** (2 stars out of 5)
Obsessed with eternal life, dying Kobliad cuckoo-bird Rao Vantika evades his jailer Ty Kajada by imprinting his consciousness in Bashir, unknown to all.
Quark hits on Jadzia, while Starfleet Security Lt. George Primmin hits on Odo. Or butts heads with him, I forget which. The doors of Odo's office break conveniently, leaving them wide open while he and George discuss top-secret security. Also, it allows Kajada to flounce into frame for a dramatic pronouncement that Vantika is alive and wrecking havoc.
Hired by Quark, Vantika's mercenaries incude Sid Turtlepuss from Jim Henson's Dinosaurs. Vantika in Bashir's slooow taaalking bodyyy leads them in the theft of some delicious deuridium. (It's the Spreadable MacGuffin that's tasty on toast!) Vantika's languorous speech is contagious: soon he's got Turtlepuss stretching out every sentence too, filling up time, reducing what should be a desperate, high-tension escape attempt into a lazy Sunday afternoon of casually shooting each other.
Beaming the armed and murderous madman into their Command Center instead of a cell, Sisko phasers him unconscious. Then in one of the most ludicrous solutions I've EVER seen (and believe me when I say I've seen some stupid damn sci-fi), Dax BEAMS BASHIR'S ENTIRE HEAD off his body and pops out the tampered cells. How does this work exactly? And more importantly, how does this work without Bashir's gifted blood spurting out of his gifted neck hole?
"The Passenger" manages to deliver a limited amount of tension, more between the security officers fighting over jurisdiction than the hidden killer on the loose. First let me say that I LOVE Bashir (arrogance included) but his Vantiko persona is, bluntly, unconvincing. Talk-ing slow-ly isn't much of a character trait, and we're given nothing else about him. Wouldn't a guy so desperate to live not want to waste his life Care-full-y Pron-OUNCE-ing EV-ry (oddly placed dramatic pause) WO0ORD? Or is it meant to be a symptom of brain damage? I guess if I'm willing to accept it from Daleks... never mind. BEAMS HIS ENTIRE HEAD OFF!!?