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Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S05E16 "Dr. Bashir, I Presume"

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You got kids? 'Cause if so, this one's gonna hurt. note 
As Rom struggles to work up the courage to ask Leeta out on a date, Deep Space Nine receives a surprising visitor: Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, a foremost Federation authority in holographic programming and developer of the Emergency Medical Hologram, which bears his likeness. He has come to visit Julian Bashir with the hopes of making a new "Long-Term Medical Hologram" (LMH) program based on the doctor. To iron out any bugs and make the hologram as lifelike and human-like as possible, Zimmerman gives Bashir and his various associates extensive questionnaires.

When Zimmerman brings up asking for information from Bashir's parents, however, he clams up and asks Zimmerman not to include them in the interviews. This only serves to pique Zimmerman's curiosity, and he makes a point to contact them. He begins his interviews and starts fashioning the prototype of the holographic Bashir. Along the way, he falls for Leeta and takes her out on a date. Rom is jealous but cannot bring himself to express his feelings for her.

Bashir is surprised when his parents arrive at the station, having been summoned by Zimmerman for an interview against Bashir's express wishes. Richard and Amsha seem like model and loving parents. Richard affably brags about his new calling as a landscape designer and takes credit for talking Julian into his career in medicine. Julian is inexplicably furious at their presence.

As Zimmerman tries to convince Leeta to return to Jupiter Station with him with the offer of her own cafe, the Bashirs sit down to a very tense dinner, with Julian making passive-aggressive jabs at his father. He requests that his parents not go into deep detail about his childhood, making Richard upset about not being trusted with the secret that could spell the end of Julian's career and prison time for Richard and Amsha. In the end, however, Richard lets slip his secret unwittingly to the prototype LMH while Zimmerman and O'Brien watch: Julian Bashir was subjected to genetic enhancement as a child.

O'Brien rushes to meet the real Bashir and confess to what happened. Zimmerman will undoubtedly tell Sisko what he's learned, exposing Bashir's true nature to Starfleet. Since the Federation has banned genetically enhanced individuals from serving in Starfleet and practicing medicine, Bashir stands to lose both his commission and his medical license. He explains that, as a child, he was physically awkward and intellectually stunted. Just before he turned seven, his parents took him to undergo accelerated critical neural pathway formation. As a result, his mental and physical performance grew exponentially. When he was fifteen, he learned what had been done to him and stopped using his birth name of Jules, figuring that his original self no longer existed. He hasn't visited home in three years and still harbors the feeling of being a fraud. O'Brien tries to assure Julian that his genetic enhancement didn't make him who he is as a person, but Federation law is clear. Julian feels that he is left with no choice but to resign before Zimmerman can file his report.

Julian confronts his father, and tempers flare. He calls out Richard for thinking more about his own legacy than caring for him as a person, forcing him to undergo gene therapy because he was disappointed in him as a disabled child. Julian says his father is more of an architect than a parent: "the man who designed a better son to replace the defective one he was given." However, Amsha urges Julian to understand that they felt guilty for his struggles, wondering whether his problems resulted from something that went wrong during her pregnancy or how they raised him. All they wanted was to give him a better life. Though his anger cools somewhat, Julian remains set in his course to resign and leave the station quietly.

When Julian goes to Sisko's office, Sisko introduces him to Rear Admiral Bennett, a judge advocate general. Julian's parents had already explained the situation to Sisko, who contacted Bennett to make an arrangement that would allow Julian to keep his commission and his license to practice medicine. Richard will go to prison for two years after pleading guilty to illegal genetic manipulation. Richard has decided to take responsibility for the crime that he committed. When Julian pleads for leniency, Bennett reminds them that genetic enhancement led to the Eugenics Wars two hundred years ago. Due to the possibility of creating dangerous war criminals like Khan Singh, the Federation outlawed the procedure and has stood firm on the point. With Richard accepting the deal, Julian says goodbye to his parents before they leave, thanking Richard and promising to visit.

