to an apparent security operation, much to the ire of Lieutenant Yellow Shirt (his real name is Primmin). The conflict between them is a precursor to the Eddington/Odo and Worf/Odo conflicts from later in the series.

Back to the A plot, the senior staff discuss the Kobliad ("a dying race") and their desperate need for deridium, which explains the dead Kobliad's criminal intent. It's all pretty reasonable until this line,

DAX : "Vantika has been the focus of Kjada's attention for most of her adult life. in a way, they were as intimately connected as any two beings could be." First, let me credit the director here who had El Fadil nod in such a way as to give us a clue about Vantika's whereabouts. in the hell does Dax draw a conclusion like that? Is she a therapist? Has she known Kjada for more than a few hours? This is such clunky, distracting exposition it's damned near infuriating. Can't think of way to *show* us that Vantika and Kjada are "intimately connected"? A little dialogue maybe? Nah, can't be bothered, let's just have some random character TELL us that were so we have to accept it. How freaking lame.

So Primmin is set up to be an Odo foil (again, à la Eddington or Worf). Primmin notes that Odo casually discussing a sensitive security matter in plain view and earshot of any number of potential criminals seems to cast doubt on his abilities as a security officer. And, well, he has a point, hasn't he? Sure, we know that Quark and Odo are "good guys," but that seems awfully risky for someone who likes things neat and tidy. Sisko's response is that it's "hard to keep a secret in a place like this." Okay, granted, but I'm sure it doesn't help to have the chief of security loudly gabbing about it in the bar. Not to mention, if "every knew about it," as Sisko claimed, why did Odo need to tip off Quark, who would surely know about it before anyone else? While this stuff is not nearly as aggravating as some of the other contrived conflicts on this show, it is another example of same. We want to be "controversial" so we're pitting the Starfleet by-the-books security officer against the seasoned frontiersman Odo. It's approaching cliché levels and we're not half way through the first season, folks.

So Primmin and Odo make up just in time for Kjada to make a dramatic entrance as it's "discovered" that Vantika isn't really dead, but alive and purging computer memory! Bwahahaha!

Act 2 : *.5, 17%

Okay, I don't understand why these people are arguing with Kjada about Vantika's apparent demise. If they think she's crazy, that's fine. She thinks she's right. Okay. Does it make a difference whether it's he or an accomplice of his crapping on station security? Why this conflict? Oh, I forgot that rule : YELLING = DRAMA! Moving on...I have to deduct that half a star back for the ridiculous blocking in this meeting scene. [Put your hands behind your back and play duck-duck-goose with those still seated]. Yuck.

Odo threatens to resign on the grounds that Sisko is an asshole. Hard to argue that point, but Sisko promises to let Odo be "in charge" during joint Starfleet-station operations (again, does Odo work for Starfleet or Bajor?), so he decides to stay.

Dax discovers a "clue" as to Ventika's whereabouts in the form a chip which contains a "map to the *humanoid* brain." Couple things ;

1) humanoids have rather different brains don't they? Betazoids, Vulcans, Romulans, humans--all have different brain "maps" don't they? What exactly can this map be?

2) while it's certainly convenient to the plot that Dax should find this clue, it makes no sense that she would consider a small data chip found in a cargo hold to be significant at this point. Vantika's abilities have not yet been discovered.

Speaking of, a cloaked man finds Quark after hours and tells him to make "preparations." El Fadil tries his best to disguise his voice (whispering, chewing his 'r's to sound less British), but you can still tell it's Bashir.

Act 3 : **.5, 17%

Kjada plants a little red herring as she "has trouble sleeping" and thus was unreachable by comm during the previous night's little scene. There's some nice little continuity in these scenes --Bashir remarks that Vantika is not a clone (harkening back to the switch from "A Man Alone") as well as mentioning synaptic displacement (à la "Wrath of Kahn"/"Search for Spock").

This is backed up by the suggestion that Vantika has hidden his consciousness in Kjada's body. Of course, the mechanism for this transferral has not been discussed and, if one recalls the teaser, there was no contact between the two prior to his death.

The act closes with an odd little scene that sees Quark collecting on some debts while Kjada snoops him out, and then "falls" awkwardly from the upper level. This would be the right time to point out that, again, there is so little tension built into these scenes--the acting is bland, the music is barely there, the editing is lazy. When there's not an interesting story to back it (like in "Dax"), it just about falls flat, pardon the pun.

