Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Paradise   Rewatch 
August 19, 2015 12:34 PM - Season 2, Episode 15 - Subscribe

Commander Sisko and Chief O'Brien are stranded on the planet Aurelius, where the human colonists reject technology.

* O’Brien agrees to take on Jake as an apprentice as a favor to Sisko. Jake apparently scored very low on mechanical aptitude, and Sisko is concerned that might affect his chances to join Starfleet someday.
* Character Actress Gail Strickland plays Alixus. The actors playing Cassandra (Julia Nickson) and Stephen (Erick Weiss) both previously had roles on ST:TNG.
* Memory Alpha: Both producer Ira Steven Behr and director Corey Allen were disappointed with the final form of this episode. Behr felt that the show wavers unevenly between depicting the colony both in a good and a bad light, but never really settles for either view; "In terms of what those people were doing, the message of the show always seemed a little unclear. It was a show that worked well, but I don't know if we ever found it. We went back and forth over whether what these people were doing was a positive thing or a negative thing. Star Trek is such a tech show, and making these people antitechnology, it was almost like doing a negative show on Greenpeace."
Allen felt that Alixus comes across as harsher than she should, although he doesn't fault actress Gail Strickland for this. On the contrary, he praises her for giving the character any humanity at all; "Gail and I worked very hard to make that character reasonable, because her motives were right-thinking. She had created a paradise, and she needed to preserve it through discipline. We set out to let her be the reasonable and caring human being that she and I agreed she was, but we were swimming upstream. It didn't come out that way. But I think that it's to Gail's credit that in making the effort the character came out with more human traits."

Kira: "You got a better idea... ?"
Dax: "I'm a science officer. It's my job to have a better idea."
posted by zarq (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
a.k.a. "The One Where Sisko and O'Brien Get Stranded in Eugene, Oregon."

Also, fuck this ending...just fuck it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:10 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

Also, fuck this ending...just fuck it.

Yeah, the shift from 'how could you betray us?' to 'oh, we're all staying here anyway because this is our community' gave me whiplash.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:08 PM on August 19, 2015 [11 favorites]

Seriously- this is not an idyllic utopian collective, this is Jonestown. They were all lucky that Sisko and O'Brien figured out Alixus' game before she started mixing the kool-aid. As well as trying Alixus for kidnapping, piracy, and depraved indifference, the Federation should probably send some social workers to help the people who still haven't realized they've been in a cult for the past ten years.

"TheWhiteSkull, if you hadn't come here, you'd still be a mid-level functionary in some Starfleet PR department."

"Uh, that's cool and all, but I'm still going to try and kill you with a rock right now."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:36 PM on August 19, 2015 [9 favorites]

Star Trek is such a tech show, and making these people antitechnology, it was almost like doing a negative show on Greenpeace.

WTF? If this was a show about people who had voluntarily chosen to live without antitechnology, I could see why where that comment would be coming from.

This wasn't. This was about a power-hungry sadist who forced a bunch of people to live (and some to die) without technology through lies. She was able to find sympathetic engineers who helped her disable the ship's technology; she could have found volunteers for her little brand of utopia. She chose not to.
posted by creepygirl at 10:28 PM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]

On the bright side, there was some good Sisco badassery. The hot box brought to mind the WWII POW movies (as mentioned in the Memory Alpha link) but also chain gang/prison movies.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:37 AM on August 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

"TheWhiteSkull, if you hadn't come here, you'd still be a mid-level functionary in some Starfleet PR department."

"Uh, that's cool and all, but I'm still going to try and kill you with a rock right now."

