Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Classics: DS9 1:8 – The Passenger

Plot Synopsis:

Bashir and Kira come to the aid of a disabled Kobliad ship; there, Bashir is nearly strangled by a dying prisoner, Rao Vantika. Vantika’s captor, Ty Kajada, is absolutely convinced that Vantika did not die on board her ship – and she turns out to be right, in a sense. Indeed, when Vantika grabbed Bashir, he implanted his own neural patterns within Bashir’s mind. Eventually, Vantika takes complete control of Bashir’s body and attempts to hijack an important shipment of deuridium. Fortunately, the attempt is foiled, and Vantika’s consciousness is destroyed. Meanwhile, a representative from Starfleet Security arrives and clashes with Odo.

The Ratings:

Overall: 6.3 – The subplot was better than the main plot.

Writing: 6.5

At this point, the writers still haven’t quite figured out where their strengths lie; in this episode, a rather boring Trek-style body-snatcher plot takes precedence over the far more interesting interpersonal politics of the Bajoran-Federation alliance, to the episode’s detriment. I found I was more engaged watching Odo and Primmin trying to adjust to each other than I was watching anything having to do with Vantika. The former plotline was certainly far better written than the latter.

Acting: 6

Apparently, if you want to convey that you are being controlled by a criminal genius, you talk. very. slowly. Up until Vantika took control, I was quite satisfied with the acting; afterwards, it entered the realm of the ridiculous.

Message: 6.5

If any message is conveyed with this episode, it is that a Starfleet officer should be willing to adapt to the circumstances in which he finds himself, even if it means bending Federation codes ever so slightly. Here, the stakes aren’t particularly high, but in later episodes, we’ll see that Sisko’s flexibility in this regard is a real asset on DS9.


“Fate has granted me a gift, Major – a gift to be a healer.”
“I feel privileged to be in your presence.” – says Kira very wryly. Hee.

“Poor woman. She’s obviously infatuated with me.” – Quark’s unrequited crush on Dax is so cute.

“You and I are guests of the Bajorans, lieutenant. You don’t have to forget everything you learned at the Academy – just don’t throw it in anyone’s face here.” – Sisko to Primmin. Awesome.

“What kind of fool are you?”
“My own special variety.” – Odo calmly dealing with Kajada. Heh.


This episode repeats the common belief that a human only uses a small portion of his or her brain. This is a misconception. In reality, PET scans and functional MRI’s have shown that most of the human brain is in fact used – just not all at once.


  1. were generous here, I think. :)

    I had this episode pegged at a 5.0 or so (6.0 writing, 6.0 acting, 3.0 message)...considered it a big step worse than anything we've seen so far. The Odo/Primmin conflict aside, the show was spectacularly boring, not to mention scientifically questionable and theologically troubling.

    The problem with the concept of body-snatching through the use of some purely biological means (in this case, an electrical impulse transmitted through the finger nails, apparently) is that it puts forward the erroneous idea that all there is to human consciousness is the physical aspects of the brain...the mind (a non-physical entity) is reduced to neuronal firing and chemical pathways. Philosophically, this we would call "physicalism" and it's what leads down the slippery slope to logical atheism.

  2. You are absolutely right - I did neglect the metaphysics. The trouble is, in Trek, materialism is an assumption so ingrained that as a viewer, I suppose I've almost become inured to it. If a bad smell hangs around long enough, you eventually stop noticing it.

    I thought about raising doubt as to whether, in a material universe, glial cells could contain personality patterns, but I looked it up and discovered that glial cells do apparently play a role in synaptic modulation. So I don't know; I agree, though, that the science is terribly imprecise.

  3. Yeah...Trek is definitely rife with physicalism and even determinism (a natural outgrowth of that school of thought). DS9 is usually better about that sort of thing though...many episodes featured countering viewpoints.