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Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 04 E 24 The Quickening

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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.


  • 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. By the end of the episode when the first baby born free of the blight is presented to the populace, Bashir wants nothing to do with the celebration, and prefers to stand off to the side. Later, when Sisko is offering his congratulations, Bashir sharply retorts that he doesn't deserve any.
  • 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.
  • Dystopia: We don't get a name for the planet itself, but it's sure as hell this trope thanks to the blight.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Trevean's clinic euthanizes those who have quickened and ensures they are as comfortable as possible.
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  • Heroic BSoD: 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."
  • Kick the Dog: Simply because the people of this planet resisted the Dominion 200 years ago, the Jem'Hadar made an example of them, by infecting them with a "blight" that activates itself randomly in a person's life, creating red lesions when it becomes active, and killing them shortly after in particularly painful fashion. That'd be bad enough, but it turns out the electromagnetic fields from medical instruments (as Bashir learns the hard way) amplifies the virus, and causes it to mutate. These people must've really, really pissed off the Dominion.
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  • Layman's Terms: Dax translates Bashir's Technobabble for Ekoria.
  • Mandatory Line: Sisko doesn't appear until the final scene. Worf, O'Brien, Quark, and Odo only get a couple of lines in the teaser. note 
  • 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.
  • Medieval Stasis: Enforced by the blight. Electromagnetic radiation makes the disease rapidly progress, so their once advanced civilization had to regress to survive. Bashir discovers this when all his equipment makes the disease even worse and he has to go low-tech to continue his work.
  • Mercy Kill: Trevean's actual job. Bashir initially mistakes him for a doctor.
  • Mood Whiplash: The cold open is Kira, Odo, and Worf acting as though Quark sneaking an annoying advert into the ship's systems is a crime equivalent to high treason.note  This hilarious introduction soon segues into a story about... the protracted genocide of a planet across generations and Julian's largely futile efforts to put an end to it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Bashir's medical equipment only makes the disease worse.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-Universe—nobody knows when they'll quicken.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: Bashir fails to cure the people living with the blight, but he accidentally figures out how to immunize their unborn children.
  • 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, a particularly cynical example.
  • 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.
    Worf: I ordered a glass of prune juice from the replicator in the Defiant's Mess. THIS (raises a mug with Quark's advertisements printed all over it) is what it came in! (he turns it to the side, and it plays an audio version of his ad)

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