May 21 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “The Passenger”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Passenger“The Passenger”
Written by Morgan Gendel and Robert Hewitt Wolfe & Michael Piller
Directed by Paul Lynch
Season 1, Episode 8
Production episode 40511-409
Original air date: February 21, 1993
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Kira and Bashir are returning from a medical mission in a runabout. Kira makes the mistake of complimenting Bashir on his work, which leads to Bashir saying he can’t hear Kira over the sound of how awesome he is. Kira’s snotty reply is cut off by a distress call. They respond to it and find a woman unconscious. Bashir revives her; she says that the pilot’s dead. She’s transporting a prisoner, who sabotaged the ship. Bashir tries to treat him, but he dies—after grabbing Bashir’s throat and saying, “Make me live.”

They return to Deep Space 9, where Bashir treats the woman, who identifies herself as Ty Kajada from Kobliad security, and the dead prisoner as Rao Vantika. She insists on checking the corpse, as Vantika has faked his own death more than once. Even after examining the body herself, she then stabs it in the heart, just to be sure. She’s been chasing him for twenty years, and she is cynical to say the least.

In the bar, Quark flirts with Dax as he gives her a drink to the disdain of Odo, who makes sure to mention that he knows about a duridium shipment, which Quark claims to know nothing about. As Odo leaves, he’s followed by Lieutenant Primmin from Starfleet security, who is confused as to why Odo was so forthright with a known black marketer. Odo tries to get rid of Primmin, who insists on going over the security arrangements for that duridium shipment.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Passenger

Bashir reports on his autopsy, which confirms that Vantika is all dead, not just mostly dead. He was coming to DS9 to hijack a duridium shipment—the Kobliad need duridium to help prolong their lives.

Primmin reports to ops and meets with Sisko. He speaks dismissively about Odo, saying that securing the duridium shipment is over his head, and Sisko slaps him down pretty quickly, and then instructs him and Odo to both talk with Kajada about the hijacking plot. Vanitka may have associates on the station.

To his credit, Primmin apologizes when he meets with Odo. They’re about to go over his security plans, but the database is inaccessible. The computer’s active memory has been purged, which Kajada smugly announces is Vantika’s MO. She’s convinced he’s still alive. Bashir, having performed an autopsy, is a bit skeptical. Kajada describes how he’d access the computer (a subspace shunt through a minor system), and Dax finds one at a temperature control. Odo and Primmin both call security at the same time, to each other’s mutual annoyance, and a team is sent to that control.

Kajada remains convinced that it’s Vantika, as he’s spent decades prolonging his life through transplants, cryogenics, drugs, and more. Sisko thinks it more likely that it’s an accomplice, but is willing to at least consider the possibility that it’s Vantika, at least until the results of Bashir’s DNA scan come in.

Odo offers Sisko his resignation, which Sisko doesn’t accept. Sisko explains that Odo is needed here, as he knows the station better than anyone, but Starfleet does need to have a security presence to protect its own interests. However, Odo is placated by Sisko assuring him that in joint operations, Odo is the one in charge.

Dax reports that the cargo bay in Kajada’s ship was broken into since it was docked. She finds material in Vantika’s quarters on the subject of synaptic pattern displacement—basically placing his consciousness in someone else’s mind. Dax theorizes—backed by Bashir—that Vantika may have transferred his consciousness into Kajada without her knowing.

Quark is assaulted by a gloved, whispering figure who doesn’t show his face to Quark, asking about the duridium shipment. Quark says the arrangements were made, but Quark thought he was dead. “Almost” is the response.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Passenger

Sisko agrees to keep Kajada out of the specifics of the security for the shipment, which infuriates her. She goes to Odo who explains that only Sisko, Kira, Primmin, and Odo himself are cleared to have access to any data on the shipment.

Kajada spies on a meeting between Quark and a mercenary named Durg—then falls from the balcony to the floor. Bashir treats her; Quark insists he was alone in the bar when she fell. Meanwhile, Dax finds evidence that Vantika stored a generator in his fingernail that could’ve been used to transfer his consciousness into someone he touched before dying. She then goes to the infirmary to tell Bashir about it—but he’s gone, having left his combadge behind.

