Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Paradise Lost   Rewatch 
February 10, 2016 11:19 AM - Season 4, Episode 11 - Subscribe

While Starfleet tightens security measures on Earth, Sisko and Odo discover... well... that would be telling now, wouldn't it?

Quotes and trivia from the Memory Alpha page on "Paradise Lost."

Quotes :

"In the end, it's your fear that will destroy you."
- O'Brien Changeling to Sisko

"Paradise has never seemed so well-armed."
- Sisko, criticizing the security measures instituted on Earth in the name of civil defense

"Worried? I'm scared to death! But I'll be damned if I let them change the way I live my life."
- Joseph Sisko, about the Changeling infiltration of Earth

"If the Changelings want to destroy what we've built here, they're going to have to do it themselves. We will not do it for them."
- Benjamin Sisko

Trivia :

* Ira Steven Behr's favorite line in this episode is "Paradise never seemed so well armed". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) This line, and the title of the episode itself, recalls Sisko's line in "The Maquis, Part II", "it's easy to be a saint in paradise", thus continuing Behr's examination of the core of Gene Roddenberry's utopia.

* Although it is almost impossible to make them out, outside Starfleet Command are a number of statues of famous starships, including the Enterprise from the Original Series. Production designer Herman Zimmerman used Galoob toys as the statues. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)

* When Odo rescues Sisko he uses what appears to be a Vulcan nerve pinch. The reason the producers had him do this was simple: "we ran out of money for the morphs" explains Robert Hewitt Wolfe. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)

* As a direct result of the show being pushed back into mid-season when there wasn't too much money around, Robert Hewitt Wolfe was disappointed with the outcome of the two-parter; "If it hadn't been for "The Way of the Warrior", we would have had the necessary money to spend on this two-parter". As well as that, he was disappointed with its positioning within the season; "It wasn't in sweeps. It came out of the middle of nowhere". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)

* After the episode aired, Ira Steven Behr keeps a note pinned to his office wall which reads "Remember Paradise Lost". The reason, Behr explains, is "to remind me how we'd screwed up". As with "Homefront", Behr blames a lack of money, but in this case, the problems created by budgetary constraints were far more important than in the first episode; "We cut down on opticals in the final space scene, which was a mistake. And we cut down on extras, in terms of showing the occupying Starfleet force on the streets of Earth. To this day, I just can't tell you how aggravated it makes me. It just drives me crazy." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)

* This is the only episode of the series where Sisko wears the TNG-style uniform for the duration. The only time he is seen wearing his regular DS9-style uniform is in the recap of the previous episode.

* The events of this episode (a Starfleet admiral attempting a military coup) are similar to the plot of Pocket TOS: Dreadnought!, a novel by Diane Carey, written about a decade prior to DS9's production. The idea also was part of the original concept for the early TNG episode "Conspiracy".

* There are also similarities to TNG: "The Pegasus". In both an admiral is attempting to perform criminal acts to serve what they consider 'the greater good.' In each an officer formerly under their command tries to dissuade them, fails, and forces them to face justice.

* This episode also shares a common theme with "The Drumhead". In both episodes, the characters have to resist influences to sacrifice the values of the Federation to purportedly "save" its way of life.
posted by Slothrop (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
"O'Brien"'s speech to Sisko, as they sit alone on a bench in a deserted New Orleans, is possibly my favorite moment in all of Trek. "You know how many changelings are on Earth? Four. And look at all the trouble we've caused."

Folks were talking about how this two-parter got the discussion of terrorist threats right in the last episode, but this remains the best analysis of how terrorism works that Star Trek ever presented. (Don't get me started about Season 3 of Enterprise, which was 24 dressed up in jumpsuits and just as reductionist and jingoistic as 24 ever was; Star Trek also got torture right in "Chain of Command", and Season 3 of Enterprise just threw all of that away. Christ, the early aughts sucked.)

And yeah--this episode may not have been everything the writers' room wanted it to be, but even with a strongly reduced budget this episode had a huge effect on me in middle school.
posted by thecaddy at 11:35 AM on February 10, 2016 [5 favorites]

Robert Hewitt Wolfe's misgivings notwithstanding, I thought that the space battle between the Defiant and the Lakota was fine; I generally think that DS9's space battles were the best of any series in the franchise. I understand that the showrunners wanted things to be even more epic and 'splodey, but oh, well. I also wish that we'd seen Benteen again; it would have been something to have had her show up in Quark's and at first been shunned, but then had some of the other crew break the ice, because they'd themselves done some bad things for ostensibly good reasons. (Maybe Bashir, or even Sisko, after the revelations of future episodes.)

Also agree about Enterprise; even Voyager got it right (in "Equinox").
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:39 PM on February 10, 2016

This episode confirms for me why Sisko and Picard never make admiral, and Kirk gets busted back down. They're not nearly corrupt enough!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:59 PM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Pocket TOS: Dreadnought!, a novel by Diane Carey

I had a ridiculous fondness for this novel, and the sequel, Battlestations! They broke the rules of the rest of the Pocket novels of that time by being written in the first person and from the perspective of a new character (and friends). It was maybe a little Mary Sue-ish, but was more like the much later TNG episode "The Lower Decks" in a lot of ways.

The latter novel also featured Kirk owning a schooner he named the Edith Keeler which he sails while on Earth, which has been head-canon for me ever since. Since of course he does.
posted by Pryde at 6:53 PM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

This episode confirms for me why Sisko and Picard never make admiral, and Kirk gets busted back down. They're not nearly corrupt enough!

