Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Paradise Lost"

3 stars

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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176 comments on this post

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robgnow
Thu, Aug 21, 2008, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
Ah, the "evil admiral" cliche'....

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.
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Anonymous
Mon, Nov 10, 2008, 1:19am (UTC -5)
I really do wonder about the portrayals of Admirals in Starfleet. They are always shown to have limited judgment, be otherwise incompetent, or be very open to treason. Even the Federation President is depicted as a bumbling fool. Are we really to believe the highest authority of the entire Federation is that incompetent, and that every Admiral is less capable than a Captain in command (as it seems). Some realism is lacking.
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Destructor
Sun, Jul 19, 2009, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
I think having thr Dominion attack in this episode would ahve seriously undermined the theme, which was all about the power of fear. It's not exactly preposterous to think that the military might help to exaggerate an existing threat in order to get the populace to accept less freedoms- on the contrary, it was remarkably prescient.
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Jay
Fri, Sep 4, 2009, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
I agree about the Admirals. They never seem to be particularly qualified. The one in Rapture comes to mind. Necheyev wasn't bad, but still a bit lacking. They finally found a credible one with Admiral Ross.
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Nic
Tue, Dec 8, 2009, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
Your point of view is interesting (as it basically amounts from reviewing both parts separately rather than as a whole), though I would like to note that the writers never INTENDED to have the Dominion attack in part two. They didn't "tie their hands." Part I was purposefully used as a misdirection as to what the theme of the episode was... and only in Part II do you realize that the episode's real message - a very powerful and relevant one - is that fear of an enemy can be MORE dangerous than the enemy itself.
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Anthony2816
Fri, Feb 5, 2010, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
Star Trek admirals: Let's just say that the majority of them are great officers.

The ones that aren't, well, they're the ones whose actions are interesting enough to become storylines.
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robgnow
Sat, Feb 6, 2010, 2:16am (UTC -5)
Good point, Anthony. I'm sure that following around an Admiral who did his job competently and caused no problems for our main characters at all would be... let's just call it 'anti-climatic'.

Not to mention 'purposeless' to the main character's plot arc.
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Jeff O'Connor
Sat, Oct 9, 2010, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
I must admit, I get a real kick out of going back in time and reading some of Jammer's wants and predictions. Here, he says the writers should probably tackle 'some kind of war episode' in which the Dominion are defeated, at some point down the line.

And then we got seasons six and seven.
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Jay
Sun, Dec 26, 2010, 12:12am (UTC -5)
So we follow around the bad admirals, but the good captains?
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Polt
Tue, Jan 25, 2011, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
Anonymous said, " Even the Federation President is depicted as a bumbling fool. Are we really to believe the highest authority of the entire Federation is that incompetent,"

I think 8 years of W proved how realistic those statements are.
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GregHenley
Mon, Aug 1, 2011, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
So this surprises me. No one mentioned that Odo suddenly appears to know the Vulcan neck pinch! This IS what he used on that security guard isn't it? Was she a security guard? She had no phaser.

-Greg
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tec
Tue, Nov 15, 2011, 3:48am (UTC -5)
She was blood screening and Odo is head of securaty im sure he knows all kinds of disarming techniqs
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HammerSlammer
Wed, Jun 13, 2012, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
For me Leyton was the next Garth of Izar, only without that funny paper crown.
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Peremensoe
Wed, Aug 1, 2012, 1:19am (UTC -5)
"Was she a security guard? She had no phaser."

I believe she did; that's where Sisko gets one to go confront the admiral.
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Londonboy73
Fri, Aug 10, 2012, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Unbelievable! I didn’t think it was possible – but Avery Brooks’ acting has actually got WORSE!!
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!!
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Nathaniel
Fri, Aug 10, 2012, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
And amazingly enough, some people like Avery Brooks acting.
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Elliott
Sat, Aug 11, 2012, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
Amazing, yes, but not quite so amazing as the people who like this series.
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Nathaniel
Sat, Aug 11, 2012, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
I agree. We are quite amazing people. Its good of you to recognize that.
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Londonboy73
Sun, Aug 12, 2012, 9:37am (UTC -5)
Nathaniel - I can believe that people may tolerate his acting because they love the series but think it is good??

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.
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MIster P
Sun, Aug 26, 2012, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
Brooks isn't good with the big dramatic speeches that we see in Trek all the time, I'll give you that. But the quieter scenes with Jake or his father come across as incredibly genuine. I like him a lot.
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Sintek
Sun, Sep 9, 2012, 1:03am (UTC -5)
There is more to acting than line delivery. Who are we to say that's not how a real Benjamin Sisko would speak? I've seen and heard people in real life who would be considered terrible actors in film or television, but it's their natural inflection and pattern of speech.
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William
Mon, Oct 15, 2012, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
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.