Quark brings Durg and his aides to a runabout, passage on which was arranged by their employer. They enter a runabout pad to find Bashir—or, rather, Vantika inside Bashir’s head. He transferred his consciousness there when he tried to choke the doctor earlier.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Passenger

Primmin, taking a cue from Odo’s earlier deduction of Vantika’s MO—hit the big system in order to get access to the little system—finds another subspace shunt, this one in a waste extraction system that, when set off, would shut the whole station down for an hour, giving Vantika enough time to steal the freighter with the duridium.

Said freighter comes through the wormhole as scheduled. The Rio Grande goes to meet it, to everyone’s surprise. Even more surprising is that the runabout launch was authorized by Bashir.

Durg and his aides beam over to the freighter and kill the bridge crew, at which point Vantika beams over. The two aides go to secure the rest of the ship—which is then snared by a tractor beam. Vantika is pissed, as the station should’ve been shut down by now. He contacts the station and threatens to destroy the ship—killing Bashir—if they don’t let him go.

Dax comes up with a technobabble solution to disrupt Vantika’s neural pathways in Bashir’s brain. Sisko stalls while she creates it, but Vantika doesn’t go for it, and orders Durg to go to warp. Durg refuses, not wanting to die, and so Vantika kills him. That delays things enough for Dax to do her thing. The disruption lasts long enough for Bashir to lower shields, allowing Primmin to beam him back. Then Sisko stuns him.

Dax beams the glial cells out of Bashir and into a containment unit, which Kajada takes custody of and then disintegrates with her weapon.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Passenger

Can’t we just reverse the polarity?: Electrically charged glial cells! Subspace shunts! Electromagnetic pulses! Mini-transmitters hidden in fingernails! Face front, true technobabble believers, this one has it all!

The Sisko is of Bajor: Sisko’s tearing down of Primmin’s dismissal of Odo is truly magnificent, as is his placation of Odo a few scenes later. I also like how casually he stuns Bashir after he beams back and it’s clear that Vantika’s taking back over.

Rules of Acquisition: Quark cleans the bar, not in order to be clean, but to find valuable items that people might have dropped. He also puts Durg together with Vantika.

Keep your ears open: “You’re deluding yourself.”

“There’s nothing wrong with a good delusion. I sell them upstairs to dozens of people every day.”

Odo dismissing Quark’s infatuation with Dax, and Quark defending it.

Welcome aboard: Julie Caitlin Brown—credited without her first name—makes her first Trek appearance as Kajada. She’ll return in TNG’s “Gambittwo-parter as Vekor. James Lashly makes the first of two appearances as Lieutenant Primmin, a role that would appear to be set up to be recurring, but which never materializes as such; he previously appeared in TNG’s “Brothers” as Ensign Kopf. Christopher Collins makes his third of four Trek appearances as Durg, a Markalian; he’ll be back as a different Markalian in “Blood Oath,” and he previously appeared on TNG as Captain Kargan, a Klingon, in “A Matter of Honor” and Grebnedlog, a Pakled, in “Samaritan Snare.”

Trivial matters: Bashir’s reference to synaptic pattern displacement never being done by a non-Vulcan is a necessary caveat, since that’s pretty much what Spock did to McCoy in The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock.

Primmin was introduced to add some conflict with Odo, but the character only made it through two episodes. In the third season, the recurring character of Eddington, another Starfleet security officer played by Kenneth Marshall, will be added, and Odo’s response to him will be almost exactly the same, down to offering a resignation that Sisko refuses.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Passenger

Morgan Gendel’s original pitch had Vantika possessing Kajada, so that she was, in essence, pursuing herself.

Walk with the Prophets: “Don’t patronize me, Commander!” Like “Babel,” this feels like a TNG Technobabble Special transplanted to DS9, but this one works much less well. Though, as with “Babel,” what does make it appealing is the unique DS9 element, in this case the conflict between Odo and Primmin. Otherwise, it’s just a paint-by-numbers episode with a cutesy SF twist.

