Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Air date: 1/8/1996
Teleplay by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Story by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Reza Badiyi
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"We do not fear you the way you fear us. In the end, it's your fear that will destroy you." — Changeling
Nutshell: A good tale of Starfleet paranoia, although it can't really live up to "Homefront."
Four days after the massive power outage which had Earth holding its breath for a Dominion invasion, all is still clear. Power has been restored, and there have been no indications of an attack. Things are far from normal, however. There are armed Starfleet officers on, seemingly, every street corner. Admiral Leyton has declared martial law and holds Earth in his hands.
Something isn't right. Sisko finds an inconsistency in an obscure record, and through a plot twist involving Starfleet Academy (and Nog, if you can believe it) Sisko learns what's really going on: Admiral Leyton—not Dominion infiltrators—caused Earth's power outage so he could convince the President to turn over control of Earth to him. This way, Leyton can put troops on the streets and execute the security measures he deems necessary.
"Paradise Lost" is exactly what I expected it to be. It's a good episode, but hardly an event of astounding magnitude that would, in retrospect, make "Homefront's" setup seem as truly frightening as it appears to want to be. I mean, let's face it. If the Dominion actually attacked during the blackout, the repercussions would be so unfathomable that I can't even begin to imagine such an episode. The writers will not begin to take such risks with the series, because if there's one constant in the Star Trek universe, it's that there will always be peace on Earth, and the Federation will remain intact.
It's kind of like "The Best of Both Worlds." It had one hell of a setup, yet the outcome was inevitable. It posed the question: Are the Borg really going to assimilate Earth? Well, of course not. Things that bad by definition can't happen on Star Trek, even if the story would be more realistic, disturbing, and/or dramatic if they did happen.
Consider last season's two-part "Past Tense," where Sisko and the others got stuck in Earth's past. Part one ends with Sisko deciding to take the place of the martyr Gabriel Bell. In dramatic terms, the best way to have ended part two would have been to have Sisko give his life in Bell's place to preserve the time line. Instead, there's a very convenient but necessary contrivance that allows Sisko to live, but have the same effect on history. Why? Simply because writers can't make big changes in history or kill off the leading character of the series. It's as simple as that.
My point? In essence, the writers' hands are tied. They need a resolution, but it probably can't be something that's going to have a profound effect on the Star Trek universe.
"Paradise Lost" also has this quality. Obviously, the Dominion is not going to destroy Earth. And unless the creators had decided to do some kind of war episode in which the Dominion are defeated (which, on the other hand they could have done, and probably should do eventually down the line) there is also no real way to actually have a Dominion attack like part one wants to suggest.
So, what instead? The episode is about Leyton's power play to declare martial law—a story that does indeed work, despite some foregone conclusions. On a character level, this is about Sisko's choice of having to confront a friend and former-mentor who is undermining the best interests of Earth and the Federation. (And I'll have to admit, though it's satisfactory, this can't compare to part one's story of living a life amid confusion and paranoia.)
Still, Sisko carrying a story about duty and loyalty is a good idea. When Sisko tells Leyton that he isn't going to support the initiative to take Earth under military rule, Leyton orders Sisko back to DS9, which, naturally, Sisko refuses. He instead begins gathering evidence against Leyton to present to the President. Subsequently, Leyton fakes Sisko's blood test and tells the President that Sisko is a shapeshifter. They throw Sisko into a cell.
Noteworthy is the scene where Leyton visits Sisko in his cell. He reveals a subtle guilt for doing what he did to his friend. He seems to genuinely care about Sisko's welfare ("If you need anything—food, something to read—just tell the guard"). It's nice to see that the writers don't throw characterization out the window just to make Leyton less sympathetic. At the same time, I wonder if Leyton would really go so far as to open fire on another Federation ship for what he considers the best interests of the Federation.
The show basically rides on this conclusion, in which Odo breaks Sisko out of jail and the honorable Starfleet captain goes to Leyton's office to try to talk some sense into him. Sisko has a speech or two—delivered with perhaps too much passion, as Avery Brooks tends to overact here, whereas Robert Foxworth's lower-key style might have been better suited to both characters rather than just Leyton's.
With the Defiant on its way to Earth to prove that the mysterious wormhole activity was indeed not a cloaked Dominion fleet, but a ruse orchestrated by Leyton's informant on DS9, Leyton sends his right hand officer, Captain Benteen of the USS Lakota (Susan Gibney, who portrayed Dr. Leah Brahms on TNG) to intercept the Defiant which is "not to reach Earth under any circumstances!" under the pretense that everyone on board has been replaced by shapeshifters. With the situation out of his hands, all Sisko can do is wait, while the Defiant and the Lakota face off.
This brings up a rather unique situation—two Starfleet ships shooting at each other. After a brief phaser battle, Worf and Benteen realize they have to ignore their superiors and make some field choices. Benteen abandons Leyton's increasingly outlandish procedures. With no one to back him up, Leyton realizes that he's lost his initiative. His approach is wrong, he's ruined, he decides to resign, etc., etc. This is all basically by-the-numbers, but the presentation is what makes the show work. Reza Badiyi's direction, while not particularly gripping, keeps the momentum up to a satisfactory pace.
So what does this two part episode mean? It's best summed up in one fascinating, stand-out scene between Sisko and a Changeling spy who assumes O'Brien's form. The Changeling informs Sisko that there are only four shapeshifters on the entire planet. "And look at the havoc, we've wrought," he says. He's right. Paranoia running amok is exactly what allows Leyton's power play to take place in the first place. The Dominion's biggest advantage over the Federation is how they can plant fear and suspicion.
Previous episode: Homefront
Next episode: Crossfire
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204 comments on this post
Thu, Aug 21, 2008, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
Actually Leyton reminded me a lot of Admiral Norah Satie in 'The Drumhead'... the same "only I can save the Federation from itself" attitude when faced with a possible invasion.
Mon, Nov 10, 2008, 1:19am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 19, 2009, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 4, 2009, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 8, 2009, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 5, 2010, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
The ones that aren't, well, they're the ones whose actions are interesting enough to become storylines.
Sat, Feb 6, 2010, 2:16am (UTC -5)
Not to mention 'purposeless' to the main character's plot arc.
Sat, Oct 9, 2010, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
And then we got seasons six and seven.
Sun, Dec 26, 2010, 12:12am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 25, 2011, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
I think 8 years of W proved how realistic those statements are.
Mon, Aug 1, 2011, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 15, 2011, 3:48am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 13, 2012, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 1, 2012, 1:19am (UTC -5)
I believe she did; that's where Sisko gets one to go confront the admiral.
Fri, Aug 10, 2012, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
How on earth did this guy ever get to star in what would otherwise be an excellent series. Have you ever seen a worse actor leading a show? I am amazed that this is not mentioned, here especially. In this episode he cannot deliver a line without sounding....out...every...word... Who talks like this in real life?
As for the scene where he is interrogating the cadet from red Squad - watch it again and try and argue this is not the worst acting you have ever seen – it would be criticised in a school play let alone here! It’s such poor acting that I am amazed he kept his job for 7 years!
Those who love DS9 wonder why with the best plots and great story arcs this is considered by those who dip in and out of Trek as the weakest of the incarnations. Look no further than this episode...Avery Brooks take a bow!!
Fri, Aug 10, 2012, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 11, 2012, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 11, 2012, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 12, 2012, 9:37am (UTC -5)
If you take DS9 as a series out of equation and simply look at the guy’s acting – can anyone hand on heart actually say it is of a high standard.
Or simply compare his acting to ANY of the other main cast members.
As I say, in the UK at least, this is why the series never took off like TNG or Voyager.
Sun, Aug 26, 2012, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 9, 2012, 1:03am (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 15, 2012, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
That pretty well tells the power of this episode, and why I still give it four stars.
Sat, Dec 1, 2012, 6:49am (UTC -5)
Firstly, assume two things:
1. Most sentient 'species' in Star Trek's universe are actually breeds of the same species, akin to dogs.(Half-Betazed, Half-Klingon, Half-Vulcan, etc, from TNG The Chase).
2. For sake of this argument assume Changelings are not part of that system. The important part is that they are NOT the same species as everyone else.
If ethics is based on a species' sentience or language capabilities, then yes, the Changelings are unethical. The Humanoid ST species is (obviously!)capable of language and sentience!
But what if it's based on Species?
Consider the ethics of humans vs. ants or mice. 4 humans could easily take out a few anthills or some individual mice. We also have dogs as beloved pets, breed farm animals, etc.
Imagine a world where No Human Ever Hurt Another.
We'd still eat meat, (aka, no PETA rant) we wouldn't give our buildings over to ants/termites/mice, we still have our dogs (Vorta ^ ^), we'd run animal experimentation, etc.
No wars. No murder. No rape. No beatings.
About our only flaw would be a strong penchant for
making feral children! (Odo...)
Compared to us, the Changelings are *amazing*.
Wed, May 22, 2013, 11:24am (UTC -5)
I'm thinking of Pine doing the final confrontation between Sisko and Leyton. It will probably be in a much noisier environment than a television set of an office. But it could have been quite awesome.
Sun, Jul 21, 2013, 2:37am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 9:20am (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 23, 2013, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 13, 2014, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
It's also strange watching Sisko browbeat the admiral for trying to trick people into war, when just two years and a half years later...
Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 11:20am (UTC -5)
What a plot arc that was. I suppose it makes even more sense to us now than it did when it aired. And I have no problem with Avery Brooks' acting at all.
Sat, Feb 22, 2014, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
Rather than tackle the very real issue of a Changling being a massive, massive threat to security, it instead uses the episode for leftist propaganda. And that's a shame.
A full arc with Starfleet dealing with the changlings would have been great. Those guys can be ANYTHING (if we ignore the fact that this is scientifically impossible). It would have made for some fun episodes.
Instead, it isn't the changelings who are to be feared.. no.. it's ourselves. Give me a fucking break.
Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 7:29am (UTC -5)
Well, if you think of the changelings as being similar to the US fears of "communist infiltrations", you will see that DS9's stance was correct. Most of the "commie" threats in US history were faked. Meanwhile, it was the CIA doing exactly what it accused the Soviet's of, in most Latin America, Asian, Caribbean and middle Eastern nations (also "friendly" nations like Greece and Australia), namely, infiltrating, assassinating and installing despots.
Here's historian J Coatsworth: “it is not seriously in question that from 1960 to the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those in the Soviet Union and its East European satellites, mass slaughters consistently supported or initiated by Washington.”
So the resolution to the Homefront and Paradise two-parter was in keeping with Trek progressivism. It's only later that the treatment of the Dominion becomes dubious and a bit simplistic.
Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 1:03am (UTC -5)
Jammers reviews were spot on though I've always felt both parts were equally classic in my opinion.
4 stars each.
Wed, May 7, 2014, 1:16am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 25, 2014, 12:17am (UTC -5)
That, and this episode has no affect on anything later on.
Wed, Aug 6, 2014, 10:13am (UTC -5)
"JOSEPH: Worried? I'm scared to death. But I'll be damned if I'm going to let them change the way I live my life.
SISKO: If the changelings want to destroy what we've built here, they're going to have to do it themselves. We will not do it for them."
As for those that feel Avery isn't a very good actor. I'm one of them, but we trekkers are very welcoming/forgiving when it comes to substandard acting, aren't we? He's still my Captain.
"Eerily Prescient" aye.
Hopefully our over zealous "security details with phasers" can someday be "beamed out" of here too.
4 stars for me.
Sun, Aug 10, 2014, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
One of two things is happening: 1) Starfleet no longer requires officers who will be guarding changelings to read up on them (the most imminent threat to the security of the planet), or 2) changelings have started eating real food...
Wed, Sep 3, 2014, 12:29am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
"Homefront" definitely contains clues to Leyton's real plan; for example, he says he's had weapons stockpiled... for *just such* an unprecedented security deployment.
Also, Sisko does tell people about his changeling encounter, at some point off screen. He declines to tell Dad at first, not wanting to scare him and not sure yet how he himself is going to proceed. But by the end both Dad and Odo clearly know that there are changelings, plural, on Earth.
Not that there's really much useful intelligence there. The claim of "four" may or may not be true, and in any event Starfleet already knew there was one, and if the Dominion can land one they obviously could have landed a bunch.
Changelings can 'eat' if they want to.
Finally, a note on direction. Remember the (great) scene where the Red Squad cadet proudly explains the sabotage operation--and thus Sisko learns the full, awful dimensions of Leyton's plot? The crushing fact of treason by his own CO, who he had learned from and respected? And then the *next* scene is so dark--literally dark, as he and Odo grapple with the betrayal. The light of "paradise," so bright in the early, sunlit outdoor scenes, has fallen into shadows.
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 3:06am (UTC -5)
Sun, Nov 9, 2014, 9:58am (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 19, 2014, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
I just have to add, because of some previous comments, that I am one of those people who enjoy Mr. Brooks' acting.
Both parts - 5/5.
Thu, Feb 12, 2015, 6:30am (UTC -5)
Sun, May 17, 2015, 10:00am (UTC -5)
"Are you going to tell me how you faked the blood test"
"Does it matter?"
But...boy does it matter. How did Leyton acquire a sample of changeling material? This is vital to know. We already know that changeling material reduced to the gelatinous state the instant it leaves a changeling entity, so the ruse we witnesses seems quite literally impossible, but the episode seems not to care because it needed a climax. Can't give this episode more than a star and a half.