I think that this would have been a better and more pointed ending, especially if the rock thrower had had someone close to them die because of Alixus, say, Meg (the girl who dies in this episode). "Oh, you are willing to sacrifice the lives of others to bring about the sort of society that you want to see? Well, I want to see a society where people who pull the kind of shit you did get paid in kind. Boom!" DS9 in general (and particularly in later seasons) does very well in exploring the extended consequences of that sort of the-end-justifies-the-means thinking.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:34 PM on August 20, 2015

Avery Brooks is outstanding, and the moment when he rejects the water he desperately needs and returns to the box is shatteringly well played and memorable. But I found myself feeling a visceral hatred for the Alixus character – far more than I'd normally ever do for a TV character. I find that disturbing, and I won't screen this one again.
posted by zadcat at 9:47 AM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

But I found myself feeling a visceral hatred for the Alixus character

The way she kept calling him "Ben" made my skin crawl. So disrespectful coming from a total stranger. (And, maybe unintentional on the writers' part, but, it reminded me of a white person calling a black man "boy", so, really got my hackles up.)

Really brought back a lot of my Battlestar Galactica re-boot finale hatred. At least those characters had the excuse of having seen so many disastrous results of their technology to decide to chuck it all. Not these chuckleheads.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:02 PM on August 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

This really was an amazing portrayal of a cult leader. "Alixus doesn't believe in doors"--yikes!

I also felt viscerally upset by this episode, especially all the moments when Alixus tries to force Sisko to submit.

I felt that this episode, like Cardassians, was a good episode that did not know how to end. In my head, as soon as the power is turned back on all of these people revert to their normal, lazy selves. That's what I'd do!
posted by chaiminda at 7:37 PM on August 31, 2015

Late to the party guys, but... Oof. The last shot of those kids staring at where the heroes (and villains) transported away from? Not a strong episode but that shot hit me surprisingly hard.
posted by brundlefly at 12:11 AM on September 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I hate this episode so much, and just cannot stand the crazy paranoid woman. I skipped this one but have seen it more than once, and that was enough.

And as for the ending.....

I did like how O'Brien used the magnet in water gizmo to find the emitter.
posted by marienbad at 3:14 PM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Fuck Alixus. She is the worst. During the scene where she pours Sisko water I was yelling at him to throw the glass on the ground to spite her pious false compassion, but his climbing back in the box was infinitely more compelling.

Just the worst.
posted by Copronymus at 10:11 PM on October 21, 2016

Came by to add...

fuck this ending...just fuck it.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:33 PM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

In my mind this episode ended as follows:

OBrien: You see this phaser works? That's because I turned off the energy field that was stopping technology from functioning!
Guy to Alixus: You betrayed us!
Alixus: I did it. I did it because I-
[Interrupted by OBrien phasering her]
OBrien: Computer 25 to beam up.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:08 AM on July 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

Seriously, how is this show so bad at sticking the landing?

I get that this was a very early serialized show, and can at least understand why they were so reluctant to allow any sort of character development.

But why do they need to undermine episodes like this one in the last 30 seconds? The writers clearly knew how to deliver an uncomfortably canny depiction of a cult – why undo all that at the last second? Why don't we at least see O"Brien and Sisko grappling with the implications of leaving those children behind? Why not add a throwaway line at the end about sending social workers to the planet?
posted by schmod at 5:41 PM on January 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also, this probably goes without saying, but I'm disturbed by my capacity to hate a character as much as I hate Alixus.

Even Kai Winn seems like a decent person by comparison.
posted by schmod at 5:44 PM on January 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

My problem with the ending isn't that Joseph states their desire to remain in the "community." Given everything we've seen prior to that, I buy it.

What pisses me right off is that Sisko and O'Brien accept that Joseph speaks for all of them in that moment. This episode is similar in many ways, and superior in most ways, to TNG's "The Masterpiece Society," but at least that episode recognized that not everyone would be of the same mind about sticking around. How I would have redrafted that ending:

SISKO: "We'll be returning with a runabout large enough to carry everyone back to our station."
SISKO: "We'll be returning with a runabout."

But don't just fucking end a cult episode by taking away one cult leader and accepting that someone else is immediately stepping in to fill that vaccuum.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:05 PM on January 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

Somewhere in the ‘90s, M. Night Shyamalan is watching this episode and taking careful notes.

It won’t go well for him either.
posted by Naberius at 9:10 PM on March 14, 2023

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