What might have elevated the episode are some strong performances, but instead we get a relentlessly mediocre turn by Caitlin Brown, who doesn’t quite sell Kajada’s obsession (she needs to be Inspector Javert, or at least Lieutenant Gerard), and a truly wretched performance by Siddig el-Fadil. His awkward pauses and over-enunciation as Vantika are just awful, ditto his agonized cry when he’s hit with the EMP. Adding insult to the injury is his smug self-congratulation in the runabout at the top of the episode, leading Kira and the audience to all want to strangle him. The actor is usually better than this, and indeed will continue to be going forward, but man is he awful here.

I wish more had been done with the Primmin-Odo conflict, though at least they’d take another shot at it with Eddington down the road. But that’s the only compelling element of a very run-of-the-mill plot with some really crap acting.


Warp factor rating: 2

Keith R.A. DeCandido will be a guest at Balticon 47 this weekend in Hunt Valley, Maryland, just north of Baltimore. Sunday night at 7pm will be the official launch of his short story collection Tales from Dragon Precinct at Frankie & Vinnie’s (along with several other new titles from Dark Quest Books). Here’s the rest of Keith’s schedule for the weekend.

1. Happytoscrap
My biggest source of confusion watching this episode was, who is Primmin? For a total of two episodes he seemed like a senior officer. Almost like he was replacing O'Brien? Was this when O'Brien was off working on TNG set or something?

Oddly enough, in two episodes I thought he did a fine job. I think the reason they shuffled him right back into obscurity is probably because they were neglecting the regular cast's character development enough as it was....why introduce another memeber?

The rest of this episode...not too exciting. In fact, even though I just rewatched it a few weeks ago, I can barely remember it.
Phil Parsons
2. Yakko
I always wondered if it was dissatisfaction with James Lashley's acting (it seems to me he plays Primmin like a bit of a goofy lug) that cut short his stay on DS9. The fact that they brought the same type of character back two years later with a different actor suggests that he might have been a disappointment to the production team. It reminds me of Lycia Naff's aborted two episode appearance in TNG's second season as Ensign Gomez. Could Barclay have been a reimagined version of her? Oh well.... I much prefer the far more interesting direction they took Eddington in the later seasons.

Keith you were unrelenting in your criticism of Siddig el-Fadil's performance in this episode and yet I don't think you were anywhere near harsh enough. Between his portrayal of Vantika here and the upcoming dreck "Move Along Home" I remember having fleeting thoughts back in early 1993 that perhaps Paramount had gone back to the well once too often.
David Levinson
3. DemetriosX
Despite the reasonably well done conflict with Odo, Primmin almost feels like he's here for the viewer to assume he's the one carrying around Vantika. Of course, if he had been, they could have just killed him and Sisko could have glared at Kajada for overstepping her bounds. I also think Yakko may be onto something with Lashley's take on the character resulting in him being dropped; he's like a dumb Michael Garibaldi. I'm glad they went back to the concept, though. Eddington may be my favorite recurring character.

And now I'm going to be stuck with Iggy and the Stooges for the rest of the day.
Christopher Bennett
4. ChristopherLBennett
I always figured Primmin was just created as a substitute for O'Brien during the period when Colm Meaney was off doing something else. Although they did give him a rather different job.

This is not a good episode. It's very implausible that a consciousness could be preserved so easily and with such a small amount of material, and it's one more technology that creates potentially galaxy-shaking ramifications but is never heard from again.

But what I absolutely loathe about this episode is the ending. Once Vantika's consciousness has been extracted and stored in a Petri dish, Kajada commits what's essentially a summary execution, if not out-and-out murder. And the Starfleet officers who are supposed to revere life and peace above all just glance at each other and shrug as if it were no big deal. A horrible, horrible moment in Trek history.
5. Ashcom
I remember when watching this episode for the first time, the moment Vantika grabbed Bashir's throat, thinking "he's just transferred himself into Bashir". It has been such a common sci-fi trope that it just seemed utterly obvious, and as such nothing else that happened in the episode was remotely surprising.

