Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 7 Episode 23

Extreme Measures (7)

2
Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM May 19, 1999 on Syndicado
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

8.5
out of 10
Average
127 votes
  • 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.
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