It's The End Of The World As We Know It And I Feel Fine
"Paradise Lost" Plot Summary:
Sisko realizes that the main threat to Earth is not the small number of shapeshifter infiltrators, but Admiral Layton's plan to put the planet under martial law and curtail democracy in the name of protecting against a Dominion invasion. Sisko calls upon Kira and Worf to back him, and Layton's forces are defeated.
This episode was good Trek and mediocre DS9, but as sequels go, it clicked even when it was predictable. Once again I had the uncanny feeling that I was watching ST6: The Undiscovered Country, with a little bit of some of the TNG conspiracy episodes thrown in.
Nothing about "Paradise Lost" from the title on down could be called subtle, but it had a ring of earnestness to it that I liked. DS9 sometimes feels so far removed from the Federation as we've seen it in films and on TNG that it was interesting to see its problems come home to roost on Earth. Four changelings, hmmm, and one of them sure knew a lot about O'Brien's life on DS9...nice little thread to leave dangling, but I'm glad that the Dominion were not what this episode was about.
I'm often amazed that Starfleet hasn't destroyed the Federation in the name of keeping it safe. Hearing Sisko articulate that concern made me feel marginally better about the show's military protocols, which seem so artificial at times. Again, we got pathetically little Kira, even less Bashir or Dax, and no Quark at all. And considering that this was an episode about shape-shifters, we saw scant little of Odo.
Interesting to see O'Brien out of context and out of character, as he seemed so loose and cheerful as a shapeshifter; they should let him use that big laugh on the station once in awhile! I was pleased to see that Kira was the one Sisko called in a crunch...although it was probably only because all messages on Bajoran channels get relayed to her.
Once again Worf wound up in charge of the Defiant; again, this made sense in the context of the episode, since they wanted the crew of the Lakota to see Starfleet officers on the ship. But IS Kira second in command or isn't she? At least they didn't assign anyone to take Sisko's place while he was running Earth security...unless we're supposed to assume that Worf got that job...
This episode did demonstrate most of the reasons that Sisko (and Avery Brooks) are indispensable to DS9. He really scared me grilling that all-American cadet type, and before that when he barked at Nog about not recognizing an order; if Starfleet wants to put fear into the heart of the Dominion, they should let Sisko get mad! His various responses to chain of command bull speech by Admiral Layton reminded me a lot of Riker in "The Pegasus," when the similarly paranoid Admiral Pressman tried to use Will's loyalty to bolster an illegal scheme to protect the Federation.
It's hard to look loyal while betraying someone on a personal level, but Sisko's sounding a lot surer in his convictions about what Starfleet should be than he was when he took the job. The rest of the cronies were a little too patsyish, but that's TV time constraints for you.
I've said it a lot this season, and I'll say it again: well done episode. Now can we get back to DS9?
Deep Space Nine Reviews