That pretty well tells the power of this episode, and why I still give it four stars.
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DG
Sat, Dec 1, 2012, 6:49am (UTC -5)
The conversation between "O'Brien" and Sisko got me thinking about how ethics work with this.

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*.
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Josh
Wed, May 22, 2013, 11:24am (UTC -5)
This episode certainly did the battle for the Federation's soul story a lot better than Star Trek: Into Darkness.

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.
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Sean
Sun, Jul 21, 2013, 2:37am (UTC -5)
I quite enjoy Brooks's acting, actually. Not because I love DS9 so much, which I absolutely do. But because I actually think he's rather good, albeit with a slight tendency to overact at more dramatic moments. Like the climax of Far Beyond the Stars. But I hardly notice it, usually, because he is so good at conveying the drama of the moment and showing us the gravity of the situation. And Brooks definitely has the quieter moments down. His deep voice helps, certainly. Though I will say that most of the rest of the cast is better, that doesn't make Brooks any worse by comparison. He holds his own quite well.
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Paul
Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 9:20am (UTC -5)
@Sean: Usually Brooks holds his own. The problem is that he often has his worst moments -- like in 'Far Beyond the Stars' -- in his biggest episodes.
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Kotas
Wed, Oct 23, 2013, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
Same quality level as the first part.

7/10
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Patrick D
Thu, Feb 13, 2014, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
This episode is so prophetic, it's eerie. It annihilates Star Trek Into Darkness in terms of commentary on post-9/11 America (and this episode aired 6 years before that fateful day).

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...
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Dusty
Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 11:20am (UTC -5)
Leyton was not evil. Not at all. He was a smart, capable officer who taught Sisko everything he knows about leadership. But 'Paradise Lost' reveals that Sisko has since learned things on DS9 that are lost on Leyton back on Earth--things about personal honor and looking at the big picture. Leyton was so obsessed with the immediate threat the Dominion seems to present on Earth that he was blinded by paranoia and lost his way. He'll commit sabotage, treason, and a coup to physically protect the planet at a staggering psychological cost. And only Sisko, Odo, and Benteen stopped him. Meanwhile, the Changelings have only bombed one building. As the fake O'Brien pointed out, all they really had to do was make their presence known and watch Earth wreak havoc on itself, and that nearly happened.

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.
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DLPB
Sat, Feb 22, 2014, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
The major flaw with this episode is that it relegates the very real threat posed by Shape-shifters (of which one had already entered Starfleet grounds) to a story about paranoia, and a bunch of people who want to cause war.

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.
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Corey
Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 7:29am (UTC -5)
"Instead, it isn't the changelings who are to be feared.. no.. it's ourselves."

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.
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Vylora
Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 1:03am (UTC -5)
Well there was definitely a lot said about this two-parter and especially a lot of interesting reading in the comments for "Homefront". Which in turn made me want to say a lot myself. But then I decided I'm going to instead concentrate on these episodes. Not that I have a lot to add really. :p

Jammers reviews were spot on though I've always felt both parts were equally classic in my opinion.

4 stars each.
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Eric
Wed, May 7, 2014, 1:16am (UTC -5)
Great Episode. Its funny seeing how TV series have evolved since then. Back then, you had to have a "reset button" at the end of any episode. Nowadays, you have more stories with lasting consequences. I actually wanted the defiant to destroy the other ship in self-defense, and to see the fallout from that play out in the next episode, and the one after that, etc..
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Nonya
Wed, Jun 25, 2014, 12:17am (UTC -5)
*Yawn* Even more tedium, and much more self-righteous pandering. Thing is, we were never really all that familiar with Earth before the threat, so we don't know the depths it "plummets" with this two parter. Given how all of this stuff has been in motion for a while, paradise must have been lost a long time ago. Besides, how stupid was Sisko not to even alert anyone about the changeling he met?

That, and this episode has no affect on anything later on.
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Yanks
Wed, Aug 6, 2014, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Earth "before the threat" is aptly explained here. Listen to Sisko's Dad if you don't understand.

Best line?

"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.
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Jack
Sun, Aug 10, 2014, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
It was odd that the O'Brien changeling claimed that the changelings don't fear humans, since it was already stated previously by the female shapeshifter that the changelings' fear of "solids" was pretty much their raison d'être for creatign the Dominion.
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Zuriel Seven
Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
Another odd thing within this episode is Leyton's suggesting that if Ben needs anything (quoted above as "food, something to read") that he may ask Security at the desk and they will get it for him.

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...
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Ospero
Wed, Sep 3, 2014, 12:29am (UTC -5)
@Jack: You have to take the fear quote in its entirety - "we do not fear you the way you fear us". The changelings' fear of solids lacks the element of paranoia that serves as this two-parter's undercurrent. They fear the outsider that wants to destroy what it perceives as a threat, not the infiltrator who can put on a familiar face and never drop it until it's too late.
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Peremensoe
Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
I just watched both parts again. I too feel they are of equal quality--or, more precisely, form a coherent whole story of quality. This is *not* like the cliffhanger two-parters for which the second halves were written separately.

