Star Trek: Deep Space Nine



Air date: 2/14/1994
Teleplay by Jeff King and Richard Manning & Hans Beimler
Story by Jim Trombetta and James Crocker
Directed by Corey Allen

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

When Sisko and O'Brien beam down to a planet, they find a human colony that has been stranded 10 years with no means of escape. The colonists have been forced to abandon all forms of technology, none of which work due to bizarre interference in the atmosphere. In what turns out to be more than a coincidence, the colony leader, Alixus (Gail Strickland), is a naturalist extremist who has always resented the effects technology has had on mankind ("We have become fat and lazy," she notes tellingly). She considers her technology-free community a shining achievement—never mind that many of her followers have died as a result of living in such an extreme environment without modern medicine or supplies.

"Paradise's" intent seems to be allegory—making a statement about cult leadership and how strong opinions and followings can oppose the general consensus. But the social commentary is heavy-handed and only marginally effective; some of Alixus' long-winded speeches—particularly the one at the finale—ring false because they feel completely scripted. And considering how unlikable Alixus ultimately comes off, it's hard to see her as much more than a villain, albeit with a sincere motive.

Still, on that level, "Paradise" works quite well. Alixus and Sisko almost instantly fall into conflict. She's set on absorbing Sisko and O'Brien into her community, adamant on quickly and completely forcing them into her way of life. Her methodology of torture in the face of any threat to the community's well-being—the simple and appropriate "hot box"—prove she will do anything for her ideals. Like it or not, Alixus is a villain, although a three dimensional one surrounded by some intelligent issues. Sisko's adamant opposition and strength in the face of such a situation is commendable, and both Brooks and Meaney deliver solid performances. I have some problems with the colonists' over-simplified reactions to finding out Alixus planned both their marooning and the deletion of technology, but the grey-area polemics make the Sisko/Alixus hero/villain conflict that much more interesting.

Previous episode: Whispers
Next episode: Shadowplay

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89 comments on this review

Tue, Apr 10, 2012, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
I am in the process of re-watching all of DS9. I had never seen this one before.

It was awful. Just ludicrous. Worst kind of bottle show. 24th century Federation citizens playing Lord of the Flies. The colonists come off as dolts, no regard for consequences, willful torture of Starfleet officers by Federation citizens, I can go on and on.

Best forgotten, this one. I am strongly resisting the urge to go on and on about it.
Tue, May 29, 2012, 10:22am (UTC -5)
Why couldn't she have just found followers that wanted to live out her tech free experiment? The lack of free will is her great crime and yet the episode seems happy to pretty much ignore that and in the process make the followers seem even more dumb than they already do.
Paul York
Wed, Jun 6, 2012, 8:32am (UTC -5)
This is an episode that raised some good questions, but it is true that the woman's speeches were a bit overdone. She had a good point regarding the negative effects of technology and the benefits of a simpler way of life, but the means she utilized to achieve her utopian goals were unethical (torture, kidnapping, causing negligent death). This character should have been better written, to make it even more grey -- such as a colony that wilfully went with her, not one that was coerced and lied to. ST has exhibited a tension in many of the episode between the hi-tech sets (one kind of utopia) and the low-tech village rural village life surrounded by greenery (another utopian ideal). Too infrequently do we see the dystopian future in ST, except in the case of the Borg or those characters that ship radiation around or hi-tech weapons of mass destruction. But the Federation seems mercifully exempt from all this ... which is somewhat of a dream, compared to the real results of faith in technology. So ST raised a good issue, but oversimplified it, by making the leader of the group a criminal Luddite and cult leader, rather than showing a thoughtful community voluntarily eschewing technology -- both its detrimental and beneficial elements, for the sake of another way of life on a new planet. In Children of Time we see a better approximation of this kind of community.
Sun, Sep 30, 2012, 5:35pm (UTC -5)
What is particularly bad about this episode is the fact they had some Starfleet engineers with them onboard. Even if they discover they can't operate electronic devices, they sure should at least have a steam machine, small forge, some optical instruments and many other devices functional by the time Sisko and O'Brien arrived.
Thu, Feb 14, 2013, 9:12pm (UTC -5)
I would have liked it and found it more believable were the colonists had flayed Alixus and her son alive at the end
Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
On reflection I hated this episode's ending almost as much as the end of 'The Village' (made 10 years later but the DS9 version in 'Paradise' was better).
Tue, Jul 16, 2013, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
This episode essentially plays with a common presumption of humanity - that "simpler times" and the past are more preferable to the present. In essence, what people are referring to as a poor execution of the supposed premise is probably a lot closer to the truth (albeit with the community being largely idiots from this viewpoint). Our past is filled with moral obscenities (torture, suppression of free will and thought), and it is the opinion of many present day scholars that - despite the human inclination to long for "simpler times" - we were more often than not a lot worse off as we look back to previous states of our society. In a sense, you could take it that Sisko and O'Brien represent what we have discovered of the reality of this common delusion, and the community are a manifestation of it - reverting to the "simpler time" they long for with all of the suffering intact. And what's worse, being thankful for it, in a twisted Stockholm syndrome type of dynamic.

That's the only way I can possibly relate to this episode without thinking of it as being an utter failure - since that's all any other premise seems to give.
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 4:43pm (UTC -5)

A poor episode all around. The female leader of the tribe is extremely annoying and the premise is not that believable.

Thu, Nov 28, 2013, 5:38am (UTC -5)
I really hate this kind of puritanical garbage. I know the story showed the leader in an unsympathetic light, and I know other people on here have said how heavy handed the storytelling is, but even if both of those things had been remedied I still don't think I could put up with this insistence that there is some kind of 18th century idyllic life to which we should ultimately aspire to.

Life back then was extremely tough, even for those with relative wealth, so the idea that 400 years in the future there are still sections of humanity that would willfully place themselves in such a life style is incredulous to me. I thought we had evolved to be beyond such ridiculousness.
Sat, Dec 28, 2013, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
This is one of those colonies where you cheer for the Jem'Hadar as they obliterate it.
Thu, Jan 9, 2014, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
It was an OK episode, but the ending weakened it. Star Trek, for all it's futurism, unjustifiably glorifies the low-tech past. Subsistence farming is a struggle to stay alive, and people starved in winter, when the rain didn't come, when the hail storms ruined the crop, when locusts ate the crop, etc. Today, the problem is more too much food than starvation.

This episode is slightly refreshing in that it shows the downside of a low-tech lifestyle: for one, people died of things that would be easily treatable today. Brutal repression is a legacy of the past - the stocks are not just a cute gimmick at renaissance festivals. It's still has too glowing a view of a low-tech lifestyle.

It's the end that undermines it. I have no problem with the colonists wishing to stay, it's been their home for a decade. But to even THINK about turning that machine back on is wrong. Turning that machine back on meant sentencing people to die unnecessarily. It was not plausible that one person could speak for the whole group and say they are staying. Some might want to stay, others would want to leave. Star Trek too often tries to cover both sides, even when there isn't two sides. Their leader was wrong to hijack them to this planet, and wrong to use this device to deny them the freedom to use technology. To turn the device back on is to do the same wrong that their leader was guilty of.

By all means, stay on the colony, but accept Federation aid, and allow people the freedom to decide if they want to use technology or not.
Thu, Jan 30, 2014, 4:16pm (UTC -5)
I liked the slow understanding you get that the leader isn't innocent. But that's about it.

From that very moment on everything falls apart because it makes no sense anymore. The leader isn't likeable enough to be a real cult leader. The fact NO ONE decides to leave at the end is unbelievable. And it didn't seem that heavy-handed to me actually the contrary - the episode never knows what it wants to say: It tries to be a glorification of naturalists (as hypocritical as that movement is since apparently pottery and clothing aren't considered technology...) but it's of course ludicrous inside a show that's about 24th century spacefaring civilisations... So it ends up being nothing at all.
Wed, Feb 5, 2014, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
I have to say that this is my first time through DS9, and some episodes keep me more interested then others. I always enjoy a back to basics episode, which is what caught my attention with Paradise.

That being said, I have to agree with many of the statements above. It was an okay episode until the end. Sure, cult leaders forcing their morals on humanity is a common source for material, but some things just don't add up once you get to the root of it all.

After finding out that the leader basically marooned them and forced them to live in an existence, which has been admitted was not outrightly accepted to begin with, i find it very hard to believe that a) one man would be allowed to speak for the group and b) that no one would jump right up and be like "take me with you". Realistically, we are talking ten years here, it is not a completely different generation. These people lived in the futuristic society, grew up in the futuristic society, had stakes in it as well. No one has family they want to get back in touch with, no lovers, husbands, children? The ending was just wrapped up way t neatly with a little bow on it to seem plausible, even in a Star Trek universe.

Not to droll on, but one thing about this episode struck me. The very end when everyone walks away and the two children stand a stare at one of two things. Either the box, which is interesting, or the place that they just transported from. Interesting, but I wonder what is running through those children's mind. The children who out of everyone, have known no other existence.
Sun, Feb 9, 2014, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
This episode always makes me mad because it should have fallen apart so much earlier than it did. Why didn't Sisko and O'Brien just refuse to stay in the community so they would not have to abide by the rules. Why didn't they say Cassandra's writing was a waste of time as much as their search for a way home. There were many ways they could have seen through the plot in the village much earlier, but that would have ruined the episode.
Sat, Mar 1, 2014, 9:54pm (UTC -5)
I liked this episode until the very last scene, where Joseph decided to stay on the planet and no one disagreed with him. Basically, that gave the villain, even though she was brought to a Federation court, a moral victory, which provides this episode with an oddly strange message for a Science-Fiction show...

Furthermore, I don't think that's a believable ending. Most of the colonists aren't that young that they would have forgotten their past lives, with families and friends. Granted, being on a colonization ship they couldn't expect to meet them once a week, however using Star Trek technology, it would very well be possible to communicate with them, even over these large distances (had Alixus not wrecked their ship). It seems highly unlikely to me that no one at all wants to get in touch with their former acquaintances.

So, basically a good episode which was ruined by its ending.
Mon, Apr 7, 2014, 4:03am (UTC -5)
And yet another episode wherein Star Trek glorifies the simple life.

