Star Trek 362: Hippocratic Oath

362. Hippocratic Oath

FORMULA: The Passenger + The High Ground

WHY WE LIKE IT: A real ethical dilemma. Worf vs. Odo.

WHY WE DON'T: The way Worf awkwardly holds the Odo bag. (Yes, I'm nitpicking, it's all I got left.)

REVIEW: Cast members are at odds in this one, in one case procedural, in the other, ethical. Bashir and O'Brien hold our attention with a true moral dilemma about helping the Jem'Hadar achieve self-determination. It's a very Federation thing to want, and Bashir's on the side of the big picture. O'Brien's more concerned with saving their lives and doesn't think any cure for ketracel-white addiction is possible anyway. It's hard to choose sides, because both men score points with their arguments. Ultimately, they are true to themselves, just as the Jem'Hadar are. The dilemma loses something when it becomes more likely a cure cannot be found in time, but a healthy dose of O'Brien's guerrilla fighting never hurt anyone (so to speak). The two are now proper friends, with fun banter and camaraderie, as well as the ability to forgive each other.

Of course, the race is redeemed by Goran'Agar, an anomaly that shows the Jemmies as people who could grow out of their soldierly ways. But he is an anomaly. But for all his peacenik ideas, he's still a Jem'Hadar, and we get to learn a little more about them and their sense of honor. He puts everything on the line for his ideal. Anomaly or not, all Jem'Hadar's virtues can be seen in Goran'Agar. There's also the matter of naming ketracel-white for the first time, and explaining the Vorta's role in the Dominion hierarchy... and that the Jem'Hadar are necessarily liking it.

Over at the station, Worf's integration into the cast leads to conflict with Odo. This is a great way to introduce Worf to the station, and contrasts ably his and Odo's styles when it comes to security matters. The episode does a good job of showing Odo's strengths without necessarily saying he's better than Worf. He's better in a station environment, that's all. You also get a sense that Quark is always only one plea bargain away from jail, or else why would he be in on Odo's undercover operations. Odo has one commodity Quark wants - a blind eye.

LESSON: Unless a doctor puts his order on a tiny slip of paper and signs it illegibly, I'm not following it.

REWATCHABILITY - High: Not only does Hippocratic Oath deepen our understanding of the Jem'Hadar, but it tests Bashir and O'Brien's friendship and integrates Worf into the series.


collectededitions said...

Is this the one (SPOILER) where the Jem'Hadar tips the crew off that they'll be coming over the ridge the next day, and the crew reluctantly has to kill them to save themselves? Because I thought that was a great, wrenching episode.

People will argue, but I firmly believe DS9 was the best of the Star Trek series. There were so many places they could have gone wrong in not fleshing out the Cardassians or the Jem'Hadar, and I just felt they made the right decisions at every single turn. Every character had such great motivations.

Glad to see you going over these episodes.

De said...

Actually, the episode you're referring to is "The Ship", but yeah, that's a pretty brutal episode.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

No, actually, that episode was "Rocks and Shoals" - 'The Ship' is the one where Dax becomes an unlikeable snarker. :-)


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