Also, Keith, at the risk of being a smartarse, Electromagnetic Pulses are not technobabble, they are, like, an actual thing. And they probably would disrupt Electrically Charged Glial Cells. If they were also an actual thing. Which they're probably not.
Rob Rater
6. Quasarmodo
That dumb doctor is at the top of the list of why I stopped watching this show the first time around. I kept pleading with the tv for him to die. It didn't even have to be a painful death. I'm not greedy.
George Salt
7. GeorgeSalt
Transfer of consciousness is one of the most overworked plot devices in sci-fi. Also, this episode propagates one of the most widespread pseudo-scientific memes of popular culture: the notion that we use only a small portion of our brains. This notion stems from a misunderstanding of brain anatomy. It is generally believed that neurons provide the cellular basis for cognition and neurons make up about 10% of the cells in our brains. The rest of the brain mainly consists of glial cells. For a while it was thought that glial cells were more or less dormant and contributed little more than physical support; hence the wrongheaded notion that we only use a small part of our brains. Apparently Vantika found a way to encode his "neural energy patterns" onto Bashir's glial cells; however, glial cells are not really dormant and they certainly are not dormant neurons. Recent research indicates that glial cells interact with neurons in ways that contribute to cognition, although that interaction is poorly understood. If the writers are going to give us technobabble, at least give us technobabble that has a tenuous connection to real science!

Yet again we see the not-so-clever trick of leaving behind the combadge to fool the internal sensors. That one is getting rather stale.

Not a terrible episode, but it isn't much more than a space opera take on a murder mystery. It seems that the midseason slump has set in.
8. Zabeus
I'm so glad you mentioned the awful acting in this. Bashir the uber-villian was my only memory of this episode.
Christopher Bennett
9. ChristopherLBennett
@7: My understanding was that the "ten percent of our brains" myth came from an early study where they were testing specifically for sensory and motor nerve activity (since that was all they were yet capable of registering). They found such activity in 10% of the brain and not in the rest, so they reported that the rest was "silent" -- by which they only meant that it didn't register the specific type of activity they were looking for, but of course the press never gets science news right, so they misinterpreted the result as a statement that 90% of the brain has no activity of any kind.
Chris Nash
10. CNash
@5 Ashcom - yeah, despite not having seen this episode for the better part of a decade, I immediately twigged that he'd transferred himself into Bashir - and the scene where Dax examines Vantika's fingernails all but confirms it.

I agree completely with Keith's appraisal of El Fadil's acting in the last act - he's clearly trying to convey that Vantika's consciousness isn't quite used to moving and speaking in Bashir's body, but his stilted delivery is more funny than menacing - and sharing scenes with Christopher Collins' mercenary character doesn't help either, as Collins speaks slowly too!

Other than that, there isn't really much to say about this episode. Primmin is forced into the double role of a foil for Odo and a red herring in a whodunnit mystery; I did get the impression that he was standing in for O'Brien in some of his scenes (although I think Kira was given a very O'Brien-ish line while talking to a couple of engineers). While I'm happy that they revisited the concept of a Starfleet counterpart for Odo later on, I don't think Primmin was a good fit for DS9 at this point in its development.
11. Sean O'Hara
Primmin suffers the same problem as Yar. Realistically it makes perfect sense that tactical and security would be separate positions on a Starship, and that security in the civilian and military portions of a space station would be handled by different departments, to the viewer it just looks like two people doing the same job. Which is too bad because Primmin was a much better character than Yar -- I like that he was kinda doofy but still competent.
12. tortillarat
I thought this one was OK actually. Certainly not great, and the sudden execution at the end was jarring, but I didn't find it terrible either. It just felt like a standard, run-of-the-mill, unmemorable episode to me.

As for the technobabble, I really don't care. Vulcans don't really exist so if you want to be technical about it, they shouldn't be on the show either. I'm sure once we develop warp drive in reality, the whole show will look really stupid in that regard.

Anyway, nice Bashir pic at the top. Looks like he has insane constipation.
13. Mac McEntire
I don’t know… I think I almost like evil possessed Dr. Bashir better than horny braggart Dr. Bashir.

I agree that Kajada shooting the petri dish thing at the end seemed rather abrupt, and without any consequence. “You just fired your phaser in the sickbay and killed what remains of a sentient being. Well, that’s over.”

