This is another one of the early, experimental episodes featuring aliens we never see again, and the story is unrelated to the overall mythology or anything else in the series.
In summary: A ship arrives in distress, carrying a dying man – a prisoner who has committed atrocities in the name of science to find a way to prolong his own life. Somehow, although his body is confirmed dead, it seems he has found a way to transfer his consciousness into another body.
To cut a long story short, it is eventually revealed that Vantika’s consciousness has been transferred to Dr Bashir and he proceeds to commandeer a ship and cause all sorts of trouble. I am rather fond of Siddig El Fadil but this sequence was a bit of really bad acting which made the episode unbelievable, which is a bit of a shame. I think he improves over the course of the series.
[I thought it would be really easy to find a clip of Bashir acting badly, but I couldn’t find one and I don’t know how to do it myself… so in lieu of what I really wanted, here’s Bashir’s personnel file:]
Compare this though with Jennifer Lien’s command performance in Star Trek Voyager in the episode Warlord where she is taken over by the consciousness of Tieran, a notorious murderous, villanous tyrant who has survived many lifetimes by body-jumping (it’s a very similar story in fact).
Again, I thought it would be easy to find the clip that I wanted, but this is the next best thing, with a nice tune as well 🙂
She was such an amazing actress, it is so, so sad that she has lost her way, getting into trouble and getting arrested firstly for domestic violence a few years ago (apparently the father has custody of the child) and then this year for ramming a police car and then later for indecent exposure in September – all signs seem to point towards mental illness of some kind, and I really hope she gets help and recovers, but I don’t know how likely that is in the US system.
So, real life application? Just that people are not always what or who they seem to be, and even sometimes people you think you know and can trust turn out to be different that we thought. how well can a man ever really know another man? (Or woman, obviously.)
Perhaps I’m cynical because I have experienced betrayal, lies and deceit more than once from people I least expected to behave that way. ‘Trust no-one’ seems a good motto until you realise that it’s no way to live. Relationships, friendships, are really what make life worth living, and if you never allow yourself to be vulnerable, you miss out on life itself. So don’t hide yourself away, folks. Go and get out there again, make new friends.