Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“The Quickening”

3.5 stars.

Air date: 5/20/1996
Written by Naren Shankar
Directed by Rene Auberjonois

"Maybe it was arrogant to think that [you could find a cure in a week]... but it's even more arrogant to think there isn't a cure just because you couldn't find it." — Dax to Bashir

Review Text

Nutshell: Not the most audacious of premises, but the execution and realizations are absolutely stellar.

When Bashir, Dax, and Kira answer an old automated distress call in the Gamma Quadrant, they arrive at a destroyed planet to find a culture infected by an incurable disease designed by the Dominion two centuries ago as a terrible punishment. The disease is known only as "the blight," and every individual on the planet is born with the condition and is fated to ultimately die by it. The disease is a sort of time bomb; "the quickening," the very advanced and painful final stage of the blight, kills everyone sooner or later. Many die in their childhood, and since most do not live to have children of their own, the culture is looking upon the prospect of their ultimate extinction.

There's nothing particularly special about the way the story of "The Quickening" unfolds, other than its absorbing execution. The idea, after all, of Bashir getting so personally involved in the plight of his suffering patients is nothing we haven't seen before. But execution here is everything. Like with "Hippocratic Oath," Rene Auberjonois proves quite capable at directing DS9 and making a show have lasting impact on an emotional level. "The Quickening" is small, slow, quiet, and involving drama. It's a very simple medical-oriented show for Bashir that really works, unlike "Life Support" from last season, where he was constantly at the mercy of a manipulative plot.

The most important reason for "Quickening's" success is that it allows us to care about the characters and the victims of the blight. I can't put my finger on why exactly it all works so well—whether it's Auberjonois' direction or Naren Shankar's precise dialogue or a combination of both—but the show makes us very sympathetic for these people. Like the Federation, they were once very much in control of their own fate, but their resistance to the Dominion's autocratic hand led to a vicious attack and endless suffering ever since. Yet while keeping everyone someone we can sympathize with, the drama keeps its bounds and never goes the least bit overboard. There's no preaching or excessive melodrama here—just a very even-handed, fair approach to the material.

And such is the case with pretty much the entire story. The creators and actors all seem to know where they're going with the story, and never push harder than they should. Take, for example, the character of Doctor Trevean (Michael Sarrazin). He's a Kevorkian-type who wants to spare people the agony of their final days of life by assisting them in a dignified suicide once the quickening sets in. In the first act, the character initially seems blatantly obvious, right down to an understandable but exaggerated conflict between him and Bashir, who finds it incomprehensible that anyone would help end the life of someone who needs real medical treatment. But the creators play down the conflict angle and make Trevean a sincere and well-intentioned character whose points and actions are very bit as relevant as Bashir's considering that a cure for the condition has indeed been assumed impossible. I appreciate that the episode shows Bashir's disapproval for Trevean's assisted suicides yet still remains completely fair to Trevean and doesn't slight his position.

The show also raises the very true notion that such a culture wouldn't exactly welcome an outside hope for a cure with open arms. Indeed, Trevean even makes a not-so-subtle threat aimed at Bashir and all healers "who bring false hope." The fact that everyone has lost hope in saving themselves is certainly understandable, and the episode manages to work it into the equation realistically. In order to run experiments, Bashir needs volunteers. But it takes a while for the hopeless to work up enough hope to defy the pain and allow Bashir to work with them in their weak, quickened stage.

One of the first Bashir works with is Ekoria (Ellen Wheeler), a pregnant widow who has not yet quickened—who hopes she can survive long enough to give birth. Wheeler does a terrific job with the material. She's another example of the show's strong point: precision characterization performed without needlessly maudlin moments. Eventually, Bashir has a roomful of volunteers, and before too long he even thinks he may have a potential cure.

But things turn dreadfully wrong when all of Bashir's patients begin gyrating and trembling in pain as an unforeseeable element causes them to reject the treatment. (This leads to perhaps the show's one slightly excessive scene where Bashir gets overly involved in trying to save one dying patient while yelling "Breathe! Breathe!" until Dax has to shake him back into reality.) By morning, Bashir has a roomful of bodies, most of whom asked for Trevean's poison to speed their death. Only Ekoria survives the night.

The deaths lead to an interesting character scene where Bashir reveals to Dax that his arrogance got the best of him. I especially liked some of Bashir's dialogue: "I was so arrogant to think I could cure these people in a week; but there is no cure—the Dominion made sure of that." And Dax's response was even better—very relevant and a very scorching wake-up call: "Maybe it was arrogant to think that. But it's even more arrogant to think there isn't a cure just because you couldn't find it." This is a very good scene that's easy to overlook.

Kira and Dax head back to the station, but Bashir decides to stay behind and observe Ekoria's pregnancy while continuing the search for a cure. Things look bleak. Ekoria quickens while still several weeks away from being ready for delivery. She doesn't think she will make it, but Bashir helps her through it until the scene where we're presented with the obligatory childbirth scene. Childbirth scenes make for one of TV's biggest clichés, but this birth is a powerful one—Ekoria gives birth to a child with no signs of the blight, and seconds after she realizes what this means, she collapses and dies. A bit theatrical, perhaps—but very effective nonetheless. Bashir realizes that his treatment will not cure people who already have the blight, but it will prevent mothers from passing it onto their children. It isn't a complete cure, but it's a very large and important step forward. It's nice to see Bashir be a hero under believable circumstances.

The writers also further prove Trevean is not a simple caricature by providing a scene where he enthusiastically takes on the responsibility of seeing others get the vaccine in hopes of curing the future generation. The ending also features a particularly poignant moving crane shot that shows Bashir watching from afar as the people crowd around the newborn baby that they see as their savior. I really liked this shot. Kudos to Auberjonois. David Bell's score also deserves recognition.

While "Quickening" isn't a groundbreaking episode that goes out of its way to choose a topic that's particularly audacious or new, it does cover its chosen topic almost perfectly and with emotional depth. Dramatically, it ventures just up to the point that it should and no farther. The result is a story that feels very real, with characters that act rational and true to themselves, such that we care about what happens to them and we care about the story.

Previous episode: To the Death
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111 comments on this post

    Great review, Jammer - this is one of the most underrated episodes of DS9 and one my personal favourites. It's also nice to see a "medical" episode that isn't laden down with technobabble jargon. I should also mention Siddig's performance, especially in the childbirth system - very well done!

    The episode never mentions that the EM fields that mutated the virus are also in all likelihood the reason Ekoria quickened the very next day.

    I guessed very early on that the baby would not have the disease because of Bashir's injections... but somehow, when the childbirth scene arrived the episode had managed to make me forget that fact and I was still extremely surprised. I guess, like you said, it all comes down to the execution!

    This is a fantastic episode and quintessential Star Trek.

    I really liked that the matte backgroudn they created for the city. It was a very intriguing setting.

    I do indeed like this episode, but no one seems to have noticed that Travean's "hospital" is a thinly veiled analogy for Mother Theresa's House for the Dead. It's a biting commentary taken in that context, but it seems no one realised it, perhaps not even the writer himself.

    Elliot you know Mother Theresa actaully gave a fuck about the poor and tried her best and may i ask do you help the poor?

    Dude, seriously, knock it off. I don't know you, you don't know me. This is a fansite. Stop slinging your biased religious detritus at me.

    I'm not religious actually personally i'm more of an agnostic/ lapsed catholic I just think that for all her faults she did genuinely try her best to help the poor and she showed compassion for the poor. I think this was intended as an AIDS allegory and the look was inspired by 16th 17th century art

    good to see another example of the darker side of trek that was common in DS9.
    The arrogance of bashir who thought no cure existed solely cos he could not find it , and people die.

    As I was watching the episode, I kept noting the times that Bashir would comment on how Trevean has lived longer than anyone else without quickening - and about halfway through, I started to fear that the episode was going to take another route: namely that Trevean has had the cure all along, but maybe he's a Dominion operative, or a Founder, or maybe was threatened by either or both of these into hiding the cure, or God knows what else. And I'm SO glad the writers didn't choose to go there. It would've cheapened the message of this story, which is one of hope. Well done!

    Great episode, I liked the fact that Bashir didn't find a cure, even at the end, it was a vaccine and that last part where Sisko realizes that Bashir hasn't given up makes the ending even better.

    People are still dying back there.

    Yes... but their children won't.

    Absolutely fantastic episode. I really like Bashir so managed to get quite immersed in the story, I've never gotten quite so emotional about a TV childbirth, I felt so happy for him!

    I also noticed the Mother Theresa parallel, although her philosophy was to keep them alive as long as possible despite the suffering as she believed letting them die was against God's will whereas Travean wanted to end their suffering. Both were doing what they believed was right, but they were both ultimately unhelpful and misguided endeavors.

    This episode was just very well done and made me feel for the victims. A "partial success" for Dr. Bashir was the right dramatic approach. They actually used some "real" technobabble when talking about the virus. I, too, suspected that Trevean was a Founder in disguise. I agree with the comment that the art direction was well done and innovative. Ellen Wheeler did a great job as Ekoria.

    Absolutely brilliant episode about hope, arrogance and death. Thank goodness Auberjonois directed this. The music was also spot on. Loved it.

    Great episode, but Jadzia's line about "no one there to translate for you" seemed odd, since there was no sign she had been doing that before. He conversed just fine with everyone even in scenes where Jadzia wasn't there.

    @Jack, Dax was referring to the fact that she had to translate Bashir's medical jargon for the locals. She does it several times during the episode.

    Greetings. I just got through watching this episode. This is a great episode of ST:DS9. I especially had some respect for the character Julian Bashir in this one and how the actor Sid El Fadil played him so well in this, especially since previous episodes like last seasons "Distant Voices" while not a terrible episode didn't do a good job in developing Dr. Bashir very well.

    I also agree with Joseph S on what he said about the ending of the episode not going the simple route of someone holding the cure of the disease for themselves or the plague being a Dominion plot. The ending where the doctor actually created a vaccine and not a medicine and where Sisko said that at least their children of that species will survive is perfect for this episode.

    @ ProgHead777

    If Julian can't translate medical jargon to something Ekoria can understand, that's pretty sad. Speaking "layman" isn't a foreign language.

    The premise and the episode was great, but what made it really, really excellent is the ending. I sincerely thought it would be the ending cliché: Bashir finds the cure, too late for the mother but just in time to cure the baby and everyone else.

    Instead, the fact that he found a vaccine was completely unexpected (by me at least) and felt really plausible and genuine. And in a way it was even more touching for me than if he had found a realy cure.

    The bitter-sweetness of the ending, and the definite embodiment of hope (not for themselves, but for their civilisation's future) actually kind of choked me up (which is unusual for me, I have to say).

    Really, really well done.

    A bittersweet episode that had me doubting Bashir would find any kind of cure. Not only did he devise one--at least, for the planet's unborn children--he earned more respect from me here than in all his previous episodes together. The smug attitude may be just a cover for his passion and the concern he has for his patients. I still want to punch him sometimes, though. xD

    I also felt something for the victims, especially Ekoria. The effects of the disease were well depicted but not overdone. It seems shallow in comparison to everything else, but I have to say Terry Farrell was even more beautiful with her hair down. I'll remember this episode for many reasons, all of them good.

