DS9 Episode 1.9: The Passenger

In which Julian’s mind is the scene of the crime.

Memory Alpha says: An alien criminal, attempting to prolong his life, hides his consciousness inside the mind of a station crew member. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
Glorious: one of the search terms that has led people to this blog in the past month is ‘keep away from data bitch ontd_tng.’ Dude, it has not been possible to keep me away from Data since approximately 1988. But let’s press on with DS9.

This is one of those Star Trek standbys, an episode in which a core crew member gets possessed by an alien intelligence so that they can have conflicts with the rest of the core cast and/or generally act like a dick without it being morally their fault or breaking Gene’s rule that We Don’t Fight Amongst Ourselves or, in fact, having any impact on how anybody responds to them in subsequent episodes (this is particularly hilarious with Data; the most hostile anyone gets with him is when, after he goes berserk and stabs her in a lift, Counselor Troi presents him with a mocking cake). TOS and TNG would be such different shows if, after events like these, it took time for people to regain their trust in each other, and in some cases they never quite did.

Of course, as DS9 went on, it became apparent that you don’t need anybody to be possessed by an alien intelligence for them to have some beefy conflicts and act like a dick (you have people like Dukat around who are more than happy to fill your dick quota), so they became less reliant on the old possession trick, or when they did use it did something interesting like introduce the Pah Wraiths. At least that’s how I’m remembering it; I’ll have to see whether that’s borne out by this rewatch. I do remember that they did at least one other old-school possessionpisode, ‘Dramatis Personae,’ which I found striking because Avery Brooks played his possessed character with much more personality than he gave Sisko at the time.

For the second episode in succession, we’ll get no O’Brien. I guess he’s still in Japan, and I hope at least he gets to do some nice things like soak in a hot spring with snow monkeys. But hang on. Bear with us. Bullet point commentary again.

