Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang”

2.5 stars.

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

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

— Bashir and Sisko, an appropriate notion for the series

Review Text

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Comment Section

219 comments on this post

    Well, it may sound childish - or "adolescent", if you wish - but Ezri made this episode watchable enough for me...

    "cliched sexy distraction" she might have been, but Kira was smoking hawt! How's that for "adolescent"? Question: why wasn't Jake Sisko in this episode??

    I don't think you understand DS9, and based on your reviews, I'm not even sure if you really like it or not...

    Sisko and Vic singing "The Best is Yet to Come". Breaking the fourth wall with a wink and a nudge about "The Final Chapter"?

    Say what you want about the rest of the episode, but that song at the end made the whole thing watchable. I couldn't help but break out into a huge grin seeing and hearing Sisko sing up on that stage.

    I suppose it wouldn't be Trek without a Holodeck-malfunction episode. The premise is as bombastically-stupid as TNG's "A Fistful of Datas," but at least everybody looks like they're having fun. Which means that we the audience get to have fun with them.

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

    And I wish someone would kill Kasidy Yates already. She hasn't had anything to do with anything since she got caught smuggling for the Maquis. Now she just consumes lines and camera space.

    Kasidy Yates is indeed a big flaw.Micheal Edington was wrong,after all she betrayed Benjamin more then anyone else but he simply could not care less.

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

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

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

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

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

    And All Ben thinks about over a plate of creol food are black people in the 50's and 60's.Darnit Avery get over it already,2400ad is 400 years away and you dont hear any of us talking bout the 1500's either.

    I'm completely with Bligo. That whole scene with Sisko and Kasidy discussing the status of blacks in 1960s Las Vegas strikes me as something written to appease Avery Brooks' concerns with the glamorization of the Rat Pack era in the show. While I'm sure he'd argue the issue was very relevant in 1998 it seems completely incongruous that a 24th century human in the Star Trek universe would refer to the struggle of "our people" unless he was referring to humanity as a whole. Granted Chakotay veered into this territory with Native Americans but in that case it was a group that had deliberately kept itself somewhat distinct from the rest of Earth's culture. To me having Sisko make such divisions does much more to undermine the Roddenberry vision than any of the flexible morality the Federation displays during the Dominion War. It's always spoiled the episode for me a little bit.

    Regarding the above comments, perhaps Sisko was slightly more sensitive to the historical racism because of his experiences in 'Far Beyond the Stars'? Just a thought.

    As for the episode itself- what a snoozer.

    I have to agree with Yakko and Bligo. The whole Avery Brooks/Sisko concern about the way Blacks or in the words of Sisko, "our people" were treated back in the 1960s is just annoying. I find it really distracting being that at the point in time in the show, as was stated above, racial issues for humanity are a thing of the past. It seems all too forced in this instance and makes the episode really lose on the sell of believability.

    This was pretty harmless fluff that I could take either way. I could misremembering things since I haven't seen it since the 90s, but my take on Sisko's annoyance with Vic's program was based around the idea of promoting a false history in renditions of past events for "modern audiences" (whether that's 21st or 24th century) to make it more palatable. Like changing the outcome of what happened to characters to give them a happy ending or make them more violent or cowardly etc, or when you have a modern filmmaker emphasising one nation's role in a war to the expense of others that might have participated. And since Sisko has constantly been shown to have a fondness for history (benny russell, baseball, bell riots, bajoran solar sail ship) i feel it jives with a desire to see it play out as it happened. Yeah it then becomes a non-issue anyway but that's how I approached it.

    Some thoughts (in no particular order);
    • Nicole deBoer with long hair is absolutely gorgeous.
    • Sisko the "holo-civil rights activist" smelled a little too much like Benny Russell.
    • Thinking of "Cheech & Stretchy" (Odo) made fall out of my chair laughing.
    • I had dreaded for this to turn into another "stuck in the holodeck with the safeties off" episode (or holodeck-gone-awry as Jammer calls it). Thankfully the writers somewhat avoided

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

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

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

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

    And I completely agree with EP on the war topic. Surely there were more important things for the DS9 staff to do, than fight to get an a holodeck program back to normal, albeit it being one that contained Vic the "sentient" hologram.

    Actually people do still get upset about stuff that happened 400 years ago - in Ireland, Cromwell and Drogheda are still remembered, for instance. Sometimes (this might just be a European thing, but it's certainly true where I'm from) the further back in history you go the more upset people get!

    It felt especially right, though, considering that the Prophets gave Sisko the vision of life in 1950s America only a year before - so even if he had spent his life unconcerned with what had happened back in the 20th century up till then. We know from his evolving attitude to Bajoran religion that Sisko's spiritual experiences stay with him; so it's in character that having had that experience, he'd be more sensitive to it now.

    This one was...weird. I might have had a little more goodwill for it had it come in a season where filler episodes didn't feel like needless distractions from the main issue.

    Oh, and the whole "blacks" thing? I can understand it in Sisko's case as memories from the Benny Russell episode, but why is Kasidy so quick to understand what he's going on about? You'd expect more of a "skin color? What difference is that supposed to make, exactly?" reaction from her - she wasn't exposed to anything like racism directly (or at least, nothing related to her being black, as opposed to a human).

    Avery Brooks' singing made the whole episode worthwhile for me. Though I did watch the episodes in production order (that is, I saw "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" before this one) so maybe for that reason I didn't mind one last 'filler' episode before going into the final arc.

    I think the remarks Kasidy were made were satisfactory (and surprisingly poignant for their brevity) in dealing with the race issue. This is the 24th century, so that eras injustices were not something Sisko himself, or even any recent ancestors would have experienced this timeframe it is, quite literally, ancient history.

    I agree with everyone that the race issue seemed sudden and out of place. That being said, my favorite moments of this episode were the entire cast walking (striding) past Quark's to the holosuite in costume and Sisko singing at the end. I think people would have thought higher of this episode if the baseball episode wasn't in the same season. While Sisko's love of the game certainly warranted a baseball episode, having two fluff shows in the final season was too much.

    Strange that Quark was uninterested in helping because "he considers VIc the competeition". Even if that's so, this ridiculous "malfunction" is gobbling up tons of time in one of his precious holosuites, so presumably Quark would be eager to help get it back in rotation so he can start charging for its usage again.

    Jay, there was an episode mid season where Quark stopped by Vic's and commented that he liked the place and said he'd stop by from time to time.

    Fluff, yes. But this episode's two saving graces are 1) James Darren, who I just can't get enough of (Time Tunnel withdrawal as a kid maybe?), and 2) the fact that the cast looked like they had a blast filming it. For me, that goes a long way toward forgiving the numerous flaws and distractions.

    Erm...okay, 2 comments :

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

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

    A gratuitous mess of an episode with some thoughtful, but ultimately empty ideas. If "Take me out" deserved at best 1 star, this one deserves at best 2.

    It would have been interesting to cut to Benny Russell free of the asylum and writing his stories again as Sisko delivered that outburst about "our people" and racism. I'm going to choose to believe that most 24th century humans wouldn't use such terms, and that he's channeling Benny Russell somehow. Good point someone made earlier how that's a bigger blow to Roddenberry than the war, unless you can find an explanation like this.

    Obviously Kasidy understands what he's talking about because Sisko has told her about his experiences in Far Beyond the Stars. Maybe most humans are unaware of color-based discrimination, unless they are students of history.

    "When Nog can't open the safe, what's preventing Odo from shape-shifting through the crack in the door and then somehow opening it from inside the lock mechanism? Maybe I'm nitpicking too much."

    I came here to say the same thing. Odo would make a hell of a lock picker.

    "Strange that Quark was uninterested in helping because "he considers VIc the competeition". Even if that's so, this ridiculous "malfunction" is gobbling up tons of time in one of his precious holosuites, so presumably Quark would be eager to help get it back in rotation so he can start charging for its usage again."

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

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

    Joke answer: Copywrite infringement?

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

    And for people complaining about doing this in the middle of a war, I add my two cents: These people need distractions on their off time to keep them sane more now than ever. It may be one reason why Vic became so important to them so fast in the first place, as opposed to the Doctor. That and the fact that Vic is way more charismatic and likeable. (As much as I like the Doctor, he wasn't portrayed as winning any personality contests.)

    Terrible. The writers in season 7 they spent two episodes in the holosuite, they do a mirror episode, they spent another three or four episodes on Ezri doing nothing but whining and then they complain that they needed 5 more episodes to properly end the series. Ok.

    Boring. I don't watch a sci-fi series to see a remake of ocean's eleven. Definitely not in the last season when there are so many loose ends. I agree with captain pike, the writers knew this was the last season and they had all the time to plan it right. If they have so many fillers in season 7 that means that they never knew how to finish the series and not that they didn't have the time.

    This ep was super cute! Now I know its 7th season and all that and theres been a few fluff pieces plus a clunker in the middle few eps but rewatching this again I don't have that apprehension of "getting back into the swing of things".

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

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

    And oh yeah Ezri holy hell she was smoking hot.

    Now reading some more of the comments and I agree that more time should have spent expanding the final chapter of the series. But if they had docked only one ep in favor of said expansion...would anyone really miss Emporers New Cloak over Badda Bing? I know I wouldn't. Though I did find the former a little more entertaing than Jammer but not by much. It was pretty mindless and ill-conceived. Maybe one and half stars.

    As for expanding the war arc wasn't DS9 supposed to run for 8 seasons? I know that TNG was supposed to run for 8 but was cut short at 7 because the studio wanted TNG movies. DS9 could have not only expanded the arc but also dealt with the aftermath. Like rogue Dominion, rebuilding of Cardassia, keeping shaky wartime alliances intact, Bajors admittance into UFP...etc.

    I enjoyed this, both at the time (not realising the it was an Ocean's remake due to the fact it hadn't been remade at that point and the original Sinatra one was a bit obscure then for a 20 year old) and on re-watching now. Sure, it's fluff and not up to previous season standards (something that's really jumping out at me with all S7 episodes having watched all seasons back to back over the last few weeks) but it's enjoyable fluff.

    Who knows, maybe this influenced the Clooney version? ;)

    1. It is 26 hours, not 24
    2. Avery Brooks obvious obssession with race is really annoying to say the least. It is somone LIKE HIM who continues to perpetuate conflict.
    3. It is also absurd that a 24th century human, as the are presented in Trek, would really whine about a make bvelieve fantasy.
    4. Ezri is cuter with short hair.
    5. Holograms have been taken to an absurd extreme in Trek.

    Captain Pike sums up my thoughts on this episode perfectly. What a waste.

    Everybody here going on about Sisko feeling they way he did about Las Vegas should read this:

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

    " I don't watch a sci-fi series to see a remake of ocean's eleven."

    lol, karl. Ocean's Eleven remake.

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

    If anything, Ocean's Eleven is a remake of this episode.

    My bad. I guess there was a 1960's version of Eleven. Which probably still makes DS9 the first TV show to do an Ocean's Eleven homage, which multiple comedies have done these days.


    Avery Brooks-shut. up. about. race.

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

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

    Today's adventure ended with Gul Dukat winning, the Pah-Wraiths getting their own universe, and Sisko dead--mostly because Avery Brooks is so damn annoying!

    I skipped it. I don't like mob stories. I don't like holodeck stories. I liked Vic Fontaine in the Nog episode, but I couldn't take more of him.


    I'll admit that the conversation between Sisko/Yates put me off at first. It felt out of place; however, I've found myself thinking the same thing that Sisko brings up to Kassidy.

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

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

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

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

    3/4 stars for me.

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

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

    To me, the assumption people make that it's Brooks on a soapbox here says alot about race in and of itself.

    So-so episode, both script and direction lacked something, in my opinion.

    But Ezri... UNnngh, baby!

    So many responses I have!

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

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

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

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

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

    So whether or not you like the episode, it's still bad Star Trek

    Sisko's response makes sense to me, given that one of his many passions is that he is a historian. This, coupled with his experiences as Benny Russel makes him more acutely aware of 20th century racism than your average Starfleet officer.

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

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

    It would be very odd to me for the Federation to move beyond the wisdom that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    I agree with Daniel. Sisko is an enigmatic character, and at this point in the series, he has been made acutely aware of how bad racism was in the 20th century when he exists as Benny. This made him the perfect agent to allow the writers to directly compare attitudes from our time to the ones of DS9's crew.

    I can see his point: rewriting the past whitewashes it. Many people understand the past from fictional representations of it, and whitewashing the past hinders understanding of the present. Disney's "Song of the South" was controversial when it was released in 1946, and remains controversial today. On the other hand, people attend Renaissance Festivals, which are highly anachronistic. People have a problem with some anachronisms, but not with others. If something is still an issue today, people will have a problem with anachronistic portrayals.

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

    What might have been a good way to address the issue is have the crew time travel to Vegas in 1962, perhaps to the actual Vic's. It would be interesting to contrast the anachronism of the simulation to the real 1962.

    I just rewatched it tonight. The comments about how it doesn't represent the racial reality of 1962 was only a few lines in the script, and not a major theme of the episode. Actually, the casinos began to integrate in 1960. There was one casino that was integrated in 1955, the Moulin Rouge, but it wasn't open long.

    Quark doesn't have to think of Vic as the competition, Vic can be an added attraction: Quark can sell the drinks and food - and use holographic waiters.

    More left wing interference and propaganda in this episode. As usual, black guy can't help but mention racism and "his people".

    Fun episode, but with a plot's premise that is among the most ridiculous in all Trek history. I mean, the explanation we are given for why the holosuite is malfunctioning is shameful.

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

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

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

    PS: DLPB's comment above is laughable. Although I think Sisko's line about racism was not organically included in the show, saying that any mention to racism is "left wing interference and propaganda" chocks me.

    I can almost forgive this episode, but it's just too difficult to believe that the entire senior staff (sans Worf) can take all this time in the middle of a war to help Vic (especially after they did the same thing in "Take Me Out to the Holosuite").

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

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

    I think the Vic Fontaine character worked well in some episodes and mostly in this one. But the singing scene with Sisko at the end was a little much -- even if it was a final-season conceit.

    The only thing I really have an issue with is how Sisko's only motivation not to go to the holodeck was because it's not realistic and doesn't reflect how black people were treated back then. Really, what kind of reason is that? It also has no place here, because the episode only focuses on getting Vic out of trouble.

    The rest of the episode was pretty enjoyable. Most movies nowadays don't even build suspense like this episode does (when Nog tries to crack the safe). I also didn't find Sisko's decision to sing with Vic that odd, I mean, Vic asked him to, and when somebody asks Sisko, he usually obliges because he's a good guy and isn't exactly afraid of anything. He's not there as the captain anyway, so it makes sense.

    Absolutely fantastic episode. Very nicely done. Thoroughly enjoyed it!!!

    I found the story mentioned above (O Captain, My Captain: A Look Back At Deep Space Nine’s Ben Sisko) below is a better link:

    I thought it was a great article. I'm disappointed at the attitude people have over that small scene. I think for the most part if you are a person of color you're more apt to have thought of the scene as necessary.

    Nog: If they mess with Vic, they'll have to answer to me.

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

    Real tough guy, fighting against a hologram. Dear Nog. Die.