    Amazing episode and one of the best vehicles for Bashir in the whole series. The idea he was able to find a vaccine instead of a cure was fantastic writing. Everything about the direction and the acting by all involved really made me care about these people and their plight. Being put in a position of choosing to end a life to ease suffering was also well written here and made sense relative to the plot. This was a labor of love and it shined brilliantly despite being a quieter episode. Quiet can be good.

    As for the "translate for you" comment by Dax to Bashir - it was more tongue-in-cheek than anything.

    This was always a classic to me. 4 stars.

    Simple and deep, Star Trek takes on Euthanasia with a bias of course, but it is a good episode that tries to explore a need to raise the quality of life and make it worth living.


    Just great Trek and great character building episode for Julian.

    Not much to add to Jammer's review here.

    Damn, this virus was something. It even grew stronger in the presence of technology used to try and figure it out.

    Julian gets his ego slapped around a bit to the point where he, of all people, doesn't need to take credit at the end.

    The Dominion once again a revealed as "no joke".

    Funny how an innocent baby always translates to hope. I really felt for Ekoria, enduring the excruciating pain for weeks to ensure her child had a chance to live.

    This episode always brings a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat.

    I can't find a reason not to give this one a 4.0.

    Great Trek!

    I agree with you, the hidden strenght of this episode is its dramatic restraint. The powerful emotions that in revokes flow naturally from the story, instead of being thrown in our faces. It also doesn't follow the usual Trak formulas. Trivian is actually a good person who's actions are understandable given the hopeless circumstances and we can see his side of things. His conflict with Bashir is muted and grey; the episode avoids falling into a predictable dichotomy and instead focuses on the power of hope. Bashir's partial sucess at the end in curing the next generation further strengthens this theme.

    @Moegreen, I liked De. Kevorkia . I really liked Julian in this episode. His ego was bruised, but he was a true hero here. he truly cared.

    I will try to write more about this later, but I agree that this is a particularly strong episode -- and it's also very classic Trek, albeit also very focused on the particulars of Bashir's character. One of my favourites of the season.

    This episode deserves some kudos for its examination of Bashir's arrogance and hubris, and in its look at where society might go in the absence of hope and in the presence of false hope. In that way it's unusually bleak even by DS9 standards.

    But even if it didn't follow the formula, doesn't mean it's not formulaic in its own way - it's a pretty generic medical piece in fact. I just didn't get on with it. Ironically, perhaps the most enjoyable part was the completely out of context intro. 2 stars.

    Did the writers retcon Bashir's past here? He was talking about his teddy bear as if he'd always wanted to be a doctor, but I thought he wanted to be a tennis player for a long time first.

    @ JC,

    I wondered the same thing. I concluded that he's kind of making things up to create levity, sort of ret-conning his own past to pretend that when he sewed his bear he was preparing to practice medicine. I guess it feels like a poetic conceit on his part rather than disclosure about his past. It's like an opera singers saying that when they sang for their parents at the age of three they were beginning their career in the opera house already; untrue but retrospectively cute to say.

    One thing I'd like to point out about this episode occurred to me very early on in the story and never left until the end. Namely, that if the Dominion engineered a fancy virus to punish these people and make an example of them it strikes me that it would be quite dangerous for Starfleet people to be found there. But more to the point, very dangerous for the victims as well. If they're already undergoing punishment imagine the punishment they'd get if they found a way to cure themselves and undo what the Founders did to them. I rather think that if the people effectively defied the Founders by curing their population that the Jem'Hadar would be sent back in but this time simply to wipe them out, which is what the Jem'Hadar normally do from what we've been told.

    At the end of the episode when Bashir developed a vaccine and the people were celebrating, my thought was "Wow, he just signed their execution order. These people are going to be wiped out because of this." It plays well into the theme of his arrogance that he didn't even consider this when deciding to help them.

    @Peter G,
    There is no evidence that the Dominion has been back to check up on them. As long as they lay low on their own planet and/or don't bother the Dominion, they are probably safe. The Jem'Hadar may or may not come, which is better than the certainty of a slow extinction of the entire race.

    I know a lot of people really like this episode but I'm afraid I'm going to have to be the contrarian yet again (hey, I am the guy who gave "Masks" a higher score than "The Inner Light" after all :-P). While "The Quickening" does have some superb characterization for virtually all the guest characters, Bashir's doesn't really stand up.

    So, Bashir, the man who adamantly demanded that Bareil be allowed to die with dignity back in "Life Support", even over the objections and downright pleading of Kira, is now absolutely aghast (AGHAST I TELL YOU!!!!) that there is someone on this planet helping people die with dignity. Never mind that they've been suffering from this disease for two centuries without any hope of a cure. Never mind that even his genetically engineered intellect couldn't come up with a cure (and doesn't by the end of the episode). Assisted suicide is evil! Okay, maybe it's not fair to bring up his genetic enhancements as that hasn't been introduced to the series as of yet, but I trust you get my point. This goes directly against Bashir's established characterization of being perfectly okay with letting people die with dignity instead of prolonging their suffering. And that is only done because this week we're supposed to see euthanasia as wrong, character traits be damned.

    There's also a couple of other major problems with "The Quickening". First, Kira just farts off to some random nebula for an entire week while Bashir and Dax work on the cure? Umm, what the hell was she doing that whole time?! Did she spend the entire week meditating or something? And apparently it's once again perfectly okay for numerous members of the senior staff to just go missing for days on end without anyone back on the station caring even slightly. Second, the opening scene of the teaser is completely unnecessary and apparently is only there to further shit on Quark. It adds exactly nothing to the story and is completely unconnected to anything that comes after it. Oh, Quark made some advertisements that he downloaded into the comm system? Why, that diabolical fiend! To quote "Raiders of the Lost Ark" - the man is nefarious! Seriously, who gives a shit?! But I guess we really needed another scene of Kira threatening physical violence against someone for no apparent reason because it's not like she did that exact thing only two episodes ago with Garak.

    Still, Jammer is absolutely right that the characterization is beautifully precise and focused for the guest characters and that the execution of that material is extremely well done. I also loved how Trevean is presented as a guy who is genuinely concerned about his people and more than willing to help distribute the vaccine. Given how ludicrous they made Bashir's reaction to his assisted suicides, they could have easily made him a mustache-twirling villain. Kudos for not going down that predictable route.


    @Luke, I think the Bareil situation and the situation in this episode are different. Bashir's objection in the case of Bareil was that continuing to add more robot parts to his brain was sufficiently invasive with decreasing results. In this episode, there is an *institutionalized culture* of euthanasia, where the whole social organization is tied to death, where people have given up on anyone surviving the blight. I don't personally have a problem with assisted suicide, but I am a little uneasy about the idea of this level of large-scale social structure supporting suicide, to the point where it is *universally expected* that everyone will commit suicide once they reach a certain point in their illness. As it turns out, it is not strictly compulsory, but I think we see evidence of social/psychological cost of someone fighting to survive and try to find a cure. More to the point, Bashir mostly just has Travean's word for it that he does "what they ask." As we see later in the episode, he really does push "you and your unborn child will be happy dead!" on a woman in the delirium of pain who has already stated several times that she wants to try to work with Bashir to find a cure. I'm not saying he's a bad man -- far from it, as we see in the episode. He believes in what he is doing. But I think he also exerts a certain amount of pressure and is also clearly a community leader, which makes it harder for people who maybe don't want to die by poison to build up the strength to fight. I mean, really:

    EKORIA: Trevean. Am I dead?
    TREVEAN: Is that what you want? I can end your suffering. Your child will have known nothing but peace.
    EKORIA: No. He deserves a chance to live.
    TREVEAN: The Blight will take him in the end.
    BASHIR: Trevean. I didn't realise you made house calls.
    TREVEAN: I was concerned that she might be too weak to come to me.

    Now, yes, this is Trevean late in the episode. But this is the type of thing that Bashir is (understandably) concerned about -- that Trevean sticks around sick people, telling them how the blight will kill them anyway so might as well get on with it, and continuing to push until either they agree, someone else intervenes, or he finally gives up. He does not just get their consent, but pushes for it, and argues that that is what their two-weeks-from-birth child, who obviously can't consent, would want too. And to his credit he *does* give up. But Bashir's not wrong to be concerned that this guy is pushing them too hard. To put it another way,

    Bashir's reaction makes sense as a response to this situation and what he sees as glorifying death. I don't really think the episode is even arguing against euthanasia -- Bashir's initial reaction is shown to be arrogant/wrong and Dax tells him how arrogant he was. It *is* arguing in favour of hope, but a) a muted hope and b) once the hope comes it's the suicide-assistor that Bashir goes to to dispense it, i.e. the person in society Bashir trusts the most is the guy in charge of assisted suicide.

    I don't know. It still seems out of character for me, especially when Bashir first learns about Trevean's methods. It's clear that he's absolutely horrified by the thought that Trevean let the woman he brings in to his "hospital" die. And that's well before he and Dax learn about how this society has come to welcome, possibly even worship, death as a release. There's also the fact that Bashir insists on "helping" the man who dies in the hospital despite Trevean's request not to. And that is after he knows what is going on.

    Another problem I found looking back after watching it, which goes somewhat along with how Bashir is basically allowed to take close to a month off of work on the station with no consequences. Why didn't he have some other people come and help him? Obviously this isn't a Prime Directive issue, as these people have clearly had contact with other worlds before, so bring some other Federation medics back to the planet in order to help find a cure. If Sisko and Starfleet are willing to let DS9's Chief Medical Officer leave for such an extended amount of time, why don't they send him some aid?

    I might be willing to rise the score to a 5/10, if I'm feeling generous. But there are still the other problems with the episode. I think I'll stick with 4/10 for now.

    I will have to check out that scene of Bashir insuring on "helping." I see your point, I do, but I don't think it's inconsistent to be against replacing a mostly dead guy's brain with a computer and be shocked that a planet essentially has no medical care that isn't assisted suicide. Bashir has that arrogant genius tendency to think he can fix most problems and to get angry when people question this -- which is sort of the subject in Melora, Hippocratic Oath, Statistical Probabilities and Chrysalis. He thinks he knows better than everyone, and with some cause -- he is actually a genius. But he very often turns out to be wrong. In Life Support, *he* decided it was Bareil's time. And indeed he's ready to basically agree that everyone should die by assisted suicide after his initial failure to find a cure before Dax points out that his failure to find one in a week of trying is no guarantee there isn't one. Some of this is that I think Bashir is kind of a control freak, who has a lot of blind spots, and I think that's part of what this episode is about. However, unlike in Melora or Hippocratic Oath, here Bashir is allowed some victory, because it's not actually ALWAYS doomed to failure to try to find a way to help people when the odds seem against you. So I see Bashir's reaction more as being about SENSELESS death, and he judges it as senseless because he's arrogant enough to think he can make snap judgments about the viability of a cure. However, arrogant or no, his instincts aren't entirely wrong (he does find a vaccine). Which I do think is in character, though I can see how mileage may vary on this point.

    I agree that it's weird not to send aid, and for Bashir to be able to work on this indefinitely. Given that I find Miles running off to investigate Mrs Bilby's disappearance on his own for some unclear length of time pretty ridiculous in Prodigal Daughter, I should admit some consistency on this point. It doesn't actually bother me in this episode, for some reason, but I agree it's a problem that they (the writers) should have tried to patch up.