  • Julian is far, far, far too impressed with himself in the teaser, and lines like ‘Fate has granted me a gift,’ – well, you can understand why Siddig El Fadil was upset about the introduction of the genetic engineering idea, because it makes nonsense of material like this. The thing is, I do really like the inner conflicts the GE storyline gave Julian, and the darker elements of Federation society that it lets you explore, but it’s pretty awful from a continuity point of view. Early Julian, if I can put it like this, does not seem self-aware enough to be duplicitous enough to put on a pose of being overweeningly proud of his genius in order to misdirect attention from the fact that he knows he didn’t come by it honestly. That’s far more Garakky thinking. Look, I think we just have to put this in a box with Data using contractions.
  • ‘Did anyone ever tell you that you’re-‘ Not yet, but one day Chief O’Brien will, all the time. He won’t listen to him either.
  • Why would you start a fire on a spaceship as part of an attempt to escape? That’s cuckoo.
  • I like this security woman (Kajada? we’ll go with Kajada) – and her tormented manner. And I very much like how little and young Julian’s face goes in his shock at her vehemence, stabbing the body to make sure. His out-of-depthiness is an excellent contrast with his smug arrogance of the scene before.
  • Because Quark is a much cornier character than Julian, he can pull off the ridiculous slavering over Jadzia much less repellently. I am amused that Odo, rather like Julian last week, says ‘raktajino’ far too deliberately, as if they were both directed to emphasise the word’s foreignness – or both actors just thought it was a silly word.
  • ‘It’s good to want things’ – a very nice summing up of Ferengi philosophy. A lot of people’s philosophies, really, depending on how you define ‘things.’ Is the thing here Jadzia, or is the thing a concept or experience like love or sex or having an awesome girlfriend?
  • Aw, Jadzia gave Quark such a sweet smile!
  • Oh, Starfleet security. Odo hates Starfleet security. It’s interesting/troubling that a Fed security officer has been called in without, apparently, Odo being consulted, or even informed. Isn’t that just asking for a hissy-fit? Was this an Admiral’s decision?
  • Hmm, is this going to be one of those episodes where I don’t have many reactions? I’m just sort of dawdling through scenes without having much to say.
  • ‘Bailiwick.’ Hee. That word just can’t be used in a non-plonking manner.
  • Computer problems and no lovely Chief to fix them! Woe!
  • When both Odo and… Primmin? I have to start writing people’s names down when I first hear them – hit their badges at the same time to order security to the scene of the crime, and Odo wins the subsequent, I don’t know, aura battle, because they don’t even stare each other down, Kira is totally trying not to laugh – but only in an on-Odo’s-side way.
  • Odo is such a drama queen with his resignations. You know what I find strange? Odo objects to the term Constable, which is apparently not his real job title, just ‘an expression of affection’ that Kira started (aw, Kira). What I don’t get is why it would be ‘Constable.’ A constable isn’t in charge of much. Chris in Life on Mars and Danny in Hot Fuzz are constables, for God’s sake (yes I do base all my ideas about police work on Life on Mars, Hot Fuzz and the Night Watch books in the Discworld series, tyvm).Odo doesn’t have a sergeant or a captain/inspector above him. Is it a cultural thing where an American writer just thought ‘constable is an English word for policeman, let’s use it to denote the slight foreignness of the Bajoran system’ without realising that it means a low-ranking policeman? I do think that Odo seems like more of a sergeanty person. Come to that, what is his actual rank in the Bajoran militia? Google doesn’t seem to have any consensus. If Kira can be a Major and later a Colonel, I declare unilaterally that Odo can be a Sergeant.
  • If Odo had actually resigned at this point, where would he have gone and what would he have done? Hypothesis: a stool at Quark’s, drinking everything. Alternatively, his bucket, sulking.
  • ‘a map of the humanoid brain’ – because all humanoid brains are that similar? I guess for Star Trek‘s purposes they are.
  • I love how the point of cleaning at Quark’s bar is to find anything valuable that might have been dropped on the floor. Hygiene is clearly not the issue.
  • Black gloves! When you know the outcome of the episode the voice is recognisable, but when I first watched this I didn’t recognise it, thinking they were using another voice for misdirection, so ten points to Siddig El Fadil. Well, I knew it had to be Julian because he was the one whose neck got grabbed, but for some reason I didn’t fully realise it was the same actor doing the voice. My brain doesn’t work so well. Have you noticed how early DS9 really doesn’t do mystery episodes so well?