    DS9 does Oceans Eleven, and turns out a surprisingly annoying yet boring derivative vanity piece that veers strangely off course into some sort soapbox before returning to a good natured but ultimately predictable caper. I have really had enough of the holosuite, nog and Vic Fontaine for now - they have definately overstayed their welcome.

    On the matter of race I do agree that it seems strange to dwell on it in the Trek universe. Clearly racial tensions and racism are still an issue in our 21st century world, but Trek has always painted 24th century Earth as a haven of peace and tolerance. I find this episode betrays that vision. DS9 had quite a few race-centric episodes and on the whole many of them were very moving or interesting to watch. They never thought to tackle gender-inequality in the same way, which seems strange to me. Why pick one ethical issue and target it several times; if they had a point to make, why not include all issues of prejudice and bigotry? At a time when women are continuing to be valued as second-class citizens in many parts of the world and treated brutally, this seems to be an important issue that would be on par with racism, but was never tackled with equal fervour in this show.

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

    Ah, an episode that puts on display Avery's true talent.

    SINGING!! (not acting)

    It seems we aren't allowed to get on with the war... more fluff than war it seems.

    But it is what it is.

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

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

    I call bullshit.

    This diminishes what otherwise was entirely enjoyable fluff.

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

    Ezri is hot with long or short hair.

    Kira was even hotter.

    The big entrance was fantastic.

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

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

    3 stars. 3.5 had Sisko hot had his rant.

    I found Sisko's comments about race surprising at first, mostly because it had never been mentioned in such a direct way before in Star Trek. But, I think it's understandable considering that Sisko is shown to have a keen interest in history and the progression of social and racial equality and historical revisionism would bother him. As for the rest of the episode... At this point holodeck cheese and pedestrian fluff/comedy prices had been done to death and DS9's remaining run time could have been much better spent in this final season. I don't find any novelty or entertainment in seeing Star Trek characters clown around in low budget recreations of the past. If I want a good period piece I'll watch Masterpiece Theater.

    I found Sisko's objection interesting and I think it would have made a pretty good episode all on its own. (That is, period-piece entertainment and whether or not the entertainment can be divorced from problematic inspirations). The episode doesn't go anywhere with it, really. But I also think not having Sisko say anything would have been out of character. Not only is Sisko a history buff, but he personally visited a rough period in the 21st century ("Past Tense") AND experienced first-hand the pre-civil rights prejudice through Benny Russell.

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

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

    3 stars for me. This is a legitimately enjoyable episode. Weird that S7 has more holosuite episodes than the rest of the series combined (I think). Weirder is that I think they're all successful!

    Remember a couple episodes back When Nog was the subject of concern from his family and coworkers because they thought he couldn't distinguish reality from fantasy? Writers?

    I was about to skip this one after the premise. A holosuite episode, with Vic, and a program that goes haywire. A bunch of engineers and whatnot unable to solve the issue from outside is still fine, they just wanted to play after all. But why isn't anyone worried that the holo rooms are a major security threat, what with their acting out on their own?

    In the end it didn't matter, I had fun. I seem to be the only one though who had more of an issue with Kira's wilting cleavage than Sisko's strop. He was deeply involved with 20th century racism through Benny Russel so yes, he did live it on his skin.

    I'm surprised at all the anti-Avery Brooks sentiment here. I suspect that the majority of the commentators who thought that Sisko was "being overboard with his black sentiments" probably aren't people of colour.

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

    Sorry if this post was a bit more emotional than they usually are. I am just flabbergasted - and very, very disappointed - at the ignorance of some of the commentators here.


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

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

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

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


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

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

    "The Best is Yet to Come" at the end and hey here happens to come our last 10 episode story arc starting next week!

    I thought that was an awesome nod. Not a bad hour, not really super great but O'Brien's "Don't ask!" at the end was hilarious.

    "• When Nog can't open the safe, what's preventing Odo from shape-shifting through the crack in the door and then somehow opening it "

    That's what we were saying too! Why doesn't Odo just bash in the safe door? He's got more than enough strength to do it I'd say. Also it sure took a VERY long time to open that safe, didn't it? Nog failed like 6 times haha.

    Star Trek has always had racial issues, not counting the time Abe Lincoln called Ahura a nigress, but what about "You green blood hobgoblin" and more. Klingons were a race that was hated. How about you "bloody cardies" a racial slur and just recently on Chimera, the Klingons kept calling Laas a founder, this was to justify them wanting to pick on him. I know Laas was a pain, but it was pure bigotry.

    Someone said Sisko's problem with slavery is over 400 years old, whether it was slavery or as he put it, the Civil Rights movement was in its infancy, it mattered to him. To say it didn't belong in the episode is ludicrous, Star Trek has always dealt with racial issues in its own way.

    Now, if any of you had been enslaved like the Bajorans you wouldn't dismiss the issue so easily especially after only a few years, it takes a lot longer to heal from long term brutality. As for black people in this country, were not allowed to forget about slavery because they were only being treated slightly better in the 1960's. Most black people that I know are still sensitive to both subjects, no, no one will riot or get bent out of shape about it, but would take notice about some of the ignorant statements made by some ignorant people. Why do you think there are so many different movements going on today, Black, Gays, Women, etc. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly regardless of their race, creed, color, sexual orientation, etc. I will shut up for now but I can go on on this subject for days.

    C'mon, you can't tell me whenever somebody says "Bloody Spoonheads!" you don't crack a smile lol.

    @Del_Duio: C'mon, you can't tell me whenever somebody says "Bloody Spoonheads!" you don't crack a smile lol.

    I thought most of it was funny, except the Odo situation. It was meant to be serious.

    been a star trek fan for almost forty years.deep space nine and the original series are my favorites.and i can say that this is certainly not a fluff episode even though it may appear that way on the surface.fiction,if it is done well and is believable and consistent over a long period of time creates its own reality for people.we see this with the entire senior staff of the station in this episode.fontaine and his lounge have become more than just a holoprogram to has taken on a life of its own and they all step in to save it.kind of like what star trek fans did themselves back in the'60's.its why we as fans discuss the finer nuances of this universe.for me,thats the underlying premise of this show even if it seems frivolous at times.

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

    If only this would be true, but with the recent events in this country I would bet it wont change very much. You might say, its a serious problem with law enforcement, but that's just a small piece of a larger problem. If allowed, history will repeat itself. None of us will be around in the next 400 years but I would bet it wont be much different than it is now, some races like for things to stay as it is. They tend to believe differences are to be embraced and accepted. There are some races that want to pretend they are superior and there are others who couldn't care less.

    I guess I just didn't like that ugly racist statement about "as usual, black guy can't help but mention racism and "his people".

    So there's a "Jack in the box" in the program but that doesn't explain why they couldn't stop the program. The program is supposedly still functioning normally.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this episode, unlike a lot of other really boring ones. Why is there so much discussion about the race comment? Why does it bother people like that? It's almost like you don't want to hear the fact that YES it was and continues to remain extremely painful. It isn't particularly relevant to the plot, but neither are a ton of other side-comments that go on all the time. This one actually has a very legitimate and raw emotion behind it.

    I haven't seen ocean's 11, but might check it out after the comparisons. I absolutely loved the whole stealing thing - had me on the edge of my seat. I was egging Nog (Egging Nog??) on the whole time!

    Why would something 400 years old remain "extremely painful" while not being relevant to the plot? I'm sure it had nothing to do with Avery's race...

    Watch TOS: 'The Savage Curtain' for the appropriate context that is in line with Gene's vision.

    For me, this episode, while rather a bit whimsical and kind of superfluous at this point in this series, provides a bit of a breather in this particular season. Maybe there wasn't a need for two holodeck episodes, but it does kind of hit me right in my heart that mostly everyone jumped immediately on board to help Vic despite the fact that Vic was a hologram. Yet at the same time I understood Worf's reaction ("Uh... he's a HOLOGRAM.") and Sisko's reaction.

    But in reviewing the series, I do remember enjoying this episode, feeling it was a kind of ending for Vic (despite his later appearances) and even feeling glad for the crew that most of them felt that they could take some time out from the war to deal with something completely trivial like this.

    Add in James Darren's portrayal of Vic Fontaine and the backstory there (Odo/Kira, Bashir, Nog, etc.) and it FEELS somewhat real that many of these people would drop everything for an evening in the absence of a clear and present threat for this hologram.

    I'd give this three and a half stars, honestly, over a decade later. It was FUN.

    The user Captain Pike said this:

    "Terrible. The writers in season 7 they spent two episodes in the holosuite, they do a mirror episode, they spent another three or four episodes on Ezri doing nothing but whining and then they complain that they needed 5 more episodes to properly end the series. Ok."

    I just wanted to repeat it for truth.

    DS9 dropped the ball after the furious first six episodes of season 6. Once SF had retaken the station, the writers seemed to be out of ideas. Perhaps the powers that be told them to not get so arc-obsessed.

    I actually became annoyed that they still used the war as a "backdrop". They talk about it all the time, but the episodes don't feature it anymore. Dominion ships and Jem'Hadar degenerate into convenient plot devices that put Sisko & co. in a specific spot when need be. They essentially replace spacial anomalies.

    Did anyone else notice that the first scene of the episode established that Vic could be taken out of his program, and taken to the Alamo program? And that the final scene where Vic said he'd definitely come to the Alamo next time reiterated that this was possible?

    So they could have just copied Vic into the Alamo, then reset his program or whatever, made the changes, and then put him back without having to worry about wiping his memory or whatever. It's a plot hole that was especially invented IN this episode; not the inheritance of some long-forgotten offhand remark in season 1, or something.

    Just wanted to note that.

    @Ascii - Eh, I just assumed that maybe the jack in the box locks Vic into his program until the danger has passed. You're right that it's an odd choice of initial scene, but you can spin an explanation fairly easily.

    I'd call it a plot pin-hole at best.

    I *LOVED* this episode. It was light-hearted--what fun it was to see our heroes strolling past Quark's to loud jazz music! It was also serious--and here I am thinking of Sisko's reservations about the historical portrayal of a period that saw grave injustices perpetrated against Black Americans.

    But ultimately, this was to me a kind of virtuoso performance on the nature of Trekkian fantasy. Remember all those TNG holodeck episodes with the safeties off? DS9 does holodeck episodes far better: we care so much more about Vic than we ever did about Moriarty or any holodeck character in TNG. The jeopardy of the show--the danger Vic and the characters' love for him--make the episode worth watching.

    TNG tried to produce a meditation on the whole of the Star Trek franchise in "Emergence." It was corny as hell, but touching in a way because of the fact that the whole show was obviously meta-talk about the afterlife of the TNG franchise.

    I see "Badda Bing, Badda Bang" as DS9's answer both to "Emergence" and to "The Royale": it's a casino story, but instead of just being stupid (like "The Royale") it's funny. And instead of being rather too silly, like "Emergence," it's stylish and well-done.

    The actors had a blast with this one, and I enjoyed watching it and listening to it. Just as our characters care for Vic and find joy in his presence, DS9 fans like me love Sisko, Kassidy, Nerys, and the rest, and find joy in keeping up with them. And if nothing else, the show serves up a beautiful portrayal of Black people by Black people. In a world in which white politicians still have trouble acknowledging that "Black lives matter," in a world in which white police officers gun down unarmed black children, women, and men, positive and authentic portrayals of African-Americans on the screen are still necessary, enriching, and of vital importance.

    My, my, so many people butthurt about the realities of racism in America! The mere mention of it for a few seconds sent so many of you into a tizzy. It is really funny to read all these complaints about "of course the black guy brings up racism" in a tone that sounds very much like something they probably think about saying in everyday life but cannot without sounding like a racist. "When you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression". Interesting to see how many cryptoracists like DS9. Wow.

    I guess this is the sorbet to clear the palate before we get into the meatier courses ahead. And if you're going to throw yourself into a Vegas caper story you might as well go all in. So this matters not a jot in the greater story but makes for a fun enough hour's entertainment. There are some nice little details in there - clumsy real life waitress Ezri compared to fantasy Ezri being a highlight.

    Which reminds me, I will just say that I will applaud forever the choice of whoever came up with cocktail waitress Ezri. Badda bing indeed. 2.5 stars.

    I think my problem with the Sisko racism lines was that it was very uncharacteristic of Humans in this time period. I think that it could've been broached more tactfully by the writers (with respect to how future humans have always been portrayed), where instead of a controversial self-identification by Sisko with, "our people," it could've been made more general without losing any content. At this point, all humans are just human. I doubt that Bashir and O'Brien think of Sisko as a black man, or each other as an Irish man and an Arab/British man, rather than just human men. I definitely think that it was a point that needed to be said, but a 24th century human drawing specific racial lines within 24th century humanity was completely out of character for a Trek show, and shattered my suspension of disbelief. Star Trek is one of those shows that I can watch and everyone is just who they are, separated from any racial or gender baggage that a show set in a more contemporary time period would package with their characters. Trek is a show where you can forget that race is still an issue, where you never think of the human characters as anything other than human (as opposed to the African comm officer, the Japanese science officer, the Scottish engineer, etc.) That's what rubbed me the wrong way about the whole thing. Sisko and Cassidy became black for that scene, a racial adjective that has never applied to 24th century humans sitting in the 24th century, instead of being humans free from any racial identifiers.

    I think it's incredible that so many commenters, who I'm sure are white, have a problem with Sisko's questioning of the airbrushing of history going on in Vic's holodeck program.
    If, for some reason, there was a program set in a Berlin bar circa 1940, would you expect a jewish character to not have a problem with it?


    I'm pretty sure you can't compare 60s lounge in Las Vegas to the Holocaust, but it's nice to know internet arguments still play that card.

    Look pallie, the big difference here is intent. Las Vegas in the 60s was supposed to be fun. Non-whites just weren't allowed to participate in said fun because they weren't allowed to participate in many things during that era.

    The program is about "Vegas Baby!" not about racial tensions in the era. That said, I imagine a Jew might not have any problem playing a spy holonovel set in a 1940s bar in Berlin. I can't imagine anyone thinking that would be a swinging place to hang out in a vacuum though. Those SS officers make a nice back drop to have a pint, yanno? And without the SS officers why bother setting it there to begin with?

    I don't personally have a problem with Sisko's objections mind you, but I think he's being a bit of a Harvey. Sure we could NOT white wash the program, but that'd seem weirder I think. It's supposed to be fun, not a history lesson. Would we have a problem with Dax joining the guys for a bit of Battle of Britain? Women weren't allowed to serve after all. Isn't that white washing?

    It's all about intent. The intent of the program creator probably wasn't to marginalize the troubles of historical black people. It was just fun.

    Come fly with me, let's fly away.....

    Great points, Robert. I also don't mind racism being brought up; it's an important issue. Though Sisko is giving Las Vegas a hard time here. Sisko's a big fan of baseball, right? He must be aware it too had a good deal of racism and even segregated leagues in its early years. Yet he can look past all that because he recognizes that it was a good sport that once upon a time had ignorant leadership. Its gone beyond that.

