(written from a Production point of view)
|DS9, Episode 7x23|
Production number: 40510-573
First aired: 19 May 1999
|←||171st of 173 produced in DS9||→|
|←||171st of 173 released in DS9||→|
|←||575th of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
David Weddle & Bradley Thompson
|←||Arc: The Final Chapter (7 of 9)||→|
|←||Arc: Section 31 and Julian Bashir (3 of 3)|
Bashir and O'Brien lure a Section 31 agent to the station in a desperate search for the cure to the disease that is killing Odo. (Part 7 of 9)
Doctor Julian Bashir treats Odo in the Deep Space 9 infirmary, still unable to make any significant progress in curing his sickness. He estimates Odo has one week, perhaps two, before dying. Odo persuades Kira to leave his bedside to accompany Damar on a mission with the Cardassian Resistance, for his sake as well as hers. Elim Garak reminds Kira that they need to leave quickly before the Dominion border patrols are changed. Odo appears to be in an advanced state of decomposition, yet this does nothing to dampen their love for one another. He knows how hard it was for Kira to watch Vedek Bareil die in this very sickbay, and doesn't want her to see him die either. He makes it a request from him, to not to have to see pain in Kira's face. She decides to go, making it easier on the man she still loves.
Chief Miles O'Brien informs Captain Sisko that Starfleet now has the Breen energy-dampening weapon Kira and the others were able to procure, and a defense is being worked on. When Captain Sisko inquires of Odo's prognosis, Chief Miles O'Brien suggests that a medical cure is not the only option they have been pursuing, at which point Sisko demands to know the whole story. Doctor Bashir reluctantly discloses his belief that Odo's sickness is a virus created by Section 31 to wipe out all Changelings, leaving Sisko shocked that people who call themselves Federation citizens are attempting to commit genocide. Bashir also says that he has transmitted a report to Starfleet Medical, falsely claiming to have found a cure for Odo's sickness, in order to lure a Section 31 operative to the station; once captured, the agent would be interrogated to help point Bashir in the right direction of finding a cure. Sisko then asks why they didn't tell him. Bashir answer that if they told him, then he'd alert Starfleet Command and Section 31 would cover up their tracks once they realize they were discovered. They also tell the Captain they plan on using Romulan mind probes, which are illegal in the Federation. Sisko knows that what his officers are doing is not only illegal but also highly unethical, but since the two are being forced to play dirty in a dirty game, he has no choice but to allow them to continue.
Later that evening, O'Brien stumbles across Bashir throwing darts in Quark's; each man is restless and feeling down in the dumps. Bashir tells O'Brien that, after thinking over the conspiracy to infect the Founders with the disease, has concluded that at least seventy-three people must have been involved in the plot; a fact that leaves a very bitter taste in his mouth. The two friends each view Section 31 as an evil that's crawled its way into the heart of the Federation, and that it must be destroyed.
Afterward, Bashir awakens in his quarters to find Section 31 operative Luther Sloan sitting comfortably in a chair overlooking Bashir's bed, as he normally appears, saying he has another assignment; but this time, Bashir is ready for him. The doctor activates a containment field, trapping Sloan where he sits. Bashir tells Sloan that he needs the cure to the morphogenic virus; Sloan is confused, he thought Bashir had already had it but he soon realizes he doesn't. Sloan is impressed, but indicates that turning him over to security won't do any good. Bashir tells Sloan that he is not interested in turning the latter over to security, then stuns Sloan unconscious with a phaser.
Sloan awakens in sickbay, immobilized with a force field encompassing his body. Sloan asks O'Brien about his family, implying that if he dies, Section 31 will harm them. Yet Bashir doesn't believe him and tells Miles to not to listen to him. Bashir deduces that Sloan must have known the cure in order to find it in Julian's lab and destroy it.
Bashir and O'Brien prepare to use the Romulan mind probes on Sloan, who, for once, appears lost for a backup plan. He resorts to pleading with Bashir, saying he is genuinely sorry Odo has to die, but he cannot risk the millions of lives that might be lost if the Founders learn about the cure and the war is allowed to continue. Bashir coolly replies that Sloan no longer has any say in the matter. Ruefully acknowledging that he underestimated Bashir, Sloan activates a neuro-depolarizing device in his brain, killing himself.
