Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang"


Air date: 2/22/1999
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Mike Vejar

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Vic Fontaine's hotel has just been bought by gangsters."
"I see. When are you planning on going back to work?"

— Bashir and Sisko, an appropriate notion for the series

Nutshell: A weird mix of entertaining and patience-straining moments.

There's a moment in "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" that took me by complete surprise. Kasidy is talking to Ben about a problem the others are having with the Vic Fontaine holosuite program. Ben isn't very receptive; he doesn't care much about Vic's program, or even like it, really. Then, after some more conversation, Ben airs his true feelings: He does not like the historic lie that exists inside Vic's program, which erases all traces of racism from its 1962 Las Vegas setting, in the interests of safe entertainment for all. This is actually something that had crossed my mind in a scene prior to this one, where Kasidy plays the slot machines while talking to a white security guard. (Dare I broach the subject of race in a review of an episode that's not really about race? It appears so.)

This is, I believe, the first time Sisko, or any Star Trek character, has identified himself in dialog as "black." Even last year's "Far Beyond the Stars," about racism in the 1950s, left the racial issues in the 1950s. In that episode's coda, when Sisko reflected upon those visions, his comments were about the nature of Benny Russell's existence, not Benny Russell's struggles as a black man.

So now, after decades of Gene Roddenberry "color blindness," the producers of DS9 have tapped into something that could analyze race in an interesting way from a historic perspective without abandoning anything in the 24th century as we know it. This issue is worthy of serious screen time. But you won't be finding it here: "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" raises the issue and then promptly steamrollers through it. With a few heartfelt words, Kasidy is able to change Sisko's mind with a sentiment that isn't unreasonable, but in a way that strikes me as too quick given Sisko's adamancy on such matters of history. Then it quickly becomes a non-issue for the rest of the episode.

What's up with that? Did the writers simply want to cover that base so we wouldn't think it went forgotten, and then bypass it as quickly as possible?

That sets the tone for my mixed feelings on "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang," an episode that exists simply to be entertaining, and not probing, challenging, vital, or necessary. For what it sets out to do, it delivers. Does it deliver it well?

Q&A time: Since it sets out not to do much else but be entertaining filler, is that worth a good review? Maybe I need to ask more questions. Was I bored? Not really. Was I caught up in the plot? At times. Was I thinking the whole episode was gratuitous? No, because I was distracted by feelings of enjoyment and whimsy. Were there stretches where I stared at the screen in disinterest? Certainly.

"Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang," with an abundance of period sets and costumes, is a luxuriously produced episode that aims for pure style. At times it succeeds. At other times it feels simply gratuitous. It sometimes reminded me of Voyager's "Bride of Chaotica!" Both shows are set in fantasy settings and go out of their way to do something their respective series do not usually do. Yet neither can quite cut itself loose from the jeopardy baggage of their premises. Correction: "Badda-Bing" almost works because of the jeopardy, since it features an interesting response to that jeopardy in the form of the crew's careful planning. Even so, there were stretches in the show's first three acts that I had a general feeling of "C'mon, get on with it already!"

Perhaps my patience with DS9 fluff pieces is simply wearing thin. Perhaps, nothing; definitely. With all that's (allegedly) going on in the DS9 universe, do we really need a story about Vic Fontaine being threatened by mobsters? Now, from what Ron Moore has said in his online postings, "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" marks the end of DS9 fluff and from here on out it's all meaty stuff (and there's still 11 hours' worth of screen time left, which is plenty of time to say what needs to be said), but the entertainment value to be found in "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" is not enough to overcome the cumulative effect of stand-alone irrelevance to the big picture ("Paper Moon" and "Chimera" notwithstanding) we've had since the New Year.

The plot is simple: In Vic's program, holographic mobsters led by the vengeful Franky Eyes (Robert Miano) take over Vic's lounge and turn it into a noisy casino. They beat up Vic and tell him to get out of town. The rest of the episode is about the crew's plan for getting rid of the mobsters and restoring Vic's lounge to the way it was. They come up with the idea of robbing the casino safe so that when Big Mob Boss Mr. Zeemo (Marc Lawrence) comes into town, Franky Eyes will be accused of stealing Zeemo's cut, thereby all but assuring an instant end to Franky.

A few words on holosuite plotting. Contrived? Yes, albeit it's not as annoying as it could've been. Turns out Vic's holo-program had been equipped by its programming designer, some guy named Felix, with a "jack-in-the-box" surprise, intended to randomly spice up the program before it could get boring, I guess. In other words, "It's not a bug, it's a feature!"

Fine and good, but this still permits the existence of plenty of holosuite rules that lie outside the users' control and make me a little leery. Characters can't be deleted, the program can't be paused, and the game can't be reset without also resetting Vic Fontaine's memory to day one. How convenient. Naturally, no one wants to do that, including Vic himself. Another rule in the game: If Vic "dies," his presence in the program will be "deleted from the matrix permanently."

I'm probably a fool for even thinking about the implications of holosuite nonsense. Suffice it to say the mobsters must be dealt with by using the game's rules rather than having the real people controlling the program. I'm glad, however, that the only person in jeopardy here is Vic, rather than the whole crew in another silly holodeck-gone-awry paradigm.

Enjoyment of this episode might very well depend upon whether you like Vic's lounge setting or not. I happen to like James Darren's presence on the series quite a bit, so I found most of this episode watchable, even if not compelling. And the largeness of the music brought out an energy and a style that I often found hard to resist. In critical terms, I must stress that an episode like "It's Only a Paper Moon" supplies the benefit of atmosphere and relevance, whereas "Badda-Bing" is atmosphere without much of any relevance.

Overall, "Badda-Bing" is an episode that is variable for its first three acts and then solid for its last two. That is to say, I found the episode a lot more interesting when it was playing out its caper rather than just supplying its setting for the sake of atmosphere alone. In the opening acts, the characters realize the nature of Vic's dilemma and think of ways to overcome it. Sisko's dilemma over Vic's historical inaccuracy is acknowledged and then dropped. Impatience for me began to set in.

