Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 7 Episode 23

Extreme Measures (7)

1
Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM May 19, 1999 on Syndicado
8.5
out of 10
User Rating
126 votes
1

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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After luring Section 31's Sloan to Deep Space Nine, Bashir and O'Brien enter his consciousness to find a cure for Odo's illness.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • An entertaining episode, but light on substance.

    6.0
    Attempting to find a cure for Odo's disease, Bashir and O'Brien delve into the mind of one of the men responsible for creating it.



    The moment Bashir began describing his plan to cross into the pathways of Sloan's brain, symbolized by literal passages and corridors, sent up red flags for me - it sounded suspiciously like we were getting into another horrendous, surreal Brannon Braga-style episode, like those that plagued the later seasons of Star Trek: TNG. "Extreme Measures" does cross into this territory to some extent, but thankfully it never sinks to the depths of awkward pseudo-psychoanalytic nonsense endured on that series. No, the problems with this episode lie elsewhere.



    First, the story is somewhat rambling and light on real content - the bulk of the episode takes place in Sloan's mind, but very little seems to actually happen in there. Early on, Bashir and O'Brien meet a strangely accomodating version of Sloan who presumably represents a more human aspect of his personality, but he is quickly disposed of and the episode wanders off into an unrelated "twist" segment that builds to nothing and ultimately does little but waste the majority of the last act: we meet no more new "aspects" of Sloan or find any of the memories of his life hinted at earlier in the episode, and a good opportunity to let us better understand the character of Sloan is squandered. It feels as though the episode simply wants to waste time until its conclusion, and so do the characters (who seem to spend most of their precious minutes joking or just sitting around). In the end they find the solution not by coming to understand Sloan and solving some clever psychological riddle as we might expect, but by simply wandering up and down a couple of corridors until the cure is found (quite literally) lying around.



    But the episode's more unforgivable crime is its simplicity. When all is said and done, Bashir and O'Brien's convoluted, "long-shot" (in Sisko's words) plan plays out exactly as they had hoped: a Section 31 operative is lured to the station, is easily captured, and has the cure extracted from him. Star Trek (and especially DS9) rarely plays out in such a naive, unlikely fashion, and this plotline would have strongly benefitted from a solid twist or two.



    The episode also suffers from an unfortunate case of oversimplified morality. No attempt is made to grapple with the ambiguous ethics of our heroes' plan, which involves the kidnapping and ultimately the death of one man to save the life of another. Could Section 31 be right to withhold the cure? How do Bashir and O'Brien's actions parallel those of Section 31 itself? All of these issues are sadly overlooked (or glossed over) in the story, which becomes essentially a simple struggle of good-guys-versus-bad-guys. After episodes like "Rocks and Shoals" and "In the Pale Moonlight," we should expect better from DS9.



    One positive to note is the ongoing banter between Bashir and O'Brien, some of the last we see of their friendship on the series. It's just unfortunate that it comes at the expense of the main plotline.



    "Extreme Measures" is far from the worst episode of the series, but it feels more like a TNG episode than anything belonging here. The simpler, less ambiguous plots and characters of that series certainly had their place, but it is not on DS9.moreless
Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt. Commander Worf (Season 4-7)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Alexander Siddig

Alexander Siddig

Dr. Julian Bashir

Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney

Chief Miles O'Brien

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (3)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • O'Brien: It's the tunnel.
      Bashir: What tunnel?
      O'Brien: Y'know, the tunnel to the great beyond.
      Bashir: It is. I must say I'm a bit disappointed. I expected it to be a bit more elaborate.

    • Bashir: Recognize these? Romulan mind probes. Not the most pleasant devices, but very efficient.
      Sloan: They're also illegal in the Federation.
      Bashir: Oh, I hope you can appreciate the irony in that statement.

    • Bashir: We're not going anywhere until you give us the cure.
      Sloan: All right, if you insist. It's a simple nuclei type marking sequence. Radodine, um... (garbled words).
      O'Brien: Would you mind repeating that? (Sloan keeps speaking in garbled words)
      Bashir: (pushes Sloan against the wall) We're not playing games, Sloan!
      Sloan: Believe me, I want to tell you what you need to know.
      Bashir: Then tell us.
      Sloan: I can't! (garbled words) You see? I suppose there's some part of me that doesn't want you to know. Well, not until you come to the ward room.

    • Sloan: I can't let you have the cure, Julian. Too much is at stake.
      Bashir: I'm afraid the choice is no longer yours.
      Sloan: I misread you. I thought you were just a misguided idealist. But you're a dangerous man. People like you would destroy the Federation if given a chance... but fortunately there are people like me who will die to protect it.

    • Bashir: Don't listen to him, Chief. He's playing games with you.
      Sloan: Easy for him to say, he doesn't have a wife and children to worry about. But, trust me, Chief, if something were to happen to me...
      Bashir: What? They'll be killed? I'm disappointed in you, Sloan. You don't usually wield such a blunt instrument.

    • Sloan: As I stand here, reunited with my friends and my family for one last time, I want you, the people I love, to know how sorry I am for all the pain that I've caused you. I've dedicated my life to the preservation and protection of the Federation. This duty which I carried out to the best of my ability took precedence over everything else: my parents, my wife, my children. I lived in a world of secrets, of sabotage and deceit. I spent so much time, erasing my movements, covering my tracks, that now as I look back on my life, I find nothing. It's as if I never really existed. I cheated you all out of being in my life, and what's more, I cheated myself as well. Now I know a simple apology won't change that, still I feel the need to apologize anyway. No tears please, my death isn't a tragedy, it's a celebration. In death I can finally step out of the shadows, and prove to myself that I existed, that I lived.

  • NOTES (5)

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Sloan: Do you really expect me to tell you?
      Bashir: No. I expect you to resist until the bitter end.
      This scene parodies the scene in the James Bond film, Goldfinger. Sloan is lying on the biobed much like Bond was laid down beneath the laser. Bond asks the same thing to Goldfinger that Sloan asked Bashir, to which he replies "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die".

    • Y'know, the tunnel to the great beyond.
      The tunnel that O'Brien is talking about is a common event with Near Death Experiences.

    • A Nightmare On Elm Street
      The concept of walking around inside Sloan's mind, as well as his presenting his mind to Bashir and O'Brien as the station, bears a striking similarity to this series of films. In them, Freddy Kreuger killed children through dreams (similar to Sloan's comatose state here) and most of the murders centered around a house in the series. Concurrently, if people died in their dreams they would die in real life, same thing Bashir and O'Brien face if they don't escape from Sloan's mind in time.

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