    Cassidy should have brought that up. 60s Las Vegas didn't *create* racism, it was just operating under a bad system of the times. Why Sisko can't see that immediately like he does with baseball is a bit jarring for a show about enlightened humans. I think it's fair to debate the writers' choice here.

    @Chrome - If he just watched old games for the most part then maybe he takes pains to make them historically accurate. But if he ever actually played alongside Babe Ruth in the 20s, then ya... his argument goes to hell.

    @ Bashir's steampunk brain
    Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 7:35am (UTC -5)

    "My, my, so many people butthurt about the realities of racism in America! The mere mention of it for a few seconds sent so many of you into a tizzy. It is really funny to read all these complaints about "of course the black guy brings up racism" in a tone that sounds very much like something they probably think about saying in everyday life but cannot without sounding like a racist. "When you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression". Interesting to see how many cryptoracists like DS9. Wow."

    So you unilaterally identify everyone, excuse me every "white" one, that has an issue with this stupid leftist 4th wall racism injection as racist?

    Wow is right.

    I happen to know folks of color that that I've met through our love of trek that have issues with Sisko's comments in this episode. Hmmmm..... maybe I'm black, maybe I'm Asian... etc...

    See E.'s post.

    See my post above.

    See Robert's post above.

    See Chrome's post above.

    Basically, read anything other than victim mentality crap...

    Watch 'The Savage Curtain'

    I'm sure you're fine with Benny as well while ignoring women oppression in the same time period. Benny didn't fit the story either.

    @ E.
    Fri, Feb 26, 2016, 10:24am (UTC -5)

    "I think my problem with the Sisko racism lines was that it was very uncharacteristic of Humans in this time period."


    Great post E.!

    @Yanks - Well said. The big issue is that the future (let's say at least since Archer's time) is supposedly 100% free of racism. That's how Gene would have wanted it, so that is the way it is in Trek.

    So Sisko is 200 years removed from the racism but he's upset that nobody in a Holodeck program about 60s Vegas is going to throw him and Cassidy out? Really?

    Would Avery Brook complain about the black guy at the forge at the Renn Faire?


    Like I said, Sisko's comment didn't bother me that much (especially given that he actually DID experience racism from a similar era in a vision), but I felt it was a little out of character and a bad example of being unable to see the forest for the trees.

    "SISKO: You want to know? You really want to know what my problem is? I'll tell you. Las Vegas nineteen sixty two, that's my problem. In nineteen sixty two, black people weren't very welcome there. Oh, sure they could be performers or janitors, but customers? Never. "

    So his problem is that him and Kas don't belong in there. And pretending they do is somehow insulting to the people who lived through a tough time. It's true they don't belong there.... but I don't see how it's insulting. As I said... can the girls never join the boys for the Battle of Britain? Or the Alamo? Should Troi not have been allowed to be a deputy in the old west? Isn't that insulting to women for her to pretend that such a thing would have been ok? Or Troi and Crusher serving on that 18th century boat in Generations?

    The reason it's odd is because nobody has ever before remarked about how the holodecks are unrealistic in their lack of oppression.


    "If he just watched old games for the most part then maybe he takes pains to make them historically accurate. But if he ever actually played alongside Babe Ruth in the 20s, then ya... his argument goes to hell."

    Well, the baseball scenes when Sisko's talking to the Prophets in Emissary are definitely pre-Jackie Robinson (early 1920s would be my guess based on the uniforms). And since the Prophets get all their visions from Sisko, that means Sisko himself was simulating very old games that likely included racists. No word if those were just games that he watched or if he joined in, but I don't think it matters that much. So kinda hypocritical of him that he can enjoy his hobbies from pre-1960 but no one else can. So I think FBTS is the whole reason for this.

    Of course, that doesn't put Sisko in much of a better light. Doesn't that mean, essentially, Sisko is not intellectually honest enough to understand something unless he experiences it? I mean, sure, he may not fully understand it, but he should at least know enough to decide whether or not he can participate in an activity on moral grounds? Things are only bad if he personally experiences it?

    I'm only halfway through this, and probably won't get to the second half for a few days. My problem though (with this and other fluff episodes) is the same as EP's way up there. I actually don't want a series of all-war-all-the-time grimdark episodes, don't get me wrong, but episodes like this totally undermine the notion that the war is so overwhelming that it's necessary to start assassinating foreign dignitaries and the like. DS9 wants to do the WAR TESTS HUMANITY DOWN WITH RODDENBERRY'S NAIVE IDEALISM thing and it also wants to do fluff episodes starring the same characters. All Julian and Miles ever do is talk about the Alamo, when Miles isn't leaving for weeks to go do a private murder investigation without telling anyone. I think the idea is that times are stressful so they need to blow off steam, etc., but no one even talks about the adventures in an episode like this as blowing off steam -- the primary focus, repeated over and over again, is that Vic is their FRIEND, hologram or no.

    That makes the episode read as pretty dubious to me, too. If Vic is really their friend, they should go tell Felix to fix the damn program. If Vic is treated as semi-sapient, it is pretty cruel for Felix to throw these roadblocks in and for everyone to go along with it. If they want to figure out how to save Vic's from the mob because they don't want to use cheat codes on their video game, then the episode's tone should change to reflect that -- that they care about Vic a similar amount to how fannish people care about their favourite characters, especially in video games, which is to say that they can get a real attachment to them, but that it is not ultimately that serious if they suffer (and, in some senses, it's good if they do, because we usually want fiction to be challenging). The episode keeps underlining how Vic is important enough to everyone for them to make saving him their primary emotional focus for a while but also not important enough that they look for outside-the-(jack-in-the-)box solutions to a holo-problem. And I think that comes down to a fluff episode which also needs to keep insisting why it is worth the time spent on it at this juncture. And this also goes back to the weirdness of the way they (the characters, the writers) treat Vic as somewhere between character and non-character, and Vic's being apparently sapient enough to be totally cool with not being a person. "Why would Felix do this to me?" indeed.

    As far as Sisko's concerns about race and Vic's program -- I am open to the idea that it's important to acknowledge this in an out-of-universe way, as a show made in the 1990s. But it really does feel weird to me too in universe. First, his tone suggests that there is much more sense of racial identity than we have ever seen in humans in Trek, the occasional bit of national nostalgia from Picard or O'Brien aside. Second, people have pointed out that he has never talked about racism in baseball. And moreover, let's look at this in-universe: remember how Quark's Bar and Holosuite was opened to serve Cardassians and not Bajorans during the Occupation, and Sisko hasn't, to my memory, once talked about that as a reason not to use the Holosuites to watch baseball games now? 1960's Vegas is 400 years in the rear-view mirror, and Quark is serving Bajorans when he had been serving their oppressors less than a decade before, and for Sisko to become passionate about the Vegas one feels very strange. I recognize that there are differences in the situations, and that Sisko is angry about the lie that Vegas was a great place for black people, so maybe one could say that it's not a lie that a neutral figure like Quark can serve springwine in stead of canar. Still, it's similar enough for me to feel that it's very strange. Kasidy's response, that Vic's shows how things SHOULD HAVE BEEN, is I suppose a reasonable attempt for the writers to justify their revisionism which is more "problematic" a few decades afterward than a few centuries, but it's also undermined when you realize that based on this episode, "how things should have been" is "clubs should have been taken over at random by potentially murderous mobsters." Kasidy saying that the only limitations are those imposed on themselves, and Sisko's taking that on to decide that he should come participate in the Vic's scheme, feel silly to me because it really suggests that Sisko is missing out on *so much* by not going to the Holosuite, that Vic is so fantastic. I guess the social cost of not getting involved in their caper is pretty high, as we see.

    I find it very troubling that people seem to really believe that Roddenberry's view was antiracist. I'm sorry but the PoC in TOS were not doing that much and let\s talk about that Black Planet in TNG shall we? Or why are most people of every race White?
    I love Star Trek, but it is clearly written by people of our times. There is racism, antisemitism (c'mon Ferengi=space jews), queerphobia, sexism etc. It's all there in plain sight.
    As someone who is Black and Queer I wouldn't have played this episode without some acknowledgement that it's not true to the actual time period. I still wonder why the hell Whoopi Goldberg thought it was ok to hang out somewhere end 19th/begin 20th century and pretend like she could just be some noble woman in the US. Please, no that was NEVER going to happen.
    It can't be that people only respond to the fact when race is explicitely being mentioned, but then when the whole universe has a lot of White Supremacist triats people turn away? Eh no

    Saw the last bit of this episode. The caper was fun, sort of. It is stylish and has some energy. Sisko throwing money in the air is a neat distraction, but most of the other "improvised" behaviours didn't exactly wow me -- e.g. Ezri uses reverse psychology (evidence that she knows some form of psychology! I kid), Kira unsuccessfully tries to flirt more, Nog just tries harder to do the combination lock, Kasidy cries like Vic had said earlier.... It's not that original or exciting seeing the way the gang react to the changes in the program. Compare, for example, Bashir's END THE WORLD ploy in "Our Man Bashir," which was great subversion while playing to the specifics of their situation, or Picard, Data and Barclay's trick on Moriarty in "Ship in a Bottle." But I digress.

    I still mostly feel weird that this situation happened at all with Vic, and the main point really is just leading to having fun with the cast, most of whom don't get to do all that much. I also really don't get the argument for why Quark won't get involved -- Quark thinks that Vic is his competition? Quark who owns the holosuite that people attend? Or is Quark feeling the *social* cost of Vic's being more popular than his place among his friends? Or is it maybe possible that Nog got Quark to agree to put Vic's on all day every day without charging people to enter the holodeck? I bring this up because the conspicuous absence of Quark, Worf and Jake make this in some senses less enjoyable than "Take Me Out to the Holosuite," which I didn't even like, as an *ensemble piece*, of fun for the whole cast. But it is fun to see them all in the period outfits, and I like the slow-mo walk both of the gang toward the holosuite and Frankie Eyes and his gang out of Vic's.... It's a fun little digression/palate cleanser, ending with "The Best is Yet to Come," it's just that it wasn't quite fun or diverting enough for me, with some weirdness thrown in (see earlier posts). Probably 2 stars.

    For what it's worth, I agree with Ramona about the extent to which Star Trek *fails* to live up to its stated ideals (acceptance, tolerance, we-are-all-one etc.) when it comes to race and queerness, that the Guinan-in-19th-century material is especially bizarre, that Code of Honour is terrible, etc. I think that for the most part Trek producers and writers *wanted* to be progressive and imagine a post-racial society, but generally had a lot of blind spots as well as some limitations from studios etc. To some degree, it is an interesting question how to deal with the inherent contradictions between Trek's premise that humans have evolved beyond discrimination on the basis of gender or race or sexual orientation and the limitations of Trek's depictions of humans in the future. For someone to point out instances of human racism/sexism/etc. which have seeped into the narrative would require acknowledging that the premise is false, whereas I think the usual effort made in the shows is to suspend disbelief. And maybe that is the wrong approach.

    I still find Sisko's material in this episode out of step with the usual attitude the characters have toward fiction set centuries in the past, as well as out of step with Sisko's own pragmatism about reworking the narrative around a Cardassian tool-of-oppression station which is being repurposed to heal Bajor, while still keeping on board some of the same establishments (Quark's especially) from when it was Cardassian-owned. If he can accept that Quark can go from serving canar to being a Community Leader under Bajoran rule, and if he expects Bajorans to be okay with Quark's Bar having continuity of service (and, indeed, in all these years the show has never suggested that any Bajorans would have a problem with going to Quark's, with the possible exception of Kira), I don't quite understand his objection to the fictionalized, simplistic Vegas from centuries ago, which also obviously didn't serve Bajorans, Klingons, Trill or Ferengi. I also find it out of step with his attitude about major league baseball. But it's mostly that it doesn't quite click with my take on the character. It does not really match the way people have treated period hologram fiction throughout the three TNG-era shows (which is to say, without much genuine concern for verisimilitude or much moral concern for what stories are appropriate). As I said in a previous post, I can see the point that it's important to acknowledge this point to a 20th century audience. And I could simply be wrong in my take on Sisko's character and about period fiction in the future. It doesn't bother me really, but it still does not feel organic to the characters/setting. Conversely, I do think that some complaints about this scene are overblown -- I think it's a misstep and doesn't jibe with the characters, but not more than that.

    This brings me to another point, which is more of a general observation and not specific to this episode: I think part of what makes the scene read weird to me is that the Sisko/Kasidy scene is essentially the first time since "The Siege of AR-558" where Sisko is given weighty material -- he has basically been an authority figure who drifts in and out of other people's stories all season. I should look into how much this is because of the writers/producers losing interest in Sisko and how much is Brooks drifting away, but while Sisko was never my favourite character, I really do feel some loss at his absence. The show is lacking its centre. Season six ended with Sisko apparently having a total breakdown, brought on by a season's worth of difficult choices piled onto him which nearly broke him before Jadzia's death really *does* do so. And then season seven apparently resolves this in the opening two-parter, then he pushes Ezri to stay on the station in "Afterimage," has his Vulcan rivalry thing in "Take Me Out to the Holosuite," and then really does very little for the rest of the first half-season. Again, it's only really "AR-558" where he has an important role, and to some extent this one, before the final arc, which even then mostly backgrounds Sisko. Sisko basically was broken by season six, then hastily stitched together in the opening two-parter, given a little material for a while and then sent far into the background. It's actually pretty sad. And I suspect that may be *some* of why having some of Sisko's only dramatic scenes be indicating his disapproval of a holosuite program puts a lot of people off. While 20th century racism is a real problem, his crew's/girlfriend's choice of centuries-removed period fiction really doesn't seem like it is important enough to bother him. But of course, even then, Kasidy forces the issue, which is part of the problem -- Sisko not having any interest in this particular fiction should be enough to end the discussion, given the show's emphasis that the Dominion War in which they are embroiled is an existential conflict which might end everything.

    I have little to say about the plot of Badda Bing other than to note that the objections people have to how plausible this crisis is are...weird. Did you people ever watch TOS? Half the crises there were preposterous. The writers want to have a caper episode and that is what they did. Period. TOS has Spectre of the Gun because they wanted the Wild West (same with Fistful of Datas). They had episodes with Nazis, gangsters, hippies, you name it. Don't question the premise, but instead ask whether anything it told through the premise. Here, I think something is told. First of all, that this crew are very close with each other in a way that no other Trek crew has been (and even Voyager's wasn't). Second, I think a major theme here is that Sisko isn't the aloof Captain that Picard and Janeway are, but is more like the patriarch of the DS9 family. And finally I think it's a good nod to the fact that DS9 has always flirted with alternate versions of the crew, whether through Julian's holosuite programs or the alternate universe. The producers want to show the cast having fun sometimes, and that too is a series theme.

    Now, regarding this racial business. I find it hard to believe that anyone really thinks that because Federation citizens have moved beyond racial prejudice that means they have FORGOTTEN race. That is not only ludicrous but racist as well in its own way. Star Trek always acknowledged differences between people (hello, Chekov the Russian? Spock the Vulcan?) but showed that the differences are embraced. NOT forgotten. You think there will be no black pride in the 24th century, EVEN in Gene's vision of the future? That would be deplorable. For any TOS fans it is not only clear that cultural differences exist among the crew but in fact most of them are *defined* by those differences. Uhura's nature language is Swahili, i.e. she's African. Scotty is...Scottish. And proud of it. Did you miss the scotch references?