The closing two acts were much more entertaining, because that's where we see the caper unfold. All of this is style, timing, and direction. Fortunately, we have director Mike Vejar, who is very solid when it comes to execution. I enjoyed the way every stage of the plan was calculated and shown to the audience in advance. This made the real execution of the plan, where things inevitably go wrong, more exciting to watch.

Every character gets their own special role in the plan (except Worf, who doesn't engage in this sort of fantasy triviality), from rolling dice at the craps table to playing poker, etc., though I must admit that not all the roles were necessary. Why, for example, do Sisko and Vic both have to stand at the dice table? Because we need to get every major character into the setting, that's why.

Perhaps the most annoying aspect of this story apart from the all-too-quickly abandoned Sisko issue is the way it handles Kira. In short, I do not need to see Kira as the cliched sexy distraction, and certainly not at the length we see it here. It's boring and generally insulting to the character's usual strength. Plus there's the fact that she's trying to distract Franky Eyes, who just isn't interesting enough as the villain. Sure, he looks the part, but the part gives him a slew of typical lines that don't make his villain fun to hate, but instead just kind of annoying.

Mike Starr is a little more fun as Cicci, a big guy who can be very cruel at times (shoving a sandwich down a guy's throat and telling him to go back to the kitchen and get another one), yet can turn on a dime to being klutzily charismatic (his bashful hiring of Ezri).

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that the master plan works out in the end and Vic's lounge is restored to its normal state. But I liked the ending featuring the singing duet of James Darren and Avery Brooks. Is it in line with Sisko's character to be up on stage singing with Vic, in light of his previous feelings? I dunno; Sisko has never struck me as the type to release his serious feelings so quickly. But it's also obvious that this was more a moment that the producers and actors wanted to do because they could—and with time running out, realized that now, if ever, was the time to do it. On that level, I very much liked the sentiment.

Beyond that there's not much to say about "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang." It's not a particularly fresh hour, but it's not annoying either. And although it's not as funny a holosuite show as "Take Me Out to the Holosuite," it's more stylish. It's whimsically gratuitous fun with enough goodwill and good execution to earn a "pass." It also serves as a big patience-strainer for those of us desperately wanting to get back into the series' focus.

This middle stretch of the season has proven extremely limiting in getting us to where the series needs to go. I'm ready to get back into the real core of the series. Fortunately, it appears the series will be heading that direction immediately.

Next week: Bashir goes undercover with Section 31. At last, a plot that matters.

Previous episode: Chimera
Next episode: Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

Season Index

66 comments on this review

Jakob M. Mokoru - Mon, Nov 26, 2007 - 10:20am (USA Central)
Well, it may sound childish - or "adolescent", if you wish - but Ezri made this episode watchable enough for me...
Jeff - Tue, May 6, 2008 - 7:51pm (USA Central)
"cliched sexy distraction" she might have been, but Kira was smoking hawt! How's that for "adolescent"? Question: why wasn't Jake Sisko in this episode??
Necros - Wed, Jul 23, 2008 - 11:01pm (USA Central)
I don't think you understand DS9, and based on your reviews, I'm not even sure if you really like it or not...
Aaron - Sun, Sep 14, 2008 - 6:50am (USA Central)
Sisko and Vic singing "The Best is Yet to Come". Breaking the fourth wall with a wink and a nudge about "The Final Chapter"?
Straha - Sun, Dec 21, 2008 - 4:13pm (USA Central)
I absolutely love this episode.
Chris - Sat, Feb 21, 2009 - 6:47pm (USA Central)
Say what you want about the rest of the episode, but that song at the end made the whole thing watchable. I couldn't help but break out into a huge grin seeing and hearing Sisko sing up on that stage.
EP - Thu, Mar 12, 2009 - 3:57am (USA Central)
I suppose it wouldn't be Trek without a Holodeck-malfunction episode. The premise is as bombastically-stupid as TNG's "A Fistful of Datas," but at least everybody looks like they're having fun. Which means that we the audience get to have fun with them.

And yet, that's such a huge problem. I thought there was a war going on. The WAR TO END ALL WARS. The WAR where Ira Steven Behr tells us just how ugly it is in the future as it is in the present, Gene Roddenberry be damned. I thought Sisko spent every waking moment ponderously and pedantically looking over his casualty lists. I thought 500 Federation ships were getting blown up every other day. I guess I missed the part where writers get to ignore the very wars they've plotted when they're in the mood for something else. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with them establishing and exploring this structure, but if you're going to dramatically portray something like war, you've got to commit 100 percent. Is a little consistency too much to ask?

And I wish someone would kill Kasidy Yates already. She hasn't had anything to do with anything since she got caught smuggling for the Maquis. Now she just consumes lines and camera space.
Bligo - Sat, Jun 20, 2009 - 4:21am (USA Central)
Kasidy Yates is indeed a big flaw.Micheal Edington was wrong,after all she betrayed Benjamin more then anyone else but he simply could not care less.

Maybe love conquers all,but for sure that did not stop her betraying the man she love,oposing him and becoming a terrorist aid without any reason.

If she did have a reason she sure forgot about it the minute the road got rocky.

Btw In the paper moon episode Vic owned the casino,at least he and Nog acted like they did while rebuilding it.

"This is, I believe, the first time Sisko, or any Star Trek character, has identified himself in dialog as "black." Even last year's "Far Beyond the Stars," about racism in the 1950s, left the racial issues in the 1950s. In that episode's coda, when Sisko reflected upon those visions, his comments were about the nature of Benny Russell's existence, not Benny Russell's struggles as a black man."