Act 4 : ** , 17%


So Dax finally discovers the transference method, and it definitely requires direct contact. Okay. So, with whom did Vantika have direct physical contact before he died? .... gee that was like 20 minutes ago, I can't remember...

Has no one kept Kira up to date on Dax' investigation? I thought she was one of the only four people with security access. She would know immediately that Vantika had put his hands on Bashir.

Eh, whatever, we get the big "reveal" that Bashir "has been expecting" Quark and his party.

Act 5 : .5 stars, 17%

So, Primmin takes a cue from Odo's deductive reasoning (is deduction really not something Starfleet trains its security officers to employ? Is this the best "frontier justice" has to offer? ho-hum). At least it provides a reasonable resolution to the Odo/Primmin conflict.

Yeah, yeah, Fadil's delivery for the final act is atrocious, compounded by the post-production voice-over. I won't harp on it. It's really bad, it was a mistake. Here's the real problem : at no point in this episode have we gotten an insight into Vantika's character. What's he like? He's a bad guy. What's his history? He's a bad guy. How do his experiences shape his choices? He's a bad guy. What psychological issues does he struggle with? So, whatever Bashir has "become" with Vantika inside him has no shape, no purpose. There's nothing for us to connect with. He's just a cardboard character badly portrayed.

And cue the technobabble -- blah blah the blah blah and we can free Bashir from Vantika's control! Luckily, Vantiaka speaks so slowly, there's time for Dax to babble her technos. Bashir has a scalp attack and lowers the shields. They literally "beam" Vantika out of Bashir and cue credits....

Oh wait, there's the bit where Kjada destroys ("kills") Vantika's glial remains. Sure would have helped if she had just killed him to begin with right? I mean if she's authorised to do that without any due process...was this the payoff for Dax' "as intimately connected as any two beings can be"?, whatever it's over.

Episode as Functionary : .5 stars, 10%

Do yourself a favour and watch "Warlord"--the sci-fi gimmick is virtually the same, but the premise is so much richer. Kes learns about herself, there's political motivation, consequences, real drama, and the gimmick is a means to an end rather than the end itself. It's everything this episode could have been. As it stands, this adds basically nothing to Bashir's character (aside from the teaser) and was an especially bland ride getting here anyway. All those questions from the teaser about Bashir's ego versus his profession are left totally dangling. No resolution. Only the bits with Primmin and Odo were entertaining enough to save this episode from the bottom of the barrel.

Final Score : *.5
Sat, Nov 29, 2014, 7:57am (UTC -6)
Very entertaining, but completely lacking any real science. Totally preposterous. Especially, "Humans only use a portion of their brain". A common myth. Nearly the entire brain is used, and it all serves a function, even if we don't yet have a complete picture of it.

Swapping consciousness into another host is also totally impossible and not even remotely believable.

This is often the problem I have with Trek... it sets up some good stories but then makes me question every decision or part of it because of its faulty logic. Also, part of this premise has been stolen from Babylon 5's "Deathwalker" episode.
Mon, Dec 1, 2014, 4:34am (UTC -6)
"Very entertaining, but completely lacking any real science. Totally preposterous. Especially, "Humans only use a portion of their brain". A common myth. Nearly the entire brain is used, and it all serves a function, even if we don't yet have a complete picture of it."
Precisely, except the total lack of plausible science really ruined it for me - I could not take it seriously at all. That small portion of the brain myth line was the first sign that this episode was going to be riding on the edge of a neuroscience-plausibility wave - in my opinion it failed to ride it. It crashed into the ocean too early to create a favorable impression and then proceeded to flounder helplessly in the water.

Scientists are struggling to find a neural correlate of consciousness and yet this episode expects us to believe that: 1) Dax finds it in less than 12 hours... under the pretenses of a technological mechanism she only just learned about.
2) Finds a way to disrupt it.
3) Magically transmits it to Dr. Bashir through a tractor beam.

No way. I am not believing any of that for a second.

It was heavily implied in The Measure of the Man in ST:TNG that the mystery of consciousness has not been solved in the 24th century since neither Picard nor Dr Maddox can say how to recognize it in another being, so this episode also fails at adhering to its own canon. If the neural correlate of consciousness is unknown, then what Dax did in this episode is completely implausible.