Along with Primmin and Eddington, there’s also an episode where Worf butts heads with Odo over Odo’s methods. So maybe not getting along with Odo at first is a “new guy on the station” experience. (Rewatching these episodes, it’s hard to imagine that Worf will be on the show. By the time it ends, it’ll be hard to imagine the show without him.)
Dante Hopkins
14. DanteHopkins
Ah to disagree on this rewatch at last. While Caitlin Brown's Kajada was fairly annoying, it was nice to see Bashir have a turn at being something other than the smug Doctor for a change, taking the admitedly brilliant young doctor down a few pegs. I thought Siddig El-Fadil's (or Alexander Siddig, if you prefer) performance was okay, a first step in the growth of Bashir as a character and El-Fadil as an actor.

As I've commented before, what would Star Trek be without "technobabble"? How do you propose they explain complex technology? "Well lets change over the doohickey using that whatchamajigit, and then the whatsits will power up the thingamahooze." So as I've said before, please give me "technobabble." To me its one of the comforting parts of the franchise, and without "technobabble", the future experience would not be complete. And I dont need it to be based in actual science. For actual science, I'd watch National Geographic or something. Whew.

I thought the same thing you did CLB, that Primmin was there to fill in for O'Brien while Colm Meaney was away filming a movie. Once O'Brien came back, I figured there was no more need for Primmin, though it would make sense that maybe they were trying to make him a recurring character.

Oh, and CLB@4, the Starfleet crew could do nothing, as custody had been transferred back to Kojada, and therefore the Kobliad, making it an internal matter of the Kobliad. Vantika was already legally dead, Kojada merely destroyed what was left of his consciousness. Therefore, an internal Kobliad matter, albiet an awkward one.

Not a terrible episode, and I mostly enjoy this one. Mostly
15. Erik Dercf
This was a fun body snatcher episode. Bashir being the bad guy was amusing and fit well with the banter that happened before the snatching. I like the excution at the end of the episode. Why keep a bottle of devils dust around? It's not what Starfleet would do but it wasn't Starfleet's prisoner. If some the characters in Star Trek could do the same to Q let he who is without a grudge cast his phaser away first.
Christopher Bennett
16. ChristopherLBennett
@11: Re: your Yar analogy -- Tasha was both security and tactical officer at the same time, just as Worf later was. People tend to forget that Worf wasn't in security at all until Tasha died; his job for most of the first season was the bridge watch officer, the guy who had the conn when the senior officers weren't on the bridge and filled in at other stations as needed. After all, in the first season he wore command red, not security gold.

@14: Re: "technobabble" -- I've always taken the word to mean technical exposition that was made up and didn't really make any sense (hence "babble"), as distinct from scientific/technical exposition that was grounded in plausible science and held together upon analysis. For instance, "Yesterday's Enterprise"'s explanation of the time warp as the result of "a Kerr loop of superstring material" is (aside from the misuse of "superstring" to mean "cosmic string") pretty solid science, because a Kerr ring -- a rapidly rotating ring of ultradense matter -- could indeed theoretically create a time warp. Thus I don't consider it technobabble. But later episodes' use of made-up stuff like chroniton fields and Red Matter is pure technobabble, because there's no real science content involved.

Re: the ending -- what upset me wasn't that the Starfleet characters didn't intervene, but that they didn't seem to care that a blatant murder had been committed before their eyes. They didn't react with anger or shock, or even with grim resignation -- just with shrugs and wry glances, as if it were almost comical.

And I don't accept the "already dead" interpretation. As long as his consciousness existed in a restorable state, I'd call that technically alive. Particularly when we have precedents in Trek for a preserved consciousness being considered a still-living entity, as with Sargon et al. in "Return to Tomorrow" or Spock's katra in TSFS.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
18. Lisamarie
Ashcom @5, I immediately made that assumption too. I actually thought it was glaringly obvious, especially after Kojdada had gone on and on and on about how dangerous and devious this guy was.

GeorgeSalt @7: "If the writers are going to give us technobabble, at least give us technobabble that has a tenuous connection to real science!" - Exhibit A: Genesis ;)

That said, I didn't so much mind the technobabble in this one, anyway.

