Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Passenger   Rewatch 
May 20, 2015 7:05 AM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Captured criminal Rao Vantika dies in Bashir's arms... or did he?

Bashir: "Fate has granted me a gift, Major: a gift to be a healer."
Kira: "I feel privileged to be in your presence."

Notes (Cribbed from here.)
* Morgan Gendel's original story was to have Kajada possessed by Vantika. Gendel commented "I thought the idea of a cop who's chasing himself was something you could only do in a science fiction show.
* Gendel also scripted a song for Quark to sing but decided not to use it: "I had [Quark] singing a whole little ditty, like a Hobbit. I took a day to write this ditty about making money while he's serving people and shorting them on their drinks. I thought it was hysterical and also thought if I turned it in, they were going to laugh me out of the room".
* All of Alexander Siddig's original on-set dialogue as Vantika in the episode was dubbed in post-production. Rick Berman: "We had a very odd experience on the show. Siddig made a choice of a voice that didn't work for us. It was too Bela Lugosi-like, and we replaced his entire part with him again, but we had him do it a different way. We didn't really know if it would work or not, but it was fine".
* Several people involved with the episode commented on Quark's role, as his actions are the first illegal action the character was involved in in the series. Armin Shimerman commented: "He is still the middle-man. I say that in the episode, 'I'm just the middle-man', when they ask me if I'm going with them. He's just trying to make a buck. But it was a darker Quark, getting back to the Quark of I think of in "Emissary". And that's good. Anytime that I get close to that I feel a little bit better. I feel more confident with that. Drama is always easier to play than comedy". Paul Lynch commented: "[Quark] is suckered in over his head by his own greed. He doesn't really go looking for trouble, and if he had known what he was getting into he wouldn't have, but his own greed overruled him".
posted by zarq (7 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Oh my god, my husband and I always laugh at Alexander Siddig in this episode. It's interesting that he was re-dubbed because the first version was bad--the one they went with was terrible too! It's just so jarring considering the other actors do a great job when they play different personalities (argument can be made that Sisko as Benny is a bit--scenery chewing--but at least it's compelling). Siddig's method seems to be just being angry and/or speaking slowly.
posted by Kimberly at 8:32 AM on May 20, 2015

Every time I've watched this, I've thought it would have been better if Vantika had possessed Kajada instead of Bashir, so it's interesting to hear that that was the original story. Vantika's need for deuridium would make more sense, since Kajada is also a Kobliad, and the possession would also be more plausible.

Character-wise, it would also help set up a better ending -- the 'person who is going out of their way to avoid death threatens suicide' doesn't feel totally in character for Vantika, and using [science] to resolve the standoff is kind of underwhelming. With Kajada-as-Vantika, there's more of a motivation for Vantika to be willing to kill of himself, since it would also be revenge, of a sort, and also sets up a range of things that Kajada could do that Bashir can't (for example, maybe he does, as Bashir suggests he tried to do at Quark's, try to kill himself in order to also kill Vantika, which makes Vantika agree to leave Kajada in order to stay alive and go to prison, or...) -- having Vantika possess Bashir also lowers the stakes of the standoff in that the audience knows that the writers won't kill off Bashir (most likely), which isn't the case with Kajada.

All that aside, I do like the episode -- the possession is a fun premise, the sub-plot with Odo is a nice take on Federation/non-Federation standards as well as how Odo's conformity to the rules can clash with different interpretations of the rules. I love Evil Bashir for how capital-E Evil he is, although now I'm curious how it would have sounded with his original voice work; it's not the most subtle performance as-is, but given the premise it felt appropriate enough.
posted by cjelli at 9:08 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

This comment contains spoilers for ST:Voyager.

I generally skip this episode when I'm doing a rewatch. That said, I do really like the character of Kajada. She reminds me of Major Kira a lot, in that very determined, focused way she has.

If deuridium is so toxically awful that nearby planets would have to be evacuated, why is a species using it to prolong their lifespans?

This episode is very much like that episode of Voyager, Warlord, where Kes is overtaken by the consciousness of a hostile alien. Jennifer Lien's acting in that episode is far superior to Alexander Siddig's in this, though.
posted by Solomon at 1:02 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also in that vein is TNG's "Masks," where what might be an otherwise subpar episode is saved by Spiner's strong acting.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:18 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

That's a much better premise! I guess we have to use a regular because it's season 1.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:44 PM on May 20, 2015

(SPOILER for future seasons!)

Been years since I've seen this one. Is there anything in this one that doesn't track with the later revelation that Bashir was genetically modified? Like, when he's possessed, it would seem like Vantika would suddenly have super reflexes and stuff, but perhaps there are no instances in the episode where the superman-hood of Bashir's body would be relevant.

I don't think there are a lot of instances in the early seasons where the retcon about Bashir's genetic superman-hood didn't work, because he was always a smart guy and they dropped in some lines about him deliberately performing below par to hide his abilities. But is this one where his superman-hood doesn't track?

With these early episodes, I think a lot of the problems, such as they are, stem from Ira Steven Behr not being in charge. While he's done some really crappy shows since DS9, he was the ideal showrunner for DS9 and I get the impression he rode everybody hard to make the most interesting choices they could and dig deep to find good character conflict.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:00 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

I wrote my list of tribulations, but really, I agree with the above, especially cjelli.


We all know what's next, right? ::shudder::
posted by Seeba at 11:46 AM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

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