Paradise Lost (***½)
Jaresh-Inyo is the worst President ever. Admittedly, we've only ever seen three Federation Presidents (excluding Archer), and one of those Presidents was the immortal Terry Pratchett so the bar is set pretty high, but Jaresh-Inyo is pretty bad. In the previous episode Sisko managed to convince him to completely change his opinion in a brief scene, in this episode Sisko does it again. Then, even though he's suspicious of Leighton and his security measures, he completely falls for the false blood-test that incriminates Sisko. I'm not saying that the guy should steadfastly hold to his convictions in spite of opposing evidence, but the speed at which he goes from one extreme to another without even an inkling of the political games that are being played under the surface makes him look rather foolish.
My main problem with this episode is that it gives the game away too quickly in the beginning of the episode and then is forced to repeat itself in the second half to fill time. Rather than riding out some of the suspense that had built up in the first part, the very first scene of this episode reveals that all is not what it seems and that there's a conspiracy within Starfleet. Sisko figures out what's up too early in the episode so what's left are drawn out scenes of him agonising over having to turn in his friends and numerous scenes between Sisko and Leighton where both of them repeat the same points of view over and over again. It doesn't help that the episode didn't have the budget it needed to tell the story properly. This is a seminal moment in the Federation's history, a moment which could easily have led to civil war, but being forced to contain the action on a couple of small sets with only two of three actors at a time doesn't convey just how big a deal it is.
I like what this episode tries to do, it's an interesting story where everyone is well-intentioned but some can't see the dangers in their actions, but the subject matter deserves better than the execution. This should have been one of the show's greatest moments, right up there with Improbable Cause/The Die is Cast
, but it ends up being an enjoyable episode and little more, at least to me. It's not a bad episode, but it's a pity that it's not a great one.
Form of... some equipment: 24
Stupid French Things: 3