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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.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Bashir and O'Brien's episode-long debate over whether or not the Jem'Hadar should be cured of their dependence on ketracel-white; Bashir believes that they could have and deserve a chance to be free from the life of slavery they endure under the yoke of the Founders, while O'Brien fears the possible backfire that could come from ridding the Jem'Hadar of their one exploitable weakness (later episodes would show that even the Vorta and the Founders themselves don't take such an idea lightly). Bashir thinks O'Brien is being cynical and close-minded, while O'Brien thinks Bashir's idealism is dangerously naive. The episode never firmly sides with one point or the other.
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  • 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.
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  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: O'Brien feels Bashir is suffering from this, while Bashir says he's merely fulfilling his duty as a doctor.
  • 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. Then he investigates on his own time.
    • 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:
    • Goran'agar's insistence on sparing the life of an injured Jem'Hadar, when even the injured man himself thinks they should just kill him so the ketracel-white they have will last a bit longer. It's certainly a compassionate act, but he's definitely putting his dream of freedom ahead of pragmatism.
    • 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.
  • Jerkass Gods: The Founders, to the Jem'Hadar; Goran'agar draws an explicit comparison between the Founders and the gods of other races, then admits that the Founders don't care about the Jem'Hadar beyond having them fight and die on their behalf.
  • 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.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Worf's investigative instincts (serving for many years as Chief of Security of the Enterprise), cause him to step on the toes (repeatedly) with the station's current Chief of Security, Odo. While reprimanded by Sisko and being ordered to leave Odo alone, he persists and the two maintain an adversarial relationship for the rest of the show.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Sisko's line to Worf about how his new posting will be very different from the Enterprise:
    Let's just say that DS9 has... more shades of gray.
  • 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.
  • Mutant: Goran'agar's freedom from addiction to ketracel-white is because of a mutation that causes his body to manufacture the drug by itself.
  • 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. By episode's end, their friendship is still clearly strained, but Bashir's decision to simply hold off on their regular dart game shows that in the long run, they will recover.
  • 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.
  • The Reveal: It turns out it's the Vorta, not the Founders, who are responsible for the Jem'Hadar's addiction. The Founders have no need for such measures, as the Jem'Hadar revere them as gods.
  • Take That!: The episode can very easily come off as DS9 staking its claim as a more complex and nuanced show than TNG.
  • The Un-Reveal: While Goran'agar is living proof that it's possible, however unlikely, for a Jem'Hadar to be born without dependence on ketracel-white, Bashir never manages to get far enough in his research to find out whether or not the inherent addiction to the drug in their DNA can be cured.
  • 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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