"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.

Four stars.
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Spindles
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 3:06am (UTC -5)
In Homefront, the time index that Worf recalled during the playback of the initial explosion at the conference was 5-911. In this episode, one of the names Sisko mentioned in Admiral Leyton's confidential list was Snowden. Some interesting synchronicity in an episode about a false flag attack that would necessitate broad and sweeping new powers of the military ... and that is essentially what Starfleet is, the military, despite the fuzzy rhetoric.
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Shayne O
Sun, Nov 9, 2014, 9:58am (UTC -5)
The point about incompetent Admirals however is perhaps apt. One thing working in the public service has taught me is that people seriously overestimate the competence of senior staff. It was not lost on me, for instance that the department head was the CIOs son, and that at 25 with no qualifications there was nothing that made him more suitable than his underlings, some with PhDs and decades of experience. But the right connections and perhaps the right social skills get you to the top. And this is the same for almost any organization, public or private. Humans preferance a compelling smile over a compelling set of qualifications. And we're poorer for it.
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Filip
Wed, Nov 19, 2014, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
In my opinion, a brilliant two-parter. Everything led up to the scenes between Sisko and Leyton, and the Defiant and the Lakota, which I could watch over and over again.

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.
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MsV
Thu, Feb 12, 2015, 6:30am (UTC -5)
Filip, I agree. I love his acting and no one can say "Engage" quite like Brooks. That deep powerful voice.
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Jack
Sun, May 17, 2015, 10:00am (UTC -5)
This episode really cheats, and it even lampshaded it with dialogue.

"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.
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Robert
Sun, May 17, 2015, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
Jack, you rate the episode that low because of one minor quibble?
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Robert
Mon, May 18, 2015, 7:25am (UTC -5)
Didn't they spend the previous episode testing Odo. It could literally just be a tiny fraction of Odo goo, right? I haven't seen the episode in awhile.

::blinks at other Robert while stroking goatee::
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Batchick30
Thu, Jul 23, 2015, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
I am enjoying watching this series on Netflix from the beginning. I only ever saw it from season 3 to the end of 6 when it was 1st on. As dated as Jammer's critiques are I am in agreement with quite a few and the followup commentary of fellow fans broadens the view of many episodes. I am amused about the derogatory comments regarding the acting chops of Avery Brooks. Not everyone in the world (or in this case...the universes) carries themselves or speaks in the same way. He is a bit bombastic in language and physicality but I don't think this means he is a poor actor. Do all these fans bicker about William Shatner? Because let's be honest, he comes across very similarly. And his career has not suffered for it by my estimation. If anything he has been very successful because if it. If you find the acting in a show so deplorable then don't watch it and let the people who do appreciate it enjoy it as the entertainment it was meant to be.
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Captain I/0
Mon, Nov 9, 2015, 12:55am (UTC -5)
Spindles: i've just been doing a rewatch of the series formthe first time in a few years and I too caught the Snowden reference and came here to post about it. Its a very ironic coincidence.
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Jim P
Tue, Dec 15, 2015, 10:15pm (UTC -5)
How timely it is, watching this episode now, some 20 years after it first came out. The themes are so relevant to what is going on in the US and other parts of the world right now. The shapeshifters only had to plant the seeds, the star fleet leadership then took the ball and ran with it, nearly destroying paradise from within, all based on paranoia. I wish everyone would watch this episode now, including those running for office on a platform of fear, and listen to papa Sisko's words: "I'm scared to death. But I'll be damned if I'm gonna let them change the way I live my life." And then Sisko's follow up "if they want to destroy things here they're going to have to do it themselves. We are not going to do it for them."
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Diamond Dave
Wed, Dec 23, 2015, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
I actually enjoyed this one more than the first one. The coup plot seems a lot more grounded than the paranoid fantasy of the first part, and, as the changeling reveals, the limited numbers they have on earth is already causing enough fear to serve their purposes. As an examination of what fear can drive good people to do, it works quite well.

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.
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JC
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 2:41am (UTC -5)
The writers still could've take an acceptable risk by letting Leyton succeed in a limited fashion. For example, Benteen doesn't destroy they Defiant still but the witness officer is a casualty. Leyton destroys remaining evidence, feigns surprise at fake blood test, pins it as a changeling plot. Sisko gets sent packing without evidence. Leyton still tried for treason because of the Defiant thing perhaps, taking him out of the picture. Then president stays in power (so still acceptable in Trek) but for the moment troops remain on the streets and residents live in fear.