Bashir stabilizes Sloan's body, but the higher cortical functions in his brain will cease within the hour, so Bashir prepares a multitronic engrammatic interpreter to link minds with the dying Sloan. This will allow him to see information through Sloan's memories, though the memories could be anything from Sloan's past, including his childhood. Miles insists on accompanying the Doctor on this potentially lethal travel through someone else's mind. Bashir explains to O'Brien that when they are ready to exit, he will use his genetically-enhanced nervous system to raise his blood pressure, thus sending a signal to the device to pull them out.
When they activate the mind link, they find themselves in a turbolift, which neither of them remember entering. They realize it is merely an abstraction in Sloan's mind.
The turbolift doors opens to a recreation of DS9; a cooperative Sloan greets the two, and seems to be aware of their place within his own dying mind. This Sloan tries to tell the two the cure, which is a simple nucleotide sequence but the dominant Sloan personality is preventing him from telling them what it is. He leads the two mind-travelers to a reception, being held in Sloan's honor, where he delivers a farewell speech to his family and friends, apologizing for all the pain he has caused in his life. After he finishes, he prepares to give Bashir and O'Brien the cure on a PADD, but suddenly another Sloan appears, killing the first (cooperative) Sloan with a phaser, and running away down a corridor of Sloan's dying, yet still active, mind as cooperative Sloan's party disappears.
Bashir and O'Brien receive phaser wounds from a character "guarding" Sloan's mind. The wounds are causing them physical pain, meaning that Sloan is sending sensory stimuli to their brains, as well as thought patterns.
When Bashir is unable to disengage the mental connection, the two men fear they will die (in reality) because their minds are linked to a dying mind; they ponder friendship, marriage, love. As O'Brien wishes he had written Keiko a goodbye letter, Bashir confides that he loves Ezri, but has never told her.
They then see... the light at the end of the corridor. They resist the urge to quit; instead, they regain their bearing, and head off down the corridor.
Suddenly, Bashir and O'Brien wake up with Sisko, Worf, and Ezri around them. Bashir tries furiously to save Sloan and the knowledge of the cure, but it is no good and he dies.
Devastated, Bashir tells Odo that he has no hope of finding a cure.
Later, Bashir tries to take his mind off the matter by reading A Tale of Two Cities, but finds that after turning the page, the book simply begins again from the start. Knowing the book can't be misprinted, Bashir realizes that he and O'Brien are still in Sloan's mind, and that is another trick being played by Sloan, who is trying to lure Bashir and O'Brien to their deaths (while linked to his dying mind).
When they finally reach the "inner sanctum" of Sloan's decaying mind, he tempts them with information tablets about every aspect of Section 31. However, O'Brien realizes that it is one final ploy by Sloan, meant to distract them from finding what they are seeking: a cure for Odo. Miles finds the correct tablet, and persuades Bashir to reluctantly walk away from the information tablets which could lead to the downfall of Section 31.
Bashir wakes up (for real, this time) in sickbay with Sisko, Ezri, and an attending medical staff. O'Brien awakens, and promises that will be the last mind link he is ever a part of. Sloan is dead, but Bashir has discovered the cure. Later, having synthesized the cure, Bashir injects it into Odo, who experiences a quick and complete recovery.
Later that night, Bashir is playing darts again in Quark's, and O'Brien comes by to invite the doctor to dinner. O'Brien finds a bottle of the 'good stuff' which is older than Bashir, and the two friends share a toast to 'aging gracefully and to Odo'. Bashir accepts the dinner invitation, and reminds him that Sloan had the perfect bait for Bashir with all the information on Section 31, however O'Brien was the one that saved him. The two drink another toast, this time to friendship and leave for the dinner which Keiko has prepared.
- - Doctor Bashir and Luther 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. Fortunately, there are people like me who are willing to die in order to protect it."
- - Luther 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."
- - Luther Sloan
"You're in a restricted area."
"I thought we were in the cerebellum."
- - O'Brien and Bashir looking for Sloan inside his head
"It's the tunnel."
"Y'know, the tunnel to the great beyond."
"It is. I must say I'm a bit disappointed. I expected it to be a bit more elaborate."
- - O'Brien and Bashir
"Hey Julian, the next time you take a trip inside someone's mind, you're going on your own."
