The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

When Vic Fontaine’s hotel is bought out by the mobster Frankie Eyes, it marks an unwelcome change for everyone’s favourite holosuite program. Determined to help Vic get his job back, the senior crew must put together a plan to get rid of Frankie and put everything back to normal.

I have to admit I was dreading this episode. After all, here we are on the cusp of the grand finale, and we’re taking time out for a silly holosuite episode that would be more at home in TNG or Voyager. Nonetheless, despite my antipathy, I actually quite enjoyed myself.

At heart, this is an amusing if predictable romp along the lines of Ocean’s Eleven, with our intrepid heroes attempting to rob a casino, encountering various unexpected obstacles not accounted for in the original plan, but ultimately succeeding against all the odds. One feels there ought to be an easier way to fix a holosuite program, but if we suspend our disbelief for a little while, then it’s decent enough.

Bits and pieces
• Sisko’s declaration that he doesn’t like the Vic Fontaine program because it’s set in a more racist era feels a little forced. I tried to think of an equivalent program that would make me feel the same, but as a white person I couldn’t come up with one – any situation that wasn’t friendly to women or LGBT people probably wouldn’t be a setting I’d want to visit in the first place.
I think there is a point here about how the holodeck lets us play out a rose-tinted version of the past, and that we shouldn’t forget that some things weren’t all that nice, but to suddenly bring that up when it’s never been mentioned before seems a little out of the blue. And then, having held these strong beliefs all this time, Sisko is immediately swayed by a single speech from Kasidy. Either make this a proper issue to be explored, or don’t mention it – don’t do a half-arsed job.
I also think they missed a trick by not having Sisko connect his discomfort with the era to his experience as Benny Russell in Far Beyond the Stars.
• I know it would be a less exciting episode, but surely it must be possible to connect a debugger to the holodeck and get rid of Frankie by patching the program. Or maybe Felix is really good at packing and obfuscating his programs, to make such intererence impossible. He probably doesn’t want Bashir messing with his carefully crafted holosuite masterpieces.
• Why does Bashir need to drop the drugs into the drink? Surely Ezri could have done that.
• For someone who doesn’t care much for women in general, Odo is an odd choice to be so entranced by the dancing girls.

Summary – Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang: One last romp before the serious stuff begins.

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