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.
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Strejda
Sat, Feb 27, 2016, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
"But the DS9 writers are gutless. "

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.
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Quarkissnyder
Wed, Mar 9, 2016, 8:59am (UTC -5)
I thought this was a good episode but my immediate reaction to it was laughter. I'm married to a 9-11 truther. 'Nuff said.

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.)
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Yanks
Wed, Mar 9, 2016, 9:27am (UTC -5)
Quarkissnyder,

Don't agree.

The changeling sought out and told Sisko that to scare the shit out of him. No details were given as to the location etc.
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Quarkissnyder
Thu, Mar 24, 2016, 6:21am (UTC -5)
Yanks,
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.
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Yanks
Thu, Mar 24, 2016, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Quarkissnyder,

...and I stated differently?
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Luke
Mon, Apr 4, 2016, 1:36am (UTC -5)
"Paradise Lost" is indeed something of a let-down after the magnificent "Homefront". However, it is still a damn good episode and, with the first part, makes one of the best stories the show has produced thus far. The story of a man caught up in his attempt to safeguard that which he loves and is so blinded by his desire for security that he can't see what he's doing (and what he's destroying) is very well told. It really helps that Leyton is not portrayed as some demented, frothing-at-the-mouth lunatic. He comes off as a fairly reasonable man who has only come to the wrong conclusions. Jammer is absolutely right that the scene between Leyton and Sisko in the jail shows this perfectly - this is not an evil man, just a supremely misguided one. You don't even get the sense that he's attempting to seize control of the government for his own aggrandizement. He's not doing this out of ego, but because he honestly thinks it's the necessary and right thing to do. Very well done!

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.

8/10
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Andrew
Mon, Jun 13, 2016, 10:08am (UTC -5)
To me "Homefront" felt a little too ham-handed; Sisko and Leyton were well-portrayed but Joseph Sisko seemed a little too anachronistically extreme (referring to blood-testers as vampires and seeming to not consider the changelings or Dominion a serious threat at all).
"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.
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Skywalker
Sun, Jun 19, 2016, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
@Luke, no way! Vulcan secede from the Federation?! Awesome! Go RDM! Where did you read that?

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).
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David Pirtle
Sun, Oct 30, 2016, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
Instead of responding to a terrorist attack by 19 individuals by manufacturing evidence of a larger Middle-eastern threat in order to launch a war, here we have Starfleet officers responding to a terrorist attack by 4 changelings by manufacturing evidence of a larger invasion in order to take install military rule. Eerily prophetic.
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NCC-1701-Z
Tue, Nov 15, 2016, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
Seriously, is there something in the water at Starfleet Command?!
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Kiffer
Fri, Dec 30, 2016, 8:20am (UTC -5)
Polt......and 8 years of Obummer has certainly been a joy..........NOT
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Downsouth
Tue, Mar 7, 2017, 7:22am (UTC -5)
Coming to this one some many years later. I keep seeing huge objections to Avery Brook's acting and a fellow trekkie I know IRL also says this. I disagree. For the most part, avoiding the pips and squeaks, he comes across as very down to earth and believable as a person in space as opposed to an idea about a person in space.

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.
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Robert
Tue, Mar 7, 2017, 10:29am (UTC -5)
As a Sisko lover I will say that Avery may or may not be a good actor. I really don't know. I will say that Picard/Sisko were both "wrong" out of the gate and that in the end when they let Stewart and Brooks pour some of themselves into these characters I really liked the results. Brooks may be a terrible actor (I've never seen him in anything else) and he's just one of those people that is really good at playing himself. But I will say that sometime around S3 he became very compelling to watch as Sisko and I've always been a really, really huge fan. Acting or not be damned, he was entertaining.
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Chrome
Tue, Mar 7, 2017, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
I think Brooks is a great actor, and works well in his part for this show. He can be very polite and persuasive, as well as assertive and bossy which makes for a good commander.

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.
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DLPB
Mon, Mar 13, 2017, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
Weasley response. It's like saying Hitler is a great man and well suited for the role of German leader, because he has great oratory skills and was polite to his dog, Blondie.

It doesn't change the fact he left Germany in rubble. And Brooks is a crap actor, despite the cherry picking.
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Chrome
Tue, Mar 14, 2017, 11:01am (UTC -5)
I actually liked Brooks' acting in American History X; that may be his best work. I wouldn't call any of this cherry-picking though, Brooks simply hasn't been in many films/shows for us to judge him by. Certainly not as many as Patrick Stewart or Kate Mulgrew.
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Del_Duio
Tue, Mar 14, 2017, 11:12am (UTC -5)
I'm still surprised by how many people hate Brooks' acting, I never had an issue with it then and still don't.