I can't find the words to express how much I hate those kind of episodes. I really wish this stupid idea, that primitive simple life is in some way superior, could finally be erased from human consciousness. Oh how I wish I could send all those delusional idiots back in time to the 1600s or 1700s or even just the 1920s...

At least it wasn't as bad as Insurrection or This side of Paradise.

Thu, May 1, 2014, 7:17am (UTC -5)
The writers must have had One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest in their minds - Alixus is a Nurse Ratched-scale villain practically from the outset, lording it over a ridiculously docile bunch of Starfleet personnel. Her unmasking at the end was badly staged and written, the lack of emotional response from the other colonists laughable, and the prospect of turning the device on again to preserve their "idyllic" tough life ludicrous.
Sat, May 17, 2014, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
Pretty good episode but the ending was weak. I just don't buy that the colonists would have stayed "for the community". A better ending would have had most of the colonists turn against Alixus and leave, while Sisko leaves Alixus and a few of her fanatics on the planet. The ending was too sympathetic to Alixus for my liking.

Perhaps technology has corrupted us in some ways (just look at how many people make fools of themselves on social media, and the obesity rate, among other examples), but it has freed us to do more worthwhile things and make incredible discoveries. In the end, who's better off, the person who spends all day plowing the field by hand, or the person who uses a tractor with time to spare, in turn freeing himself/herself and others to use their talents in other areas (writing books, searching for disease cures, etc) to the benefit of all humanity?

Side note: If it had been Kirk instead of Sisko, I imagine he would have phasered that device outright, rather than leaving it so it could be reactivated. (Then followed up with some over-the-top speech about freedom to choose and whatnot.)
Dave in NC
Tue, May 27, 2014, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
Watching this for the first time as I type this.

Sisko and O'Brien are meeting the community for the first time and I have a few questions:

1) All of these people speak in a stilted manner. They've been out of touch with Starfleet for ten years. Their language can't have morphed that quickly.

2) The female colonist asking about fashions back home was cringe-worthy. The actress's delivery of that was absolutely horrible, but it was so badly written I don't know if any actress (even a good one) could have sold that line.
Dave in NC
Tue, May 27, 2014, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
The second scene with Alixus and it's already obvious where this episode is going. Someone should have slipped a Xanax in her tea before they started shooting . . . talk about scenery chewing!
Dave in NC
Tue, May 27, 2014, 10:15pm (UTC -5)
About halfway through and I'm noticing a Trek trend. What is it with the numerous forgotten human colonies and their bizarre philosophies? Every Trek series seems to do at least one of these episodes per season.


All right, so Alixis turned out to be a (overacted) maniacal zealot who was willing to have children die just so she could have her little pet Utopia. Denying water to people, playing who's-got-the-bigger-wang with Sisko, giving grandiose speeches, b;lowing up ships . . . the parallels with organized religion and Communism are obvious. It seemed like the episode was on a trajectory toward critiquing the cult mindset, the seductive promise of idyllic perfection through societal control.

The final scene, however, is completely ludicrous and undoes everything the episode worked toward. None of these people want to go back to Starfleet? No one has family or friends to meet? No one has a career they want to revive? No one's pissed that they were lied to for a decade by a psychopath? No one wants the machines back on after the big reveal?!?! Whatever.

I can't imagine thirty people would just stand there while she revealed she basically murdered their friends and family. (Also, how bitchy of her to say that one dude would probably be in prison).

I hate to say it, but the message seems to be that Alixis got what she wanted by manipulating these people and making the choices for them. Religion itself is not at fault if the preacher leads the flock astray? If that's the message they were shooting for, it is a total cop out.

It's too bad this is probably the last DS9 I haven't seen. Sad to "go out" on a low note.

Wed, May 28, 2014, 9:57am (UTC -5)
@Dave - It wasn't a stellar episode, but I thought the ending worked. I think the point was that she had made a really cult. I always find the ending creepy.

It's a rare episode where the villain wins!
Dave in NC
Wed, May 28, 2014, 11:51am (UTC -5)
@ Robert.

You've got a point there. I hated that smug, superior "victory smile" on Alixis's face when she beamed up and I was surprised that episode ended on that note.

But still, it's not too much to ask for some believability in the way these kind of shows are written.

The person who wrote this obviously was trying to make some kind of moral point. However, the plot requires too many coincidences intended to keep the viewers in the dark, and it is these creaky expositions and artificial-drama reveals that sink this so low I'm still puzzled about what this was all supposed to mean.

My hope for the next Trek is that it makes the characters a little more like real people, more of a documentary style and less of that "staged" feel. I'm not Betazoid, but sometimes I can sense the craft services table just off screen.

If this had been written from that kind of a perspective it definitely would have been a better episode: for the actors, for the writers and for the viewers.
Dave in NC
Wed, May 28, 2014, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
I'm laughing at myself because I thought I was done and another gaping plot hole occurred to me:

If Alixis is going to be "tried for her crimes", then isn't it possible Starfleet would want some witnesses at her trial?
Wed, May 28, 2014, 2:13pm (UTC -5)
She did try to destroy a runabout. Go to a US base and try to blow up a tank, lock an officer in a box and fire a bow and arrow at another officer. I think she's looking at life in prison purely based off her crimes in this one episode :)

I DO agree with you that there were too many coincidences and the guest actors weren't that convincing on the whole.

But I really think you were meant to believe that these people spent 10 years drinking the cool-aid, having Stockholm Syndrome, cult induction, etc. I SERIOUSLY hope the Federation sends an entire ship full of counselors to talk to these people before letting them decide to stay there forever making babies with the weird anti-tech box turned on.
Paul M.
Wed, May 28, 2014, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
Dave in NC said:
"The female colonist asking about fashions back home was cringe-worthy."

Time for some trivia! That actress also played the young ensign in need of some reassurance, courtesy of Geordi, in TNG's Arsenal of Freedom in Season 1.
Dave in NC
Thu, May 29, 2014, 2:55pm (UTC -5)
@ Paul M.

Haha, I never knew that! It makes sense, though, because she wasn't very good in that episode either.
Tue, Jul 1, 2014, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
What a piece of crap this one was.

This woman is a kidnapper, , thief, power hungry, egotistical, self-centered BITCH!! I can't believe that someone didn't jump her when they found out they'd been misled. Obrien should have failed to protect her and she should have died at the hands of the colonists.

All for HER philosophy? (slaps head)

Someone earlier suggested that this episode should have depicted a colony where they volunteered to go. Then you don't need the secrecy? ... or I guess they WANT the secrecy and keep Sisko and Obrien so they won't reveal the colonies location etc. Probably a better way to get the point across in this episode, you know, about that bad technology and all.... that technology that ENABLED queeny to conduct her grand experiment.

The WORST part about this episode is how Alixus (Gail Strickland) speaks. Her throaty voice inflections drove me nuts! God... I only watched this episode this time through DS9 because I'm writing these reviews. Always a skipper for me.

1 of 4 stars...
Ian G
Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 8:47am (UTC -5)
I liked how this episode explores the dark side of leadership based on rigid political ideology. However the whole thing derails in the final scenes when the colonists aren't mad at Alixus and consider staying/turning the machine back on. It's ridiculous, she stripped them of their free will and condemned many of them to death. Her speech at the end is some ham fisted effort by the writers to try to show her as multifaceted, when the entire episode had built her up to be a pure villain.
Sun, Aug 10, 2014, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
I certainly agree that it seemed unrealistic that none of the colonists decided to leave in the end. But... while Alixus is certainly the "leader" of her community, I don't think we should take from that that she rules alone.

I do find Gail Strickland's presence here unintentionally funny, since I cannot separate her from her Seinfeld character as the publishing exec who implied that Elaine had "no grace".
Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
I was waiting for Sisko to shout at Alixus something about there being four lights.
Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
It had a "Cool Hand Luke" feel when Sisko was in the box.
Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 5:16am (UTC -5)
Two main flaws with this episode:

No one considers that this "duonetic" field could lose its effect after a certain distance. You can't tell us that her little box buried in the woods affects the entire planet. Either one of the colonists or Sisko/O'Brian would have simply walked as far as it took to get out of the affected area. It simply would have been a better outcome if O'Brian had escaped, walked a few days, gotten aboard the runabout and then used it to locate her field generator.

And the ending...I mean really? These colonists may have wanted to call that place "home", but you're telling me that after 10 years isolated in that crappy village, they don't even want to visit the Federation again? If not only to see friends, family, get additional supplies, etc?... Completely unbelievable.
Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 5:04am (UTC -5)
The ending is such a stretch. You don't think some people maybe WANTED to be engineers and not farmers? Why is being a farmer and having a community better than exploring the stars? It over-simplifies this issue way to much and almost implies people would rather work really hard and go back to their roots instead of trying to make actual progress and enjoy the comforts their society has earned.

The idea that no one there was infuriated over the cut-off from their, what I can imagine to at least be a few, families is completely a joke. Plus the lack of justice for an obnoxious character, other than a few lines of dialogue explaining that she will be punished, is so unrewarding, and leaves me just wanting this episode to turn into an orbital bombardment of that village. I would just love to see O'Brian vaporize a few villagers, beam out, followed with a volley of torpedoes. Just get the kids out first, not their fault the parents are impossibly dense.
Mon, Oct 6, 2014, 3:44pm (UTC -5)
This episode is mediocre at BEST. I'm not really going to comment on it past that, except that it has retroactive value for being a campy parody of the Battlestar Galactica finale. The BSG team probably should have given this one a once-over before writing the ending for their show, especially considering half of them worked on DS9. You know you've got a problem when a clumsy Star Trek episode from 15 years prior has already torpedoed your high-minded grand finale.
Thu, Oct 16, 2014, 4:48pm (UTC -5)
Long time fan but watching this episode for the first time. What I didn't get was - the wormhole was discovered about 2 years before this episode (2369) and prior to that the bajoran sector was subjugated by the cardassian union for 60 years. So how did this ship end up in the gamma quadrant in 2360? In emmissary dax and sisko have a discussion about edron being 67 years from bajor at maximum warp.
Thu, Oct 16, 2014, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
Point of information, XS: Orellius Minor is in the Alpha Quadrant. However, it still seems sketchy that 1) there could be a lost human colony so close to Bajor, 2) that Sisko & O'Brien would be scouting for colony sites so close to Bajor, 3) that *Sisko and O'Brien* would be scouting for colony sites at all, rather than DS9's designated colony-scouting team or, I dunno, a flippin' starship, and 4) that any inhabitable planets near Bajor weren't colonized already.
Thu, Nov 6, 2014, 8:24am (UTC -5)
This is interesting at first, but it all falls apart at the end. Alixus is basically a villainous cult leader, even though her intentions are good. All the difficulties Sisko and O'Brien encounter are her doing, and she marooned all of her colleagues 10 years ago so that they would live out her experiment.