Sun, May 17, 2015, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
Mon, May 18, 2015, 7:25am (UTC -5)
::blinks at other Robert while stroking goatee::
Thu, Jul 23, 2015, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 9, 2015, 12:55am (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 15, 2015, 10:15pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Dec 23, 2015, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
That said, there are some things in here that don't make a lot of sense - the Sisko is a changeling set up for a start - so it's not without its problems. 3 stars.
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 2:41am (UTC -5)
Or whatever. But the DS9 writers are gutless. The only reason this season ended up somewhat watchable is most of the episodes were mashups of TNG plots.
Sat, Feb 27, 2016, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
You know, there are lots of things to critisize DS9 for and everybody is entitled to their opinion but this statement genuinely baffels me. That's like picking on TOS for not being colorful enough.
Wed, Mar 9, 2016, 8:59am (UTC -5)
The one part of the episode I really disliked was the conversation with the changeling/O'Brien. I thought it really detracted from the episode. First, it made no sense. Why would a changeling seek out Sisko to tell him there are only four of them? Did they want Sisko to succeed in unraveling the plot? Why? More importantly, it would have been a stronger episode if Sisko had unraveled the plot but there are still an unknown number of changelings on earth. (For the same reason, I would have left out the part about the admiral's minion causing the wormhole to open.)
Wed, Mar 9, 2016, 9:27am (UTC -5)
The changeling sought out and told Sisko that to scare the shit out of him. No details were given as to the location etc.
Thu, Mar 24, 2016, 6:21am (UTC -5)
The emphasis in the conversation was that there are "only" four of them. Meaning, you've got martial law on the whole planet, affecting millions of people and your entire way of life -- you're overreacting. It is fear of the changelings that is causing this, not the changelings themselves.
Thu, Mar 24, 2016, 8:00am (UTC -5)
...and I stated differently?
Mon, Apr 4, 2016, 1:36am (UTC -5)
Two things really harm the episode, however. First, the action is just not up to the standard necessary to convey the importance of these events. This is a pivotal moment in Federation history. They came within a hair's breadth of open civil war. The significance of that simply cannot be overstated! And yet the only scene that comes close to portraying that momentous course of events is the one where the Definat and Lakota trade shots. The scene does a fine job with what it's given, but the episode really needed more intensity in order to sell the situation. Compare this to "The Die is Cast", when the Romulan/Cardassian fleet attacks the Founder's homeworld and the subsequent battle with the Jem'Hadar and you'll see what I mean. Of course, this is probably due to the fact that this story was originally meant to be a season finale. The plan was for security measures and paranoia on Earth to reach such a ridiculous extreme that Vulcan officially secedes from the Federation in protest. The episode would have ended with Starfleet firing on a Vulcan ship in Earth orbit. I just have to say - that would have been AMAZING! And I would have loved to see how their pulled off a story of planets seceding from the U.F.P. since there are so many idiots out there, like Rachel Maddow, who think that secession automatically means racism. But this plan was scuttled when the studio forced the producers to shake things up with "The Way of the Warrior" and most of the effects budget probably went to that episode instead. The idea of a Federation Civil War was then re-purposed into this two-parter. As such, it really hurts "Paradise Lost" because we really needed to see more than just one scene of Federation ships briefly firing on one another.
The second problem is the character of Federation President Jaresh-Inyo. This guy is not a very good president. In one way, Leyton was absolutely right in "Homefront" - when he said that Inyo would be a good president in peacetime but was a bad wartime leader. He is indeed a bad wartime leader and that somewhat subverts the intention for the audience to side against Leyton. Jaresh-Inyo is a bad wartime president because he is, quite simply, oh so easily manipulated and mislead. Good war-leaders have to be bold and in control of the situation. Not only does this massive conspiracy to overthrow his government take place right under his very nose without him having the faintest hint of it (and Garak thought that Shakespeare's Julius Caesar was a bad leader - I can only imagine what he would think of Jaresh-Inyo!), but Sisko manages to convince him to completely reverse his course of action no less than three times (twice in "Homefront" and once here)! Then, even though he's now suspicious of Leyton and his intentions, he completely falls for the faked blood test "proving" that Sisko is a Changeling. For a guy who has supposedly been in politics for seventy years and attained the highest office in the land, he sure is easily controlled! I'm not saying he should just refuse to look at new evidence and doggedly hold to his stance no matter what, but these constant manipulations do make him seem pretty foolish.
Mon, Jun 13, 2016, 10:08am (UTC -5)
"Paradise Lost" had some big contrivances (most particularly the O'Brien Changeling gloatingly explaining their plans and Leyton somehow being able to fake Changeling blood) but was just more entertaining.
Sun, Jun 19, 2016, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
I really liked the interaction between the O'Brien changeling and Sisko. It was classic RDM; BSG would have plenty of those moments (like with Six and Baltar, and with Cavil and Tyrol).
Sun, Oct 30, 2016, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 15, 2016, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 30, 2016, 8:20am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 7, 2017, 7:22am (UTC -5)
For me DS9 does hold its own against the other shows and certainly takes things in a completely different direction than went before. With its preoccupation with civil rights and totalitarianism, it is a 90s show that is, if nothing else, prescient.
Tue, Mar 7, 2017, 10:29am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 7, 2017, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
I don't think he has the range to be a villain though. Like in "Our Man Bashir" when Brooks plays Dr. Noah, he sounds exactly like his Joran Dax in "Facets". When Brooks chews the scenery, his scenery falls apart.
Mon, Mar 13, 2017, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
It doesn't change the fact he left Germany in rubble. And Brooks is a crap actor, despite the cherry picking.
Tue, Mar 14, 2017, 11:01am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 14, 2017, 11:12am (UTC -5)
Is he Patrick Stewart caliber? No, but not many are. Dude is awesome and is only seconded by Picard as my favorite Trek captain.
Sat, Jun 3, 2017, 5:38am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 27, 2017, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
As for Brooks' acting, he does overact when it comes time to give a lecture on principles etc. His best acting are the dad moments with Jake. But overall, I'm not particularly impressed - comes across generally as pretty stiff.
The changeling appearing as O'Brien was the best part of both episodes for me. Just to convey the chaos they've caused with just 4 of them. That was well done -- nothing violent, just pushing Sisko's buttons in a condescending way.
As for Leyton getting carried away - I think it would have been good to see other StarFleet admirals around as well as other high-ranking politicians alongside the President. The episodes make it seem like its just 2 guys: Leyton and the President who are running the show for each organization.
Further on Leyton getting carried away, clearly he goes way over the edge to assert his power, putting Sisko in the brig is just the tip of the iceberg with the false blood test. He has lost it but really makes it seem like he hasn't. We've had a number of episodes with high-ranking StarFleet officers "losing it" (over the various Trek series) but with Leyton, I thought it was done quite well in that he gets very far and it seems reasonable...until he wants the Lakota to destroy the Defiant. Then it unravels for him. Not sure exactly what he was planning with the President (who is portrayed as purely an ineffective figurehead).
"Paradise Lost" gets 3.5 stars, nicely puts the finishing touches on a complicated but riveting story. Some good battle scene shots between the 2 StarFleet ships though if I recall the Lakota (being much larger and apparently more powerful) seemed to take worse damage. A good episode for Ben Sisko's character on the family side and professional side. The Dominion threat does get a more realistic feeling showing what is happening on Earth/StarFleet HQ.
Tue, Aug 8, 2017, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
I did NOT care for the twist that Starfleet--and not Dominion--was actually behind the power outage.
Red Squad big MEH to that
The defiant on Lakota ship battle felt tacked on and fell flat as far as action goes
The episode also really didn't focus or deal with the acceptable precautions for Dominion infiltration or invasion following the end of standoff with Admiral Leyton--it just got swept under rug--very unsatisfying
And this has nothing to do with this episode or reflects upon it but the changeling plot as infiltrators never mentioned again
The whole hour felt routine with a bad admiral and mechanical formulaic plotting and payoff
DS9 could do exciting riveting entertaining Dominion intrigue and plotting but these two episodes were not examples of such writing. No urgency no dread no foreboding no epic stakes no shakeup in the status quo. Meh!!!!
Wed, Aug 9, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Lol, dude, you're barking up the wrong tree with this one! You picked the wrong series, bub.
Thu, Aug 10, 2017, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 11, 2017, 11:06am (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 11, 2017, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
Lazy writing. Lazy propaganda. Whether you like or not "lol". See my other posts above.
Fri, Aug 11, 2017, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
I applaud you! I much appreciate you contributing to avoid giving spoilers to what comes next by pretending they don't happen! Good effort to help Startrekwatcher enjoy the series more and be surprised ;)
Sun, Aug 13, 2017, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 13, 2017, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
I don't see why "high ranking" should be a relevant factor. The Changeling in the S3 finale said "we're everywhere", not "we're only impersonating high ranking people." What they do is mimic who they need to do their job, which may or may not always be high ranking people. Bashir is a perfect choice, being someone who's rarely in OPS and therefore wouldn't be caught doing things that aren't normal for him. He hangs out in his own facility running the place, and probably doesn't report directly to any superiors that he might not know how to answer properly. In other words, he has access without having arduous duties that could expose him, the only logical choice, really.
More to the point, after the situation in The Adversary, then The Die Is Cast, then Gowron, and now fake-Leyton, we've been given enough evidence that Changelings pick high-ranking targets, which throws the audience off from thinking it will be a lower-ranking officer next time. It if wasn't for the outrageous escape from the prison camp the plan would have worked flawlessly, so why pick someone higher ranking than Bashir? Picking a lower-ranking officer is the long con.
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
I think the issue people are having is that *Starfleet Headquarters*, the place where Presidents and admirals give major decisions, is being infiltrated. That's the big grab for the two-parter. From that setup, the logical consequence is not a random lieutenant a year later. Which leads me to believe that this episode was written without Bashir's replacement in mind. In that sense, DLPB is right, the message about this episode is more focused on letting fear and paranoia do more damage to the Federation than any actual infiltration.
Whether this ties in later in S5's "By Inferno's Light" is certainly something you could interpret into the story on a second viewing of the series. But the fact remains no direct link or reference is made by the writers. I.e., this episode isn't really a clear setup Season 5's two-parter.
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
Well, this does beg the question of what the Changelings were *actually doing* on Earth here. If we take it at face value that Leyton was unilaterally behind everything, including the false flag attack at the beginning, then does that mean that when fake-O'Brien was teasing Sisko he was just pulling his leg and the Changelings really weren't doing anything destructive at that time? Or did the Changelings somehow trick Leyton into thinking he had to do all this?
Or was the explosion at the beginning legitimately a Changeling attack, and just served as a timely window in which Leyton could enact his plan? It just seems that if he'd been planning for a coup d'etat for a long time already that even if the explosion was an attack it's almost irrelevant to the issue that Leyton was going to do this either way.
I guess if I had to complain about one thing here it would be that it's not clear at all to what extent the Founders were behind the near-coup on Earth. Since they were also responsible for the coup on Cardassia it does seem logical to suppose that somehow they put Leyton up to it, even by tricking him or playing on his fears. But we don't really get that connection here, and the episode is smooth enough to actually make us forget to ask. It seems wrapped up by the end when it's really not, because that Changeling is clearly still on Earth up to no good even if Leyton's been taken out of the picture. But perhaps the takeaway we're meant to have (which also isn't clear) is that the sort of plan that worked with Cardassian could never work on Earth anyhow. Not only did the Leyton plan fail, but it never could have succeeded regardless, because too many Starfleet officers are principled enough to reject a dictator; Starfleet couldn't be run from the top-down by a few Leyton loyalists like perhaps could happen on Cardassia with its authoritarian structure. So maybe after seeing that even loyal participants of the coup rejected it the Founders gave up on subverting Earth itself and decided to focus on DS9 in particular.
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
Indeed, That's actually changeling O'Brien's point, although Sisko probably didn't fully understand it at the time: we don't need to do anything much to cause havoc - our being here is enough! What Sisko didn't realize is that the Changeling was literally saying that they could do *nothing* and still provoke the Federation into destroying itself.
Incidentally, where did you get the idea that the overthrow of Central Command was due to changeling influence? This may have been Gow'Ron's pretext for invasion (no doubt spurred by fake Martok) but we know the D'Tappa council members were not changelings and as is even mentioned in the episode with the Obsidian Order wiped out, it was reasonable to assume that the power vaccum would destabilize Carsassin society opening the door to a coup.
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
"McCarthy's purge was mostly just skapegoating sympathizers rather than rooting out real spies and probably had little to do with their activities. "
I know this is a common assumption made, but it's actually a topic I'd like to read up on at some point because I'm skeptical that this was entirely the case. Back then it wasn't just a few isolated radicals making everyone scared, I think there was a legitimate communist movement in the U.S. going back to the 20's that was giving real support to Russia, and that's not even getting into the issue of spies (which we know that historically really were all over the place). I agree with you that it's a compelling story anyhow to suppose that the Founders were willing to let fear alone do the job, but for all that I have a sort of sympathy for Leyton's position, if not for his methods. I'd like to think that he wasn't merely a fascistic idiot but had real concerns that were justified by things he knew but couldn't say. The issue for me in the episode is the decision to compromise freedom for security, a topic that would hit the U.S. right in the kisser scarcely 5 years after this prophetic episode aired. It's one of the reasons I like it so much. So while you're right that fake-O'Brien did hint that they were really doing nothing, all the same I like to give Leyton a little bit of credit and assume they were actually doing nasty things that needed stopping. After all, based on fake-O'Brien's tone it feels like he was more interested in gloating than in letting Sisko in on a secret, which to me means he was probably playing down how much they really needed to do to get Earth to that point. Never show your work if you want the result to look effortless.
