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Star Trek DS9 - Season 4 - Episode 04

Star Trek DS9 - 4x04 - Hippocratic Oath

Originally Aired: 1995-10-16

Held prisoner by a group of rebel Jem'Hadar, Bashir and O'Brien clash over Bashir's desire to help their captors escape Dominion rule. [DVD]

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 5.05

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# Votes: 47 3 1 3 38 6 4 18 26 35 9

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Numerous major long term plot threads are serviced here.

- So Goran'Agar doesn't eat, doesn't drink, doesn't sleep, and doesn't take Ketracel White. Exactly what sustains him?

- This episode establishes that Ketracel White is the name of the drug the Jem'Hadar are genetically engineered to need.
- The clock Sisko was playing with at the end of this episode is the one he built in DS9: Dramatis Personae.

Remarkable Scenes
- Worf lamenting about Odo's inaction regarding Quark.
- O'Brien lamenting to Julian about Keiko's objections to O'Brien having setup a workshop in their bedroom.
- O'Brien: "Exactly! Exactly! See? You understand. Why can't she see that? Why can't she be more like--" O'Brien cuts himself off. He was going to say he wishes Keiko was more like Julian. ;)
- O'Brien: "I'm sorry I couldn't find us a better place to crash land. Should we try again?"
- Goran'Agar revealing that he and his people want to free themselves from the Katracel White.
- Worf and Odo arguing about how Odo performs his duties.
- Goran'Agar: "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. And they only want us to fight for them and to die for them."
- Worf's final faux pas with Odo, ruining his investigation.
- Goran'Agar saving O'Brien and Bashir.

My Review
This is another very good episode. The Klingons are attacking the Romulans now, and the Jem'Hadar want to be free of the Ketracel White. It seems while the Jem'Hadar have great respect for the Founders, they have little respect for the Vorta. My favorite detail about this episode is Bashir's devotion to helping the Jem'Hadar. The contention between O'Brien and Bashir nicely parallels the contention with Worf and Odo. In both cases, the latter contender was the correct one. If Bashir could have found a cure for the Katracel White, the Dominion could have easily been defeated by the Federation early on. I understand O'Brien's paranoia, but having seen the rest of DS9 it's kind of sad that Bashir's cure never panned out. Though at the same time, I completely understand O'Brien's desire to get Bashir off that planet ASAP. Bashir definitely wouldn't have found the cure in time to save all of Goran'Agar's men. O'Brien only wanted to save Bashir's life. The only regret I have is that we never see Goran'Agar again. He was a cool guy, and could have been a nice regular character added to DS9.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Bronn on 2013-07-10 at 6:23pm:
    I can understand that Worf's black and white morality makes it difficult for him to know what to do with Quark. But any time there's a plot based upon a misunderstanding because of a lack of communication, it's a hackneyed plot. Odo says that he's not in the habit of talking about his long term undercover work-that's fine, but since Worf is ALREADY snooping around in the investigation, it's probably better to limit the damage. He mentioned that Worf's surveillance was useful in keeping up appearances...but if that was the case, he could have just told Worf the plan and asked him to cooperate, and it would have worked out fine.

    There's also a whole contingent of Starfleet security on the station at this point that nobody seems to have remembered. That doesn't really bother me, it's the culmination of events surrounding Worf. It's stupid that Odo's investigation fails not because Worf won't leave it alone, but because Odo refused to tell Worf what he was doing despite having plenty of golden opportunities to do so. And somehow Worf comes out looking like the idiot here.

    The A-plot for this episode, however, is awesome. There's conflict between Bashir and O'Brien, the tension of a young idealistic officer and a veteran non-commissioned officer. It's a complicated issue, and O'Brien raises a few valid concerns: What if freeing the Jem'Hadar dependency turns them into renegades? What if the Founders decide this interference is an act of war by the Federation? It's really a huge decision for a Lieutenant to take full responsibility for, even if his motives are completely pure. If only they'd sacrificed the stupid B-plot, they could have focused even more on this part of the episode.
  • From peterwolf on 2013-11-23 at 5:26pm:
    Regarding the problems with "Goran'Agar doesn't eat, doesn't drink, ...": Goran'Agar explains to Bashir that he came back to the planet in order to cure his men like himself from the Ketracel White addiction. He thought the environment contained some healing factor. Roughly around minute 15 in the episode he clearly states "we breath the same air, eat the same food". Thus, the Jem Hadar do eat, although it is not mentioned whether Goran'Agar might have started eating after he stopped taking the drug. But then his body seems to produce always small amounts of the drug, as Bashir finds out. Also, it would be very unlikely to get all the energy the Jem'Hadar need from small doses of a drug.
  • From Martin on 2016-03-10 at 5:30am:
    I understand Odo could've told Wolf about his long term plan, that could've saved them all the trouble. Still, there is a chain of command and Odo's the chief of security in that station. Worf was out of line to interfere with the investigation without explicitly telling Odo. Lesson lerned, we hope.
    About the other part of this episode, being this episode about black and white moral standars, i honestly think O'brian's a stupid man. After all those years looking up to Picard and another few years learing to change his beliefs about cardassians and other ethics related issues, he shoud NOT have decided to see the matter in a black and white manner. Bashir could see beyond his own experiences with the Jem'Hadar and that the matter was a big plain grey. They were dealing with a group of people trying to break free from slavery, trying to be free. Isn't that a top priority for the federation? To help people in such meaningful manners? What about TNG "I, Hugh"? They understood that Hugh was becoming an individual with his own rights to be, and chose to help him instead of taking the oportunity to cripple the Borg right there, taking his life. O'brian was right there, wasn't he? Shouldn't he have learnt the lesson? Damn him! Damn him i say!
  • From Mike on 2016-10-31 at 5:49pm:
    Yes, this was definitely an episode that deserved a sequel of some sort where we find out something more about Goran'Agar's fate. The premise of the episode was too interesting to simply leave alone. Other episodes dealt with the Ketracel White addiction, but not in an interesting way like this one.

    Re: Martin, O'Brien makes it clear that the reason he opposes what Bashir is doing is because there's no way to predict what the Jem'Hadar will do once free of the White. Bashir is doing what we'd expect a Federation doctor to do, but O'Brien makes a good counter-point; they could indeed turn into a destructive, uncontrollable force that kills at will. Using the Hugh example, the next time we saw Hugh in TNG: Descent, he explained the confusion and chaos that resulted when those Borg were free of the collective.

    That's what makes all these episodes great, IMO. The Federation values of freeing sentient beings from things like the Borg collective or the Dominion are portrayed as the right path, but not an easy one and with plenty of opposing views and unforeseen consequences.

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