Is he Patrick Stewart caliber? No, but not many are. Dude is awesome and is only seconded by Picard as my favorite Trek captain.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd scene!
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Peter S.
Sat, Jun 3, 2017, 5:38am (UTC -5)
Interestingly I found the episode to be fascinating, gripping and paranoid even if the outcome was obvious (nice to see a happy ending any way :-)). To me the focus appeared to be more about paranoia ruining the peaceful paradise on earth rather than whether or not the Dominion would invade. Any way, while the review appears to focus more on that than me I still enjoy reading them. ... So, the bombing in the first episode was in Antwerp???
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Rahul
Thu, Jul 27, 2017, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
Actually enjoyed "Paradise Lost" a bit more than "Homefront" for a few reasons. It's good to get loose ends tied up like why Nog was talking about Red Squad, the changeling appearing as O'Brien, and getting a better idea of what was driving Leyton.

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.
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Startrekwatcher
Tue, Aug 8, 2017, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
2 stars

Pretty underwhelming

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!!!!
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Peter G.
Wed, Aug 9, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -5)
"No urgency no dread no foreboding no epic stakes no shakeup in the status quo."

Lol, dude, you're barking up the wrong tree with this one! You picked the wrong series, bub.
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Startrekwatcher
Thu, Aug 10, 2017, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
I was only referring to this specific episode.
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Peter G.
Fri, Aug 11, 2017, 11:06am (UTC -5)
Ok, except even then I think you're way off. This episode has distinct consequences, some direct and some indirect. I'll say more if you want and if you've already seen the whole series.
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DLPB
Fri, Aug 11, 2017, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
Oh, except "lol", YOU are way off. I've seen the whole series and Startrekwatcher is bang on the money. It is a FACT that this episode has little to no influence on future events. A FACT. At no point on do we hear of a changeling taking the place of - much less trying to take the place of - a high ranking Starfleet officer. This whole silly episode was simply peddling a nasty, deluded left wing piece of propaganda that "the only people we have to fear is our own ignorance and fear" - which is patently ABSURD given that the changelings can and did impersonate top ranking officials.

Lazy writing. Lazy propaganda. Whether you like or not "lol". See my other posts above.
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Peter G.
Fri, Aug 11, 2017, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
@ DLPB,

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 ;)
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Chrome
Sun, Aug 13, 2017, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
For the sake of this argument, do we consider Bashir a high-ranked officer? I'd say no, at least as far as lieutenants are treated in Star Trek.
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Peter G.
Sun, Aug 13, 2017, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
*SPOILER for Startrekwatcher*

@ Chrome,

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.
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Chrome
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
@Peter

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.
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Chrome
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
I do want to add that I think Peter is right in saying that "The Adversary" is really the big setup for general changeling infiltration in the Alpha Quadrant, which is directly referenced later in "Apocalypse Rising" and "By Inferno's Light", as "The Adversary" setup the the recurrence of changeling infiltrators.
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Peter G.
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

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.
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Jason R.
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
Peter, I am content to conclude that the Founders likely had little or nothing to do with the planned coup or the events leading up to it. In a way it's not unlike the 1950s when real Soviet agents were almost certainly present, but McCarthy's purge was mostly just skapegoating sympathizers rather than rooting out real spies and probably had little to do with their activities.

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.
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Peter G.
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
Jason R,

"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.
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 7:21am (UTC -5)
Well Peter I don't doubt that there were Soviet spies running around in the 50s up to no good. The question I have is whether McCarthy's purges were very good at rooting them out or if it was just political theatre and virtue signalling.

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.
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DLPB
Wed, Aug 16, 2017, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
There are times that humans do themselves harm with paranoia and over-reactions. I see it all the time in sport, where a player is found guilty of doping and then a forum erupts with accusations aimed at other players on the most ridiculous "evidence" available "Oh, look at his muscles *snicker*". Classic witch hunt mentality.

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!
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Peter G.
Wed, Aug 16, 2017, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
DPLB,

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.
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DLPB
Wed, Aug 16, 2017, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
I can't make what I said any more simple for you.
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Chrome
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 11:35am (UTC -5)
It's that the actual threat of Changelings wasn't addressed in the episode even though the threat was real. This isn't Scooby-Doo where they pull the mask off a Changeling's head and it's really Admiral Leyton scaring everyone the whole time.

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.
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Peter G.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
The actual threat isn't address at length, no, because it would devolve into an hour of strategic countermeasures, and if you ask me it would end up like a session of D&D it comes down to number crunching and who wins the security fight. I'd rather watch an episode of role-playing than dice-rolling, if you catch my drift, so I'm happy that they didn't turn it into a technical exercise in Starfleet Security 101.

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.
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Chrome
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
"the idea that 'we refuse to lose any freedom to increase security' is a strawman reading of the episode...Sisko chooses to side with freedom over fascism."

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.
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DLPB
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 1:31pm (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.
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Precisely. But I think we have another trekkie fanboy unable to accept the writing here has issues.
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Peter G.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
Chrome,

"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.