This whole section shows how much you missed.Try watching it again,and not focus on any color this time.Ds9 is filled with racism,Changelings,Cardasians,Humanoids,Ferengi's,Romulans,Vulcans,Mutants, Pah-wraith followers,Klingons and pretty much everybody else sure got their deal of discriminating remarks,actions and hints of eachother.

And All Ben thinks about over a plate of creol food are black people in the 50's and 60's.Darnit Avery get over it already,2400ad is 400 years away and you dont hear any of us talking bout the 1500's either.
Yakko - Thu, Aug 20, 2009 - 3:27am (USA Central)
I'm completely with Bligo. That whole scene with Sisko and Kasidy discussing the status of blacks in 1960s Las Vegas strikes me as something written to appease Avery Brooks' concerns with the glamorization of the Rat Pack era in the show. While I'm sure he'd argue the issue was very relevant in 1998 it seems completely incongruous that a 24th century human in the Star Trek universe would refer to the struggle of "our people" unless he was referring to humanity as a whole. Granted Chakotay veered into this territory with Native Americans but in that case it was a group that had deliberately kept itself somewhat distinct from the rest of Earth's culture. To me having Sisko make such divisions does much more to undermine the Roddenberry vision than any of the flexible morality the Federation displays during the Dominion War. It's always spoiled the episode for me a little bit.
Destructor - Mon, Jan 11, 2010 - 5:02pm (USA Central)
Regarding the above comments, perhaps Sisko was slightly more sensitive to the historical racism because of his experiences in 'Far Beyond the Stars'? Just a thought.

As for the episode itself- what a snoozer.
lavosslayer - Fri, Mar 19, 2010 - 10:45pm (USA Central)
I have to agree with Yakko and Bligo. The whole Avery Brooks/Sisko concern about the way Blacks or in the words of Sisko, "our people" were treated back in the 1960s is just annoying. I find it really distracting being that at the point in time in the show, as was stated above, racial issues for humanity are a thing of the past. It seems all too forced in this instance and makes the episode really lose on the sell of believability.
Matrix - Mon, May 31, 2010 - 7:47pm (USA Central)
This was pretty harmless fluff that I could take either way. I could misremembering things since I haven't seen it since the 90s, but my take on Sisko's annoyance with Vic's program was based around the idea of promoting a false history in renditions of past events for "modern audiences" (whether that's 21st or 24th century) to make it more palatable. Like changing the outcome of what happened to characters to give them a happy ending or make them more violent or cowardly etc, or when you have a modern filmmaker emphasising one nation's role in a war to the expense of others that might have participated. And since Sisko has constantly been shown to have a fondness for history (benny russell, baseball, bell riots, bajoran solar sail ship) i feel it jives with a desire to see it play out as it happened. Yeah it then becomes a non-issue anyway but that's how I approached it.
Marco P. - Fri, Aug 27, 2010 - 4:22am (USA Central)
Some thoughts (in no particular order);
• Nicole deBoer with long hair is absolutely gorgeous.
• Sisko the "holo-civil rights activist" smelled a little too much like Benny Russell.
• Thinking of "Cheech & Stretchy" (Odo) made fall out of my chair laughing.
• I had dreaded for this to turn into another "stuck in the holodeck with the safeties off" episode (or holodeck-gone-awry as Jammer calls it). Thankfully the writers somewhat avoided

that trap. It seems awfully convenient though, for the purposes of the plot, that the two antagonists cannot be deleted. Sure, the

programmer included them to "spice things up", but did he also make them read-only? Or that the main program cannot be altered?
• When Nog can't open the safe, what's preventing Odo from shape-shifting through the crack in the door and then somehow opening it

from inside the lock mechanism? Maybe I'm nitpicking too much.
• The set-up of showing us the heist "as it should happen" (the plan) first, and then following through with a repeat of the events plus or minus a few "unpredictables" (the action, where things go wrong)... well that was a little too cliché for my taste.

All in all when you think about it, this episode could be retitled "Vic Fontaine's Eleven" (minus George Clooney).

And I completely agree with EP on the war topic. Surely there were more important things for the DS9 staff to do, than fight to get an a holodeck program back to normal, albeit it being one that contained Vic the "sentient" hologram.
DT - Fri, Nov 12, 2010 - 5:04pm (USA Central)
Actually people do still get upset about stuff that happened 400 years ago - in Ireland, Cromwell and Drogheda are still remembered, for instance. Sometimes (this might just be a European thing, but it's certainly true where I'm from) the further back in history you go the more upset people get!

It felt especially right, though, considering that the Prophets gave Sisko the vision of life in 1950s America only a year before - so even if he had spent his life unconcerned with what had happened back in the 20th century up till then. We know from his evolving attitude to Bajoran religion that Sisko's spiritual experiences stay with him; so it's in character that having had that experience, he'd be more sensitive to it now.
Ospero - Tue, Dec 14, 2010 - 9:45pm (USA Central)
This one was...weird. I might have had a little more goodwill for it had it come in a season where filler episodes didn't feel like needless distractions from the main issue.

