Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 4 Episode 12

Paradise Lost (2)

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Jan 08, 1996 on Syndicado
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Stardate: 49482.3 Earth has been placed under martial law and security troops have been deployed in anticipation of a Dominion invasion. However, as Sisko investigates, he worries that things are not as they seem.

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  • "Don't trust Admirals" - Captain Kirk

    This successful conclusion to "Homefront", set on Earth, moves the military plot to the forefront, this time handing the "guest star of honor" reins to Robert Foxworth (Admiral Leyton). The theme of the episode, five years ahead of its time, is the danger of cognitive distortions following a large-scale tragic event. It's easy to see Leyton as a 21st century politician, using fear and suspicion to push through a self serving agenda and believing it's for the greater good. Caught up in the political demagoguery is Leyton's relationship with Sisko, with Avery Brooks and Foxworth stepping into the familiar Trek roles of "the Star Trek regular" and his "former mentor gone bad". With apologies to Jonathan Frakes and Terry O'Quinn, never is such a dynamic as exciting as in "Paradise Lost" with both actors knowing just how to play their parts and each character knowing just how to deal with the other, leading to a sequence of scenes that leaves the viewer on the edge of his seat, wondering how it will all end.

    Perhaps "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" aren't the game changing episodes they tease themselves to be - the writers have fun with some misdirection before the true danger takes shape. But they have a significant message that will always remain relevant.moreless
  • "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Thomas Jefferson

    In "Homefront", Sisko and Leyton convinced the Federation President to implement martial law after Changelings were blamed for the Earth-wide electricity blackout. Starfleet soldiers are now on every street protecting the populace.

    Yet quickly, Sisko and Odo become convinced that the blackout was actually an inside job orchestrated by elements within Starfleet. He keeps snooping around, arousing the suspicion of Admiral Leyton who orders Sisko back to Deep Space Nine. The Federation President refuses to confront Leyton about the Earthwide troop deployments without evidence of a conspiracy. Sisko and Odo become convinced that the same elements in Starfleet which caused the blackout are now planning a coup against the Federation's civilian government.

    With evidence in hand, Sisko goes to meet the President. Before he can make his case, he is framed as a Changeling and put in a holding cell. Leyton, one of the masterminds of the conspiracy, unsuccessfully attempts to convince Sisko that a strong hand is needed to combat the Dominion threat. After Leyton leaves, Odo comes and frees Sisko from the cell.

    Sisko goes to Leyton's office to confront him. This is probably the most dramatic and exciting scene of the episode: while Sisko and his former commander/mentor debate the merits of the coup, the Defiant (flying to Earth with evidence to discredit Leyton) confronts a Starfleet ship ordered by Leyton to attack.

    A few of the themes explored in this episode -- rogue military officers defying civilian authority for "the greater good", the duty of officers to obey their superiors no matter how questionable the order -- were explored in the Next Generation episode "The Pegasus". While that was also a great episode, this one is better because the stakes are that much higher. And I think the most important theme is the one of how much liberty we should be prepared to sacrifice to achieve security.

    Other thoughts: the scene with Sisko and the Changeling-O'Brien who comes to taunt him was very well done; props to Colm Meaney for playing the character just askew enough for us to realize he's not the real O'Brien. Also, as the notes for this episode mention, the movie "Seven in Days in May" (with Kirk Douglas) explores many of the same themes as this episode.

    Finally, it's worth mentioning that Leyton is not a cartoon villain -- he is not without doubts about his actions, and clearly believes he is acting for the greater good of the Federation. Yet as Thomas Paine said, "The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes."moreless
  • I tried to put this in the Trivia Sectrion but couldn't.

    Captain Beteen was the second in command of the Michigan 7th Cavalry during the Battle of the Little Big Horn and he was the only surviving senior officer of the Unit. The Ship Captain Benteen comanded during the episode was the Lakota. Which was one of the Sioux Nations involved in the Battle of the Little Big Horn. I know Sitting Bull was Ocala Sioux. I don't know if the Captain Benteen in the battle faced the Lakota Sioux or not. All I know is that he was the only surviving Senior officer of the Unit. If I am not mistaken the Air date of this episode is the date that the battle took place.moreless
  • A powerful episode that demonstrates that even in Paradise, even the fear of the unknown can destroy everything. Poses difficult and far-reaching questions that are as much relevant today as they were when the episode was originaly written.moreless

    For some time now the threat of the Dominion and the changeling Founders have been focused almost entirely on the space station of Deep Space Nine. Until now. With the danger of an enemy who can take any shape or form, and which has no regard for your species existence, the reality that Earth is a target is a major revelation in the history of Star Trek.

