Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"Doctor Bashir, I Presume"
Air date: 2/24/1997
Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore
Story by Jimmy Diggs
Directed by David Livingston
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"Think of it Julian. If this thing works you'll be able to irritate hundreds of people you've never even met." — O'Brien
Nutshell: An okay main plot saddled with a horrendous subplot. Not too impressive.
Though reasonable at times, "Doctor Bashir, I Presume" is probably the weakest episode of DS9 so far this season (please note that I'm not counting "Let He Who Is Without Sin " as an episode). The show takes the standard A/B-story structure, common to most current Trek shows. While the A-story is okay in places, it doesn't have the payoff it deserves. The B-story, meanwhile, is pretty much a waste of air time.
Doctor Lewis Zimmerman (Robert Picardo), the creator of the emergency medical holographic program, comes to DS9 to inform Doctor Bashir that he has been selected by Starfleet to become the model for a new holographic doctor. The new system (designed as a long-term medical hologram, or LMH) would be based completely on Julian's likeness, right down to the most subtle detail of his personality. In order to understand as much as possible about Bashir, Zimmerman interviews his closest acquaintances, from his fellow officers to his closest friends and even his parents, Richard and Amsha Bashir (Brian George and Fadwa El Guindi).
The problem is that Julian doesn't want his parents on DS9 or anywhere near him. Zimmerman invites them to the station anyway—against Julian's wishes and outside his knowledge—and it's a surprise for Bashir that can be called just about anything but "pleasant."
The best scenes in "Doctor Bashir, I Presume" are the uncomfortable ones of repressed scorn where Julian sits in malcontent with his parents. We know there's a history and a problem here, and Siddig does a decent job of conveying the sense of unhappiness without going overboard. The signs leading up to the big character explosion and the revelation of Julian and his parents' "secret" are also sensibly performed.
The secret revealed is that Julian is a product of genetic enhancement. When he was a young child he was slow and fell behind in school, and his parents, in an act of desperation, took it upon themselves to have Julian's DNA "resequenced." This turned Julian into a model character of physical and mental proficiency. The procedure was illegal, however, and if anyone were to find out about it now, Julian could lose his career and his parents could go to prison.
There are some relevant points here—given the recent successful sheep-cloning experiment and the moral implications of doing such genetic experiments with humans, "Doctor Bashir, I Presume" airs in an ironically timely fashion. The morality of "creating" or "enhancing" people genetically is a very interesting moral dilemma—and one that the Star Trek universe has deemed wrong. That's fine in itself, but there's not enough drama here. The show doesn't keep the power on long enough to make the story have the emotional impact it really needs. I liked Bashir's problem of coming to terms with his parents over what they did to him at a time when he was too young to have a say in the matter. However, there's simply not enough done with it. Julian's mother, in particular, doesn't have key lines where she should have, making much of the episode seem like a "Julian versus his father" story. And when the secret does come out into the open, it's done in a conveniently "plot"-induced way: when Julian's parents reveal key information to the holographic image of Julian while O'Brien and Zimmerman are standing within earshot in the next room.
The biggest drawback with this premise that makes it simply "okay" when it should've been "good" is the way the ending sidesteps practically all the consequences. Julian decides he's going to resign with dignity since his career is doomed anyway, but then Julian's father makes a negotiation in the eleventh hour with an Admiral Bennett (J. Patrick McCormack) that, as far as I can tell, goes against everything Julian has said about Starfleet's rules. Why exactly is it that Bennett allows Julian to keep his career in exchange for his father's agreement to spend two years in prison? Sure, it's the "noble act of redemption for his son" that seemed necessary under the show's initial painting of Richard Bashir as a man who normally doesn't take responsibility where he should, but the ease of Julian's escape from what seemed an impossible situation hurts dramatically quite a bit, and the whole story thus comes off looking somewhat transparent and lightweight.
Another big problem with the main story is that it's constantly interrupted by a nearly worthless B-story. The whole subplot involving Rom and Leeta's "unrealized romance" is worthy of being tossed out the nearest window, so far as I'm concerned. Once again Max Grodenchinchik and the writers portray Rom as a caricature completely devoid of the slightest remnant of subtlety, as well lacking all signs of a real personality. All the entire B-story does is convince me more than ever that Rom is a cardboard, exaggerated, epitome of idiocy with no hint of any social grace. It wouldn't be so bad if Rom were simply a little bashful or clumsy with women, but Rom's complete state of paralysis whenever Leeta talks to him is so hopelessly overstated and unfunny that it had me cringing more often than not. I don't think we really need to be hit over the head with a sledgehammer to realize Rom possesses such characteristics, but that's precisely what the writers have done with so many recent Rom plots, and I'm sick of it. As a result, Rom is by far my least favorite character of the ensemble.
Meanwhile, Leeta comes off looking fairly awful herself. Chase Masterson, while physically attractive, has lost all sense of charisma that her character seemed to have is seasons past. She's been virtually reduced to a superficial bimbo in a nice body. (Coming from the always-sexist Quark, the rather mean line of sarcasm to Leeta, "Sure you have brains, that's why I hired you," seemed scathingly amusing at the time, but it almost seems like a disturbing self-fulfilling prophecy in retrospect.) Leeta comes across in this episode about as shallow and empty-headed as I hope a regular character can get on this series, and that bothers me quite a bit, because I know the writing and actors are capable of much more. Tasteless attempts at comedy like the scene where Zimmerman visits Leeta in her quarters only to happen upon her just after she has stepped out of the shower (and then she conveniently drops her towel for a totally forced uncomfortable situation) are not funny. They're idiotic and lowbrow—not reasons I watch Trek.
On the other hand, we have an effective performance by Robert Picardo, who creates the real Lewis Zimmerman as someone who is similar to Doc on Voyager, but yet different enough to create a different character with more human qualities. Picardo works very well in almost every situation he appears in, whether playing opposite Brooks, Meaney, or Siddig. The acerbic sarcasm that Doc on Voyager has is present in Zimmerman, but at the same time there's a subtle downplay in the attitude that works wonders, and I think that's worthy of quite a bit of praise on Picardo's part.
Some of the early scenes concerning Zimmerman and Bashir that focus on the LMH plot are not of utmost importance to the real story here, but they do entertain as self-contained set-pieces—especially a fun scene featuring two Zimmermans and two Bashirs in the same camera frame.
Other than that I don't think there's a whole lot else to say about "Doctor Bashir, I Presume." I would not call this a bad show per se, but after balancing the passable main plot and the repulsive subplot, it comes out somewhere in the "mediocre" range.
As an aside, let me wrap up with a quick notion. Two weeks earlier when "In Purgatory's Shadow" aired and after which I peeked at the air schedule, I noticed "Doctor Bashir, I Presume" in the lineup. Based on the title I thought maybe this show would be a character analysis of Bashir after his experience in the Dominion prison and his thoughts (as well as everyone else's) on his being replaced by a Changeling imposter. It could've been a compelling follow-up to a major event, much the way TNG's "Family" followed up "The Best of Both Worlds." Too bad—I think I would've enjoyed that much more than this. Just a thought.
Previous episode: By Inferno's Light
Next episode: A Simple Investigation
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177 comments on this post
Mon, Apr 7, 2008, 11:08am (UTC -5)
I'd rate this 3 out of 4. It'd have been 3.5 out of 4, had it not been for the Leeta-Rom story.
But I felt it was a supremely entertaining episode, nonetheless.
Truth be told, though, a "Family"-esque episode that dealt with the repercusions of the changeling Bashir would've been preferable. But I like what we got, so..
Tue, Apr 15, 2008, 11:54pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 26, 2009, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 20, 2010, 11:32pm (UTC -5)
It's really too bad because Bashir's genetic engineering actually makes sense, I've heard some fans even believe that it was planned at the beginning of the series - deliberately getting a question wrong to avoid becoming valedictorian in his class, not wanted to look up anyone on Earth in "Homefront" - this could have been a great episode. But it was not to be.
Sun, Apr 18, 2010, 11:20am (UTC -5)
I do think it could have been better. As in "Crossfire" better.
As another poster said, they really needed to address the changeling Bashir and solid Bashir's readjustment after spending months in a Jem Hadar prison.
Thu, Nov 4, 2010, 8:07pm (UTC -5)
In a perfect world, I'd have placed this episode before the 2-parter that preceded it. Julian's "clone" happened way too suddenly, and it would've been really interesting to see what would happen if the changeling were still on the station when his parents slip up about the family secret. The changeling has to find some way to play along, suspicions are raised, and it's existence there would potentially have more impact on the series. Segue into the 2-parter. Hmm.
But standing on its own, apart from the current main storyline, it's still intriguing and enjoyable. Leeta/Rom did nothing for me, but I always welcome the small moments when Miles realizes how much he likes and respects Julian.
Sat, Dec 25, 2010, 11:27pm (UTC -5)
And boy, that condition he has in Lifeline must include rapid aging...
Tue, Dec 28, 2010, 9:16pm (UTC -5)
It was a pleasure to see Robert Picardo, it helped me feel like I was watching Star Trek again--I also appreciated the other allusion to Voyager, the penal colony in New Zealand where Tom Paris was serving.
Finally I hate Rom, I hate Leeta, may they die in an explosion together.
Fri, Feb 4, 2011, 5:35pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 25, 2011, 6:53am (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 16, 2011, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 3, 2011, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 28, 2012, 12:27am (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 1, 2012, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 23, 2012, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
A more accurate depiction of the nerd/hot girl dynamic was in Stargate Universe, that between Eli and Chloe.
Tue, May 1, 2012, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
Leeta is stereotype in this one.
Well 2 Stars from me.
Sun, Nov 25, 2012, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 14, 2013, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 16, 2013, 6:49am (UTC -5)
It's true, Trek has never really properly delved into any transhumanism ideas, which is a shame as it's one of my favourite topics. They'll touch on things like cybernetics briefly, but they seem to be things that the Federation just doesn't really do (I mean look at the zooming LaForge's implants can do in First Contact. I'd be going out and getting a pair of them installed! The Federation troops seen in DS9, if not genetically engineered, should be filled to the brim with enhancements)
But regarding genetic engineering specifically, I think it's not only a fear of what we might create, but also a general "nature is better" attitude that pervades most of our culture. Phrases like "not what nature intended" sum it up really, nature doesn't have a consciousness or agenda and is actually pretty good at imperfection (also I think the personification of nature might point to a religious origin).
In that light, I think Gene would have been all for some of the more cyberpunk themed concepts, but it's a particularly eccentric pill for an audience to swallow because it's so far removed from our understanding now.
Thu, Aug 22, 2013, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
.. sorry, what was this episdoe about again?
*Walks into wall repeatedly*
Fri, Oct 25, 2013, 8:25am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 12:13am (UTC -5)
The consequences imputed by Starfleet for all those cases? None. Zero. Nada. This just cannot be credible, sorry. I get that DS9 tries to give grey tones to the ideal Roddenberrian future. For one, showing that judgements and moral choices in the frontier are not as simple as in the voyaging starships such as Enterprise, as Wolfe recognizes in the beginning of last season. Actually that is what makes DS9 so incredible for may of us (myself included). I do love the even somewhat anti-Roddenberrian tone used sometimes.
But one good thing is to give us a show where things are not as morally clear and simple as within Federation own ships. Pretty good. Another totally different thing is to show the same Federation and same Starfleet in the same reality making such heterogeneous decisions about Starfleer officers' misconduct just depending on which show we are watching.
In this point, the is just incoherent bad linking with the Trek universe, not shading Trek with tones of grey.
Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 2:29am (UTC -5)
I think Sisko is a bigger problem, but I might write about that in the What You Leave Behind comments.
Sun, Dec 8, 2013, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
The issue is to not have any consequence, not even a small one (in fact not even a reprimand) for his life-time lies to the Starfleet. He chose to hide an important fact from Starfleet, not to mention to conceal a crime evidence to protect his father, obliterating justice. It is quite a lot for no consequence.
Wed, Dec 18, 2013, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 5, 2014, 4:38am (UTC -5)
The truth is Star Trek writers didn't want to go into that because when ST was created, these things we seen as "cheating". For all the "wonderful" new technologies they had on the show, it was actually the lat 60s and most people still didn't have colour TV... and nobody really understood DNA engineering. So, like for cloaking technology, an arbitrary decision was made that the Federation were too good for either.
In reality of course, the Federation would have been crushed to pieces if they had decided indeed to NOT develop a cloaking device for their ships. It's like deciding that guns are a cowards' weapon and that you'll stay with a sword. Well, you may very well do that, but you'll lose. The same goes for genetic engineering, in truth it can be perfectly controlled (although there should be a lot of safeguards) and indeed the Federation sounds like Luddites and (like all Luddites) complete hypocrites, considering the rest of the technology they create and use daily!
Thu, Feb 27, 2014, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Star Trek in any series has a habit of lack of repercussions on characters. Though DS9 has some improvements in that area, it's far from perfect.
The B-plot works on its own terms concerning the logically-characterized idiot-savant personality of Rom. He's socially awkward in most respects despite being mechanically brilliant. He's also a Ferengi whose species apparently contains rather clumsily awkward personas - some more present in that regard than others. The Rom/Leeta scenes worked for me albeit on a level of pleasant diversion. The final act of the episode with Rom/Leeta/Zimmerman could've used a substantial rewrite, though, Zimmerman walking off after the cute alien boarding the ship made me grin.
All in all, I rather liked this episode. I actually like it a bit more than when I first saw it.
Fri, Mar 7, 2014, 10:29am (UTC -5)
Miles O'brien is the perfect example. Imagine every Miles episode involving him solving some sort of techinical problem with the station? Boring. But instead we get problems with his wife, we get him being in a faux prision, we get him defeating an evil wormhole alien. Miles does shit, Bashir is just a doctor who annoys people sometimes and has a hard time with the ladies.
Then we get this episode and we see Siddig use his acting chops. The scenes were great his parents as Bashir is filled with a dull rage at them. Bashir goes from an overly eager beaver to a sad panda as his "ultimate" secret is reavealed. And the ending scene where he reveals that he's been holding back his whole life just to make others feel better? I'm hoping that this plotline develops in further episodes. What really sucks though is I was spoiled earlier on while reading a book about Star Trek, so I wish that I hadn't know about this reveal before it was unveiled.
On a side note, the B plots almost always suck Jammer. Rom sucks, Leeta was never good, did you ever have any hope for these characters?
Thu, Mar 20, 2014, 7:25am (UTC -5)
-- Leeta as a bimbo.
-- Rom's "I love you!". Rom has never talked to Leeta (nor has she ever said anything interesting) so there can be only one reason for his "love.". And it's not her wit.
-- Amsha Bashir as a stereotypical submissive-Pakistani-wife type, making soft placating sounds all episode while her husband and son fight. ( Even the Federation seems to consider her a nobody who was just obeying her husband and therefore deserves no punishment.)
-- Julian suffering no consequences
-- The casual reference to despicable Ferengi marriage customs, which are far too similar to despicable current-day earth customs (the buying and selling of brides as a business deal conducted between father and groom, with the female as property) to be at all amusing.
Mon, Jun 9, 2014, 8:39am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 9, 2014, 10:40am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 9, 2014, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 28, 2014, 1:59am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 12, 2014, 9:18am (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 6, 2014, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 10:56am (UTC -5)
Brilliant idea about Bashir! That would have been perfect aside from future episodes when section 31 comes on scene.
I believe this to be a Star Fleet issue, but I agree - joining the Federation isn't just a Star Fleet matter and the "party" should have included civilian representation (at LEAST ambassadors).
Leeta - Chase has incredible boobs, you really can't 'look past that' when evaluating her entrance into DS9. The way this business works I wouldn't be surprised if she was 'seeing' someone in the casting/writing department (she did try out for another DS9 part earlier). Bashir needed a girlfriend... now that she and Julian broke off their relationship, well - I guess Rom needed a girlfriend now. (wink-wink)
I just can't 'hate' Rom. I enjoy the character. Good for him I guess.
But on the 'A' story.
Did anyone else think Julian's parents reminded them of Worf's parents?
I wonder how Julian knew he was 'enhanced'?
I thought the punishment was fitting too. Sisko probably did some schmoozing with the ADM (which I would have done too) and they came to a reasonable compromise here.
Some of Alexander’s best acting to this point.
Of course, Picardo is always a welcome addition to the Star Trek scene.
I’ll go 3-stars for this one.
Fri, Sep 12, 2014, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
This is a bizarre episode to follow up "By Inferno's Light". Without writing my own review (Jammer sums up most of my thoughts pretty succinctly on this one) I just want to say that this episode feels like it could have fit nearly anywhere in the series, like the writers were sitting on the script and pulled it out to take care of part of this year's 26-episode obligation.
This really, REALLY should have addressed Bashir's time in the Jem'Hadar prison. Is it even mentioned? If this is a pre-written script, could it not have been adapted to include SOME references to the events currently going down? If it's not a pre-written script, wow.
I'm surprised RDM put out such a clunker. The thing is that it's not even a BAD episode. Mediocre at best, but it's so tone-deaf considering everything else that's going on. You'd think Moore would have pushed to include some of those elements in this show regardless of how much the writers' room wanted this to be a genetic enhancement story.
Mon, Jan 26, 2015, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
I always wondered this and especially now when apparently Julian "played" properley at end of episode.
If you're playing days properley you would be going for triple 20 not bullesye as bullseye is only 50.
Mon, Apr 27, 2015, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 2, 2015, 11:46pm (UTC -5)
But the interactions between all the characters was good. It's good to have proper character development. Just a shame that in this case it's a bit of an unrealistic development. I liked the fact Julian and his family felt real. A lot of time in Trek, there is no conflict or anything that makes circumstances feel real. Here, it did.
Tue, Jun 2, 2015, 11:50pm (UTC -5)
I have no idea whose idea it was to put darts in Trek but, as a pretty good dart player myself, I enjoyed it. I'd think that O'Brien's actor was the one who asked for it, given his Irish background. But when I watch him play, he is not standing, aiming, or even throwing correctly. And surely he'd have corrected the writers about the scoring system.
They felt the need to put darts into the show and didn't do any research into the rules.
Sun, Aug 23, 2015, 1:32am (UTC -5)
Another thing we have in common is I like Rom too.
I just wish they had not made Julian genetically enhanced. It kills the idea that he came in second when he graduated from Starfleet Medical, he missed that question on purpose, drawing to attention away from himself. I liked the idea that he was naturally a great doctor.
Sun, Aug 23, 2015, 12:29pm (UTC -5)
It's not like he's Borg or something like that. In trek Genetic enhancement is always "bad" because of our beloved Khan. But in cases like this, I don't see it as bad at all.
Fri, Aug 28, 2015, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
It's also one of the only VOY and DS9 crossovers. I always wondered why no episodes of DS9 mentioned Voyager's disappearance.
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
The writers pretty clearly had the same answer William B had above: "no." The responsibility was his parents', although only his father steps forward. The deal struck at the end seems to implicitly accept that it isn't right that Bashir would be barred from service because of his parents' actions.
Of course, the episode isn't just about the legal consequences of Bashir's enhancement, it's also about the emotional fallout. His scenes with his parents are about him dealing with his suppressed anger over this. O'Brien, the "everyman" of the series, assures Bashir that this doesn't change the way he'll think of him, although the last scene with the dart game somewhat questions this.
All in all, a strong A-story, with good acting all around. As to the B-story...I was fine with it. I wouldn't recommend it, but I might have laughed once or twice.
A few comments from above:
-From Nyk: "Leeta would probably laugh at Rom and make fun of him when talking to her friends. "
Ehhh, I've certainly known women like that, but it's generally a sign of their own insecurity (they don't see themselves as very attractive, and need to cut other people down to make themselves look better). There are many attractive people who are quite open-hearted, regardless of their intelligence.
-From Toraya: "Rom has never talked to Leeta"
They worked in Quark's together for years, and were both leaders in the "strike" last year. They know each other well for the beginning of a relationship. Even if Rom is inept in conversation, everyone who's dated for a while knows you learn far more from observing how someone reacts in a variety of situations than you do from conversation. That said, their "love" is probably an adolescent version of the emotion...the same type shown in a typical rom-com (they declare their love....end credits).
"Amsha Bashir as a stereotypical submissive-Pakistani-wife type, making soft placating sounds all episode while her husband and son fight."
I took it quite differently. I though it was a pretty standard relationship where the father-son have intense arguments and the mother/wife faces the difficult decision of figuring out when to avoid the crossfire and when to try and play the peacekeeper. Mother/daughter relationships can have the same dynamics, though they aren't shown as often in drama.
Sat, Jan 23, 2016, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
The earlier scenes are nicely light-hearted, as two massive egos play off each other. Of course it's a pleasure to have Zimmerman appear, and whoever decided to put Morn in the talking heads is a genius.
I actually liked the Leeta/Rom story, although spent most of the episode wanting to punch Rom in the face. Go figure. 3 stars.
Mon, Jan 25, 2016, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
The family dynamics between Julian and his father ring true. (I like methane’s interpretation of Julian’s mother’s role here.) There is a bit of an extratextual kick from Bashir's family's race, which I don't think has any impact in-story in the 24th century but links the pressures his parents were under in some ways to the problem of immigrants wanting to assimilate and thrive in the West, and particularly inadvertently placing extraordinary burdens on their children to make sense of their lives. Either way, Richard Bashir also has a somewhat lower-class English accent, which suggest that there may be some remnants of class markers even in the 24th century. I like, though, that the story of the Bashirs' difficulty, both Richard's in his own career and Jules' as a child (and the parents' as a whole), are very convincing within the Utopian TNG-era framework set up. The Bashirs did not have to start robbing to pay off gambling debts or whatever, and there seems to be no particular difficulty at *surviving*, but on some level thriving always remains somewhat difficult, and somehow Richard never figured out how to bring an order to his own life and priorities. Jules was a slow child and his parents were afraid to let him fall further and further behind, and have a life of mediocrity to look forward to, where his physical needs would always be met but he would always feel inferior. I have wondered what the best current-day real-world analogue is for illegal genetic enhancements are—performance-enhancing drugs in sports, maybe?—but mostly I think it works best in this episode for the pressure exerted onto children by their parents to *be better*, sometimes because of the parents’ own insecurities and sometimes out of a genuine desire by the parents to make a better life for their suffering child. Bashir’s mourning for his lost childhood as the person he was before his parents transformed him matches up with his parents’ declaration that he was unhappy, struggling, miserable, and we are left without a clear answer as to whether what his parents did ultimately helped their son or not.