    The weeks of being away from DS9 without even asking permission also bothers me, as is the lack of a medical team to assist. I call this a VOY moment. It could have been dealt with easily and kept the episode intact.

    @Luke, I think the biggest difference with Bareil is that *Bashir* was the one who had already tried everything to save him before admitting surrender. His ego as the galaxy's greatest doctor drives him to try. It actually fits his character pretty well, inclusive of the death of Bareil.

    I also didn't like the Quark-bashing. I wonder if Armin Shimerman was in on this; he was a Trekkie since "Glass Menagerie" first aired and campaigned to audition for the role of Quark. He did amazing things with the material he was given. Was that the full extent of his influence?

    One of the best moments is the beginning where Bashir looks out at the stars filled with wonder at the chance to explore new worlds. I feel that way every time I look at the sky (apropos, I am writing this just a few hours before the Juno probe enters Jupiter's orbit, a chance for real discovery). He has the audacity to hope that his two lovely female companions (about whom we know he has fantasized) will join in his romanticism. Sadly they just roll their eyes. The events of the Quickening are meant to reality-check his enthusiasm. But I still like that he is an inherently optimistic character. If I'm not mistaken, he is the only one in the whole cast who has a positive outlook! Every other member of the cast is deeply jaded and has every right to feel that way: Sisko, Dax, Kira, Odo, Quark, Worf, O'Brien, even Jake.

    When you come right down to it, I don't know that there was a more purely evil race in ST than the Founders . Both in this episode and in their actions in the war, they show absolutely no hesitation in committing genocide and callously sentencing generations born and unborn to death and suffering.

    And I think it is a serious flaw in DS9 that the writers often blurred the fundamental evil of the Founders with Odo's desire to return home and join the great link, as if partaking in shape-shifting orgasms would mitigate killing 800 million people on Cardassia or torturing babies and children for generation upon generation w/out end.

    It would be like saying, "well Hitler wasn't such a bad guy 'cause he really loved Eva." All he really needs is a hug.

    Bah. The worst most evil Nazi running a WWII concentration camp is a saint compared to the Founders.

    @ SouthofNorth,

    I think you're right about the scope of the Founders' crimes, but fwiw the Nazis did what they did in the midst of normal human society, whereas the Founders are really a life form quite different from what we're used to. We can barely grasp how they think, let alone how to judge their morality. Agreed that they needed to be stopped at all costs, but judging a race seems like it ought to be based on what that race understood at the time they did it, and there seems to me a lot of evidence that the Founders have huge gaps in their understanding of many things. There are hints in the series that they may even spend aeons in the link, perhaps thousands of years at a time literally doing nothing. The female Changeling mentioned once that they don't even really register the passage of time, which makes it an incredible hassle for any of them to have to monitor events in real time.

    If we consider that they've had those habits for thousands upon thousands of years, it might not be such a surprise that they've lost all touch with what we'd call enlightened reason. Maybe Odo could teach them; maybe he's deluded. But if he could teach them something it would be worthwhile, since they're easily the oldest race the Federation has ever met other than various godlike beings. I have a suspicion that the Founders may have been stewing in that link for even millions of years, in which case even I could see how that would make any short-term events and even other races completely irrelevant to them. "I've been here for a million years, and you played with sticks a few thousand years ago. Just screw off."

    Hello Everyone!

    I liked that Dr. Bashir didn't come up with the cure/vaccine in just a day or two, as sometimes I believe Really Big Problems end up having a solution within a amount of time that is too short. In a way, it didn't feel like a month or so, to me, but the events of the story led me to believe time had passed (mostly because they said so). But that was better than a somewhat instant "Eureka!" moment I'd come to expect.

    As far as him being gone for so long, I do believe that would present a problem on the station. They had no idea how long he was going to be gone. I'd think they'd get a replacement, at least a short-term one. He seems to have a good staff, but he is the Head of the Department and he would be missed for many different reasons.

    Heh, I had to watch this over the course of two days, and had completely forgotten the beginning, with the catchy jingle of Quarks bar, by the time I got to the ending. I found it funny, especially when Worf walked in, but in retrospect, it was obvious to me it was just a way to get the other characters into a very Bashir-centric episode. Whether or not is was fair to Quark's character, well, it seems like something he'd try because *why not?*.

    I big thumbs-up from me for the episode, though. It was better than I remembered it being.

    Have a great day... RT

    Quite clear (to me) that these no-good-way-out medical and ethical storylines are the very best DS9 has to offer. In a greater cinematic/literary sense, one can see the early seeds of BSG's 2003 revival planted here. (As well as Ron Moore, naturally.)

    Hey, we just suffered a planet-wide catastrophe. Let's send out a vague request for help for any passing ships to help. Let's make sure we don't mention it's medical in nature. We just want any tiny shuttle with traders, hairdressers, whatever, to stop by.

    Hey, we're 3 people in a shuttle, in enemy territory, getting a vague distress call. I'm sure between a doctor (who's on the mission for no reason), a former terrorist, and a science officer with a fetish for dumb, violent men, we can solve any planet-wide issue. Also, let's beam down to some random spot and assume this is where all the action is.

    Stupid. Hard to look past the forced premise.

    Another solid medical drama but one that didn't resonate with me as much as it seems to have with Jammer or other commenters. I think it's good that Bashir wasn't able to find the cure-all (more realistic) but instead did achieve some progress -- not a perfect solution. My question then becomes, if the only cure is for babies, who will be around to take care of them? The people will still go extinct in all likelihood.

    Aside from that grim reality, the episode benefited from some good guest actors like the pregnant woman, the older man doing the euthanizing and the one bald-headed patient. The scene when the bald guy dies was powerful as the others also began dying. Yes, a bit cliche with Bashir trying to resuscitate him but still a powerful scene.

    Like Jammer mentions, the shot of Bashir standing on part of the ruins observing the newborn baby and the crowd from afar was also well done.

    I felt the episode dragged a bit and I didn't wind up feeling emotionally attached to the dying people -- yes their plight is a terrible one and it generates even more impetus for defeating the Dominion, but I also wonder how Bashir can just decide he needs to help these people without worrying about duties on DS9. We know he is a very dedicated doctor -- "Hippocratic Oath" comes to mind.

    I'd rate "The Quickening" 2.5 stars -- didn't think it added much more to Bashir's character although the arrogance/hubris dialogue with Dax was excellent. Some loose ends like how Bashir can spend a few weeks on the planet, what happens to the babies ... it didn't really resonate with me emotionally. Not really an episode to touch on ethics either. Credit deserved for not going beyond the realm of what's believable in terms of the medical part -- kept it grounded with the doctor/patients and desire to help at all costs.

    This is the 3rd great Bashir episode in the standout fourth season of DS9-and it's the darkest and most compelling of the three. Poor acting easily could have made this episode laughable-but it wasn't. It was gripping and compelling from start to finish. This episode also marks yet another example of DS9's idealism-while it takes Bashir to task for his hubris, it ultimately allows him to save the next generation. Beautiful stuff.

    4 stars.

    Never once have I seen Bashir as arrogant but Jadzia Dax from season 1 thru season 6 was so arrogant it would make a person eat nails. It is that "worm" thing inside a young woman now and it wants to keep carrying on the way it did in Curzon. Gettin' drunk as a dog - eventho' there are no dogs in that area of the universe - having illicit sex with a wife while her man is fightin' a visious war - playing tongo with Ferengi and gettin' drunk and laffin' it up - head-banging with a bunch of Kingon's - kickin' young men like Sisko in the butt and teachin' 'em 'bout life! Curzon was garbage! We only know him by what people tell us, tho'.

    I never disliked the Jadzia character, but just that hard balled no-eyed thing in a live body as well as the TNG ep where it took over Beverly Crusher... It is nasty to think that a culture would pick up those things and put them in their bodies in the belief that their intellect would be increased.

    Since Starfleet will now know what the Founders are all about, they should have taken that disease and made a huge vat of it; located the Founders in the goo caramel/butterscotch pudding state and poured it all over them. Let them die early on and there would not have been a war. I detest the creep that wrote destroy Earth, this is the only home us humans is got and if in reality aliens wanted us dead, we'd be dead. If Yahweh, before he was called Yahweh, had had his way human beings would never had been cloned in a lab in the subafrican lab. However, blah, blah, blah, he did his best kill all the earthlings........

    Oh, yeah, pick on Bashir because he would turn Bariel into a g. d. robot. That is what he would have been and where would his and Kira's kove be then? Hmmmm? People, get real. This is not realism it is fantasy!!!!!!! Get with it.

    As far as get a new doctor 'cause Bashir is away? They would have tons of doctor's on a station like DS9 just as they did on TOS and TNG and very unlike the dopes that set up Voyager on a trip into fires of hell Badlands, got it yet?, no doubt there would be Bajorean medical teams; there is a Bajorean nurse by Bashir's side.



    3.5 stars

    Not much to add to Jammer’s review. It’s an episide that’s more of an emotional moving experience than one open to a lot of analysis

    Good episode. Well done all around - well acted, written, directed.

    QUARK: Eh, this ep was about arrogance vs humility, self-aggrandizement vs altruism. And this amusing (Dorn was so funny with his prune juice!) beginning was about Quark's arrogance. "The nerve of him!" says Kira. "I love how my name spins around!" says Quark. That darn Quark was meddling with the stations systems, injecting them, so to speak, with his ads. Kira threatens to hurt him, if he doesn't fix it. He does.

    Is Julian too arrogant ? Is he doing it for the glory? Trevian threatens Julian - if Julian is here for his own selfish purposes, Trevian will hurt him.

    Is Trevian too arrogant? Is he doing it for the glory?

    Do they both like watching their names spin around a just little too much?

    The episode really isn't judgmental, and that's what makes it great. I think we have a bit of a deliberate mislead on Trevian - we're to wonder if he's really a good guy. This adds to the impact of the scene where he's thrilled with Bashir's news about the baby.

    I think the message is that while both arrogance and self-interest serve their purpose, it is in humility and selflessness that we will find our true fulfillment and successes.

    There's a lot going on in this ep, and I wish I had the time for a more thorough analysis. But good stuff!

    There's no Prime Directive violations happening here? Bashir seems too involved.

    Starfleet has been in and out of the Gamma Quadrant many times at this point. I missed why this is the first time they have picked up that distress call, one that has been signaling for 200 years?

    Why is every new discovered planet filled with white actors? It seems more often than not that aliens are only truely alien looking or majoritively diverse when they are villians.

    Overall great episode.

    Like Petetong said, the multiple matte painting backgrounds and indoor / outdoor sets really add a lot to this episode. With the amount of rubble built up and cast of extras, I wonder how much the budget of this one compared to the average DS9 episode.

    Much more compelling than some of the times they go to Cardassia/Bajor/Ferenginar and you only see one painting and a single indoor set the whole episode.

    I don;t think this violates the Prime Directive, because this race was previously more advanced and was devastated artificially.

    So Bashir's actions are more or a restoration, or to co-opt the title of another Trek episode that involved a restoration, a Tuve-fix.

    HAMLET: You do lie in it, to be in it and say it is yours. It is for
    the dead, not for the quick, therefore you lie.
    CLOWN: It is a quick lie, sir, it will go away again from me to you.

