Bashir and Dax arrive on a Dominion ravaged world, and set to work trying to cure the fatal blight all the populace have been cursed with.
- Bittersweet Ending: Bashir fails to cure the people living with the blight, but he accidentally figures out how to immunize their unborn children.
- Break the Haughty: Bashir goes down to the planet expecting to have the blight fully cured in just a few days. Boy, is he wrong...
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Implied to be the fate of those who have falsely promised help to those dying of the blight.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The whole point of the blight.
- Death by Childbirth: Sort of. Ekoria's already dying of the blight, but giving birth finishes her off.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Bashir goes into one when his attempts to help only make things worse. He comes out of it when they finally yield some measure of success.
- Hope Spot: It looks like Bashir is making excellent progress finding a cure for the blight...and then things really go to hell.
- Implied Death Threat: Kira delivers one to Quark:"If all your little advertisements aren't purged from our systems by the time I get back from the Gamma Quadrant, I will come to Quark's, and believe me, I will have fun."
- Layman's Terms: Dax translates Bashir's Technobabble for Ekoria.
- Mandatory Line: Sisko doesn't appear until the final scene.
- Meaningful Name: Trevean is an anagram of "veteran" and Ekoria is a (loose) anagram of "rookie." The writer, Naren Shankar, said that kind of thing helps him with characterization.
- Mercy Kill: Trevean's actual job. Bashir initially mistakes him for a doctor.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Bashir's medical equipment only makes the disease worse.
- Reality Ensues: This episode is a Deconstruction of a common plot in Star Trek—a long-standing medical problem is cured by the miracle of Starfleet medicine. More likely, a disease that has gone uncured for so long won't be so easily resolved—and indeed, Bashir never finds the cure he hoped to find. He still has more success than anyone before, but the full benefits of his discovery won't be felt for another generation or so.
- Wasteland Elder: Trevean.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Dax gives a beautiful one to Bashir, telling him that it's pure arrogance to think that there isn't a cure for the Blight simply because he couldn't find it. Funnily enough, this is in the wake of Bashir chastising himself for arrogance of a different kind—thinking that he could find a cure so easily for a disease that had gone uncured for so long.
- "You!" Exclamation: Worf, when he confronts Quark over a mug of prune juice that is basically an advertisement for Quark's bar.