I know that Siddig was not told ahead of time about the genetic enhancement reveal and was understandably unhappy about it (and I have also read that he deliberately sabotaged some later performances so they would stop giving him Data-esque lines, which is less professional but also in some senses understandable). And I agree that this development was not in any particular way planned. But as far as retcons go, this one has always made sense to me. Bashir has always been an unusual, top-of-his-generation medical genius, and he has also always seemed both to put his intelligence and medical skill as his defining trait and had large insecurities about it. It’s standard gifted-child issues, and it’s more poignant when we find that his giftedness was artificially created by his parents, whom Julian felt never quite loved the him who existed before the enhancement. His difficulty finding worth in himself except for his daring medical deeds is consistent with someone who really wonders if his intelligence is all that makes him important, and who also “knows” that his intelligence is not some universe luck-of-the-draw but is the result of his parents’ cheating in the genetic lottery. I think the reason his friendship with O’Brien is so important here and elsewhere is that O’Brien’s “ordinariness” (“uncomplicated,” as in “Statistical Probabilities”), or everyman status (despite being himself a brilliant engineer), helps confirm that Bashir actually can get in touch with other people at large, and not just other exceptionals, and thus perhaps let go of needing his super-duper exceptionality to prove his worth. This makes sense also of O’Brien being the focal point of Bashir’s “coming out” as genetically enhanced, rather than having him have conversations with Dax or Garak.
I think the ending is meant to suggest that Julian had no responsibility for what happened to him, and so it makes sense for Richard to go to jail…except that, uh, Julian lied for a few decades about it. I mentioned Simon Tarses way up there (lying about being a quarter Romulan), and this seems to be worse by Federation law standards. So it is a bit of a cheat. If Starfleet is serious about their deterrent policy then it seems like having Bashir get to stay in Starfleet because he lied successfully long enough to become a raging success is going to help them. I don’t really mind it all that much here, nor that the episode does not really even make the case for why genetic engineering is illegal—the admiral name-checks Khan, and that is that—because I know that future episodes will do some work addressing this. It makes the episode a bit incomplete, but I’m okay with the focus being purely on the personal.
As for the subplot, no. The problem is that we are being asked to invest in the Rom/Leeta relationship despite the entire history of their relationship on screen being “Bar Association” and Leeta’s line about finding Rom cute and very sexy in “Let He Who Is Without Sin….” It is a comedy plot, so I get that we don’t need to invest that much, but Leeta is going to plan her whole life on whether or not Rom can get up the courage to ask her out, I guess, which is the same as him getting the courage to say he loves her, because who cares about all those intermediate steps. Robert Picardo does save some of the material, but it is mostly very painful.
3 stars for the whole package—say a guarded 3.5 for the Bashir material and a 1-1.5 for the subplot, which fortunately takes up little time.
Tue, Feb 23, 2016, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
I was also disappointed with the complete lack of follow-up from Zimmerman, in addition to being disappointed by everything above.
Also the previous episodes consequences were completely lost here, even something as simple as having Klingons walking around would have been a welcome touch of continuity.
At the end this episode boiled down to nothing more than a way to permanently ruin bashir and OBriens future dart games, which was always a welcome source of camaraderie.
Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
you're kidding, right? The first scene of the episode is a closeup of the dabo table with a Klingon playing. Very potent reminder without hitting you on the head with it
Sun, May 15, 2016, 1:07am (UTC -5)
The revelation that Bashir is an Augment (a term which wasn't invented until ENT but which I'm borrowing) is a classic example of the writers literally pulling an idea straight out of their asses. There is quite honestly zero build-up to the reveal, it requires some decidedly selective re-interpretation of previous Bashir-focused episodes in order to work and happens so relatively late in the series that it comes across as something of a "wouldn't it be neat if...." concept. Still, once you get past the dubious nature of its set-up, the A-plot is surprisingly good (not perfect, but very good). On the plus side, the Bashir family dynamics work almost perfectly. With such a massive pink elephant sitting in the middle of the room, which nobody wants to address (or simply can't address), it's completely natural that everyone involved would begin to interact toxicly. On the negative side, Amsha's defense of their actions rings somewhat hollow and really needed more work in the writing room. "You have to understand that we didn't do it because we were ashamed but because you were our son and we loved you," she implores. I don't buy it. It really does come across that they were ashamed of having a son who was falling behind his classmates. Neither her or Richard appear to have loved Jules Bashir as the person he was and so determined to change him. While I appreciate that the writers were trying to make their decision somewhat sympathetic, I don't think they all together succeed. Again on the plus side, Richard's decision to finally accept responsibility and go to prison so his son can retain his life is a noble sacrifice (and Richard is an wonderful character all around - it's nice to see a Human who isn't supremely competent at virtually everything, something Trek has a weakness for). But, again on the negative side - why is he the only one who gets sent off to the New Zealand penal colony (which is apparently where all Human criminals end up - it's also where Tom Paris served his prison term). Wasn't Amsha equally responsible for the decision to genetically engineer Bashir? Why does she escape any punishment?
But the big plus the episode has in it's favor is it's relevancy to real-world issues. William B said up-thread - "I have wondered what the best current-day real-world analogue is for illegal genetic enhancements are—performance-enhancing drugs in sports, maybe?" Well, I think I have an analogue. While we don't yet have the technology to genetically engineer a person, we do have the technology to discard certain people who don't "measure up." There have been some studies that have indicated that somewhere around 90% of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. And that parents who decide to keep a child with Down Syndrome are oftentimes looked upon with thinly disguised disgust. In fact, some people see it as a full-on moral responsibility to see that no such babies are born, since we have the ability to stop it. I, myself, have a friend who has a son with Down Syndrome. He wasn't, however, prenatally diagnosed and she and her husband literally didn't find out until they were in the delivery room. Then, with her holding the minutes-old newborn in her arms, the doctor and head nurse both flat out said "I'm so sorry; if we had known earlier, you could have had an abortion." Naturally my friend was totally disgusted. The point is that it's simply cruel to assume a simple genetic accident or defect could rob a person of his inherent value. Fortunately, Trek has usually agreed with me where this issue is concerned, and "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?" fits in nicely with that trend.
Then there's the Rom/Leeta B-plot. While I don't think it was anywhere near as bad as Jammer apparently did, it did need a lot of work. First, again while I appreciate what the writers were attempting to do (this time with Rom's nervousness around Leeta), it just doesn't ring true to the character. I love the fact that they were trying to portray a case of severe social anxiety (the closest Trek ever came to that previously was with the character of Barclay) because I, personally, have suffered from truly debilitating social anxiety around women. Jammer says that Rom here is "a caricature completely devoid of the slightest remnant of subtlety" and "a cardboard, exaggerated, epitome of idiocy with no hint of any social grace." Well, *that* is rather exaggerated, in my humble opinion. Rom's level of discomfort around Leeta is EXACTLY the level of anxiety I've experienced my whole life around any attractive woman. So, he's not a caricature. People like this do exist in the real world; I'm living proof. The problem is that it just doesn't fit with Rom's previously established character. Yes, he's shy and bashful around Leeta, but he certainly didn't have anywhere near this level of difficulty interacting with her in "Bar Association", did he? His sudden turn toward crippling social phobia here just comes directly out of left field. I suppose you could say that's because of his experience with Prinadora, Nog's mother. But that doesn't explain why he was able to talk to Leeta in previous episodes. Good grief, isn't this the same guy who openly asked this very woman for a hand-job?! Second, why the hell didn't Leeta just ask Rom out herself in the first place?! And please, spare me the cliched nonsense of "women aren't taught that they can do that." In the real world they most certainly are and have been for at least the last two generations. Third, what connection do these two plots have to each other? I suppose you could say there is the shared theme of "secrets being revealed", but that's about it. I haven't seen a two plot episode this disjointed since "Life Support" - unsurprisingly, another episode with a fairly serious A-plot bogged down by a light-weight B-plot involving one of the recurring Ferengi characters in a romantic situation.
But the big problem is, again, the treatment of Dr. Zimmerman. While the writers did the right thing with a crossover guest character here - i.e. didn't a.) let him completely steal the show by having all the focus on him instead of the "Deep Space Nine" characters (like most of Troi's and Barclay's appearances on VOY or how Riker and Troi utterly destroyed ENT's finale) or b.) have him be nothing but a corny and pointless cameo appearance (shades of Mirror Tuvok come immediately to mind!) - the way he is basically just discarded once Rom actually plucks up his courage and tells Leeta his feelings for her is rather off-putting. Apparently the main "message" of this plot one of "the shy, socially clumsy guy getting the hot girl." Well, isn't Zimmerman another shy, somewhat socially clumsy guy? Granted, he's nowhere near as bad as Rom is in this episode, but he's still somewhat of a klutz around women. And yet, the episode basically just tells him to go jump off a cliff, or maybe continue pursuing other unattainable women, once Leeta and Rom are together. Was that really necessary?
Wow, that ended up being much longer than I anticipated. Long story short - a good episode which is dragged down from the heights it could have achieved by some really noticeable flaws.
Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 28, 2016, 9:00am (UTC -5)
Why didn't the doctor call before just showing up at the station? Why wouldn't Sisko have known about it in advance? The exposition at the beginning was weird.
What does Julian's mother do for work? Why doesn't she go to prison? Was she not involved in the decision to modify him? If not, why not?
Why doesn't Leda ask out Rom? It's not like Bajoran women never take the initiative.
The show is really inconsistent about travel time. Is earth a couple hours from DS 9 (as implied by Julian's parents just showing up) or a couple of weeks (as implied by other episodes and the inability to have starships available as back up when you need them.
Myles' statement to Julian that genetic enhancement doesn't affect someone's personality was completely contradicted by the admiral's statement that it can make people overly ambitious like Khan.
Fri, Oct 28, 2016, 10:37am (UTC -5)
That one at least was easy. They didn't prosecute her. Starfleet wasn't looking for blood here. Julian's Dad agreed to take full responsibility and punishment and the JAG accepted and honored the deal he made with him.
BASHIR: You can't do this.
BENNETT: It was your father's suggestion, Doctor. He pleads guilty to illegal genetic engineering and in exchange you stay in the service.
BASHIR: Well, I want no part of it. I'm not going to just stand by while my father...
RICHARD: Jules. Julian. Listen to me. This is my decision. I'm the one who took you to Adigeon Prime. I'm the one who should take responsibility for it.
Often in real life as well a plea deal comes with benefits to both sides. Hence the term plea DEAL. The deal is that Julian and his mom are off the hook. It doesn't mean that they aren't guilty, it means the JAG isn't going to come after them.
Sat, Oct 29, 2016, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 29, 2016, 3:50pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 1, 2016, 5:50am (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 1, 2016, 6:27am (UTC -5)
But if it's not racist to say colorblind people can't serve in the army, it's not racist to say geneticly engineered people can't.
Tue, Nov 1, 2016, 6:58am (UTC -5)
Now, Starfleet's rules ARE discriminatory. I don't think they're "racist" because "genetically engineered" isn't really a race (arguably). But it's also a different problem from colour blindness. The restriction on genetically engineered people serving in Starfleet, as stated in the episode, is more about deterrence on a societal level than individuals with genetic enhancements. Maybe based on Statistical Probabilities we could also argue that genetic engineering gone wrong is seen as a potential ticking time bomb liability, but that wasn't brought up here. Bashir could maybe argue that the rules for Starfleet ate sufficiently discriminatory that he was morally justified in breaking the law, frame himself as an activist. Some laws are unjust.
Tue, Nov 1, 2016, 7:40am (UTC -5)
Calling such a law "racist" bespeaks never having lived through the horrors that humanity did in Star Trek. It's easy to forget that the utopia we see in TNG and DS9 only came after atrocities like the eugenics wars, WWIII, and the time period we see in Encounter at Farpoint. If you knew *for certain* that only such laws could help prevent further instances of that you'd beg for them.
