When Nog returns to DS9 with his new bio-synthetic leg, he is clearly a very different person to the one who left for AR-558 several weeks ago. Despite the warm welcome of his colleagues and friends, Nog withdraws into himself, finding solace only in Vic Fontaine’s holographic nightclub. A spell at Vic’s might just be what Nog needs to overcome the trauma of losing a limb, but will he ever be ready to rejoin the real world?
Having dealt with the horrors of being on the front lines just a couple of episodes ago, DS9 takes a little time to examine the effects of carrying on with your life after being injured in battle. Over the course of Star Trek’s many seasons, we’ve seen many characters experience horrific and traumatising events that should really have left their mark, but for the most part, they’ve been utterly fine by the next week. This is one of the few occasions where we get to really delve into how such events can deeply affect even a 24th century person.
The future is an amazing place, where limbs can be replaced with bio-synthetic duplicates, but despite the original claims of TOS, mental health has not been fixed. Nog must not only come to terms with what happened to him, but what it means for the future – like many young people, he assumed he was invincible, and now he has to face the facts that he’s living in a world where he could get hurt or even killed.
James Darren is brilliant as Vic Fontaine here, at first providing a safe haven when Nog can hide from the world and lick his wounds, but later forcing the young man to confront the fact that he can’t stay in a holosuite forever. I’m not sure if letting Nog live in the holosuite and then making him go cold turkey is the best treatment for his PTSD, but then I’m not on an expert on the subject, so let’s go with it.
Points of note
- This is the first time since she helped Garak in Afterimage that we see Ezri actually doing her counselling job, instead of dredging up the memories of a past career in order to help with science or engineering.
- Does Vic’s program need to be physically running in a holosuite in order for Vic to live his life? Moriarty and the Countess were loaded into a computer for a lifetime’s worth of simulations- couldn’t Vic similarly run in memory without taking up physical space? I guess it might be difficult to then transfer the club to a physical space when people want to visit it.
- At one point, Vic calls Nog “Noggles”.
Summary – It’s Only A Paper Moon: Vic and Nog, the dynamic duo.