"Incidentally, where did you get the idea that the overthrow of Central Command was due to changeling influence?"
For what it's worth I tend to side with Gowron on this one. It's too pat that they have a Martok Changeling, and magically right after learning "we're everywhere" from The Adversary the Cardassian government falls? Yeah right. I doubt very much the Martok Changeling thought to himself "Well isn't that lucky, I can push for an invasion!" I give the Founders more credit than that, so yes, it's a bit of an assumption that they caused the coup. But then again they straight-up tell Garak later this season that his people are going to be decimated for what the Obsidian Order did, and I have full faith that this plan involved undermining the Cardassian government to make it weak, causing the Klingons to bring them to their knees, and while at their weakest the Dominion coming to the rescue with Dukat in tow. I've always seen the plan in this way, and the whole thing makes far less sense if we consider the coup to be coincidental. How did the Founders thing they'd (a) take power, and (b) punish the Cardassians otherwise? They pretty much knew they had no future allying with the Klingons (impossible to command) or Federation (impossible to corrupt), and the Romulans were too untrustworthy. The Cardassians were always their target, probably from as far back as The Search.
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 7:21am (UTC -5)
If I believed witches were real and truly possessed dark magic I'd be equally skeptical that too many were actually killed in Salem.
I just don't think "witch hunts" are likely very good at catching witches. Maybe I'm wrong. But the changelings didn't seem all that worried about it.
Wed, Aug 16, 2017, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
But this episode is demented. Or, rather, the writers are. They are giving you a mortal threat—something that could easily be a war winner. A game changer. A race capable of—and SUCCEEDING at—impersonating the top brass. The top levels of command. Now, that on its own needs a massive response and some well written material in order to neutralize the threat to a believable conclusion. But, instead, they use this very real and deadly threat to say that there really isn't anything to worry about, and that the fear is all in people's heads. They are like a man with his brain hemispheres separated from one another - arguing with himself. Can you at least see how this is poor poor writing. Lazy? Silly? At least silly!?
If they wanted to show paranoia, then why the hell did they create a real and deadly threat in order to illustrate it? Paranoia and making matters worse through blind fear is only really relevant when... it really is paranoia and blind fear. Or, to put it an easier way: If someone tells you that a bunch of Vikings are going around torching buildings in the neighbourhood, and then you get evidence it's happening, and people start to panic, you don't say to them "This fear is tearing us apart. We must not give in to this fear.", and then leave it at that! You can be damn sure you would do something about it.
It doesn't make any goddamn sense!
Wed, Aug 16, 2017, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
It doesn't have to be an either-or. The threat of the Changelings isn't just that they *can* impersonate people to do damage, but that (as Jason R. pointed out) they *don't even have to do anything* to do damage. The threat comes from both sides. Consider how insane security would have to become to truly neutralize that threat - is it even possible with Federation technology? If not, what do you do, surrender? Panic? That is one question the episode deals with, and Joseph Sisko says it himself. If you literally cannot take sufficient precautions to prevent the threat then the worst thing you can do is to is to freak out about it and neutralize your own effectiveness even more. You're right, it could have been an interesting sci-fi premise to figure out how exactly they could feasibly defend against this type of menace. But as DS9 doesn't tend to be tech-centric I'm more than happy they looked at the morale and psychological stability side of it.
For a good analogy about paranoia and poor security, I could ask if you've seen The Thing (not the latest remake). That story is basically the ultimate in never knows if anyone is real or if the creature is even there. The entire atmosphere is tense, frightened, and desperate regardless of what's happening or who may have the upper hand. They can never rest or allow themselves to think everything's ok. DS9 isn't that dark and so they weren't going to go there, but they hinted at that scenario here, and the conclusion is that the Federation has to be better than that, EVEN in the face of such a threat. Otherwise might as well close up shop and open up a knock-off of the Romulan system.
Wed, Aug 16, 2017, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 11:35am (UTC -5)
The Changelings did set off a bomb, didn't they? The episode never addresses how Starfleet will try to prevent that from happening again. According to the writers, it's not worth losing any personal freedom for security, even if it puts millions of lives at risk.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
And I do believe the threat was taken seriously in the episode; so seriously, in fact, that we're basically told what the writers believe about what the real options are. Basically it's not possible to stop the threat by simply increasing security. Arguably it's not possible at all. I personally can barely think of a way Starfleet could tighten up Earth security enough to "stop" Changeling attacks. Maybe lower the odds, but that's it.
But the idea that "we refuse to lose any freedom to increase security" is a strawman reading of the episode. What it actually says - not directly through words but through the plot - is that there are only two options here: Leyton and Sisko; total fascism and just hoping for the best. There is no middle ground that will achieve anything to stop Changelings that are skilled. Increasing security by 20%, or adding a few measures like blood screenings - useless. They achieve *nothing*. It's not a middle ground, it's the same as doing literally nothing. The only action that could even potentially nail the place down would be to turn the Earth in a totalitarian police state where every possible avenue of movement is tracked, locked down, and secured. I personally think the episode did a good job of *showing us* (rather than telling us) that nothing short of that kind of dictatorship would do anything to speak of. Leyton understood this and decided that security was more important. Maybe some people would sympathize with him if they saw it that way; I certainly understand his position even though I don't agree with it. So that's what it boils down to, and Sisko chooses to side with freedom over fascism, and it's really as simple as that. It may potentially be the losing strategy, but that's Federation values for you. The only thing the series failed to do as a followup to this was to give us reports in later episodes of Changeling terrorism on Earth as a result of this decision, much as later happens on Cardassia in S7. But they obviously didn't want to bog the show down with that and wanted to focus on the greater war, and on station life and politics. You can't do everything.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
Since we're mentioning strawmen, it's important to note that "fascism" is the strawman the episode itself it presenting. There's always a middle ground, and a one-liner at the end like "the Federation has created a new task force to investigate the Dominion bombings using the data we found on our trip" could've lent a little more credibility to what is otherwise a good episode.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Precisely. But I think we have another trekkie fanboy unable to accept the writing here has issues.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
"There's always a middle ground, and a one-liner at the end like "the Federation has created a new task force to investigate the Dominion bombings using the data we found on our trip" could've lent a little more credibility to what is otherwise a good episode."
Why do you assume there's always a middle ground? That's an assumption based on current-day technology and methods. The Changelings are something new. I feel that this episode is specifically saying that Starfleet security actually may not be up to dealing with this kind of threat. We see in later episodes that they really aren't up to it at all with what happens in "By Inferno's Light." I agree with you that the wrap-up at the end could have used a line like you describe, but overall it seems to be the thesis (however controversial) that there isn't actually a middle ground in this case. You can disagree with the writers on that, I guess, but that seems to be their intent.
"The Changelings did set off a bomb, didn't they? The episode never addresses how Starfleet will try to prevent that from happening again.
Precisely. But I think we have another trekkie fanboy unable to accept the writing here has issues."
It would be easier to reply to you if it seemed you like were being responsive to my actual comments rather than just repeating yourself. The best I can tell you is that I think the episode indirectly says that they simply *can't* prevent it from happening again. I don't know if that conclusion is correct or not - but really evaluating that is senseless because the writers have invented the scenario and the problem, so if they say it's not solvable by Federation security without devolving to fascism then that's sort of just a fact given to us. Maybe if you wrote your own show you could assert different sorts of facts, but arguing with the writers on this point is sort of like disputing warp theory. Sure, you could do that, but it's a premise we're being told so there's really not much to argue with in context of the show.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
First, I took it to mean they a) are working on countermeasures (they study Odo a lot) and b) that they MIGHT be able to prevent further attacks, but they shouldn't.
Sisko is like the guy that decides we should all take our shoes off in the airport and his crotchety old Dad disagrees. Then when his Dad gets the piss scared out of him and complies readily with having a little less freedom Sisko realizes how disturbingly easy it is to get people to trade freedom for security. That one scene, for me, where Sisko feels unsettled by his father's compliance tells me what the episode is actually about.
"The episode never addresses how Starfleet will try to prevent that from happening again."
They will work on it, continue to study the results from testing Odo and continue to live their lives in a way that doesn't let the terrorists win. I thought all this was obvious and didn't need to be spelled out.
One could argue if it is satisfying or not, but I believe it is the intent.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
I agree with your characterization, but the only thing I'd add to it is that the episode gives me the feeling that the optimism of "we're looking for solutions" carries with it the implication that "and that's because we don't have any real solutions at present." So there may well be a strange mix of both optimism and pessimism being expressed at the same time; we hope we can eventually stop them, but right now we can't so we're working on it.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
"They will work on it, continue to study the results from testing Odo and continue to live their lives in a way that doesn't let the terrorists win. I thought all this was obvious and didn't need to be spelled out."
That's a good interpretation that you added to the story, but it's anything but obvious. The final scene where Odo protests that nothing was really done to prevent his people from hurting Starfleet was only answered by Sisko saying like "well they need to hit us first, because we won't do their work for them." That sounds a little too laid back coming from a naval officer.
I think Peter's right in the sense that the episode is black-and-white about national security. "No restriction of freedom is tolerable, even for security" was the message of the show. A surprisingly one-sided way to end a DS9 episode, at least.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
I'd add a caveat that while the episode is surely a commentary on real life and losing freedoms for security, I don't think we should take it totally literally and infer from it that it's saying that we, in the here and now, should tolerate zero loss of freedom to increase security. I think the episode should be viewed in context of the Founders specifically, which is a different scenario from what we face today. The episode is about the Federation, not about us, even though there is an allegory there for us.
I guess if we want to trace that allegory it *could* be suggesting that homegrown terrorists can look just like you and me and you never know who's a mad bomber just waiting to strike. If taken in that way then the episode is surely correct, that there's basically no way to prevent lone acts of terrorism of this sort. The FBI certainly has a track record of basically have zero capability of stopping such things even when they have a head's up, which often they don't. That said I'd be just as content to view this as being an in-universe message rather than a declarative black-and-white statement about modern times. If it was the latter I would tend to agree with you and DPLB that this would be a very narrow message.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
I think you got things a little mixed up there. There weren't homegrown terrorists in this episode, but *foreign terrorists* (the shapeshifters). The other allegory is a military authority using wartime authority to seize too much power (eg. Truman, McCarthy, the NSA).
The former threat isn't the focus in this episode, but the latter is.
Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 9:51am (UTC -5)
"I think you got things a little mixed up there. There weren't homegrown terrorists in this episode, but *foreign terrorists* (the shapeshifters)."
Lol, I'm not mixed up. The point I was making, which incidentally I think was deliberately being made by the writers, is that there are terrorists on Earth that you *can't locate* and *can't identify* because they can look just like everyone else. They are not identifiable and seemingly appear out of nowhere. This is exactly the scenario with homegrown or radicalized terrorists. Yes, in the show it's a foreign threat so on a literal level it isn't identical, but in terms of how the threat presents itself that is the analogy. It's not the same as an 'attack from outside' because the ones doing it are already dwelling there.
And yes, you're definitely right about the other allegory about authoritarian power grabs. But I think both are the focus, not either one over the other. Part of the problem with domestic (or imported) terrorism is that it makes everyone paranoid that an attack could come at any time, and causes organizations like the FBI to engage is massive, sweeping procedures to catch terrorists and which mostly just succeed in curtailing rights and harassing innocent people. The aspect of the episode is about a people devolving into persecuting themselves in the process of effectively chasing ghosts. Oh, sure, the ghosts may actually be there, but they're untrackable like phantoms and for the most part the cracking down only harms everyone else.
Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
"I think was deliberately being made by the writers, is that there are terrorists on Earth that you *can't locate* and *can't identify* because they can look just like everyone else. This is exactly the scenario with homegrown or radicalized terrorists."
Foreign terrorists can look like regular people too. Besides, homegrown literally means they were born in the country where they do terrorist acts. The shapeshifters may appear to look like Starfleet Officers, but none of their *homes* are in the Federation nor were they *grown* up in the Federation. I urge you read up more on what homegrown terror groups actually do, because you don't seem to understand the development, which is a little concerning.
"But I think both are the focus, not either one over the other."
In that case, they didn't really do a good job focusing on terrorists, because it took up only like the first three minutes of a two hour show. Everything else was about terror prevention and the futility of prevention (according to the writers).
Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
"Foreign terrorists can look like regular people too. Besides, homegrown literally means they were born in the country where they do terrorist acts."
You seem to be quibbling over minutiae that are irrelevant to my point. At the time this episode was made homegrown terror was a concern in the U.S., foreign terrorists trying to sneak in wasn't as much. But yes, you can attribute the episode as alluding to either if you like. The World Trade Center bombing had happened fairly recently so it's possible they were specifically channeling that.
"I urge you read up more on what homegrown terror groups actually do, because you don't seem to understand the development, which is a little concerning."
Just because we're not agreeing doesn't mean I "don't seem to understand" something. And by the way, most homegrown terror in the U.S. isn't a result of 'groups' but of lone individuals doing crazy stuff. That's the exact sort of thing the episode is dealing with - a few crazies on the loose with no identifiable organization or group to go after. That is why security precautions for this kind of thing are invariably defensive rather than offensive, because you can't go after the unknown individual who hasn't done anything yet. And defensive measures are far harder, if not impossible, to make foolproof, whereas offensive tactics can often result in 'complete victory' if done right.
Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
You used the term improperly. It led you off on a tangent. It's not worth getting upset about.
