Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Hippocratic Oath   Rewatch 
January 13, 2016 1:44 PM - Season 4, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Bashir tries to help members of a Jem'Hadar unit free themselves of their addiction to the drug the Founders use to control them. Meanwhile, Worf tries to adjust to life aboard DS9.

Synopsis, quotes and trivia from Memory Alpha page on "Hippocratic Oath."

Quotes :

"Good work, Chief. Keep this up, you may make a fine officer some day."

"Oh, thank you Lieutenant. Coming from you, that means a lot to me."
- Bashir and O'Brien

"A lovely place. Smells like a garbage dump!"

"I'm sorry I couldn't find a nicer place to crash land. Well, should we try again?"
- Bashir and Miles O'Brien, on Bopak III just after crash landing

"When I served aboard the Enterprise, I always knew who were my allies and who were my enemies."

"Let's just say DS9 has more shades of gray. And Quark definitely is a shade of gray. He has his own set of rules, and he follows them diligently. Once you understand them, you understand Quark. I'd say that's true of everyone here. You'll fit in, commander. Give it time."
- Worf and Sisko

Trivia :

* In the episode "To the Death", it is established that the Jem'Hadar don't eat, sleep or have sex, but in both this episode and "The Abandoned", there are references to Jem'Hadar consuming food. In the earlier episode, the Jem'Hadar child aboard Deep Space 9 says that he is hungry and demands to be fed. In this episode, Goran'Agar claims that his men have "eaten the same food as me". Ira Steven Behr, with tongue firmly in cheek, explains this slip by saying that Goran'Agar was being "metaphorically stupid, as Jem'Hadar so often are!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)

* The role of Goran'Agar is played by Scott MacDonald, who had previously appeared in the first season episode "Captive Pursuit" as Tosk, which helped when auditions were held for the role of Goran'Agar. MacDonald commented "René actually requested me for the role which was flattering". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 3)

* This episode marked the first reference of a runabout belonging to the Danube-class of starships.

* Since "Shadowplay", O'Brien's rank has been referred to as simply chief petty officer, as identified by Goran'agar, rather than the prior senior chief petty officer.

* Bashir briefly mentions the events of the episode "The Abandoned" to Goran'Agar.

* When O'Brian tells Goran'Agar that he has been a soldier on being asked, this is in reference to O'Brian's service during the Federation-Cardassian War, and the Setlik III massacre, mentioned in "The Wounded".

* The aftermath of Bashir and O'Brien's disagreement in "Hippocratic Oath" is followed up in the Prophecy and Change short story "Broken Oaths".
posted by Slothrop (18 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I tend to think that the Jem'Hadar do eat; it simply doesn't make sense that you could have a baby Jem'Hadar grow to adulthood in a matter of days with nothing to sustain him but the white, and that sentient creatures that are awake and active 24/7 could be sustained solely by a drug mixture in a vial the size of a lipstick. The whole "we don't eat" thing would make sense in the context of the Jem'Hadar's whole ultra-moto, victory-is-life thing.

In general, I find this episode mostly of interest in that it sets up the idea (further explored in "To the Death") that the Jem'Hadar's genetically-engineered loyalty to the Founders really isn't that strong; it's one of the early cracks in the seemingly impervious facade of the Dominion. I wonder why neither Julian nor Miles thought of the idea that a successful cure for ketracel white addiction, far from being something that could get Bashir brought up on charges, could be used as a threat against the Dominion to get them to back off. I also liked the B plot of Worf simply not getting the whole DS9 groove at first.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:05 PM on January 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Worf plot seemed very meta, like a gentle criticism of TNG and a notice to TNG fans who were coming aboard DS9 to follow Worf. This show is a lot more complex and dark than TNG, and here the good guys aren't all good and the bad guys aren't all bad.

Worf was always conflicted and kind of messed up, and they ran with that on DS9 and he ended up fitting in well. I think he was one of the few characters on TNG who could have made the transition to the new show, but it's fun to imagine how the other characters would have done. Picard never would have fit in at all. Neither would Crusher. They were both heroic yet brittle, and I don't think they'd ever feel at home with all the moral ambiguities and snark and casualness on DS9. Maybe Riker could have fit in eventually, he had a dark side, but he was also kind of a pulp-y, swaggering man of action and he might have looked a little old-fashioned and silly in the DS9 world. Tom Riker fit because he was an angry mess, but Will Riker was a little too Brawny McHairychest. I can see Deanna Troi making the switch, strangely enough, but I think DS9 would have been hard on her. She could probably counsel Garak and sense the feelings of Changelings and go as dark as she had to, but she'd end the series a very different and much sadder woman than she'd been on the Enterprise. Geordi probably wouldn't last 20 minutes on DS9 before he got knifed, he's a real boy scout who belongs in engineering spouting technobabble and figuring out how to make the warp core not explode. (Let's not even speculate about Wesley. Poor Wes has been kicked around enough online.)