This episode deserves a 2/5 at most, IMO.
Mon, Dec 1, 2014, 4:38am (UTC -6)
Though I should add that I probably would have given this episode 1/5 due to the nerd rage it induced in me alone.
Wed, Dec 3, 2014, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
The Passenger: C-
This one…wasn’t very good. The plot gets lost in nonsensical technobabble, and though I take it this was supposed to be the first Bashir-centric episode, it provided very little insight into that character. I’ll admit, I only saw the plot twist coming a few minutes before it was revealed, but maybe that’s because I was preoccupied with the goofiness of the conscience-transfer. There’s not much in this one I’ll take with me.

The Good:
- I liked Odo in this episode. The Odo/Primmin subplot, while not mind-blowing, was a nice little reminder that DS9 is a jointly-run operation, and while the ending (aww, they’re starting to see value in one another) is very clichéd, I’m kind of hoping to see more of Primmin.
- By extension, I liked Sisko quite a bit here, especially his defense of Odo, although he was perhaps a trifle harsh toward Primmin.

The Mixed:
- I like that the episode opens en route back to DS9 – it’s a nice reminder that these people do more than just stand around at Command – but I wish the situation that Bashir and Kira had just finished dealing with had been better explained.

The Bad:
- So, where is O’Brien?
- Siddig is…pretty bad as possessed Bashir. Very hammy.
- Odo and Quark’s scene in this episode was their first that felt a bit repetitive. I get it, Quark is up to no good and Odo is onto him, while also being skeptical of human (er, Ferengi) emotions.
- Moments of action, like when Bashir and Kira transport onto Kajada’s ship or when Vantika and his thugs take over the transport ship, are still pretty poorly staged.
- I’m skeptical that Quark wouldn’t face any consequences for conspiring with a maniac and seriously endangering the station.
- The ending. Bashir is okay, everyone laughs, fade to black. A more mature show might have felt comfortable exploring Bashir’s psyche after sharing his brain with another. In general, I wish the doctor had more agency in this episode – perhaps he could have fought back against Vantika’s intrusion.
Thu, Dec 4, 2014, 2:33pm (UTC -6)
You know, bumping this one down to D+.
Tue, Apr 14, 2015, 2:48am (UTC -6)
i liked this one because of Kajada She was a woman on a mission, sure of herself and knew her foil completely. Jadzia was off on this one and so was everyone else. Odo acted like some cry baby girl. Sisko should have told him to let the doorknob hitcha when he decided to resign. Sisko told him before if he couldn't follow the rules he would get someone who could. Kira didn't want to change but she did, Odo needed to change also.
William B
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 2:21pm (UTC -6)
First of all, I like the double meaning in the title. "The Passenger" refers to Vantika both as the passenger Bashir attempts to save, and Vantika as the passenger in Bashir's brain.

So, this is sort of a Bashir introduction story. As Elliott points out, the teaser scene of Bashir bragging about his exceptionality raises the question of whether Bashir is more interested in healing patients or showing off. It's also appropriate that the key thing was that Bashir identified that a person was *not dead* in spite of all obvious external signs pointing to them being dead. He is just that good! So the episode's plot hinges on Bashir's wunderkind ability to see through the obvious failing; he declares Vantika dead, and Vantika isn't. The reason that Bashir could identify that the patient he and Kira talked about in the teaser was not really dead, and fails to do so with Vantika, is kind of neat on a character level: Vantika was *inside Bashir*, and Bashir, as it turns out, is capable of careful observation on the outside but not the inside. Vantika, "man of science" obsessed with his own longevity in a Voldemort type of way, and unable to care about anyone but himself, is an extreme narcissist which one could say is an extreme version of Bashir's obnoxious but mostly harmless egotism. Bsahir's expression of humiliation at the end maybe is the result of Bashir recognizing the limits of his powers -- he worked for hours and hours, and never found the evidence that Vantika was still alive, because he didn't check himself. For what it's worth, Bashir's genuine desire to be a healer also brings about the Vantika possession -- his ignoring Kajada's insistence that he stay away from Vantika is because he's more concerned with the care of his patient than the broader implications of what that patient may do, which is explored in interesting ways in episodes like "Hippocratic Oath"; I do not think this is a bad trait for a doctor to have, but it is an interesting trait.