DPLB,

"The Changelings did set off a bomb, didn't they? The episode never addresses how Starfleet will try to prevent that from happening again.
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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.
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Robert
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
My 2 cents.

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.
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Peter G.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
Robert,

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.
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Chrome
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
@Robert

"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.
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Peter G.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

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.
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Chrome
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

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.
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Peter G.
Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 9:51am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"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.
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Chrome
Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

"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).
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Peter G.
Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"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.
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Chrome
Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
"Just because we're not agreeing doesn't mean I "don't seem to understand" something."

You used the term improperly. It led you off on a tangent. It's not worth getting upset about.
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Matt
Mon, Aug 21, 2017, 5:39am (UTC -5)
Why did the Changeling/Obrien seek out and talk to Sisko?
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Andrew
Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
I'm afraid it does seem pretty smug by the characters and self-congratulatory by the writers to admit that terrorist attacks might happen but trying to prevent them isn't worth giving up any freedom/privacy rights-and then, after that, *not* have any more terrorist attacks actually happen. That's kind of taking a stand without dealing with the consequences. Of course most of Trek is episodic like that but the point of the Dominion was to have a continuing threat.
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kuwanger
Wed, Mar 28, 2018, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
@Andrew

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.
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Andrew
Sat, Mar 31, 2018, 11:58am (UTC -5)
But it seemed quite a false choice between on the one hand turning into a totalitarian regime and on the other not having blood screenings of not everyone but the officers controlling the weapons and defenses and their family (I forget if that actually happened but I think it was implied, that since we don't want the extreme we shouldn't be anywhere near it). Granted that the episode was an allegory but not meant to be an exact or literal allegory (as the screening plot is about officers but the message is really about society in general) but, in part from that disconnect, the message does still seem pretty extreme.

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?
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Kirby Dirk
Sat, May 26, 2018, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
Not sure what the director was going for, but the melodrama did nothing for me and at times seemed downright laughable. The script seem like a checklist of Star Trek cliches. I turned it off 10 minutes early, realizing that there's nothing left to surprise me.
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Cinnamon
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Adm Leyton is a Hitler-dictator. People, this is the way dictators take over. It is the way Hitler took over Germany. And to stay with the story, I personally believe Leyton was a shapeshifter.

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.
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Iceman
Sun, Aug 19, 2018, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
I don't agree with Jammer that "Paradise Lost" is a let down. For me, it brings a riveting two-parter to a pitch perfect conclusion. Perhaps it doesn't bother me because I know in retrospect that next season's two parter *will* blow up the show.

4 stars.
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Samuel
Thu, Oct 4, 2018, 8:38am (UTC -5)
I really wish that there was an alternate take of the scene where Sisko picks up Leyton's admiral pips, in which Sisko pins them on himself and then starts cackling maniacally.
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Elliott
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 10:18pm (UTC -5)
Teaser : ****, 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.

Indeed.

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
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Iceman
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
@Elliott

"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).
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Elliott
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 11:41pm (UTC -5)
@Iceman

"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.
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Iceman
Wed, Dec 12, 2018, 12:30am (UTC -5)
"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."

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.
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Jason R.
Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 8:39am (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?

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.
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Peter G.
Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 9:46am (UTC -5)
@ Jason R.

"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.
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Springy
Wed, Jan 2, 2019, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
Love Brock P once again. I know Sisko referred to his father as dead once, but I'll overlook that for a chance to see Peters.

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.
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mike
Mon, May 27, 2019, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
Didn't like this two-parter very much. Cheap stuff like the "military occupation" of earth is shown by Sisko's dad looking out the window and seeing a couple of Starfleet security types appear on the street. lol. Bad acting by Avery Brooks, ugh. a restaurant with no staff, uh ok. Sisko foils a military coup of earth by talking to guy in an office. bad all around!
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William
Fri, Jul 12, 2019, 8:54am (UTC -5)
Is nobody else worried that a Starfleet officers family member (Sisko's father) already gave away that the blood tests wouldn't pick a Changeling from everyone else if they stored some blood inside them?
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Moegreen
Tue, Aug 6, 2019, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
Sorry folks, but the pantomime award for this episode goes to Colm Meaney. 'RU HU HU HU!! We've only just begun!' Avery just happened to be on the same bench, he is not complicit.
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Strejda
Mon, Aug 19, 2019, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G "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."

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.
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Jamie Mann
Wed, Jan 1, 2020, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
It's both interesting and saddening to watch this two-parter a quarter-century after it was filmed, not least because it successfully predicted much of the "national security" theatre which came about as a result of 9/11, not to mention the fear and paranoia which has insinuated itself into western civilisation.

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...
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Jason R.
Wed, Jan 1, 2020, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
"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."