Data would have been really interesting. He was so fascinated and perplexed by the relatively simple human morality of TNG. Imagine his conversations with Quark, or Garak!

I suppose I could look this up on Memory Alpha, but maybe the deal was that the Jem'Hadar need lots of food while they're growing, and then they don't need to eat after that.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:49 AM on January 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

Data would have been really interesting. He was so fascinated and perplexed by the relatively simple human morality of TNG. Imagine his conversations with Quark, or Garak!

Or friggin' ODO.

DATA (doing the voice): Constable, I have found that when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however imp--
ODO: Is...this really how you conduct investigations?
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:49 AM on January 14, 2016 [15 favorites]

Or friggin' ODO.

Damn, you're right, that'd be awesome. I'm sure somebody must have written a Trek novel where Data hangs out on DS9, and while I've never gotten into the Trek novels I might make time for that one! You could put him in a room with pretty much any character on DS9 and you'd get something fun.

When I contrast TNG and DS9 in these threads DS9 almost always wins, but it never feels like a fair competition really. In some ways, DS9 was as different from TNG as TNG was from TOS. They're all great, but they're great in such different ways. My assessments of the TNG characters sound dismissive, but they're not meant to be. Those characters were great, for the kinds of stories they told.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:16 AM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think he was one of the few characters on TNG who could have made the transition to the new show, but it's fun to imagine how the other characters would have done.

While the obvious choice here is Ro Laren, I'm going to throw in my wildcard choice of Mot the Barber to transition from TNG to DS9.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:26 AM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

I generally agree with UH's summaries of how the TNG crew generally would fare on DS9. I assume that contact with frontline troops or people who had been in battles would wear on any empath; Ezri had a rough enough time without psychic empathy (although she had problems of her own to deal with). Some other thoughts:

- I think that Geordi's main problem would be that he'd answer to Miles, a former subordinate and a non-com. After all, future-Geordi is shown commanding a ship (in Voyager's "Timeless"), and he's also got a bit of that social awkwardness, not exactly Engineer's Disease but not far off from it. One of the ironies of "Hollow Pursuits", the first Barclay episode, is that La Forge is for kicking Barclay off the ship, when he's got his own history of questionable holodeck use. (Ironically, I think that Barclay would be fine working under O'Brien, and he'd probably have a great time geeking out about tech with Rom. The Pathfinder Project that Barclay was part of in VOY started near the end of the Dominion War, and it would have been neat to have had it headquartered on DS9, but the episode itself took place after the end of DS9 the series, and they'd probably already struck the sets.)

- I agree that DS9 is just not a place where Wesley should be, but that might have been grist for an episode where Wesley comes to the station to do research on the wormhole or something and the Dominion wants to kidnap him and O'Brien and Nog have to keep him safe while he keeps bouncing around the station because he's rewiring the whole place to be a gigantic scientific instrument. I've generally thought that Wesley should never have been in Starfleet or allowed to drive the starship; he would have been much better as this slightly goofy kid who tended to get underfoot and who was only gradually revealed as one of the smartest people in the galaxy. (I also think that Data shouldn't have been in uniform until after "The Measure of a Man", because I refuse to believe that Starfleet would have ever considered declaring a decorated officer an unperson because some engineer thought that it would be keen to vivisect him.)

- And someone else that could have been brought aboard the station from the E-D: Tasha Yar. Because I never liked that she got killed off by a sentient tar puddle with a grudge, and she could have fulfilled the same role as Eddington.

- Finally, I liked Lwaxana Troi much more on DS9 than TNG.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:29 AM on January 14, 2016

that the Jem'Hadar's genetically-engineered loyalty to the Founders really isn't that strong

They revere the Founders, and have contempt for the Vorta. This seems like a flaw.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:36 AM on January 14, 2016

cjelli, if you haven't seen TNG's "The Wounded", you should see "The Wounded." I think of it as the unofficial first episode of DS9.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:19 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

This is me indulging in some real geeky wheelspinning over here, but I'm stalling before I go to bed.