Meanwhile, Leeta has been convinced to leave with Zimmerman and pursue an opportunity on Jupiter Station while shacking up with him. Rom catches up with them just before they leave and finally admits to loving Leeta, who has been waiting all episode for him to say so. The new couple start making out right in front of Zimmerman, who takes it in stride and quickly sets his sights on another cute alien aboard his runabout.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Accents Aren't Hereditary: Each of the three Bashirs has a different accent. Richard is Cockney, Amsha is Egyptian and Julian of course has the upper-class British accent we know and love.
  • Accidental Public Confession: Julian Bashir's parents speak about his augmentations, not realizing they're actually speaking to the hologram based on Bashir, and that Dr. Zimmerman is in the other room listening. Up until that point, no one on the station knew or suspected anything about Julian's Bio-Augmentation except the Bashirs.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Richard and Amsha Bashir. Of course, his resentment goes beyond their typical stories about him. For instance, Richard has a tendency to exaggerate his many jobs; he describes his time as a third class shuttle steward as "running shuttles." Not to mention the little secret...
  • Artistic License – Military: In-Universe. The admiral who rules in Bashir's case is said to be a rear admiral, but he clearly has the insignia of a full admiral.
  • As You Know:
    • Rom is reminded of the circumstances behind his marriage, divorce, and conception of his son by Quark.
    • Richard explicitly describes Julian's Dark Secret in the process of assuring him that he'll never reveal that very same Dark Secret.
  • Aside Glance: After Zimmerman makes a note to contact Bashir's parents, he looks directly into the camera.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Bashir's Dark Secret.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Bashir stays in Starfleet, but his father goes to prison. And Rom and Leeta get together.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Bashir does this to his father for turning him into a genetic design project.
    Bashir: You mean you're going to lose everything. You're going to lose your only real accomplishment in this life. Me. You said before, I'm your legacy, your proud gift to the world. Well, father, your gift is about to be revealed as a fraud, just like you.
    Richard: I'm still your father, Jules, and I will not have you talk to me like that.
    Bashir: No, you used to be my father. Now, you're my architect. The man who designed a better son to replace the defective one he was given. Well, your design has a built-in flaw. It's illegal.
    Richard: You're so smart. You know so much that you can stand there and judge us. But you're still not smart enough to see that we saved you from a lifetime of remedial education and underachievement!
    Bashir: You don't know that. You didn't give me a chance.
    Richard: You were falling behind.
    Bashir: I was six years old. You decided I was a failure in the first grade.
    Richard: You don't understand, Jules. You never did.
    Bashir: No, you don't understand. I stopped calling myself "Jules" when I was fifteen and I'd found out what you'd done to me. I'm Julian.
    Richard: What difference does that make?
    Bashir: IT MAKES EVERY DIFFERENCE, BECAUSE I'M DIFFERENT! CAN'T YOU SEE THAT? Jules Bashir died in that hospital because you couldn't live with the shame of having a son who didn't measure up!
  • Calling the Young Man Out: After accusing his father of having him altered out of shame for his apparent mental deficiency, Julian gets scolded by his mother for never understanding their real motivation: They felt guilty that they had somehow failed him as parents. The revelation instantly defuses the argument.
  • Cannot Spit It Out:
    • Rom, for Leeta. She's practically begging him to admit his feelings for her, but he balks every time. Finally, when she's about to leave the station for good, he manages to express his feelings.
    • Bashir's parents never actually explained why they had him genetically enhanced, causing him to assume they were ashamed and embarrassed of him. In truth, they did because they were ashamed of themselves, in the belief they had done something wrong that caused Bashir's deficiencies as a child.
  • Catchphrase: The EMH's usual greeting is given to holo-Bashir, which he does not find amusing.
    LMH: Please state the nature of the medical emergency.
    EMH: Oh, that's original.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Continuity Overlap: With Star Trek: Voyager as, just as was the case with First Contact, the activation and distribution of the Emergency Medical Hologram initiative finally encroaches upon DS9's corner of the 24th Century.
  • Crossover: With Star Trek: Voyager—sort of. Robert Picardo guest stars, not as The Doctor himself, but as Dr. Lewis Zimmerman (the Doctor's designer and therefore model) and as another instance of the Doctor's EMH program.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Quark describes Rom's failed marriage, and how his ex swindled Rom for everything he had before leaving him with Nog, finishing with a deadpan "hooray for romance".
    • After Bashir learns he's being considered as the model for a new medical hologram, O'Brien quips, "Just think. If this pans out, you'll be able to annoy hundreds of people you've never even met!"
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Julian has not called himself 'Jules' since he was 15 years old, and he hates being called that.
  • Education Mama: In this case, the Papa is the one who's more pushy of Julian's education and career choices.
  • Flawed Prototype: Zimmerman's early attempts at configuring a Bashir-based LMH have some odd quirks, such as repeatedly walking into walls.
  • Heroic BSoD: Bashir after his augmentation is outed. He's ready to turn in his papers now that the penny has finally dropped. When his parents start brainstorming ways to fight it, it's also a good opportunity for him to let loose all the things he hasn't said to them until now.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Bashir's father accepts a prison sentence to save his son's career.
  • I Am a Monster: Bashir calls himself this after admitting his genetic alterations.
  • I Let You Win: O'Brien realizes this at the end of the episode, when he recalls that Bashir mentioned his hand-eye coordination was enhanced. Bashir was letting him win at darts for two years! When Bashir flawlessly throws three bullseyes, O'Brien's solution to this is to make Bashir throw from twice the normal distance.