    Teaser : ***.5, 5%

    We begin by finding an entertaining way to justify paying most the cast in this week's episode. Quark has begun inserting YouTube ads for his bar onto the station monitors, which I think entitles him to a life sentence in a Cardassian work camp. If ever there was a cogent anti-capitalist message on this show, it's here. Quark didn't just advertise on the monitors, however, as an enraged Worf—yes noticeably enraged, even for him—barges in demanding Quark's head on a platter of Gagh. The prune juice he ordered *on the Defiant* was dispensed in a tacky-as-hell plastic mug that plays Quark's jingle every time it's tipped over to imbibe. Double life sentence. Well between Worf and Kira, Quark's sphincter has tightened enough to produce his own diamonds, so he's going to purge the system while Kira's off in the GQ. I assume the Bajorans are setting up a Disneyland or something considering how they keep establishing colonies for the Dominion to destroy.

    Actually, she's been tasked—for whatever reason—with piloting the blue shirts, Dax and Bashir, to a planet they've decided to bio-survey. I think Julian has been taking LSD or something because he's acting like his S1 self, prattling on about stars in some ill-advised attempt to impress these ladies. Thankfully, this fluff is put to rest when their runabout receives a distress call from a planet just outside of Dominion space.

    Dax and Bashir beam down to the besieged world and are greeted by an impressive matte painting, reminiscent of the pull-back effect used in the teaser to “The Best of Both Worlds.” The world they find is populated by a lot of miserable-looking people scavenging about the ruins of their civilisation. There are dead people being carted around, everyone is filthy, the sun is just a little too bright. A woman approaches the pair and starts convulsing in pain, begging them to take her to Truvada or something so she can die. He apparently runs a hospital. A man sets himself down by Bashir as Dax makes inquiries.

    EPRAN: The Blight's quickened in her. There's nothing you can do. You should leave here. now. Go back to where you came from and forget about this place.

    Act 1 : ***.5, 17.5%

    Dax manages to trade her hair clip for transportation to the hospital and Bashir determines that these aliens' physiology is sufficiently different from their own that the blight is not a threat, but also that his medicines don't seem to work on them. We see the woman who now has Jadzia's hair clip admiring its loveliness on her own blight-disfigured head. Adorning injustice.

    The blue shirts carry the quickened woman to Truvada's hospital, which resembles a church or a cult more than a place of medicine. Then it's time for confession. A man whose lesions have become inflamed (he's quickened) stands up to express his gratitude for Truvada's care.

    TAMAR: Yesterday, when I woke up, I saw that it had finally happened. I'd quickened. I always thought I'd be afraid but I wasn't, because I knew I could come here. Last night I slept in a bed for the first time in my life. I fell asleep listening to music. This morning I bathed in hot water, dressed in clean clothes. And now I'm here with my friends and family. Thank you, Trevean, for making this day everything I dreamed it could be.

    Then he takes a deep drink from a goblet. Truvada and the blue shirts chat a bit. Bashir is incredulous about what's going on here, but Truvada explains the backstory: they were once a sophisticated people, but in choosing to defy the will of the Dominion, their world was ransacked and their entire population cursed with this blight. They are an example to others—cough couch—who might choose to defy the Changelings. Then Tamar convulses, the poison he drank taking effect. Bashir rushes over to help.

    BASHIR: Can't you see he's dying?
    TREVEAN: Of course he's dying. He came here to die. People come to me when they quicken. I help them leave this world peacefully, surrounded by their families and friends...The Blight kills slowly. No one wants to suffer needlessly. Not like that woman you brought me.


    Truvada's “hospital” here, to me, reads like a very clear allegory for Teresa of Calcutta's House of the Dead, made infamous in the British documentary “Hells' Angel.” A humanitarian worker called Hemley Gonzalez wrote about his experiences there:

    “Workers washed needles under tap water and then reused them. Medicine and other vital items were stored for months on end, expiring and still applied sporadically to patients...Volunteers with little or no training carried out dangerous work on patients with highly contagious cases of tuberculosis and other life-threatening illnesses. The individuals who operated the charity refused to accept and implement medical equipment and machinery that would have safely automated processes and saved lives.”

    In Teresa's hospice care centres, she practised her belief that patients only needed to feel wanted and die at peace with God—not to receive proper medical care.

    “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion,” Mother Teresa said. “The world gains much from their suffering.”

    The difference between Mother Teresa and Truvada here is that his evangelism is not voluntary. This is of course because Teresa's Catholicism and the religion of the Dominion are of different types. I've talked about this before; the religion of the Bajorans and the Dominion are actually of the Pantheonic variety, where the gods are measurable and subject to the laws of the Universe, instead of the author and master of those laws, immeasurable and omnipotent like the God of Abraham. Truvada evangelises on behalf of the Dominion because he's been beaten into submission by it, conditioned by the literal and eternal plague which claims the lives of his entire race. While it's very good that this episode doesn't conflate the two types of religion unlike the myriad Bajoran faith stories we've had so far, it would have been braver to contextualise this story within a Bajoran tale. It would have made a good Kira story actually, but we will get there eventually.

    What the blight has done to these people is to subjugate them into the religion of the Founders by force. This is not exactly the same as what Catholic missionaries do, but there are important similarities. Missionaries like Teresa of Calcutta consider illness to be an act of God; as she herself said on many occasions, it was more important that the ill (and the poor, and the maligned) accept the grace of God than be cured of their ailments. She and others would advertise medical care for the infirm, but offer only conversion. “The Quickening” was written at a time when AIDS was an incurable and fatal disease. In many communities, HIV had become a defining feature, a culture all its own, like the blight. In all cases, the culprit is ignorance; Teresa believed in ignorance that God created illness and that it was immoral to even attempt to defy his will; AIDS was considered fait accompli for groups like the gay community because they were kept ignorant of preventative and eventually curative measures (if you don't know what I'm talking about, look up Ronald Reagan and the AIDS crisis); the Dominion takes elements of both, exacting divine judgement on a race which defied their will. It may not be “immoral” in the same way as it was for Teresa to attempt to cure the blight, but it may as well be since hubris against the Dominion is what condemned them to begin with. Truvada doesn't love the Founders the way Weyoun does, but they are, for all intents and purposes, gods to both men in equal measure, inviolate.


    Dax determines that the distress beacon has been repeating the message for over 200 years, an idea borrowed, oddly enough, from “The 37s.” Bashir, though incensed by the suffering here, has accepted that they should leave, but before they can a very pregnant and blighted woman greets them. Her baby is due in a couple of months and she wants to live long enough to bear it, but fears that she'll quicken before that happens. Truvada may have rejected them, but she and others would welcome any help Bashir could offer. But there's a complication as Kira calls down from the runabout to report that there are Jem'Hadar ships in the area.

    Act 2 : ***.5, 17.5%

    Bashir and Dax believe they might be able to cure the blight, much like they did on some other mission we never saw. Kira gives the two optimistic nerds a look that's just about perfect for this story. She agrees to hide the runabout in a nebula for a week so the blue shirts can make their stand. This isn't a flaw in the story by any means, but two things stand out to me here:

    1.Kira is good in these scenes, but her presence in most of this season has felt incidental. Like Riker and especially late Chakotay, she seems to be suffering from first-officer syndrome; she is her job and little else.
    2.I like the return of science officer Dax a LOT, but this throws into relief how stupid her characterisation is in episodes like “For the Cause” was.

    Anyway, the pregnant lady, Ekoria, finds the blue shirts a place to work in her group home. Dax manages to use her humour and soft touch to inject a little levity in the situation, complimenting Ekoria's husband's defiant optimism, expressed in visual art he left her and their town, as well as making good-natured jokes at the expense of Julian's doctor ego “they love to keep people waiting; it makes them feel important.”

    After a little while, Julian manages to isolate the virus. His exuberance has carried him off to the clouds, but Jadzia manages to keep things grounded, translating his tech-talk for Ekoria and conveying the significance of their findings. The blue shirts have inspired so much hope in the young woman that she decides the three of them should enjoy her final meal, a feast she's been saving up for her death at Truvada's hospital. And she's three days from retirement, too.

    Julian's having less luck recruiting volunteers for his study. He needs people who have quickened to chart the progress of the virus, but they aren't in the mood to be guinea pigs. Finally, Bashir makes a demonstration of the magnificence of Federation medical technology but repairing the arm of a young boy so he can play with his friends.

    EPRAN: How did you do that?
    EKORIA: Does it matter? He can find a cure for us if we help him.

    Oh man...credulity is so dangerous, so pernicious. These people are ready to believe in anything if it might mean an end to their suffering, not unlike those poor souls in India who converted for dear old Mother Teresa. But Bashir does his very best to keep expectations realistic. He explains to Truvada and the crowd that he cannot promise them a cure, but nor will he ask for anything beyond the opportunity to try and help them. Post-scarcity society, baby.

    Act 3 : ****, 15% (shortish)

    EKORIA: Maybe you should go home. Maybe my people don't deserve your help.
    BASHIR: They've just been suffering so long they've lost hope that things can be better.
    EKORIA: It's more than that. We've come to worship death. I used to wake up and look at myself in the mirror, and be disappointed that I hadn't quickened in my sleep. Going to Trevean seemed so much easier than going on living.

    Ekoria found a reason to try and go on living when she discovered she was pregnant, but Bashir has brought a new hope to these people. Jadzia reports that there is a line of quickening folks ready to let Bashir work on them, including Epran from the teaser, “I cancelled my death for you. I was really looking forward to it.” Ouch.

    Several days later, we surmise, Epran is very close to death, but Bashir is passing around a new hypospray to the volunteers. Julian thinks it might contain the cure they've been after. While they wait, Bashir and Ekoria have an interesting conversation.

    BASHIR: Sometimes. I prefer to confront mortality rather than hide from it. When you make someone well, it's like you're chasing death off, making him wait for another day.

    See, myths aren't a bad thing. They give meaning to our lives. The point is how we interact with them. Do you worship death, or do you tell it off?

    This tender moment is interrupted by Jadzia reporting a problem; Epram is convulsing, dying in agony.

    Act 4 : ****, 17.5%

    Epram begs for help and Bashir makes a startling discovery; the EM fields from their equipment are causing a reaction in all the patients who are now screaming and writhing in pain. Jammer was a little down on this, but this scene was genuinely one of the most difficult to watch on Trek for a while. Epram dies and Truvada enters the clinic where the others are begging for him to help them. The whole lot of them start crying out for their dose of hemlock.

    Morning comes in the form of a distressingly beautiful outdoor shot, and Bashir is left with a pile of dead bodies and his own profound disappointment and self-disgust.

    BASHIR: I'm going to tell you a little secret, Jadzia. I was looking forward to tomorrow, to seeing Kira again and casually asking, how was the nebula? And oh, by the way, I cured that Blight thing those people had.