Tue, Nov 1, 2016, 7:50am (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 1, 2016, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
What about Spock and all the other half-humans? They were created through gene-splicing. Isn't that genetic modification?
Tue, Nov 1, 2016, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 2, 2016, 8:26am (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 2, 2016, 9:11am (UTC -5)
The books aren't canon, and are most likely written by people with zero knowledge of science in any case. It is an indisputable fact in Trek that some different species can interbreed, and this is not 'gene splicing.' TNG's "The Chase" suggests a reason why they can do so, but even so such a premise is not required. The writers say they can do it, so that's that.
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 10:33am (UTC -5)
On the other hand, I largely enjoyed the Zimmerman/Leeta/Rom love/lust triangle, and, even if it was 'low brow' for Trek, I can't complain about seeing Chase Masterson bouncing around in a towel.
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 10:38am (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 10:42am (UTC -5)
Yes, the Eugenics Wars 'took place' in the 1990's, so around 380 years prior to the episode. Did they really say 200 years in the episode? I never noticed that, but if they did it would be a mistake, yeah.
Thu, Mar 2, 2017, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
I thought Julian's father was a great character that I found well done and refreshing. So much of Trek revolves exclusively around humanity's cream of the crop, the Picards and Kirks of the universe, it's just refreshing to run into someone who would probably be selling used cars in our time. Even Barclay, for all his faults, was still a genius - this guy is a mediocrity, a real loser, and somehow there isn't enough of that in Trek.
I did find the father's deal a little too pat - if that was a likely option all along, why not just say so? If I had to explain it in a more sensible way, Sisko was Captain of one of the most important outposts in the Federation and he used his influence to convince Starfleet to bend the rules to salvage his officer. At least, that is how I would have written it.
Regarding the mother, I don't object to her husband falling on his sword for her and her not going to jail. But it seemed like the episode just didn't have the time or inclination to really address her character in a serious way. It isn't even that she seems particularly submissive to her husband - rather she's just kind of ignored for most of the episode. If they had jettisoned the idiot Leeta / Rom subplot maybe we could have dealt with mom more seriously. Or if they weren't prepared to address that, maybe they should have just said she left Julian's father or died in a transporter accident.
Tue, Mar 14, 2017, 7:50am (UTC -5)
Okay, I agree with most here that the B plot is painful, BUT, and I can't believe it, I might have found an explanation for Leeta jsut not expressing her feelings-in Bar Association, she seems to come around liking Rom after he stands up for their rights and gives inspiring speech after speech. Perhaps she's only interested if he is the brave guy she thought he is. Yeah, it's probably bullshit. Still, I didn't really find Zimmerman all that shy or awkward.
Fri, Mar 17, 2017, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
A plot is fine needed another Khan reference or two so people would understand why genetic engineering is such a bad thing in the Trekverse.
Fri, May 26, 2017, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
episodes wich are hated by a majority.
But i thought the discovery of Dr. Bashirs Enhancement was really great
handled. The hologram Bashir acting so cold while Julian himself was also
pretty dismissive of his parents in the scenes before.
I liked it.
Fri, May 26, 2017, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
No, that really isn't that. When a show is set in the same universe as ours, writers (good writers) are expected to obey the laws of physics and biology as much as possible, and give good reasons for anything that is, without massive medical intervention, scientifically impossible (even then, likely still totally impossible). In this case, it was probably better not to even go down this ridiculous route.
When writers don't give good reasons, or don't spend time making believable stories, we are not supposed to sit here nodding our heads and saying "So what?" We're supposed to be angry that either they were too lazy to care, too stupid to know, or think we are too stupid to know. And when they aren't held to account, they never improve and we get an increasingly inferior product.
Wed, Jul 12, 2017, 3:09am (UTC -5)
Bashir's father no doubt spent all his savings to have this done to his son and there's a shadow of a doubt over every aspect of his personality. For example, is his lower class socio-linguistic dialect real or was "upper middle class" but after the augmentation chose to live a more mediocre life to ensure not much attention was paid to him and his family? (Remember they moved after the treatments and he procured falsified documents for his son - fraud big time).
Re: Julian, now we know this about him so many of his actions make sense. Why does he endlessly play the role of a spy in holosuite programs? Is it because his whole life he's been in "deep cover" or is that the vocation he really wanted? (We actually don't know if he wanted to study medicine or not, he may have been pushed in that direction).
It shows that Bashir is a competent liar also. That explains why he enjoys Garak's company so much - is his meetings with Garak training for him or is it further study in learning from the best? It also "proves" he got that question wrong not for a girl or because he froze but because he didn't want to stand out too much in every way. It also explains why he chose a post on a Bajoran station in deep space - far away from Earth, his parents and a too "Starfleet" environment.
Lastly, regarding him "lying" to Starfleet, you guys have to understand his position. I reckon he learned while still as a child of what had happened. Sitting through history classes about the Eugenics Wars would have been a nightmare for him. He would have also lived with the fear that if it was discovered his parents would go to jail and he would be rehomed. After the treatments were done, to confess the truth would make everything his father did for him meaningless and remember that he would have been continually "coached" on how to act by his father (who may have introduced him to James Bond films to help him pretend to be someone else).
Lastly II: the "deal" at the end works for the following: This is a time of war - heck, even Romulans are cooperating with the Federation and Bashir has a plethora of knowledge on the Dominion having even been captured by them and spent time in an internment camp. To instantly "drop" him from Starfleet over something his parents did to him as child and the daily "abuse" of having him lead a pseudo-double life (quite burdensome and traumatic for a child) during a time of war when the whole Alpha Quadrant's future hangs in the balance is shortsighted and harsh. It's not like he's an Eddington - abusing his position to secretly assist an anti-Federation cause, he just wanted to please his father after a terrible (and illegal) sacrifice was made.
The punishment fit the crime - it was harsh enough to send a message that Starfleet will not allow augmentation to go unpunished but soft enough not to turn Bashir into another Eddington.
This is a stand out episode in any Trek, it makes you want to rewatch DS9 from the beginning and pay close attention to everything that comes out of Bashir's mouth because the person we thought was just a goofy young doctor with a penchant for the ladies and "frontier medicine" is just a cover for who he really is - the human Garak.
4 stars - one of the best Trek episodes ever, even with the Zimmerman/Leeta/Rom love triangle subplot.
Wed, Jul 12, 2017, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
While I suppose that's an interesting take on it, I wouldn't say it explains why Bashir played the spy programs. For starters, Bashir wasn't originally written to be genetically engineered, so the writers made him a fan of spy stories without his hidden past in mind.
And I think his love of spy stories is simpler than that. Julian's a doctor and doctors keep secrets of their patients all the time. Being a James Bond-like spy also feeds Bashir's real life desires to be an elite professional. Bashir also hangs around Garak which has given him sort of a romantic idea of what spies are like. It also doesn't hurt that Bashir also has an English accent which many Bonds have.
Sun, Aug 13, 2017, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
Anything after the Dominion two parter would be a step down. I was hoping for an episode tied to this newest twist in the arc but instead we got a standalone. Okay. But it wasn't a very good one
First there's the stupid ferengi romance love triangle with Rom Leeta and dr Zimmerman. This held Zero interest for me
Then you have a rather pointless Crossover with Robert Picardo as Zimmerman. I didn't like Zimmerman on VOY and even less on DS9. He is an annoying character
Then you have the Bashir portion. Don't care him being made into a hologram. That left the family stuff and BIG secret. The latter was underwhelming. I wanted something more interesting and compelling. And the family stuff didn't do much for me either
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 8:47am (UTC -5)
The B-Plot is an utter waste of Picardo's acting talents. I can't imagine he was happy with the dialogue he was given.
As for the A-Plot, they didn't emphasize enough why these laws were in place in my opinion. They should have mentioned Khan at least three times in ensuring the audience knew just why the Federation is so hostile to genetic engineering.
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
That's a great point, I really wish they had laid out why genetic engineering was bad before Bashir went all doomsday on his career. I think the problem was, like I mentioned before, the Picardo plot was originally the A-plot of the episode. Later, it was decided that Bashir needed to have a horrible secret because the comedy material from A-Plot didn't fill a whole show.
I think the secret did in fact make Bashir's character more interesting, but the writers didn't really consider the implications of genetic engineering itself until later shows. In fact, you could give Bashir pretty much any family skeleton in the closet here and this episode would play out the same.
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
That's an interesting point, and I agree TWOK is arguably one of the most famous Trek elements known in mainstream culture. Nevertheless, I don't think I was reminded of Khan in this episode until the admiral name dropped him. I suppose, at least in my mind, there's a huge difference between curing an ailing child of mental deficiencies with genetics and creating a super human military tactician. The connection isn't immediately obvious.
Sun, Aug 20, 2017, 2:07am (UTC -5)
The title references the famous line "Dr. Livingstone, I presume" reportedly made by Henry Stanley upon finding Dr. David Livingstone.
The director of this episode is David Livingston. I wonder if they specificsllly had him helm this episode as a bit of a joke.
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 4:16pm (UTC -5)
But it was nice to see Picardo here as a pompous, lonely, and a bit happy-go-lucky doctor. He naturally falls for Leeta and provides some decent humor. Really can't stand Rom though -- his schtick is very old.
The huffing and puffing between Julian and his parents might be found to be touching by some folks watching the show but it didn't work for me. Not knowing Bashir's parents and then just having them drop in and try and create some emotional response doesn't work. The best father/son emotional dramas in DS9 come from Ben/Jake Sisko because we have a greater depth of understanding of their characters.
So Julian is allowed to stay on the station and his dad does time for his illegal act of genetically enhancing his son. But at least the 2 are on good terms now. It just seems quite phony to me. The father knows it is illegal to do genetically enhance his son but still does it because he's too impatient and doesn't think his sone (Jules) can lead a good life. I think the average viewer wouldn't be too pleased with the father in this instance.
2 stars for "Doctor Bashir, I Presume". Not a great A-plot and a terrible B-plot. So eugenics is now apparently taken so seriously by Star Fleet but yet there was no examination of Bashir's excellent (I presume) record on DS9 such that that is given as an excuse for accepting his dad to do 2 years and letting Julian off the hook. And please no more Rom/Leeta subplots (or heaven forbid, a main plot).
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Why? Because Julian made it clear that Federation law barred anyone genetically enhanced from serving in Starfleet AND medicine. Clearly the Feds remain quite scarred by the Khan/augments/etc debacle, whether Luddite or not, and thus have absolute prohibitions. It's not Julian's fault, but it never would be the child's fault, but this is to ensure the price is too high.
As it is, despite the Admiral's speechifying, the slap on the wrist to Pops means they no longer really take it seriously.
Mon, Jul 9, 2018, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 11, 2018, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
On a Trekkie level, it bugs me that Bashir is genetically enhanced, and out of nowhere Rom is a technical genius. So everyone in the show is superhuman in some fashion. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is officially Star Trek: Justice League.
Sisko - Represents the gods (Wonder Woman, Thor - yeah, yeah, Marvel blah-blah)
Jadzia Dax - brilliant (Jadzia) and pseudo-immortal (Dax)
Bashir - genetically enhanced. He could not just be a naturally gifted.
Kira - the ex-warrior
Quark - token non-special human
Sat, Aug 11, 2018, 5:40pm (UTC -5)
So...of the 'superhumans' you mention the two women mentioned are unreasonably written because one is tough and the other is brilliant? You may not have meant it quite like that but it's worth considering.
That said, I have noted that in particular the station's personnel seem to be on average sensationally capable physical combatants. If anything that's the biggest conceit of the show, that Sisko, Dax and Kira are standing toe-to-toe with Klingons or even Jem'Hadar.