  • Julian refers to the events of The Wrath of Khan/The Search for Spock when he says he’s never heard of a dead person’s consciousness surviving in another brain except when done by a Vulcan – so I guess he hasn’t heard about that old jerk Ira Graves downloading himself into Data. (Perhaps the Spock case, from longer ago and involving major historical figures, has had time to become more famous, whereas the Graves one is from just a few years ago and didn’t involve anyone who was, at the time, very important. Still, it did involve someone who Julian met and indicated a great interest in not very long ago and wow, maybe I should try to keep away from Data a bit.) I wonder, actually, how many times and ways all up Star Trek has used this idea?
  • Hey, this is cool, Julian and Jadzia are managing to have a conversation about the problem at hand and he’s just listening to what she says, thinking about it and responding to it, without trying to hit on her. Maybe that’s just because he’s possessed at the moment. More charitably, maybe it’s because last week’s events made him step back a bit from seeing her as a hot chick and think a little more about her life/lives.
  • Look at them thinking it could be Kajada when it was only Julian whose neck got grabbed. Neck-grabbing is nine tenths of the law.
  • ‘What kind of fool are you?’ ‘My own special variety.’
  • I think Kajada and Odo would make quite good friends under other circumstances. She makes similar pissed-off noises.
  • This is a lovely moody travelling shot of the darkened bar. Quark really gets pitched like more of an underworld figure than an unscrupulous and sometimes slightly crap businessman in these early episodes.
  • ‘I resent the inference.’ ‘It’s not an inference, it’s a definite suspicion.’ No, actually, it’s an implication. All right, look, Odo is implying that Quark is a crook. The inference here is made by Quark (‘I infer that Odo thinks I’m a crook’) so he can’t logically say he resents it. It’s different, and to me, it matters.
  • My God it’s muggy this afternoon. I might have to have another swim.
  • Jadzia gets to play CSI now! She sings ‘Baba O’Riley’ in her head instead of ‘Who Are You?’ She is as clever as she is amiable.
  • Nana Visitor does some awkward emphatic pointing while delivering technobabble that she doesn’t seem quite comfortable with.
  • Quark is a profitmonger, and many other kinds of monger. I wish more professions or trades involved the suffix ‘monger.’ My grandfather Wally was an ironmonger for a while in Herne Bay, but he never really settled to it.
  • Quark is so bad at covering for a mistake. If that actually were Julian, he would immediately suspect something because Quark seems flustered way out of proportion with opening the wrong door. OH YOU LOVABLE SCAMP QUARK. And this is why he doesn’t work so well as an underworld figure.
  • And again, the old trick-the-computer-by-leaving-your-commbadge-somewhere dodge. How many times? This really does seem like something they should realise is a problem, but I suppose the writers see it as useful.
  • The waste reclamation system is considered non-essential? I would think that was absolutely BLOODY essential. On the other hand, perhaps nobody would have thought to check because it’s full of poo.
  • I like the sweaters on these people who just got shot! Wesley approves.
  • I note that Siddig El Fadil’s way of indicating that he is now an Evil Mastermind is to speak Very Slowly and Deliberately with an Artificial Inflection. Either it’s hammy, or it’s because the possessing intelligence has to work quite hard to make Julian’s body speak – no, sorry, I think it’s just hammy. I also like how they’re lighting him with an Evil Kirk bar of light across his eyes.
  • I enjoy it when Benjamin and Jadzia bounce ideas off each other – they make a good mental team.
  • Oh my GOD it’s hammy. His hair has gone all Eraserhead from clutching at it, which is brilliant. You know, I’m actually having a ham steak for dinner, and I will totally think of Julian.
  • Now comes the whole reason for watching this episode at all.
    This happens:
    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
    (I particularly enjoy Sisko’s dead eyes as he shoots Julian, and everyone else’s demeanour of mild interest – Odo’s like ‘get him’ (points with his chin).) And with just a little GIF magic, we get:
    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
    Julian Presley, ladies and gentlemen. Best viewed over the opening notes of ‘Jailhouse Rock.’
  • So Jadzia has invented a magic thing to beam the bad ghost out of Julian’s head and into a jar. Hurrah! He is all better. Light is green, trap is clean.
  • Julian gets the traditional ‘you couldn’t control it,’ ‘nobody blames you’ speech from the others. Wouldn’t it be weird if, at the end of an episode like this, someone was like ‘Surely you could have resisted a bit more’ or ‘I bet you could have got control back if you’d really tried’?
  • She stone cold shot that jar of bad ghost. Sisko looks disturbed. Jadzia looks like she approves! There’s a very strange exchange of looks between Jadzia, Julian and Sisko, like ‘So… that just happened’ and Sisko is a bit shocked and Julian is still feeling a bit hungover and not really ready to process anything. And that’s the end of the story!
  • Apart from the excellent Julian Presley dance, and the introduction of a conflict between Odo and Starfleet security that will be further developed when Eddington shows up, did you get much out of that episode? Because I really didn’t.