    This concludes with the oft-quoted bit about arrogance and how it cuts both ways. Siddig and Ferrel are extremely effective here. This is fascinating because we see that credulity, despite being tied to humility in the face of divine will, is in its own way a kind of arrogance. You can try and be a genuinely humble servant of God, or a mediator for the suffering, or a doctor with the best of intentions, and still be so arrogant that you miss the forest for the trees. Bashir stumbles through the streets, exhausted and subdued, like those around him, by the cruel might of the Dominion. He finds Ekoria, now quickened—probably thanks to Dr Bashir's would-be cure. She isn't bitter towards him though, thanking him for the hope he offered and wishing him well. But we aren't done yet. Kira returns to pick up Dax and return to DS9, but Bashir is staying behind, armed only with low-tech alternatives and his own will to do no harm.

    Act 5 : ****, 17.5%

    He holes up with Ekoria who's trying to survive long enough to give birth. He discovers that the antigen he gave her has vanished from her system. Hmmm. He estimates that the baby will be due in about a month and a half.

    EKORIA: I'll never make it that long.
    BASHIR: Well, I can induce labour in two weeks. The baby will be old enough by then.

    The quiet ferocity with which Siddig gives these lines is simply marvellous. He talked with her earlier in the Kukalaka scene about a doctor's bedside manner, about projecting the air of “caring competence.” He's not projecting, though. He *is* competent, and by god does he care. Ekoria is going to die and they both know it, but her baby has a chance. Two weeks.

    Later, we find Truvada tending to her. To his credit, he asks her if she wants her chalice of death. She rejects it.

    Finally, the weeks have passed and Ekoria is giving birth. Bashir makes the discovery, that the baby has absorbed all the antigen, like a vaccine. The unhindered joy in Bashir's voice is really quite wonderful as he hands her her people's hope for the briefest moment before she finally dies.

    The story continues to crescendo from this beautiful scene as we see Truvada accept the privilege of seeing that his people are inoculated and the blight erased from their future generations. He takes the baby outside and holds it high for all the world to see, while Bashir watches from afar. The religious imagery is quite intentional, as we see that Truvada and his people have now been evangelised by Bashir. But his mythology doesn't demand worship, subservience or credulity, only hope.

    Episode as Functionary : ****, 10%

    I didn't report it in the act to act reviews, but I had to stop several times during the episode to shed tears. The writing, directing, acting and scoring of this episode are quite masterful, brimming with bittersweet moments, profound insights and quiet dignity.

    There's an epilogue on DS9 where Avery Brook earns his paycheque. He congratulates Bashir on his accomplishment, but Bashir isn't finished working; he's still trying to find a cure. Now THIS is one of those DS9 meta-commentary bits that actually works and doesn't come across as presumptuous. Back in “Explorers,” the writers were so desperate to prove that long-term stationary storytelling is more rewarding than the planet of the week ethos of TOS/TNG. That was annoying and, ironically for this episode, arrogant of them. Here, Bashir thinks he's going to fix the planet of the week all by himself. And he does after a fashion, but he also realises that there's value in sticking with it, in looking to expand upon his success and develop a cure as well as a vaccine. It's as if the series is saying, “While there's value in the Trek model as it is, there's more that can be said if we don't try to cram it all into 45-minute episodes,” instead of “Our stories aren't episodic because we're better than you.”

    While this story seems disconnected from the broader themes and plots of DS9, it's actually integral to the mythology around the Dominion which is going to be explored heavily in later seasons. The Founders are so convinced of their own superiority that god-like wrath and—hehe—dominion have come to define them and the culture they rule in every way. Federation optimism and ideals, personified as they tend to be in Bashir (c.f. “The Wire”), are the one subversive element with any hope of countering this malevolence. Great work all around.

    Final Score : ****

    I find this episode to be everything that "The Visitor" is hyped to be, but for me, just isn't.

    Though a good episode, a certain triteness infests "The Visitor" throughout.

    This episode is having none of it.

    I think the religious aspects of this one didn't ding my radar as much they did Elliott's, but that's certainly a compelling way to analyze this one. Many of us familiar with Europe's history are aware of the toll the Black Death took on the populace. Indeed the treatment, which was sometimes religiously inspired but not always, oftentimes made the plague worse. Thus, many aspects of the Dark Ages can be used as a potent parallel to this episode.


    I'm curious, on what level do you compare this to "The Visitor"? I'm struggling to see the connection besides of course them both being good DS9 episodes.

    "The Visitor" just came off as self-indulgent to me...a bit too proud of itself, while this episode just did its thing, and did it almost flawlessly.

    I'm also not a big fan of episodes where a character is narrating the story.

    @Elliott, your negative reviews are insightful and hilarious. Still, it's a real pleasure when you love an episode and let that shine through. I echo Chrome on your thoughts on the religious overtones and you tie it into the mythology of the Dominion very well. Since you sometimes criticize DS9 for paying lip service to continuity in a shallow way, it's especially nice how you tie in the ostensibly one-off episode into the series-long arc.

    Wonderful episode, though at the end I couldn't help but see Sisko's response to Bashir as a little cold. Its clear Bashir is completely haunted by the experience and struggling to let go, and Sisko's "oh well the kids are fine" type response seemed a little lacking in empathy. Certainly in TNG I think Picard would have had some choice words of support for his officer, perhaps even a suggestion that further studies might begin at some Federation Institute, but then Sisko is a very different kettle of fish.

    I still feel from time to time that Siddig's acting chops could use some work, occasionally coming off hammy and overplayed, but nonetheless I could feel the pain of Bashir in this episode quite strongly and that is a credit to Siddig.

    Bashir has a teddy. That's cute.

    TNG - pregnant Ogawa is the cure

    VOY- pregnant Torres is the cure

    DS9 - pregnant Ekoria is the cure

    Who was the pregnant elixir on Enterprise?

    In many ways, this episode bears more than a passing resemblance to TNG's Thine Own Self, in which an amnesiac Data struggles to find a cure for a mysterious illness sweeping through a village.

    But naturally, this all gets the DS9 treatment.

    For once, we're not in a little rustic village filled with Californian B-actors, but a ruined planet, filled with an entire population suffering from a degenerative and ultimately fatal disease.

    Worse, it's been deliberately inflicted on them by the Founders, using advanced technology which even the Federation can't match. And after over a hundred years of failed attempts to cure it, the only solution the local doctors can offer is a quick-killing poison, once the suffering from the disease becomes too severe.

    This makes for an interesting conflict with Bashir, both when it comes to his interpretation of his hippocratic oath and his determined belief that he can find a cure and save the day.

    And truth be told, I found it easy to understand Truvada's actions and viewpoint. They've had a hundred years of this plague, and all previous attempts to cure it have failed - and it has both a 100% infection rate and a 100% fatality rate.

    In that situation, having seen generations of people growing up with the knowledge that they're going to die writhing in agony, not only would you have no hope of a cure, but you'd offer the only thing you could - a chance to end the pain.

    In many ways, Bashir's disagreement with Truvada makes little sense, especially since only a short while ago, Bashir was more than happy to (effectively) euthanase Worf's brother.

    Of course, at least part of this is because Bashir believes himself clever enough to find a cure and beat the Founders at their own game.

    But since this is DS9, his actions actually make things worse, and he's forced to watch Truvada dealing out the only solution which works: a little dose of poison.

    And therein lies the key point of this episode: a chance for Bashir to be humbled and reflect on the fact that for all his brilliance, he does have some limitations.

    As a character study, this is one of the better ones in this series, even if Bashir's partial redemption is linked to some clumsy religious overtones.

    Though as happens so often in this series, it's a shame that there's no discussion of the trigger for this episode. The fact that the Founders are willing to both destroy a civilisation and then punish the survivors and their descendants with a terrible, personally tailored virus is something which should really deserve at least some commentary, but it's just waved aside.

    My partner's been tearing through DS9 over the past week or so -- he's skipped an episode or few, mostly the Ferengi ones, but he's still watching the vast majority of 'em. I have no idea how he's almost finished season 4 already. (Probably because he doesn't spend half his DS9 time writing up comments on this site.) At this rate, we'll be watching the finale together...!

    He's been enjoying it, but with a big caveat: so far, he's absolutely *hated* Bashir. He wrote up a half-serious half-joking character ranking list (with Odo at the top) that had Bashir right at the bottom underneath "unnamed background extra #214". He has been thoroughly irritated by his chatter and his status as Series' Designated Horndog, and has said in no uncertain terms: "hey fenn if bashir and dax get together at some point, it's in your best interest not to tell me, because I will drop this series like a brick".* **

    Anyway, when I heard he had 'The Quickening' coming up next, I made a bet with him that he would like Bashir in this episode. The bet's stake is... one steak, bought for me if he ended up liking Bashir and bought for him if he didn't.

    One episode later... he owes me a steak. Only "a very mild steak", but hey -- I won the bet, and he's developed a very mild liking for Bashir now. Win/win.

    In the process of posting about this, I've come to realise I never actually left a comment on my runthrough, so let me just say I really love this one. Bashir is at his finest when dedicated to healing, no matter how difficult it may be. His dynamic with Dax is a lot better now -- the awkward pickup attempt phase has ended, letting them settle into something comfortably platonic. I love how the two complement each other here, with Dax as the "worldly" one translating for Bashir off in his own little medical motormouth world. She gives him the push he needs to go from being self-absorbed to being truly selfless -- staying on the planet, no matter what, until the cure is found.

    I'm with Jammer on loving the episode's final shot. I remember watching that, expecting Bashir to wade into the crowd and the adulation... but no, he watches, happy for the long-awaited vaccine to take up all the attention instead of himself. As it should be.

    Also his teddy bear story is sweet as hell. Nominating Kukalaka for best character in the Star Trek franchise.

    * He added a caveat to his "Dax + Bashir = drop the series" ultimatum halfway through watching 'The Wire': he said he'd drop the series not because he hates Bashir, but because him being with Dax would mean Bashir's not being true to himself. Because he belongs with Garak instead. Clearly.

    ** SPOILERS I'm aware that spoilers spoilers Dax spoilers Bashir spoilers spoilers season 7... though definitely not in the way he'd imagined it. Neither of us have reached that point yet, though.

    Explanation for what is to follow at the very end…


    Interesting premise bogged down by the most idiotic execution possible.

    Let’s begin with the stupid, numb-nut opening scene.
    Four or of our main characters talking about the juvenile song by Quark and scolding the designated little kid of the show. He tempered with the station’s comp systems, WHOOP-DE-DOO!!! Like he’d never done that before. Odo says it’s a class-3 offense (whatever that means, this is juvenile comedy, not meant to go deep or explore statements). Quark does shit like this every episode just so we can have the weekly Quark-Odo childish spat going on for 96 episodes now. And that Odo threat about a class-whatever offense is supposed to scare Quark? Such a pointless line that nobody even cares. Move on. After four years, writers lack originality, or even adult intelligence to come up with a better Odo-Quark interaction.

    Oh but wait, the “class-3 offense” is supposed to work with… wait for it… the Magistrate! Oooooooooo, now Quark is scared. Who the hell is the Magistrate, who the hell knows? It doesn’t matter, this is DS9 slapstick humor. Just know that Quark is supposed to get some verdict from the Magistrate and that scares the hell out of him, not that you will see any remnants of this process with the magistrate due to a stupid song will be heard at any moment in any future DS9 episode, because, DS9 writers. What is the value of Odo’s threat other than a stupid line injected into a totally dumb-ass scene with zero relation to the rest of the episode in tone and topic? Less than zero. Way to begin what is supposed to be a very serious episode with an oafish, low-IQ scene, denigrating four main characters further.
    Oh, of course, let’s please not forget Kira grabbing Quark by the collar and verbally abusing him. Are we supposed to pretend it has any effect? Quark doesn’t. I wouldn’t either after I’ve seen it zillion times, but this is a TV show, so he will fake caring for the sake of stupid!