And yet the writers of this episode are so attached to her heavy-handed message that they don't hold this character morally responsible for her actions. All of her followers forgive her immediately. And even though their entire way of life has been revealed as a lie, not one of them chooses to leave. It's a totally unconvincing ending, and preachy to boot.

If there's anything good to take away from this episode, it is Sisko's dogged refusal to give in to her and what she stands for.
Thu, Jan 8, 2015, 4:56pm (UTC -5)
Hate Alixus voice. She sounds like she's having a shortness of breath but I guess she's one of those people who improperly use the H. Either she sticks it where it doesn't belong and she sound like she's choking, of for instance, she pronounces "Herbs" as "Erbs".

Hate the stupid idea roping the shuttle out of warp at the risk of both ships exploding instead of just disabling the shuttle's engines with phasers or something..
Mon, Feb 23, 2015, 1:38am (UTC -5)
This is a pretty good episode. I liked the story, especially the way Sisko/Alixus were easily at odds from the beginning. The woman was another Jim Jones without the massacres. As someone mentioned above how she would revert to extreme cruelty when someone opposed her views. She even had a son with a stupid look on his face with a false sense of power carrying that bow and arrow around. The colonist should have reacted more when they found out Alixus lied and schemed to get them there. I wonder how many of them had other family members they they never saw again. This a good episode.
Fri, Jun 12, 2015, 6:23am (UTC -5)
This episode achieves a rare feat: it's so bad it makes me angry!

First off, as may have mentioned above, the rest of this "community" come off as dolts. Not ONE of them has a problem with having the choice of being where they are taken from them by Alexis? Really? what a bunch of rubes!

Secondly, to be able to send the runabout to it's demise, Alexis clearly had to have some sort of technology available to her to pull that off, making her a hypocrite on top of all the other horrible things she's done to these people.

And thirdly, that former engineer, whatever the heck his name is, must not have been very good at what he did. It took O'Brien, what, two days to figure out what the hell was truly causing the field. That guy had 10 YEARS!!! Worst. Engineer. Ever.

The only pleasure i get out of this episode is to think that what's going through those kids minds at the very end is, "PLEASE TAKE US WITH YOU!"
Wed, Jun 17, 2015, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
I liked this episode - mostly. I think the problem is how this crazy woman is just let off the hook for what she did. She's basically a lying, deceitful bigot who tortures people she considers rogue. She's beyond contempt and I didn't buy the ending.
Wed, Jun 17, 2015, 6:40pm (UTC -5)

Didn't Sisko and Obrien take her off for trial at the end of the episode?
Thu, Jun 18, 2015, 4:38am (UTC -5)
I watched it again last night but I don't recall that. What was annoying is that the people she deceived stayed behind regardless and she was not given any kind of reprimand for what she'd done. "Look at what we've accomplished here, isn't it fun breaking your back and not seeing your families again all because I don't like technology?"

Kinda reminds me of the BSG finale.
Thu, Jun 18, 2015, 4:39am (UTC -5)
you're* sigh.
Thu, Jun 18, 2015, 4:40am (UTC -5)
Oh, I was right after all. Haha. Sorry about that Jammer, you may delete these two messages :P
Thu, Jun 18, 2015, 6:53am (UTC -5)
I'm 99% sure she was taken away for trial. That said, I agree with everything else you said. The fact that the people don't reprimand her is ludicrous. In real life she'd probably have been killed by the angry mob on the spot. They can't ALL have Stockholm Syndrome...
Wed, Jul 8, 2015, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
I thought it was a good episode. After 10 years, the people had been cowed into submission and become accustomed to someone else doing their thinking for them; they've had the same message repeated to them daily for 10 years. Unsurprising that they still repeat the same message even after their leader has been deposed.

I don't think the episode is endorsing the leader or her philosophy, as many of you are suggesting. It's about the power of the cult.

The colonists need a lot of counseling.

(And the leader & her son were being taken off for a trial at the end)
William B
Wed, Aug 5, 2015, 10:48am (UTC -5)
Yeah, agreed: Alixus is a villain. Now, either the colonists' total blank-stares (when being told that Alixus kidnapped them, let people die of diseases, sent their hope of escape into the sun, and generally has been lying to them and manipulating them for years) is because they are a fully brainwashed, Stockholm Syndrome cult, or because there really is something special about The Community and The Core Selves they found. Now, those two aren't mutually exclusive, and I think the episode is maybe meant to play the ambiguity, because simply having a whole group of people remain a brainwashed cult all episode is not the most dramatically satisfying of developments -- and, further, because if they really are *just* a brainwashed cult, then the specifics of Alixus' belief are totally irrelevant. So I do think that we are meant to at least partly believe that the colonists have found *something* good in their society. And on here, well, I think the onus is on this episode to demonstrate some good qualities of their society. Yes, it seems like it's nice to care about each other and be in touch with nature, and Joseph in particular seems a friendly, easygoing chap, but I find very little material in this episode to demonstrate what superior qualities people experience in themselves and in their relationship with others. Alixus' endless speeches regurgitating the same points are not sufficient; we have to have some evidence of the colonists' happiness at their society which is not instilled in them top-down from their cult leader.

And so without that counterbalance that there seems to be actual evidence that some good came out of this (besides the moderate good that would come out of *any* colonization, which would also presumably involve farming, small communities helping each other, and the like, just with padds and medicine), the episode mainly has the arc of starting with Alixus initially seeming like a pretentious windbag and developing into a full-blown psychopath. But really, not *that* slowly. Alixus is not even able to convey any of the pain she claims to have over her prehistoric punishments. As if we Didn't Get It, Alixus' villainy is paraded in front of us. My favourite detail is the way Stephen is put in solitary heat torture for stealing a candle, and then we later see Alixus sitting with *FOUR* candles at her nightstand while she writes the fiftieth volume of what is sure to become her autobiography and/or the required Bible; I wouldn't be surprised if Stephen stole a candle so that he can cram studying one of Alixus' textbooks for the upcoming exam on the evils of civilization not run by Alixus. This detail, along with the ridiculous attempt to buy Sisko with sexual favours, make her end speech incredibly funny -- Cassandra would be some technical clerk somewhere, instead of a part-time farm hand/part-time sex slave, and Stephen would be in prison, because a person who steals a candle has the criminal temperament, as opposed to the kidnapper who steals Runabouts. (I'm also reminded of a great line from The Simpsons after Bart is caught shoplifting: "Oh, sure, now he's just a little boy stealing little toys. But someday, he'll be a grown man stealing stadiums and - and quarries.") I gotta say, I also like how, despite us *not once* seeing any animals on the planet, Alixus' son wanders around with a bow and arrow and shoots O'Brien's uniform with (presumably) a killing blow.

With Alixus clearly crazy very early on, there is actually not that much to watch for in the rest of the episode, especially since Sisko's resistance to Alixus' philosophy does not seem to inspire *anyone* and only serves to demonstrate how badass Sisko is, which is, to be fair, rather badass. The O'Brien investigation works better, especially his moment with Joseph where he asks Joseph to turn around and promises him he can make it not hurt -- a pretty good payoff to the developing friendship between those two. But these plotting elements can't really sustain an episode alone, and the colonists, with the arguable exception of Joseph, remain completely static throughout.

I do like the idea presented in the comments here that the episode is partly about how a pre-industrial civilization would actually not be fun, and that the "simple life" many long for would actually be back-breaking, filled with uncurable diseases, and would probably have to be enforced with the total rejection of individual rights. And that sort of works. AND YET I don't really think that the colony actually bears much resemblance to ancient farming communities or medieval villages, but is know, cults.

It is weird how Jake is not once mentioned as a reason that Sisko should damn well be allowed to leave the planet, though Keiko is mentioned (not Molly).

I do think the final shot is quite funny. After Joseph SPEAKS FOR THE COMMUNITY, no one else getting a say, the children stare dumbly at the torture-box where the nice men just left. TAKE US WITH YOU! It seems odd, since the children have actually not gotten any focus all episode, which one could take as evidence of how their voices have been silenced, etc., but I dunno.

Anyway, the battle of wills does have its moments but Alixus' villainy is too obvious and the colonists' idiocy too pronounced for this episode to hold my interest for more than about ten minutes, and so the rest of it is a difficult slog. Probably 1.5 stars.
William B
Wed, Aug 5, 2015, 10:51am (UTC -5)
To clarify further: I also do think that the total non-reaction of the colonists at the end really does beggar belief. Even if they are brainwashed, they would surely have *some* more reaction than none; and Joseph, willing to be knocked unconscious so that O'Brien can investigate, seems to have enough spark of selfhood to be able to identify that maybe some other colonists should get to say whether they want to leave or not and not be cowed into submission by his SPEAKING FOR THEM ALL. It's not that brainwashing is ineffective, but I don't think it is *this* effective.
Wed, Aug 26, 2015, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
She was a cult leader point blank, she was evil to the core. There's no difference between her or any other Trek villian. She's a cold hearted murderer.

It's reasonable that some of the colonists did nothing, they're still under the control of Alixus. However, some of them wouldn't be angered to the point of killing her.
Fri, Aug 28, 2015, 12:26am (UTC -5)
Sisko should have pimp handed her like he did to Garak. I would have.
Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
I'd have liked to see how Bones handled her. I can imagine is anger.
Wed, Oct 21, 2015, 9:59am (UTC -5)
I think it sort of undermines Sisko and O'Brien that Alexis failed in destroying the Runabout. If Sisko had saved himself, rather than being saved by Dax and Kira, it would done more to establish him as being a worthy successor to Kirk and Picard. As it stands, he's just lucky.