Oh, and the whole "blacks" thing? I can understand it in Sisko's case as memories from the Benny Russell episode, but why is Kasidy so quick to understand what he's going on about? You'd expect more of a "skin color? What difference is that supposed to make, exactly?" reaction from her - she wasn't exposed to anything like racism directly (or at least, nothing related to her being black, as opposed to a human).
Nic - Sat, Jan 8, 2011 - 4:16pm (USA Central)
Avery Brooks' singing made the whole episode worthwhile for me. Though I did watch the episodes in production order (that is, I saw "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" before this one) so maybe for that reason I didn't mind one last 'filler' episode before going into the final arc.
Jay - Sun, Feb 6, 2011 - 12:31am (USA Central)
I think the remarks Kasidy were made were satisfactory (and surprisingly poignant for their brevity) in dealing with the race issue. This is the 24th century, so that eras injustices were not something Sisko himself, or even any recent ancestors would have experienced firsthand...by this timeframe it is, quite literally, ancient history.
Travis - Sat, Feb 19, 2011 - 6:03am (USA Central)
I agree with everyone that the race issue seemed sudden and out of place. That being said, my favorite moments of this episode were the entire cast walking (striding) past Quark's to the holosuite in costume and Sisko singing at the end. I think people would have thought higher of this episode if the baseball episode wasn't in the same season. While Sisko's love of the game certainly warranted a baseball episode, having two fluff shows in the final season was too much.
Jay - Sat, Mar 5, 2011 - 11:27am (USA Central)
Strange that Quark was uninterested in helping because "he considers VIc the competeition". Even if that's so, this ridiculous "malfunction" is gobbling up tons of time in one of his precious holosuites, so presumably Quark would be eager to help get it back in rotation so he can start charging for its usage again.
Travis - Sat, Mar 5, 2011 - 3:53pm (USA Central)
Jay, there was an episode mid season where Quark stopped by Vic's and commented that he liked the place and said he'd stop by from time to time.
Stubb - Mon, Apr 11, 2011 - 2:04pm (USA Central)
Fluff, yes. But this episode's two saving graces are 1) James Darren, who I just can't get enough of (Time Tunnel withdrawal as a kid maybe?), and 2) the fact that the cast looked like they had a blast filming it. For me, that goes a long way toward forgiving the numerous flaws and distractions.
Elliott - Wed, Oct 5, 2011 - 2:23am (USA Central)
Erm...okay, 2 comments :

1) Yates/Sisko debate about racism. I'm of two minds about it--I feel that the idea of being limited only by one's self-imposed restrictions is a healthy one for any person of any colour or creed--but, I'm quite disturbed by the reference to "our people." In the Star Trek Universe, the entire human species hardly sees itself as separate from any other species in the Federation--in fact, most of the time "species" and "race" are interchangeable terms. That black humans in the 24th century would be concerned about preserving the integrity (this is not a moral term, but a scientific one: integrity as in keeping it separate) of their race, which science has shown us barely registers in our genetic makeup, strikes me the wrong way. It's borderline xenophobic. I think the reason race of this kind is never mentioned in Star Trek is because it really has been forgot. Obviously, the actors are from the 20th/21st centuries, so a modicum of suspension of disbelief must be extended. In TOS, it was almost too radical for its time to have white Russian men interacting with white American men, but by the TNG era, these notions should have been obsolete. I was always a bit disturbed by Picard's english--er I mean, French-ness, and I'm really glad they dropped the Chinese angle with Harry Kim on VOY early on. Couched in a story about self-discovery like "Far Beyond the Stars" it works and is poignant. Here it is an unwelcome deviation from an enlightened universe.

2) Vic's "death." Now, it took years--years for the Voyager crew to think of the Doctor as a sentient lifeform with rights and privileges, and he spent his time SAVING THEIR LIVES. VIc has known the DS9 crew a fraction of that time and all he does is sing songs (to the chagrin of many like myself) and wax poetic about his interpretation of them. At any rate, if they care about him and want him to continue to exist, why not try and reprogram the damned holodeck--sorry suite. With everything we've seen O'Brien do, are we really expected to believe that this nonsense is beyond him?

A gratuitous mess of an episode with some thoughtful, but ultimately empty ideas. If "Take me out" deserved at best 1 star, this one deserves at best 2.
Peter Cordes - Mon, Oct 10, 2011 - 6:21am (USA Central)
It would have been interesting to cut to Benny Russell free of the asylum and writing his stories again as Sisko delivered that outburst about "our people" and racism. I'm going to choose to believe that most 24th century humans wouldn't use such terms, and that he's channeling Benny Russell somehow. Good point someone made earlier how that's a bigger blow to Roddenberry than the war, unless you can find an explanation like this.

Obviously Kasidy understands what he's talking about because Sisko has told her about his experiences in Far Beyond the Stars. Maybe most humans are unaware of color-based discrimination, unless they are students of history.
Nathan - Tue, Oct 25, 2011 - 12:54pm (USA Central)
"When Nog can't open the safe, what's preventing Odo from shape-shifting through the crack in the door and then somehow opening it from inside the lock mechanism? Maybe I'm nitpicking too much."

I came here to say the same thing. Odo would make a hell of a lock picker.
me - Sun, Apr 29, 2012 - 6:08pm (USA Central)
awful episode
Cappo - Mon, Apr 30, 2012 - 8:20pm (USA Central)
"Strange that Quark was uninterested in helping because "he considers VIc the competeition". Even if that's so, this ridiculous "malfunction" is gobbling up tons of time in one of his precious holosuites, so presumably Quark would be eager to help get it back in rotation so he can start charging for its usage again."

Vic's program has been running 24/7 in that holosuite since Paper Moon and wasn't going to be shut off any time soon.

"At any rate, if they care about him and want him to continue to exist, why not try and reprogram the damned holodeck--sorry suite. With everything we've seen O'Brien do, are we really expected to believe that this nonsense is beyond him?"

Joke answer: Copywrite infringement?

Real answer: While I admit the stakes were higher in this case, in a way that's kind of like saying 'why play a video game you can just hack it to make it show you the ending?' This wasn't an error, the programmer did it on purpose and took pains to protect it from tampering. He wanted them to 'win,' the scenario, not to hack around all his hard work.