Mon, Aug 21, 2017, 5:39am (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 28, 2018, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
I wouldn't call it smug. One of the things that is different about DS9 than TOS is the writers clearly see the characters differently. In TOS it's made abundantly clearly that humanity having grown out of the various social ills through people constantly choosing to live a life free of those social ills. By DS9, characters speak more in terms of being "evolved humans" and question if they'd revert to the primitive ways of the past if given the right circumstances; it no longer is the story of people actively choosing to being saints but just waking up in heaven and presuming to be a saint is easy.
Yet in this episode, we go back and actually see some of that old TOS ideology. It's not about it not being "worth giving up any freedom/privacy rights" but the realization that the choice to give up freedom/privacy rights is the real harm. The way in which we have a stable utopian society is precisely because we view those things as sacrosanct just as we view life--this is obvious today because we view the worst places as those that do not view life as sacrosanct. It is part and parcel of the social drive for a better society to mandate these things, not question when and where we should compromise because it's expedient.
Perhaps you think this is all too idealistic. The thing is, if the Dominion merely wanted to destroy the Earth, they'd have to try to actually do it. If they succeeded, well, it's proof they could.
With cloaking devices it might even be quite doable; what the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar would have likely worked if they weren't compromised. The best that can be reasonably done, though, is build star ships and fight to defend yourself at that level. Just like in the Cold War--the thread of nuclear Armageddon is there and you can't really get rid of that threat. Turning your country into a totalitarian regime is no solution to a legitimate threat. Within society, you can't do a lot, though.
Sat, Mar 31, 2018, 11:58am (UTC -5)
Would you agree the show weakens the message, makes it feel too feel-good, to abandon the precautions and then not have more terrorist attacks occur later?
Sat, May 26, 2018, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Benteen should have been court marshalled. Why? Because when someone stands idly by and sees so many wrongs being done and does nothing, that person(s) is just as guilty as the one committing the wrong.
That guy ruling the Federation should be replaced with an Earth person because he does not care about Earth.
Sun, Aug 19, 2018, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 4, 2018, 8:38am (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 10:18pm (UTC -5)
After the recap, which is kind enough to gloss over Dax' sorority pranks, we pick things up four days later with Sisko getting antsy over this whole affair. He can't seem to figure out how the Dominion managed its sabotage of the power grid. Odo has some additional troubling information. It turns out Red Squad was demobilised for three hours during the crisis. Hmm. So, he contacts a Bolian officer, who amazingly is NOT a barber, and asks about the transporter record. This triggers something, as the officer wants Sisko to erase the record immediately. Sisko is quick on the uptake, realising that he thinks Sisko is in on whatever is going on. Leighton is also implicated here, as the Bolian doesn't want wind of this oversight reaching him. A very catchy teaser.
Act 1 : ***.5, 17%
Pa Sisko is now quite gleefully undergoing blood screenings. It turns out the sabotage has quite effectively scared him into surrendering his civil liberties. That's...depressing as fuck. I'm liking Sisko the contrarian here. DS9 needs more of that sauce. Nog turns up for a lunch meeting where Sisko brings up the topic of Red Squad again, hoping to get some answers from someone closer to the ground. Well, whoever these Hitler Youths are being inducted into Red Squad (ironic name), Nog admires the fact that unlike Joseph Sisko, they don't fear the Dominion at all.
NOG: You're kind of their hero. The man at the front line in the war with the Dominion.
Oh so we're at war with the Dominion, now? They must have caught Sisko's new CNN segment. Anyway, Nog knows who the Red Squad are, but isn't supposed to. His lobes have helped him ferret out the secret members of this little club. Sisko flexes his big dick energy and orders Nog to give him a name, providing Sisko a lead in his investigation.
This introduces us to one Cadet Shepherd, who just might be the most insufferable human in Star Trek this side of Okana. Holy Hourglass Orbs, this smarmy, arrogant, affluenza-ridden, privileged little fuck makes a strong argument in favour of involuntary euthanasia. Sisko stays in character in order to get to the truth of the conspiracy. Red Squad's actions were not supposed to be made public (“for now”). Sisko preys on this brat's arrogance, accusing his team of “sloppy work.” It's pretty amusing, and I'm genuinely happy to see Sisko using his powers of manipulation to *expose* the truth instead of hide for his own reasons. Kudos. Well that truth is quite the bombshell. Red Squad itself was responsible for the power outage, acting on secret orders.
Back in New Orleans, Sisko and Odo discuss the matter. While Odo still thinks the Dominion may be manipulating Red Squad, Sisko points out that the results of this attack have only strengthened security. People are off the streets, skeptics like Pa Sisko are happily giving away their blood to the ubiquitous armed guards milling about. Maybe that's the Dominion's secret: turn your enemies into authoritarian dictatorships through paranoia so they'll embrace your, erm, dominion. Unfortunately, the gears start to grind a little bit here as Sisko can't fathom “turning against” his fellow officers. Sisko was willing to violate his own family's civil liberties in order to protect the Federation from invasion but he isn't willing to confront people committing treason against the Federation because they wear the uniform? Gross.
Act 2 : ****, 17%
So, Sisko presents his evidence to President Jared. Jared is angry and incredulous, because now the script needs him to be incredulous, whereas in “Homefront,” the script needed him to roll over for Leighton. Sure. It turns out Leighton has been vying for these security upgrades for months. The Antwerp bombing gave him the excuse he needed to begin the process of creating martial law. Jared's gummification aside, the scene sizzles with sensible dialogue and passionate performances. And despite my frequent criticisms of Avery Brooks, I think he's spot on here. Conveniently, in the four days since the outage, Jared has had time to conduct gallop polls which indicate that, like Pa Sisko, the public suddenly supports being treated like mewling babies. Glad to see politics is more or less the same in the future. So, Sisko is going to have to provide hard evidence of Leighton's treason.
Sisko tries to use Nog again, but Leighton is already ahead of him, having sent Red Squad into hiding. He shows up at the restaurant and attempts to justify his mad plans to his former XO. Now that the admiral is being written by Ron Moore, it's no surprise that there are echoes of Eric Pressman in his exhortation of duty and loyalty which, like with Riker, gives Sisko pause. It seems that getting promoted above captain seems to make old men forget that they live in a democratic society. Leighton finds the chain of command the most effective method of maintaining security and order and, in the face of this crisis, sees it quite necessary to impose that order upon the earth. The irony is red-hot spicy at Sisko's this evening. In the end, Sisko refuses to obey Leighton's orders, so he's relieved of his temporary assignment and sent back to DS9.
Sisko sulks a bit on HQ grounds (not sure why he went back to San Francisco, but okay) and is joined by...O'Brien? No, of course this is a (the?) Changeling posing as O'Brien so the budget isn't blown on hiring an additional actor. Well, this production handicap is put to excellent use as Colm Meaney delivers a devastating performance here.
CH-O'BRIEN: We're smarter than solids. We're better than you. And most importantly, we do not fear you the way you fear us. In the end, it's your fear that will destroy you.
Act 3 : **.5, 17%
Ben and Joseph engage in a little light DBI, but it's portrayed amiably enough. Pa is able to get Ben to realise he needs to stop pondering and take action—again very much like Riker in “The Pegasus.” So, Sisko commits himself and contacts Kira over a Bajoran frequency (good to see that upgraded Earth security is totally ineffective). She reports that the wormhole has stopped puckering randomly. Later, Odo and Sisko break into Leighton's files and discover that he has been assigning former protégés, like Bactine, to many key posts. This definitely has echoes of “Conspiracy.” It looks like he's planning a full-blown coup. Yikes. Bactine enters his office and he decides, for no particular reason, to act extremely suspiciously and say he's going to take some leave and stick around for the coup...I mean the president's big speech on the 14th. Well, this is stupid and clumsy, but at least someone got to say the word “paradise” again.
The next morning, Sisko arrives in Paris to deliver his incriminating evidence to Jared, but Leighton has beaten him to the punch once again, as his stupidity from the night before made sure Bactine was able to help stage a scene in which Sisko is made to appear to be a Changeling in the president's office.
Act 4 : ***.5, 17%
Leighton confronts Sisko in his cell and he confirms the worst, that Starfleet will be assuming control of the planet, suspending democratic rule until the Dominion threat is over. Later on, Odo decides to free Sisko using the most ironic means at his disposal, posing as an instrument on a tray designed to help Starfleet perform blood tests. Cute. We learn that Leighton had a man on DS9 all along who has been tickling the wormhole or whatever in order to make it spasm. Kira has him on the Defiant which is on her way to Earth. Odo is sent to confront Jared, while Sisko is going directly after Leighton.
Sisko lays it out in Leighton's office (holding the admiral at gunpoint), but Leighton is ahead of him once again. Newly-promoted captain Bactine is on her way in the Lakota to intercept the Defiant and keep the clinching evidence far away from his mad plans. The Lakota crew is under the impression that the Defiant is full of Russian bots...I mean shapeshifters, and thus won't hesitate to open fire.
Act 5 : ***, 17%
The two men argue the issue briefly—and this raises an odd issue. Why does President of the Federation Jared get to establish domestic...or military or whatever policy on Earth, which is a member planet OF the Federation? The story is definitely playing fast and loose with the rules of how these offices work. I mean, are there NO other admirals besides Leighton at Starfleet HQ? Isn't there a Federation Council somewhere?
Brushing that aside, the Lakota and Defiant finally meet in space and shots are fired. You've got to love that just about the only people on the Defiant's bridge are the rest of the cast besides Quark, including Bashir for no particular reason. As he gets all of about two perfunctory lines.
In Leighton's office, it's revealed that despite Sisko's engineering background, it was during their service together that then Captain Leighton determined Sisko ripe for command and promoted him to the red shirt. At any rate, the buck is passed to Captain Bactine as Leighton orders her to destroy the Defiant to prevent it from reaching Earth and disrupting this insanity. Worf is facing the same dilemma, but luckily Bactine decides to end the fight. The battle has cost several people their lives, but at least the evidence is on its way. In a slightly over-played scene to follow, Leighton finally removes his pips and surrenders himself to the inevitable.
In the epilogue, the lingering issues from “Homefront” are put to rest, thankfully.
ODO: Am I the only one who's worried that there are still changelings here on Earth?
JOSEPH: Worried? I'm scared to death. But I'll be damned if I'm going to let them change the way I live my life.
SISKO: If the changelings want to destroy what we've built here, they're going to have to do it themselves. We will not do it for them.
We are even treated to a classic finish with the trio beaming up and Pa Sisko flashing a big smile for the camera. Good stuff.
Episode as Functionary : ***.5, 10%
I once again find myself in disagreement with Jammer, as DS9 does a bit better with its part 2 than part 1, “The Die is Cast” notwithstanding. With very little money for effects and guest stars, the story has to borrow heavily from TNG stories like “The Drumhead” and “The Pegasus” to flesh out its story, but it does so very effectively. From a production standpoint, the team should be commended for stretching things out so well.
The story isn't perfect. Leighton's arc is a little thin. Going from “please increase security” to “I will be the acting emperor of the entire Federation for its own good” is pushing things dangerously close to absurdity, but the chemistry between him and Sisko keeps the situation grounded enough. Sisko himself has definitely grown from his portrayal in “The Maquis.” He still values loyalty to Starfleet, but here its not just about the uniform, its about the ideas it represents. He hesitates to call out his fellow officers, but in the end commits to doing the right thing rather than hide behind militaristic notions of officer-solidarity.
What is worrisome coming out of this story is distilled in Changeling O'Brien's little speech. The evolved human condition is fragile. It must be protected, but what we have seen from Cadet Smug Asshole Shepherd, things don't look promising for the upcoming generation. Leighton and those like him are creating an insidious anti-Federation culture among the future members of Starfleet, dripping with elitism, aggressiveness and a thirst for conflict. Despite the upbeat ending, I find myself very disturbed by this two-parter and what it means moving forward.
Final Score : ***.5
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
"I find myself very disturbed by this two-parter and what it means moving forward. "
Did you like that it made you think or did you think that the episode is another attack by DS9 on Roddenberry's vision?
" Leighton and those like him are creating an insidious anti-Federation culture among the future members of Starfleet, dripping with elitism, aggressiveness and a thirst for conflict."
Regarding the elitism thing, I think it's all but inevitable with an uber-prestigious school like Starfleet Academy. They made it sound like it was harder to get into than Harvard or MIT. Even boy wonder Wesley Crusher didn't get in. So those that do get in will probably develop a serious superiority complex. This is definitely seen at prestigious schools and universities in the U.S. (not sure about other parts of the world).
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 11:41pm (UTC -5)
"Did you like that it made you think or did you think that the episode is another attack by DS9 on Roddenberry's vision?"
I actually think that this is one of the rare instances when DS9 challenges the Trek ethos successfully, in that it earns its conclusion. Leighton is the episode's antagonist; it's perfectly reasonable within the established universe that an evil or misguided man with access to the Academy could disrupt the legacy of Roddenbarrian humanism. This is because Trek humanism is a learned behaviour, human evolution is cultural. So if you fuck with the institutions that create culture, you can counterpose Federation ideals without cheating.
"So those that do get in will probably develop a serious superiority complex." You can maybe argue that the Starfleet officers depicted in TNG and TOS were a bit arrogant towards some alien species, but not as a rule towards their fellow humans. There is something fundamentally different about the way that cadet behaved than any of the young officers we've seen previously like Locarno or Harry Kim.