The bigger problem is in the script writing. The episode is written like it's supposed to be illustrating shades of grey, but the nearly universal reaction is disgust. When Sisko reveals the truth behind the colony, he is saying something that should shake the very foundation of their society. Yet, not even one minute of screen time is devoted to a serious discussion of the issues. It reminds me of the episode Cardassians, in which the key decision of the story is made off-screen and without any explanation. I can't help but think this episode could have been improved by cutting some of the fluff and giving at least 7 minutes or so for both sides to air their arguments and giving the colonists some time (whom should not be unanimous in opinion) to struggle with their decision.

It's odd too, since I think the early seasons of DS9 has benefited from good pacing and structure even during its weaker episodes, unlike TNG which seemed to struggle with it so much early on.
Sat, Oct 24, 2015, 8:26pm (UTC -5)
I hated the ending to this episode, more than any other ending of any show I can think of. Because that smug psycho lunatic b***h got away with her plan. Sure she was taken into custody but she doesn't care, the idiot colonists all decided to stay so she gets to smile and revel in her victory.

The idea that the colonists would all stay is ludicrous; after they learn they were kidnapped and held prisoner there, after seeing so many of their friends and family members die needlessly, they still want to remain there because "it's their home". Give me a break!
Thu, Oct 29, 2015, 2:13pm (UTC -5)
I have recently started watching DS9 and so far this episode and Sanctuary have really pissed me off for roughly similar reasons. They are both just vessels for the writers to get preachy with us! (On a side note, I read the review for that one aswell. So far we have agreed on both episodes!)

I really enjoyed the battle between Sisko and Alexis. His determination is really powerful when he gets back into the box. Yet, the ending just falls flat on it's face (much like Sanctuary did!).

I really hope DS9 starts cutting this out from now on because, IIRC, these two episodes have pissed me off more than all of the bad episodes of TNG put together (Not including the movies, this episode is still better than insurrection).

1/4 stars

@Dave from NC: Your point about the witnesses made me laugh as well, I really wish someone made one of those how it really ends videos and shows how everyone has to leave anyway... Or Sisko just launches an orbital strike at Alexi's face... That works too.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Nov 14, 2015, 6:24am (UTC -5)
Very much a TNG-type episode, and also more reminiscent of a WWII prison camp drama than anything else. Probably the highlight is the battle of wills between Alixus and Sisko, two figures used to being in authority butting heads and neither willing to back down.

Of course it speeds things to a conclusion that Alixus is just a bit unhinged, but I have no real problems with the ending as Joseph accepts that there might be changes. 3 stars.
Mon, Dec 28, 2015, 6:42am (UTC -5)
I liked the episode. I thought the actress who played Alixus was a convincing cult leader/dictator being both persuasive and creepy at the same time.

I agree that she was let off way too easy by the colonists. She kidnapped them and was directly responsible for the deaths of many of their friends and loved ones. She was guilty murder through depraved indifference to human life. I could see some of the colonists/cult members remaining loyal, but many would have wanted to tear her and her son to shreds.

I enjoyed Sisko's defiance of her tyranny, especially when he got back into the box.

I do think it was unrealistic that she would need to go to the lengths she did to establish her low tech lifestyle. Why didn't she recruit like minded people?

Also, lots of people in the Trek universe ate unreplicated food, including Sisko and his family. The Bajorans were farmers and Picard's brother still grew grapes at the family vineyard.

It seemed clear that a low or lower tech existence was possible within the Federation.

Wed, Feb 10, 2016, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
Lessons learned:

1. It's totally OK to perform your own mass social experiments without asking anyone involved if they want to be a part of it, as long as you eventually get them to drink the Kool Aid.

2. O'Brien can do things with a rock in water that folks living with no technology for 10 years couldn't even possibly dream of.

Thanks, writers.
Joe K
Wed, Feb 17, 2016, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
Reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode, "On Thursday We Leave for Home" Season 4 Ep. 118 where Captain Benteen leads a stranded ragtag group of survivors of a crashed starship on a barren planet. He exhibits symptoms of megalomania, very similar to the Alixus character. Similarly to DS9, help arrives to finally take the colonists home, but Benteen resists, since he will no longer be the groups leader and savior. In the Twilight Zone version, Benteen is left stranded on the planet after throwing a temper tantrum; however, in DS9 Paradise, the colonists passively decide to remain on their planet, despite being duped by Alixus. There actually is a precedent to support why these people would resist change in real life and the authors touched a nerve on this one. It's called "cognitive dissonance." It is the anxiety a person feels given two opposing thoughts. (See Leon Festinger's work with cults). It is much easier to continue to remain in the present lifestyle that to leave, because leaving would actually be giving in to the humiliation that they had been duped all these years. As Spock would say, " Fascinating."
Fri, Feb 26, 2016, 1:51am (UTC -5)
I just finished watching the Experimenter (movie). Then watched this episode (it was next). Anyway, the movie was on my mind as I watched this. The mentality of the people, submissive to the leader, seems plausable. Yet Ben and Miles behaviour is strange. They try to show Ben defying Alexis but that's not actually what happens. First he just decides to stay with these people even though Alexis is clearly off. Both Ben and Miles have survived and been resourceful in other episodes even without tech. Just walk away. Then after witnessing the hot box the barely say a word. Just going along with her word. Hello! Where is the star trek high moral phyisophical high ground. Seriously we get a moral speech in a lot of trek and in this..pff. Then Ben shows meaning less bravado by staying up for night watch to prove what..he's defiant to Alexis by doing exactly what she wants. I'm guessing it was meant to be a subtle display of rebellion..I will do what you want so you don't think I'm weak. Again..walk away. Why stick around once you realize this woman is nuts? Just go do what you need to do..are these people so fearsome that you can't leave. Then Ben goes in the box. Really! F that. Once he is taken out and the water is on the table..take it, drink it in front of everyone..and for Goodness sake say something. A girl died, nut ladies fault. They were clearly tying to show his spirit wasn't broken..but he didn't actually do anything to stop the crazy. I agree with previous poster "there are 4 lights". Anyway, didn't like this one much. Just so unrealistic. I do think it would have worked if the whole community were volenteering to live that way. The "threat" would have been more real, the show of defiance more meaningful and the idea more compelling. The end sucks.
I like deep space nine it has tons of compelling stories in the series this one just fell flat.
Sat, Feb 27, 2016, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
What the actual fuck? Three stars? For this hunk of shit?! I said it many times in my TNG reviews and I'll say it again, to each their own, but I seriously must be missing something here. "Paradise" is easily the worst DS9 has offered to date!

I used to think that the episode was a rather strong one that was absolutely torpedoed by the downright offensive ending. But, having rewatched it now, I can't even say that anymore. Aside from the scene where Sisko crawls back into the sweat-box, there is nothing - nothing! - redeeming about this turd. I couldn't possibly hope to express my disgust at this episode any better than SFDebris did in his review. Therefore, I'm just going to transcribe it here, because I agree with everything he says. If you aren't currently watching Chuck's reviews, please do yourself a favor and start. Fair warning - this is going to be long.

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"Paradise" opens with the kind of silliness we're prone to seeing in Trek, people doing stuff that by all rights should be done by somebody else purely as an excuse to get to the plot. In this case, Sisko and O'Brien are scouting planets for colonization, rather than running the station and making sure said station is still running, respectively. Well, as expected, this is brushed over so we can get them to this planet which has Human life signs but isn't a colony that is on the record, and they aren't answering hails either.

O'BRIEN: "I'm picking up some kind of low level duonetic field down there. It may be blocking communications."

Hmm, if it blocks communications, we could have trouble beaming back up again, right? Should one of us remain behind to make sure that it's safe? HAHA! I'm only kidding. Caution to the wind! Yeap, their now stuck here. Their com signals are blocked and none of their technology works down here. And that's when the Human settlers find them. But after a brief scare, they're brought back to the village where they are free of technology and, of course, everybody is happy because of that.

In "Paradise's" defense, I believe this is the first time that the "rural simplicity" horseshit has crept into Star Trek, so I'm not going to hold things like the damn Ba'ku Elves against this. But I'm already irritated with this episode for claiming rejection of technology. I see clothes. I see a bow and arrow. I see farming tools. We'll see paper, writing utensils, candles. THAT'S TECHNOLOGY! As usual, it's not a complete rejection, it's an arbitrary "this far and no further!". Take off your clothes and climb into the trees? That's a stupidity I can at least respect. Nah, I'm just kidding. Whatever you feel is your level of technology, live that way. As long as you're not bothering other people, who really cares? Fine. Once you force others to live differently, however, that's when you've crossed the line.

ALIXUS: "But we've done pretty well without our tricorders and EM converters and com-links haven't we? After all, the human body is a powerful tool. We can plow the crops, harvest the fields, construct the walls that we need for protection against the wilderness, weave clothes that we need to stay warm. In a way, we've rediscovered what man is capable of without technology."

Again, as a personal philosophy there is nothing wrong with that, as long as this is how you wish to live that's your own business and nobody else's. But, you know, it's high time that we address this issue. We've kicked it around a little bit here; let's get down to brass tacks. Is it really that great to have technology or are we worse off because of it? Let's avoid knee-jerk reactions and actually think about it - be honest with ourselves about it. Does technology make the world better? Yes. Does technology make the world worse? Yes. Both of those points are obvious with just a few moments' thought. Technology brings solutions and it creates problems. For instance, it gives us the means to reduce starvation around the world but it also promotes over-consumption on a cultural level. But, in a cost-benefit analysis, is it worth having more of our people obese if it means fewer of us would be dying? If one values human life and human condition, absolutely. But, let's not forget that there is a negative - something that we should address, not just pretend that it doesn't exist. Additionally, there are legitimate fears of exploitation of Third World nations because of the high-yield crops that are being employed and that shifting over to that from subsistence can have a strong ecological impact. This does need to be addressed. But over-reacting, saying technology is obviously the problem and must be removed? That's a fool's solution. It is sweeping and dismissive - throws out so much good for so little bad. The flip side, obviously, is that the lack of education, deliberate misinformation and willful blindness might cause us to ignore those side effects. But that's not the fault of technology. That's a flaw with human beings. Taking away our technology isn't the solution. I mean, by that reasoning, we should get rid of sex. I mean, after all, sure it provides pleasure and perpetuates the species. But it spreads disease, encourages gender conflict, can provide distractions and is the leading cause of rape, molestation, teenage pregnancy and abortions. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not sure your going to see the Nintendo seal-of-quality on a game that might give you AIDS.