- - Miles O'Brien
"Aha! Here we go. I knew Quark was hoarding a bottle of the good stuff."
"This is older than I am."
"What? I'm drinking with a child."
- - O'Brien and Bashir
"It's going to cause you some discomfort."
"If it's going to be painful, just say so."
"Okay, it's going to be painful."
- - Bashir and Odo
"The Final Chapter"
- Ronald D. Moore's decision to bring regulars into the Cardassian Rebellion plot, which had been made during the composition of the episode "When It Rains...", had a serious knock-on effect for "Extreme Measures". For Moore, the most logical choice of characters to send to Cardassia was Kira and Garak. However, David Weddle and Bradley Thompson were already working on "Extreme Measures", which, at this time involved Kira and Odo hunting for a cure to the morphogenic virus. It was suggested that perhaps Kira could go to Cardassia, and Odo and Bashir could try to track down a cure, but Ira Steven Behr felt very strongly that Odo and Kira should not be split up at all during the arc, so it was ultimately decided to use O'Brien and Bashir to hunt for the cure, and send Kira, Garak and Odo to Cardassia. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Originally, at the end of the previous episode, "Tacking Into the Wind", Bashir and O'Brien were to set off for a planet which they had come to learn played host to Section 31's headquarters. However, as Weddle and Thompson were working on "Extreme Measures", which focuses on the search for a cure, it quickly became apparent that if too much money was used, there wouldn't be enough for the final episode. As such, they had to scale back the scope of the episode, and they re-located it from a planet to an interior environment. This meant, of course, that Moore had to rewrite the end of "Tacking Into the Wind" so as to set it up properly. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- According to the script, the working title of this episode was "Night Tremors". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- As explained above, this was originally written to be an Odo episode. Ronald D. Moore stated "Initially, our thought was to have Odo going into Luther Sloan's mind and having a surreal adventure where he eventually ran into Dr. Mora and learn that it was his own "father" who created the changeling disease. Unable to really mine this concept for all it was worth, we junked it and decided to make one final Bashir and O'Brien adventure, but I think maybe we were closer with the original idea." 
- As this comment indicates, this is the only show in The Final Chapter with which the writers were a little disappointed. They had wanted the show to deal with two major topics; the Bashir/Sloan story and the Bashir/O'Brien relationship, but as Weddle explains, "We'd have been better off trying to do one or the other. With the focus so split, it just didn't work, conceptually." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Once who was going to be in the episode had been finalized, and how the episode was going to work, the plan was for Sloan's mind to be like a labyrinth, with dark corridors, hidden rooms and traps. However, the Art Department couldn't afford to build the new sets, so they suggested using existing Deep Space 9 sets, but lighting and decorating them in really unusual ways to make them look different. As director Steve Posey explains, "In the beginning we planned to have an Alice in Wonderland kind of experience in Sloan's mind. It was very surreal, and the Art Department and I were very excited about redressing the sets, repainting some of them in a psychedelic style. But then the writers threw in this plot twist where Bashir and O'Brien think they're out of Sloan's mind and back on the station. That meant we had to make everything in Sloan's mind look exactly like it did in reality. If we hadn't it would have been obvious that we were still in his mind. That took some of the fun out of it, at least in the visual sense." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- In an initial version of the script after the show had been changed to Bashir/O'Brien and Bashir/Sloan, the structure of the episode was very much split into two distinct halves; the first was a very dark and serious verbal duel between Bashir and Sloan, the second was a reasonably light-hearted O'Brien/Bashir adventure. As Weddle says, "It was a very serious exploration of the moral implications of what Sloan had done, played against Bashir's willingness to cross the line himself to pull the information out of Sloan's head. That much was great, but it didn't work at all with the tone of the second half of the show." O'Brien's role in this version of the script was also minimal, meaning that the relationship aspect of the story felt tacked on. As Thompson says, "We owed the Bashir and O'Brien relationship. We needed to see the two guys together." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The scene where Bashir and O'Brien think they are going to die, and O'Brien has trouble telling Bashir how he feels about him recalls the scene in the third season episode "Explorers", where O'Brien almost tells Bashir he loves him, but stops and says, "I really really do not hate you anymore." It also recalls the scene in the fourth season episode "Hippocratic Oath", where O'Brien stops just short of saying he wishes Keiko was more like Bashir.