Wed, Dec 12, 2018, 12:30am (UTC -5)
Right. But my point was that since the Academy is so hyped up, it's not a stretch to think that those who make it through the rigorous academic selection will get a bit of an inflated ego. Especially with something like 'Red Squad'. It sounds like the Phoenix Club mentioned in "The Social Network". Taking a bunch of people who already may have too high opinions of themselves and elevate them even above their peers. But even leaving Red Squad out of it, I doubt it would be hard to foster elitism among cadets.
Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 8:39am (UTC -5)
So little about it makes sense. Why would the rest of starfleet go along with this? What makes this guy think for a second they would just fall in line?
This coup has more holes in it than Sela's hare brained plan to conquer Vulcan.
Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 9:46am (UTC -5)
"Each Admiral always seems like an emperor in each episode. How many admirals are there anyway? Were they all going along with this coup?"
Maybe an issue that should have been touched upon is trust, and how much of it flows on Earth. In our current world there isn't very much trust: we assume politicians are corrupt and are out to screw us, and we assume our fellow man would throw us under the bus for money. But imagining for the moment if in 24th century Earth this was unthinkable, I could see how offensive it would be to Grampa Sisko to have his loyalty questioned, and how scary it would be to have guards on the street as if Earthers themselves couldn't be trusted. Along those same lines, maybe Leyton was so trusted by other admirals that if he said martial law was necessary then they would assume he had a good reason and would go along with it. Maybe the extreme trust on Earth is what he was cashing in on to make his move, so that they would only learn too late that the security measures were based on a hoax. Presumably by then Leyton would have cemented his people into key places to cover that up or something, and he could keep milking "security against Changelings" for a long time. I don't know how he could sustain that long-term, but assuming his really felt motivated by securing the Federation, maybe he would have voluntarily relinquished power if he truly felt that the threat was over. This part wasn't ever addressed, since I'm not at all sure he was trying to become emperor or something. I suspect that the episode's idea is that he believed extreme measures were needed for the sake of security and that a little lying and sabotage to get it done was warranted. In theory I think he believed he was being a patriot.
Wed, Jan 2, 2019, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
The story was engaging if a bit rough around the edges. Gives us a good sense of foreboding on Earth.
And Brooks - really horrible. Those scenes between Leyton and Brooks while the Defiant and Lakota are fighting are terrible. Foxworth is fine. But Brooks is really hard for me to watch.
Mon, May 27, 2019, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 12, 2019, 8:54am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 6, 2019, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 19, 2019, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
I don't see why "we're everywhere" would indicate that-for one, clearly they've been "everywhere" for a while and from Meta perspective, the Klingon threat wasn't part of their original plans for season 4. And why would Dominion need allies to take power or punish Cardassians? Just straight up invasion was always an option, even if not preferred one. I also don't think Cardassian were potrayed as any less untrustworthy than Romulans, although I can think of reasons why they would be the better option for Dominion.
Wed, Jan 1, 2020, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Perhaps ironically, this episode - and the story as a whole - would have been stronger if there hadn't been any scenes featuring changlings. In fact, it would have been even better if the original bombing was shown to be part of the admiral's plot, and the changling spotted in the footage was simply trying to escape the blast; it would have helped to reinforce the fact that the Federation was tearing itself apart in a fit of paranoia.
From a critical perspective, there's a few things I don't like about this story. Sisco's father feels a bit too cliched - he's basically a 20th Century American curmudgeon with authority issues.
And the whole coup is tied up a bit too neatly for my liking - a conspiracy of this nature would involve a whole lot more people than just a single admiral and his staff; having him resign after directly causing the death of a significant number of Star Fleet personnel feels like he was let off far too lightly.
There's also the whole "changlings are undetectable via technology" thing, which feels increasingly threadbare, especially when Odo seems more than willing to help with the development of detection mechanisms.
But still, it's definitely an interesting bit of foreshadowing...
Wed, Jan 1, 2020, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
In most witch hunts, the 'witches' are real, except ironically in the original kind. Islamic terrorists really did attack the WTC; Soviet spies really were running around in the 50s and 60s; etc...
The chief sin of a witch hunt is not that the witch hunters are delusional or that the witches pose no real threat. This is exactly the wrong lesson.
Portraying paranoia as being wholly irrational (just idiots running amok) detracts from the message of the story. If it's all just some evil Admiral plotting to take over the Federation, then there's really no "paradise" to be lost - it never existed in the first place and any debate over the balance between security and freedom is meaningless.
Thu, Jan 9, 2020, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
And even despite them not being the main threat of the episode, the spectre of changeling infiltration is far from absent (especially with the "O'Brien" scene). Hell, I was expecting all of Red Squad to be changelings who'd been snuck past the blood tests, but *only four* (bar Odo) -- somehow, that's even more menacing. The guerilla approach. The idea that just a handful of these powerful individuals could topple a civilisation -- and here, they've barely had to lift a finger. The humans have done it to themselves.
Granddad Sisko warned us last ep about clever changelings being able to cause false *negatives* on the blood tests, but here we have a false *positive* being used as an excuse to lock up Sisko out of the way. Again, a reversal of what I was expecting, and proving the episode's point: the changelings may be a threat, but *fear* of changelings can be just as powerful.
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
I never viewed the admiral as some sort of evil megalomaniac, but instead as someone who believed that he was doing the right thing to prepare the Federation for war with the Dominion. The ends justify the means, and all that.
Truth be told, I was thinking more of people like the Unabomber, with his chilling view that sometimes you have to kill people before people will listen. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me to find that the writers originally intended for the Admiral to be responsible for the explosion, but then had to water things down...
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 6:47am (UTC -5)
It's true that we can point to various technical and structural flaws - the idea that the Federation has sufficient localised transporters and armed personnel to instantly deploy on every street on Earth is particularly difficult to swallow - but the portrayal of different human behaviours and the problems that arise from them is broadly realistic. In fact, some of the criticisms of this two-parter clearly emanate from its realism, and the fact that some of us really don't like to be 'seen'.
For example, @DLPB writes: "Rather than tackle the very real issue of a Changling being a massive, massive threat to security, it instead uses the episode for leftist propaganda. And that's a shame."
The character of Leyton is drawn to reflect exactly this view - that hand-wringing over whether or not one is being too paranoid is a fatal weakness, and the *real* issue that needs to be tackled is the threat posed by outsiders. But the fact that you would need to use guile and chicanery to remove politicians with opposing views isn't "leftist propaganda"; it's realism. As is the fact that the military officer best placed to carry out this coup would probably be someone whose motives are tainted by an itch for absolute power.
So @DLPB's complaint is really that the episode *isn't* rightist propaganda - it doesn't erase the existence of people with contrary views who would try to stop you taking what you see as necessary steps to oppose a global threat. 'Paradise Lost' portrays Sisko as following a different moral code, and it lets him win, but it also ends on an ambiguous note, with Leyton continuing to suggest Sisko has made a mistake.
In terms of realism, I'm also struck by Sisko's dad going from angrily refusing the blood test to happily going along with it within the space of a week. Writing this during the middle of the UK's response to the coronavirus, it's a startlingly accurate portrayal of how the average citizen resists the imposition of authority up to a point, then completely changes their attitude as soon as the government starts actually leading. This is neither a negative nor a positive trait in itself - it's useful when a government is being sensible, and terrifying when they're losing the plot.
Finally, a lot of people seem to have dismissed this two-parter as dealing in 'paranoia', and while that is a thread of the plot, Leyton is no General Ripper. The fact that the Dominion are a real threat means that these episodes are primarily about how we let such threats shape our society. I think anyone is walking away from this story thinking that DS9 is preaching to them has missed the point. Sisko and Odo were totally on board with stepping up security up until the point where Leyton overreached. Odo, as a character, is frequently used to represent the conflict between a desire for order/safety and a desire for freedom/risk. This show goes out of its way to avoid giving one-sided answers.
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:19pm (UTC -5)
Mon, May 11, 2020, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
"Complaining that something is left wing propaganda means I want it to be right wing propaganda? No reasoning with people like you."
Your views are so ideologically narrow that you regard any degree of honesty or realism as an incursion of 'liberal' views, whether or not there's any consistent or coherent agenda behind them.
Generally, it's one of the more gently amusing aspects of sabre-rattling right-wingers that they attempt to use the word 'liberal' or 'leftist' to enclose a massive, unwieldy range of different political philosophies, movements, aesthetics and styles of government. DS9 has a fascinatingly nuanced (and often confused) approach to most of the issues it raises that rarely reflects one singular worldview. In fact, I would say that the dominant agenda is drama, and various philosophies are greatly oversimplified in pursuing that goal. The idea that this episode or any other consists of propaganda is just rather silly.
But what is clear from your comments over many of these pages is that you think it ought to be. You're not satisfied with drama that doesn't reflect your own deeply conservative views absolutely.
Sun, Jul 5, 2020, 6:20am (UTC -5)
Like Jammer, I didn't enjoy this conclusion quite as much as I enjoyed the opening. I think a full star drop-off is a bit harsh, though, but... compared to the 4-star+4-star perfection of an ep pair like Improbable Cause/The Die is Cast in season 3, this one just doesn't quite measure up as well. But still very interesting to go back and revisit, which I certainly will. Soon(TM).
Sun, Jul 12, 2020, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
People in upper management are power mad? Shocking! Governments often play both sides against their own people? No way! (lol) As a few commenters mentioned, the petty internal politics derails what could have been an interesting science fiction script. Overall I thought this was a fairly naive, black and white episode, whereas DS9 is usually a lot of grey. American TV and film tend to spoonfeed its audience; and I really enjoy a story that makes me think and gives me the chance to decide what it meant. The nicest thing I can say about the episode is that it's superfluous. (And that Dax isn't in it.)
I really like Brooks, but this is the first time I thought his acting was deficient. I've always thought that Brooks played Sisko as a stiff military man, who really only relaxed around family and close friends. That's actually realistic to me. However, next to an Auberjonois or another really gifted actor, Brooks' lack of sophistication sticks out, and his performance is barely adequate.
Minor notes: I'm old enough that I kept thinking of the admiral as "Admiral Falcon Crest." And I kept wondering when Leah Brahms joined Starfleet command? I thought she was in engine design.
Wed, Oct 14, 2020, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Brooks is so strange. Throughout most of season 3 he was excellent, but in this season he veers wildly from wonderfully subtle to downright odd. His body gestures, the way he strokes his chin or beard, or laughs, or over-acts when attempting to quickly signal boredom, anger, frustration or humor, is completely at odds with the acting style employed by him elsewhere.
I've never seen a more confusing actor. Surely his directors must have noticed this.
IMO his acting style gets singled out in this two-parter because it's one of Trek's best two-parters. The only real blemishes here are Brooks' odd acting. It's not enough to diminish the episodes, and its not consistently bad enough to even taint Brooks' performance (a mere few seconds of oddness here and there), but when juxtaposed to the excellent writing, he really stands out.
My only other criticism with this two-parter is that its "witch-hunt" narrative doesn't quite make sense in terms of the rest of the series. In this episode, the Changelings take a back seat to the real enemy: paranoid Federation officers seeking to escalate tensions and steer Earth into an authoritarian Police State.
Outside this episode, though, such a stance by the Federation is seen to be correct, whilst the Dominion are granted no sympathy; they really are a ridiculously huge existential threat, akin to mainstream America's perception of terrorists, communists, fascists and Imperialists. With this two-parter, DS9 thus flirts with an idea - the Federation being as paranoid and authoritarian as its enemy, such behavior spurring both cultures into a manic and increasingly violent feedback loop, and eventually war - which it never really critiques or develops.
Fri, Oct 16, 2020, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
Through the use of the Defiant it even managed to feature the whole DS9 cast, albeit in a somewhat limited manner. It wasn't real clear why the Defiant had to get to Earth, but it didn't really bother me. The showdown against USS Lakota was tense and engaging, serving as an effective story element.
It definitively is a challenge to sell the Federation as the bad guys without having them infiltrated (thus them not being the actual Federation). In this case they do a great job in convincing us that paranoia and fear has gotten to the better of at least some of them - as it surely has happened in Earth's history a number of times already.
The Changelings are there. 27 people are dead. And through clever writing you keep on waiting for them to show up; but they don't, or they almost do - as when Sisko was set up - until one of them finally manifests and tells us that they don't have to do anything, that he (Colm Meany was brilliant as fake O'Brien btw) and three colleagues are basically standing by, watching, as we slowly smoke ourselves. I for one found it quite cogent. Cogent and entertaining.
All in all I give 'Homestead' 3 Stars and 'Paradise Lost' 4 Stars. I feel somewhat generous but I just like the slow burn theme of this double whammy.
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 11:31am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 9:57pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 2:51am (UTC -5)
I'd really, really like to see actual numbers, given Anne Applebaum's profound insight that the gulag was the backbone of the Soviet economy. If Coatsworth is right, it's because he's cherry picking the years of measurement, starting in 1960.
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 2:56am (UTC -5)
The parallels are far from exact, though. Trump failed because he had almost no elite support, including in the military, which (setting aside the issue of who had the authority to deploy the National Guard) remained firmly true to its longstanding tradition of not interfering in politics. Leighton was exactly the opposite.
Moreover, as I noted in the review of "Homefront," Joseph Sisko's stubbornness today looks a lot more like a Covid19 denier or mask resister than anything else: there *were* four changelings on Earth, and Sisko refused to do the slightest thing for the common good (i.e., a blood test) if it would inconvenience himself.