Technology has brought us nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weaponry that can bring about death on a massive scale. It has also brought us medical technology that ensures that fewer mothers and children die in childbirth, that fatal and crippling diseases are now manageable, that we can live longer and richer lives than preceding generations. This life we enjoy comes at a price. Many of us in the Western world try not to think about the slave labor used to manufacture some of this technology or of people earning a pittance doing grueling work because they're afraid of being deported. But this, some of the more deplorable aspects of our technology, is at a historic low and only a source of shame because we know that we as a species we can do better. The alternatives, after all, have been massive underclasses working in unhealthy and dangerous conditions for low income if not just outright slave labor, which has been a constant element throughout history regardless of the level of technology. And, it is technology that has helped bridge the gulf there and make this exploitation the shameful thing that it is. The idea that we can maintain and promote the positive things that technology has brought us even after that technology has been abandoned is a non-sequitur. You are just as likely in a generation or two to have civilization slide back into the darker elements of our nature. Part of this is that technology gives us the ability to preserve knowledge better and better than ever in multiple forms to ensure its survival for future generations so they don't have to relearn harsh lessons the hard way. After all, those books that Alixus is writing, one fire and all that knowledge is lost forever. I'm not trying to create a bunch of straw-men here. I just don't have the time to debate every argument everyone has advanced for or against technology. In brief, does technology create new problems? Definitely. But create more problems than it solves? Only if one places less value on Humans than on nature or on some subjective ideal. And the problems that it does create are ones we can correct with time, with more understanding. And some may require us as a culture to change. Some technology we need to mature more in order to handle properly. I certainly don't deny that. But to believe that we must throw it all away because of that is ridiculous. Getting rid of all the benefits of technology because of some negatives is like tossing away your heart medication because it gives you gas.

So, Sisko is reading one of those books of Alixus' that I mentioned that she left in his quarters about how technology makes us all suck. And Joseph, the engineer on their ship before it crashed here, agrees that they're better off because of how it's brought them all together. Everyone is doing great with this sense of community. Oh, except for the chick whose dying of course. That's really harshing their mellow here. None of their attempts to use herbs and spices have helped to cure her of an insect bite that a standard med-kit could take care of in seconds. But trying to reach the run-about, the best chance to save her? That's dismissed by Alixus as a waste of time. When O'Brien comes up with a strategy that might work, she starts getting really pissy and tells him that if they want to do something useful, well, go fuck around in the woods and hope to stumble across a cure by accident in the next few hours. Or, hey, maybe we'll find a magical leprechaun who will cure her in return for a bowl of cider!

Cures for ailments can exist in nature, yes. But it is baseless to believe that the world is a video game where every disease has a natural cure in a form that requires just slapping it on and all within walking distance of your village. The odds of O'Brien succeeding in his task are a hell of a lot better than what is essentially a game of roulette with this woman's life. Yet Alixus is trying to obstruct the attempt because of her own stupid ax to grind. Like, I don't much care for this philosophy, as I've made clear, but I'm a live and let live kind of guy. But it's not very well live and let live if your obstructing the best chance for her to live! Now you've crossed the line from annoying zealot to dangerous zealot.

ALIXUS: "We've conquered seventeen illnesses with the most powerful resource man has. His ingenuity. "

*exasperated sigh* The application of human ingenuity is called TECHNOLOGY, you stupid cunt... ree doctor! Well, Sisko is not going to cow to her like all the others do so she's going to get all Alpha Dog on him despite her previous remarks that she's not in charge. Yeah, it's a thinly veiled lie. She doesn't give orders so long as everyone does exactly what she wants them to. If they don't, well, then suddenly she's in charge even though her way of life has caused numerous deaths due to cold and disease. Everyone has come to follow her because... well, we'll soon see. Yeah, Stephan has been locked in a hot-box, as in the torture device employed in some places such as some southern prisons in the U.S. in the last century, unfortunately. The heat of the sun turns it into an oven, basically. Stephan stole a candle. Hence the need for TORTURE!

ALIXUS: "The first thing this community accepted was the need to establish rules of conduct. All of us, including Stephan, approved this form of punishment as necessary and fair."

Then you are all utter dickheads and your community should be burned to the ground! I'm sorry that my list of pet-peeves are crazed zealots, the pointless loss of Human life and institutionalized torture! Hopefully Alixus will at least wait until she gets back to her room before she starts masturbating while thinking about all the power she wields. To further demonstrate this, she sends a woman to Sisko's room to seduce him so that that he'll be more inclined to bend. And when he confronts Alixus over it she orders him to stand watch and then work his morning shift. The coup de grâce is when O'Brien is dragged before the village for - ha - trying to contact the run-about.

ALIXUS: "This man has committed the worst offense that can be committed against this community. He has selfishly wasted precious time that could have been put to productive use."

Oh, give it a fucking rest! Is writing your stupid-ass books or expecting anybody to read them any more productive? No, it's only because you decide want is and isn't! Let me be clear about one thing here about Alixus. She is not anti-technology specifically. Anti-technology is merely the hook for her real agenda which is authoritarianism. I'll let you in on this early, the anti-technology field, that's artificial. It's being used by Alixus to keep these people here and to get aboard the run-about so she can get rid of it. So, yeah, Alixus is perfectly happy using technology so long as it furthers her own ends - to set up the field, to keep people from escaping. She has decided what level of technology they are allowed to reach until their HUMAN INGENUITY is no longer permitted to continue. The technology that she denies them is the means she uses to exert control. In her supposed hatred of technology she manifests the worst aspects of it's misuse - to treat the lives of those without it as cheap, because she will use technology to further her agenda but not use it to save lives. Ergo, the lives of these people are less important to her than her cause. And that makes her nothing more than a tyrant and a murderer! No matter what anyone feels about her philosophy, this is unmistakable! She represents anti-technology the same way that all fanatics in a group do. And it's very important not to judge the argument based upon the messenger. I don't agree with the argument, as you obviously see, but that is because I feel it is a flawed sentiment. It's just a coincidence that Alixus is completely, absolutely, to the core... EVIL!!!!

You may think that's a harsh sentiment . Well, here's why I think it. Not just because of all she's done, but want she demonstrates now. You see, her actions have not been about getting Sisko to embrace their way of life. It's about his stubborn resistance to her authority. This is all about breaking his will. So she sticks Sisko into the box since O'Brien is his responsibility. And when he comes out, she says he can have water so long as he changes out of his uniform - a sign that he is submitting to her will. In the only strong moment of this episode, Sisko stumbles back and crawls into the hot-box. Now, there's some confusion over this. Some people think that this might be to convince the villagers want they're doing is wrong. And, yeah, if Sisko does die, she'll probably just spin this as a way to strengthen her own power. But that's not what this is about. This is the counterbalance to that. She is doing this to exert control over him. Sisko's actions are showing that he will not be controlled. He will not acquiesce before her. He is deliberately choosing torture and death over living under Alixus' despotism. It is one man making a personal choice. And that's what makes the scene effective.

During all of this, Dax and Kira have been trying to figure out what's gone wrong, eventually finding the run-about after Alixus had wiped the memory and shot it toward the sun and missed so it flew off into nowhere. They backtrack it to the planet to save Sisko and O'Brien but right now O'Brien is working on sorting out the mystery. The explanation for the field doesn't add up. So he gets Joseph to deliberately put himself into a position where O'Brien can knock him out, otherwise Alixus would stick Joseph in the box. And he finds the device that's causing this. So, Alixus' son tries to kill him over this. But, O'Brien gets the drop on him, turns it off and frees Sisko. On being found out, Alixus is naturally out here playing spin-doctor.

ALIXUS: "You'd be surprised how many scientists are sympathetic to my philosophies."

Yeah, if the cost is standing you on a planet where I'd never see or hear from you again, I'd be all for that too. She actually has the nerve to turn this mass kidnapping, torture, murder scenario into something to boast about! Proud of all that's happened as she's ruined all these lives with her dictatorial creeds. This place is like "Gilligan's Island" if the Professor was replaced with Dr. Doom. But still, she's trying to call some of them out on this individually, to act like they're all better off because of what she's done.

ALIXUS: "Stephan, my friend, you probably would have been in prison by now."

He has no freedom of movement, no freedom of choice. The only difference between this and a prison is that in prisons they have modern medicine and aren't allowed to torture people anymore!!

ALIXUS: "Cassandra, you would have been a technical clerk in some closed-in room."

Even if I bought that, this came at the cost of HUMAN LIVES!! Hey, if numerous people I knew died to improve my existence, I sure as hell would hope to go from more than an office worker to subsistence farmer! I would need to live in a mansion and be a professional reviewer of supermodel blowjobs, and even then I'd probably still feel serious twinges of guilt over it.

SISKO: "What of the dead? What of Meg and the others?"
ALIXUS: "Only my son knows how I have suffered."

*exasperated sigh* If... I... had... a... gun... I would shoot you! Non-fatally, of course, like in the hand or something. Stupid belief in the preservation of life!

Well, Alixus and her son are being taken into custody and with Dax and Kira here it's time for the rescue. Of course, some or all of you settlers will probably want to leave now. You guys were talking about doing just that when Sisko and O'Brien first arrived. So....

JOSEPH: "This is our home. Whatever Alixus may be guilty of, she did give us our community."

GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK!!!!! That's it?! That's what you end the episode on?! None of our Starfleet heroes talk about the fact that these people probably have some form of Stockholm Syndrome after ten years of false imprisonment, forced labor and torture?! And should have counselors come out here to make sure they're alright?! The self-righteous mass-murderer villain gets to stand there smugly enjoying victory?! All the villains you've had that have been interesting over the years if they could have won - this is the one you pick?!! Why don't you just have the viewer pick red, green or blue for the ending if you're going to make it fucking infuriating?! But, no, nobody (not one person!) is overcome by shock that they've been through all this based on a lie. They're instant reaction is - this is our home now. Rather than any emotions of betrayal or outrage?! Wanting to kill her for the loved ones that have died?! Not one person is that way?!! Not one person takes her books out here and burns them in front of her to show contempt for what she's done?! No one points out the obvious fact that a community and technology are not mutually exclusive?! You can still be a community without dying because you were bitten by a mosquito, you know! I don't think you're community spirit is going to break down if you replaced your latrine with a flushing toilet or weren't so short on lighting that a guy would risk torture just to have a god-damn candle!! You know what, fine, stay isolated here. The gene pool is probably better off without you!