Thu, Aug 23, 2018, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 26, 2018, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 26, 2018, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
"So we can't use this great Star Trek technology to cure people with brain disorders or mental retardation. It would have made sense if Bashir was a normal child and his parents wanted to make him superhuman."
I can see where you're coming from, but what is supposed to be the "standard" under which a person is eligible for this treatment? Does that mean everyone under absolute average IQ can be enhanced to bridge the gap? But if so the average rises, and you get IQ creep where eventually everyone is like Bashir.
To make a case that *only* disabled people are eligible you'd have to clearly define the precise genetic 'damage' they incurred, if you will, and treat it like a disease. I can see that case making sense, but won't some people say that their 'highly disadvantaged but not quite "diseased" child' is getting screwed by this system and will end up being left behind? What about compassion for them, when the technology is available to 'help' them?
Bear in mind the laws against engineering are borderline religious for the Federation in their vehemence. They come after civilization was nearly wiped out *completely* - twice. I figure that almost *any* safeguard is acceptable to prevent any chance of that happening again.
Wed, Sep 26, 2018, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
Does your son see anything wrong with himself, or is it just you? I would hope that by the 24th century we will attain equality not by altering everyone to an ideal, but by valuing everyone the same regardless.
Thu, Sep 27, 2018, 12:40am (UTC -5)
I don't think Mark is insulting his son. He is just saying that healing ills (of all kinds) is a good thing. I agree. It is wrong to isolate or ostracise someone with a mental illness. But pretending it's not there doesn't help either. Being autistic is an illness that only God can really cure. But in the Star Trek universe to hold the cure and not use it is...disturbing. It's different than someone wanting to augment their kids (or themselves) above everyone for power/influence, etc
Thu, Sep 27, 2018, 1:13am (UTC -5)
How could God see any of His Sons as sick? That would presume that His Creation is imperfect. Only those who see themselves as apart from Him in some way could view themselves or another as deficient in some way.
Thu, Sep 27, 2018, 6:24am (UTC -5)
I'm sure he is all over it.
Thu, Sep 27, 2018, 11:37pm (UTC -5)
After Adam and Eve sinned, they became imperfect, and it was inherited by their descendants. Until God's Kingdom comes to rectify the situation on earth, we all face different sicknesses/illnesses until we eventually die. This will be until God's Kingdom brings about the paradise He promised. Tell ya what, feel free to email me at [email protected] and we can talk about it
Fri, Sep 28, 2018, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 28, 2018, 6:18pm (UTC -5)
I'm sure when you get a serious disease or infection that requires antibiotics, you just pray, right, Sean?
People with an IQ under 110 should be banned from having a computer.
We know what god did over the centuries for the sick and dying - and what he continues to do. ZIP.
Either god created the world as his personal entertainment (possible... in fact the Bible says he was bored and alone) - or he doesn't exist. I'm actually on the side of a possible creator - but you can pray all you like, "he" is doing jack squat to help you.
Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 12:09am (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 7:19pm (UTC -5)
If you want to seriously discuss it, I will be happy to. However if you just want to jeer, I will discontinue my discussion
Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 1, 2018, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
Ok. Fair enough. In answer to your question, perfection means that they had no ailment, physical or mental. But even the angels still have free will. Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, just as certain angels sinned and became Satan and the Demons. They did it intentionally, unlike us as imperfect people who at times may unintentionally do things. I don't know how you define perfection (really, I don't-I am not jeering at your definition), but we hold that free will is a gift and responsibility from God.
But as far as illnesses, they will be cured after Armageddon, when righteous mankind will live forever on earth in paradise (Mt 5:5 John 5:28, 29 Isa 65:20-25)
Tue, Oct 23, 2018, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
I define perfection as just that - perfect. Thus there is no possibility of "sin" by perfect beings. Sin is merely error (even the Aramaic simply means missing the mark, and not an irredeemable mistake which requires sacrifice, confession or God to descend to the earth in human form - which is quite ridiculous and makes no sense).
It is true that perfection entails free will, but the most that free will entails is the ability to create the illusion that it is possible to separate from God - not the ability to actually do it because that would be changing what God is and what we are. There never was a "fall" except in our own minds, and part of us (what you call "satan") desperately wants us to believe that it is real and the world we made along with it. The world is a symbol of our separation from God and is wholly unreal.
There is either God or there is evil, illness and death - never both. The choice is yours to make.
Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 6:00pm (UTC -5)
--Put me in the camp of those who think this was planned for Bashir early on. I'll bet there are hints dropped all over the place, but I wasn't looking, so who knows. But someone mentioned his interest in 007 type spies, there's also his interest in Garak and "his secret," his need for a sort of . . . false modesty (we see in his insistence that everyman O'Brien call him Julian, and his being drawn to O'Brien). Also, he betrays his naked ambition when he loses that award, when he acts all modest and unconcerned, first.
--Doc! I love Picardo, and he's excellent, here. So he gave up on Siddig and went with Andy Dick? Too bad, for everyone in the Federation.
--Those parents of Bashir freaked me out a bit because they look like mine (mine are from Italy). Especially the Mom, who looked freakishly like mine. But I look nothing like Siddig. And my only genetic enhancement is in my ability to watch ST episodes and flawlessly opine on them. :)
Apropos of nothing, in googling about Nana V's pregnancy, I learned Siddig is Malcolm McDowell's nephew - his sister's child. And I see the resemblance, now that I know. He looks half European, but no need for the on screen parents to reflect that, I guess. I liked the "everyday" type of parents they gave him.
--Rom and Leeta . . . It was ok. I worked in IT for years and certainly the "shy and super awkward around women" type is for real. And they spent a lot of time together at Quark's, so Leeta could've fallen for him. I think the story was meant to complement the A story - both contain long sought after declarations of love. Both are about insecurity, not thinking you're good enough as is, and getting past that . . . one way, or another.
Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
I do think there was some talk from the writers about this not having been planned for long. Certainly Siddig didn't know (and was, understandably, annoyed about it).
But even if full retcon...I basically think it makes (almost) perfect sense. Probably there are some things here and there that don't fit together. But I think overall it really works for the character. I sort of hinted at it a bit when talking about Distant Voices, because even there it sort of...feels incomplete, like there's something Bashir is still managing to hide, even from the Lethean (or, that the Lethean's "secrets" aren't actually the real secret which is haunting him).
I think, also, Bashir's hanging his whole sense of worth on his achievement, while also trying to appear that he doesn't value it, at other times...it just fits for me. Bashir's also declaring that "Jules Bashir died" a long time ago, and the sense that he's lost some innocence, that who he was before the genetic advancement wasn't worth it, is part of why he's drawn to O'Brien, because he really is an everyman who is also smart, talented and useful.
When I think of the people Bashir is most drawn to, I think of O'Brien -- everyman, person with a functional family, someone who immediately fits in everywhere, with a strong moral centre; of Dax -- genius, fun-loving, (compared to Julian) fully secure in herself and her exceptionality, with a keen mind and openness to adventure; and of Garak -- deceitful, pragmatic, holding secret after secret, lots of shame. They all reflect back elements of who Bashir is, or wishes he were, or is afraid he is. And that Bashir is drawn to people who remind him of himself or who he isn't or (etc.) so much reads to me like there's something incomplete and broken in him, that he's (unconsciously) trying to fix, that he's trying to find models of how to be himself functionally.
You also asked, I think, why Bashir was willing to give Garak so much of a pass on his crimes, back in The Wire, and I think it's partly because of Bashir's own secrets -- not that Bashir's are as bad, but that he partly wanted someone to regard his can-never-reveal-under-penalty-of-losing-everything secrets and pain with compassion. Which is, probably, part of why he's a doctor in the first place. His teddy bear was his first patient; where Jules get the idea his teddy bear was broken?
Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 7:16pm (UTC -5)
Interesting! I did some googling and saw a quote from . . .I forget the name, one of the writers, saying that they had wanted Bashir to have a mysterious past, a secret, but they hadn't figured out what it would be.
It says Rene helped come up with the genetic engineering thing. They knew they wanted to reveal "Bashir's secret" in the Zimmerman ep, and were discussing it. And when Rene mentioned genetic engineering, they thought it worked perfectly, as you say. And it really does.
What I read about Siddig not liking it had to do with the writers trying to make him more robotic afterward, which . . . I can't blame him for not liking that. Seems like a weird decision by the writers, though maybe there was some misunderstanding there, too. Being able to hit the dart board bullseye every time or do complex calculations in your head doesn't make you a robot.
Who knows. I'm sure actors differ in their ability to, and interest in, understanding their show and their character.
Anyhow, thanks for the info. Very interesting.
Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
Yes, Siddig was pretty frustrated that they were writing him as Data some of the time afterward, and it does show in some episodes (both that he's suddenly "emotionless" and Siddig's frustration). Some of it is just him rattling off calculations in an irritating way, which to me makes sense and isn't a problem -- Bashir goes overboard a bit because he's finally given a chance to "come out of the closet," so to speak. Some of it is actually that he's emotionless or robotic, and that doesn't work and is a weird choice, though I think there are possible ways to explain it in context (they sort of play with it in early season six a bit).
Mon, Jan 21, 2019, 9:21am (UTC -5)
From what I read, right from the start, before they even completed casting, Michael Pillar (I think) told Siddig that they were going to do something very controversial with Bashir: since the norm was to cast an attractive leading man to be a charismatic center of a show, they instead would write Bashir to be annoying and unlikeable. The experiment was to deliberately sabotage the character for a few seasons, and then to have a big reveal and do a switcheroo so that the audience would see why he had been putting on a an annoying front for those years. And so he would evolve into that charismatic character after all.
Now this certainly was a daring plan; after all, who wants to play a character that will be disliked? And I suppose we can all judge whether they pulled it off or not. I'll be curious to hear from Springy whether Julian becomes more, less, or equally likeable after this point. And in considering this to also keep in mind that Michael Pillar, not being showrunner any more, may have not stuck around to ensure a consistent and stable arc around this matter.
Tue, Jan 22, 2019, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
Personally, I liked it. Several reviewers have described DS9 as an island of misfit toys. Finally, Bashir fits in on DS9!
Mon, Jul 22, 2019, 5:35pm (UTC -5)
Being British it was great hearing a familiar accent more, though from time to time with the estuary english of the father and argument scenes I felt like I was watching the long running British soap opera, "Eastenders"! Bit of a heart string puller with the Father. I can forgive the Rom storyline, mainly due to getting the fantastic Robert Picardo for an episode. Combined with the darts ending, I don't remember laughing so much with a DS9 episode in a long time. Brilliant!
Mon, Dec 2, 2019, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
But it does make sense Starfleet would overlook some rules considering the war and plus Bashir has been pretty throughout vetted by this time and is a genius.
The episode itself remains weak though because not enough time was spent on this stuff. The retcon works amazingly well though.
Huge kudos to the actors playing Bashir's parents... One isn't even an actor! Along with great writing for them and Siddig's performance, it's very believable they are a real family.
Sat, Dec 14, 2019, 10:12am (UTC -5)
That's an excellent point regarding Jadzia. I'd much rather have that as a headcanon than Bashir just liking her because she's pretty (even though it's certainly true!)
I like this episode-- because I like basically all the DS9 episodes that deal with heavy gray ethical stuff rather than black-and-white morality-- but I absolutely agree with everyone else who said that they should've spent more time focusing on the ramifications of Bashir's time in the prison camp. One of the best things about DS9 is how it's not serialized, and it lets its characters grow and learn from things that happen in previous episodes.