    Then, comes in Worf, who ordered a glass prune juice from the replicator and gets Quark’s free-refill mug, and this is why he appears at all in this episode. Is this what DS9 has reduced Worf to now? A mighty Klingon getting his feelings hurt and joining the regular bi-weekly (being generous) dose let’s-shit-on-Quark parade led by Odo? Way to crap on a great TNG character, unimaginative, pathetic writers of DS9.

    When Dax and Bashir arrive to the planet and walk through the village, some dude has his arm rigidly lifted at a 90-degree angle continuously points his finger right to their faces as he approaches them, passes them by and goes to sit down with a buddy. What the hell is that? Does Auberjenois not realize as the director how oafish that looks? Did he tell the dude to do that? It looks stoooopid.

    Once they begin talking to the villagers, more gratuitous dialogue happens. Dax gets transportation to the hospital because she gave a hairclip to that one lady. The lady has access to transportation but not to a hairclip. Whatever.

    There’s then a guy who comes to Trevean’s place and says that it’s the first time he slept in bed in his life. First time he had worn clean clothes and bathed in hot water. He looks, in human years, about mid-30s I suppose, so I am supposed to believe for around 35 years, his body NEVER felt hot water and NEVER put on clean clothes. Trevean has access to hot water and clean clothes that he continuously deprives the villagers of for three-plus decades? Yeah, OKAY.

    Never mind that Trevean considerably looks older than everyone else and has yet to catch the blythe and ZERO explanation is provided by the writers because they were too busy coming up Worf’s prune-juice temper-tantrum or the fascinating world of Magistrates and verdicts that we never get to see!

    200 years ago, these people were as advanced as humans (Trevean says so) and the Jem’hadar destroyed their world. So, for two centuries, they had a distress call out and nobody had been to find a cure, yet our Bashir will. Two centuries, and nobody helped them? Do writers even know how long two centuries are? 60 years, I may have bought it. 200 years? No thanks. But of course, it makes it that much more dramatic that “our” Starfleet hero will find something! By the way, why would the Jem’hadar not use that distress call as a chance to catch other aliens anyway? Not a word said about that, no explanation. Yes, I know, the writers are too busy.

    It’s obvious that these people don’t want help and Bashir’s presence obviously causes some serious disturbance, and yet, nobody touches him or gets rough with him, because we are in the safe-zone of Berman trek. Trevean even tells the tale of many people having come for help before and how they exploited them, leaving with their clothes and food, etc. Yet, these people are not *that* hostile to Bashir – even after his efforts cause a dozen of them to die in writhing agony – other than a few bad staring contests (oh, and let’s not forget that guy with the goofy-ass finger-pointing in total silence for seconds as he approaches them, passes by, and walks away).

    I could immediately tell that some people were going to believe Julian, and that he would fail at first and end up in a so-called more difficult position, but ultimate emerge as the hero who rises up to find some level of greatness from an impossible situation. Because, the writer is a long-time TNG writer where everything resets every episode, our heroes remain spanking clean and (almost) perfect. Also, how cliché that the baby of the pregnant woman gets saved (at least). And worry not, planet inhabitants, “the” Bashir will continue to keep looking for a cure for you, after having saved your children, the episode makes sure we know that with the closing scene.

    In the meantime, nice commanding decision by Kira to leave Bashir and Dax for a whole week alone on the planet in a very unsafe environment. Jem’hadar may stop by and hurt them, the locals may get violent toward them. Ah, but no problem, Dax can continue to trade hair clips for transport, and other planet-like privileges.

    How long was Bashir gone from the station? At least two months I believe. Not a very busy station, I suppose, this DS9 station is, not that we are IN THE MIDDLE of the Dominion war or anything, or not that DS9 plays a MAJOR role in that war or anything. Oh no, no worries at all!! Just like that, Bashir can take two months off. Also, let’s please not send Bashir any help for two months, leave him alone in a hostile environment, with limited equipment and no medical assistants. It’s not like the lives of a whole planet-population are in danger or anything (!!)


    Folks, that was an exercise in nit-picking, nothing more.
    Don’t take it too seriously. Some of what you read may be true, but it’s all about nitpicking, nothing more. I agree with Jammer’s review 100%, this episode is strong. In fact, I am thankful to another member of the board for motivating me to watch this episode again (probably for the 5th or 6th time).

    But if my intention was to shit all over it, with endless nitpicking, that was what that exercise would have looked look like.

    Sorry, I expected a critical reflection on the shortcomings of the particular episode not a slating/purposefully negative review.
    Because you gave me something I didn't want I give you this. (Picture me looking very stern at you)

    No, remember, the idea was "give me any episode of any series and I can shit on it by applying the same standards of deep-dive nitpicking that you do to a scene, or two, or three" (change a word or two). Go back and read it if you wish.
    I did exactly what I promised, applying those standards of nit-picking here. Sorry you expected something else.

    @ Mertov
    Ok, call what I write deep dive nitpicking (I'm not entirely sure what that means) but my comments on episodes are my actual opinion. What you wrote here is not your actual opinion.

    To admit the scene where the one guy (who later dies in the hospital) points at Bashir always stood out as pretty bad acting / directing.

    And the reason why the people were not too mad at Bashir after the people died in the hospital was that he didn't take money and the people who came to him were already "quickening" which means that they would have died very soon. If they hadn't gone to Bashir the would have gone to Trevean. The pointing guy even says so when he enters. Plus Bashir at the beginning openly states that he cannot promise anything.
    His entire arc in this episode is the classic hero's journey and a good comparison to the eye ball scene. In the everybody dies in the hospital scene and the aftermath I completely understand what is happening and why people behave in a certain way. In the eye ball scene I have no idea why anybody does anything and I have the lurking suspicion that I'm not supposed to. Let's ignore the eye ball thing itself, maybe they are just sick perverts who like to torture people but why would seven not at least try to beam Itcheb to her ship. She appears, tries to take him but he says no and that is the end of the debate and then she shoots him. Both their motives are nebulous. STP and Discovery are shows that constantly leave me with questions that these shows never answer. The eye ball scene is the very foundation of her character on the show and there are many things that make no sense about this scene or are at least not explained in any way. It is simplistic and manipulative drama.

    "Ok, call what I write deep dive nitpicking (I'm not entirely sure what that means) but my comments on episodes are my actual opinion. What you wrote here is not your actual opinion. "

    Of course. That was the whole point of the exercise, I made that clear twice already. You don't have to defend "The Quickening" (as I made clear above, I agree with Jammer's review). The point was, for the third time, that with the standard of nitpicking imposed on every syllable and second of every shot there, I can shit on any episode of any series, or any series period (ok, I won't repeat it a fourth time, I thought that had been made clear from the beginning).

    "The point was, for the third time, that with the standard of nitpicking imposed on every syllable and second of every shot there"
    I'm sorry that I don't remember every discussion here. So in essence this is an elaborate way to criticize my writing about ST:Picard as idiotic and/or pointless.


    No. I used neither of those terms, nor did I imply them. But ok...

    FWIW, I thought this was a fun exercise in comparative critique methods.

    I would note also that the passage of time has a huge effect on people's opinions of media. I went back the other day and read some of my initial comments about ST: Into Darkness 4 years ago and already I don't even agree with myself. There's a paper for you, Booming. :-)

    "No. I used neither of those terms, nor did I imply them. But ok... "
    didn't you? What I do is "deep dive nitpicking" (your words) which I suppose is a worse form of nitpicking. Cambridge dictionary defines nitpicking as: "giving too much attention to details that are not important, especially as a way of criticizing."
    Collins defines it as:"If someone nitpicks, they criticize small and unimportant details."
    So you say my reviews are deep dive nitpicks but you do not even want to imply that what I write is pointless. Interesting.

    Chrome, fyi... You piqued my curiosity so I looked at your comments on that board, and I found myself agreeing with most of what you wrote... 4 years ago :)))

    One of my very favorite episodes! I always cry at the scenes with the baby at the end.

    Dax’s scorching response to Bashir was a fantastic scene.

    But... I’m thinking Section 31 and Garak were right... the founders should be destroyed. They are flat out evil.

    I just watched this for the first time since it aired (probably) and I 100% agree.

    The Founders are all of one mind ("the drop becomes the ocean and the ocean becomes the drop) and they have no sympathy for the suffering of those who had nothing to do with their persecution.

    I hated when Odo went "home" to "his people" in the last episode. To me, that's like finding your biological father after a lifetime of searching only to discover he's a serial killer.

    Garak should've wiped them out while he had the chance. Yes, they are evil.

    Evil, oh well. And the cure is genocide?
    That is some advanced thinking guys.
    Every "great" empire in human history has committed genocides and other horrible stuff, even the modern European ones like France, GB and the USA. Julius Caesar did half a dozen genocides alone.
    Look up the stuff France did in Algeria. Concentration camps, chemical warfare, mass torture, forced relocation, 10% of the population killed. That war ended in 1962.
    This deserves this quote

    Is this the only episode where Dax and Julian are given an entire episode alone on a planet together? They rarely seem paired together on a scientific away mission, which is a shame, as they work so wonderfully well together.

    In a way, this episode also offers a nicely minimalistic portrait of the Federation: two blue-shirts alone and doing their science thing, trying to help a less technologically advanced culture in need of aid. This episode just epitomizes a certain Trek ethos.

    Apparently DS9's regular set designers were off shooting the First Contact Movie, so other set designers stepped in for this episode. The results are special, with this episode arguably having the best matte-paintings and landscape-composite shots of 90s Trek. The episode's "alien village" sets are also impressive, with their odd buildings and sloped, rubble strewn streets, everything off kilter or on the verge of collapse.

    As Jammer says in his review, the episode's script isn't that surprising, isn't that original, and yet everything just clicks together so well. Rene's relatively fresh direction, and the fresh production design, seems to gel well with a wonderfully bare-bones script (too bad there weren't fresh musical composers).

    The stripped down nature of the episode also lends it a heightened quality, very abstract and almost mythic, Bashir the western hero wondering into a desert town to do battle with just his tricorder and hypospray.

    Incidentally, watching Bashir here had me wondering where I'd rank him amongst my favorite Trek doctors. Bones is first place, of course, but I'd put Bashir second. Ignore his super-power reveal - DS9 eventually character assassinates all its characters - and he has a nice little arc, the wide-eyed frontier doctor who matures from booksmart rookie into a model, battle-hardened Starfleet officer.

    Voyager's EMH I'd place third. He had more great Doctor Episodes than any other Trek doctor, and he's acted with more flair and gusto, but it's hard to relate to a rude, wise-cracking, neurotic hologram.

    I'd place Crusher third. I liked her grace and quiet style. Her private dinners and conversations with Picard were always cool. But she rarely had anything to do, and only had one great episode dedicated to her.

    Still, that's four distinct, great-in-their-own-way Trek Doctor's in a row. Not a bad track record for a franchise.