So that sort of works. Any character work for Bashir is hobbled, though. I can sort of spin a tale akin to the one above that has the events of the episode transpire in a way that is related to Bashir's character, mostly it's hard to expect Bashir to have been able to guess that Vantika would send his glial cells into Bashir's brain and then take him over and then have Bashir/Siddig do a weird, nonsense voice. Bashir's failure to recognize that Vantika isn't dead doesn't actually tell us anything about Bashir, except maybe that he is not infallible, which is possibly a lesson Bashir actually does have to learn. The battle over Bashir's brain is of course won by technobabble alone. I also have got to say that while I'm skeptical about that "shut down Vantika's brain by message along the tractor beam" thing, I find the idea of beaming any of Vantika's glial cells out of Bashir's brain even funnier, especially when Bashir's "I have such a headache!" is accompanied by sitcommish laughter from Sisko and Dax. Ha ha, he has a headache because a bunch of matter just got beamed out of his brain!

To talk about Bashir more generally at this point, I actually do think that the retcon about his having been genetically engineered mostly works, and in particular it changes how I read some of his behaviour. Without the knowledge of his genetic engineering, Bashir's boasting does seem like ordinary bragging of a genius without many social skills; but with it, it may be a kind of overcompensation. I do think that Julian has some real shame about the sense that "Jules" was not good enough as a child, and while probably not their actual reason I can see Julian believing that his parents' breaking the law to make him better is one heck of a rejection of the qualities of Bashir *not* related to his extreme intelligence. Bashir's unusual shame at coming second in his class instead of first sort of plays into the same thing; he brags and brags because he thinks his worth is very much based in his intelligence, which wasn't originally his to begin with; and he needs to tell everyone about his accomplishments to convince himself that he's doing everything he can with his illegally-acquired talents. Just a thought.

I do have to wonder what to make of Quark in these episodes. Quark as petty thief and low-key con man is one thing, but being a middleman to bring mercenaries to steal a freighter containing ultra-rare material is a bit much. And even if we accept that, wouldn't he maybe have *some* inkling that he should tell someone that a psycho killer has taken over the station's doctor's body, even through anonymous message (which I really do think he'd be able to do)? My girlfriend pointed out that maybe Quark didn't have time to do much here -- and it is possible even that Vantika simply knocked him out at this point in the story -- but without further information I don't know. I think Quark's conscience is somewhat of an inconsistently rendered thing, and in these early episodes I'm not sure what the writers thought Quark was supposed to be. (We can add his putting sexual favours as a requirement for dabo girls in the contract to this, from a previous episode.) This does also make Odo and Primmin look particularly bad, that Quark gets away with so much even though he is their prime suspect as a participant.

Anyway, the episode's real strength, such as it is, is the Odo v. Primmin argument; Primmin quickly disappears, and the writers fail to take advantage of Eddington's turn as security chief for any more of this particular conflict. The story loses points by having Primmin call Odo out so publicly on Odo's talking-in-front-of-Quark strategy, and for having Primmin fail to understand Odo's motivation there until it's explained by Sisko; given that Quark got away with everything he did in the episode, it seems that Odo's strategy was bad (or at least ineffective) and so Primmin has some right to criticize him, but it would at least be nice to have Primmin be smart enough to see what Odo is *trying* to do in forging cop-criminal/informant bonds. I guess Starfleet officers don't watch cop shows. Anyway, Odo's bristling at any limits on his power and any threats to his sovereignty is in character, well-acted by Auberjonois, and also hints at certain traits in Odo that are even greater in the Founders -- whose entire foreign policy involves total control so as to avoid any possible "conflict" where they have to work with someone else. Primmin's coming around on Odo, and the two forming a shaky bond, seems fair enough. I like that Primmin figured out the [tech][tech][tech] by using non-traditional reasoning, but couldn't he have told someone else on the security team where he was so that he didn't leave his area completely unsupervised? These are decent enough scenes, though not amazing, and they take up a very small proportion of the episode.

1.5 stars.
Tue, Sep 8, 2015, 4:26pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, horrible episode. Don't know yet if the worst.

The plot is entirely predictable for anybody familiar with typical television tropes. When the bad guy grabs Bashir's throat, you know something's afoot.

His bad guy acting is definitely atrocious. *shudder*

And the technobabble solution is almost satirical Star Trek. I absolutely HATE it when they resolve conflict by modifying deflectors to emit a tachyon beam and bypass the neutron capacitors. It's just lazy writing. Like Tolkien's eagles. We have this story and maneuvered ourselves in the corner by act 5, so let's just wipe everything clean.