- The reference to the 1859 Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities is possibly an homage to its use in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, where it is given to James T. Kirk as a birthday gift by Spock.
- The theme in which a character finds out being in a simulated reality by a repeating part of a book is later, perhaps as a homage, taken to the extreme in Gene Roddenberry's posthumous creation Earth: Final Conflict. Where in the episode 'In Memory' a character finds out being in a simulation partly by the very same book, whose opening sentence is repeated throughout all pages.
- Jaresh-Inyo (played by Herschel Sparber in the fourth season episodes "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost") is revealed to have finished his term as President of the Federation in this episode. Furthermore, Bashir and O'Brien discover that Section 31 had an operative in his cabinet.
- Weyoun and the Female Changeling are listed in the "cast" section of the script. The Dominion briefing room is also listed as a setting, suggesting the characters were to appear in scenes set on Cardassia. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- The papers found atop Sloan's desk within his mind are the same pages used in the Book of the Kosst Amojan.
- One of the reasons Sloan got so much dialog in this episode was that the producers liked William Sadler's performances so much in "Inquisition" and "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges", that they wanted to see more of it while they had the chance, as this episode marks the final appearance of Sadler as Luther Sloan.
- When Odo says to Kira that she watched Bareil die "in this very room", he is referring to the third season episode "Life Support".
- The medical bed that Odo lays in at the infirmary is a reuse of the stasis chamber from VOY: "Resolutions" and VOY: "One".
- When Bashir shows Sloan the Romulan mind probes, he says "remember these". This refers to the episode "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges", where Koval used them on Bashir with Sloan's knowledge.
- Just after Bashir and O'Brien enter Sloan's mind and they're standing in the illusory turbolift, O'Brien uncharacteristically calls Bashir by his family nickname, "Jules," as used by his parents in Doctor Bashir, I Presume (episode)
- This is the only episode of "The Final Chapter" arc in which Casey Biggs (Damar) does not appear.
- Armin Shimerman (Quark) and Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) do not appear in this episode. A scene featuring Quark was either deleted or not filmed, although it can be found in the script of the episode. The scene, which occurs just after the opening credits, features Quark visiting the dying Odo in the Infirmary and Quark's attempt to rally Odo to fight the disease by telling him he knows who stole Tilavan holo-sculptures in a case dating back nine years. Odo sits up when Quark refuses to tell him who was responsible and Odo realizes what Quark was attempting to do. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- Among the items from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, were two party glasses. 
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 7.12, catalogue number VHR 4822, 22 November 1999.
- This is the final DS9 volume released by CIC Video. The last volume, 7.13, was distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment after the dissolution of CIC.
- As part of the DS9 Season 7 DVD collection.
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Nicole de Boer as Ezri Dax
- Michael Dorn as Worf
- Colm Meaney as Miles O'Brien
- Alexander Siddig as Julian Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Kira Nerys
Special guest star
- Shay Brown as Sloan's daughter
- Tom Hand as Sloan's son
- Unknown performers as
47; A Tale of Two Cities; adenine; Alamo; alpha wave; asporanine; Bareil Antos; cerebellum; cordrazine; cortical stimulator; Crockett, Davy; Dax, Jadzia; darts; Dickens, Charles; Federation; Founders; hippocampal nuclei; hypothalamus; hypothalamic feedback loop; Great Beyond; Jaresh-Inyo; lidestolinine; milligram; morphogenic matrix; neuro-depolarizing device; Martok; multitronic engrammatic interpreter; neural interface; neurotropan; O'Brien, Keiko; O'Brien, Kirayoshi; O'Brien, Molly; practical joke; Qo'noS; Quark's; radodine; racquetball; Romulan mind probe; Section 31; sonic shower; Starfleet Medical; Starfleet Security; suicide; Travis, William; Vic's lounge; Worf (illusory)
|Section 31-related episodes|
|ENT:||"Affliction" • "Divergence" • "Demons" • "Terra Prime"|
|DS9:||"Inquisition" • "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" • "Extreme Measures"|
| Previous episode:|
"Tacking Into the Wind"
| Star Trek: Deep Space Nine|
| Next episode:|
"The Dogs of War"