In season 2 or even 3, I would've expected them to completely ignore his time in the prison camp. But it's season 5 now. If we can have Eddington becoming a Maquis, or Dukat disowning his daughter for choosing DS9 over him, there's absolutely no reason not to spend at least *some* of what is literally a *Bashir-centric episode* talking about the impacts of camp 317.
Sat, Dec 14, 2019, 10:45am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 14, 2019, 11:18am (UTC -5)
I disagree. I think that his father should have been punished more severely and his mother, too. How many parents would engineer their children if the only consequence are 2-3 years in a Federation low security prison and it isn't even both parents. Such a federation prison is probably a nicer place than most hotels today.
The best safeguard is to deny people who are engineered any kind of post in the Federation as to not incentivize anybody who wants a better future for their unintelligent offspring. If you make a better life impossible then you eradicate the main reason for parents to engineer their kids. Simple and effective.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
I've been talking in the comments for 'The Begotten' about Odo's forgiveness of Dr. Mora, and there's definitely more to talk about on the "forgiving your parents" theme here. I really don't feel enough is done here to merit complete forgiveness. Comparing this with the script, I'd say there's a definite difference between how it was written and the eventual performance.
Stage directions for Bashir watching his parents leave in the script:
Bashir smiles back at him and then Richard and Amsha
EXIT to the transport ship. Bashir watches them go and
then he heads off down the Corridor.
But you watch the scene as it plays out, and Bashir's only smiling for the length of time that they can see him -- the moment they're gone, he's stony-faced. I like that touch. Makes it feel less like a lifetime of resentment has been paved over in a few conversations.
I've heard that Alexander Siddig hated this development for his character and made deliberate efforts to put in as little effort into the acting as possible. He must be a *really* good actor then, because if he's doing that here, it doesn't show!
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
There were two parallel issues with this Bashir development. The first is that according to Michael Pillar they had decided pre-pilot to run a number on Bashir's character, making him deliberately unlikeable for a few seasons in order to then spring some kind of surprise and have him turn around to become a fan favorite. I have no idea why they wanted to do an experiment like this, but maybe it was due to everyone on TNG just being so damn nice and friendly. For Bashir they actually wanted to fans not to like him initially! Ironically I like early Bashir the best because he's such a dork.
So this character retcon may well be what they settled on for Bashir's 'big surprise'. The issue for me is they had already had one big surprise - the Changeling situation. And what's more, Bashir had already been toned way down by this time and wasn't the aggravating nuisance that Kira wanted to swat every time he spoke. So any kind of sudden reversal at this stage in the game wasn't really that much of a reversal. He was probably a middle of the road fan favorite originally, and would remain so after this. It basically changed nothing. At least, nothing in terms of ratings.
The second issue was how the writers took to Bashir's new identity, which Siddig apparently feared would have them turn him into The Human Computer and take away any humanity from him. So maybe this last scene was Julian sort of playing a bit of Mr. Computer. I wonder whether the actor was trying to portray that he didn't quite forgive his parents yet, or whether it was more of a "I have to try to look normal in social situations but really I am a human calculator with a stony face in private." And the last scene may be him letting down his social face. I guess you'd have to ask Siddig himself about that one.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Anyway, Peter G: thanks for the background info! Yeah, this really does seem like the wrong time to pull a "surprise" like this. Episodes like 'The Wire', 'The Quickening', 'Nor The Battle' etc have already done far more than enough to depict a natural flow of character development... and then to suddenly introduce this (AND in such close proximity to Changeling Bashir, as you say) feels inorganic as well as unnecessary. Less an arc, more a loop-the-loop.
Ouch, speaking of which. After a month of no one knowing Changeling Bashir was any different from the regular one, now his own parents can't tell an incomplete hologram from their actual son.
As for how Siddig's playing it from now on, I'll have to keep an eye on him in upcoming episodes. Delving back into the history of the show in light of this twist may not be all that useful, but no doubt this is going to inform future choices.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
You'll get the most bang for your buck in retroactively taking a look at Whispers from S2. The whole episode reads differently when seen in hindsight. I highly doubt they had any of what was coming in mind when they wrote it, which makes it all the more mysterious that they did write it. Maybe they wanted to leave Whispers vague enough to suit various options for "surprise" without having to settle on one just yet. I mean, why else write in that Julian deliberately failed to get 1st in his class? Why insert that into his past, and have it take a Lethian to draw it out of him, unless it's Something Important? Almost puts Bashir on the same level as Garak in terms of it implying he's hiding something. That said most of the writers probably either didn't pick up on that or else dropped it, since there are no other allusions in the series to Julian having some kind of secret reason to fail.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
What annoys me the most is that they decide that Bashir was not only brought up to normal or even prodigy levels of intelligence by the genetic treatment, but also that it turned him into a god among men physically too. What why what?
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
More ways to brag at parties!
The father was obviously insecure, so turning his son into a super human is quite understandable. Maybe he is a loser but he produces super children.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 6:31pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G. I think you meant Season 3's "Distant Voices" as "Whispers" was the O'Brien's 'everything is wrong and everyone is in on it' episode.
As for revelation, it does add some wrinkles to Bashir, but I don't think it goes out of it's way to adversely change his character on it's own. Perhaps in conjunction with other events, but that's just characterization marching on I think.
What I do like is how it retroactively works too. First with the aforementioned "Distant Voices" - ehich also gives that episode some additional context that elevates it somewhat, but also with "Our Man Bashir", which Trek reviewer SFDebris analysed from a post Augment revelation point of view. Essentially "OMB" lets us the audience, and Garak, in on Bashir's fantasy. Not of being a spy, but of being able to live a life as the exceptional, superhuman he is. The fate of the world in his hands, the detail-oriented work, seeking out and playing other's weaknesses against them. AND being able to non-fatally shoot a man (Garak) in the neck with pin-point accuracy. And being able to make quick, calculated decisions on the fly. All with Garak mock it, but in reality dancing around the truth of it all and either missing it, or knowing full-damn well what it all meant to Bashir.
Honestly, even if this twist wasn't planned, I don't really have a problem given how well it can be placed upon the previous foundations laid out.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
The less said about the B-plot, the better - if truth be told, I skipped through pretty much all of it.
The A-plot is a bit more interesting though, thanks in part to the semi-cameo from Zimmerman as the creator of Voyager's holographic Doctor.
But when all's said and done, it pretty much revolves around a single point, in the shape of the dirty little secret Bashir's been carrying around since he was a child: his parents genetically engineered him to be physically and mentally superior to everyone around him.
In some ways, this helps to explain his tendency to behave in a supercilious manner, though in others, it's pretty obvious that this wasn't a planned long-term arc; there were no explicit hints from the writers and there's a lot of past incidents where his superior capabilities should have come into play.
(Though to be fair, it does help to explain why he thought he could single-handedly tackle a virus created by the technologically superior Dominion - and his reaction when he failed...)
However, it also throws highlights an interesting contradiction of sorts within the Federation: the point blank ban on genetic engineering. There's a canonical reason for this - the Eugenics war from Earth's history - but at the same time, it's an odd blind spot in a society which prides itself on being a post-scarcity civilisation focused on the freedom of the individual, and where access to advanced medical technology is freely available.
(And it has to be said, there's been no shortage of episodes where genetic engineering/manipulation has played at least some part in the storyline, all the way down to the unfortunate TNG episode Genesis, where the crew of the Enterprise devolved into animals, only to be saved by Data genetically engineering a virus which performs genetic manipulation on the affected crew!
It's also something which is notable by it's absence from the Federation's interactions with the Jem Hadar - a genetically engineered slave race designed to be physically and mentally superior to everyone barring the Founders. In fact, it's something of a shame that there was never any parallels highlighted between Bashir and the Jem Hadar...)
It also leads to another question: where does the Federation draw the line on such things? Are they willing to address congenital defects in babies? Will they allow citizens living on marginally habitable planets to tweak their DNA to better handle extreme living conditions? What about selecting gender or dealing with quality of life issues - e.g. eyesight, allergies, mental health issues, and so on. Or things related to genetic engineering, such as cloning, etc.
These are the kind of shades-of-grey questions that DS9 was so fond of - and that medical science was starting to explore back in the 90s - and it would have been nice to see some exploration of these questions, rather than just having a blanket ban on genetic engineering.
Back to the story, and it's odd to see that for all that this is meant to be The One Big Bogeyman for the Federation, said ban isn't particularly well enforced; Bashir's parents may be placed under a limited form of house arrest, but Bashir himself is essentially let off completely, and is left free to spread his genes to children who would potentially inherit his supercharged genes...
Equally, this episode has an interesting implication, in that Bashir's parents were far from the only people to seek out a back-street doctor to hothouse their children. Or to put it another way: there's already lots of genetically engineered, "superior" humans running around the universe, and their numbers will only ever increase!
(And yes, I'm aware that we do get to meet some other genetically engineered humans in a later episode, but that way lies spoilers...)
Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 12:08am (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 3, 2020, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 5, 2020, 11:35am (UTC -5)
And so on one hand we watch as Leeta and Rom forge a romantic relationship. She's treated as being stupid by everyone, and exalted only for her attractive body. Rom, meanwhile, is treated as an ugly, socially incompetent guy who is exalted only for his engineering skills. Both characters want to be appreciated for who they are, and viewed as fully rounded humanoids.
This echoes Bashir's plot, in which it is revealed that his father, an entrepreneur with an inferiority complex, had Bashir "genetically engineered to be smarter". Bashir feels belittled by this, disrespected - was he not a good enough son? - and also a charlatan; his "gifts", he believes, are the result of biochemical circumstances outside his control, and so should not be celebrated, in much the same way Leeta is resentful of her beauty. Such genetically dealt hands, she believes, distract from her owns personal and hard-fought accomplishments.
This episode features the one and only Robert Picardo. He's on DS9 to build a new "hologram doctor" and wants to use Bashir as a holo-template. This leads to many hilarious scenes, involving the EMH made famous in "Voyager". The episode shines when Picardo is on screen.
The episode climaxes with various arguments between Bashir and his father. This is all heavy handed and generic - fathers and sons reveal their grievances in obvious ways and learn to accept one another in overly cliched and tidy ways - but Bashir is acted well, conveys well a real sense of heartache and hatred, and manages to sell most of it.
I've always hated this episode for introducing the idea that Bashir was genetically engineered. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that this show eventually character assassinates Dukat, Sisko, Odo and Kira (Dax was literally killed) as well.
Remember, Bashir once represented the best and worst qualities of Starfleet and the Federation. He was sheltered, hopeful, innocent, wet-behind-the-ears, socially awkward, a bit over-bearing and naive, but also bright, eager to learn, intelligent, kind and ambitious. Over the show's first four seasons, it was fun watching him mature and grow. Indeed, he was essentially a better written Harry Kim.
And so to learn that he has super DNA, super memory and a super brain, seems to lessen the character. His achievements now seem less a result of a human overcoming hurdles, and more like a cheat. Of course you can argue that all human intelligence/skill/success has a biological component as well, and so is heavily dependent on luck - Bashir's genetic engineering is merely just another form of cosmic fate etc - but it nevertheless still feels like a cheat. It feels less relateable. Bashir is now suddenly Data. And it seems to come out of nowhere.
Indeed, I would go so far as to say it undermines the great progression we see Bashir undergo from "Invasive Procedures" to "The Wire" to "Life Support" to "Hippocratic Oath" to "The Quickening".
