The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Paradise Lost

In the wake of the planet-wide blackout, martial law has been declared on Earth, and Starfleet officers have been deployed onto the streets. But when Sisko examines the evidence, it seems that the sabotage may be an inside job. Can Sisko find evidence that Starfleet Admiral Leyton is the one responsible, before Earth falls prey to a military regime?

Throughout Star Trek, Earth has always been a peaceful paradise – a platonic ideal that remains constant even whilst our heroes dealt with the Romulans, the Klingons and sundry other enemies. Even in the movies, any threats to the Earth were from the outside, never from within. But Roddenberry’s ideal of future humanity has never stopped DS9 from exploring the tricky issues, and Paradise Lost delivers the pay off that Homefront was setting up. The Dominion aren’t the ones at fault here – in his desperation to step up security against the president’s wishes, he has orchestrated an elaborate plot. Is there a single Starfleet admiral who isn’t corrupt or incompetent?

Points of note

  • Once again, all the senior staff leave DS9 unattended – you know, that vitally important strategic location.
  • Before the Saratoga, Sisko served on the Okinawa under Leyton. Initially, Sisko was more interested in engineering and ship-building – indeed, he would later go on to be in charge of building the Defiant at the Utopia Planitia shipyards – but Leyton saw potential in him, and promoted him to a command post.
  • There are four Changelings on Earth. I wonder if there are any on Vulcan, Andoria, or other nominally important but rarely seen Federation worlds.
  • If it really is that easy to break into classified Starfleet files, it might be time for the Federation to finally start using proper encryption.
  • The O’Brien Changeling claims that his people don’t fear humanoids the way humanoids fear them, but of course fear was one of the major motivating factors for creating Dominion in the first place. As long as they have the Jem’Hadar and are in a position of power, they need not fear the humanoids that once persecuted them.

Summary – Paradise Lost: The greatest threat to the Federation is Colm Meaney’s acting as the O-Brien Changeling.

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