Student. Dreamer. Layabout. Bad influence on those wishing to maintain a sense of decorum and maturity. Please be aware: this is a NSFW blog. Really.
Oh. That one. Yes. When half the viewing public must have cheered at seeing Julian being a slave for a day because they saw him as an irritating tit, while the other half cheered at seeing Julian being a slave for a day because they like seeing pretty people in distress.
I wonder if Julian began acting like that because it was expected that someone of his talents would be incredibly confident in his abilities, instead of ashamed at having an unfair advantage over his peers and terrified at being found out. So, he started acting the Insufferable Genius, to fit in with the other confident over-achieving students he went to school with. It just became a part of his mask.
That’s the thing about Julian’s retcon; it muddles you about everything from his earlier characterisation and whether he was sincerely that much of a boob or putting up a front.
I incline towards ‘that much of a boob’ just because it tends to be cuter.
I liked the retcon because it opened up this side of Federation society we hardly got to see in concerns to genetic engineering. Most of the people introduced as a product of GE were either megalomaniacs, in need of being shown they are lacking that something ‘human’ for it, or harbingers of doom for the ‘natural’ people. Suddenly, we have a character who is part of the regular cast, has been shown to be dedicated to his work and a caring friend, but has no ambition to be the next Khan or has to be shown the exit so he doesn’t outshine the other characters. I wish they had gone more into the affect it had on Starfleet regulations regarding the acceptance of GE people, the political heat Sisko may have received for keeping Julian in his position, and if other people on the station decided they didn’t want a GE doctor treating them.
It also cleared up why he survived that attack by the Lethean when it was suppose to be fatal to humans.
I kind of edge toward a little of both. A lot of people will pretend to a confidence they don’t have because they fear being seen as ‘weak’. It would make sense, since a lot of his bragging went away after the Big Reveal. He didn’t have to wear that mask anymore. Of course, it would make sense for him to be socially awkward outside of a Academy and Federation setting, where he was probably praised for his intelligence and ambition by his instructors and authority figures. He may have taken it as a given that everyone would want to hear how awesome he was, and would then reward him for it, like they did for much of his life.