The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Extreme Measures"

by David E. Sluss

22 May 1999

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: You have to believe that a lot of characters are really stupid in order to buy this plot.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 5.0 (F+)

POOR EXPOSITION OF THE WEEK: Just in case someone was tuning in to DS9 for the first time, the writers thoughtfully had Bashir and O'Brien spout a lengthy summary of what happened in their subplot during the last two shows, to the point where this episode's teaser was longer than the scenes that were summarized. Or maybe it just seemed that way...

ALLEGORY OF THE WEEK: Star Trek is known for embedding contemporary issues into its sci-fi plots. One of the biggest issues in the United States at this time is espionage and incompetent government agencies. In this episode, Section 8 plays the role only too well. It's hard to believe that Section 8 could have been successful in its mission and maintained its secrecy for two hundred years, given the level of ineptitude shown here. First, we have Section 8 falling for Bashir's fake message in the first place. Second, we have Section 8 sending in Super-Spy Sloan, the one agent Bashir would recognize on sight, to sabotage his work. Super-spy Sloan arrives on DS9 wearing black leather thermal underwear, as usual, even though he should dress in a way that maintains a low profile. Super-Spy Sloan does not go directly to the lab to find and destroy Bashir's research, but instead goes to Bashir's quarters. Why? What was Sloan's "assignment" for Bashir? Did he expect Bashir to destroy his own work? Was he there to kill Bashir? If so, why didn't he? None of Sloan's or Section 8's actions here make a damn bit of sense.

B-MOVIE CLICHE OF THE WEEK: The dream-within-a-dream hokum, wherein the first escape from the dreamscape is not really an escape, which was old when Nightmare on Elm Street did it, and hasn't gotten any fresher since.

TREK CLICHE OF THE WEEK: Bashir's ability to time Sloan's death down to the second is a standard Trek "science" prank, right up there with "You will have received a lethal radiation dose in exactly 1 minute 17 seconds," and other hoohah. It seemed to be there as a typical attempt to use a countdown to create drama, one that failed miserably, in light of the fact that the jeopardy O'Brien and Bashir were in was manufactured to the hilt. To wit...

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: Since O'Brien and Bashir informed the Captain and got his permission to carry out their little mission, is there a reason why they couldn't have requisitioned a medical technician to monitor them while they were in Sloan's head, and pull the plug if anything went wrong?

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: Bashir announces Sloan will die within the hour (presumably in exactly 58 minutes and 41 seconds). He asks O'Brien for a technobabble device. Several scenes of O'Brien working feverishly are shown. Then, "Let's go, we have 43 minutes before Sloan kicks." So that whole contraption was built in under 17 minutes? It didn't seem that way...

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: The "good" Sloan babbling incoherent words when trying to tell Bashir what the cure is. Oddly, his scrambled speech didn't sound any worse than the "real" technobabble we heard this week, the level of which was quite a bit higher than is usual for DS9.

POOR PLANNING OF THE WEEK: There's a lot to choose from, but I guess I'd vote for Bashir not anticipating Sloan's suicide attempt, even though his "James Bond" holo-programs undoubtedly feature the "cyanide tooth" or its kin as a means of keeping oneself from talking. Wouldn't a routine scan of the "patient" be called for, under the circumstances, and wouldn't the suicide gizmo have been detected?

CRIMINALS OF THE WEEK: O'Brien and Bashir, obviously. Not because of the illegal use of Romulan mind probes, for which there was good cause, I suppose, but rather for breaking and entering Quark's twice, and for stealing Quark's booze. And where was security, anyway?
    

Previous: "Tacking into
the Wind
"
Next: "The Dogs of War"
NEXT WEEK: Closure on the Grand Nagus Zek front, which should thrill everyone. Strange that he wasn't shown in the preview...

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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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