One of the ironies of "Hollow Pursuits", the first Barclay episode, is that La Forge is for kicking Barclay off the ship, when he's got his own history of questionable holodeck use.

I always thought Geordi was uncharacteristically harsh about Barclay in that one. Normally Geordi is like the nicest guy on the ship, he made friends with a BORG, but in Holo Pursuits he's calling Barclay Broccoli and itching to get rid of him! Maybe Barclay reminds Geordi a little too much of his own awkwardness. (That episode kind of puts the kibosh on any of my daydreams of living in Star Trek-land. It makes it clear that everybody in the Federation is so well-adjusted that just being shy and neurotic is absolutely confounding and frustrating to them. If anything, they initially seem less able to cope with Barclay's weirdness than folks in a 21st century setting might be!)

Barclay may indeed have had an easier time on DS9, but easier might not have been better. The Enterprise takes that "finest ship in the fleet" stuff seriously, and if you're kind of twitchy and unreliable, you stick out badly. On DS9 there's a much greater tolerance for eccentricity and maybe not being so great at your job. They're happy as long as they can keep the goddamned voles out of everything! But it's not unlikely Reg would have just kind of skulked around there, getting slowly weirder and more lonesome. We saw on Voyager that Barclay eventually became a relatively stable and rather successful guy, thanks largely to Troi and the other folks on the Enterprise luring him out of his shell. They thought he was weird, but they made the effort because they have compassion and they are problem fixers and Reg was a problem to fix.

On DS9, people aren't going to hold your hand like that. If you screw up enough you're probably off the station, but as long as your duties are basically getting done you can probably go lurk in the holodeck all night and nobody gives a damn. Hell, Quark can probably rent you fantasies way freakier than that 3 Musketeers stuff!

Oh, man. This is not my proudest hour. Go to bed already, Hitler.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:23 AM on January 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

I really enjoy the idea of Barclay on DS9 -- my first thought was "Dax would enjoy him a lot," and I don't think I've ever fan-speculated about Dax before, which has to be a sign that you've got something here.

I do agree that he'd be on trouble in the station's more introverted, permissive atmosphere, though, unless Jadzia was really aggressive about taking him under her wing, as she did with Kira. And even then, yeah, nobody on DS9 is going to approach people as problems to solve in the same way that people on TNG do. Jadzia might take you to a holosuite spa to loosen up, but it's mostly because she wants to spread the Gospel of Fun, not because she thinks it's going to help save you from yourself.

(I've never thought about similarities between Dax and Troi before, but they seem to have similar taste in people, even beyond both dating Worf. Like I think it's canon that Dax digs Riker's company.)
posted by thesmallmachine at 7:53 PM on January 15, 2016

I think Jadzia would feel like Reg was kind of sad and kind of funny and she might well try to befriend him, but she was gorgeous and mysterious and he'd screw it up bad somehow. I don't even wanna think.

Bashir was the kind of good-hearted, extroverted guy who would feel sorry for Reg and might keep inviting him to play space racquetball and all this other stuff Barclay wouldn't want to do. He'd probably keep trying to draw Reg out until Reg asked him to stop. (Bashir was always rushing in thinking he could fix everybody's messes, and that irritates some Trekkies but I love the guy.)

Barclay would fluster Kira terribly. She'd sense that snapping at him wasn't a good idea, he was too fragile for that and she wasn't a cruel person, but she'd get fed up with his performance issues and she'd probably demand that Sisko should get rid of him. (And Sisko might well give her a speech not unlike the one Picard gave Geordi: He's part of the team, so learn to deal with him.) I have a feeling Odo would sense Barclay's damage and loneliness, and Odo knows all too well what it's like to be the weirdo. I think Barclay might respond positively to Odo's quiet and unflappability, and Odo might indulge Barclay's cluelessness a little more than he'd indulge most humans. They could actually end up having a strange sort of friendship, but it would happen very slowly and a lot would go unsaid. (Or perhaps Barclay would be freaked out and feel like Odo was silently judging him all the time.) Ezri would make a real effort to help Reg but I have a feeling it wouldn't work out well. She was green and I don't know that she had the skills yet to cope with a hurricane of neuroses like Reg Barclay, and if she walked in on one of those "Goddess of empathy" scenarios I think she'd FREAK THE FUCK OUT.

