“Two Cheeseburgers”: Paradise
OK, this one’s absolute rubbish.
I’ve had my philosophical disagreements with this show this season, but at least those were on episodes that were basically well-constructed and where there was room for a nuanced discussion about different interpretations. “Paradise” is just hot garbage and the first Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode since “Invasive Procedures” I simply can’t defend or come up with any interesting tangential topics to venture forth into. It’s a directionless parable about cultism and the relationship the Star Trek universe has with its technology that can’t make its mind up about what it wants its actual point to be and plays out as a hideously boring rehash of “The Apple” from the Original Series and “The Masterpiece Society” from the fifth season. No amount of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine‘s lovely purple prose or Block and Erdmann’s praise for how how Commander Sisko “radiates” defiance in their Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion is ever going to upsell me on this story or convince me it’s anything other than some alien looking crap-on-a-stick.
I said I didn’t have any tangents to go off of here, but, now that I’ve said that, I actually think I do. It’s not a major theme in this story purely because of the fact the episode can’t take a stand one way or the other, but “Paradise” remains another example of a worryingly Luddite motif that’s been creeping into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine this season and that will become more of a problem on the next series. Apart from Alixis’ tyrannical anti-tech cult in this story, there’s also stuff like Major Kira’s disparaging remark to Dax in “The Siege” that Starfleet officers have forgotten how to use their “natural instincts” because of their reliance on technology (and before anyone comments, we’re absolutely meant to sympathize with Kira here: This is from her Big Damn Hero making scene and that Dax comes across as well as she does is purely due to Terry Farrell). There seems to be the beginning of an idea that Star Trek (really Star Trek: The Next Generation, as all Star Trek from now in is going to be in some way a reaction to Star Trek: The Next Generation) is too overly sanitized and technologized, and that this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed and that the show needs to be taken to task for.
This is the brainchild of Ira Steven Behr, who has gone on the record numerous times stating his open disdain for technobabble, his belief that it’s a dramatic crutch that hinders actual storytelling and that he “tried very hard to take the tech out of DS9”. But let’s unpack this concern a bit. First of all, let’s remember what the actual point of technobabble in Star Trek really is-In truth, it serves two primary purposes. The first, and most important, is to make the crew seem competent.…