    Someone above laughably asked whether anyone in the DS9 crew identifies based on cultural lineage other than Sisko. Because, of course, there's no sign that O'Brien identified strongly as Irish. No sir. Not between his constant references to whisky, Irish breakfast, and his actual accent. Or how about Worf's constant struggle with having been a Klingon raised on Earth and the difficulties that brought with it?

    Now let's talk Sisko. Defenders of his "our people" line have mentioned that he's a "history buff." Are even you blanking out repeated motifs from the DS9 series? He is not just a history buff, but an AFRICAN history buff. His quarters are full of African art, his civilian clothes are typically of African style (especially the tan vest he often wears and the colored vest I think we once see), and he even has that African hat thing. That being said he's also interested in history from the perspective of oppressed people in general, judging from his intimate knowledge of the Bell Riots. So it's not just a black thing, but about oppressed peoples in general. Is it such a surprise that he was a perfect match to help Bajor heal, being someone who both as an individual needed to heal (from Wolf 359) but also as a black man with trauma in his past like the Bajorans experienced? So, no, "our people" is not about racial divisions, it's about racial pride just like every other culture on Star Trek is celebrated like the Irish, the Scottish, the Vulcan, the Trill, etc. Do people think that the Federation magically became enlightened just like that? Or did it take generations of hard work and some catastrophes as well? It makes no sense to think that anyone would be "beyond" the subject of race when in fact it's probably a very dear subject to Federation citizens. If they care at all about their utopia then they'd care about how they got there. Do Americans still celebrate their independence? YES OR NOT. But it's "ancient history", aren't you beyond it yet? Give me a break. People who celebrate their freedom will invariably remember how they got it and wouldn't appreciate history being whitewashed.

    They didn't make a big deal about the racism thing in this episode, but it was brought up and rightfully so. In TOS they were never afraid to show how bad things were in the past, and here we have a "past" environment that is really cleaned up. It would have been a disgrace *not to* mention that, at least briefly. Cassidy's reply is indeed a good one, and is meant to more or less close the matter and let the story move on. Too bad the viewers can't.

    @Peter G.

    And then Sisko goes ahead and maintains Quark's despite the establishment not serving to Bajorans during the Occupation. He also ignores historic problems with his own hobbies, while chastising others. He may have a moral highground from his historic insights, but that doesn't make his present actions immune to similar criticism.

    @ Chrome, I'm not sure what the connection is with Quark's. He needed a community leader and to an extent he got one. He needed to bring people together who has previously been at odds. It's not as if Quark made the rules under the Occupation.

    I'm not sure that I said that Sisko had any moral high ground per se. I think some people probably cared about racial history and others didn't so much. Sisko valuing that as an area of study is his choice, not some moral imperative. I was responding to comments that implied no one in Gene's future would be thinking of race, which I think is both ridiculous and also demonstrably wrong from every Trek series. Sisko just happens to care about that aspect of history and I doubt he privately condemns others who don't. In fact, he doesn't even come out and criticize Vic's until his whole crew gets obsessed with it and his distaste becomes obvious. But he obviously didn't believe that the others should be criticized for enjoying it since he tried his best to keep his feelings to himself, so he can hardly be called out for hypocritical criticism when he deliberately avoided issuing said criticism.

    @Peter G.

    The whole basis for his argument in this episode is "I don't like 1960s Las Vegas as represented on the holodeck because it whitewashes past discrimination night clubs had." Quark's also had past discrimination, some which Occupation-surviving Bajorans *still alive and on the station* remember. Nonetheless, Quark is somewhat randomly picked as a community leader, Occupation history be damned.

    And I agree about your second point. Sisko shouldn't forget his cultural identity any more than Picard should forget about being French. I think people felt the racial-issue to be a bit heavy-handed or late in the day. I suppose this couples with the problem of 24th century people having 20th century problems.

    Personally, I think it's not the racial issues that are the problem, it's trying to bring ANY 20th century issues into future Sci-Fi. It's the same reason I dislike TNG's "Force of Nature". I believe in climate change, but I don't appreciate the issue being shoehorned into a genre where it's not relevant. It's anachronistic. It tears people out of the show's premise.

    @ Chrome,

    I agree with you that more attention could have been given to how people dealt with Quark's having been both a haven to the Cardassians and later to the Bajorans. We certainly see the residual effects in Kira's attitude towards Quark, which cannot entirely be personal but I suspect also has to do with Quark's past. But it's true that the series deals very little with the fact that Quark essentially entertained the Nazis like they were his buddies, albeit just as way to make money. That being said I think what Sisko was looking for was some sense of continuity for DS9 for the people who already lived there and didn't want to feel like their home was being demolished. This can be hard to relate to since we don't actually meet or see those people. It does take a while, though, for Bajoran citizens to accept DS9 as being an ok place to live. Still, I don't think this makes Sisko in any way a hypocrite. What was he supposed to do, banish anyone 'evil'? That's not the Federation way.

    I also agree with you about Force of Nature; that had no place in Trek. However I disagree that it's wrong to bring contemporary issues into sci-fi. I am a believer that doing so is one of the main purposes, if anything, of sci-fi. What I think has no place being set in the future is politicized current events, where it would be both anachronistic and also self-congratulatory to assume that they will still be issues in the future. Race, on the other hand, is an issue that I do not think is *essentially* a political one (although it can be made into one), and I think that since it's been an issue for as long as humanity has been around it's reasonable enough to write it into the future as well.

    Loved this episode! Good entertainment, although I wonder how the station gets by with all or most of its senior staff spending a significant amount of time in the holosuite.

    As a musician, I found the music in this episode genious - The usual DS9 theme transformed into big band feelgood-jazz. Nice!

    Maybe in the future Scotland and Ireland unified? Or maybe the writers don't know the difference between Scotch and Irish whiskey... Actually I don't know of a difference except in name, since they're produced the same way.

    My, my. Star Trek fans who smugly believe they are intellectually superior and tolerant reveal they are really as squeamish about black people mentioning racism as a white person perhaps watching "Gilligan's Island".

    i seem to recall an episode of TNG where Picard was told to move a settlement of American Indians off a planet that would now be a Cardassian world. That episode showed that American Indians even in the 24th century still held onto 19th century grievances. Most of reviews didn't show any resentment of that "our people" premise. What is it that makes "you people" squirm so much if a black character spends 30 seconds remembering racism as a historical fact but an American Indian can dwell on it for a hour?


    Have you even read the comments for "Journey's End"? This show is much better received than that trash heap.

    yes, I read some of them. Journey's End got 2 and half stars just like Badda Bing but it wasn't much faulted for harping on "the race thing" for Native Americans. imagine "Badda Bing" being about blacks as much as "Journey's End" was about Native Americans. you'd have never heard the end of the moaning.


    Not the review, I said the comments since it sounds like that's what you have issue with here. Also, an episode about African Americans is "Far Beyond the Stars". It gets it's fair share of detractors, but it's generally very well received among Trek fans.

    And to bring in this episode, I'm going to repeat that I don't mind the message because indeed there was terrible racism in the 1960s against blacks and some of that lingers today. Nevertheless, it still seems odd for Sisko to be brooding over inadequacies in a simulated program (especially because Sisko loves the holodeck). It doesn't fit the tone of the episode either.

    I could see Sisko's dad, Joseph, complaining about a holodeck program. I mean he's somewhat of a luddite to begin with.

    Hated this episode with one exception! Listening to Avery Brooks beautiful voice when singing at the end!

    I liked the debate Sisko had with Kasidy. It helped to acknowledge that the civil rights movement was still rather new in the '90s and allow the creators to be self aware that their audience is primarily composed of 20th century Americans. It also allowed Sisko to be a mouthpiece for those who have made comparable criticisms about the idealism of race relations in Star Trek in general.

    However, I do not believe Sisko would actually feel this way, even after his experience as Benny Russel. It has been more than three centuries since First Contact with the Vulcans occurred; racism of human against human is at least that far removed from these characters. Sisko says "our people," but his people are indeed not merely all of humanity, but the other citizens of the UFP. So, not a realistic opinion for Sisko to hold, but entirely for our benefit as the audience.

    I'm not liking season seven overall, I love Nicole DeBoer but making her a regular cast member for one season shouldn't have happened - it should have gone to Aaron Eisenberg, in my humble opinion. As for this episode - for some reason I didn't like that scene at all between Sisko and Kassidy. I just felt it didn't seem like Star Trek. But that's just me. And Jake Sisko isn't doing much this season at all. And where's the solo O'Brien story? And Morn still hasn't said anything - wth?

    This is kind of a mixed bag and I'm trying to look upon it as objectively as I possibly can.

    This was really a rather unnecessary episode, especially in a season that had so much going on, didn't have many more hours in which to resolve everything, and had already had taken a time-out for another rather pointless holosuite episode.

    I don't care about any of that.

    This cast of characters needed every break they could get, considering the circumstances under which they were living.

    For me, that last scene with Sisko and Vic Fontaine made it worthwhile, because I can see the purpose as being twofold. First off, it was a true Valentine to the fans (those who didn't hate Vic Fontaine, anyway). And it was a mission statement for the rest of the series.

    The best was truly yet to come, with the riveting political thriller Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges coming up, all leading to the Final Chapter.

    Yes, this was an unnecessary episode. But the fact didn't make it any less fun, or any less meaningful with that last scene.

    A lot of great commentary above. I don't have much to add except two of my own:

    1) I am fine with the race issue being brought up, but not ok with the "our people" characterization of Sisko. Someone tried to justify it away in the comments (sorry, I can't remember who) but even in that comment, I have read nothing that justifies entertaining the usage of "us-vs-them" dichotomy by humans in the 24th century with regard to interpersonal relationships within them.

    2) I also disagree with the "decades of Gene Roddenberry 'color blindness'" comment by Jammer. Roddenberry should really be the last one to be associated with color blindness. I will not go into a long essay explaining why but two TOS episodes, "Let that be Your Last Battlefield" and "The Savage Curtain," should be enough by themselves, to prove the opposite..

    A light hearted caper, to be sure... One last chance for DS9 to be fun before the end and it shows. Ira Steven Behr never made it a secret he loved the early 60s Las Vegas Rat Pack era, heck that's why we ended up with Vic Fontaine in the first place.

    Just why Jake wasn't involved in this episode remains a mystery, he could easily have had the exchange with Sisko that Kasidy wound up having about "our people". Guess the producers indulged Avery Brooks on that one, and why not? I can imagine the same level of outrage today if Uncle Tom's Cabin was revived as a broad comedy.

    Still, the visual of the cast coming down the Promenade in slow motion in their period costumes just makes me smile. It's nutty, it's fun and they know it. Once more unto the breach indeed, old friends.

    I thought that the discussion between Sisko and Yates about race issues in holosuite programs was like a breath of fresh air. Wow -- a DS9 episode actually bringing to the forefront something that I think about in every Vic episode and discard because I'm supposed to be suspending my disbelief.

    Roddenberry's vision of racism not being an issue in the future does not mean that earth has become one undifferentiated culture. Sisko can identify with African American culture, and what his ancestors went through, without racism -- the idea that people of different races are biologically different (and some inferior) to each other.

    Sisko putting aside his concerns didn't bother me either -- he often shows up to support characters he cares about. I assumed that in this case he decided that giving Cassidy support in something important to her was worth overlooking (but not discarding) his concerns.

    I liked his singing at the end too.

    Other than that, like others I was frustrated by yet another filler episode.

    Is Vic supposed to have consciousness? Since he has memories I assume that he does. In which case wouldn't killing his character or wiping his memory be murder?

    Are there thousands of other Vic Fontaines in living rooms all over the federation?

    Since his program has been running so much more than expected, the Jack In The Box seems to come pretty late in the game. Also, it's obnoxious. There's a war on. If people want to go to a bar to relax, they probably don't want to unexpectedly find themselves in the middle of a different war.

    Regarding Sisko beign bothered by old-timy racism, am I the only one who sees the connection between Sisko's attitude and Far Beyond the Stars? I'm not saying it automatically justifies it for everybody, but I find it strange it's not even considered enough to be mentioned and dismissed.


    i thought that was the implication, that sisko's reaction is a direct result of his previous experience. i think this episode would have really benefited from drawing a line between those two points. as it is, sisko's tirade about the dishonest portrayal of race relations in a 400-year-dead nation state on earth just seemed weird to me. it just made sisko seem like he's locked and loaded and ready to explode about this sort of thing.

    star trek has always looked to the future but i think there's a fine line between social commentary and clubbing the audience over the head. far beyond the stars walked that line perfectly, and was still at it's heart a very deep space 9 story that slotted right into the plot arc. it was easily a 4-star episode.

    anyway, that quibble aside, this episode came together nicely. if you'd told me a month ago when i started watching this show that my favorite episodes were going to be holodeck period pieces set in the 60s, or the ones focused on the base commander's son and ferengi friend, i would never have believed you considering how absolutely dreadful other trek shows have done both the ridiculous holodeck dreck, or kid main characters.

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

    Funny you mention the inquisition, because Mel Brooks (a jew) turned it into a song and dance number which included orthodox Jewish men getting thrown into pools with smiling nuns. And no, I wasn't remotely offended, nor was any Jewish person I ever met who saw the movie. Because the Spanish Inquisition is ancient history.

    But that said I do think that the Benny Russell character and Sisko's experience gives him a unique perspective beyond the ordinary 24th century black man's. It's just a shame that the episode fails to tie his reaction in with that. Unfortunately, it just seems to come out of left field.

    "But that said I do think that the Benny Russell character and Sisko's experience gives him a unique perspective beyond the ordinary 24th century black man's. It's just a shame that the episode fails to tie his reaction in with that. Unfortunately, it just seems to come out of left field."

    The thing is, it's not out of left field, not at all. Sisko had very visibly been sporting African-styled clothing and decorating his quarters with African art long before Benny was written in. And the fact of a black man being assigned to help a people just freed from oppression and slavery - this kind of fact is no accident either. Now, the fact of juxtaposing a black man with a newly freed people is a 'meta' concept, since in the 24th century black people weren'y newly freed any more, but nevertheless the image ought to strike the viewer immediately as being relevant and deliberate, just as the decorations in his quarters are deliberate. The fact of having experienced Benny's life as well is certainly a large direct exposure for Sisko, but something tells me they wrote that for him because of his already present 'silent arc' of having an interest in African history. The arc is there throughout the series, even though it's not overtly spoken of or given text, which I think is brilliant. But that does leave certain viewers who never noticed it wondering where the 'black history month' sentiments suddenly come in with Far Beyond the Stars and then here. But it was there all along in the background.