    O'Brien: And if that doesn't work, we'll try a blindfold!
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Bashir's parents really should known better than to have openly mentioned the little secret outside of their quarters, even if they believed the LMH was their son.
    • Why doesn't Leeta just make the Love Confession? One would think that the socially advanced culture of the Federation wouldn't slavishly insist on men being the pursuers, and from all of the headstrong Bajoran women we've seen, it's unlikely that they hold to such ideals either.
  • Interrogation Montage: We get one when Dr. Zimmerman is interviewing all of Julian's friends and workmates.
  • It's All About Me: Julian accuses his parents of this when they protest his plan to resign. Richard's reaction certainly seems to fit the bill, as he talks about not letting Julian ruin things for him, leading to a massive argument. Ultimately they're able to express that they had him modified because they felt guilty, not ashamed.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Zimmerman accepts Leeta's decision to stay with Rom.
  • Legacy Seeker: Richard sees his work in landscape architecture as something that will endure after his death - though he believes that Julian is his real legacy. Beyond this, Richard is a bit of an underachiever who inflates his own importance while never really committing to anything and living vicariously though Julian's achievements. In turn, he never takes responsibility for the fact that he ended up ruining his son's life by having Julian undergo highly-illegal genetic augmentation to correct a learning disability. However, the episode concludes with Richard finally taking responsibility for his actions by handing himself over to the authorities in order to save Julian's career, surrendering his "legacy" and opting to build something of his own in the prison gardens.
  • Mandatory Line: Worf, Dax, Kira and Jake all have little to no presence in the episode outside of their one line in the Interrogation Montage.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Dr. Zimmerman calls on Leeta as she is getting out of the shower. He tells her she's been offered a job as the manager of a cafe on another station. She's so happy that when she comes out to talk to him, she forgets her Modesty Towel.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: Played With. They point out exactly WHY it's a thing in Star Trek. Ultimately, Bashir is not punished simply for being a transhuman. His father takes responsibility for making him one, and will have to do a prison term.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: It's revealed that Bashir has been doing this for all of his adult life, to try to hide his status as an augment. That he still comes across as a bratty know-it-all at times should tell you just how far his augs took him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bashir's reaction when his parents show up.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: The LMH quickly shows his low opinion of both his predecessor and his template.
  • Properly Paranoid: When Bashir warns his parents to be very careful about what they tell others, his father is offended that Bashir would worry about them spilling the beans. That's exactly what they end up doing.
  • Race for Your Love: Just when Dr. Zimmerman and Leeta are about to board the shuttle to leave DS9, Rom catches up to them and confesses his love to Leeta.
    Rom: Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetaaa! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiit!
  • Shout-Out: The episode title is a reference to the famous quote, "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?" reportedly spoken by Henry Morton Stanley to David Livingstone in Africa upon discovering the lost missionary. By miraculous coincidence, the episode was directed by David Livingston (no e).
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Richard Bashir and his habit of overinflating his past jobs. During an argument, Julian points out that Richard has never risen past the midpoint in any job he's ever had and that his habit of jumping from career to career has resulted in no real, lasting accomplishments except for his genetically-engineered son. (Richard's current job as a landscape architect for parks does seem to be what he really does, though.)
  • Tempting Fate: Dr. Zimmerman says that the EMH's will be operating for years to come. They are, just not (with one exception) at the task he created them for. Though he was correct in a more general sense, Zimmerman subsequently created newer generations of EMH's that did not look or act like him, those were never taken out of service.
  • That Man Is Dead: When Bashir learned what had been done to him, he quit using his birth name of Jules and started going by Julian instead, having decided that his unmodified self no longer existed.
  • Title Drop: Dr. Zimmerman does this upon meeting Bashir.
  • Toplessness from the Back: When Leeta forgets her towel.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: When asked for his confidential assessment of Bashir, O'Brien is actually full of praise, but only after he's assured that Bashir will never find out he said so.
  • The Voiceless: Morn, as usual. During his interview, his response to Zimmerman's question is a shrug.
    Zimmerman: You're not being very helpful.
  • Willfully Weak: Bashir has been letting O'Brien win at darts for years. When he starts playing seriously after his augmentations come to light, he absolutely dominates O'Brien.
  • Wham Episode: A somewhat lower-key kind of one compared to some others, but it's still one. It fundamentally realigns Bashir's entire character, throws the past several seasons-worth of his story into a completely new light, and affects almost every appearance Bashir makes afterward.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Julian to O'Brien, after he and Doctor Zimmerman accidentally cause Julian's parents to reveal his secret.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Admiral Bennett mentions that the Eugenics Wars took place 'two hundred years before', which would be in the 22nd century when previous Star Trek canon definitively placed them occurring at the end of the 20th. Ronald Moore explained that it was an error on his part. (Star Trek: Strange New Worlds eventually addressed this by establishing the Eugenics Wars as a frequent target of black-ops time travelers and their opponents, with the result that they have shifted place in history multiple times.)