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.
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Fenn
Thu, Jan 9, 2020, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
I feel this episode only makes the last all the stronger. I was brought in hook, line and sinker by Homefront's promise of full-scale changeling infiltration (and incoming invasion). This doesn't feel like a cop-out to me, in that respect -- it gives us something different to what we expected, but there's still a hell of a threat to the integrity of the Federation. Fantastic lines like "paradise has never seemed so... well-armed". I reckon it gains from making the human threat the real danger, rather than the changelings -- with a first half building up to a black-and-white conflict, it's very DS9 to put the spotlight on one of the shades of grey.

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.
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Jamie Mann
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
"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."

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...
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Focksbot
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 6:47am (UTC -5)
I'm currently rewatching all of DS9 and reviewing these comment threads at the end of every episode, which makes for a fascinating experience, particularly when it comes to episodes like Homefront and Paradise Lost.

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.
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DLPB
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 5:19pm (UTC -5)
Complaining that something is left wing propaganda means I want it to be right wing propaganda? No reasoning with people like you.
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Focksbot
Mon, May 11, 2020, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
@DLPB:

"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.
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gfox
Sun, Jul 5, 2020, 6:20am (UTC -5)
Aside from the excellent additional layers of intrigue added to this two-parter by season 7's revelations about Odo and Section 31 and all that as I just mentioned in my comment on Homefront (and it IS a fun game to play "spot the scene/gap between scenes in which it happened")...

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).
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Dirk
Sun, Jul 12, 2020, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
I kept almost falling asleep during this one and took a really satisfying nap when it was over. Aside from the memorable Colm Meaney scene, with all its icy hatred of the Federation, I thought the episode was a great big "who cares!"

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.
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Trent
Wed, Oct 14, 2020, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Dirk said: "I really like Brooks, but this is the first time I thought his acting was deficient."

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.
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Sleeper Agent
Fri, Oct 16, 2020, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
Gotta hand it to part 2 of this double feature. I definitively enjoyed the 1st part, which was essential as a build up. But except for a couple of great scenes which hadn't much with the main plot to do, namely the one with Sisko's father refusing a blood test (amazing and highly relevant scene), there were very little fireworks. In part 2 it kinda continues for a while, throwing the watcher in a couple of directions before finally rolling it all out in a very satisfying, quite spectacular way.

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.
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Robbie
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 11:31am (UTC -5)
Am I the only one who saw a significant plot hole, namely, why the Defiant didn't bother to cloak on its way to Earth? The battle with the Lakota was dramatic and all, but still...
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Gaius Maximus
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 9:57pm (UTC -5)
I've been doing a 25th anniversary rewatch of DS9, watching each episode exactly 25 years after its original airdate, which brought me to this episode today. Deep Space 9 has felt like a show ahead of its time for awhile now, but watching this episode only two days after Trump's attempted coup was downright eerie.
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The River Temarc
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 2:51am (UTC -5)
"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."

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.
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The River Temarc
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 2:56am (UTC -5)
"but watching this episode only two days after Trump's attempted coup was downright eerie."

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.
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The River Temarc
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 3:02am (UTC -5)
"Humans [prefer] a compelling smile over a compelling set of qualifications. And we're poorer for it."

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.
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Paul M.
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 10:09am (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."

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.
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GreenJacket
Thu, Feb 11, 2021, 1:54am (UTC -5)
I don't really understand this whole "fear is dangerous" thing. Are the Dominion not a threat? If anyone ever responds to this, I don't want to hear the flaccid platitudes about looking into the abyss or some other horseshit. Fear is a natural response to threats, and I think people in the modern age are too afraid of being afraid.

The only question I have is, how did they fake Sisko's blood turning into Changeling goop.
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Silly
Thu, Mar 4, 2021, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
This episode has one of the least climactic endings of any Trek, certainly one with such high stakes. I don’t know if it was the writing or the actor playing the Admiral, but it basically boils down to him laying down his wings and saying “ok fine whatevs.”

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.
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John Prepuce
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
I have never commented on here before but this episode seemed especially relevant today, so I felt I needed to share.

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.
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Booming
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Ok, everybody. Nothing to see here. Just move on.
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Rahul
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Thanks for your comments John Prepuce -- I haven't seen this episode since well before COVID hit but certainly the events in this 2-parter seem even more prescient now and your post is worth amplification.

"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...
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Yanks
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
"I also think of how "The Drumhead" takes on even stronger meaning given what we've experienced in the past 1.5 yrs."

