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Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 04 E 04 Hippocratic Oath

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Bashir and O'Brien are taken prisoner by Jem'Hadar soldiers. The soldiers' leader tells them that he has freed himself of his dependance on ketracel-white, the drug the Dominion uses to control the genetically-engineered Jem'Hadar. He wants Bashir to figure out how he was able to do it so he can extend that freedom to the rest of the Jem'Hadar. Bashir agrees, but O'Brien isn't so sure that's a good idea. Meanwhile, Worf tries to adjust to life on DS9, but runs into some friction with Odo.



  • A Father to His Men (combined with The Chains of Commanding): Goran’agar remains on the planet rather than leave with Bashir and O'Brien, as he is responsible for getting his men into this situation in the first place.
  • Anti-Villain: Goran’agar, the leader of the Jem'Hadar group. He kidnaps Bashir and O'Brien for an understandable reason, and in general is more noble and less bloodthirsty than the other Jem'Hadar we've seen so far. It's suggested that being free of ketracel-white changed his personality like this.
  • And Then What?: If you free the Jem'Hadar from their addiction, what happens then? They might become a rogue army rampaging across the Alpha Quadrant.
  • Burning the Ships: Having discovered he had lost his genetic addiction to Ketracel White, the Jem'Hadar commander takes his platoon to an empty planet because he thinks the plants there have cured him, and then destroys both his ship and most of their supply of Ketracel White to get them off the stuff too. But it turns out he is the only one who is affected, and the rest of the crew develops withdrawal symptoms.
  • Call-Back:
    • Sisko tells Worf that Starfleet officers often have trouble adjusting to the way things are done on DS9. George Primmin, for example.
    • Sisko is shown tinkering with the clock he built in "Dramatis Personae".
    • Bashir recounts the DS9 crew's failed attempt to control a Jem'Hadar youth, an image that fills Goran'agar with no small amusement.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: The Jem'Hadar suggest executing Bashir on the spot, and using O'Brien (as an experienced Starfleet non-com) in a tactical exercise. Fortunately their commander has urgent need of a medical specialist who can find out why they haven't shaken off their addiction yet.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: O'Brien feels Bashir is suffering from this, while Bashir says he's merely fulfilling his duty as a doctor.
  • Continuity Snarl: Goran’agar claims his men have eaten the same food as he has, yet is frustrated that they are still addicted to the white while he isn't. A future episode in the same season, To The Death, will establish that the Jem'Hadar do not eat anything at all, and that the white is all they need to sustain themselves.
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  • Did Not Think This Through: Goran’agar assumed there was some unique element of the planet that prevented him dying when his White ran out. He didn't realise there was something unique about him — an accidental mutation that meant his body could produce its own supply of White.
  • Exact Words
    • When Sisko tells Worf to stick to his own job and let Odo handle the investigation, Worf promises not to let this matter interfere with his own duties.
    • Goran'agar's second asks if they should kill the prisoners themselves, or let the others do so. His commander replies, "I will do the killing." Then kills him.
  • Honor Before Reason: Worf comes to Sisko and admits that he screwed up Odo's investigation, which wasn't mentioned in the report. Of course, Sisko already knows.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: O'Brien sabotages Bashir's work and kills several Jem'Hadar to save Bashir's life, and offers this as justification.
  • Mercy Kill: Goran’agar stays behind, intending to kill his men in battle, rather than have them die a slow and agonising death from ketracel-white withdrawal.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Goran’agar, who re-evaluates most of his beliefs over the course of the episode, and who wants his men freed from their ketracel-white addiction so that they can be the same as him. O'Brien brings up the possibility that he's lying, but Bashir believes that he's genuine, and he certainly expresses enough un-Jem'Hadar-like behaviours to turn his men against him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Worf. He notices a known felon coming aboard the station and having dealings with Quark. He reports this to Odo, who seems indifferent. So, Worf takes it upon himself to catch the convict in the middle of a transaction... only for Odo to reveal that he was carefully following him to try to infiltrate the larger criminal organization. Also an example of Poor Communication Kills.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Bashir and O'Brien come into heavy conflict - Bashir wants to help the Jem'Hadar because of his Inconvenient Hippocratic Oath, O'Brien just wants to abandon them because he sees them as an enemy. Eventually, Bashir has to pull rank on O'Brien to force him to help.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If Odo had simply told Worf what he was planning, Worf would never have screwed it up. However, this is fairly in-character for Odo.
  • Reaction Shot: Goran'agar when Bashir reveals that he's a doctor.
  • Take That!: The episode can very easily come off as DS9 staking its claim as a more complex and nuanced show than TNG.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Goran'agar openly questions how the Founders use the Jem'Hadar.
    "To us, they are almost a myth. But everyone in the Dominion, even the Vorta, serve the Founders. I have fought against races that believe in mythical beings who guide their destinies and await them after death. They call them gods. The Founders are like gods to the Jem'Hadar, but our gods never talk to us and they don't wait for us after death. They only want us to fight for them and to die for them."


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