I know some fans say several episodes (eg "Rivals") can be retroactively interpreted to "foreshadow Bashir's powers", but that's not the overriding impression we get from DS9's first four season. No, we really did watch a newbie mature and gain experience before our eyes. And with the wave of a hand, he's revealed to have been faking it all along; he's been hiding his powers.
The episode also wastes an opportunity to delve seriously into genetic engineering itself, and why the Federation fears it. The show exhibited a very 1990s, very unfounded fear of such science, especially in the way it equates "eugenics", "genetic engineering" and "Nazis atrocities". It's all rather short sighted. You'd expect the Federation to embrace such technologies, but just heavily regulate it.
Sat, Nov 14, 2020, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
The professional attitude would have been to look for the elements of his past characterization - for example, his naïveté and his extreme intelligence - that made the show runners decide he was actually genetically engineered to be hyper-intelligent.
Instead, Siddig became enraged and bombed his performance. That’s not teamwork. It shows complete disrespect for all the other people who work on the show. An actor’s job is to bring a character to life, but that doesn’t mean that the character begins and ends with the actor.
Acting is a profession, and it’s unacceptable to be so unprofessional. If DS9 had been made today he would’ve probably been killed off as soon as s6 began.
Sat, Feb 27, 2021, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
Zimmerman is equally obnoxious here.
Thank God for the luminous Leeta and her willingness to love little Rom. Now there's a saga worth developing.
Ten times worse re-watching it.
Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 5:19pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 6:00pm (UTC -5)
Khan wasn't a Trill though. His genetically enhanced supermen are what the prejudice stems from.
Sat, Apr 17, 2021, 12:35am (UTC -5)
@William B (Jan. 25, 2016) "I have wondered what the best current-day analogue for illegal genetic enhancements are- performance enhancing drugs in sports, maybe?-"
I think that's correct.
Khan and his fellow 'supermen/women' were essentially very much like athletes who 'dope' to win competitions.... e.g. using hGH.
In the so-called Eugenics War, some unnamed scientist, or group of scientists, developed a genetically enhanced human species capable of overthrowing or nearly so, all world governments using mental and physical strengths not possessed by normal beings.
According to the TOS Space Seed episode, it is the expansion of ambition, which occurred as an unplanned consequence of the genetic fiddling, which caused the problem. The suspicion that all genetically-enhanced beings will insatiably need to win, and to forever dominate, lies at core of the Federation's paranoia.
But surely Julian has rarely, if ever, shown himself to be of Khan's ilk. He's good at lots o'stuff to be sure, but he's hardly Mr. Space Seed.
BTW, work with human growth hormone was originally being done, not to dope athletes, but to help children believed to have pituitary deficiencies (sort of reminds me of the slow-to-develop Bashir). It's an interesting research story going back before the mid-70s, centered in Philadelphia. Recipients of those early hGH preparations are still walking among us untraced and with no medical follow-up....the administering doctors having passed away and their notes, if any, lying forgotten in a dusty file.
Sat, Apr 17, 2021, 11:16am (UTC -5)
But surely Julian has rarely, if ever, shown himself to be of Khan's ilk. He's good at lots o'stuff to be sure, but he's hardly Mr. Space Seed."
I'm not 100% sure that DS9 is saying quite the same thing as Space Seed was about ambition. Odo and the others talk about the unfair competition, and how parents would be pressured to enhance their children. Essentially it's a race to the bottom...or rather to the top. You can say bye-bye to homo sapiens as a species at this point, and you may as well breed Jem'Hadar once you're at it. Actually I'm kind of shocked that the Founders were never mentioned in the discussion about genetic engineering.
In Khan's case, yes, he was ambitious beyond measure. But then again many normal humans have been essentially as ambitious as that too. We don't really know from Space Seed whether most of the enhanced were like this, or maybe most just wanted to live regular lives and only a few started ganging up to control the world. I think the book Ender's Game has a good instance of something akin to this, where of the three children of equally brilliant intelligence, only Peter has disposed to want complete domination of others, while Ender and Valentine didn't want into that game. Now maybe one of the enhancements given to Khan in particular was an increased aggression and ambition, but it seems that by DS9's time it's assumed that you can turn on and off anything you like and that even if ambition is one of the options it doesn't have to be chosen.
Sat, Apr 17, 2021, 11:56am (UTC -5)
I think Peter is right that plenty of average people are ambitious - but being average (or close to it) where does that ambition take them but to an average outcome?
The point is that if some people stand above others to such a massive degree, a portion of them are going to seek dominance just like in any human society. And if their abilities rise to match that ambition, watch out.
Sat, Apr 17, 2021, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
All points well taken. Plenty of unremarkable people are ambitious...remarkably so, given their often tragic lack of ability.
However, I was just reacting to Spock, who said in Space Seed:
"Because the scientists overlooked one fact: that superior ability breeds superior ambition"
Sat, Apr 17, 2021, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
Maybe this doesn't mean that the quantity of ambition is increased. It could very well mean that the skill of ambition is superior. In other words, when people are superior in every way their capacity to carry out their ambition will be amplified likewise. Which is sort of what Jason R. said.
Sat, Apr 17, 2021, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
But the argument that it clearly leads to some kind of ambition to be a global dictator seems very weak. After all, the argument isn't simply that they were ambitious and therefore joined their local school board and Rotary Club, worked hard and used their abilities to prove themselves to voters and get elected to political office. No one would find that a very dystopian scenario. It's that there is an inevitable threat of a coup and dictatorship - which seems a bit of a stretch without further explanation.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 6:00am (UTC -5)
The main characteristic of that ambition to Spock was that it was self-serving and completely unconcerned with ethical trifles. Very few of the supermen wanted to become famous pastry chefs, with restaurants in Tribeca.
Political power was the overarching goal of these wonderful creatures. I can imagine that the various 'Khans' when they came of age, dispensed with their teachers, and believing themselves superior to all and sundry, seized power, unconcerned with the rights of others.
'Very few of these supermen had the ambition to perfect low-sodium cream-filled donuts and to distribute them at a resonable price'.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 6:04am (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 8:03am (UTC -5)
I think that Khan-like ambition isn't rare. There are people like this all over the place. Now I am not speaking of literal world domination from the outset as most people simply don't have the frame of reference to reach the point where they desire that. Nobody wakes up one day and imagines themself overlord of the world because that simply isn't culturally on the radar.
But where the frame of reference is there, human ambition is practically infinite. In other words, if there is some inkling that something might be possible such that many desire it, it's a safe bet that many will have the ambition to pursue the desire and being an actual superman is hardly a prerequisite to that ambition.
Go to Hollywood and I'm sure half the people waiting tables have the ambition to be the next superstar actor. Talk to kids on a basketball court or an ice rink and I'm sure no small number plan to play in the NBA or NFL. Go to silicon valley startup and there are wannabe Zuckerbergs and Bezoses everywhere.
Is there a meaningful difference between wanting to conquer the world and wanting to be the next Michael Jordan or Taylor Swift? I'd say psychologically it's the same thing. The context is different and of course the consequences to the rest of us vary wildly, but *wanting something outlandish*, desiring something - what does it matter what the object is?
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 8:23am (UTC -5)
That being said I actually still agree with you, and the desire to dominate and control the fate of others is actually not rare. No one knows for sure what goes on in the passing thoughts and hidden fantasies of every person (I believe that we only ever perceive the tip of the iceberg from most people). But I personally suspect that total dominion is not as far from the thoughts of average people as we might suspect. It's not so much that they crave it to the point of obsession, or of actual planning, but it's more of a "oh man, if only I were in charge and could tell people what to do" kind of mentality. So I don't even mean it in the sense of malevolent dominion; and indeed in Wilde's An Ideal Husband this kind of political power is actually painted as the greatest good, unironically. So I could even believe a Khan type person wanting to rule, but actually thinking it's to stop the corrupt idiots from ruining the world.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 4:21am (UTC -5)
That seems believable but it obviously contradicts Spock in Space Seed and the Admiral in this episode, who both say that the genetic engineering itself caused Khan's level of super ambition.
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 5:02am (UTC -5)
Khan in Space Seed was called "the best of the tyrants" and the writers went to some length to show that Kirk and Scotty actually admired him.
Khan as drawn is not a psychopath (agreeing here w/Peter G.). He does, I think, show a high degree of charisma and strong tendency to want to be loved unconditionally. He has become convinced, I think, that his charisma is magical and that he can achieve anything through personal will. His need to be loved is always present. The need to control seems to me to be linked to the need for the love of others.
"Open your heart" he says to Lt. MacGyvers... Very revealing.
@Booming: the power and psychopathy link is interesting. Is empathy lost as power increases?
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 6:02am (UTC -5)
I think we're getting in the weeds here over an imprecision in language. It depends what you mean by "ambition" and "caused"
Let's take the following statement:
"I want to be a billionaire."
What is the level of ambition displayed in that? Well are you:
a) A checkout girl at Walmart from a welfare family
b) A Harvard MBA working an entry level analyst job on Walstreet
c) The child heir of a billionaire
I would say that the level of ambition gets exponentially less from a) to c) with c) displaying essentially no ambition and a) displaying Khan-levels of ambition.
So ambition is obviously a relative thing. It is nonsense to talk about ambition in absolute terms. Is Prince Charles "ambitious" because he plans to be the King of England one day?
There is nothing in any Trek episode that seriously suggests that genetic enhancement actually makes people ambitious
All Kirk is saying is that when you give people the ability to move mountains, some of them are gonna do just that. Same message as Where No Man Has Gone Before except cosmic power is being replaced by power borne from genetic enhancement.
"ambition" in this context means the means to the end moreso than the end.
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 6:44am (UTC -5)
"@Booming: the power and psychopathy link is interesting. Is empathy lost as power increases?"
Psychopath don't feel empathy. People with psychopathic tendencies have a empathy towards some but can completely block it out towards others. So the reason that in positions of power (also surgeons for example) have far higher percentages than the average population is explained by two things. First, having no empathy ergo being able to use people without remorse makes it easier to succeed, especially in business and to a later degree politics. Second, self selection. Psychopath often seek high stress environments basically for kicks and they like to be admired/control people.
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 6:45am (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 7:42am (UTC -5)
Psychopaths do in fact have empathy, just not reflexive empathy. Meaning they don't mirror your feelings as you feel them. But they are quite capable of empathizing if they imagine or intellectually consider someone's experience. And that, they can choose to do or not.
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 8:48am (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 6:36am (UTC -5)
KIRK: This Khan is not what I expected of a twentieth century man.
SPOCK: I note he's making considerable use of our technical library.
KIRK: Common courtesy, Mister Spock. He'll spend the rest of his days in our time. It's only decent to help him catch up. Would you estimate him to be a product of selective breeding?
SPOCK: There is that possibility, Captain. His age would be correct. In 1993, a group of these young supermen did seize power simultaneously in over forty nations.
KIRK: Well, they were hardly supermen. They were aggressive, arrogant. They began to battle among themselves.
SPOCK: Because the scientists overlooked one fact. Superior ability breeds superior ambition.
KIRK: Interesting, if true. They created a group of Alexanders, Napoleons.
Dr Bashir, I Presume:
RICHARD: I'm going to prison.
RICHARD: Two years. It's a minimum security penal colony in New Zealand.
BASHIR: You can't do this.
BENNETT: It was your father's suggestion, Doctor. He pleads guilty to illegal genetic engineering and in exchange you stay in the service.
BASHIR: Well, I want no part of it. I'm not going to just stand by while my father
RICHARD: Jules. Julian. Listen to me. This is my decision. I'm the one who took you to Adigeon Prime. I'm the one who should take responsibility for it.