Why bother coming up with a story if you have no idea how to end it.
Diamond Dave
Thu, Oct 22, 2015, 8:08am (UTC -6)
We get here a fairly standard A-story, although one wonders if anyone was surprised by the plot twist. It is handled well enough, but marked by some fairly outre performance choices in the acting department for the possessed Bashir that drag the conclusion down.

The B-story is actually more entertaining, allowing Odo some friction but being smart enough to give Primmin something more rounded than the pantomime villain.

And after his recent sex offender contract, Quark is off hiring soldiers of fortune who happily kill people. Definitely not the lovable rogue here... 2 stars.
Sun, Jan 3, 2016, 8:15pm (UTC -6)
"Over-dubbed?" Good Lord! WTF was he doing in there? Was he trying to act like an alien or a half-baked 160-pound alien ham? Oh man. Siddig. Wow. They could've overdubbed Kenny G on top of that and I don't think it would've been worse or weirder.

Siddig El Fadil made William Shatner look like Morgan Freeman. There. I said it. I see the reasons from Jammer but really wow. I'm not sure that could really cover the true marvel of it.

Also @Elliot: nailed it on Bashir/Crusher/self-awareness. I agree with Jammer and everyone on Odo stuff being the best part of the episode. The rest was average Trek with one bizarre performance taking it down to what I consider one of the least eps of the series overall. I just saw it again for the first time in years and was baffled. I'm glad there's at least some reason for it.
Tue, Feb 2, 2016, 9:28am (UTC -6)
Wow, Jammer sure seems to be much more forgiving to these early DS9 episodes than I'm willing to be. The show sure is struggling here in these last handful of episodes, especially after starting out so promisingly. This one was pretty sub-par.

First off, I said it a lot in my TNG reviews, but I'll say it again - I'm extremely forgiving of bad acting. I once tried a little acting myself and quickly discovered that I had absolutely no talent for it. So, I'm willing to actors a pretty wide latitude since they can do something I can't. It takes some REALLY BAD acting (really, REALLY bad acting) for me to even take notice of it. And Siddig El Fadil passed by that high threshold level and left it smoking in the dust. Dear Lord in heaven above - his "acting" as Vantika was some of the worst I've ever seen. And I've seen all of the "Twilight" movies, so that's saying something! Bashir is already pretty insufferable in these early episodes (showcased by the conservation he has with Kira at the opening of the episode) and this certainly didn't help.

But, the biggest problem with "The Passenger" is that it commits the cardinal sin of any mystery story - there's no mystery. Seriously, the fact that Bashir is Vantika is telegraphed in from a light-year away. It's almost as if Dan Brown wrote the script! All the attempts at red-herrings fall so absurdly flat that I'm just left pitying them for attempting it. From the moment that it's even hinted that Vantika is still alive, the earlier scene of him grabbing Bashir by the neck is so neon-highlighted that it's not even funny. And, of course, it doesn't help that it's clearly Siddig El Fadil whispering to Quark in the scene where he grabs/threatens him from behind (you even see Fadil's face for an instant!).

Still, it's buoyed up somewhat by the Odo/Primmin sub-plot and the wonderful scene between Odo and Sisko about who has the ultimate security authority. It really makes Odo a more likable character after his rather disturbingly fascistic activities of late.

Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 11:13am (UTC -6)
Summary of final acts: Inept DS9 crew forgets to grab highly suspicious unauthorized runabout with a tractor beam during a hijack plot investigation. Technobabble ensues.
Wed, Dec 21, 2016, 1:06am (UTC -6)
Siddig El Fadil's acting in the third act made this bland mystery and made it a riot of fun. Try not laughing as he delivers his ham-fisted lines.
Sat, Feb 11, 2017, 9:27pm (UTC -6)
I hold this episode dear to my heart, because, er.... I bought the actual costume worn by Durg (the Markalian) in this episode in an auction...

Yeah, I did..

Durg, a forgettable character (not once mentioned by Jammer or any of the commenters here), in a forgettable episode, highlighted by one of the worst acting jobs of any main character in any Star Trek series (and this is coming from someone who ended up liking Bashir's character development throughout the series a lot, and appreciated Siddig's acting in the later seasons)..