    In the past, villians such as the Borg and the Klingons have scared us with their vicious brutality and overwhelming destructive capabilty. But unlike these traditional villains, the changelings are more like a cancer, that destroys from within. As the changeling disguised as Chief O'Brien explains to Captain Sisko, fear is what will destroy humanity.

    Indeed, the irony of the episode is that both the Founders and Admiral Leyton both intend to use the climate of fear around the Dominion for their own advantage. And both mutually benefit from each others plans. Leyton uses the bombing of the Antwerp conference in Homefront, to persuade greater security measures be put in place only to go further and engineer an even greater event that plunges Earth into a worldwide blackout, destroying the cosy lives of its inhabitants.

    Watching the arguments for and against state powers and security versus the threat of terrorism is harder to swallow in this world today than back in 1997. As the spectre of global terrorism is more than just the fantasy of an alien race, but of extremists bent on the destruction of entire countries and peoples. In a way, the characters and their situations becomes even more apt. Admiral Leyton begins sympathetically, his desire to preserve and secure Earth and Federation is easily identifiable. But as he spirals further in extremes, we lose that sympathy and begin to fear him more than the original alien threat.

    Yet, it is the reactions of supporting characters such as Jake and his grandfather Joseph Sisko that trully define the episode. In Homefront, the civilian Joseph Sisko refuse a blood screening as a breach of his rights and liberties. While in Paradise Lost, he welcomes the added security in the wake of the global blackout. In a very real way, Joeseph Sisko is the average viewer, the one who fights for his rights, but whose fears can overwhelm him to the point that he sacrifices those rights for security and safety.

    And again, when Worf in Defiant is confronted by the Lakota and the two Starfleet ships engage in battle, it is shocking. Federation officers fighting each has been done in the past, but in most cases, the officers involved are almost always evil or twisted in some way. Here, both ships are fighting for what they believe are just causes.

    When the reimagined Battlestar Galactica returned with its first series, the opening episode "33" dealt with Captain Apollo being forced to fire on and destroy a passenger liner suspected of being under Cylon control. Year earlier, in Paradise Lost we have the threat of a Starfleet ship possibly being controled by alien terrorist on a course for Earth. It's hard not to see the parallels between both these episodes and the real world events that occurred in between them. Indeed, while we know that the Defiant is certainly not under the control of changelings, it is hard not to see why the Lakota and her crew would not be hell bent on destroying the Defiant if they understood that it was under alien control.

    Paradise Lost is rarely ever listed as one of the best episodes of Deep Space Nine, let alone Star Trek in general, but its powerful and timely message of the nature of terrorism and fear, civil liberties and security, are just as relevant now as it was back in 1997. Perhaps even more so.moreless
  • Earth is placed under martial law after a high-ranking official tricked the federation into thinking the Changelings would attack. Sisko uncovers the plot, barely in time for his crew to survive attack from a Starfleet ship.moreless

    Just like part 1, Homefront, this one hits close to home. Terrorism seems to have become part of our lives now, and these 2 episodes make it abundantly clear what we are doing wrong. There are several excellent quotes in this episode especially, which we all should consider as a nation in the U.S.: \"...I\'ll be damned if I let them (the Changelings/terrorists) change the way I live my life.\" (Sisko Senior)moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

Lt./Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax (Season 1-6)

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt. Commander Worf (Season 4-7)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Robert Foxworth

Robert Foxworth

Admiral Leyton

Guest Star

Herschel Sparber

Herschel Sparber


Guest Star

Susan Gibney

Susan Gibney

Captain Benteen

Guest Star

Aron Eisenberg

Aron Eisenberg


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Nitpick: When Sisko is approached by the Changeling disguised as O'Brien, he exclaims that there was no way that the Defiant could have gotten there "so soon". It's odd that he's even expecting the Defiant since he hadn't called Major Kira yet to ask her to send it.

    • Nitpick: There is frequent reference in this episode to "the 14th" (of some month). This departs from the usual practice of using Stardates for timekeeping.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Sisko: (to Leyton)So you're willing to destroy paradise in order to save it?

    • Joseph Sisko: (About Ben Sisko) Is he always such a mother hen?
      Odo: He means well.

    • Sisko: Cadet, you are obviously under the mistaken impression that I'm asking a favor. I want a name, and I want it now, and that is an ORDER, understood, Mr. Nog?
      Nog: Yes, sir.

    • Odo: Am I the only one who's worried there are still changelings here on Earth?
      Joseph: Worried? I'm scared to death. But I'll be damned if I'm gonna let them change the way I live my life.
      Sisko: If the changelings want to destroy what we've built here, they'll have to do it themselves. We will not do it for them.

    • Sisko: If the Lakota fires on the Defiant, you'll be opening a Pandora's box that may never be closed.
      Leyton: Then contact the Defiant and tell them to stand down.
      Sisko: I won't do that!
      Leyton: I didn't think so. But don't kid yourself, Ben. This Pandora's box of yours, we're opening it together.