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 3:02am (UTC -5)
An interesting point, but I'm not sure I buy the conclusion. Plenty of experts counseled that by 1940, Britain stood little chance of resisting a German invasion; yet would you say we were better off without Churchill's oratory of "blood, sweat, toil, and tears"?
Similarly, in the 1930s when, yeah, the Depression was a thing -- would the US have been better off without FDR saying "we have nothing to fear but fear itself"?
Leadership is more than credentialing.
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 10:09am (UTC -5)
I have no intention of defending communism, but that Coatsworth guy is absolutely correct. Eastern European communism after Stalin's death killed, imprisoned, and persecuted a lot of people, but it's nowhere near the level of organized mass killings and torture that various Latin American military juntas and paramilitary forces engaged in with full US support.
Thu, Feb 11, 2021, 1:54am (UTC -5)
The only question I have is, how did they fake Sisko's blood turning into Changeling goop.
Thu, Mar 4, 2021, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
I don’t think Brooks is at fault. He plays Sisko about as he always does. It’s weird seeing him in that TNG era uniform though.
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Gaius Maximus - There was no attempted coup. There was a group of trespassers walking within the velvet ropes of Congress. To claim this was some legitimate coup attempt is just a lie. No weapons, no deaths (aside from Ashli Babbitt who was killed by a guard and a lady who was accidently trampled) and only minimal damage. The protestors who entered the Capitol during the Kavanaugh hearings were more aggressive, not to mention the previous bombing by the Weather Underground and others.
Even worse is to blame President Trump for the event. He was over a mile away and specifically told his followers to peacefully assemble. Even Alex Jones was at the Capitol telling people not to enter the building. To just nonchalantly claim that President Donald Trump attempted a coup is a downright lie, and shows your ignorant bias.
The River Temarc - Joseph Sisko was actually correct in being resistant to getting his blood drawn. It was a shame they had him change his mind eventually.
Blood test didn't work, just like masks don't work.
Do you remember Sisko asking how long the supposed "emergency order" would last? Weeks, Months, Years? Well here we are, coming close to 18 months of "two weeks to slow the spread." DS9 was right; it is very difficult to gain freedoms back once they have been taken away. Very few governments willingly relinquish power. The ending was perfect; We need to live our lives in spite of supposed threats. If everything we love and enjoy about life is taken away, what are we really living for?
Don't lump people who disagree with arbitrary lockdowns and "safety" protocols with Qanon larpers. Doing so is just a quick and unfair way of shutting up genuine dissenters.
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
"DS9 was right; it is very difficult to gain freedoms back once they have been taken away. Very few governments willingly relinquish power. The ending was perfect; We need to live our lives in spite of supposed threats. If everything we love and enjoy about life is taken away, what are we really living for?"
Could not agree more. Lockdowns don't work, they create far more collateral damage and it is painfully obvious how governments have overstepped their bounds, curtailed personal freedoms as we move toward a more authoritarian society. Now the WH is teaming up with big tech to censor views contrary to the administration's. We're not heading to a good place.
I won't elaborate on the Jan. 6 event or the 2020 election theft but those are the kinds of things that this episode warns about. I also think of how "The Drumhead" takes on even stronger meaning given what we've experienced in the past 1.5 yrs.
I wonder who in today's world would be analogous to Adm. Leyton. Not Joe Biden as he's more of a puppet...
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
Picard: "With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably."
We don't have much chain left.
"Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged."
"But she, or someone like her, will always be with us, waiting for the right climate in which to flourish, spreading fear in the name of righteousness. Vigilance, Mister Worf, that is the price we have to continually pay."
Never let a crisis go to waste. We now live in a society where "sticks and stones" isn't even taught anymore. Too easily distracted from what's really happening.
Wed, Jul 28, 2021, 3:59am (UTC -5)
- Historical context II: The Spanish Flu went on for 2 years.
- Historical context III: We did not have a normal flu season last winter because of masks and lockdowns.
- Historical context IV: In Italy, the first country in Europe being hit by Corona, they did nothing at first because nobody knew what was coming which lead to a giant triage situation in all of northern Italy. The ICU's in northern Italy were so overwhelmed that they had to let people die by the thousands. That is the reason why Italy has a far higher death rate per capita and even in absolute numbers than Germany or France, for example. And that is the reasons why we have lockdowns.
- Fallacy I: The argument that masks or lockdowns don't work is like saying that breaks don't work after a car crash. Sure, if you would not have hit the breaks then the car would have driven through the wall without anybody getting hurt. But in reality far more people would have died.
- Fallacy II: All the governments and all the virologists everywhere are in cahoots to bring about autocracy. Yes, because scientists fare so much better in autocracies and all those democratic politicians in the 75 democracies worldwide actually want to turn their countries into autocracies. One could point out that the number of democracies + civil liberties have steadily increased over the last 200 years.
That is all I'm going to say about this.
Wed, Jul 28, 2021, 4:34am (UTC -5)
Here for the people who don't believe me and need another source. This is from March 2020. Everybody who had any knowledge knew what was coming.
Sun, Aug 8, 2021, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
This episode was especially poignant with the rise of Trump fascism in America... Admiral Leyton was willing to create lies in order to achieve his goals at any cost, not just at the cost of fellow Starfleet officers, but of the very principles of Starfleet itself.
To the guy defending trump's attempted coup... Trump clearly encouraged them, as did other Republican leaders. But even if you want to say he didn't have direct involvement, Trump and his followers refuse to denounce the events and take any kind of responsibility. Fox news and other Republican outlets churn out conspiracy theories of blm and antifa disguising themselves as Trump supporters... that kind of stuff is just as harmful to our democracy as the lies that Admiral Leyton was telling to the Federation. Republicans even purged Liz Cheney for not being loyal go Trump.. much like how Leyton tried to get rid of Sisko for not bejng loyal to him... No, instead Sisko was loyal to the Federation. Just like how Americans should be loyal to our democracy above any political party or leader.
Anyway, politics aside, I quite enjoy Avery Brooks' acting as Sisko. I never saw him as a bad actor, I've always just taken it as Sisko having an over-the-top personality and dramatic way of speech. And I like that alot. I find captain Sisko to be one of the better characters in DS9. Imo, DS9 has the best story in Trek, but Voyager has the more likeable characters. Bashir, jadzia, and odo are boring, imo... O'Brien gets good episodes, so he's alright. Worf is Worf from TNG, so he gets a pass. I've actually grown to like Quark, tho his episodes are usually the worst... Kira is okay, but she gets Bajoran political episodes which i enjoy... Sisko is the only one who has an enjoyabke personality and good episodes. Gul Dukat is also great, i wish he could have had more episodes lol.
But the Voyager crew all have very unique and interesting personalities and I enjoy watching them all. Even Neelix can be enjoyable to watch at times.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 10:17am (UTC -5)
You cannot bring up the low flu numbers yet complain about huge spikes in Covid, that makes no sense. Either we mitigated the spread of diseases, including Covid and Flu or we didn't. I'm in Florida where there is currently a huge spike in cases. Where are all the regular Flu cases? No, the reason Flu numbers are down is because it is a common event that happens during pandemics. One virus basically takes over the human population while the other one goes into hiding. We'll probably get Flu again once Covid peters out, if it ever does.
Do not bring up New Zealand. What they are doing is short-sighted and they will suffer in the long run. Do you really think you can stop a virus forever using lockdowns? They will have to open up eventually and when they do, cases will go up. That's just the way things work, unless they perpetually live in a state of lockdown, and what kind of life is that? "Yay, I'm alive but I can't do anything except sit in my PJs watching Netflix forever." Sorry, buddy, but that's not life.
We should have just let the virus run its course, protect those most at risk (if they choose too) and move on. My nephews and daughter, all young kids, got this disease and it was like a cold.
I'll tell you what, if YOU want to stay home and mask up while driving alone in your car, feel free. How about leaving the rest of us alone to live our life?
Regarding there being a massive conspiracy. I do not think there is a specific, concerted effort, but there are millions of people who think alike and will do what they think "is right" in spite of human freedom or the law. We saw last election that people from various voting precincts, who were not in communication with each other, still pull the same tricks to cheat the election. Things like that happen all the time. Imagine now, you get a group of "medical professional" who all graduated from liberal universities, they all watch the same propaganda news sources, and run in similar leftist circles. Do you not think that they would be capable of pushing the same lies themselves, even without speaking to each other? Of course that happens.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 10:57am (UTC -5)
"Do not bring up New Zealand. What they are doing is short-sighted and they will suffer in the long run. Do you really think you can stop a virus forever using lockdowns?"
You vaccinate everybody and then open up. That is what they are doing, dear.
I have worked extensively on right wing extremism and populism and one thing that really stands out in these groups is the frequent believe in conspiracies and susceptibility to phases of paranoia. Especially the paranoia is uncommon for left wing extremists and populists and conspiratorial thoughts are also less prevalent.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 11:17am (UTC -5)
"I have worked extensively on right wing extremism and populism and one thing that really stands out in these groups is the frequent believe in conspiracies and susceptibility to phases of paranoia. Especially the paranoia is uncommon for left wing extremists and populists and conspiratorial thoughts are also less prevalent."
Really? I'm genuinely curious. No value judgments intended but I would figure that as a matter of course Trotskyists would be expecting betrayals around every corner.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 11:19am (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 11:42am (UTC -5)
I agree with William B that it seems suspect to suggest that paranoia is predominantly a right-wing thing. But what may be more common is right-wing individuals being distrustful, absent any larger group. I think the 'left-wing' types tend to develop such attitudes as a result of being in a social unit. So the far-left communist extremists would probably be every bit as paranoid as the right-wing religious fanatics. In fact I suspect these types of people have a lot in common. Maybe what Booming is referring to is the occurrence of paranoia and suspicion in individual right-wing people, absent a larger social group pushing that? But all this might mean is that there is a different form, or organization, to how suspicion works on the right versus the left. Traditionally I believe it's been understood that, if anything, it's right-wing 'hierarchy' people who are most comfortable with status quo for instance, whereas the left-wing 'progress' conceptual ideal is to suspect and question any power structure, and to try to either revolutionize it, or to shift power (often laterally). This is a give and take, but in terms of the typical political science view, the 'conservative' is usually the one least suspicious of existing power structures, and most in defense of them.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
So while people try and overlay left vs. right in how people are reacting to Covid, if you look at it from the standpoint of free societies vs. societies that are growing increasingly authoritarian (like NZ, Canada, USA) it becomes more clear why NZ, for example, would be so eager to lockdown at every chance it gets -- their leader is a socialist. Also NZ is cozying up to China and putting the 5 Eyes in a pickle. NZ should be kicked out of the 5 Eyes as they hardly contribute anything anyway. Canada was also very aggressive with lockdowns -- and probably caused more harm than good. The shining example in all this is Sweden -- now that's how you handle Covid. And don't say Sweden is socialist just because it has high taxes and generous social programs -- in many ways it is very capitalist.
In addition to John Prepuce's excellent post (or response to Boomer), we must consider the role China (or more specifically the CCP) played in Covid. It locked down Wuhan but let international flights depart from it, as one example. The CCP is directly responsible for Covid-19 turning into a pandemic. Yet when some countries like the US and Australia take Beijing to task for the global damage it has caused, the CCP screams of racism and acts as if it is the victim -- how very "left" of it.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
"A better characterization for what is generally associated with the right is freedom and a capitalism-based economy whereas the left is totalitarianism and socialism."
With all due respect, if all you're going to do is to say that the right is "good" and the left is "evil" then you've pretty much dispensed with politics and gone into eugenics. Because it's essentially a biological fact that 'right' and 'left' can correlate and boil down to genetics. Some people have some traits, others have others. I can't see a rational argument that supposes that half the world is innately evil, which is (like it or not) what you're really saying. I think the better course would be to find how the 'world ecosystem' benefits greatly by having lots of differing kinds of people in it, and to discover what strengths some people cover that compensate for weaknesses elsewhere. It's no accident that people are how they are: it works, and it's good for everyone. Degenerative thinking is not housed only in one political sphere.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
With all due respect to you, I think you are grossly mischaracterizing/misunderstanding what I said. I never mentioned "good" or "evil" in my prior post!
The left and right as I just defined it (this is not my definition by the way -- I'm lifting it from how some scholars have characterized it) is not about good vs. evil per se (although that thought is out there as far as what side of God you stand on etc.) What I was referring to is about systems of organizing society and the economy in modern times and really speaking to the form of governance.
As for good vs. evil, it comes down to an individual's own morals and conduct. And there can be people of both poor and good ethics/morals and conduct on the left and right. Why do some people complain about capitalism? One of the reasons is people take advantage of the system and profit excessively off others -- these people are of poor morals. The "evil" of the left is really concentrated in the ruling regime -- the suffering people under the dictatorship aren't necessarily evil. How could you conclude that I'm saying that like half the world is good and half is evil??
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
I know you didn't mean it that way, but how else is someone (let's say, a liberal for example) going to interpret "leftists believe in totalitarianism, while the right believes in freedom"? It's pretty clear what the underlying opinion is there, no?
Paradise Lost is a good example of how various mindsets can be problematic, and it's not easy to locate which one is 'totalitarian', or 'freedom', or what those mean. Admiral Clayton would no doubt say he believes in freedom, and that he's protecting freedoms by ensuring security. While Joseph Sisko no doubt thinks *he's* fostering freedom by refusing to abide by regulations that he thinks are contrary to an individual's rights, and perhaps also contrary to common decency. Which one is 'right wing'? These guys are miles apart in temperament, both are advocating for freedom, both believe in different methods. Clayton wants to use government to enforce certain procedures, or disciplines, into Federation society. Does that make him a left-wing person, according to your schema? But I think it just breaks down at that point and can't really address actual individuals. So in my previous response I tried to pare it down to how your theory plays out in the real world: left-wing people believe in terrible things, right-wing people in good things. Is that not, really, what you meant?