AMSHA: Let him do this, Julian.
BASHIR: Two years? Isn't that a bit harsh?
BENNETT: I don't think so. Two hundred years ago we tried to improve the species through DNA resequencing, and what did we get for our trouble? The Eugenics Wars. For every Julian Bashir that can be created, there's a Khan Singh waiting in the wings. A superhuman whose ambition and thirst for power have been enhanced along with his intellect.
Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 7:03am (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 7:49am (UTC -5)
I guess I don't care for the premise which seems strange that genetic engineering would "enhance" a basic human character trait but admittedly I may be getting pedantic on this point.
Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 21, 2021, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Also agree on the weakness of attributing to engineered nature 'superior ambition' as Space Seed tried to do. As much as Spock scored a pithy line on that occasion, it is clear, upon reflection, that ambition is much likelier the product of nurtural (word?) inputs. Programming.
Sun, Jul 11, 2021, 5:40pm (UTC -5)
Whether or not attributing superior ambition to the genetic engineering was really valid, it seems the real issue is that the Federation is terrified of genetic engineering because of Earth's experiences with eugenics.
While Space Seed's dark take on eugenics came largely as a reaction Nazi Germany's fascination with it, in the Trek Verse by the 23rd century, the Eugenics Wars of the 1990s would likely be seen as more or less a continuation of the same madness, considering eugenics was quite popular early in the 20th century, and was certainly not limited to Nazis.
The Federation basically decided "to hell with that" and did everything they could legally and rhetorically to slime eugenics, in no small part because how difficult it would be to prevent.
Considering it's Spock saying the line about superior ambition, I would suspect he's parroting rigid Starfleet Academy dogma. That could even explain why he's so alarmed at Kirk/Bones/Scotty expressing admiration of Khan. It's not just strange to him, it's practically heretical.
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 5:18am (UTC -5)
"The Federation basically decided "to hell with that" and did everything they could legally and rhetorically to slime eugenics, in no small part because how difficult it would be to prevent."
You've made some excellent points. I agree that for Spock sitting at that dinner table, Kirk and the others had almost taken leave of their senses. Heresy is a good description of what he heard being spouted by them. Thank you for pointing that out.
Eugenics: originally a well-intended attempt to improve the species through genetic manipulation (selective breeding in the early era; later in forms of micro-implantation/fertilization/ or hormonal augmentation, I would imagine) is - as a basic idea- seen as vulnerable to being harnessed by those with an elitist agenda and is forever to be suspect. An accursed idea.
The Federation position is: it must never be done; it must not be tolerated. (Not even joked about).
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 6:19am (UTC -5)
Eugenics was a horrific idea from the start because at first you have to define what an improvement would be, which also means defining what is undesirable. At that point you are already with one foot in a concentration camp. Let's not forget, when the Nazis implemented Eugenics they didn't think of themselves as bad people. They were convinced that they were improving the human species.
So it doesn't really matter what the intentions were. The concept itself is so deeply flawed because there are no objective criteria for what an improvement is. Trisomy 21 is a good example. On one hand one could see it as a serious genetic birth defect that has to be eradicated, on the other hand one could call these people just a special form of human existence that was always there. Should one generation really have the right to decide that they will end this special form of human forever?
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 8:51am (UTC -5)
Make no mistake - eugenics is coming back in a big way. It won't be called that because that word is radioactive- but that is what it will be.
It will start as weeding out unambiguously terrible things - like Taysachs - and will progress to curing diseases both terrible and perhaps not so terrible and eventually it will end up with straight up enhancements.
I am dubious that much can be done to stop this and moreover, not certain either way if it *should* be stopped. But again, I profess no certainty either way.
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 9:06am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 9:11am (UTC -5)
Sure, some things are clearly illnesses, I wouldn't count that as eugenics, and I agree about your assessment that eugenics are coming back, I would even go so far as to say that they never really left. Rich people using sperm of nobel prize winners to fertilize the eggs of sport stars to have the Uberkid. Designer babies are next logical step which will lead to an even more divided society. Most countries will ban designer babies, but you only need one country who allows it. Money will find a way. The rich are barely living in the same society anyway, soon they will almost be their own species. the Homo Superior or whatever Lordprotector Bezos will call it.
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 11:15am (UTC -5)
I don't think so.
If that was the case, then the Saudi royal family would have already done it. Instead they still breed the same moronic princelings they always have.
Or the Kim family in North Korea. Instead they still breed the same fat fucks they always have.
Or the Thai royal family. Instead they still breed the same psychos they always have.
Or the Monaco princes. Instead they still breed the same bald fuglies as usual.
The Sultan of Brunei's son died last year. He was only 38. Here's a picture:
If the Sultan did pay for eugenics, I think he should demand his money back! That simply cannot be the best money can buy!
No, eugenics is still practiced by the rich and famous and powerful in the old fashioned way: fuck super hotties.
Rather, I think, it will be striving, upwardly mobile but still stubbornly low-brow folks like the Bashirs that end up making eugenics a reality.
In China, where it is common for an only-child to have 6 adults paying his way - two parents, and four grand parents - that's when we're talking about people who don't have the money/power to lure a super-hottie into the family, but they do have a hundred-grand to throw at a geneticist to get all the latest upgrades. Multiply that by the billion people, and you have the workings of a real market for this stuff.
We're already seeing the precursors of it in South Korea, with their insatiable appetite for cosmetic surgery.
It can't be a coincidence that South Korea has the lowest fertility rate in the world. That's a lot of aborted "defective" fetuses.
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 11:31am (UTC -5)
For aristocrats often other factors are more important than not having children with serious birth defects. British media likes to mention that princess Diana was a nursery school teacher, as if that means that she was just nice country girl. In reality the Spencer family was from the high nobility and closely allied to the royal family for generations but even that would probably not have been enough 50 years ago. Kate Middleton is (kind of) the first actual commoner who married British royalty. In super modern countries like Saudi-Arabia or Brunei you still probably have to basically inbreed to maintain royal purity.
I meant your average run of the mill billionaire. Beneficial genetic manipulations for Humans is still in veeeeeery early stage and for a long time will be extremely costly.
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 11:35am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
But it's getting there rapidly. Give it 10 years, 20 tops. It will start in the fertility industry, where egg / sperm donation with genetic testing is extremely common for professional women.
Things like mitochondrial donation (where you combine the mitochondrial dna a donor with the dna of the host mother) are a thing now in certain jurisdictions.
When you think about it, egg / sperm donation is already a form of eugenics. But that's going to be the tip of the iceberg.
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 12:29pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
Actually what intrigued me most about the technology was its potential for egg rejuvenation. So if you are a 45 year old woman with "old" eggs who wants to have your own genetic offspring, you swap in a 20 year old's mitochondrial dna and presto you have your dna in a young egg.
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 11:39pm (UTC -5)
Agree completely that Eugenics in the actual historical timeline was flawed. What is more it was also corrupt in its objectives, eventually becoming a tool of pure hatred.
My comments on July 21, related to Trek: As far as the Trekverse is concerned, the eugenics movement that led to the Eugenics Wars of the late 1990's was originally an attempt at 'improving the human race'. As with TOS' Miri, well intentioned scientists thought they were doing good, and basically screwed up.
Space Seed is not about Rassenhygiene (racial hygiene, the lethal eugenics of Nazi Germany) in any but the most muted way. Supermen apart from Khan himself would probably have applied its methods, but extermination of those adjudged 'unfit' is not discussed in the script. I'm not entirely sure why , but everything is diverted to the topic of Khan's ambition and away from the eugenics as flawed endeavor. The show appeared Feb. 16, 1967.
Conscience of the King dealt with the theme 2 months earlier (Dec. 08, 1966) and in Codos we really have a eugenicist or something pretty close being represented.
Sat, Aug 7, 2021, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
The Rom/Leeta story sucks, because both actors suck. Rom's actor especially has no ability to elevate the writing. He's a huge contrast to both Quark and Nog's actors, both of whom demonstrate tremendous skill at giving serious depth to characters largely written as comedic foils. I actually feel bad for Quark's actor being forced to interact with Rom's actor.
Sun, Mar 20, 2022, 11:15pm (UTC -5)
But in DS9 Robert Picardo just seems off for some reason. He is still suberb but idk....his character just comes off as shallow and more than a little bit of a complete jerk. I was extremely disappointed.
Mon, Apr 4, 2022, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
Alexander Siddig was extremely upset at this late retcon of his character-- and he got this information a couple days before filming-- but damned if he didn't nail it.
Sun, May 1, 2022, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
The rest of the episode then shows multiple EMHs and LMHs on the station. Details like this makes me feel like the writers are taking the audience for mugs.
Sun, Sep 11, 2022, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
I saw Voyager before watching D.S.9 (prefer Voyager, BTW), so this my encounter with Zimmerman came after several years of watching and loving him on Voyager. It was really neat seeing him in a much earlier context here.
As for the substance of this episode, I didn't care for either story.
Rom was just excruciating. Jesus H. I mean, I get it: Leeta's jugs are intimidating but, damn son, grow a pair!
As far as J.B., I'd expect genetically-engineered humans to have become a fact of life long before the D.S.9 era, so that "controversy" just didn't connect with me or faze me, even notwithstanding the "eugenics war" explanation. I mean, Starfleet disallows any genetically-altered human(oid) from serving, yet, there was Data, an officer no less, who was TOTALLY artificial. Many Starfleet officers underwent not just appearance-altering surgery but also, someone correct me if I'm wrong, genetic manipulation for special and black ops purposes. Give me a break.
Also, and I may be saying this from the perspective of someone who was fortunate enough to have had very loving and supportive parents, I found his conflict with his parents just plain lackadaisical. So, a main character is carrying a chip on his shoulder because he always felt he was not good enough for his uber-ambitious parents. Or something. Well, I be... That one sure as hell was never ever done on a show, including on Star Trek, not once, right! 🙄
His mom's speech was powerful though.
Yeah, two stars. Meh.
Sun, Sep 11, 2022, 6:20pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 31, 2022, 9:19am (UTC -5)
Bashir being a genetically modified doctor was a really cool idea though. The original script had Zimmerman sabotage the LMH to make the EMH look good. Miles discovers this and blackmails him into silence to protect Bashir. Siddig hated this twist and wanted him being GM out into the open so they rewrote the script.
IMO this could have been way better. We could have axed the stupid Leeta scenes and had more Zimmerman scenes. Maybe we could hear him and the EMH plotting like Ferengi to sabotage the LMH tests with maybe even a backstory of how the EMH really annoyed some higher-ups admirals. In a twist, the LMH secretly overhears this and "acts" like Bashir and betrays Zimmerman/EMH to the real Bashir and/or Miles. This would created a cool resonance between the A and B plot. Both would be about imperfect children and the unethical acts by their "parents" to keep them relevant.
Lastly, Starfleet's reaction at the end was flat with no serious consequences. Bashir SHOULD have been kicked out of Starfleet. Not because Bashir is bad, but it would be a cool plot device. Kira should have interjected and allowed Bashir to join Bajor's medical service and have insisted to Siskso/Admiral that Bashir could still practice medicine on DS9 as this was a Bajorian station. This could have created fantastic future plot ideas...maybe Starfleet sends in their own doctor and their is a conflict between them and Bashir over who is in charge at DS9 and/or the Defiant. Maybe Bashir is cut out from sensitive mission briefings or privileged medical research.
The last scene should have been Bashir entering Quark's wearing a Bajorian uniform and the awkward stares everybody gives him. Miles doesn't care about that, but still remains more concerned about fairplay in the darts game.
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