And for people complaining about doing this in the middle of a war, I add my two cents: These people need distractions on their off time to keep them sane more now than ever. It may be one reason why Vic became so important to them so fast in the first place, as opposed to the Doctor. That and the fact that Vic is way more charismatic and likeable. (As much as I like the Doctor, he wasn't portrayed as winning any personality contests.)
Captain Pike - Tue, May 1, 2012 - 8:18pm (USA Central)
Terrible. The writers in season 7 they spent two episodes in the holosuite, they do a mirror episode, they spent another three or four episodes on Ezri doing nothing but whining and then they complain that they needed 5 more episodes to properly end the series. Ok.
karl - Mon, May 7, 2012 - 10:53am (USA Central)
Boring. I don't watch a sci-fi series to see a remake of ocean's eleven. Definitely not in the last season when there are so many loose ends. I agree with captain pike, the writers knew this was the last season and they had all the time to plan it right. If they have so many fillers in season 7 that means that they never knew how to finish the series and not that they didn't have the time.
Vylora - Tue, May 15, 2012 - 11:59pm (USA Central)
This ep was super cute! Now I know its 7th season and all that and theres been a few fluff pieces plus a clunker in the middle few eps but rewatching this again I don't have that apprehension of "getting back into the swing of things".

I really thought it was highly entertaining especially compared to most holodeck eps. Had a grin through most of it even if I agree a few scenes were stretched a bit thin.

It seems it mostly accomplished what it set out to do despite its unfortunate placement among other lightweight outings in the final stretch. Three stars from me.

And oh yeah Ezri holy hell she was smoking hot.
Vylora - Wed, May 16, 2012 - 12:18am (USA Central)
Now reading some more of the comments and I agree that more time should have spent expanding the final chapter of the series. But if they had docked only one ep in favor of said expansion...would anyone really miss Emporers New Cloak over Badda Bing? I know I wouldn't. Though I did find the former a little more entertaing than Jammer but not by much. It was pretty mindless and ill-conceived. Maybe one and half stars.

As for expanding the war arc wasn't DS9 supposed to run for 8 seasons? I know that TNG was supposed to run for 8 but was cut short at 7 because the studio wanted TNG movies. DS9 could have not only expanded the arc but also dealt with the aftermath. Like rogue Dominion, rebuilding of Cardassia, keeping shaky wartime alliances intact, Bajors admittance into UFP...etc.
TMLS - Wed, Jul 4, 2012 - 1:52pm (USA Central)
I enjoyed this, both at the time (not realising the it was an Ocean's remake due to the fact it hadn't been remade at that point and the original Sinatra one was a bit obscure then for a 20 year old) and on re-watching now. Sure, it's fluff and not up to previous season standards (something that's really jumping out at me with all S7 episodes having watched all seasons back to back over the last few weeks) but it's enjoyable fluff.

Who knows, maybe this influenced the Clooney version? ;)
ian - Fri, Aug 3, 2012 - 3:33am (USA Central)
1. It is 26 hours, not 24
2. Avery Brooks obvious obssession with race is really annoying to say the least. It is somone LIKE HIM who continues to perpetuate conflict.
3. It is also absurd that a 24th century human, as the are presented in Trek, would really whine about a make bvelieve fantasy.
4. Ezri is cuter with short hair.
5. Holograms have been taken to an absurd extreme in Trek.

tim - Wed, Nov 7, 2012 - 9:09pm (USA Central)
Captain Pike sums up my thoughts on this episode perfectly. What a waste.
Simon Tarses - Tue, Nov 20, 2012 - 9:51am (USA Central)
Everybody here going on about Sisko feeling they way he did about Las Vegas should read this:

www.racialicious.com/2012/03/15/o-captain-my-captain-a-look-back-at-deep-sp ace-nines-ben-sisko/

After you do, please take time to read the other articles about race featured on the site; it will open a lot of eyes that need to be opened.

Shelly - Thu, Nov 29, 2012 - 2:20am (USA Central)
" I don't watch a sci-fi series to see a remake of ocean's eleven."

lol, karl. Ocean's Eleven remake.

Ocean's Eleven homages are now all too common in TV, but that movie was made in 2001. This episode was made in 1999.

If anything, Ocean's Eleven is a remake of this episode.
Shelly - Thu, Nov 29, 2012 - 2:25am (USA Central)
My bad. I guess there was a 1960's version of Eleven. Which probably still makes DS9 the first TV show to do an Ocean's Eleven homage, which multiple comedies have done these days.
DG - Sun, Dec 9, 2012 - 1:54am (USA Central)

Avery Brooks-shut. up. about. race.

DS9 hasc a Middle Eastern/British guy and an Irish guy hanging out 24/7, but all you can care about is American Black/White relations because 'of course', that's the only issue that matters.

Me and my friend have a giant RP game that goes something like "dragons, vampires, werewolves, Cardassians, Borg, and 'let's annoy Picard'. ^ ^

Today's adventure ended with Gul Dukat winning, the Pah-Wraiths getting their own universe, and Sisko dead--mostly because Avery Brooks is so damn annoying!
William - Wed, Jan 23, 2013 - 7:18pm (USA Central)
I skipped it. I don't like mob stories. I don't like holodeck stories. I liked Vic Fontaine in the Nog episode, but I couldn't take more of him.

Clark - Mon, Feb 4, 2013 - 1:50am (USA Central)
I'll admit that the conversation between Sisko/Yates put me off at first. It felt out of place; however, I've found myself thinking the same thing that Sisko brings up to Kassidy.

I think it makes sense considering Sisko's earlier experience as Benny Russell.

While I do kind of like that they made a small acknowledgement to it (It's always felt weird when black characters were participating in time periods where they would not have been welcome. Mark Twain's "dark fellow" comment when referring to Geordi in Time's Arrow comes to mind), the whole "our people" comment was a bit off-putting.

In my opinion, phrases like "our people"' creates an us vs. them mentality that would only serve to create a larger divide between people of different skin colors. That's the last thing we need. Other than that, it was...sensible, I suppose. I can definitely understand where Brooks is coming from. I'd be lying if I haven't had the same thoughts myself.

Race issues aside, I liked the episode overall. It was a fun outing. And the duet at the end was pretty awesome. I say this as someone who usually hate cheesy musical numbers. The whole "Do-Re-Mi" scene in "Chrysalis" made me want to throw up.