But hey, at least I can say that I own a piece of history, and will proudly wear it in conventions.

Long live Durg! :)
Sat, Feb 11, 2017, 11:47pm (UTC -6)
Hello Everyone


That... is so cool. :)

Thanks for sharing. :)

Regards... RT
Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 11:37am (UTC -6)
Thanks RT.
The outfit is in good shape too and came with the tag "Durg - Worn by Chris Collins, DS8" or something like that (can't look it up now). The only problem --> it does not have a zipper and it's a one-piece costume. I better not have to go to the bathroom much during conventions! :)
Tue, Aug 29, 2017, 1:40pm (UTC -6)
Agree on good guest stars, mediocre episode and interesting point about how Quark is used as comic relief. That is an annoying itch of DS9. But then: an execution! They just stand there?!? WTF! That's not caring about life in any form! What about the medical and scientific possibilities? Totally not like Starfleet and bumps the episode down to 2 stars at most.
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 7:33pm (UTC -6)
An uninspiring mystery that plays out mechanically without anything really noteworthy for me. Over the top technobabble as well with Vantika passing on his thoughts/brain pattern/whatever to Bashir and the solution Dax whips up: send a pulse along the tractor beam that gets through the shields and frees Bashir. Give me a break.

I didn't like how Bashir delivered his lines once possessed by Vantika -- it was just weird and it wasn't how Vantika uttered his lines when he threatened Quark and when he "died" in the blaze during the opener.

Quark establishes himself as a flat out liar here. He may trade barbs with Odo, but he's a shady character -- criminal is more like it. Hope Odo/Sisko/Kira nab him one of these episodes, if that is what his actions in this episode are leading towards.

I actually liked Primmin here -- he comes across as a good American security officer wanting to work with Odo, who over-reacts. Can't believe Odo threatened to quit on Sisko, who handled it well.

2.5 stars barely --Bashir's character has been pretty poorly developed so far and this episode did nothing to help. A couple of interesting twists in the plot prevented this from being mediocre although certain aspects stretched the suspension of disbelief in this routine, mechanical mystery. Certainly wasn't boring or needlessly slow-paced with seemingly wasted scenes.
Tue, Jul 24, 2018, 4:31pm (UTC -6)
For the majority of "The Passenger", I couldn't remember why I thought so poorly of it. Then the resolution happened. The last act of "The Passenger" is absolutely dire-it's riddled with incomprehensible jargon, and it completely torpedoes an otherwise passable episode. Contrived solutions to contrived problems don't make for compelling drama.

1.5 stars.
Sun, Sep 2, 2018, 7:42pm (UTC -6)
3 stars. I quite enjoyed this one. One of a handful of decent season one ds9 offerings. An actual TNG type plot done well

Like the intrigue and atmosphere like the whispering in darkened quark bar plotting with cohorts
The Odo and quark chat at the bar was fun
Shipment from gamma Quadrant was a nice use of the wormhole
Very Trekky plot which is a definite plus.
Kajada as a character I enjoyed her obsession and lengths she went
Odo primmin interaction good
Sisko with primmin then later odo good
Odo kajada security office scene good
Odo good in this episode
Liked the way kajada decided to not risk any further chance of vantika surviving by phasering his neural energy
Wed, Nov 21, 2018, 10:10pm (UTC -6)
Guy playing Star Fleet Security Officer Primmin is awful, awful, but the plot is engaging.

Some awkward dialog and events and performances, just not smooth flowing.

I pray Primmin is not staying around.

Very average.
Bobbington Mc Bob
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 11:41am (UTC -6)
Test comment
Double A
Tue, Apr 23, 2019, 9:38pm (UTC -6)
The Passenger is Bashir's first vehicle of DS9. It starts off as an interesting mystery, but then it all breaks down towards the end. First of all, the surprise reveal at the end of act four is ruined by an earlier scene with Quark. Furthermore, the line delivery by Bashir in act five is just atrocious. I do not know how this was allowed to make it in the final cut. Finally, the technobabble solution by Dax to save Bashir was too convenient and unimaginative. The Odo and Primmin interactions were really good. But the main plot which started with such promise, faltered towards the end.

Tue, May 28, 2019, 1:03pm (UTC -6)
Loved listening to Terry Farrell trying to pronounce Vantika. At least 3 different ways.