    Next game doctor Phlox, of course. I never warmed to him. Always seemed like but a polite version of the EMH, and the aesthetics of his infirmary always irked me. Still, he arguably got "Enterprise's" best directed episode ("Dear Doctor", its moral implications aside).

    I've thought about this for some time actually -- Trent went thru his ranking of the doctors from the 5 "classic" Treks. So here's the definitive ranking :)

    For me, no question Bones is No. 1. He was part of the Big 3 -- no other Trek doctor had as important a role as he did and Kelley really delivered. I didn't always like the writing he was given in terms of being forced to disagree with Spock but on occasion it really worked ("All Our Yesterdays") comes to mind.

    No. 2 has to be the EMH doctor -- really think Picardo's acting elevated this character to be (after 7 of 9) the best VOY character for me. I always enjoyed is acerbic wit, facial expressions, and he's definitely the most humorous of the doctors.

    No. 3 is Phlox as I think of the range of tones Billingsley could portray. "Dear Doctor" and "Damage" are a couple of episodes I think of when he has those really deep ethical conversations with Archer. Also in "Regeneration" he does a brilliant job confronting his own mortality. Really liked his curiosity about humans in early ENT.

    No. 4 is Bashir -- ranking him 4th doesn't feel right to me given how much I like him on DS9 but all things considered, I didn't like how, at the start, he was overly attracted to Dax ("Emissary" for example). Him and O'Brien made the 2 best buddies on any Trek series, but the genetic meddling I thought was unnecessary as well as making him super-competent as a bridge officer.

    No. 5 is Crusher -- no question about this for me. Of all the doctor actors, McFadden is the weakest for me and I prefered Pulaski from Season 2 over Beverley. Yes, it's nice to have the mom thing and being buddies with Picard but I just found her too plain.

    precisely how I felt about this episode, we know this scenario all too well, yet, they found a way to make it enticing, a welcomed pause from season's 4 heavy political intrigues.

    A good episode, though not much fun to watch. This last time through, I started to wonder about what it's going to be like for the blight-free generation growing up in this society. How is the baby Travean showed Bashir at the beginning of the episode going to feel knowing he's doomed to a terrible fate that those only a few months younger were spared? I expect there will be a lot of resentment from at least the last few years of children born with the blight towards their juniors.

    Also, I have to agree that after this episode, the disease Section 31 infected the Founders with in Season 7 begins to look less like a war crime and more like justice.

    Reading the comments, I'm wondering if anyone realizes that hospices exist in America as well as India. Maybe it's the fact I live in rural Appalachia but it's kind of like realizing you live in a different world when people are AGHAST there are places that people go to in order to die peacefully.

    I mean...we have like 9 in my town.

    @C.T Phipps
    A hospice is different from what Trevean provided. A hospice provides a terminally ill patient with palliative care. Trevean does assisted suicide and euthanasia which is a far more contentious issue.

    This is my favorite Star Trek episode. (Here the soundtrack)

    - There is no villain (technically the Dominion but they have no active role apart from being a minor obstacle and some background).
    - I thought about it because ST:Picard kind of tried this but failed were this episode succeeds. STP tried to show that you have to try, even if success is far from guaranteed because it is the right thing to do but in the process they framed Androids and Romulans as a threat which adds to the "try as much as you can" narrative the by line "or the oppressed will kill you". This episode treats all positions as legitimate and vilifies nobody involved. Dax is concerned and sets Julian straight when he needs it. Travean is portrayed as a deeply sad but caring man. Ekoria hasn't given up hope and is willing to fight. All the characters involved, big and small play an important part.
    - The episode doesn't take the easy way out. It gives the important truth "Even if you try and even if you succeed in some sense that doesn't mean that all turns into a paradise". People are still dying there. We get no hurrah but a dedicated Julian trying to save even more. Sisko even checks up on him and accepts that not only does Julian have to do this but it is the right thing to do. Another nice little touch.
    - Great performances. Even Terry Farrell was quite ok. Alexander Siddig who his parents know as Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig Abderrahman Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Karim El Mahdi or plain simple Siddig, pulls of a good performance and Ellen Wheeler and Dylan Haggerty are just great.
    - Bashir's arc is simple but effective. The arrogant doctor who fails horribly, wants to give up, is called out on his arrogance, then tries again and maybe doesn't achieve what he dreamed up but maybe what he wanted. Help the people on this planet.
    - The ending is so sad but still so fulfilling. I just love it. Poor Ekoria.

    5 out of 4 stars.

    Three unrelated notes:

    No B plot.

    Kevorkian---and more importantly the ideology behind the real-life Kevorkian---is the antagonist.

    This episode did more than any prior episode to characterize the Dominion as a looming threat. Four stars for that alone, and the execution cements that.

    @The Ubiquitous
    "Kevorkian---and more importantly the ideology behind the real-life Kevorkian---is the antagonist."
    That might have been your impression but it is not mentioned and I did not perceive it that way. The character of Travean is portrayed positively in general. Travean is also an anagram for veteran which even more implies a sympathetic view of what he does. But I would not necessarily see the episode as pro assisted suicide either but that it argues that Travean did the best under the circumstances. If people want to see an antagonist then it is the illness but as we all witness right now, Illnesses are unrewarding antagonists. I still think this episode has no real antagonist and it doesn't need one. It is Deeps Space Nine at it's best. The two Starfleet officers want to help and try, even though it is dangerous, which is very much Star Trek in it's purest form but we also have Bashir's arrogance, a Human shortcoming, in line with DS9's darker themes.

    While reading the Memory Alpha page I saw that it was written by Naren Shankar who many here probably know as the showrunner of the Expanse.

    Whoops, Trevean because otherwise it is not an anagram for veteran. :D

    "Evil, oh well. And the cure is genocide?
    That is some advanced thinking guys.
    Every "great" empire in human history has committed genocides and other horrible stuff,.."

    Well, what's the advanced thinking way to deal with the Founders? Hope they don't do anything bad?

    With this planet, it was 200 years ago, and we only hear their version of things, but the Dominion attempted to destroy Bajor by bombing its star and killed hundreds of millions of Cardassians in a literal attempt to eradicate them.

    If you have some advanced thinking way of dealing with that beyond "lots of people have done bad things", do share.

    "If you have some advanced thinking way of dealing with that beyond "lots of people have done bad things", do share."
    I'm not saying that we should stand at the airport with flowers when the Dominion invasion fleet lands. Still genocide seems a bit much. Maybe that is just German skittishness when it comes to genocide.

    Its funny you mention that you can't quite put your finger on the exact reason this episode works so well. I've had the same impression about this episode for years. I'm a big dude 6'3 218lbs and I'm not ashamed to admit that this is one of the only episodes in trek that had me tear up and I'm not even completely sure why. A more than the sum of its parts type situation? I'm really not sure, but there can be no doubt that there is something significant to this episodes subtext

    The writers, probably unconsciously, showed off their own imperialist tendencies really astutely here. This foreigner arriving on a planet where he’s not wanted and then taking it upon himself to judge their cultural practices as barbaric and think that he even has a right to try and interfere is a perfect encapsulation of the wrong headedness that brought us into Somalia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and now Ukraine

    I didn't mean to come across so harsh.

    It is a tricky issue. I think the show waffled around quite a bit with the nature of the Dominion. Sometimes they would be shockingly callous with no redeeming qualities and other times far less extreme. I think this one fits quite squarely in the former.

    Pietro - cultural practices?? You mean Serbs ethnically cleansing Bosnians? Somalian civil war, genocide and famine? Syrian genocide? The U.S. intervened to help. Yes, we could have done things differently. But your imperialist blithering has no place anywhere near these events.

    As for Afghanistan, well the Talibani regime harbored the 9/11 terrorists. We should have dealt with Saudi as well but there was no way Afghanistan was getting a pass after attacking us.

    Oh. And Ukraine. Under your theory, we provide no aid, weapons, etc. We just let Putin butcher them.

    I swear many of you on this forum have some fucked up opinions.

    Story, plot, theme etc was all good, still I did not find the episode fantastic. I don^t really know why, irritating. I am glad that so many others liked it. What I did like was Bashir saying at the end.

    "The vaccine is not difficult to make, but seeing that everyone gets it is a huge task. "

    This is the episode which convinced me that the Dominion are more evil than the Borg.

    As powerful and overwhelming as the Borg are, they are also cold and emotionless and thus their actions are devoid of malice, sadism and cruelty. The Dominion demonstrated all those traits by infecting an entire race with an incurable disease.

    Moreover, the Borg are truly convinced they're doing you a favor and serving a greater purpose by assimilating you. The Dominion know damn well that they aren't doing these people a favor, in fact it was their explicit intention to commit harm

    "The Quickening" is a jewel of DS9. I appreciate how it pulls no punches and makes no compromises to wrap everything up with some form of reset button or quick escape that makes the characters all heroic to where everyone lives happily ever after. In this episode, they don't. There is a huge quiet victory, but there's serious loss as well. This is an episode that has nothing but respect for its characters.

    The interplay between Terry (Dax) and Siddig (Bashir) is well done. There's reason to sympathize with Trevean. Ellen Wheeler's work as Ekoria is superb. And so on .. just a subtle, graceful, meaningful episode.

    There is one point with many of the comments with which I take delicate issue. There are notes about "How could Bashir be gone from the station so long without leave?" or "What did Kira do for that week in the nebula?" or "How did they escape detection by the Jem'Hadar?" and the like.

    My suggestion is that we can never look too closely at the setups that allow a story to be told. We buy into things like warp drives, replicators, transporters, and universal translators even though each of those are fantasy technology. Trek has a tendency to throw light years around like they are candy, but the physics just doesn't work that way as Einstein explained.

    Every show, every play, every film is an illusion that relies upon dramatic conventions and devices to help the audience suspend its disbelief for the sake of the story. If a guy walks on stage with a leafy branch as says he's a "forest," then he's a forest. If we need to get Bashir and Dax on an isolated planet whose people are suffering from a seemingly incurable disease to that Bashir can learn humility while displaying his brilliance, then the set up to create that situation should be of no concern.

    Too much talkie-talkie at times, so a star off for that, but otherwise pretty good.

    The natives' hostility to Bashir, both pre- and post-vaccine attempt, was super silly. They were going to die anyway, for sure. He may have been able to find a cure. He didn't. Okay, he may have proffered hope that turned out to be false but isn't that what medical research is?? You either try to cure a disease, knowing you might not succeed, or you resign yourself to the disease taking its course. Why'd you be mad at him?!?!? Demented.

    Ekoria (or whatever her name was) seemed to be the only intelligent inhabitant on that entire planet. SMH...

    I did like the end. I figured it was going to be the usual "found the solution at the eleventh hour and they all lived happily ever after" routine, but it was more plausible than that. Knowing you're going to die way before your time and there's no cure but your kids' future will be safe and healthy is... an unimaginable feeling. Very nicely done.

    I liked Jax with her hair down. Foxy!

    David Bell’s score took some liberties from the movie “Cocoon’s “ score. It fit very well!

    This does feel like an episode that could fit well in previous iterations of Star Trek.
    I do wonder why we had to endure a few seasons of Bashir the hopeless womanizer. There was no need for that (except to perhaps alert HR yet again), and DS9 spent no time at all transitioning him out of that, no lessons learned as far as I can see.