If you're going to give the victory to the villain, at least have it make some fucking sense!

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Seriously, what else could I add to describe the stupidity of this episode. I was sorely tempted to give "Paradise" one point for the scene of Sisko returning the the sweat-box, because it is indeed a great scene. But I just can't do it. I gave "Move Along Home" one point for the scene of Quark grovelling. I even gave "Second Sight" one point for Richard Kiley. But I can't give it to "Paradise", no matter how good that one scene was - it's just surrounded by too much dreck. So, Deep Space Nine gets it's first zero star rating.

Tue, Mar 8, 2016, 11:27am (UTC -5)

I'll give you a 10 for effort and content!!

I must ask though, what is Sisko trying to prove by going back into the box?
Tue, Mar 8, 2016, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Alixus is basically giving Sisko only two options - submit to her authority or undergo more torture. Now, if I were in Sisko's place, the moment O'Brien and I stumbled on this village and heard their anti-technology nonsense I would have said "okay, so long" and walked away in the hopes of seeing if the anti-technology field ended somewhere. But, at this point, Sisko doesn't have that option. If he tries to just leave the village with O'Brien now, Alixus will most likely just have someone (probably her accomplice son) stop him. So, it's an either/or choice for Sisko. Either he submits himself to her will or he willfully undergoes more torture. By crawling back into the sweat-box he's basically saying - "Screw you, bitch. You're not breaking my will. I'd rather be tortured than acknowledge your authority over me." The only thing he's trying to prove is that she can't break him.
Wed, Mar 9, 2016, 8:32am (UTC -5)
@Luke - That scene alone is why I was surprised that you gave it a 0. I really found it effective (and better than anything in Second Sight).
Wed, Mar 9, 2016, 9:30am (UTC -5)
Thanks Luke. ... and I'd have to agree with Robert. :-)
Wed, Mar 9, 2016, 9:43am (UTC -5)
It is a very good scene. But all of the surrounding material is just so abysmally bad that I can't bring myself to give it anything but a zero. "Second Sight" is also horrible, but the bad material there isn't as actively aggregating to me as the stuff here in "Paradise", if that makes any sense. "Second Sight's" bad material is mostly just boring. "Paradise's" is grating.

For example, here's something I was going to add to my comments but forgot to include. Early on, this is said - "'Paradise' opens with the kind of silliness we're prone to seeing in Trek, people doing stuff that by all rights should be done by somebody else purely as an excuse to get to the plot. In this case, Sisko and O'Brien are scouting planets for colonization, rather than running the station and making sure said station is still running, respectively." Add to that the fact that it's Kira and Dax who go looking for them. So, we have the station commander, the first officer, the second officer (which I think it's been established that Dax is) and the Chief Engineer doing want should be done by nameless red-shirts. Who the hell is commanding the station at this point?! Bashir? That's the kind of thing that just grates on my nerves.

And the whole "anti-technology" philosophy is something I vehemently disagree with. Given that the ending (aside from it's other problems) seems to want us to agree that it's the preferable way of life, that REALLY grates on me.
Sat, Apr 23, 2016, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
I actually think this episode is rather brilliant. A lot of people don't know this, but the Nationalist Socialism of Germany in the 1930s grew out of the 19th century "Völkish" back-to-nature movement of Germany. This ideology has its origins in the application of Darwin's theories to human society, the fallacy that there are superior and inferior human races and only the fit should survive, along with the Malthusian fallacy that there are limited resources on our planet (this has been proven false again and again since Malthus predicted in 1798 that world starvation was inevitable by 1900 due to the population boom — in reality, innovations and technology, like new farming techniques, come from human ingenuity, especially in a free society, so the more people, the more food). These two ideas together demanded that the fittest people for survival (the Aryan race) protect Mother Earth from the lesser races which were stealing all its resources and overpopulating it. This is the original eugenics movement, the Khan supermen version of which Star Trek has rightly and repeatedly condemned for its antihumanism.

Naziism took this one step further and opined that constant war was the only way to rid the world of the weaker infestations of humanity, and then once dominant would get rid of all technology and force all people to live again tribally in communion with nature. Obviously they had no qualms utilizing advanced war machines and other technology to initiate WWII to obtain their ends, but evil knows no hypocrisy.

Elements of this antihumanist madness are evident in "Paradise," with totalitarian rule being necessary to enforce unreasonable limits on society, and with the preference to let people die (so much the better! let the genetically weak die, as Eugenic Darwinism would have it) rather than even attempt to gain access to the technology that might save. I couldn't help feeling chills when Alixus made Sisko get into the box, echoing the horrors of American slavery where again the "fittest" race felt justified in dominating another. Sisko's resistance and actions are breathtakingly heroic, especially as he nods to O'Brien so that the Chief can find a way out.

I also think some here have misinterpreted the ending as being pro-Naturalism. It most certainly is not. Alixus's speech and her people's positive reaction to it demonstrate the extent to which she has successfully conned them into believing they are actually happier to have had less of a life, limited opportunities, children and brothers and sisters and husbands and wives dead of disease and famine, isolation from the rest of the galaxy where resources, opportunities, and happiness abound. And all the joys of which they were deprived are possible because of the plucky ingenuity and andventuresome spirit of humanity that opened all those doors. Joseph, now the de facto leader, says "this is our home," this is now our way of life, demonstrating the tragic extent of the madness. If I may invoke Nazi Germany once again (although parallels are evident in equally malign Communist and socialist horrors of the 20th century), the German people too were taken hostage by fanatics — but they became fanatics themselves, and while there were good people who did what they could to resist and prevent the Holocaust, they were in the minority.

In the last shot, after Joseph the new de facto leader condemns them to their fate, there are two children, a boy and a girl, who do not walk away with the rest of the converted true-believers. They stand behind the box, and look with empty eyes into the vapor where once stood their potential Starfleet saviors. I found myself wondering, "which one will make it to adulthood?" They may have been wondering the same.

Thus, rather than a heavy-handed apologia for Naturalism, this episode is clearly a *subtle* yet unwavering advocation for the technology that humans can create to improve the lives of all mankind, and for the liberty that can flourish as our standard of living increases. I'd give it 3.5 stars.
Sat, Apr 23, 2016, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
I just finished reading your initial post, Luke (hey! that's my name too! I guess Lukes tend to be long-winded wise souls, haha). I am in complete agreement with you.

And I think so were the writers. The intent was never for us to buy into Alixus's naturalism-by-tyranny, but to be *horrified* by the ending! And look how horrified *you* were! It's a complete tragedy. The writers succeeded; I am convinced this was their intent.

Rather than the material being "abysmally bad," if taken under the condition that the writers *do* believe in the anti-authoritarian, humanist, technological paradise message of Star Trek — as you and I do — would you rate the episode well?

Read my post above and you might see the connexions between Naturalism and Naziism are terrifyingly apparent in this episode.
William B
Sat, Apr 23, 2016, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
@Skywalker, you've done a fair bit to convince me that the intent of the episode was tragedy, and that it was thus effective. It was clear to me watching that Alixus is portrayed as a villain, and I did not think there was much ambiguity on this point -- Sisko's absolute opposition to her, her inability to handle the slightest dissent, her use of torture, and her being hauled away to jail at the episode's end were big signifiers that the writers found her as horrible as the audience. Still, the episode seemed to me something of a muddle -- I didn't quite get why have Joseph et al. so placid at the end. Certainly ending the episode on the shot of the two children seemed to underline the people who will be damaged by Joseph et al.'s choice, but I could not tell if this was really the fundamental "last word" or a moment of the director and the writers at odds with each other (that beat is not in the script, e.g.). It seemed to me, and I still suspect, that the ending was being played for "ambiguity," but in a somewhat shallow way -- Alixus is a villain because of her methods, but maybe she was right about her ideals -- a way to avoid seeming didactic while ending up sacrificing characterization and coherence. In that sense the episode seemed to be about how maybe naturalism was good or maybe not (???) but it was wrong to kidnap and torture people, which meant it didn't quite seem to me that it was about anything.

But the connection to Nazism brings the relationship between her so-called ideals and her methods into greater focus. That Alixus' fundamental position is that "we have become fat and lazy" and that humans need to suffer in order to learn has social Darwinian aspects. Her use of technology to abolish technology makes sense in terms of the war machine to impose tribalism. And the box itself -- a metal box -- evokes the horrors of slavery, tanks, and gas chambers as well.

I am still not quite sure what to make of the ending, though, because I cannot get past the idea that we are meant to at least somewhat take Joseph's statement that they have found their true selves, or some such, at face value. Joseph is depicted as open-minded and kind, and he also states that they will decide whether or not to leave the anti-tech generator on or off. Now, if the idea here is that moderates and kind souls can still be afflicted with the ideological contagion, then that works...but if Joseph et al. do turn off the anti-tech generator, then are they still in Alixus' thrall? Is Joseph simply deluded in thinking that they have found some "true selves" and if so, what made him believe that? I guess Alixus' con. Certainly, that the group seems to have some sort of one-mind groupthink and the children are left to stare at the spot where their salvation just beamed away is very dangerous, but I still almost feel as if Joseph is written with too many...signifiers of being a reasonable man, who might be able to reform Alixus' false paradise and build a "real" "paradise" out of it...for me to be totally convinced that the ending is meant to be tragic rather than...I don't know, ambivalent. I guess since I think that it's a problem that no one on the planet seems to be even bothering to send messages back to their families off-planet, we know that it's not a truly good ending, and so that Joseph is less inclined to extremism than Alixus should not give us much hope that their will lives be more than a bit better.
Sat, Apr 23, 2016, 8:27pm (UTC -5)
@Skywalker - quit stealing my name! :-P

I really like your allusions to National Socialism and the Malthusian Fallacy, as they are both very evident in Alixus' character. However, I don't agree with your take on the ending of the episode. William B is kind of on to something when he says that maybe it was intended to be ambiguous. But, I'm not willing to even give the episode that much. It doesn't seem ambiguous at all to me. I honestly think we're supposed to take Joseph's belief about "finding their true selves" at face value. The complete absence of any counter-argument to his statement and decision from our Starfleet heroes effectively signals that, for me. And given that the final beat with the kids looking into the sky isn't in the script (I'm taking William B's word for that, as I haven't read the script), it only solidifies my take on the matter and makes me think it was, in fact, a moment of the director and actors being at odds. If this was intended to be a murky ending there should have been some kind of statement from Sisko or O'Brien about Joseph and the others suffering some kind of Stockholm Syndrome effects. Or the writers could have brought up the connections to how National Socialism and Communism did the same thing to people (much as you have). The message seems pretty clear - Alixus is a villain (which I do agree that the episode is very firm on), but only because of her methods - the underlying message is sound.

