Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 7 Episode 23

Extreme Measures (7)

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM May 19, 1999 on Syndicado

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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out of 10
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  • Disappointing

    William Sadler, last seen a few episodes before in "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges", returns to reprise Sloan, with Bashir and O'Brien taking a journey inside the mysterious agent's head (which conveniently takes on the appearance of the station, giving the series a cost saving bottle show). The concept has an early season feel to it and is particularly reminiscent of third season's "Distant Voices" but feels out of place in "The Final Chapter", the serialized nine episode finale for the show.

    The premise itself, built on the idea that Section 31 is behind Odo's disease and knows of a cure, is based on assumptions from Dr. Bashir. Yet unlike real life, instead of making an ass out of himself and mption, he turns out to be right. Unfortunately, the "Inside Sloan's Head" gimmick never develops enough substance to make it a serious drama, with too much time spent on Brannon Braga like mind games and not enough time developing a story. What the script really needs is more money, allowing Bashir and O'Brien (and or Odo) to visit the headquarters of Section 31 and seek out information about the disease that could lead Bashir to develop a cure. (In fact, this was the original plan until the producers needed to find a way to save money for the final episode of the series). Instead, the cure becomes a MacGuffin with a simplified "behind door number three" climax. It's a disappointing waste of Sloan who deserves better in his final appearance.

  • Expected better.

    This whole anti-section 31 and 'find a cure' theme really rubs me the wrong way.

    Personally I find 31's attempted genocide going too far and 'wrong' but when you factor in that the Founders place absolutely no value on the lives of non changelings and would likely exterminate all non changeling sentients if it was practical -31's position is quite understandable.

    After all Bashir and co. has killed a lot of people over the years and the implied justification was that it was in self defense or the defense of others.

    31 taking out the Founders would have not only shortened the war but also would have eventually led to the break up of the Dominion -offering the chance of liberation to a huge chunk of the Gamma quadrant.

    They risked the entire quadrant, billions of lives and the freedom of many more both in the Alpha and Gamma quadrants for one life. . .apparently because he was their friend. . .

    That brings up another point -it has been stated and implied numerous times that the ONLY reason Odo is not with the Founders is because it would mean leaving Kira behind, hell -he wiped 8000 people from existence just to save Kira and only resisted the Dominion during the occupation of DS9 when they were going to kill Kira.

    And this is the guy our "heroes" risked everyone and everything for?

    And even if O'brien and Bashir were feeble minded enough to think that this was a good idea -why the hell was Sisko helping them? -the same Sisko that deceived the Romulan's into joining the war in an operation Section 31 would be immensely proud off?

    It is one thing to refuse to help 31 and a whole another thing to potentially aid the enemy so they can be well enough to continue to kill more of the people you swore to protect.

    This theme and perspective is moronically simplistic and frankly I expected better from DS9 but it was in the final leg, and a series limping across the finish line is not exactly unknown.
  • An entertaining episode, but light on substance.

    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.