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
I mean in recent studies. Maybe that is just the times. In the US Trump has possible changed it. As you say, Left wing extremists were certainly far from immune to conspiratorial thoughts. If you look at the French revolution which I would call a left wing revolution (with around 50 asterisks), especially the later parts, had huge amount of completely unfounded conspiracy theories. For example everybody was convinced that the Bastille was a gigantic torture fortress but when they broke in they found like half a dozen people, all being actual criminals or crazy people.
There are some more differences between those two groups. Anti Elite is true for both sides. Left wing populists don't have an anti minority stance. Like anti-lgbt or anti refugee which is very common for right wing populists. Both claim to represent the true wishes of people.
Personality types are not typical for any side actually but feelings of being threatened is something that studies show to be more common for right wing populists. I'm not saying that something in society couldn't change that would make the left wing populists more paranoid. But for quite some time it is something right wing populists exhibit for more so than left wing. I should clarify though that my expertise is mostly about populism, not extremism. I shouldn't have mixed the two types. The things I wrote are about populists. I'm not even saying that some conspiratorial thoughts on the right are completely unjustified. I often hear deep state, which I find stupid, because what some call the "deep state" is just the bureaucracy. There is always a conflict between elected officials and career bureaucrats. A very prominent one is just on display in the whole Afghanistan situation. Generals and people who worked for intelligence and the defense department vs Biden (and before him Trump and Obama).
"Traditionally I believe it's been understood that, if anything, it's right-wing 'hierarchy' people who are most comfortable with status quo for instance, whereas the left-wing 'progress' conceptual ideal is to suspect and question any power structure, and to try to either revolutionize it, or to shift power (often laterally). This is a give and take, but in terms of the typical political science view, the 'conservative' is usually the one least suspicious of existing power structures, and most in defense of them."
Ok conservatives are not right wing populists. There has been some very concerning radicalization after the election in the USA that seems to have gripped a pretty significant part of conservatives, though. A majority of republicans believing that the election was fraudulent is problematic for the US democracy.
Right wing populists react to certain changes like refugees/demographic shifts or LGBT-topics that indicate societal changes among other things. So it is, as you say against change. There is some debate about if populism is just proto-extremism. You also mentioned that conservatives normally are very comfortable with existing power structures because they are normally controlling many of those. That is actually one of the problems that right wing parties have in the US but also in Germany or France. There is a divide between conservatives and populists that hasn't been reconciled. Another problem is that the populist politicians often lose out against the conservative candidates, comparable to the left were the center left normally wins against the populists. Trump is an odd duck, he talks like a populist but in many ways didn't act like one. He did many things policywise that are pretty standard conservative.
Left wing populists are far less successful over the last 30 years. There is Hugo Chavez or Evo Morales but in the Western World it was mostly Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain. To explain it very simplistic. Right wing populists want to change "back", while left wing populists want to change "forward"
Sorry again. I know this is borderline incoherent but it is a complicated issue. Like infectious diseases. :)
If you want to know more maybe read "what is populism" from Jan Werner Müller. It gives a good overview and is not too technical and he is a well respected scholar on the matter.
here some inspiration for the next.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
When some (innocent) person advocates for lockdowns, mask mandates, vaccine passports etc. they are (likely) unwittingly advocating for policies that can grow into more authoritarian governance. Of course, the overwhelming majority of people don't want totalitarianism -- but the many people who mistakenly support such measures are playing into a would-be dictator's hands (taking things to the limit). It's very hard, once you get accustomed to employing freedom-restricting measures, to just walk them back to square 1 -- they become endemic, the populace gets used to it and pretty soon doesn't care. Excess regulation / control can then be piled on further. That is one reason many are fighting against lockdowns, mask mandates, mandatory vaccinations, etc. now. They are fighting against the creeping in of authoritarianism.
"So in my previous response I tried to pare it down to how your theory plays out in the real world: left-wing people believe in terrible things, right-wing people in good things. Is that not, really, what you meant?"
The radical extremists believe in terrible things, yes. But they are a very small minority and most people know not to pay much attention to their nonsense. Take the far left BLM movement for example -- a year after George Floyd's death, people now realize BLM are violent extremists, Marxists and its support has nosedived. But many of those who once supported BLM are likely very progressive, liberal but of course I would not call them evil. As for people who I would call the right -- believing strongly in freedom is good. What else is there to say? But those who advocate lockdowns etc. aren't necessarily evil -- it depends how radicalized they are. And that too needs to be nuanced in that, sometimes I imagine the person just gets caught up in something and fails to think critically of what he/she has gotten involved in, so even then they may not really be "evil". It's the hard core Marxists I consider evil -- and that's a very small group. One must maintain the ability to think critically about whatever is in front of you.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Would it then be more accurate to suggest that your view is that liberal/left-wing people are either evil, *or* ignorant/stupid?
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
Not sure what you are trying to accomplish here. I haven't said anything that hasn't been said before re. left/right & totalitarianism/freedom. I did simplify things a great deal which may be why you seem to be going down this path of strange takes/questions.
Since you seem obsessed with "evil", as I said before, this is a question of the individual's morals. He/She could be classified as left or right. Anybody can also become ignorant/stupid when they stop thinking critically about things.
When bombarded with narratives from left-leaning government administrations, public health officials, mass media and big tech -- it is difficult to cut through all the crap. It is a powerful force that is working in unison and guiding the populace in a certain direction. The populace is not meant to question or disagree or else it gets canceled.
Let me ask you a question (or 2): Does Marxism / communism / socialism/ fascism not try to steer humanity away from trying to better itself morally and therefore in all other respects? Do those ideologies not favor suppressing individual freedoms in favor of the state? If you don't think that is evil, would you say it's undesirable at least? Or would you say that's good?
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 5:17pm (UTC -5)
Do you believe that a Marxist / socialist / fascist would agree with this claim? Keep in mind the word "try". Even you cannot seriously think that they would concur with this description of their beliefs.
"Do those ideologies not favor suppressing individual freedoms in favor of the state?"
Well in practice socialism I think uses the state as an instrument to enforce the will of the group whereas with fascism state power is an end in itself rather than a means to an end I think.
"If you don't think that is evil, would you say it's undesirable at least? Or would you say that's good?"
The fact that you need to ask this question kind of proves that you didn't grasp his objection in the first place.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
Actions speak louder than words and that's what I would look at. The actions of these ideologies are pretty clear historically and in the present day. Of course they won't admit they are detrimental to the betterment of humanity -- duh! --and if you actually believe that they exist for the betterment of humanity, then I don't know what to tell you. You'd have my pity. And sadly a lot of young people have taken a liking to socialism... It's about critical thinking and I think you've forgotten what that entails.
Sat, Aug 21, 2021, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 21, 2021, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
To point it out. The storming of the capitol on January 6th was a coup attempt, though it wasn't a serious one in the sense that it had any chance of succeeding. It was done by people who obviously did not understand anything about how their own democratic institutions worked. Trump, while certainly willing to act undemocratically, likely only played with fire without actually wanting people to storm the capitol. So he is responsible for what happened but he did not want to overthrow the government at that point and not in that way. Still Trump being so successful at undermining democratic institutions is, as many have already pointed out in political debates, not the cause of the current weakness but a symptom.
When democratic institutions weaken either time specific or as a general sign of weakness then there is always this one person who is willing to go the extra step. I'm not a big supporter of the "Great man" theory but it has some explanatory power when it comes to the downfall of democratic systems. Gaius Graccus, Lucius Catillina, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Joseph McCarthy and now Donald Trump. So far the American democracy seems strong enough to withstand these storms.
It has been my observations that democratic societies always collapse because of economical disparities. So it is not surprising that something like Trump happened. A dwindling middle class, very expensive health care and education, an upper class that lives secluded in gated communities while the lower classes suffer without much hope. A system cannot survive such a situation indefinitely. At some point a critical mass of people will say: I rather die to bring about change then to continue to live like this.
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 5:00am (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 5:06am (UTC -5)
2. Government appointed think tanks and other organizations which pushed for lockdowns. Ignored anyone who said it wasn't the correct action.
3. Government using it to control. ID cards are one of the things being introduced and it was probably the plan all along
4. I don't know a single person who's died of Covid - including my 90 year old gran and 88 year old granddad (the latter in a care home).
5. I know many people who got sick - including me.
6. I know more people getting sick from the vaccine - recently my friend from work who was out of work 2 weeks after taking his second jab. Btw they will never stop with this now - any time they want you locked down they can claim you need a 3rd jab 4th jab - and that there's a new deadlier strain.
7. No one knows the long term effects of the vaccine. Even the short term affects have caused illness, serious illness, and death. The UK gov has stated that no company making a vaccine will be liable for any damages - so that should tell you how foolish you have to be to take it
8. And finally - the people going along with this from the public are easily cajoled sheep, who would sacrifice their freedom for the illusion of safety,
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 5:16am (UTC -5)
"No, it wasn't a coup attempt lol."
Case closed, then.
"5. I know many people who got sick - including me."
Maybe you did die and this is purgatory.
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 5:43am (UTC -5)
"No, it wasn't a coup attempt lol."
Case closed, then."
I'm sorry, but surely anything labelled a "coup attempt" has to incorporate some semblance of a plan with at least an outside possibility of success. Otherwise any random nut or group of nuts a la Van der Lubben and the Reichataag fire could be labelled as such. (Which I gather is also how Hitler et al. spun it)
From what I have read on the subject, Jan 6th was basically an organized riot. Calling it a "coup" or an "insurrection" is really pushing it.
If you can explain the rioters' "plan" to topple the US government then I's be open to reconsider.
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 5:58am (UTC -5)
What happened on January 6 was the attempt of a mob to install the person as president that had just spoken to them.
I see the attack on the capitol as part of a broader effort that is called autocoup. For example the Trump-Raffensperger phone call clearly shows an attempt on Trumps part to undermine the election. Other Republican officials reported these attempts as well by Trump if I recall correctly.
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 6:13am (UTC -5)
Here is the entire call. It was made on January 2.
This call will be played for decades in political science seminars.
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 6:47am (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 7:02am (UTC -5)
You mean the mob on January 6? They wanted to stop the certification, yes. Trump, at the time, worked several republican officials in Georgia and Pennsylvania to provide him with the result he wanted.
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 7:02am (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 9:41am (UTC -5)
That's a goal not a plan :)
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 1:38pm (UTC -5)
You've been doing that your whole life - you live in an echo chamber, which is why you spout only nonsense that was vetted by CNN.
Tue, Aug 31, 2021, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
Perhaps both Brooks and Eisenberg have/had good chemistry with other actors. Certainly Nog improved massively by being upgraded from a "comic relief" type character.
Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 11:27am (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
That's just on the Trek vs reality side of things. There's also the simple fact that depending on how an alien race presented themselves, there might simply be no choice. An ultimatum like "we will speak to a unified government or to no one at all" might well light a fire under the collective ass, especially when it would mean humanity being left far behind if they refuse to deal with us.
Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
I'm having trouble buying what you're selling.
"Trek's thesis is that a unified Earth happens after disasters so major that Earth is not only blown practically to oblivion by nuclear war, but also almost taken over completely by supermen. Between these two the idea is that humans band together to do *anything* necessary to prevent these from happening again."
Yes I suppose that comes from TOS -- which never seemed that reasonable to me. We have lived through 2 world wars already, granted they are assumed to be far less globally devastating than a 3rd WW would be. Haven't we already had a "never again" scenario? And look were we are today.
But there's also Trek's theory of first contact with the Vulcans in 2063 who will hold our hands for like a century and guide us in meeting other alien races. That does not preclude some individual countries (depending on the leader) looking out for No. 1 first even with the Vulcans on Earth as we interact with other alien races. We've just learned to live with Trek's oversimplifcation.
Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
Lol, I'm not selling anything, just relaying what Trek says. And hey, maybe in the Encounter at Farpoint timeframe the world is unified by force rather than consent. Who knows how it actually happnes. You could also look at other sci-fi to see various versions of how world unity comes about. The Ender series by Orson Scott Card shows a progression toward unified world government that comes about as a result of a series of labyrinthine events that could never be predicted.
As far as "never again" goes, I don't think we've gotten there yet by any means. WWII and the aftermath was an opportunity for countries to grab power and wealth, so obviously it wasn't so bad that the collective psyche was on the brink. They were planning for the Cold War before WWII was even over, so how devastating could it really have been in the grand scheme?
Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Yes I understand you're regurgitating what Trek says -- I guess I'm agreeing with what Snick said earlier. It's nice/convenient/utopian for sci-fi to think of Earth as being unified in some way somehow and being able to speak with one voice, but it would seem to me like that happening is almost as likely as humans being able to travel faster than the speed of light.
As I understand what Trek says, until the Vulcans left humanity to itself, we'd deal thru them regardless of what country it is as it relates to the intergalactic community. But after the Vulcans left, would some countries want so much power to speak on behalf of the collective world to reside in San Francisco? I would be surprised if some country wasn't running contraband with the Klingons, for example!
But I would say that we have had "never again" events -- it depends who you are for how bad the event was and whether you consider the event as "never again".
Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
And while the African Union is still fairly weak, it certainly has increased in power. It has it's own little never again which is connected to colonialism.
Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
For what it's worth, we don't know anything about how the Federation council works, and we don't know how geographical areas connect with it. It could be direct representation by population, or maybe it's a 2-chamber situation like the U.S. Congress has. I don't even think we need to assume that the different parts of Earth got along when the UFP formed, but just that there was a mechanism in place to sift through the disagreement and at mimimum require the entire group to go along with the resulting suggestion. Maybe it's not unlike the idea of the United States, a series of mini-nations united in certain regards. And hey, that analogy can go further still since the federal side of the U.S. has been accumulating more power and a wider field of jurisdiction. Most people now think of the U.S. as being 'one country' rather than a series of 50 countries working together.
Sat, Jan 1, 2022, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
My God... did it age well. And this episode is almost thirty years old.
Why can't Star Trek do intelligent episodes like anymore??!!
And FYI, I'm almost thirty. That means I'm right in the age demo that Kurtzman Trek is trying to appeal to. As far as I'm concerned, they failed miserably.
Mon, Aug 29, 2022, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
The E.U. is an artificial, corrupt, sclerotic, anti-democratic, authoritarian fabrication that will go the way of Yugoslavia sooner or later. We're seeing how well it's practicing its "never again" ethos as the Russkies are tearassing through Ukraine. As for the African Union and its "never again" to colonialism, that's nothing short of tragicomic in light of the fact that the ChinComs have all but colonized much of the continent and are exploiting it through usury and what can only be termed child slave labor. It's another well-intentioned but atrociously executed project that will evolve and coalesce before going down the can in cataclysmic chaos.
Having gotten that off my chest, it's so absurd how Cisco and Dodo are discussing strategies and planetary secrets on some terrace, with all kinds of plants and furniture around them, any one of which could be a shapeshifter 🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️
Next, el presidente says: "I've been in politics for over 70 years." Well, ain't it just swell to see some abominations from the 20th/21st century didn't change!
So, the whole thing was a false flag attack. Now, here's what's funny. The Leftists, including among the commenters here, are quick to use this message as an instructive example of how rogue elements can suborn democracy and civil order through manufactured "emergencies." Yet:
1. They are staunch statists. They want more government, bigger government, more controlling government... Of course, they figure they'll be in control such government so there's nothing to worry about, but ***WHOOSH*** there goes the point.
2. They aggressively and stubbornly endorse lockdowns, face diapers, forced vaccinations, and every other draconian measure taken in response to the supposed threat supposedly posed by the Wuhan virus. ***WHOOSH*** They also blindly pay obeisance to The Science™, never wondering if special interests might be at play there. The same goes for their slavish, lobotomized adherence to the entire Climate Change® agenda. ***WHOOSH WHOOSH WHOOSH***
3. Bonus point: They think takeovers and subterfuges happen through coups and assassinations, such as implied in this ep. Amateurs! The most insidious ones happen gradually, by shortening the leash one chainlink at a time.
Now, look, I'm not saying that everything out there is a conspiracy and everything has to be disbelieved, let alone go to the extreme of latching onto the exact opposite of what the official narrative is. (Talking smack about Ukraine and simping for Putin is an example of the Right going full retard on that score.) My point is that it's farcical to be harping on about how the socio-political order can be easily subverted in order to implement some clandestine agenda, while simultaneously glugging down gallons of Kool-Aid served up by the likes of Joy Reid and Stephen Colbert.
While I'm tangentializing, let's go full-throttle. I don't understand autocrats and wannabe autocrats; people (politicians and activists - say, Bill Gates, Klaus Schwab, or the Kochs) with what can only be described as messianic complexes. They think only *they* can save the people... - often save them from themselves. And yet, whatever great monolith they may end up succeeding at establishing, it eventually disintegrates. Sure, it may take generations, but it never, ever lasts. For a system to have staying power, you need to keep convincing people anew that it works, whether with smoke and mirrors or with tangible results. To save country X, civilization Y, nation Z, you don't need ABC to become president or DEF to become prime minister; you need to awaken and carry the people.. THEY need to give a damn, at the beginning and every day thereafter. If you don't have that, whatever system you have will fall apart sooner or later, as we've seen countless times throughout history.
Next: the remark about the fear (q.v. Jammer's quote). Why, that's exactly how terrorists operate. But it's also how those proposing to protect us from terrorists and other threats, real and otherwise, operate.
What's the answer, then? "Eternal vigilance," I guess(?).
Mon, Aug 29, 2022, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
When I read that you are a baby boomer I thought:"yeah, checks out." You are the only one here whose posts I don't read. Sorry to say but every last one I did read was so cringy.
I remember what you wrote about the rejoined episode, that showing two women in love, kissing means "to ram an agenda down the viewers throat."
Well, I'm looking forward to not reading many more of your shallow posts.
Tue, Aug 30, 2022, 1:41am (UTC -5)
Wrong, slugger: I'm a "millennial," just about. I know it's hard to believe, what with not being a shrinking violet afraid of speaking up and having a vocabulary that spans more than a couple hundred words, but it's true.
Not being a typical millennial, I'll be able to get over your microaggressions, casual anti-Semitism, and ageism without reporting your comment or wanting you "canceled." That's the beauty of freedom: We're free to be jerks and we're free to engage or not engage with one another. Long may it continue! 😊 (Unlikely.)
Pro-tip: If you're going to ignore someone, just do it, without making a big public production about it. Otherwise, you turn into one of those losers on social media who ostentatiously tell everyone about how they blocked someone or other. "Methinks the [Booming] doth protest much!" 🤣
Have a nice one! 👍
Tue, Aug 30, 2022, 3:44am (UTC -5)
Sweetheart, I haven't declared a fatwa against you. I reacted because you tagged me. Your posts are so common for a certain type of men that there is really no point in reading them. Well, narcissism is far more prevalent in men so maybe I shouldn't be surprised.
"I'm a "millennial," just about."
You wrote in another post that you grew up in the 70s and millenials are born from 1980 onward. Was that written by a different Michael, are you a liar or a time traveler?
casual antisemitism? ok, honey... clearly you have no problems with microaggressions, even the imagined ones.
Maybe you have noticed that nobody ever reacts to your reviews. Hint! I really don't get why you even watch star trek, you seem to dislike every aspect that makes star trek what it is.
Oh and yes freedom means that you can behave like a jerk. You don't have to, though but if you choose to do so then that means that you are not just behaving like a jerk, it means that you are one and obviously proud about it. What's not to like.
Please, if you can bare it then don't tag me again. Thanks.
Tue, Aug 30, 2022, 7:31am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 30, 2022, 8:07am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 30, 2022, 8:37am (UTC -5)
Of course I'm glad to see Michael push back against this (whatever you want to call it) politically correct woke left doctrine (wrongthink, wrongspeech, etc.). I would think the forum should be about freedom of expression after all (which seems to be a kind of counter-culture these days) and I think it's clearer and clearer that the average person isn't going to just give the left's narrative a free pass anymore. They're coming to realize that if they do, it only gets worse incrementally and that leads to some dark places, as history has repeatedly shown.
As for "Paradise Lost" -- it is perhaps (along with the 1st part of this 2-parter) one of the most prescient Trek episodes. It is like "The Drumhead" in that sense. The authoritarianism creep -- seems so subtle at first...
Tue, Aug 30, 2022, 8:54am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 30, 2022, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 30, 2022, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
"We should have just let the virus run its course, protect those most at risk (if they choose too) and move on."
This couldn't possibly be more true. The lockdowns were idiotic, cost millions their jobs and livelihoods, and curtailed children's education, all while not stopping anything.
The government can't manage anything like this. All they can do is react slowly and incorrectly. I work for the government and got 2 stimulus checks while I never missed a paycheck. Idiotic. ... and they stopped taking SS out of my paycheck without consent. Of course, they had to double up to get their $$$ afterward.
I've had COVID twice, once before it was a thing and once after all the mandatory vaccinations/boosters. I'm a poster boy for "high risk". I weathered the storm along with just about everyone else in my family. The frakin masks don't work. Most were homemade out of some leftover material and weren't worn or doffed correctly. The lockdown didn't work because it wasn't really a lockdown. All it did was punish small businesses. All the large businesses (Walmart, Foodlion, etc) remained open.
This was a government debacle in historic proportions and used by the left to gain more power and influence the 2020 general election. Fact.
Yes Booming, the left.
Tue, Aug 30, 2022, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
Posting this on the day a third of Pakistan is underwater, and floods have left Mississippi without drinking water, suggests a different kind of lobotomy.
Wed, Aug 31, 2022, 12:10am (UTC -5)
"This was a government debacle in historic proportions and used by the left to gain more power and influence the 2020 general election. Fact.
Yes Booming, the left."
The opposition in a democratic system has a tendency to use government debacles to unseat the government. Tis true :)
"The lockdowns were idiotic, cost millions their jobs and livelihoods, and curtailed children's education, all while not stopping anything."
Have you really already forgotten what happened in Italy and the Uk? They tried all that and it was a very deadly failure. In Italy people were dying in the streets. In the Uk they tried herd immunity for a short while and that brought the healthcare system to the brink of collapse and they then had to institute the harshest lockdowns in the EU. Sweden, which is often mentioned in these debates, has a faaar higher death rate then all the other scandinavian countries. And FFP2 masks do work, scientifically proven. They are used in many other areas.
"I've had COVID twice, once before it was a thing and once after all the mandatory vaccinations/boosters. I'm a poster boy for "high risk"."
Do you not understand how stochastic works? Probability distributions?
The fact that you didn't die and none of your family just means that you belong to the majority. If you are in the 65 age group then you had a 1 in 3 chance for a severe case which often brings serious lung tissue damage which will probably shorten life span. If your case was very mild then good for you, if it wasn't then I hope you talked to a specialist.
Wed, Aug 31, 2022, 12:37am (UTC -5)
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
Yes, you can draw parallels to covid-19 protocols vis a vis Grandpa Sisko's attitude about being tested. Yes, the issue of government overreach can be mapped onto it as well. Many political issues can probably find *some* home in the story of this 2-parter. But the literal plot is about ramping up security to prevent a *possible* security threat, and tricking the population into giving permission for this.
The most direct (and proximate) parallel would obviously be to 9/11 and the ensuing misadventures in re-organizing the U.S. government to dealing with this threat. Now it depends on your political vantage point whether you saw this as taking the necessary steps to stop the terrorists, or whether you saw it as the government using an excuse to pull a fast one and initiate unwarranted attacks. The dangling idea of a false flag attack, floated by some in the case of 9/11, seems to resonate remarkably well with the episode. The political climate of the late 90's which led the way to the department of Homeland Security was surely the backdrop of Homefront. I'd also like to add that the term 'homeland' became a serious buzzword starting with 9/11, including the Department of Homeland Security, but also being used in many other contexts. The similarity to the word 'homefront' is actually quite remarkable given what this episode is about.
Again, I am mainly saying that the episode is pretty clearly about freedom vs security, and not about government overreach, inappropriate sweeping protocols, or the stupidity of central decision making. I think it's quite fine to use an episode to talk about this things, but the story we're given doesn't have much to say about then directly IMO.
Wed, Aug 31, 2022, 8:51am (UTC -5)
You are very correct.
"The lockdowns were idiotic, cost millions their jobs and livelihoods, and curtailed children's education, all while not stopping anything."
There was so much harm done by governments during the worst of COVID which thankfully appears to have run its course. Still there are some lingering instances of government idiocy -- like how Novak Djokovic is unable to participate in the US Open. And the CDC has lost pretty much all credibility -- it's just been wrong so many times.
Again as I've said before, Sweden set the example for how to deal with COVID. It proved to have one of the lowest mortality rates in Europe. It avoided widespread lockdowns and realized the problem was limited to certain groups -- all while the authoritarians out there ridiculed it. Small business has been absolutely devastated by the ridiculous power grab by governments during COVID and it is really tragic.
The only issue I have with your comparison to 9/11 is the Federation didn't really launch a full-scale assault on the Dominion until much later when it became more clear that full-scale war was at its doorstep. In this episode, it's really one rogue admiral who goes for a massive power grab, not unlike what many governments did with COVID. Interesting that the actor Foxworth also plays the head of the Vulcan council in ENT S4 and also tries to unilaterally run the show during that 3-part episode.
Wed, Aug 31, 2022, 9:49am (UTC -5)
Here the official report
"By 2021.2 economic activity had recovered to a level close to the level prior to the pandemic (2019.4) and in Denmark it had even surpassed this level"
"Sweden has generally suffered worse health consequences than the other Nordic countries both in terms of number of cases and Covid-19 related deaths."
"In conclusion we note that Sweden used less stringent containment policies in the early phase of the pandemic which probably led to the more dire health consequences. There is some indication that Sweden also had some economic benefits from this in the early phase, in terms of less reduction in activity in specific sectors (arts, services, etc.). However, this gain is not visible in the aggregate data, where the four Nordic countries have had similar developments"
Oh and by the way in Europe of the 20 countries with the worst death rate are 17 in eastern Europe/Balkans. Comparing Sweden to Bulgaria or Bosnia Herzegovina is like comparing Canada to Colombia or Peru.
Wed, Aug 31, 2022, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 23, 2023, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
Sisko: "Cadet, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that I am asking you for a favor! I'm *not!* I want a name, and I want it right now, and that is an order!"
The whole scene up to that point, Brooks has been totally calm, completely the picture of cordiality. At that moment, his temper breaks, nay, SmAsHeS through the calm exterior and changes the ENTIRE tone of the scene which came before it.
I love it. That's damn fine acting.
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