    It makes all the sense in the world for the prophets to (presumably) give Sisko a vision experience of Benny since that was an area of interest of his already; he already had a sympathy for that past, and it could be used to give him a stronger sympathy for the Bajorans as well by showing Sisko that Bajor is in need of a champion just like black people on Earth were. So here, when Sisko finally says that the plight of the black man shouldn't be whitewashed from history, he's also allowing the writers to imply that just because the Bajorans have been free for several years it doesn't mean they don't still need him to be their Emissary. In fact, having been recently freed, they need him especially, just as the characters in FBTS needed a black rights movement. Sisko's sympathies for this subject are exactly the reason why he's suited to be the Emissary in the first place. He isn't just some 24th century guy; something about him is especially sensitive to peoples who are oppressed and have had almost everything taken away from them, just as he felt during the pilot. While it's true that some part of the dialogue here is probably Brook having pushed for something like that to be put in, since the subject is important to him personally, all the same it's so right for the character to express that however freed from the past the other crew members might be, Sisko just isn't put together like that. It's not a condemnation of them, it's who he is. I'm sure on this score if Kira were present for the conversation she'd have backed him up 100%, because she gets it.

    Surprised that they re-visited Vic again. Don't get me wrong, he's been one of my favourite things in season seven, but his story seemed to reach a conclusion. He got to stay on and live his life 24/7 and that seemed like a great ending for the character. This episode is fun but a little silly, no on in Starfleet can change the program and erase the unwanted elements? It's hard to believe.

    I'm extremely disappointed, though I shouldn't be surprised, at all the comments complaining about Sisko's mention of racism in the 1960's.

    I'll never understand how people can call themselves Star Trek fans and be like this.

    { I'm extremely disappointed, though I shouldn't be surprised, at all the comments complaining about Sisko's mention of racism in the 1960's. }

    Why? For comparison, it would be like if a person today who was a Protestant Christian refused to go to a Renaissance Faire because it was set in England at a time when Queen Mary was executing non-Catholics.

    @John Harmon

    Did you actually read the comments? Go ahead, tell me which ones are racist, please. Because on the whole this issue is a Star Trek one, not a race issue. Do I have a "problem" with the line? No, he spent some time as Benny and likely has a chip on his shoulder over it. But do I think Ben Sisko would have said this? No. It felt like words that the writers put in his mouth. I genuinely don't think Sisko would have a problem playing a historically inaccurate video game with his friends. The same way that Troi didn't have a problem playing one with Worf. Apparently I've talked this issue to death, but damn, the next time you complain about comments could you actually, you know, pick something somebody said and attempt to refute it?


    No worries, I think I've gone on about this one quite a few times. The issue isn't that Sisko brings up race, it's that it's brought at the Eleventh hour in an episode that's supposed to be focused around a heist. That's called forced drama, and it's not very good writing. If they really wanted to tackle race in an honest way, why not write a more thoughtful piece, maybe connect the Benny character, maybe not, but at least give the obviously weighty issue the time it deserves.

    I still don't see why a relevant commentary perspective on race can't appear in one scene without the whole episode having to be focused on that. If it were people would call it preachy, and since it's restricted to one scene it's called out for being out of left field. I think it's totally in character for Sisko, someone who celebrates black history (check his quarters) and who had personal experience in the 1920's. He's also someone much closer to loss and grief as personal demons than your average Starfleet officer. Maybe this is a failing; in Emissary it's certainly painted as being a flaw he needs to deal with. And so what? It's not like he's wrong in what he says. I think the objection comes from someplace like "Oh man, why did they have to bring *that* up in a fun heist story?" Is that too dark a subject matter for what's supposed to be light fun? Maybe that's the point, to show that it's hard for some people to forget the darker parts of life while others can switch it off and go have a jolly old time. Makes you question who really has the flaw when you look at it that way.

    Plus, I don't think it's clear in this case that it was the 'writers' shoehorning that angle in. I've had a suspicion that Brooks appealed to them to make a mention of it and they agreed with him. He's the star of the show, and as the first black Captain I do think there's a responsibility to take seriously the issues he thinks are relevant to that. You may disagree, in which case I'd say it's about time you got your own starring role in a series so you can talk to the writers about what's important to you. Writing off Brooks/Sisko as dredging up a subject that should be left unsaid sounds to me like dictating what should be important to someone else. "It doesn't matter to me, so why should I have to listen to him bring it up?" Trek is supposed to make you confront things you'd rather not deal with. Now, if a character says something patently false about morality (like Janeway does, repeatedly) then that's certainly annoying. But when it's a true statement about history, just take it for what it is: part of the mosaic of the various peoples who inhabit the Federation.

    I agree with you about Brooks. And I don't begrudge him his line. But I still can say I don't think Ben would have said that without being racist, which is kind of the whole point.

    I never started ANY of these conversations. I chimed in, but didn't start them. The first one I responded to said

    "I think it's incredible that so many commenters, who I'm sure are white, have a problem with Sisko's questioning of the airbrushing of history going on in Vic's holodeck program. "

    And my response is that I kind of thought the line was odd too. Not because it was "out of left field" or "didn't belong in a fun heist episode" but just because I genuinely don't think Ben would have said that.

    And if someone actually reads through the posts they'd see a lot of reasons why people feel that way. I'll copy the version of my answer that I like the best

    "So his problem is that him and Kas don't belong in there. And pretending they do is somehow insulting to the people who lived through a tough time. It's true they don't belong there.... but I don't see how it's insulting. As I said... can the girls never join the boys for the Battle of Britain? Or the Alamo? Should Troi not have been allowed to be a deputy in the old west? Isn't that insulting to women for her to pretend that such a thing would have been ok? Or Troi and Crusher serving on that 18th century boat in Generations?

    The reason it's odd is because nobody has ever before remarked about how the holodecks are unrealistic in their lack of oppression. "

    That's all. I think it's weird because it's a video game and it seems strange to me to want your bar holodeck program to be perfectly historically accurate instead of fun.

    But then I'm a dood that wants electricity when I go camping. And flushing toilets at the Renn Faire. Sherlock Holmes couldn't have had a black Watson. But Geordi didn't care. And Chrome earlier talked about baseball and the problems with Sisko and baseball and race.

    But if Avery wanted to say it that's totally cool. It's also totally cool to believe that Ben wouldn't have. On the other hand I also thought it was stupid that Tom Paris wanted to watch a small black and white TV. The characters were a little too obsessed with our time and our issues. What, nothing cool happened in 2200s?

    @ Robert,

    I wasn't so much addressing your comment in particular, but was reflecting more on the thread as a whole. In context of Trek, I agree that suddenly invoking historical accuracy would seem to be out of left field when all along it's about fantasy. However I think the issue with this one is less about the holodeck in general and more about this particular program. It's one thing for an individual to have a personal fantasy he runs, or even a couple of people like Bashir and O'Brien to have a running plot. But Vic's wasn't just some interactive story, it ended up becoming an actual hangout for most of the crew, even a second reality for them. And I think that's the big difference here: Vic's was a place that many of the crew were beginning to see as being real in some sense, and the fact that they'd spend so much personal time and energy trying to save the *fictional establishment* of a lounge in a holodeck program seems to me in a way problematic in its own right. It really says that this is a real place to everyone, not just a hobby, and that's when Sisko's comment begins to have serious weight for me. They were taking a whitewashed version of a historical place as being real to them, and I do think it at least bears mentioning that this setting, which means so much to them, willfully erases the fact that many of them, including Kasidy, wouldn't have actually been welcome in the real version of it. By uniting to protect Vic's they were in effect celebrating it, despite the fact that at the very least that celebration should come with a footnote of recognizing that they were cherry picking the fun parts of that era while ignoring the harsh parts.

    Would it have been appropriate for Sisko to make a huge deal about it? No, after all the crew didn't mean anything bad by it. But was it worth a mention? Absolutely. Kirk in TOS mentions all the time the ways in which the Federation has advanced compared to how people were in the past. In episode after episode he observes more primitive customs and remarks how humans used to be like that. Picard does much the same. Why shouldn't Sisko also observe that humans have come a long way but were once more savage? I think it's the "our people" that makes it stand out. He's not observing from a distance but including himself in the categorization. I think it's fair to ask whether that's anachronistic, especially in light of Uhura not even realizing why having her colored referenced could be insulting. But even if it's anachronistic, I think it's still on point.

    "I think it's fair to ask whether that's anachronistic, especially in light of Uhura not even realizing why having her colored referenced could be insulting. But even if it's anachronistic, I think it's still on point. "

    100,000% this, couldn't say it better. It's anachronistic for the time period. But if Brooks wants to say it for the benefit of our time he's probably earned his soapbox.

    @John Harmon

    >I'm extremely disappointed, though I shouldn't be surprised, at all the comments complaining about Sisko's mention of racism in the 1960's.

    I'll never understand how people can call themselves Star Trek fans and be like this.

    I enjoy science-fiction/fantasy and I'm interested in space. That's why I watch Star Trek, not because of political ideals that I don't care about. I think that some of the more obsessed fans forget that this is a fictional show about a future that is never going to happen, because it depends on scientific/physical impossibilities.

    "That's why I watch Star Trek, not because of political ideals that I don't care about. I think that some of the more obsessed fans forget that this is a fictional show about a future that is never going to happen, because it depends on scientific/physical impossibilities."

    That's great, but you do kind of get that writers use television shows as an instrument to express their opinions, right? Whether you don't appreciate the commentary or not, the commentary still exists.

    Enough with Vic Fontaine already -- I've said before: make him a real character as some kind of station entertainment (perhaps even traveling) but making him some kind of super-holodeck character is a bit much. Anyhow, now we've got to care about this holodeck character in this inconsequential, light-hearted and even stupid episode. Not an episode to be taken seriously.

    I guess the DS9 cast like acting out different eras/themes whether it's James Bond or now characters in a mobster movie. The only time it worked for me was "Far Beyond the Stars" where there were serious implications for the main story arc. Here, I found it hard to care and was barely entertained. Maybe the most important thing was Ben and Kassidy talking about racism during that mobster era -- but that got quickly swept under the rug given the inane nature of this episode.

    Not a fan of Kira in her role here (or her role in the Mirror Universe) -- she's a good looking woman but not a fan of the complete change in character. Kind of insulting...

    TOS did the mobster theme way better with "A Piece of the Action" -- that was humorous and provided a much better premise for Kirk/Spock acting as mobsters. This episode wasn't meant to be a comedy but it just turned out to be silly even though the cast is serious about helping Vic.

    Basically the only tension here is how the plan adjusts to some bumps in the road. The DS9 cast gets creative and pulls it off -- I guess it's different to actually know what each person's role is and seeing how they adjust to the curveballs that are thrown their way. I think usually we'd just see the plan "live" and not know what was supposed to happen. Nice that most of the cast got involved -- but why were Quark and Jake excluded??

    If you like mobster cliches, plenty of that here -- I don't personally care for them, although I would say the portrayals of Frankie Eyes, the big goon etc. were as you'd expect.

    1.5 stars for "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" -- just not something that I can care about after a strong episode like "Chimera" or even regardless. It's just supposed to be hollow entertainment and, of course, DS9 needs filler episodes. At least it wasn't as bad as a Ferengi episode.

    Heh, the tune in the background when Vic's gets taken over was also used for the "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance at one point in Bakc to the Futurethought I'd mention it.

    You really wanted this episode to be "Black Lives Matter" in the 24th century? if it had been written now, almost twenty years later, it probably - almost certainly - would have been. Thank God it was written twenty years ago, before "social justice" leftism permeated everything.

    Sisko's "let's make everything about black people" tantrum at dinner made me lose respect for the episode. His scenery-chewing all the time is bad enough, now he gets all preachy. Ugh.

    The closing song was a fitting hint to the final episodes.

    There are, if I'm correct, 2 out of 176 episodes that directly touch on questions of race (specifically anti-black racism in 20th century America) - Far Beyond The Stars and this one. In this episode, the scene in question is only a couple of minutes long and is far from moralistic - indeed, the writers use Sisko and Kasidy expertly to illustrate two sides of an argument, and it's really possible to understand and see both sides. It's a great way to explore an issue without making one character right and the other wrong, and adds more substance to a light comic episode that I'd say otherwise hasn't aged that well.

    If one episode about racism out of 176 and an extremely balanced, interesting 2/3-minute scene in this one equates to Sisko "[making] everything about black people", I have to question your preconceptions. As Peter G writes above, Sisko doesn't even make a big deal about it, he has a private conversation with one person (his partner) that we the audience are privy to. He goes to pains not to spoil the fun of the other crew members who enjoy Vic's, including Kasidy, because he understands his issue with it is something personal. He doesn't seek to impose his stance at all - on the contrary, he comes round in the end and takes part in the program out of solidarity for his colleagues.

    Trek has always been about issues, and has always used the future to shine a light on the past. If a character even acknowledging that racism existed/exists is too much for some people, well... it testifies to how far social cohesion in America still has to come.

    I am black, and I actually agree with those who say that the race issue is shoehorned into this episode. I do not believe mankind can create a perfect world-only God can. But if in this fiction, earth is a perfect, unbiased society and has been for 200+ years, then Sisko would not really be obsessed with this as he is. I understand that Star Trek the TV show is supposed to be a social commentary, so that is the "real-world" reason it was in, but I think TOS did a better job with this. Uhura said to Abraham Lincoln at one point (!!! she really did-I forget the name of this episode) that man is beyond this, and so his remark (that she was a charming Negress) did not offend her. That is the way it would really be, not someone complaining about an issue that has been resolved so long ago that no one living would have been alive when it happened!

    But I enjoy Star Trek for its entertainment. And usually the show does not delve into anything obscene or offensive, so I can enjoy it, and ignore the rubbish in the show

    The Vic Fontaine episodes might be entertaining, sometimes even clever; but they aren't really Star Trek. This one in particular just feels like Ocean's 11 set on DS9. It would be completely fine if it wasn't for the fact that there are so many of them that they become obvious filler; albeit being of a very high quality.

    PS: I am astonished by the immense number of comments concerning Sisko's dialogue with Kasidy; I mean, really?

    “I am astonished by the immense number of comments concerning Sisko's dialogue with Kasidy; I mean, really?”

    It’s really the only deep part of the episode. There’s only so much to say about poor Vic’s holographic misadventures.

    It's good to be back with #teamelliott. Quite a snoozer this one. Especially the lock picking of Nog drags on and on.

    Wow, a lot of alt-righters here, and a lot of people who likewise don't understand Star Trek one bit.

    Trek is meant to be episodic, and it's meant to have "fluff" episodes. That's a big part of what Trek is: a mix of story types and adventures.

    Also, a lot of you don't know a damn thing about racism whatsoever.

    I've lost a lot of respect for this site and its commentators.

    wolfstar is 100% right by the way. Thank you for restoring my faith in humanity.

    I remembered this as a fun episode, when it aired, but now I was bored enough to turn it off when it was almost over. The racial issue could and should have been the major theme of the episode. I would respect Sisko more if he'd stood his ground & had a long conversation with Jake about race instead. The Scorsese-style direction was over the top derivative, and did little to make the plot interesting. And what about Ezri completely objectified in her scanty uniform? They can erase some distasteful denigration but not others? I also think Worf was sorely missing from this one - he could have reprised his role as a card shark. And he looks awesome in a tux.
    And the whole contrivance of the computer not accepting commands from people in the holodeck isn't believable - Starfleet wouldn't tolerate that imo.

