Julian Bashir’s arrogance and naïveté are on display again in the opening scenes of this episode. Poor guy; you can’t help but laugh. I love how Kira is on the verge of losing it when more important things suddenly require her attention.

I have to give the writers a little bit of credit for coming up with an interesting premise. I like the idea of a character that is so driven and determined in his goals that he finds a way to cheat death to carry them out. What I don’t care for is that this turns into YET ANOTHER Star Trek episode featuring some twist on alien abduction/possession/mind control. The Original Series and The Next Generation have more than their fair shares of these kinds of episodes. Fortunately, we don’t have to sit through very many of them when watching Deep Space Nine, notwithstanding the current topic of discussion.

One thought-provoking item in this episode is the character of Ty Kajada. She has been pursuing the criminal Rao Vantika for 20 years. It reminds me of a movie I saw once called Citizen X about one of the most prolific serial killers in modern history and the Russian police officer who worked the case for over seven years before catching him (great movie by the way, starring Donald Sutherland and Stephen Rea). One thing that really stuck with me after watching that movie is a scene where some American FBI agents are discussing the case with Viktor Burakov, the Russian officer who tracked down the killer. The Americans tell Burakov that they rotate cases so that no agent has to follow a particular case for very long; this is done in an effort to try to maintain the mental health of their agents.

With this kind of background, I wish they had made the story more about Ty Kajada and her own obsessions. Imagine how interesting the ending would have been if, instead of being right all along about Vantika being “alive”, she had to face the fact that he is actually dead and is not still pulling any strings. What a comedown to have to adjust to! But I guess that kind of deep character development is best reserved for our main cast, not a supporting character.

I’m not really sure what the point is of Lt. Primmin, the Starfleet security officer. He’s only in this episode and the next one, and then he disappears without another mention! I’m not saying this character is useless; in this episode, his presence results in some important character development with Sisko and Odo, and he plays a role in the next episode too. I guess the writers just needed someone to perform those functions, and one of the DS9 regulars wouldn’t work. Maybe he’s there just to provide one more suspect as we try to figure out who is possessed by the neural patterns of Vantika. It’s really funny to see him in these episodes, as he is so forgettable that I always forget he’s in them!

Jadzia Dax performs some "technology magic" with a transporter to purge the neural patterns of the criminal Vantika from Dr. Bashir's brain!

Unfortunately, the technobabble gets a little thick by the end. After apprehending the possessed Dr. Bashir and taking him to sick bay, Dax says, “I’ve programmed this transporter to isolate the bla bla cells and to beam them from Julian into this micro-containment field.” I hate it when they do this. If transporters can do this, then why didn’t it do it when they transported Bashir back to DS9 in the first place? Why does anyone ever bring any kind of disease back through a transporter? You would think it could just filter all that kind of stuff out. And it just looks like a regular-sized containment field to me; shouldn’t “micro” be too small to see?

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