Star Trek 296: The Passenger

296. The Passenger

FORMULA: Let That Be Your Last Battlefield + The Schizoid Man, where Data = Bashir

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Odo-Primmin relationship.

WHY WE DON'T: E...vil... is... slow... and... boring.

REVIEW: Though Bashir is shown time and again to be a highly competent, even brilliant physician, the show keeps playing him for laughs. At the start of The Passenger, he's ridiculously full of himself, not exactly a character you want to like. And then they saddle him with a split personality in the intangible form of Rao Vantika, and it goes downhill from there. Indeed, this may be one of the worst episodes for Bashir ever.

Oh, the mystery's good enough, Rao's identity hidden behind a whisper and a pair of warm woolen gloves, and the obsessed cop tracking him who turns out to be right, that's all fine. But once it's revealed where Vantika put his consciousness, it just seems like Siddig el Fadil's been directed to play him as the ultimate slow talker. And... boy... is... it... ever... annoy... ing. In fact, that's where the episodes crashes and burns. Not just in the performance, but in the technobabble resolution that follows. And the transporter lobotomy. And the way our characters take the summary execution of Vantika's brain cells in stride.

If there's a reason to watch The Passenger, it's once again Odo. He's given a Federation foil in Lt. George Primmin, who surprises us by being a lot more reasonable than these buttinsky types are ever wont to be. Once his preconceptions are done away with, and Sisko has put him in his place, he's rather amiable, and it's Odo who's the antagonist. Which is perfectly in character for all of them. And even Odo has to give Primmin credit when that credit is due. Odo is also quite good at dealing with Ty Kajada, and there are some good scenes from Quark and Dax.

LESSON: No one's ever heard of a fast-talking villain... have they?

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-Low: Good thing for the Odo stuff, because the villain of the piece is only interesting before you see him, never after.

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