    It felt wrong to post a review saying I didn't finish it - so I did.  I think what irritated me most about the episode was the waste of James Darren.  He, and everyone else, deserved a better script.  I wanted to enjoy this episode, but it never sat right with me. However, Nana Visitor was fantastic.  A true gem of an actress!

    Among the problems:
    1) Captain Sisko abandoning his deeply-held values to indulge his staff (and girlfriend).  I prefer to envision Ben and Jake having a gent's night in, good food, and a good conversation about black history.  "While they're down in that holosuite having fun, they're also living a revisionist history," Captain Sisko might say.  The episode shows that 400 years from now, people will still be afraid to have a frank discussion of racism. (And there's a LOT of it, most poignantly against Ferengi.) I would have preferred the casino story to be the B story and a discussion about racism to be the A story.  Or better yet, have the Siskos show up as janitors, and behave how any brown-skinned man would behave in that era - very suspicious of the whites treating them decently.  I like Sisko, and "get back to work" works just fine for me.

    2) Issues of logic with the heist story - too many to list.  One, however, is getting into the safe.  Did Noggy Sue learn safecracking during his semester at Starfleet academy?  If so, he must be in a special class indeed.  The quickest way to crack that safe would be for Odo to simply ooze his way in through the micro fissures inherent in its build - it's not like it had a forcefield around it.  If the Founders can turn into a gas, I'm SURE there's a way to slip into the safe's mechanism and unlock it without much trouble.  Come on.

    3) Ezri is certainly objectified - as any cocktail waitress or playboy bunny was then (and now).  I actually don't have a problem with women dressing to augment their visual attractiveness, but back then they didn't have many other options if they wanted to work - and if it had been more realistic, I'm sure Ezri's role would have been significantly more degrading, with the 'extra service' expected by scumbags like the Mafia. They've erased racism, but aren't PC enough to give Ezri a role that isn't primarily sexual objectification?  (Yes, I know it's TV, and it's all about sex and ratings.  But most Trek fans do hold Trek to a higher standard, and we aren't just turning our brains off when we turn on a Trek show.) I'll give DS9 credit for taking risks, even when they are total failures; it's not the standard morality play of earlier Treks.  But the episode just feels like a lot of good ideas that weren't thought through sufficiently.

    4) I love Vic/Darren, and I love the Rat Pack, and I adore jazz and have been listening to jazz singers for decades, but I really thought the song at the end sucked.  It was meant to be sweet (?), but in light of a failure of an episode, it wasn't, it just came off as soppy pandering.  I love Brooks, but he was straining so badly that I'm surprised they didn't scrap the idea. And for Captain Sisko to go from 100% against, to playing the ONE role blacks got some condescending acknowledgement for is just a slap in the face.

    5)  Holodeck safeties, etc.  I mentioned this earlier and so did others, but yeah, if those safeties can be disabled by...pretty much anything, it seems, I doubt Starfleet would risk having trained personnel trapped or dying in one.

    @ Mallory,

    I agree with your point about Ezri, and I likewise think that if anything the black history month aspect of the episode was too brief. Assuming it was the case that Brooks had it shoehorned in then I guess it could only take up so much of the script, however once they were going to agree they could have gone further with it.

    Regarding holodeck safeties, maybe I'm remember wrong but I don't think there was ever an issue with the safeties in this episode. The reason they had to do all this was to comply with the structure of the holonovel rules. It's like playing a game where the instructions say that in X circumstance the game ends. Not being willing to end the game, they decided to play by the rules and try to win the game. What was at risk was their actual attachment to parts of the game that they didn't want to end. From that standpoint it's not entirely dissimilar to VOY's Spirit Folk, with the exception that here it was merely a diversion and didn't put anyone in actual danger. And it didn't suck.

    Wonderful episode. A chance to see how the Star Trek crew could work together to handle something like the mob.

    Just the right touch about race. The Vic Fontaine holodeck program is primarily filled with rat pack era night club people, as expected to. It's a tribute to the show that Sisko gives an honest voice to the racial imbalance of that time, probably not something felt or acknowledged by white people at that time, but probably felt by black people then and even now (who never seem to get as much social recognition for their contributions to music as they deserve).

    Kasidy gives a great speech about what should have been and has been better worked out by their century. And Sisko joining Vic in the last song is a testament to the equality or recognition achieved by that century.

    It's naive to think that race has just disappeared completely by the time of the Star Trek universe, no mater what Rodenberry thinks. I's certainly still with us, and expressions of "get over it" always smacks of insensitivity to the realities of the issue.

    @Togu Oppusunggu

    “It's naive to think that race has just disappeared completely by the time of the Star Trek universe, no mater what Rodenberry thinks. I's certainly still with us, and expressions of "get over it" always smacks of insensitivity to the realities of the issue.”

    Funny you should say that, because “get over it” is basically the message advocated in this episode. Sisko doesn’t even come clean to Bashir about why he doesn’t like his program. That could’ve been a good discussion, but - the opportunity for actual discussion between different races was lost.

    3 stars. Sure it’s filler. Sure it’ stands out as such in the final season with more interesting olotbtgreads needing to be addressed but in a vacuum as a stand-alone it’s fairly entertaining caper adventure.

    DS9 rarely felt like a family but this episode with everyone working together helped

    It was fun. I’m not sure I buy the affection everyone had for Vic but I played along with it. The racism angle seemed. Out of place. You’d think Sisko would see all that far removed from him

    Wow, this comment section is filled with the effeminate whines of impotent, racist white boys who are so bothered that a black man dared to mention the white racism perpetrated against his people. As long as there are whites there will be racism, just like there will be sickness for as long as viruses exist.

    That you’re okay with nonsense about aliens existing and faster than light travel but something real like the oppression that whitey has wrought is something forbidden shows how fragile you awful people are.

    Well, given that you seem pretty prejudiced against all white people, I'd say you sound pretty awful yourself.

    I thought Star Trek was supposed to be a post-racial society, where stuff like what Sisko rails against doesn't exist anymore.

    But then, I am white, so I guess I'm just a racist for saying that.

    "I thought Star Trek was supposed to be a post-racial society, where stuff like what Sisko rails against doesn't exist anymore. "

    Star Trek is supposed to be "post-" a lot of things. It's meant to depict a humanity where all social struggles have come to an end. That can be problematic for some of the writers who see it as their role to address those conflicts. The advantage of sci-fi is it provides an opportunity for universality of philosophical themes. That's why there is no need to have Sisko "rail against" human racism when there are an abundance of alien species and unique situations to look upon racism with a fresh perspective not tainted by our own prejudices. I am certain that many minds whose tendency might have been towards racist thoughts have been changed by having their perspective challenged in a way that did not directly admonish them or their ancestors for things that happened long ago, and instead changed those minds by a universal message in which the truth is brought to light. That mind-changing potential sci-fi wields is a powerful weapon, but a lot of sci-fi squanders it in the belief that certain social and philosophical issues can only be addressed in the social context in which they occur.

    It would appear that the topic here is revisionist history -- less "do these things happen today," but "how do we work unpleasant facets of the past into our cultural representations of the past." I would agree that this is not to most graceful or subtle way to handle it, nor the one most consistent with Star Trek's style of social commentary through science fiction. But it is a topic worth exploring, and there's no particular reason that Sisko shouldn't retain a sense of identity as an African American (any more than O'Brien still sees himself as an Irishman, or Scotty as a Scotsman) and know the history of what that entails.

    Luke, you can’t be racist against a white person, just like how a black person can’t be a ‘colonist’ racism and colonialism are things that whites do to others intrinsically.

    However, you can be prejudiced against whites and there’s nothing wrong with that, just like there is nothing wrong with being prejudiced against the influenza virus. It’s natural to despise something that has bring nothing but destruction and pain.

    As an actual black person (Don't call me a person of color. It's annoying) part of me rolled my eyes a bit at Sisko's concerns about the hologram. His attitude is the same type of attitude that makes people want to sweep through fiction and other people's creative work to make sure it is up to social code. It's the same thing killing comedy today. And they do this not because it's right or meaningful, but because of a type of social ennui. I didn't mind it so much from him in this because not only did he initially keep it to himself, but Kasidy provided a very fine counterpoint; but during his speech I was like, dude, take a chill pill. It's a just glorified video game. What do you want? A racism simulator? Why stop there? Why not have band members kick the gong backstage or have hologram patrons randomly pinch the butts of female players? If the program took place a few years earlier, you could throw in polio, just for the heck of it.

    I might be a minority on this compared to other black people, but I don't think I'd need an advisory label reminding me of every injustice done in a period related narrative if that's not what the story calls for. You'd never do the real stories justice, anyway.

    Yes Gary, I’m sure you’re a black person...funny that. In real life one never meets black people who bend over backwards for racism and tell the world how great of Uncle Tom they are, but online they’re everywhere. Lol

    I didn’t like Sisko going on about the unrealistic racism. Until now I don’t think race was ever mentioned (besides time travel into the past episodes). I preferred how it was never brought up as if in the future race is not even noticed. The captain is black. Why wouldn’t he be? No need to even speak of it.

    @Cody B: I believe that you preferred that and that you see no need to speak of it. And just to mention it racism is a frequent topic. O'Briens racism towards Cardassians for example. You should also keep in mind that Avery Brooks was a teenager when the fight against segregation really started to get traction. He almost certainly had to endure quite a bit of racism.

    @ Booming

    You missed my whole point. I’m talking about a fictional television show that takes place in the future. I’m talking about Sisko, not Avery brooks. The future is so advanced that human race is not even discussed. The fact that the captain was black was never talked about. It just is. Why wouldn’t he be black? In the future no one cares. It’s not even discussed. As for o’brien, his hate of cardassians was TNG not ds9. It’s barely talked about in ds9. And cardassians don’t impact our real world the way not acknowledging a black captain in the future can.

    @ Cody B,

    In the TOS episode The Savage Curtain, which is the premiere episode illustrating how racism no longer exists, the episode needed to overtly mention racism and that Lincoln had no ill intention in order for Uhura to be able to reply that she wasn't offended. Do you see? The episode needed to bring it up, one way or another, to draw attention to it. Now, in Uhura's case she wasn't fixating on it personally but was responding to what Lincoln said, so you might argue that this is different from when Sisko himself brings it up. And that is a difference, but then again they're different people. True, they both "represent Trek" since they're black people on a Trek show, but by insisting that they represent it the same way cuts out what makes them different as people. She is a peaceful character, whereas Sisko is a troubled character who has much more trouble getting over painful things. That's in their character bibles and supports them taking a different view. So it's not that because Trek needs to show that racism is behind us that the show must ignore the topic: on the contrary, it must bring it up, and *how* it brings it up in these two cases tells us about the individual personalities of the characters. It makes no sense to me that Sisko *be* Uhura, or anything else for that matter, other than himself. And it's not inconsistent in the slightest for him to be concerned with oppressed peoples. That's kind of what his entire job is on this show.

    The O’Brien-Cardassian-racism comparison is a false one, anyway. There, O’Brien’s racism is allegorical, so it appeals to every viewer and every viewer can appreciate the situation on some level.

    Sisko’s complaint about racism here is specifically a black issue with certain real-world repercussions, i.e. white people should feel guilty about the past. Effectively, it’s a message that divides the audience.

    @ Cody B.: That is obviously wrong. There are several episodes dealing with O'Brien and the Cardies. One example the episode literally called "Cardassians" another one is the episode "Tribunal".
    And about Brooks. If your are the lead who has a certain leanings or experiences clever writers can built that into a story. And it is also established that Sisko is very much interested in African culture and history.

    @ Cody B

    'I’m talking about a fictional television show that takes place in the future. I’m talking about Sisko, not Avery brooks."

    You're forgetting that Sisko has recently had two profound quasi-religious experiences, where he was inhabiting (or being inhabited by?) Benny Russell. It's not a long bow to draw to conclude that if Sisko didn't have strong feelings about ancient oppression before these events, then he sure as shit would have them now. In a sense, Ben Sisko has *lived* that racism.

    Seems to me like he's perfectly entitled to be angered by the glossing-over of what, to him, was a very personal and fresh sense of injustice.

    @ Steven: So O'Brien being racist. Ok. Sisko being somewhat angry about racism in the past. Not ok. Oh the white mans burden. Yes, it is only mentioned to piss on white people and to divide the audience. Probably inserted by the Jews...


    I’m not taking a side on that issue. I’m sure people will and have argued that in the 90s this white/black message was timely. Nevertheless, it hits a different distinctly different note than the Human/Cardassaian one. I hope you can appreciate the difference and I apologize if I’m not being clear somehow.

    @ Tim C
    Well at this point the Benny Russel episode was a long time ago. Strange time for him to recall. But I see what you’re saying

    My whole entire point is that I just loved how race wasn’t acknowledged. As if the future has went beyond. I’ve even seen a clip where Avery brooks is asked about being the first black captain and he says “I don’t live my life thinking can I do this because I’m black?”. If you take that one step further into the show taking place in the future, that seems to be everyone’s attitude and a given. Race isn’t even talked about in the ds9 present (until this episode).

    Nice of all the white guys here to tell Avery Brooks he should shut up about race. I'll let him know.

    Nice of the smart alecs to oversimplify the discussion and declare everyone who disagrees with the writers’ choice here a racist.

    @ Garth

    Exactly. No one was “racist” at all. It was a perfectly respectable discussion. And no one “told Avery brooks to shut up”. That guy is either a race baiting troll or so overly sensitive to the topic of race that he can’t calm down to see everyone is being perfectly respectful

    Oceans DS9

    I really like Vic but this was truly the fluffiest of fluff.

    Well done for what it was, just not my cup of rakatajino.

    Loved the ending, though. That was worth the slog.

    "The Best is Yet to Come" is a great song and I'm hoping, prophetic.

    After reading commentary:

    Got myself surprised once again - by all that focus on the tiny part of the ep where Sisko expressed his discomfort about the race issue.

    MY TWO CENTS, if you're wanting two cents:

    I thought it made sense for Sisko, given his recent Benny experience. Kasidy handles it well, as does the episode.

    Vic's is a program written for fun and relaxation - where nobody notices your huge Ferenghi ears, your Trill spots, your Bajoran nose wrinkles, your changeling face. . . and they're certainly not going to notice human skin tone. Sisko knows that; he's feeling irritated because it's roughly in the same time period as Benny, and he felt first hand what Benny went through.

    But he's an intelligent man, and he knows his staff members are the same, and that they all know what Vic's is (a fun place) and what it's not (a historical recreation like -- I assume -- that Alamo program, a program mentioned several times in this ep, along with general mentions of fantasy vs reality). So he joins in, and probably has more fun than anyone.

    I've been moved by some of the comments here. I had thought the Sisko bit was jarring for the longest time, but rewatching the episode, I thought the conversation was succinct and something worthy of further discussion. And now from this thread, I find it less out of place.

    Part of the problem is that Star Trek has been poor at world-building for humans. We don't really know much about what human society is in the 24th century. Watching the next episode, I was thrown off by Ross's line, "He'd like nothing better than to see the Romulan banner flying over Earth." This made me picture a 5000km flag mounted at the North Pole like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. I would have preferred him say something like "flying over the Quartier d'Elysée, referring to the President's office (yes, I know there is no such place in Paris now, but rebuilt post WWIII Paris could have such a locality.)