3/4 stars for me.
EliHawk - Sun, Feb 10, 2013 - 11:56pm (USA Central)
For all of you going on and on blaming Avery Brooks for Sisko talking about race in this episode, read the companion or Memory Alpha some time. Behr makes it pretty clear it was him who came up with it. By this point Behr had figured out Vic was somewhat 'controversial' and unliked in part of the fandom, so he came up with the idea of having Sisko as someone who didn't care for Vic, but would be won over by him (much like the reluctant fan) over the course of the epsiode. In the process, he used social conscientiousness as a reason for Sisko to be skeptical / hostile to Vic. He explains:

"We didn't want the audience, especially the younger audience, to think that 1962 Las Vegas was a place where you had a lot of black people sitting in the audience as nightclubs, or enjoying themselves at hotels and casinos. That just didn't happen. So by having someone of Sisko's historical understanding questioning that fact, we could clarify before we got him to Vic's that he's well aware that Vegas was very, very, very white."

To me, the assumption people make that it's Brooks on a soapbox here says alot about race in and of itself.
Herman - Tue, Feb 26, 2013 - 9:52am (USA Central)
So-so episode, both script and direction lacked something, in my opinion.

But Ezri... UNnngh, baby!
Rogue09 - Tue, Feb 26, 2013 - 10:24pm (USA Central)
So many responses I have!

1) I completely agree with everything ian said (and a number of other people have said). The race thing was a big issue with this episode.

2) Simon Tarses: I tried you link. It did not work. I have no idea what is behind your opinion, so I shall dismiss it. I tried though!

3) EliHawk: Behr only states that he didn't want "young kids" to think that 60's Vegas was anything but all white. That doesn't detract from the fact that it probably came a great deal from Brooks, who is a little "extreme" in that department.

I almost don't want to blame Brooks for his attitude because (if you watch a lot of his stuff, including "The Captains) you'll see that the poor guy has clearly lost his mind and was on the path to it even in his Star Trek days. He clearly does not recognize the world as it truly exists, and its really very sad.

My problem with the shot, no matter who was trying to send what message, is that 150 years before Uhura was 1,000 times more enlightened when she met Lincoln. Even during the half/half face episode of TOS (don't remember the name off hand), the whole crew very clearly shows that any differences they might have are not recognized in any racial way. Stuff like this and the Benny episodes, where they have to "go back in time" to shove messages down our throat, is moving completely against what Roddenberry and TOS was trying to do.

So whether or not you like the episode, it's still bad Star Trek
Daniel - Mon, Jul 1, 2013 - 12:01pm (USA Central)
Sisko's response makes sense to me, given that one of his many passions is that he is a historian. This, coupled with his experiences as Benny Russel makes him more acutely aware of 20th century racism than your average Starfleet officer.

Regardless of Roddenberry's intentions, it's absurd to think that all injustice is forgotten four centuries hence. I'm sure some people would react negatively to a Medieval Spanish theme park that completely airbrushed out the inquisition.

Furthermore, Trek-era humans haven't forgotten non-racial dark points in human history - the acknowledge the Eugenics Wars, the controlling of soldiers with drugs, the Bell riots and a variety of other post-current historical events - why is it somehow bizarre for people to acknowledge racism in the context that it happened in the past?

It would be very odd to me for the Federation to move beyond the wisdom that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Kotas - Sat, Nov 9, 2013 - 1:16pm (USA Central)

Very fun episode.

Nate - Mon, Nov 25, 2013 - 2:34pm (USA Central)
I agree with Daniel. Sisko is an enigmatic character, and at this point in the series, he has been made acutely aware of how bad racism was in the 20th century when he exists as Benny. This made him the perfect agent to allow the writers to directly compare attitudes from our time to the ones of DS9's crew.
K'Elvis - Mon, Jan 13, 2014 - 3:45pm (USA Central)
I can see his point: rewriting the past whitewashes it. Many people understand the past from fictional representations of it, and whitewashing the past hinders understanding of the present. Disney's "Song of the South" was controversial when it was released in 1946, and remains controversial today. On the other hand, people attend Renaissance Festivals, which are highly anachronistic. People have a problem with some anachronisms, but not with others. If something is still an issue today, people will have a problem with anachronistic portrayals.

Is a holodeck simulation of a Vegas bar from 1962 meant to be an accurate depiction of Vegas life in 1962, or is it meant to be a fun way of spending some time? Sisko might not have been welcomed at this bar in 1962, but imagine if Worf or Nog had walked into a real 1962 Vegas lounge. We should not forget the past, but that doesn't mean the past will be a living issue forever. You could make the simulation so accurate that blacks could not use it, but that would be appalling. If we reject a "whites only" holodeck simulation, then what do we do? One solution is to not have it at all, but that is unsatisfying. Have the simulation, and let everyone use it - but acknowledge that it is anachronistic - seems like the best option.

What might have been a good way to address the issue is have the crew time travel to Vegas in 1962, perhaps to the actual Vic's. It would be interesting to contrast the anachronism of the simulation to the real 1962.
K'Elvis - Tue, Jan 14, 2014 - 6:48am (USA Central)
I just rewatched it tonight. The comments about how it doesn't represent the racial reality of 1962 was only a few lines in the script, and not a major theme of the episode. Actually, the casinos began to integrate in 1960. There was one casino that was integrated in 1955, the Moulin Rouge, but it wasn't open long.

Quark doesn't have to think of Vic as the competition, Vic can be an added attraction: Quark can sell the drinks and food - and use holographic waiters.
DLPB - Sat, Feb 22, 2014 - 7:46pm (USA Central)
More left wing interference and propaganda in this episode. As usual, black guy can't help but mention racism and "his people".
Ric - Sun, Feb 23, 2014 - 11:28pm (USA Central)
Fun episode, but with a plot's premise that is among the most ridiculous in all Trek history. I mean, the explanation we are given for why the holosuite is malfunctioning is shameful.