I actually was also a bit startled that she just shot the Petri dish (and I thought I noticed some widened eyes amongst the crews). But for all we know, Kojada had a 'dead or alive' clause in her warrant or whatever authority she had from the Kobliad. He may have already been convicted for previous crimes (I can't remember if this was addressed in the episode so feel free to correct me). And yes, that is a bit of a hand wave.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
19. Lisamarie
Oh, and agreed that evil!Bashir was a bit over the top and hammy in a bad way! I did cringe a little.

Also, I had intended to comment on Quark here being a little darker than I expected (my pre-conception of the character was that he was kind of shady, not opposed to rigging gambling tables or cutting corners to get some extra money/selling illegal stuff, but ultimately benign) - I was a tad surprised to see him consorting with known murderers, etc. Curious to see the direction the show goes with him.
Dante Hopkins
20. DanteHopkins
CLB @16, I suspect they just didn't know how to react to so brazen an act right before their eyes. I certainly didn't, and looking at Sisko, Dax, and Bashir's nonplussed reactions, they didn't either.

LisaMarie@19, So long as Quark doesn't have to get his own hands dirty, and can merely be a middleman (and, of course, turn a profit), he will go along with most things. He will develop boundaries as to what he will and won't do, even for profit, as you'll see further on in the series.
Jack Flynn
21. JackofMidworld
I remember Bashir being just plain awful in this one, too, and it almost overshadowed me even remembering about Odo trying to quit!

Krad, I see that you're going to be at Balticon...any chance you'll be in Philadelphia in July?
22. Nor'easter
I'd completely forgotten the core plot of this episode. The only thing I remembered was the dispute between Odo and Primmin (whose name I'd also forgotten) and Sisko firmly telling Odo that *he* was in charge of station security -- mostly because working out the relationships between Starfleet and Bajoran personnel struck me as an interesting aspect of life on DS9.
Christopher Bennett
23. ChristopherLBennett
@20: "Nonplussed" may have been what they were going for, but the way it was directed and played made it come off more like the closing freezeframe of a sitcom, as if they were making light of the event. I still say it's a grievous misstep, of execution if not concept.
Matt Hamilton
24. MattHamilton
Oh, such bad episodes. And yet, we haven't even gotten to Move Along Home yet (That episode, to me, is just as bad, if not worse, then Sub Rosa. So it's not so bad that we get that crap outta the way in the first season as opposed to the last). You're right though. Bashir as master plan guy didn't work wellat all. I don't think his character worked all the well throughout seven years worth of television, to be honest. I am hard pressed to come up with very many times that I loved his character, other than his bromance with O'Brien. And the mind transfer stuff...again, as was stated, is Galaxy-trembling technology that is never mentioned again. Could you imagine if this was used all the time and like a dead Klingon just kept coming back or any villain that may have been killed in the past can now just pop up with a new body and face and no body would know until it was too late. They really need to think ahead when they write things like this. I wrote a short story where a little girl's mind is transferred into a computer at the end of the world and has to spend mankind's apocalypse and eternity all alone. I don't think very highly of the writing in that story, except that it is ten times better than this episode.
25. CounsellorDeannaTroi#1Fan
I might be in the minority, but I often find it entertaining when actors ham it up on camera. It's often when they are called upon to depict unrealistic situations or when they have to perform poorly written dialogue.

I've always thought a large part of the charm of "The Wizard of Oz" was that Judy Garland and the other main actors hammed it up so much that it seemed melodramatic.

Professional wrestling is full of hammy acting, and that's why I find it entertaining.

Soap operas also often have it.
George Salt
26. GeorgeSalt
@16 ChristopherLBennett: That's a good clarification of the term "technobabble" and the relationship between plausible science and science fiction. In 1987, Gene Roddenberry wrote a writers/directors guide for TNG and he clearly articulated the difference between science fiction and fantasy. Roddenberry wrote "The difference between the two is profound. Despite the fact that both science fiction and fantasy can deal with unusual events, a science fiction story is based on an extrapolation of a generally accepted scientific fact or theory. Fantasy, which our format does not permit, need have no basis in reality." My beef with this episode is that Vantika's technology is based not on shaky science but a demonstrably wrong pseudoscientific myth.