    Post-racial needn't mean colour blind, and if human society had been more fleshed out to reflect that, Sisko's perspective wouldn't seem more fitting. Human ethnicity was the concept that dared not speak its name in Trek for so long (unlike nationality) that this occasion certainly stood out. But it didn't need to, and this is a perfect topic for Trek to explore.

    Also, there is no reason why they shouldn't have been able to freeze the programme. Felix should be arrested for selling malware.


    So am I an Uncle Tom or am I not black? Make up your mind.

    Anyway. I'm black. I see it every day, but if it makes you feel better to think that a black person who might not have approved opinions on certain subjects, think of me any way you feel.

    I'm not trying to "bend over backwards" for racism, whatever that means. I just refuse to make my life revolve around what white people think of me at the expense of my own enjoyment of a work that has nothing to do with what white people think of me. Day in, day out I have to fight against some notion that I'm a victim and the world is out to get me. Day in day out I have to see other black people fall into that trap and using that as an excuse not to do what they can.

    This is what I don't understand. We're constantly told in life that we aren't responsible for what other people think about us; that we should live in spite of it, except when it comes to people not liking us because of our skin color. For that, we must put our lives on hold, whether or not it has any real effect on what we can't do.

    News flash, actual racists don't give a crap what I think about their opinions. So if it's not hindering me and what I can accomplish why the heck should I fret about some loser's opinion about something I can't change?

    It's called Stoicism, David. Look it up.

    I like Vic Fontaine, and I like this episode.

    But by my count, of the last 12 episodes, only 2 contained material which meaningfully advanced the Dominian War arc ('Treachery..', where we learn that a disease has infected the Great Link, and 'Covenant', where Dukat's agenda is incrementally advanced)

    And then we rush into the last third of the season like our lives depend on it.


    I was willing to give Vic a free pass for the last episode to feature him, as his assistance with Nog’s recovery from PTSD was a genuinely touching thing to view.

    But where that episode used Vic’s casino as a setting for a deeper story, here it *is* the story, as the crew find themselves contrived into an Ocean’s 11 heist. And for all the cast clearly enjoyed running around in a period drama, as with most Vic related episodes, it does little for me.

    And then there’s also slightly odd outburst from Sisko about how he doesn’t want to legitimise a sanitised view of 1960s America. It’s a point that’s definitely worth bringing up (along with many other questions about the ethics of how Star Trek uses the holodeck and holograms), but any weight to his argument is pretty much blown away by the fact that he immediately turns around and joins in with the fun regardless.

    Thankfully, this is the last “fluff” episode of DS9; it’s time to dig in for the final arc...

    Pretty simple episode, perhaps a bit too late in the season, but it's fun enough for 45 minutes. Well acted, great direction, great sense of style. Loved it.

    The whole race issue is just in my opinion dumb. The idea of everyone being invested in Vic's misfortune but Sisko is funny, as it paints Sisko as being the only one to only see Vic as a hologram. The whole Race issue he presents just feels shoehorned and adding some weird unnecesary levity to an episode that needs none.

    Also makes Sisko a bit of a whiner in my opinion.

    Also Ezri was SMOKING CUTE in this episode, loved her. Objectification? Blah, that's what you people say everytime a girl looks attractive on TV, last time I checked, girls like to look attractive, same way guys like to look strapping.

    Like some other commentators, I'm taken aback by the number of comments on this page (spanning most of a decade) that are hyper-reactive to the Sisko/Yates exchange about race. I really think it reveals more about your own ignorance than the episode.

    At a push, you could say it was 'shoehorned' in, since it came and went rather quickly, but as @PeterG says above, it's consistent with Sisko's character - as someone who takes a particular interest in black history - and it provides an in-character reason for Sisko turning up late to the party. The fact that it wasn't stretched beyond that point us arguably praiseworthy precisely because it stops *well short* of being preachy. Yates' response even convince Sisko to drop it.

    Essentially it's a scene of one character having an understandable objection in line with their own interests and knowledge, and another character reasoning it out with them so they change their mind.

    The fact that people can't stand this - and seem to be really keen to criticise Brooks for its inclusion - is incredibly ugly. Frankly, I'm pretty sure we'll still be fighting about race well into the 24th century and beyond if this is how some people in the early 21st century choose to try to 'move beyond it'.

    As for the rest of the episode, I rather enjoyed it, but I concur with the general criticism that the writers were trying to have their cake and eat it by interleaving an ongoing war plot with light-hearted capers. It doesn't help that the casualty lists reported in other episodes are unrealistically high - I'm presuming there's no draught of the civilian population, so if the Federation were losing thousands of officers every week, they'd be wiped out in fairly short order.

    This « melting pot » ideal that many commenters have and that apparently the authors of this series betrays the American centric thinking, that the federation should be a United States of Space where the people remain distinct and also part of the whole. As a Frenchman this is ludicrous to me and we can see from current struggles in America that this concept is failure, a polity does not thrive and a people do not last in this fashion !

    My country does this much better and should be a more proper model ! Once the territory of France was made of many people and many lamguages and actually the language that is called French was only native to a small portion of people near Paris but the modern state of France realises that this is no way to have a nation, and so all of these people were made to assimilate to the whole — so that to be Provençal or Normand or Alsacien is not anything more than a geography designation, these languages and identities no longer exist ! To give a more personal example, my parents came to France from what is called Lebanon in English, but because I am French, my ancestors are the Gauls...

    Yikes, Elie you need to lay off the drugs.

    This was a good episode, I enjoyed it for a filler- typical adventure heist with comedy, drama and suspense.

    It's interesting seeing the comments from the last decade and a half on race. Just makes me realise more and more that DS9 (and Avery) were very well placed to address race issues amongst others. Although the Ableist episode was a big joke.

    Elie, bonjour!

    Since you only ingest the biased drivel fed to you by the media, here's some hard mathematics. A fraction of a fraction of a percent of people in our country have been out on the streets. 99.9% of the 330 million people in or population have went about their daily lives and not participated.

    I seem to recall quite a few nationwide French street riot/protests in the last decade hat involved a much larger percent of the populace .... and plenty of destruction.

    Going by your standard, France might as well be considered Thunderdome.

    This is the first Vic episode I haven't loved. The script had a lot of good ideas but I don't think they were properly thought out. So, we have a cute piece of fluff that doesn't feel like part of the story - and on my 8th re-watch, I was surprised to remember none of it.

    I think the main problem is that so many characters are simply out of character. I don't find it believable that Kira would flirt so completely with a greasy criminal, especially in front of Odo. Odo seemed to be in too good of a mood...even sociable, and that's not really him. I can't believe Sisko went from totally opposed (for a very good reason) to buying into it and then singing a duet. I guess Brooks has an okay voice, but he makes a much better Captain than a singer. I kept expecting Worf to show up and kick some ass.

    I gave i 4/5 for now, it's fluff, but quite entertaining at that. I liked the baseball episode even more though.

    Racism is no longer a big deal in 2400s but everyone in the show seems to know a lot about earth history, and especially pay a lot of attention to historical injustices and how things went wrong, in order to avoid them.

    This is also a result of it being written in the 90s for people living in that time - even though it's set in 2400s - and there racism still exists, and one doesn't have to go far back for it to have been much worse, so it's only natural the writers also focus on that occasionally. In this case only for a few minutes, and still people are so defensive.

    Being surprised and annoyed at left wing politics such as being against racism in Star Trek kinda surprises me. In many ways humans in Star Trek live in a leftist utopia, discrimination among humans and other federation species (mostly) being a thing of the past, and they live in a post scarcity society with no rich or poor, people wanting for nothing, so focus can be more on enjoying life, bettering ourselves and a sense of duty. I also remember Riker mentioning they don't eat animals as well (replicated, sure, that's like cultured meat in our time), so empathy has also been extended more to the other sentient animals besides us. At least in TNG.

    In the larger scheme of things there certainly are tons of issues still in their time though, as problems are interesting to write and make stories about, so there's plenty of conflicts with other species, and disagreements among humans about how to tackle them etc. The utopia isn't in the universe as a whole, and the federation and star fleet themselves aren't without issues to solve.

    @ Wolfstar (back in 2018):

    "If one episode about racism out of 176 and an extremely balanced, interesting 2/3-minute scene in this one equates to Sisko "[making] everything about black people", I have to question your preconceptions"

    I couldn't have said it better. The good Captain is a scholar of black history and artifacts and decorates his room as such for goodness sake. Being bemused about this period in history is very plausible notwithstanding the leaps and bound made in this particular future. Weren't there xenophobic and prejudiced aliens in ALL of the Star Trek series for crying out loud??!

    @EliHalk (back in 2013):

    Thank you for your brilliant contribution which I am reproducing below:

    "For all of you going on and on blaming Avery Brooks for Sisko talking about race in this episode, read the companion or Memory Alpha some time. Behr makes it pretty clear it was him who came up with it. By this point Behr had figured out Vic was somewhat 'controversial' and un-liked in part of the fandom, so he came up with the idea of having Sisko as someone who didn't care for Vic, but would be won over by him over the course of the epsiode. In the process, he used social conscientiousness as a reason for Sisko to be skeptical / hostile to Vic. He explains:

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

    The assumption people make that it's Brooks on a soapbox here says alot about race in and of itself."


    That last line is also poignant. For commenters to use terms like 'out of place', 'get over it' and even a 'shut up about race' (Wow!) for the 4 minutes of story are asinine and ignorant (and I daresay a case of a misplaced privileged view), to say the least.

    4 Stars for an episode I was initially not exited to tune in to.

    They made it 7 and a half seasons without mentioning race as an issue in anything. I guess they anticipated a ratings drop and wanted some attention for the views.

    I don't have a top 10, but this has went straight to the top of my most disliked DS9 episode upon re-watching. Between the absolutely absurd storyline that is totally nonsensical and unbelievable - I do like Vic, but they really do involve him too much at this point in the season - and the forced and wildly out of place conversations about racism, I absolutely detest this episode.

    I agree that Sisko's objections made little sense. The program was obviously designed for fun, not for historical accuracy.

    If the program was realistic, Vic would have ran screaming the first time he laid eyes on Odo or a Ferengi. And why would Kasidy visit a program that has racist overtones?

    This objection was even dumber than the hand-wringing on Voyager over the holographic Cardassian doctor.

    After reading some of the recent posts I feel the need to amend my previous comment, to add that there is some serious misunderstandings around why the inclusion of race in this episode is disliked.

    This is a scifi show some three odd centuries into the future, and the majority of those watch it for an escape from the nonsense of the real world. The last thing they want to hear is about the age old and never ending mention of racism in a manner meant to strike attention for political reasons (specifically racism against black people since no other race can experience racism it would always seem). Good example this year because of the BLM group who look for anything to perceive as racism for their own gains.

    I reckon for those who dislike this episode, it's the holosuite storyline that was the primary reason, not some "revealing your inner racist" stuff as many of you are choosing to make it out to be.

    If Sisko doesn't want to play in some make believe world because it was racist that is his choice. Would you complain if a Jew doesn't want to go to a Casino in Nazi Germany? It is important to Sisko and there are several episodes that showed that these things were important to him like Far Beyond the Stars. He is not saying that others shouldn't go and at the end he does go and enjoys it. In the last episode he even celebrates there. Is he not allowed to have a problem with that setting?

    I won't comment again on the appropriateness of bringing up race in this episode, but I did want to comment on this point of Dean's:

    "This is a scifi show some three odd centuries into the future, and the majority of those watch it for an escape from the nonsense of the real world. The last thing they want to hear is about the age old and never ending mention of racism in a manner meant to strike attention for political reasons"

    I think that in context the episode may be doing exactly the opposite of what you suggest. Sure, bringing up race can have any number of misled reasons, including being a dog whistle, virtue signaling, and all the rest. But in this instance Sisko brings it up specifically to ask "isn't race important in this context?" And Kassidy, and by inference the rest of the senior staff, seem to answer this by saying "no, that isn't the point here." See, Sisko's point is brought up, and *disagreed with*, and he actually acquiesces and helps them in their program. So to the extent that in "the nonsense of the real world" some people may believe that race is brought up all the time for no good reason, here Sisko brings it up but then shelves it again, because he's persuaded that pursuing that line *in this context* isn't a good enough reason not to partake.

    So if anything this little scene could be taken as a repudiation of the tendency for the race card to be playable at any and all times and to trump any other argument. Sisko makes sure the point is brought up and heard, but finally he decides it in fact should not be the primary focus here. That stands, especially in the modern American discourse, where it would be quite difficult to imagine a friendly exchange where two people disagree about whether race should be made a prominent issue, and where both walk out agreeing that it shouldn't. I'm not saying it never should be, but I think reasonable people should be able to sometimes decide there is a race-related problem to address, and sometimes that there isn't. The prevailing communication barrier in the States prevents even having the discussion without it devolving into someone being called either a racist or a snowflake. Here we see what a discussion of that type should be, neither side being ignored.

    So I'll disagree with you, Dean, I think what we see in this episode is not at all like how things go in the real world right now.

    It’s so weird to be rewatching this season so many years later and to see so many filler episodes. I’ve always loved DS9 and the reason why I preferred it to TNG back when it was airing was because I loved how it implemented season long story arcs. That’s what I’ve remembered all these years. I forgot how much filler episode crap there was that took us away from the overarching season arc. I like Vic Fontaine fine, but I’m really tiring of Vic centric episodes popping up so much at this point. Seems like he is central in every 3rd or 4th episode. This episode is fine, but enough Vic already. There’s a damn war going on for crying out loud. Get back to that story.

    I actually enjoyed this episode as fluff (despite having mixed feelings about Vic eps other than "Paper Moon," but I wanted to say that Sisko's aversion to participating in the program did not seem surprising to me at all and I in fact greatly appreciated him voicing it. The surprising part was that that criticism got to be included in the episode at all.

    Black people in the US were "ill-treated," we shall say quite euphemistically, for a minimum of 400 years (depending on Star Trek timelines, could be longer--I am not convinced about post-racial society by Travis Mayweather in ENT, etc, but I'd be willing to believe it). I actually appreciate the idea of some kind of lasting commemoration of this into the future, even if everyone is "just human" (re: humans, obvs) in which we do not forget, collectively, that that happened. I would like it very much if black folks, even far into the space-faring future, were able to keep up oral and cultural records and honoring of this difficult time that happened back home on Earth--much like many aboriginal and native cultures recount their own history today over an even longer timespan--AND I would like black/white racism to not be currently happening or needing any more remedying. The reason I see this attention to history as liberating and not a throwback or silly is because there has been an active effort by some to erase correct knowledge of slavery, the Jim Crow Era, post-Jim-Crow de facto and de jure segregation and discrimination, etc. We're STILL retconning racist stuff than happened weeks or months ago! The idea that a better future involves "no biggie about the atrocities, let's move on" is horrifying.

    Anyway, given the length of time black people were subjected to horrendous human rights abuses, it's not surprising Sisko wouldn't want to go for funsies to a historical setting where he knows his ancestors would have been publicly humiliated or barred.