About Sisko's position about race, I don't get why this departures from Trek's original viewing of the future. Granted, I usually criticize DS9 for doing so. But I think picking on Sisko's scene in this episode is overreacting.

My gosh, even if nobody thinks in ethnic or racial terms anymore in 24th century, a guy does not have the right to dislike that holosuites show a too-happy-version of history? Ok, I agree that Sisko being so picky on this was also childish. True. But all the fuzz change because of this is also way too much. There is nothing abysmal in a 24th Trek character that likes history being unhappy to see history to sweetened in the holosuites.

I would not think like Sisko, for sure. But those (like me) that do not like how DS9 has been dealing in the last seasons with Roddenberry’s universe have also to remember that in 24th people are different, diverse and can have different degrees of sensibility to each issue.

PS: DLPB's comment above is laughable. Although I think Sisko's line about racism was not organically included in the show, saying that any mention to racism is "left wing interference and propaganda" chocks me.
Paul - Tue, Feb 25, 2014 - 4:17pm (USA Central)
I can almost forgive this episode, but it's just too difficult to believe that the entire senior staff (sans Worf) can take all this time in the middle of a war to help Vic (especially after they did the same thing in "Take Me Out to the Holosuite").

It certainly seems like the entire crew spends a couple days prepping for the heist. I could buy that in the earlier seasons -- when the senior staff seemed to hang out and drink coffee much of the time -- but not in season 7.

Also, it's really weird that Jake isn't in this episode. I'm not sure where they would have worked him in, but it's interesting that he's not even mentioned when the team is wondering about finding a "high roller" (you figure Jake would have been a better choice than Quark or Worf). I actually think Jake's presence in the conversations Sisko has with Kasidy would have been interesting.

I think the Vic Fontaine character worked well in some episodes and mostly in this one. But the singing scene with Sisko at the end was a little much -- even if it was a final-season conceit.
Lionheart - Mon, Mar 24, 2014 - 12:31pm (USA Central)
The only thing I really have an issue with is how Sisko's only motivation not to go to the holodeck was because it's not realistic and doesn't reflect how black people were treated back then. Really, what kind of reason is that? It also has no place here, because the episode only focuses on getting Vic out of trouble.

The rest of the episode was pretty enjoyable. Most movies nowadays don't even build suspense like this episode does (when Nog tries to crack the safe). I also didn't find Sisko's decision to sing with Vic that odd, I mean, Vic asked him to, and when somebody asks Sisko, he usually obliges because he's a good guy and isn't exactly afraid of anything. He's not there as the captain anyway, so it makes sense.
Sunil - Thu, Mar 27, 2014 - 1:11pm (USA Central)
Absolutely fantastic episode. Very nicely done. Thoroughly enjoyed it!!!
skadoo - Fri, Apr 18, 2014 - 11:07pm (USA Central)
I found the story mentioned above (O Captain, My Captain: A Look Back At Deep Space Nine’s Ben Sisko) below is a better link:
www.racialicious.com/2012/03/15/o-captain-my-captain-a-look-back-at-deep-sp ace-nines-ben-sisko/#more-21072

I thought it was a great article. I'm disappointed at the attitude people have over that small scene. I think for the most part if you are a person of color you're more apt to have thought of the scene as necessary.
Bravestarr - Mon, Apr 21, 2014 - 11:13am (USA Central)
Nog: If they mess with Vic, they'll have to answer to me.

Oh geez, we better watch out guys, Nog might be mad at us!

Real tough guy, fighting against a hologram. Dear Nog. Die.
eastwest101 - Fri, Jun 6, 2014 - 8:28pm (USA Central)
DS9 does Oceans Eleven, and turns out a surprisingly annoying yet boring derivative vanity piece that veers strangely off course into some sort soapbox before returning to a good natured but ultimately predictable caper. I have really had enough of the holosuite, nog and Vic Fontaine for now - they have definately overstayed their welcome.
Che - Sat, Jun 7, 2014 - 5:59pm (USA Central)
On the matter of race I do agree that it seems strange to dwell on it in the Trek universe. Clearly racial tensions and racism are still an issue in our 21st century world, but Trek has always painted 24th century Earth as a haven of peace and tolerance. I find this episode betrays that vision. DS9 had quite a few race-centric episodes and on the whole many of them were very moving or interesting to watch. They never thought to tackle gender-inequality in the same way, which seems strange to me. Why pick one ethical issue and target it several times; if they had a point to make, why not include all issues of prejudice and bigotry? At a time when women are continuing to be valued as second-class citizens in many parts of the world and treated brutally, this seems to be an important issue that would be on par with racism, but was never tackled with equal fervour in this show.

I don't mean any of the above as a criticism by the way, as DS9 was my favourite of all the Trek shows and Sisko my favourite of all the captains. Merely, I intend it as an observation. I loved the characters in this show and rewatching all the episodes again now, I am reminded of how much I loved how this show veered from the established Trek norms of the time. I really enjoyed this episode, as you could see how much the cast had grown to care for each other. They seemed to have so much fun filming it. The scene where they all walk onto the promenade dressed for the heist made me smile and well up (I remember all the things that are to come for this crew). This really was an amazing show.
Yanks - Tue, Jun 10, 2014 - 10:44am (USA Central)
Ah, an episode that puts on display Avery's true talent.

SINGING!! (not acting)
crckers - Thu, Jul 17, 2014 - 12:12am (USA Central)
Odos eleven
Yanks - Sat, Aug 23, 2014 - 5:36pm (USA Central)
It seems we aren't allowed to get on with the war... more fluff than war it seems.

But it is what it is.

Leeta marries Rom
Obrien marries Keiko
Jadzia marries Worf
Odo is dating Kira
Quark married a Klingon (albeit briefly)

...and we have to listen to an "our people" rant because we have a black Captain?

I call bullshit.

This diminishes what otherwise was entirely enjoyable fluff.

