The Quickening (****)
This week on Dr Bashir, Medicine Woman
, the good doctor causes so much suffering that his victims beg to be euthanised. You know, it didn't seem that bleak when I was watching the show, but when I write it down I realise just how fucked up this episode is, in a good way. And it's not just that one scene either, there's a whole species of people for whom death is the best part of their lives, they live to enjoy the comfort that death will bring. We get a glimpse at a post-apocalyptic society, and while the production for this episode was excellent, it's the customs and changed attitudes of these people that really drives that home.
I like that this episode ties itself back into the Dominion arc, even if just in a minor way. It would have been easy for this to be just some random planet with a random disease, but the simple change to the story gives us another little insight into how brutal the Dominion can be. These people had nothing that the Dominion wanted, but they opposed them and the Dominion wouldn't let that stand, so they destroyed their entire civilisation without firing a single shot. This does beg the question why the Dominion are never seen to use biological warfare again, and the uplifting ending is marred by the thought that the Jem'Hadar could lob a few torpedoes at the planet and finish this species off whenever they want, but those issues are really minor.
But the core of this episode is the Bashir story, and it really is the
Bashir story, it's like a condensed version of his own arc throughout the show. He starts out an arrogant young doctor, he thinks he's the bee's knees and relishes in the opportunity to be a hero, things go south, he realises he's in over his head, he comes to a half-way decent solution, then he relaxes in the holosuite with O'Brien (probably). It's a good story, perhaps a little too obvious at times, but it works.