Roddenberry also wrote "Knights and princesses, stalwart yeomen and dragons are not science fiction for our purposes." I find this interesting because contrary to Roddenberry's wishes, fantasy stories kept seeping into the franchise. The TNG episode "Qpid" was in part a knights and princesses fantasy; and as we shall see, DS9 also indulged the occasional fantasy story.
Rob Rater
27. Quasarmodo
Q himself (itself?) is probably considered fantasy.
Christopher Bennett
28. ChristopherLBennett
@27: Indeed. Roddenberry could be maddeningly inconsistent, on the one hand insisting he wanted as much scientific plausibility as possible, and on the other hand turning around and inventing characters like Q.
Christopher Bennett
30. ChristopherLBennett
I think Q is one of those many characters whose powers got amplified by later writers beyond what the original writer intended. In "Encounter at Farpoint," Q used a ship of sorts (the forcefield sphere that pursued the Enterprise) and his people were said to be native to the particular region of space the ship had just entered, which was why we hadn't met them before. And Q didn't really do much that couldn't have been achieved with a transporter, a holodeck, a forcefield emitter, and a freeze ray. Although, granted, in Q's second appearance (also co-scripted by Roddenberry), his people's powers were amped up to more magical levels including the ability to transform people and raise the dead. But later writers inflated their abilities to even more godlike levels, like being able to correct a moon's orbit or repair an entire planetary ecosystem with a snap of the fingers. It's a lot like the way Superman's powers got amped up from being able to run fast, jump high, and survive an exploding shell to being able to fly, breathe in space, juggle planets, time-travel at will, etc. When writers create beings with superpowers, it can be hard to remember where their upper limits are.
Joseph Newton
31. crzydroid
I just thought it was amusing that they called waste reclamation a nonvital system. I beg to differ!
32. David Sim
Why is it that when actors try to play evil, they tend to forget how to act? I just watched The Passenger today for the first time in several years, and watching the scenes of Bashir as Vantika, Siddig el-Fadil's performance seems like amateur dramatics of the most embarrassing sort. el-Fadil seems to assume that by taking significant pauses inbetween the dialogue suggests he's become a completely different person (hailing...us?!). Perhaps he was taking his lead from James Harper in the opening scene (make...me...live!), but el-Fadil in no-way suggests a criminal mastermind; in fact he sounds more slow on the uptake if nothing else (And I'm glad Bashir is so humiliated at the end, what with his preening egotism in the Runabout; what a pity Kira never got to finish that insult).

The Voyager episode Warlord did this scenario with much more conviction. Jennifer Lien was allowed to have fun with Kes possessed by a maniacal dictator. She revelled in the opportunity to play against type and go for broke; when episodes like this are done right they can be a fabulous showcase for an actor. The Passenger on the other hand...

And what does Odo mean when he says Dax has ten lifetimes worth of experience? Or is it just because he barely knows her?
Christopher Bennett
33. ChristopherLBennett
@32: Yeah, Jennifer Lien was awesome in "Warlord." She was a really good actress, especially with her voice (she did some animation acting for a while), and it's a shame she fell out of the business.

At this point, evidently the writers hadn't settled on the number of Dax's previous hosts. That didn't really get locked down until "Facets" late in season 2.
34. David Sim
@33: Facets came late in Season 3. But I'm not sure myself when Dax's combined hosts all came to light, but we did get to meet them all in Facets.
Stefan Raets
35. Stefan
I just started watching DS-9 and am following along with the reread as I go. Must say that this is by far the worst episode of the bunch so far. As you said, Bashir's acting, both as himself and especially as Vantika, is atrocious. The technobabble is a whole new level of horrible.

One thing that surprised me (and Christopher Bennett pointed out in comment 4) is how casually Vantika-in-the-round-gizmo-thingie is executed at the end. Apparently he needed to be brought to trial so badly that they risked transporting him DESPITE being so dangerous--and after all that trouble, Kajada just disintegrates him. It invalidates the whole setup of the plot.

Is it just me, or did one of the three mercenary goons look like Little Steve Van Zandt (of Springsteen's E-Street Band)?

Onwards to the next episode. I doubt I'll catch up with you guys, but I'll do my best.

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