Rom and Reg might end up being the best thing that ever happened to each other. And I can so picture a scene where somebody mentioned what a bore Morn was and Reg said something like, "Actually, I rather enjoy listening to him. It's nice when I can just be quiet and somebody else does all the talking."
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:52 AM on January 16, 2016

She'd sense that snapping at him wasn't a good idea, he was too fragile for that and she wasn't a cruel person, but she'd get fed up with his performance issues and she'd probably demand that Sisko should get rid of him.

That sounds like the perfect start to a romance between the two characters! Star Trek doesn't need any more heterosexual pairings, I realize, but still as fan fiction, adding Barclay as a romantic pairing for Kira strikes me as a great idea.

I do think Rom and Reg could be a good duo, too.

Lastly, I think (agree?) Deanna Troi would be the fourth best character to bring to DS9, behind Worf, Lwaxanna and Barclay... Her mother is one of the unsung characters of the franchise and she (Deanna) was perhaps the least developed major character on TNG. Her contrast with the surrounds of DS9 would create some interesting stories certainly.
posted by Slothrop at 5:06 AM on January 16, 2016

Usually when Bashir and O'Brien disagree, I'm on O'Brien's side. This episode is one of those rare cases where I'm in Bashir's corner 100%. Removing the dependence on Ketracel White would be a risky move, but the Dominion were a formidable and merciless enemy, and risky actions were needed (and eventually taken) to defeat them. And Bashir isn't in obnoxiously-overconfident mode--he knows he could die trying, and is willing to take that risk.

Also kudos to Scott MacDonald, whose performance does so much to make Goran'Agar sympathetic (and did the same earlier as Tosk in Captive Pursuit).
posted by creepygirl at 1:21 PM on January 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Episode 3, in which everybody's favourite everyman turns out to be a thoughtless jerk who can't see beyond the end of his nose, and Worf show how stupid he really is. I mean seriously, of all the fucking Klingons in the Galaxy, Star Fleet got Worf, when practically every Klingon we meet is smarter than him. Heck, his brother is about 10 times smarter than he is.

This is an annoying episode for those reasons, for me. I don't like Klingons, and Worf is one of the worst Klingons, so bringing him aboard annoyed me. And to see O'Brien acting like a jerk was way annoying, he is supposed to be smarter than that. In TNG he says to the Cardassian "I don't hate you, I hate what I became because of you." That sort of intelligence went out of the window in this episode. I appreciate they can't have Bashir find the cure, but still.
posted by marienbad at 11:50 AM on January 25, 2016

> That sort of intelligence went out of the window in this episode.

I think it's a lot easier to take the big picture view when you're not actively in a battlefield situation. I don't find it odd that he'd fall back on habits that kept him alive in the war.

This is, of course, one of the reasons why O'Brien really should have been demobilized a long time ago. He has too much trauma to remain in the military. This isn't the first time it's come out in a way that made him a liability to those around him.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:41 PM on March 1, 2023

I really liked this episode. It was so Trek, with the dilemmas and the relationships.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:05 PM on January 20

I know it was for plot reasons that he didn't, but I really think Odo would have been doing everyone a favor by being more explicit when he told Worf to butt out. Like: "In fact I have careful Sting operation going here. I normally wouldn't have told you even that much, but it is critical that you stop interfering!"

I thought the A plot here was excellent. The differences between Bashir and O'Brien were very true to their characters. My inclination was to side with Bashir, because it's Star Trek and space utopia prime directive blah blah. But I had to realize that O'Brien was also right: they couldn't know what would happen next after Bashir helped the Jem Hadar.

Really, it seemed to me that it was a super long shot that they would survive by following either strategy. I buy that O'Brien might get lucky with his transporter stunt, but it seems to me that the Jem Hadar should have liquidated him in no time after that.

I'm really frustrated by the conclusion. It seems to me it would be a more important cause for Goran'Agar to escape to DS9 and help free his entire species, rather than worry about whether a handful of soldiers get an honorable death. But I guess that's not how they think.
posted by polecat at 5:00 PM on January 24

I agree that Odo should have told Worf, but it's more in Odo's character not to. He's in charge! Worf isn't! Therefore Worf should do what he's told! Or Odo will glare at him!
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:11 AM on January 25

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