Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Classics: DS9 7:23 - Extreme Measures

Overall: 3.7

SABR Matt and I both agree: The phone book is more scintillating than this episode.

Plot Synopsis:

Memory Alpha has a short summary here.

The Skinny:

Let's list the problems one by one, shall we?

First of all, it's awfully convenient - and boring - that the interior of Sloan's mind looks just like DS9. I understand, given the extravaganza that is the two-hour series finale, that the production team was under a budget crunch. I also understand that the writers screwed the art department by inserting that "Oh no, we're actually still dreaming!" cliche. But still -- if you're going play around in a character's mental sandbox, you should at least try to deliver a visually interesting experience.

Secondly, where the hell is all the conflict? Sloan and Bashir should've been going toe-to-toe on Section 31's genocidal ambitions. And while we're at it, someone should've objected to Bashir's (attempted) use of a Romulan mind probe. Mind you, I believe interrogating Sloan via a prohibited technology is a far lesser evil than allowing Odo to die because you're too much of a wuss to violate a Federation law -- but the fact that Bashir did cross that line should've been handled with more gravity.

Thirdly, the plot fails to move thanks to a surfeit of pointless dialogue. Consider, for instance, what the writers offer up the moment Bashir and O'Brien enter Sloan's mind:

O'BRIEN: Julian?
BASHIR: Miles.
O'BRIEN: Why are we in a turbolift?
BASHIR: I'm not sure.
O'BRIEN: I don't remember getting in here.
BASHIR: We're in Sloan's mind. Remember?
O'BRIEN: Sloan. But we're really still in the lab.
BASHIR: Yes. This turbolift is just an abstraction.
O'BRIEN: Then where are we going?
BASHIR: I don't know, but we're not wasting any time getting there.
(The turbolift speeds up and starts shaking.)
BASHIR: Aren't you glad you came along?
O'BRIEN: I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
(And it stops.)
BASHIR: So what do you think?
O'BRIEN: I think we've stopped.
BASHIR: Are you sure?
O'BRIEN: Either that or we're falling very, very slowly.
BASHIR: You mean we can let go?
O'BRIEN: I don't see why not. Well?
BASHIR: Well what? You first.
O'BRIEN: Oh, no. This little trip wasn't my idea.
BASHIR: All right, we'llzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Sorry. I fell asleep for a second there. Why, why, why in the name of all that is good and holy did the writers fritter away precious minutes on dreck like this? Again, where is the conflict? Where is the sense that Odo's life is at stake? And no -- this is not the only example of atrocious writing I could cite. Repeatedly, this episode grinds to a complete halt so that: 1) Sloan can lament that his activities have kept him away from his family (Seriously -- who cares?); 2) Bashir or O'Brien can state the blindingly obvious ("You shot him!" Yes, O'Brien. We all saw it.); or 3) Bashir and O'Brien can sit around gabbing about their friendship (Which, once again, is wasting time explaining the self-evident.).

So yes -- I think I will officially declare this to be the most mind-numbingly stupid episode in the entire closing arc. Alas.

Writing: 0.0

See the complaints discussed above.

Acting: 5.0

Though the cast members try their best, they are unable to work a miracle with this script.

Message: 6.0


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