    I figure at least some Jewish history buffs now (certainly not all, and probably less for those not interested in history), might feel awkward walking around certain "just for fun" medieval reenactment settings where they knew Jews were in reality being actively murdered, ostracized, or demeaned, despite that being hundreds of years ago. I figure even a hundred or more years into the future, a reproduction of a cabaret populated by the SS would not be relaxing nor its clientele endearing to a Jewish person, no matter how well they'd be allowed to colorblind-cast themselves in as belonging. And I sure as shit wouldn't want to attend a plantation wedding no matter how beautiful the locale is.

    (@Booming, thank you for saying that. I actually typed this up before I saw your comment.)

    If those time periods might not seem as "fun" as 60s America, well, America's always been able to commit horrible acts against its black and other POC citizens with a totally different universe marked off for middle class+ white people to frolic in. The disjunct between these two doesn't have to make you launch an active protest to just leave a weird taste in your mouth--and look, Sisko did not even share his opinion until pressed. He simply made faces to himself and then admitted he doesn't want to play ball with the whitewashing of certain parts of history as a recreational activity. It's not his idea of fun.

    By the way, I also understand Kasidy's preferences! I don't see her as uneducated, un-woke, whatever. She just doesn't feel the same aversion to playing with history reenactment and she likes seeing history the way it "should have been" and that is okay. Heck, maybe she just likes having that sweet hair. I think it's all legit. I do think it's slightly bullshit to persuade Sisko to try if he doesn't want to, though.

    I watch shows for escape (sometimes pure escape, in the case of childrens' TV or nature shows or comedy), for catharsis, and for a sense of recognition. I'll tell you straight, man--I cannot, almost no matter what I do, escape the effect of racism on my daily life. It's not a victim complex, it simply is as water to a fish in this country. Because of this, I seek catharsis from some TV with a race issues focus, and just a smidgen of recognition from time to time other TV like Star Trek, which includes black people whose ancestors underwent atrocities. This recognition is both satisfying and pretty low-key. To be completely honest, most white people watching it can go "that's annoying, race in my Star Trek," and move on. I feel like someone gave a shit about me, and then I return to my life where race-issues are ever-present and potentially lethal (as they have been my whole life, long before these recent protests), and I desperately wish they were not. I consider that nod to black people fair but I'm sure some see it otherwise.

    Anway, a much more utilitarian reason for all this is from @Triniray, quoting @EliHalk --we shouldn't let people watch without the disclaimer and come away thinking the past looked dramatically different wrt race. People tell me stuff about race history /constantly/ that is just shockingly inaccurate in its softening. They're probably getting it from sloppy media depictions.

    Also, oh. my. god. the DS9 ladies look SO GOOD and I'm not even attracted to women. Ezri in particular is cute as a button.

    The more I think about it, the more negative I feel about this episode. I got sick and tired of the whole “holosuite/deck malfunction” trope which was done to death in TNG, and I don’t like it any better here. The whole “Sisko (actually, Brooks) gets on his racial soapbox” thing REALLY pissed me off. Others have made very good comments on it. Once again, the show essentially said “fuck the whole Star Trek premise, fuck the illusion that this is a show about the 24th century when human racism is dead and buried, and has been for centuries, and it makes no sense for a man of the 24th century to talk about ‘our people ‘ in 20th century terms, because we want to earn 20th century merit points”. It’s utterly ridiculous that Kassidy has to give a speech to Sisko about ideals that have been held and practiced for HUNDREDS OF GODDAMN YEARS. Idiotic.

    It's made even more ridiculous by the fact that Sisko isn't remotely bothered that the Vegas characters interact with frickin' BAJORANS and KLINGONS and FERENGI and SHAPESHIFTERS without batting an eye (which isn't historically accurate either), but he chooses to get his panties in a twist over the "nonaccuracy" of how HUMAN characters are treated. What incredible stupidity.

    Have appreciated many of the age-old comments on this thread. @Peter G. made a lot of sense through much of the on-going tug-of-war.

    An enjoyable episode in my view. Never expected it to be so. Neither did I mind in the slightest that Sisko voiced discomfort with what the 1962-era casino (and much of the rest of America) represented to his people. Good....for once memory of old injustices entered the show. This is not un-Trekian.

    In TOS, the major characters generally referred to their backgrounds, centuries posed no problem. Kirk's ancestors settled the western frontier; McCoy occasionally channeled his southern heritage, and Spock would sometimes revert to the barbarity of his proto-Vulcan forebearers. TNG was similar. What is so awful about a line and a half where Sisko refers to a past where his ancestors were institutionally segregated and excluded? He has a right to acknowledge the pain of what happened, and to have feelings about it. Anger is never a happy thing, but Kasidy's attitude put his nose back into joint. It was a good scene I thought. He reconsidered his own pain, saw that it would lead nowhere, and he came along. He grew.

    The past is an important referent. It sort of makes each of us who we are. But like anything else, if taken to extremes, it becomes a barrier to our development. The episode explored that idea rather well.

    Fluff episode, but lots of fun. Not every Trek episode has to be serious. Vic grew on me in this episode and I loved the finale with Sisko singing.

    Good fun!
    Trek meets Ocean’s Eleven, lol!
    Ezri as cocktail girl was wow!!!!

    I enjoyed this episode. Here is the latest link for O Captain, My Captain.

    Another enjoyable Vic Fontaine episode. 3 stars.

    The scene with Sisko and Kassidy was a nice touch, I thought. Only someone with the memory of a moth could think that 400 years ago is ancient history. In many parts of the world four centuries is the blink of an eye.

    If you’re mad about being reminded of horrible things done to people who don’t look like you, I recommend asking yourself: are the American Indians going to magically forget what happened to them in 250 years? Are the Armenians going forget what the Turks did? Are Africans going to forget colonialism? Are Jews going to forget the holocaust?

    I think not.

    It was not a holosuite malfunction folks, so many folks complaining about that. This was an intentional part of Vic's program written to make it more interesting. There was no malfunction, they were not in any danger (aside from Vic), it was just part of the story.

    Insightful comment, @PB, thanks for sharing!

    To me perfect escapism would be mindless entertainment.
    Sci-Fi, with it's ability to question the world of the past including the present day, has much more than that to offer. It can often result in thought provocation, and ask questions that people are uncomfortable around, but it's often all the better as a result.

    To me that's a major draw of the genre. Not that mindless episodes can't be fun once in a while.

    One thing I liked about it not being a literal malfunction was that it allowed for more interesting character motivations.

    Instead of trying to avoid getting shot with a tommy gun, the crew played along with the fantasy in order to save Vic, who, if only a hologram, had helped them through romantic struggles and personal traumas brought on by the Dominion War.

    I watched DS9 first run, but didn't watch this until just now.

    It was an obviously silly episode and DS9 did a very large number of those. I thought the baseball one was too much. I also didn't much care for Vic, especially lengthy actual song numbers.

    Whatever. Mildly interesting at best.

    The one upshot here is it's not really a holodeck "malfunction" episode, and there's no contrived danger to any real life characters. It's simply part of the actual program.

    The stakes here are entirely valid- the crew's attachment to Vic and specifically his intact memories. I actually wish they had played up Kira's, Odo's and particularly Nog's attachment to Vic a lot more.

    So the Franky Eyes story was built into Vic's program as kind of an extra narrative to keep things interesting. That's fine. I can imagine Julian's friend doing that. I can even picture him specifically making it so that you can't just delete the characters. You have to figure out how to solve the dilemma in the context of the story. It's a puzzle. That's cool.

    But apparently he also made it so you can't freeze the program...? Isn't that kind of dumb? That's like saying you can't put down a book once you've started reading it. You have to read it right through to the end first. People have real world obligations and Julian's friend should understand that the holoprograms he makes are intended as an indulgence in their free time.

    Therefor, unless the holosuite is malfunctioning (which it isn't in this episode) you should always be able to freeze program. It should be just as crucial as the holosuite safeties (which are a whole other set of silly business lol)

    @Jonr at least he didn't disable the safeties.

    By the way, just what did they do to O'Brien when he got dragged away by that security guard?

    I think I’ve had my fill of the holosuite episodes. I agree with others that this felt misplaced in the middle of a galactic war in the final season. I can’t see anyone justifying setting aside the time to do all the planning needed for this caper. It would’ve been more believable to me if the program could be paused, and then the crew could address it when they have time.

    Felt more like something you’d see in a Twilight Zone episode or a non-canon “What If?” scenario. I’m wondering if the way everyone is treating Vic Fontaine is bleed over from Voyager and the growth of Robert Picardo’s holographic “Doctor” character.

    I look at it as a bookend episode with the finale. It sets off the time of the last sequence to the series, and in both this and WYLB we see an engaging and happy Sisko at Vic's, where before he had been brooding, and afterward he undertook his sacrifice.

    The plot is fine. Felix is a crafty programmer, and we see some subtle growth by Miles and Julian allowing everyone in, whereas they felt deep guilt over refusing Lt. Ilario's request to join them in Fields of Fire. And Nog's devotion to his friend is admirable. Starfleet's first Ferengi brings credit to himself.

    Vic & Ben? Loved it.

    I liked this episode ,but also understand those who think its preachy in some ways, and also understand how many are “done” with the holosuite eps.

    I just wanted to say this..

    You are watching a sci fi / fantasy show that the storytellers HAVE to take many liberties with.

    If we all suspend some level of disbelief and wonton thoughts of “why this is lame” … well, isnt that kind of the core of Trek itself?

    The themes
    1. They want to help Vic (who has helped nog and many of the crew in the past) is great. Vic serves as the late season Guinan in some ways imo here more than ever. (besides paper moon) He sings, he listens. He heals souls in the dark of space
    2. Sisco realizes that its ok to let his own antiquated prejudices go. Which I hope we all will.

    "We're gonna need a crew" the DS9 episode.

    I enjoyed it, though realized it was total fluff. Which is fine, lots of Trek episodes have done that. But like others, this close to the end of the show and with huge storylines out there, it feels disappointing in context.

    Interesting that while several commenters complain that Sisko's brief comments on racism in 1962 suspended their disbelief, @Quarkissnyder had the opposite reaction, that being asked to ignore the sleazy and oppressive parts of the setting every time Vic's shows up always broke their immersion. I feel the same way. The 1960s in Vegas is not a time that I can uncritically enjoy because, as a woman, I see that setting and think about how I would have been treated then. This is why I was also uncomfortable with nobody in-universe having any objections to the way Ezri and Kira were objectified for the ploy, though I suppose you could chalk that up to neither of them being human and therefore having no built-in historical knowledge about how horribly women were treated in 1960s Vegas.

    Janeway talks a LOT about her ancestors being "pioneers" and farmers, cosplays in an imaginary version of the world of her Irish forebears, and leads a reminiscence about genealogy with the crew that winds up with her playing the role of her great-great-grandmother. And yet, it's when Sisko spends a few minutes of screentime to express, when pressed, the way he doesn't like the way his senior staff are so absorbed in a false version of history because of his ancestors' reality, that fans get up in arms.

    One can imagine that if O'Brien had been on VOY, he might have made a comment or two about the stereotypes and historical inaccuracy employed in Fair Haven. His roleplay of the Battle of Clontarf shows that Irish history still means something to him. Making the Irish character the one who most openly hates the imperialist Cardassians is not exactly an accident either.

    Also, while it was never highlighted in the Fair Haven episodes, I found it interesting that Chakotay and B'Elanna never participated. (Neither did Tuvok, but that's best explained in-universe as Tuvok always showing antipathy towards the holodeck like in "Alter Ego.") Perhaps a Native American crewman didn't find the idea of cosplaying in 19th century Europe so appealing? Or perhaps his love of history and archaeology made the idea of romanticising Ireland in a period when it was really stricken with poverty and sectarian political conflict unappealing to him? This remains speculative, especially since Harry does participate enthustiastically in Fair Haven, but the Beowulf characters did identify Harry and Tuvok as not being from "here", so it's worth thinking about.

    Finally, I don't see anything un-Trekkian about Sisko saying "our people" to Kassidy. When you say "our family" to a family member, are you creating a horrible division in society of us vs. them? It is implied here that Kassidy also comes from an African-American background, as opposed to say Uhura who is a native speaker of Swahili from Africa. Her ancestors would have been through the same things Sisko's ancestors and Benny Russell went through.

    Knowing ahead of time that Sisko was at some point going to address the issue of racism in Vic's, I was shocked at how little airtime it got in this episode.

    Certainly, there were strong elements of racism and sexism in 1960s Vegas and it’s understandable to find that abhorrent. Yet I still would doubt that feeling would creep into an innocuous fantasy storyland.

    For example, real, historical pirates of the eighteenth century raped women, traded slaves, and encouraged trading of narcotics. But does one think about that when boarding “The Pirates of the Caribbean” ride? Probably not. Not because you don’t respect or understand history, but because there’s a romantic aspect to to a bygone era that dwarfs whatever happened in the past. Pretending to be a pirate in place where everyone can be one and no one gets hurt is arguably a marvelous thing.

    This same sentiment applies to sixties’ Vegas, too. Surely, Bashir was aware that people of Middle Eastern descent weren’t welcome in the actual Vegas of yore. But there’s still a resounding charm to the music of the Lounge era, gambling with money (must be a hoot for a Federation citizen!), and dressing in fun suits. This show also takes place three hundred fifty plus years from now, so that we can hope the bitterness of the past on Earth isn’t guilting everyone away from enjoying the actually fun aspects of old times.

    The episode gives us "Cocktail Waitress Ezri Dax" and that's all I care about. At age 29, Nicole De Boer was the definition of "cute."

    It’s weird the whole main cast is in this episode but jake doesn’t exist. It’s a fun outing (the cast looked like they were having fun heading into the holosuite but sisko didn’t think to bring his kid along). Just doesn’t ring true to me at all

    It also feels weird that Nog feels like more of a main character and much better utilized than jake but is still listed as guest star. Partially this is regret they don’t do more with jake and that they don’t give nog proper credit for his work. Nog’s actually become one of my favorites

    I just watched it tonight and its a fun caper, well acted with a lovely scene with Sisko and Vic's singing. As a black woman living in a mainly white culture hopefully the 'stfu about racism on my tv' generation will die off. Black people are the only ethnic group on the planet who are meant to forget their past right?

    I surprisingly enjoyed this episode, although it started as a "meh, one more Vic Fontaine-centric episode. Take us back to the Dominion already" but by and by I liked how it turned out and how everyone seemed to have a lot a fun, something that definitely shows at the end when Sisko sings with Vic. And that slo-mo shot when Francky walks by the whole crew, our favorite characters, really did it for me, as if it was a 5 star cast like Ocean's Eleven's (which was release AFTER). I really appreciate how the writers explore other genre like in season 7 episode 13 with this "who done it" genre and, the baseball episode and this one. I think they handled it pretty well. About the race thing, I've read other comments and, while I also find it weird to be THAT upset in the 24th century about a time that is far gone, it actually made me think that perhaps we are still in the mind of Benny Russell from "Far Beyond the Stars" and then it made sense. Maybe the whole show (and the whole Star Trek) is in the writer's mind, something ala Philip K. Dick and I like this idea. I'd give this episode a solid 4/5.

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