The point has been made before, on various fan forums, that Starfleet admirals tend to be corrupt, crazy, or just plain wrong an amazing percentage of the time. (It's not as universal as some fans have asserted. DS9 does have a sympathetic admiral in Ross in later seasons, although we find out that he's not exactly perfect; VOY had Owen Paris, Janeway's father, and eventually Janeway herself; ENT had Forrest, who was named after DeForrest Kelley.) One of the recurring and key themes of Star Trek from the very beginning has to do with the crushing responsibility and ensuing loneliness of command; it's directly addressed in both of the pilots and in the first filmed episode, "The Corbomite Maneuver", and is also noted several times throughout TOS. It seems likely to me that that theme appealed greatly to Gene Roddenberry, a decorated WWII pilot who at least once had a perilous real-life situation of his own in which he shouldered that sort of responsibility. (Just before Star Trek, Roddenberry had a short-lived TV series, The Lieutenant, about a Marine Corps LT, which similarly dealt with his various command responsibilities and issues and, incidentally, also featured a number of future Trek actors.)

The thing is, with that sort of focus on the captains and how they have to make the hard decisions, you have to come up with a reason why they don't simply kick the hard decisions upstairs. You can occasionally do the "space storm is blocking the communications" thing or even the "we're so far away from Starfleet HQ that even at subspace communications speed blah blah two weeks" thing, but that gets a little weak, especially when just about anywhere else in the galaxy, starships enjoy instant (and static-free) communications with Earth and anywhere else when the plot doesn't demand otherwise. So you get the admirals that are just wrong, and you steal the Enterprise and rescue Spock anyway, which turns out to be the right thing because you had to save the whales; you get the general staff that are taken over by the bug-things from beyond the galaxy, in "Conspiracy"; you get the one on a witch-hunt from "The Drumhead", and the one who seems to think that it's OK to retroactively declare Data, a commissioned and decorated Starfleet officer, an un-person; and you get Leyton. You get them because one of the ways to put that responsibility on the captains is to make sure that the person who the responsibility should ultimately rest on is not only not part of the solution, but sometimes part of the problem. (Nechayev, who makes repeat appearances in both TNG and DS9, is an interesting case; she seems often not wrong so much as simply having a different general philosophy than Picard and Sisko. The one time she's flat-out wrong--where she seems to support a treaty with the Dominion--it turns out to be a virtual-reality simulation.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:03 PM on February 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

Man, this one was just incredibly depressing to watch in the early days of the Trump presidency. I think I'd take almost any of the evil Star Trek admirals over what we've got right now, even the ones that were being ruled by those weird parasite in one of the early TNG seasons.
posted by Copronymus at 11:40 PM on February 7, 2017

Yeah, between this and the early episode about the Bajoran right-wing separatist movement armed and funded by Cardassians, a lot of DS9 has turned out eerily prescient.

On the downside, this episode seemed to be like 60% As You Remember exposition, which is just... I mean, come on.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:16 AM on November 3, 2017

This aired on cable last night.

My favorite line ended up being, "Cadet, you seem to be under the impression that I am asking you for a favor."

A 2-parter makes sense, it does seem a bit rushed. I wouldn't have tried to wrap up the plot in one episode. Leave the admiral in place, temporarily cowed by Sisko and a "woke" Benteen, and he removes the troops. Sisko ends up having no solid evidence, but substantial enough to worry the admiral. Keep that tension there at Starfleet for a good piece of the war. Otherwise I enjoyed this episode, the dialogue was well written.

And was I the only one surprised by the Defiant having a crew compliment of 50 (and what happened to T'Rul)? What are all those people doing all day? I can imagine no more than 20, and even then I can't picture what job they might perform. "Yeah I'm the head chef on the Defiant, you might have heard of it. We only take two hour shifts in engineering, and we get three days off between shifts. It's a pretty sweet gig if you can get it. The med bay has three neurosurgeons and a masseuse on call, and the nurse baseball team were finally able to beat Morn's Allstars last week."

I can picture Red Squad casting auditions: "This guy doesn't make me want to slap him or call his mother. Next!"

Completely irrelevant trivia: The actress who played T'Rul (where is she?!) also did all of Kira's stunts.

Benteen: This actress also played a hologram that La Forge fell in love with.

Directed by Reza Badiyi: Also directed a movie called "Policewoman Centerfold".
posted by Brocktoon at 11:28 PM on July 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Well, I liked it, partly because it suckered me in. When Nog first mentioned this Red Squad who keep to themselves and go on all kinds of special missions, I was like "there's your team of Dominion moles! Right there!" But then turn it turns out to be forces within Starfleet that have been tricked into sowing the Dominion's chaos. Ya got me, DS9! I was ready to side with the fascists! Now I see the violence inherent in the system!

I really appreciate that the show has created the perfect baddies, who are smart enough to bide their time and trick you into destroying yourself. The only weapon you have left is to stick to your principles. Nice.

I continue to maintain that when the show is focused on Odo, The Dominion and Jem Hadar, it is at its best, and otherwise it's been batting less than 0.500.

There's plenty I can complain about in this set of episodes, but scrimpy special effects is far from the top of the list. Whenever it's needed, Odo should be able to turn into an elephant or a tiger, or like Jake from Adventure Time sprout 20 arms each holding a sledgehammer. Hardly anything like that has happened so far, and I understand why it's not in the cards for them to have been doing those effects.
posted by polecat at 10:50 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

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