    Next time, anyway, ‘Hide and Q,’ so we’re gonna get weirdness like this:

    and this

    See you then!


    10 Responses to “DS9 Episode 1.9: The Passenger”

    1. Mark Stanley Says:

      >I've *heard* (don't quote me without corroboration) that Sid did a voice for Evil Possessed Bashir that the producers didn't like, so he had to loop all his Evil dialogue. However, the Additional Dialogue Recording had to match the mouth movements that had already been filmed, so it ended up sounding unnatural.Even more dodgy half-remembered inkling: I think originally he might have done an American accent, which would explain why the looped dialogue was so weirdly paced.

    2. Picardigan Says:

      >That's interesting! It was still very hammy when he clutched at his head 🙂

    3. servetolive Says:

      >I died laughing as I read this and am typing from the Afterlife. I am so favorite-ing (that is so not a word) your blog to read both your hysterical TNG/DS9 reviews. Also, hope you don't mind if I save your gifs for later? (Uh, I woke my child cracking up at Julian Presley.) If I post them somewhere, or course sauce will be given :3

    4. Picardigan Says:

      >I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it! I'm actually looking at moving it to WordPress because they seem to have better commenting – people have been telling me through LJ that they want to comment but can't work out how. You're very welcome to save the gifs but I don't make them – they almost all come from Random Tuesday, which is linked in the right-hand sidebar. He definitely deserves sauce!

    5. Curuchamion Says:

      “Odo wins the subsequent, I don’t know, aura battle, because they don’t even stare each other down” – Odo is cool enough to win a staring contest WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING. Hee! (Although I suspect, and Quark probably suspects too, that Odo can totally see with the back of his head if he wants. Changeling perceptions can’t depend on having humanoid-type eyes, after all. And what Odo can see, he can glare at…)

      I find it amusing that the “Kira started the Constable nickname” thing is actually (if accidentally) confirmed by Necessary Evil, where Kira addresses Odo as “constable” at their first meeting.

      “‘What kind of fool are you?’ – ‘My own special variety.'” – OH ODO YOU ARE AWESOME. Always.

      When Sid’s hair goes all fluffy from having an evil genius underneath, he totally looks like Keegan de Lancie (Q Jr from VOY’s “Q2”). Skinny little fluffy-haired dimple-faced idiot with giant eyes.

      JULIAN PRESLEY! That is awesomeness. (Q in Data makeup, OTOH, is the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. Wow.)

      • picardigan Says:

        – That’s a very good point! He could just poke his finger around a corner and glare at people with it.
        – I’m so looking forward to getting around to ‘Necessary Evil,’ or as I always think of it, ‘Terok Noir.’
        – I’m constitutionally opposed to Voyager but I sometimes think I might need to watch isolated episodes just for the sake of stuff like Q with a kid.
        – I think the Data makeup is actually, in itself, kind of creepy, and Brent Spiner only manages to pull it off because of his high natural levels of adorability. But we can only prove this by rounding up the whole TNG male cast and putting Data makeup on them to see how it looks.
        (In short: Creepy as hell, especially on Patrick Stewart.)

        • Curuchamion Says:

          * Hey, I’ve only seen the Q eps of Voyager (and that only for the sake of completeness – his first one, “Death Wish”, has IMO a single redeeming moment, when he facepalms in unison with himself. Epic), and have no real interest in going on. But the little scene at the end of “Q and the Grey” with baby!Q is SO ADORABLE I MELTED ALTOGETHER (plus JdL looks really good in American Civil War uniform, as does Janeway in a hoop skirt), and “Q2” is really quite watchable. Besides, young Keegan looks and sounds so much like his dad it’s freaky.

          * Terok Noir! ♥

          * Data makeup is definitely creepy. Possibly Frakes might look scarier in it than Stewart, though – at least Stewart already has small pale eyes and not-terribly-rosy coloring!

          (I always have to wonder what goes on with the Data hairdo. It’s the most unflattering thing I could imagine for Brent Spiner’s face, and then they went and put it on all the Cardassians! And Odo too, a blond version.)

          • picardigan Says:

            – I would also consider watching episodes where the Doctor gets to be badass, because I do like him and generally feel he deserved to be in a better show. At least he sorta got to be in DS9. How interesting that Julian was the linking character both for DS9 appearing in TNG, and for VOY appearing in DS9.
            – My theory about the Data hairdo is that it’s just really simple to style. You brush it straight back from the face, blast it with hairspray and you’re done. If you have to put a lot of android, Cardassian or shapeshifter makeup on an actor, you don’t want to have to spend a long time on his hair after that.

            But then sometimes Data’s hair gets messed up.

            And I go

    6. Sparklynn Says:

      Evil Julian is a bit of an inside joke between my boyfriend and I. Sometimes he just does that voice to crack me up sometimes and it never fails (our second favorite thing ever is that 300-years-older-Odo from Children of Time. We just call him Oldo.

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