I enjoyed this episode.
Wed, Jul 3, 2019, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
Something I noticed while rewatching is that Jadzia doesn't seem to care about using gloves to handle a dead body. I don't know about you, but I need at least two layers of gloves before I handle my dead bodies.
Sun, Dec 15, 2019, 7:23pm (UTC -6)
For a split second when Vantika lets go of Quark early in the episode, you get a glimpse of his face, and even from that little glimpse I was pretty sure I recognised who that was. Naturally, watching a broadcast in the 90s, you wouldn't get to rewind or pause to get confirmation on that. Netflix with its handy -10s button? Yeah, that's Bashir.

Performance-wise, possessed Bashir as the villain doesn't work for me. Not in a played straight way, and not in a campy villain way. Denouement of this episode wasn't quite as effective as it could've been, as a result.
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 4:52am (UTC -6)
I found this episode a bit tedious and admit I quit a bit after the halfway point. Before I knew any details of the situation when i heard "make me live!" It was clear he was passing his conciousness to Bashir. I've seen this kind of thing before. So as the episode continued it was hard to watch all the red herrings waiting for the characters to catch up with me. Currently rewatching all Trek first seasons and DS9 so far has been second only to TOS for me.
Fri, Jun 19, 2020, 5:46am (UTC -6)
Why did the alien mercenary not pull a phaser on Vantika/Bashir and force him to lower the shields or just stun him. That could have been a fun way to end the episode and frankly, the way they end this episode is a let down. Where did the other two alien marauders go? Plot hole filled and lame.
Sun, Sep 6, 2020, 11:52pm (UTC -6)
Personally, the ending made sense to me in context. I felt that excising the hostile personality from Dr. Bashir’s brain, with lots of technobabble justifying the brand-new technique, was realistic and was a tidy way to wrap up some of the points brought up earlier in the episode.
Wed, Sep 30, 2020, 2:50pm (UTC -6)
Just wanted to clarify my previous comment. Siddig El Fadil's acting in the final act was pretty bad, so I’m not excusing that.

But I do think that the idea of excising a hostile personality made sense, given that part of the point of DS9 is to talk about certain historical events through a sci-fi lenses. Unfortunately, the development of experimental brain techniques was developed in that context. Many people who would probably be diagnosed with PTSD today ended up living out their lives with important parts of their brain removed.
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 9:55pm (UTC -6)
I happened to tune in right at what was supposed to be the climax of this episode. I was struck by how incredibly slow the pacing was, almost as if it were being run at half speed. Was the script too short or something?

I'm sure it was supposed to heighten the drama, but to me, it just makes it look as if the actors are immersed in molasses.
Thu, Aug 5, 2021, 10:03pm (UTC -6)
Lol, I haven't seen this since it first ran, and all I remember was Bashir being possessed and Siddig's spectacularly bad acting. "Open a channel."

This didn't inspire much confidence in the series at the time, but fortunately Siddig proved to be a great actor and this just a crazy flub.
Thu, Aug 5, 2021, 10:22pm (UTC -6)
According to Memory Alpha, Siddig got the script the day before shooting and so didn't have any time to prepare for a very different characterization.

Also, yes, Bashir's possessed dialog was dubbed because they didn't like the voice he used on set. I would be curious to hear the original because there's a very good chance it's better than what they replaced it with.

This suggests to me that they didn't know or couldn't convey to Siddig what they actually wanted. I would bet they didn't allocate much time for this either.
Puppy Laurah
Sat, Nov 20, 2021, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
This is my first time watching Deep Space Nine. I felt so embarrassed watching Doctor Bashir’s bad acting. He is certainly not up to the challenge of being taken over by another entity. Brent Spiner was a master at this.
It was almost unwatchable.
I hope his character improves. At this point he’s my least favorite character.
Sat, Dec 18, 2021, 2:26am (UTC -6)
I suppose in its favour, this episode at least was watchable without getting either too boring or too absurd. There were moments to like: Odo interacting with Primmin, with Sisko, and - as usual - with Quark. Otherwise, it’s fairly routine though not terrible.

One note: people have criticised Siddig for his (admittedly) terrible performance as Vantika. I would give him the credit of assuming that maybe the director told him to play it as a pantomime villain- perhaps against his own instincts and better judgment - so that the ‘stupid viewers’ would understand that his mind was occupied by another being.

2.5 stars - fairly forgettable in the long run.

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