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.
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Booming
Wed, Jul 28, 2021, 3:59am (UTC -5)
- Historical context I: All the restriction because of Corona are actually fairly relaxed. For most of human history if there was a major disease outbreak then that region/city would be quarantined. Meaning nobody in, nobody out. New Zealand did/still does a preventive quarantine. They have 26 dead so far.
- 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.
Look!
https://ourworldindata.org/exports/world-pop-by-political-regime_v4_850x600.svg

That is all I'm going to say about this.
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Booming
Wed, Jul 28, 2021, 4:34am (UTC -5)
PS:
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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZFhjMQrVts
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Sykosomatik
Sun, Aug 8, 2021, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed the conclusion to this two parter and thought it was brilliant. The purpose of these episodes wasn't to start the war... but it was more about the principles of Starfleet and how people are able to lose sight of them.

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.
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John Prepuce
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 10:17am (UTC -5)
Boomer - the death rate for Covid-19 is nowhere near the rate of the Spanish Flu or Small Pox, Ebola, etc. I had it, my entire family had it. Yes, it sucks. You get healthier and move on. Will some people die? Yes, of course. This happens with every other type of disease too. It does not justify lock downs. 5 Years ago, I had two older friends, in their 60s, die of the regular Flu. Nobody was demanding the whole world close down because of it. My grandfather died in 2004 of Pneumonia, it was very sad and if I could back I would not have allowed him to live in an old folks community where he acquired the disease. But the world did not shut down.

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.
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Booming
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 10:57am (UTC -5)
Everybody is a infectious disease expert now apparently.

"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.
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William B
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 11:17am (UTC -5)
@Booming

"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.
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William B
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 11:19am (UTC -5)
(Or rather, whatever value judgments I have are not the point I was making this comment.)
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Peter G.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 11:42am (UTC -5)
I shouldn't even wade into this mess, but there is a huge problem of using terms like "right wing" and "left wing" to designate personality types. For instance there is a common 'right-wing' personality type that won't listen to what anyone says and insists on making up their own mind about everything. Let's call this the 'independent rebel' type; this person may display signs of paranoia when being told something by many people in a concerted effort. But there is also another 'right-wing' type, which is the type that is part of a tightly-knit structure, let's say a political group, or a religious group, and they will be in lockstep *amongst themselves*, and will take issue with anything outsiders say. And of course there are other 'right-wing' types besides. And similar distinctions exist on the left, even in the extremes or fringes.

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.
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Rahul
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
The whole use of "right wing" and "left wing" labeling obfuscates a lot of things. 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. What has always been bizarre to me is labeling Nazis as the far right and socialists on the left when Nazis are actually socialists. So all this fascism, communism, socialism, nazism -- all this garbage that is detrimental to humanity -- should be associated with the "left". The left wants to control everything and shut down independent thinking -- if any side is more prone to conspiracy theories, paranoia, it is the left.

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.
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Peter G.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
@ Rahul,

"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.
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Rahul
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

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??
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Peter G.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
@ Rahul,

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?
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Booming
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
First sorry. This will again be a post that explains far too little and will still be very long.

@William
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.

@Peter
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.

@Rahul
Thanks, darling.
here some inspiration for the next.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNsch4NFvF4&ab_channel=RealHousewivesMoments
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Rahul
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

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.
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Peter G.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
@ Rahul,

Would it then be more accurate to suggest that your view is that liberal/left-wing people are either evil, *or* ignorant/stupid?
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Rahul
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

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?
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Jason R.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 5:17pm (UTC -5)
"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 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.
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Rahul
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 5:29pm (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."

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.
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John Prepuce
Sat, Aug 21, 2021, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
I love the fact that we are able to discuss ideas freely here. Whatever "side" you are on, communication is the only way forward. Cheers to Jammersreviews.com for keeping this discussion alive for so long.
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Booming
Sat, Aug 21, 2021, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
@John Prepuce
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.
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dlpb
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 5:00am (UTC -5)
No, it wasn't a coup attempt lol.
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dlpb
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 5:06am (UTC -5)
1. People were scared into it by MSM
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,
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Booming
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 5:16am (UTC -5)
@dlpb
"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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZRRlEM-DJs&ab_channel=BradGatchell
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Jason R.
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 5:43am (UTC -5)
"@dlpb
"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.
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Booming
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 5:58am (UTC -5)
@Jason
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.
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Booming
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 6:13am (UTC -5)
@Jason
Here is the entire call. It was made on January 2.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIJU3M-kKhI&ab_channel=WashingtonPost

This call will be played for decades in political science seminars.
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Jason R.
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 6:47am (UTC -5)
Booming I can't listen to the link right now, but what was their *plan* to install him?
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Booming
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 7:02am (UTC -5)
@Booming
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.
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Booming
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 7:02am (UTC -5)
It's official, I have started to talk to myself! :D
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Jason R.
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 9:41am (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."

That's a goal not a plan :)
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Booming
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Planning was never Trump's strong suit... ;)
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dlpb
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 1:38pm (UTC -5)
It's official, I have started to talk to myself! :D

---

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.
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Silly
Tue, Aug 31, 2021, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
Sisko and Nog have surprisingly good chemistry.

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.

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