    • Leyton: (After Worf contacts Sisko) That was a mistake, Ben. Talking to your ship from my office. Now that security knows you're here, you'll never make it past that door.
      Sisko: Whether I get out of here or not doesn't matter. By now, Odo is talking to Jaresh-Inyo. Soon, the president will have all the evidence he needs to stop you. It's over.
      Leyton: (pounds desk) IT'S NOT OVER!! (suddenly calm) I have enough loyal officers to make a fight of it.
      Sisko: Who will you fight? Starfleet? The Federation? Don't you see, Admiral? You're fighting the wrong war! And as for your most loyal officers, Benteen's already abandoned you. And she was closer to you than anyone. You've lost. Don't make anyone else pay for your mistakes. (Leyton takes off his collar pips)
      Leyton: I just hope you're not the one making the mistake.

    • Sisko: There comes a time in every man's life when he must stop thinking and start doing.

    • Changeling O'Brien: Let me ask you a question. How many Changelings do you think are here on Earth right at this moment?
      Sisko: I'm not going to play games with you.
      Changeling O'Brien: Ah. What if I were to tell you that there are only four on this entire planet? Eh? Not counting Constable Odo, of course. Think of it. Just four of us, and look at the havoc we've wrought.
      Sisko: How do I know you're telling the truth?
      Changeling O'Brien: Oh, four is more than enough. We're smarter than solids. We're better than you. And most importantly, we do not fear you the way you fear us. In the end, it's your fear that will destroy you.
      Sisko: Have you finished?
      Changeling O'Brien: Finished? (laughs) We've barely begun. I'll be seeing you.

    • Sisko: (referring to the martial law declaration on Earth) Paradise has never seemed so well armed.

    • Sisko: He admitted to committing acts of treason against the Federation. If he was going to lie, I think he would have made up a better story.

    • Sisko: I didn't know it was so easy to break into classified Starfleet files.
      Odo: Everything I know, I learned from Quark.

    • Sisko: You want to talk to me about loyalty?! After you broke your oath to the Federation! Lied to the people of Earth!! Ordered one of our own starships to fire on another!! You don't have the right!!!

  • NOTES (8)

    • In subduing one of the security officers in order to free Sisko, Odo uses the Vulcan Neck Pinch. Robert Hewitt Wolfe explained in the Deep Space Nine Companion that the reasoning behind this was simple: "we ran out of money for the morphs."

    • Rudolph Willrich (Academy Commandant) also played the role of Kuulan on the Enterprise episode "Oasis", and Reittan Grax on The Next Generation episode "Menage a Troi".

    • Red Squad would be seen again in the sixth season episode "Valiant".

    • This episode was originally supposed to air as the season four opening episode (with "Homefront" as the season three finale), but was pushed back to mid-season as the network didn't want to end season three with a cliff-hanger.

    • Red Squad was scheduled to return to base at 1947 hrs. Writer Joe Menosky began including references to the number 47 in almost every episode of Star Trek since season four of The Next Generation. It is an in-joke, referring to The 47 Society at Pomona College in California, a college which Menosky attended.

    • Armin Shimerman (Quark) does not appear in this episode.

    • Susan Gibney previously played the role of Dr. Leah Brahms in the Next Generation episodes "Booby Trap" and "Galaxy's Child".

    • Robert Foxworth guest starred as General Hague on the Babylon 5 episode "All Alone In The Night". Interestingly, Foxworth's character, also a high ranking member of the military and a friend of the main character, was attempting to expose a conspiracy. Foxworth was also scheduled to reprise his role on Babylon 5 for the episode "Severed Dreams". However, the filming his role on Deep Space Nine conflicted with the Babylon 5 shoot. As the role of Leyton allowed him to appear in two episodes as opposed to one as General Hague, Foxworth opted for the Deep Space Nine job instead, much to the consternation of Babylon 5 creator and executive producer J. Michael Straczynski and adding the semi-competition between the two series. The Hague character was subsequently written out of the script for "Severed Dreams" and killed off.


    • The names of the former members of the USS Okinawa are all named after characters from Joseph Heller's famous 1961 novel Catch 22.

    • Paradise Lost The title of this episode, "Paradise Lost", is an allusion to John Milton's book by the same name, in which Adam and Eve are tossed out from the "paradise" of the Garden of Eden.

    • Seven Days In May
      The plot of this movie - the takeover of the civilian government by a charismatic, powerful military figure - is similar to the plot of the iconic Cold War film Seven Days In May. In the film, Burt Lancaster plays a disgruntled Air Force General who tries to seize control of the US Government from an unpopular President played by Frederic March.