    Put me in the camp of "This is a *great* episode." It's too easy to nitpick episodes. I suggest focusing upon the story and it's execution and just absorb the rest as dramatic vehicles that allow the story to be told. (E.g. that Kira heads off into a nearby nebula for a few days does.not.matter!)

    As to the episode, it's likely the best one for Bashir. Dax fares well. But, above all, I think the episode is made by the performance of Ellen Wheeler as Ekoria.

    There is some poignant irony in the fact that Rene Auberjonois directed "The Quickening." In 2019, Rene's lung cancer had spread to his brain. He opted to take advantage of California's End of Life Option Act. On December 9, he spent the day with his family but ended the day and his life by taking medication prescribed for assisted suicide. His death certificate, however, listed the cause of death as metastatic lung cancer.

    This episode does a good job at showing how evil the Dominion really is. Before they were threatening, but now they are actually a frightening existential threat.

    I think what makes the Dominion more poignant than something like the Borg is that the Dominion is motivated by something that applies to the real world. They believe that some perceived past persecution gives them the right to genetically engineer entire slave races and torture, abuse, and exterminate the solids with such horrific weapons. You can map these motivations onto certain political entities that exist today.

    @Chudleigh Jones
    >They believe that some perceived past persecution gives them the right to genetically engineer entire slave races.
    >You can map these motivations onto certain political entities that exist today.

    Are you saying they represent Jews?

    He could also mean the US or China... or any other great power.

    But yeah he probably means Israel. It is a little suspicious to see the fervor with which some on the left attack Israel. Kind of like the kid that finally feels justified to touch the hot plate. Even though I must admit Chudleigh is a little harder to pin down politically. Maybe I have to rethink my negative view of the horseshoe theory.

    There are four actual ongoing genocides. Nobody really cares about those. Same with Yemen. During the civil war in Yemen, sometimes called the forgotten war, faaaaaar more people died (and sometimes still die) because for example Saudi Arabia, with US weapons, bombed pretty much indiscriminately. Still nobody started huge campaigns about that conflict or threatened to withhold their vote if arms shipments aren't stopped. Probably some interesting psychological mechanisms at work when it comes to Israel.

    While I personally think that Israel's conduct is wrong, immoral and just plain stupid, I find it odd how easy people forget that Israel suffered through the second worst terror attack in modern history.

    Of course, the far right is happily picking up the ball. They waited a long time for the antisemtism firewall to weaken.

    I'm sure Chudleigh will find many more metaphors and analogies to torture in Star Trek.

    Nice attempt at whataboutism, but I'm smarter than you so it's not going to work. You could have mentioned, like, the Uighurs or something completely unrelated to the issue, but if we're gonna talk about Yemen, then I think it's fair to say that Israel was complicit in that conflict as well. If Israel is like the Founders, then Saudi Arabia could be compared to the Cardassians and the United States to the Vorta/Jem'Hadar.

    "Israel acting evil has given everyone who thinks Israel is evil to point the finger and say, 'hey look! Israel is evil' and that's just completely unfair."

    Also @EventualZen, who said anything about Jews? Unless you would like to make the claim that Israel does represent Jews?

    @Chudleigh Jones

    Who were you implying when you said:
    >You can map these motivations onto certain political entities that exist today.

    Chudleigh, Israel is the Jewish homeland. The rest of the Middle East would like to see Israel exterminated. The U.S. will stand by them and there is nothing you can do about it.

    Ok, so I'm not proofreading this. It is in parts brilliant but also unfocused. How could it be anything else, it's a super complex topic.


    Ok, so in your defense I assume that you have a drug problem. Most young students are at least on some performance enhancing drug and you being all high and mighty certainly have smoked a bit or maybe even some Cactus extract, if you know what I'm saying...

    Nevertheless, i wrote "There are four actual ongoing genocides." That included the Ui... Uy... Muslims in West China. Say what you will about China but when they want to get rid of a smaller culture in their empire, they go all in. They are playing empire for thousands of years. You Americans could learn quite something from them. China is not Russia. They are a far more formidable opponent and the US is not as vigorous as they were 70 years ago.

    I strongly recommend the Afghanistan papers. They perfectly highlight maybe the greatest American weakness, a lack of foresight. Anybody who believes in conspiracy theories should read that book as well. It really shows the reality of an empire stumbling into a quagmire. There were no plans, nothing. Then they did what any smart planner does. Everything. After that Bush disaster Obama, probably realizing that he could only achieve actual change in Afghanistan, thought, that there is no money money cannot money. Surprisingly that failed, too. They never took a step back and either admitted that as long as Pakistan and India are fighting, that there will not be a stable Afghanistan. Or solve the Paki-Indi conflict. How hard can it be?? If Pakistan, or more precisely the Pakistani military, has any contact with reality, they would want to get out of that conflict as quickly as possible. India is the fifth biggest economy, soon it will overtake Japan, and not long after Germany. BUT I digress. :)
    Where was I??

    "it's fair to say that Israel was complicit in that conflict as well. If Israel is like the Founders, then Saudi Arabia could be compared to the Cardassians and the United States to the Vorta/Jem'Hadar."
    Complicit, that's fun. As much as I enjoy a fresh take on geopolitics I must say there is probably not a single country within 2000km of Yemen that was not "complicit" in some sense. Everybody had their fingers in that pot. Yemen is strategically too important. I'm sure Egypt is happy with their crashing economy, losing a big part of their Suez Canal income. When it pours it rains. And Saudi Arabia meeting with Iran for the first time in like 15 years. Man, Saudi Arabia must be coughing blood. Iran rulers on the other hand could massacre young people for another three decades before they really are in danger.

    Back to the issue at hand. Ok, so Israel is the Founders... ok... I don't get it?? They have a comparably strong military for their size, sure but that's to no small part to the Arab states being kleptocratic nightmares. Israel also has significant and quickly growing internal problems. Israel has some pull in Washington but even that is dwindling. They are certainly not the leaders of the most powerful empire on the planet. So yeah, I have no idea what you are saying. Is that some kind of the Elders of Zion, Jewish global conspiracy narrative?? Seriously, you are a little odd. Are you right wing extremist or left wing extremist.

    Saudi Arabia being Cardassia. Well, at least those to are situated in an arid or desert climate. Still, Saudi Arabia is a chaotic borderline tribal oligarchy. The Saud family can only maintain it's grip on power through direct money transfers. I haven't looked it up recently but... I will do so now. Ok, so Saudi Arabia's debt tripled between 2017 and 2022. They consolidated somewhat in 2023. I always thought of Cardassia as a right wing military dictatorship with state controlled economy (Yes Rahul a state controlled economy can exist in a military dictatorship). So yeah without oil I doubt even airplanes would fly over the Arabian peninsula. It's mostly desert and temperatures are rising fast. Maybe they can move underground.

    And the US is the helper cast aka Jem and Vorta?? Well, my certainly fairly young pal. I guess if you are implying that the US is controlled by Israel your example would make sense. So how do six million Jews in the Middle East and some more in the US (many of them not super pro Israel) control the strongest Empire on Earth?? So who is controlling China? Gypsies?? Anybody who believes that this is possible has not even the faintest understanding of politics.

    What's next? Egypt is like the breen and Oman is like the Dosi? Sudan is... that's a tough one... maybe the Talaxians.

    So to give you my take and I have studied International Relations, the Biden government supports Israel in a fairly inconsequential way at UN votes. I find it amusing how people get angry at the US for not voting for a ceasefire. That shows that whoever says that has no understanding of geopolitics or the UN. What would be achieved if the US would not vote against? Nothing. I love the idea of the UN, and the nations coming together to talk is still better than not talking. Still, if the UN would have demanded a ceasefire then Israel would have ignored it. This is not like in Korea. No Chinese division will land close to Ashkelon to stop the IDF. So America would have won nothing while losing most if not all the influence it has over Nethanyahu. Net... whatever he is written... Bibi is weak. His government is hanging by a thread. It was already unstable and then did Mr. "I will keep you save" let the biggest terror attack in Israels history happen. If his government falls then he ends up in prison. There are two major corruption cases against him. His ultraorthodox coalition partners very likely dream of ethnically cleansing Gaza and slowly pushing Bibi towards that. Bibi cannot lose a single one of those lunatics. Right now the US can at least still call and talk about issues with future weapons shipments that could possibly be resolved if the IDF is a little bit more careful. Bibi obviously counts on Trump who for no gain whatsoever moved the US embassy to Jerusalem. Idiot. Trump would probably give Bibi 50 free H bombs or god knows what. To summerize, the US maintains some control over it's hard to control middle eastern borderline vassal because if that stops, the right wing extremists in Israel will push through the complete displacement of the entire Gazan population. I have seen reports that Egypt started to build refugee camps. That's not a great sign. Oh and as an aside, if Americans think their political situation is a clusterfuck, then you should give the Knesset a look. As if madness had gone crazy.

    Ok, this should cover everything Chudleigh, so yeah, I disagree with everything you wrote. It shows your naivete, your lack of understanding of the Middle East and your lack of knowledge of even the most basic principles of geopolitics. If that judgement makes you angry, then you can always pick up a book and learn. That's what I do in these cases. It has been fun.

    @Dirty Dancer
    " The rest of the Middle East would like to see Israel exterminated."
    That is obviously false. Ok Iran does, and some minor players like the Hisbollah (which is basically Iran). Egypt and Jordan are at peace with Israel and cooperate in several areas quite closely. Saudi Arabia is certainly closer to Israel than Iran. Turkey likes to make lots of noise but they certainly do not have any plan that aims at exterminating Israel. Syria and Iraq are close to failed states. So who in the middle east wants to exterminate Israel??? Come on guys. It's ok to not understand the Middle East and it's numerous conflicts but if that is the case then maybe don't comment on the situation there.

    Honestly, Booming, if you believe this you're as naive as they come. Jordan and Israel were at each other's throat for 40 plus years. A peace treaty was brokered by the U.S. Our involvement drove this. Jordan is pragmatic and is willing to accept this for now. Egypt has a similar relationship, described as a "cold peace." Their strategic relationship with Israel exists because the U.S. backs Israel. The overwhelming majority of Egyptians do not recognize the Israeli state. Both countries are heavily Sunni Muslim and would like nothing more than to wipe out the Zionist Jewish state. But they must feign peace to obtain concessions from the U.S.

    It's scary that you think these countries are friends with Israel. It reveals an almost total lack of understanding of the region.

    @Dirty Dancer
    "Honestly, Booming, if you believe this you're as naive as they come."
    You knwo what... whatever. Believe what you want. makes no difference either way. Ok and just to give you a hind about the complexities of state interactions. Internal security. Or in other words, only because you are a direct descended of Muhammad (allegedly), does not mean that religious fanatics do not want to overthrow you. In a movie they once mentioned an infamous Jordanian installation. The Fingernail Factory. I'm sure you have heard of it. That's where they exchange matzo balls for whatever they love to eat in Jordan.

    I'm done. Have fun lecturing Albert Einstein on general relativity. By the way, Einstein went to my alma mater. Where I wrote several papers about the middle east. Oh well...

    Jammer, this for you. I wanted to write a long response but then I remembered that you don't like it. So I did not. Personal growth.

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