Let me just be frank - I have no love for this underlying message of "rural/rustic simplicity." Personally, I think it's horseshit. Now, if someone wants to live that way, I say more power to them. But it's a way of life I will never embrace and it really grinds my gears when a piece of fiction presents it so glowingly - that's one of the main reasons why I despise "Star Trek: Insurrection" (among many others).

When I was a teenager, I was a Boy Scout. Every summer I had to go off to Summer Camp with my troop. It was always a miserable experience because it was a week without technology. One summer, in addition to Summer Camp, the troop went out to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. More than any other experience in my life, that convinced me that this whole "back to basics" or "communing with nature" philosophy is nonsense. We spent two whole weeks out in the northern New Mexico foothills with literally no technology - we were in the exact same position as the colonists in this episode. The only technology in sight was that each base camp had a land-line telephone (for use in case of medical emergencies) which only the Ranch staff could use. Each camp also had a working vehicle in case they needed to get someone out of there in a hurry (again, in case of a medical emergency). That was it. As bad as the annual Summer Camps were, they were only around five days long. This was a full fourteen days (twenty when adding in time getting to and from New Mexico) without the conveniences of modern technology. When it was all said and done, and I was back at home, all I wanted to do was stand in a scalding hot shower for five straight hours, sit in my magnificently air-conditioned living room, play video games and (probably not surprisingly here) watch a shitload of Star Trek re-runs. What I learned from my close to three weeks of communing with nature was that Mother Nature is not a kind, old soul. She's a real bitch! If given the choice between saving the planet but living without technology or not while having those creature comforts, I'll pick the comforts every time! Nature - it's a nice place to visit from time to time, but not a nice place to live.

"Paradise", and "Insurrection", however, really want to push the idea that the opposite is true - that living without technology is the preferable way to go. Well, I learned the hard way that it isn't fun and it sure as hell isn't ennobling. So, long story short - no, I'm not willing to give the episode a higher score. I don't see it showcasing the terrifying connections between National Socialism and Naturalism. If they had showcased those connections, directly by having Sisko or O'Brien openly state them, I would be willing to rise the score. In fact, I would probably be willing to rise it quite a bit. But, without that, I have to give a zero.
Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 12:00am (UTC -5)
@William B and @Luke, thanks for your quick responses! Actually, how did you get notified there was a response in this thread? I only noticed because I reloaded the page.

We three agree that the Star Trek's philosophy of technological futurism is probably a good path for real society, and that this was at least partially intended by "Paradise" — but I will come over to your side to concur that this story could have been executed better by making possible analogies to Naziism and Völkism, among others, more clear for a wider audience, and the ending more crystal (watching it once again, I think the *music* is the most confusing part of the ending since it's too happy). It is possible there were conflicts of expression and interpretation between the script writers, the story writers, the director, and the actors, and ambiguity resulted.

And even if "Paradise" *was* meant by all parties to express to the interpretation I favor, I can agree that its subtlety makes the message too blurry to see for a more general audience. (Although the subtlety was a plus for me.) I tend to like those sorts of plays that end with a bit of ambiguity that takes a few minutes after final curtain to tease out the best meaning, like Glengary Glen Ross, Death of a Salesman, or Fences, but that doesn't mean it's good Star Trek.

So, with my particularly sharp awareness of the story of antihumanism (I just read Merchants of Despair by Robert Zubrin), I will say this is an excellent episode for *me* as the audience, and stand by my affection for it — without expecting a broader appreciation.
William B
Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 7:56am (UTC -5)
@Skywalker, check out the Comment Browser feature on Jammer's site, which lists the most recent comments. That's how I saw your recent post (and I presume Luke as well).

For what it's worth, I do like ambiguity in art and I like Glengarry Glen Ross and Death of a Salesman for that reason (haven't seen Fences). There are episodes that I think get ambiguity right. Here -- I find it comes across as a bit of a muddle of meaning rather than portraying a situation too complicated to put in a single message. I'm not sure what the difference is in my reaction. However, I don't think my reaction is necessarily proof that the episode failed, and I really like your take on it.
Greg Q
Sun, May 1, 2016, 3:40am (UTC -5)
Horrible. I want to see the trial once they get back. This episode was one of the worst ever in all of television, even black and white and color television shows. Horrendous.
Mon, May 2, 2016, 1:30am (UTC -5)
@Alvin, I think you're a little confused as to the definition of a bottle episode...
Sun, May 8, 2016, 2:09pm (UTC -5)
What I don't understand is that if she wanted to create a community that wants to live without technology, find other people who want to live without modern technology! Are there no Amish people or naturalist left on earth? did world war III kill them all?

I did love the ending shot of the children staring at the spot Sisko and O'brien were transported from. and there look of confusion and interest at the technology their stupid parents have decided to keep them from ever learning about. Sort of gives me hope that the children eventually left that world or at least got into contact with starfleet so they would stop dying from disease and treatable injuries.

Sisko and O'brien's defiance of these lunatics instead of joining them earns this episode 3.5 stars from me.
Thu, May 26, 2016, 1:46am (UTC -5)
Interesting ideas but, oy, that ending...

I watched this one ep at random after watching a lot of TOS. On one hand, it's refreshing to see a Trek that's more nuanced. Kirk would have overturned this society and punished the leader, no problem, simple and predictable.

On the other hand, this ep goes beyond nuanced to completely passive. Sisko doesn't fight, he gets in the box. The lying, abusive cult leader gets no comeuppance. Not a single villager wants to leave. Neither Sisko nor OBrien even try to explain to these people the extent to which they've been psychologically abused.

I get that defeating the "baddie" wasn't the point of the episode, but the viewer is expected to play as dead as Sisko and as dumb as the villagers. All DS9 had to do to sell it was have at least one villager ready to leave (believable) and have one protagonist at least decry Alexus as a tortuous cult leader before beaming away (satisfying). But no, she makes a huge speech, and our heroes don't even rebut. At that point, even I'm like "At least Kirk would have told someone off!" Hell, Picard would have.

Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Much has already been said that puts this episode into good context. And sci fi storytelling has come a long way since this episode first aired in 1994, over twenty years ago. While the aforementioned "tragedy" perspective makes sense, I get the feeling that this is not the message the producers (et al) were going for with this episode. But instead, we are to take at face value the noble naturalism and humanism that enamored Southern California culture - in a preponderence of this "commune moon" trope seen in so many other series and stories.

Offhand, let's see, in no particular order, there was the Masterpiece Society, the Bringloidi, the Ba'Ku, the Ventu, the Va'al tribe, Children of Time, Marauders, The Nox (and a whole slew of SG1/Atlantis societies), some in Farscape as I recall, and of course plenty from Andromeda, Hercules and Xena. The future is primordial or medieval, apparently, and even we hyper-tech types all sit around stomping grapes and listening to 19th century classical music and buttoning up our Victorian waistcoats and lacing up our corsets.

Ok, so this one - Paradise - is as much about cultism as anything else. We see it in Alixa's Cult of Personality, that manages to rationalize all manner of immoral behaviors in the guise of ideology, which is just a tool of Autoritarianism and underlying Narcissism.

Other than pointing out weaknesses in the story structure - and there are plenty - I will attempt to mention things that may have improved this story for me personally, with which some may disagree.

Sisko's immediate acquiescence to the local power structure - we see him and O'Brien working in a field before even attempting their own solutions. With a child on her deathbed. Right away, this episode asks us to compromise our own experience with the main characters. You can't explain or justify their surrender? They are not one day crash landed and now they are expected to get jobs? And no one bats an eye or says a word in contradiction?

Now we send in a temptress to ply Sisko's favor and - hey, let's keep it as puritarian as possible - we wouldn't want the audience to have any temptation, would we. Could that scene be any less sensual? I know, remove a few candles so we can disconnect even more from any sensual context? That scene was about as tempting as Keiko feeding Molly and talking about her schedule.

The theft of the runabout - and its chance "bouncing off the star's magnetic flux" leaving a trail for Dax and Kira to track back to the Orellian system? And having found the runabout, their best option - is not to engage its remote systems, as we have already seen in The Armageddon Game not TWO EPISODES AGO - but to use brute force on THEIR OWN SHIP to drag it to a stop against warp forces that threaten to disintegrate both ships? And when they do it - the ships go from slow to stop, and we are supposed to feel relief? Well if you want viewers to feel relief, you have to thrill them first. Watching a tractor emitter - ain't it.

Well, there are a few other choice moments I would rip straight out of the typewriter cradle:

"Perhaps one day you'll even feel the hand of God on your shoulder. "
Um, and you won't, Emissary?

"Here, bend down and let me knock you out."
"Duh, OK." When, in the history of the human race, has one person ever bent down to let another person knock them out? I have an idea, how about YOU FIRST. What do I look like, a Ferengi?

"Take off your uniform for the twentieth time."
Say, are you worried that this reminder might foster a little dissent? Well where is that issue you are so eager to snuff out in its germination? But no, not ONE villager dogs our heroes to ask "Um, hey, can you like, tell us if you have had any new alien invasions we might want to know about?"

That the village exists at all ANYWHERE in the vicinity of a rapacious Cardassian Empire, desperate for planetary resources - makes NO sense to me. Like the Ba'ku, I want Bajoran refugees to start squatting in their little idyllic world and start ripping them to shreds with their "Cardassian labor camp" shtick.

"Get in the box."
"Okey Dokey. I'm not a colonist but whatever, herp derp."