The plan, then the execution made this predictable outcome fun.

Ezri is hot with long or short hair.

Kira was even hotter.

The big entrance was fantastic.

Odo picked a lock when he met the Founders, but I guess that one didn't have a "auto-relock tumbler" :-)

Sisko joining Vic and singing 'The Best is Yet to Come' with the camera panning our heroes is one of my favorite moments in the the series.

3 stars. 3.5 had Sisko hot had his rant.
Liam - Thu, Sep 4, 2014 - 9:11am (USA Central)
I found Sisko's comments about race surprising at first, mostly because it had never been mentioned in such a direct way before in Star Trek. But, I think it's understandable considering that Sisko is shown to have a keen interest in history and the progression of social and racial equality and historical revisionism would bother him. As for the rest of the episode... At this point holodeck cheese and pedestrian fluff/comedy prices had been done to death and DS9's remaining run time could have been much better spent in this final season. I don't find any novelty or entertainment in seeing Star Trek characters clown around in low budget recreations of the past. If I want a good period piece I'll watch Masterpiece Theater.
$G - Wed, Oct 29, 2014 - 12:58pm (USA Central)
I found Sisko's objection interesting and I think it would have made a pretty good episode all on its own. (That is, period-piece entertainment and whether or not the entertainment can be divorced from problematic inspirations). The episode doesn't go anywhere with it, really. But I also think not having Sisko say anything would have been out of character. Not only is Sisko a history buff, but he personally visited a rough period in the 21st century ("Past Tense") AND experienced first-hand the pre-civil rights prejudice through Benny Russell.

Anyway, I still think this is a fun episode. A lot of people tend not to like this one, but I don't know why. Its closest sibling episode is "Our Man Bashir", which everyone drools over, even though "Badda-Bing" is way, WAY better. The plot doesn't needlessly threaten anyone (except Vic) and plays out creatively, showing off the plan beforehand so that each setback has stakes and purpose when it DOES play out. "Our Man Bashir" basically just used each character for the sake of seeing the actors in cliched roles, which got old for me.

You know what might have made this episode a bit cooler? If the mob takeover of Vic's was foreshadowed beforehand instead of just popping up in the programming. Since Nog made it so Vic can live a "real", uninterrupted existence it would have been neat to see Vic deal with inevitable problems raised by that. Of course, that would be giving way too much screentime to Vic, really for the only purpose of paying off a holosuite heist episode. Ah well.

3 stars for me. This is a legitimately enjoyable episode. Weird that S7 has more holosuite episodes than the rest of the series combined (I think). Weirder is that I think they're all successful!
spindles - Mon, Nov 17, 2014 - 4:23am (USA Central)
Remember a couple episodes back When Nog was the subject of concern from his family and coworkers because they thought he couldn't distinguish reality from fantasy? Writers?
hem - Fri, Dec 26, 2014 - 5:07am (USA Central)
I was about to skip this one after the premise. A holosuite episode, with Vic, and a program that goes haywire. A bunch of engineers and whatnot unable to solve the issue from outside is still fine, they just wanted to play after all. But why isn't anyone worried that the holo rooms are a major security threat, what with their acting out on their own?

In the end it didn't matter, I had fun. I seem to be the only one though who had more of an issue with Kira's wilting cleavage than Sisko's strop. He was deeply involved with 20th century racism through Benny Russel so yes, he did live it on his skin.
Lea - Thu, Mar 12, 2015 - 10:29am (USA Central)
I'm surprised at all the anti-Avery Brooks sentiment here. I suspect that the majority of the commentators who thought that Sisko was "being overboard with his black sentiments" probably aren't people of colour.

In DS9 context, if you have a problem with Sisko bringing up the black issue, why don't you have a problem with the Bajorans bringing up the Cardassian occupation at every opportunity they could get?

Sorry if this post was a bit more emotional than they usually are. I am just flabbergasted - and very, very disappointed - at the ignorance of some of the commentators here.
Elliott - Thu, Mar 12, 2015 - 3:27pm (USA Central)

"In DS9 context, if you have a problem with Sisko bringing up the black issue, why don't you have a problem with the Bajorans bringing up the Cardassian occupation at every opportunity they could get?"

First of all Bajorans DO bring up the Occupation all the time, which is irritating, but at least we are talking about people who actively lived through the Occupation less than a decade ago. Sisko (not Brooks, mind) is a human who lives in a society which is CENTURIES past the racism of 1950s Las Vegas.

Second of all, Brooks plays baseball on the holodeck all the time, recreating historic games which were rife with racism--but presumably, he skirts historical accuracy a bit so as not to be called racial slurs by the umpire, you know, because he's there to have fun. Just like Vic's is supposed to be a place to have fun? It seems like Sisko only cares about the historical accuracy of the treatment of black people when it's in other people's programmes, which is a pretty petty and egocentric attitude for one supposedly up in arms over the plight of the repressed.

Finally, as I've said, the fact that the actors who play the Siskos, Kassidy and Worf, etc. are black is because the show was produced in the 20th century. By the 24th it's highly unlikely that anyone would be so racially pure anymore as to differentiate something as genetically minute as skin colour--especially enough to distinguish themselves as separate: "our people" as he said.
Yanks - Thu, Mar 12, 2015 - 3:30pm (USA Central)

The Cardassians just left Bajor and Sisko's problem with slavery etc is over 400 years old.

We only got the reference because Avery is black, not that is was required for the story. Not needed, nor desired. The only part of this episode that wasn't fun.

Submit a comment

Above, type the last name of the captain on Star Trek: TNG
Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my e-mail on my post

Season Index

Copyright © 1994-2015, Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of any review or article on this site is prohibited. Star Trek (in all its myriad forms), Battlestar Galactica, and Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc., NBC Universal, and Tribune Entertainment, respectively. This site is in no way affiliated with or authorized by any of those companies. | Copyright & Disclaimer