Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 4 Episode 4

Hippocratic Oath

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Oct 16, 1995 on Syndicado
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Stardate: 49066.5 O'Brien and Bashir are captured by a group of renegade Jem'Hadar who want them to find a cure for the biological addiction to the enzyme 'Ketracel White' which they need for survival. This enzyme is regularly administered by the Dominion to keep the Jem'Hadar obedient. Without it, the Jem'Hadar enter a painful withdrawal process and die.moreless

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  • "I'm sorry I couldn't find a nicer place to crash-land. Should we try again?"

    This Bashir/O'Brien episode takes the two characters, generally known for their friendly sparring, and attempts to drive a serious wedge between them by bringing back the Jem'Hadar and giving the two officers opposite ideas of how to deal with them. Bashir thinks of the situation as a medical crisis, whereas O'Brien firmly believes they're in a POW story. This presents a problem for the writers, because to keep both characters appearing reasonable, the story has to shift back and forth between being a medical drama and an escape adventure. Without a strong central line, this A story is unable to build towards a satisfying climax, and ultimately the viewer is left wondering what the point is.

    The B story fares better. The writers celebrate the differences between TNG and DS9, by having Worf stick his nose in Odo's business. Michael Dorn (Worf) and Ren Auberjonois (Odo) are fabulous with each other, with Dorn all but saying, "I'm frickin' Worf, dude!" and Auberjonois all but responding, "That's nice, but it's my show!" The whole story plays off their characters well (taking advantage of Worf's arrogance and Odo's pigheadedness) and is well handled by Auberjonois, the episode's director.moreless
  • A tough situation puts O'Brien and Bashir's friendship into question.

    I think the close friendship between Chief O'Brien and Doctor Bashir was one of the nice features of DS9: two very different people, with different backgrounds and different goals, who despite frequent petty/light-hearted bickering become great buddies.

    This episode put some serious tension into that friendship. Bashir and O'Brien are stranded on a planet occupied by a rogue band of Jem'Hadar. The Jem'Hadar are kept in check by the Dominion via addiction to a special chemical, without which they suffer intense withdrawal and die. The leader of these rogues is somehow immune to this addiction, and orders Bashir to come up with a cure for his comrades.

    Bashir initially complies in order to save his and O'Brien's lives, but quickly becomes absorbed in the task. "Freeing" the Jem'Hadar becomes a goal in itself, especially once the Jem'Hadar leader shows signs of ethical behavior and independent thought. When O'Brien realizes this, he thinks the Doctor has gone mad; to him, the Jem'Hadar are merciless killing machines, and helping them is a foolish, dangerous idea.

    Bashir nevertheless persists. When O'Brien manages to escape captivity, Bashir refuses to leave without discovering a cure. O'Brien, despite direct orders from a superior officer, destroys Bashir's lab. At this point the Doctor has no choice and leaves with O'Brien.

    This episode ends on a dark note, with their runabout approaching DS9. They both wonder: how can a friendship survive an incident like this?

    I suppose it's worth mentioning the secondary theme of the episode: is background/upbringing completely deterministic, or can every individual be redeemed? What's our ethical responsibility when confronted with that choice? It's a pretty common theme in Star Trek ("I, Borg", from Next Generation is probably the most noteworthy, but there are a bunch of examples from DS9), and not given a particularly noteworthy exploration here.

    Colm Meaney is great in this episode, as usual.moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

Lt./Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax (Season 1-6)

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt. Commander Worf (Season 4-7)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Bashir: (acting to fool their guards) Good work, Chief. Keep this up, you may make a fine officer someday.
      O'Brien: (unenthusiastically) Oh, thank you, Lieutenant. Coming from you, that means a lot to me.
      Bashir: I know.

    • (O'Brien and Bashir crash land on the planet and are met by some Jem'Hadar soldiers.)
      Goran'Agar: Human. Gold uniform indicates specialty in Security or Engineering. Rank: chief petty officer. You are what Starfleet refers to as a "noncom."
      O'Brien: That's right.
      Goran'Agar: You must have a great deal of experience.
      O'Brien: I've been around.
      Goran'Agar: That makes you a priority target. We will kill you first.

    • Bashir: You had a choice. And you chose to disobey orders, override my judgment, and condemn those men to death.
      O'Brien: Yes, I did. Because I thought it was the only way to save your life.

    • Bashir: It smells like a garbage dump.
      O'Brien: I'm sorry I couldn't find a nicer place to crash-land. Should we try again?

    • O'Brien: Exactly, exactly. See, you understand. Now, why can't she see that? Why can't she be more like...
      Bashir: More like...?
      O'Brien: (hesitating) A man. More like a man.
      Bashir: So you wish Keiko was a man?
      O'Brien: I wish I was on this trip with someone else.

  • NOTES (6)