"He stole a candle."
What a douchebag! You know what, get in the box for having such lame-ass ambitions!

"Take off your uniform again."
"I still don't want to exploit this obvious threat to your sense of control with a public question. Just let me get back in my box, okey dokey. I'm not a colonist, but whatever, herp derp."

Villagers: "No dissent here, no gossip, nothing special going on here." Really? Then what was Alixa so threatened by? She obviously already knew they weren't going to pay SAG rates for speaking roles from the extras.

And more. But finally, my biggest beef with this episode is the lack of satisfying payoff of any kind. Sure, they hit the reset button, but the story felt as though it had ended in the first act. There was no change, no explanation, no denouement, only a still life followed by an anticlimactic beamout. And then, as if to send a cautionary chill up our spines, two children left staring at the escape denied to them and the box that awaited them.

As I say, if I thought this was scripted as a tragedy I could accept this ending's intention (but not its execution). But I think the intended message was more like - "we have vaguely unlocked out restrictions but a naturalistic community is a special human bond you couch potatoes have lost touch with. And all the hope we'll give you is this vague childish dichotomy of torture vs technology." Nice. Never mind the other confusing question that - their bondage was actually the result of technology. Now that is a messed up question that the episode hadn't even begun to address.

And not ONE villager speaking up to say - hey, um, I don't mind being lied to for my own role in someone else's house of cards "utopia". Here's the episode's true crime - it is IMPLAUSIBLE. When the duonetic field was lifted, the OBVIOUS conflict arising from that situation was "is it moral to abandon half the villagers who want to stay, and can they retain their identity - or even survive - with half the village PACKED AND READY TO LEAVE IMMEDIATELY." This question was explored more fully, and far more satisfyingly, in Voyager's "The 37's."

But no, "Paradise" instead peters out with an inevitable deus ex machina rescue and NOT ONE WORD OF DISPLEASURE FROM ANYONE. Not even a log entry.

But most notable about this episode is the comparison it raises to Roddenberry's Star Trek utopian vision itself. The Orellian (Orwellian?) village is an egalitarian society without currency, repressed under an unassailable, "perfect" ideological doctrine in which each member has his or her individual power stripped of them, forced to cooperate and told they are free; while gradually regressing toward superstition, brutishness, and despotism. The dictator's plans included a spiritual aspect, as well, which would have cast her in a sham demigod-like state similar to the Un regime in North Korea. Evangelists from hell cloaking their ambitions in terms of unreachable ideological perfectionism. Thus giving them a perpetual license to punish for falling short - while of course escaping any account for themselves. We've seen these themes already in the Circle trilogy (Winn and Jaro), and we'll see them later in Dukat.

Contrasted to the Federation, which - may tolerate all manner of cultural relativistic injustices, but at least lets you leave. But what of other distinctions? Certainly the Federation has had its share of despots, predatory societies, torture, luddism, cultism, and institutionalized hypocrisy. (I'll leave it to readers to think of examples for each case). It's an interesting juxtaposition to understand what gives the Federation its appeal can also be bait for an Orellian bait-and-switch trap. All so prevalent even today.

I think it's a strong premise worth exploring, and that the episode had all the elements for a great story. However it failed raise the right questions, it failed to depict what normal humans would do, and it provided more than needed exposition at the cost of any satisfying resolution.

Even allowing that the community had not been fractured by its recent loss of identity, the loss of three people, its ideologue, cohesion, its common sense - simply leaving them alone to fend for themselves without so much as arranging a subspace communicator or way off the planet - is just plain asking viewers to stop caring for any of these people's outcomes. Oh and how about those hot boxes? Everything hunky dory there? Federation? Um, in case you cared, the Prime Directive doesn't actually apply here, and you could, um, actually apply your criminal justice system here, if it matters....

Hey, just think, mother of the girl who died - one day sooner and she would have lived. Anything to say? No? Nothing? Just gonna go macrame something?

At least Picard would have give us a great line or two to remember this episode by.

Now I want to suggest one more thing - What Would SG1 Do?
Carter: Find the duonetic field inside of 5 minutes (buried under an inch of dirt for 10 years? really)??
Jackson: Rouse the rabble and teach us a thing or two.
O'Neill: NOT GET DISARMED BY AN ENERGY FIELD. And he would get the girl offworld medical help, too. He would call the villagers brainwashed idiots to their faces. And then describe the Cardassian threat to their little worker's paradise in scathing detail. And set up an open gate to Earth for any and all villagers whether their leaders liked it or not. Especially those two forlorn kids at the end. He would have had them given physicals and enrolled in school.

But I will give this episode a pass on its premise alone. The issues hold up.
Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
What really pissed me off about the ending was that not one of the Villagers wanted to leave and I think they even said they would turn the dampener back on! And worst of all is that Bitch gets to give Sisko a smug See they love it here look.
If I were one of the colonist I would have tried to smash in her damn skull for stealing 10 years of my life from me. alright some of you have kids and best friends fine but how many of you lost friends and kids because you couldn't access the technology on the ship? it should have had at least one character angry at her

In an episode of Psych when they went to a commune sort of like this and it was revealed the leader was evil we got to see the people get angry and two even attack the guy.

Here they just go hmmm maybe she was right after all. screw replicators and air conditioned homes I want to do back breaking labor and live in a straw hut! and condemn my children and theirs to tough short lives as farmers with no idea of what life is like on their parents home world. Again this episode is only good because this is the only trek episode where our hero's encounter a planet of people who live like people from before industrialization and don't say oh your way of life is noble and maybe ours sucks nope Sisko and O'Brien have none of that. At least in children of time they made use of the Defiant's technology.
Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
The thing I couldn't stand was Alixis' voice. It had this super wavery quality to it like the actress was so nervous during her performance that she kept nearly choking on her lines. Her inflections and way of speaking were so off.

Frankly I'm half convinced the villagers stayed because they weighed the choices of never hearing her give another speech immediately or never hearing her speak but having to spend weeks in a ship with her, no doubt trying to rally them to mutiny. She shoulda stuck to being a writer.
Andrew Taylor-Cairns
Thu, Jul 7, 2016, 5:17am (UTC -5)
What a mediocre episode. I'd forgotten it existed until I watched it again, wish I never bothered!
Take my Warf please.
Mon, Jul 11, 2016, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
At the end she literally talks smack to each member of the community. "You'd just be a repair man without me! and you'd be in JAIL!".

How could she possibly know where they'd actually end up in 10 years?
Then everyone just takes it on the chin, like "ah yeah, she's right. We'd better stay."

What the fffff
Sun, Aug 14, 2016, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
A lot of the episodes in Deep Space Nine - especially season two - probably seemed good on paper, and Paradise is no different. It got to the point where I enjoyed the Quark stories a lot more than anything to do with Sisko and the others. I don't know the actress who played the protagonist, but she was hard to watch. Whether you agreed with her philosophy or not, I wanted to shoot her with a handy phaser on heavy stun.
Thu, Aug 18, 2016, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
Hello Everyone!

I think there would be some sort of rule where, if someone transports down from a shuttle or runabout, the party would have to contact the ship and tell it they are down and all is fine. The ship would keep a transporter lock on them, and if they didn't contact the ship within one minute (or 30 seconds), the ship would automatically beam them back up. That would soooooo help with soooooo many situations they end up in over the years. Also, not only keeping a transporter lock on them, but a constant scan for their vital signs. If someone had their vitals spike upwards, or fall, the computer would automatically beam them back. Sure, the crew could shut this off, but the default setting would be 'on'.

If it was me stranded for ten years, without the technology I figured I'd have, and then found out it was all a lie, I'd probably stand in stunned silence for a while, grasping the gravity of the situation, then I'd figure out what to do.

I was sorry some of the colonists didn't break down and cry, with at least one or two getting angry and grabbing a (low tech) club to attempt to beat Alixus to death.

I asked myself a few times, Why don't they just say NO and risk a fight? Sisko could have incapacitated Alixus on many occasions, but he treats her like she is the proper ruler of the village, and if he takes her down it would be a rebellion or coup or something. She was just a bully that no one had removed yet, for a group so small you could hardly call them colonists. More like refugees.

Starfleet wouldn't just leave them there with no contact forever. They'd come back with a doctor and whatnot, then ask if anyone would like to leave. I don't believe for one moment them beaming out was the end of it.

Enjoy the day everyone... RT
Wed, Aug 31, 2016, 12:37am (UTC -5)

If they took your advice on auto beamouts half of the Trek episodes would be gone. What would the writers do then? :)
Tue, Sep 13, 2016, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
One thing if many things I don't get, why would the female leader let people die? To keep a society like that going, it needs people, for reproduction. You'd think she'd want every life saved?
Wed, Sep 21, 2016, 9:43am (UTC -5)
Aside from this ep's other replete weaknesses : If Sisko and O'Brien (or any other visitors capable of leaving) had never come, how was she supposed to spread her Hakuna Matata across the stars? Books sitting on a space Gilligan's Island aren't hooked to wi-fi--especially there.

Rule Of Trek and Walking Dead - if someone too quickly and unsolicited starts telling you their comprehensive philosophy about Life and The World--shoot them now!
Sat, Sep 24, 2016, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
The response of the colonists was unbelievable. There, in front of them, stood a megalomaniac fanatic who had even been contemplating justifying her ideas with religion for her extremist luddite beliefs, and stole 10 years of the lives of people who didnt agree to her insanity and didnt know of it. 10 years of lies, punishment, manipulation, and neglect that led to death of who knows how many people. Who conspired months before the expedition set out just to make herself leader of a community that fit her fantasy?

And they werent trying the lynch the egotistical maniac and her brainwashed son, who happened to be the only effectively armed(with a bow) colonist, when they found out?!

And Sisko just decided to punish her the soft way despite her petty attempt at breaking his will on top of everything she did?
David Pirtle
Tue, Oct 4, 2016, 11:53am (UTC -5)
The guest star's overacting, the dialog is overwritten, and the direction is over-the-top. I actually laughed out loud at the last shot of the episode, when the colony crowd dispersed, leaving two children to stare at the viewer as if to say, "This was some really poignant stuff, wasn't it?" Three stars? It'd only get two from me for Meany's and Brooks' performances.

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