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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old October 19 2012, 05:25 PM   #1
lurok
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How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

Had the misfortune to catch this episode again (only second time seen) and it was as dry and dull as first time around. I think there's a germ of a good idea in there (the price of utopia) but so much lets it down: writing, casting, tone. Brooks is lacklustre; Strickland is obviously nuts and unsympathetic. I wondered whether different casting might have helped? Perhaps Bashir and/or Keiko on mission instead? Then you'd at least have medical ethics and maybe Keiko being tempted by the 'green' agenda? I'd definitely recast/redirect Strickland. Anyone else have any ideas?
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Old October 20 2012, 01:07 AM   #2
sonak
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

the ending. Ugh, change that horrible ending. The colonists should have been ready to stone Alixus(was that her name?) to death on the spot.


Instead, they all serenely accept that she lied and tricked them, resulting in easily preventable deaths and suffering.

The ending makes them look like pathetic suckers and is totally unrealistic.

No real group of people in that situation would react that way.

Last edited by sonak; October 20 2012 at 04:17 PM.
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Old October 20 2012, 02:14 AM   #3
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

Yeah, I liked the episode on some levels. Sisko crawling back into the torture box was extremely powerful.

But the ending was just a pure WTF moment... if I was one of those colonists they'd have to physically restrain me from tarring and feathering her... which by the way is more humane than that torture box of hers.
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Old October 20 2012, 10:19 PM   #4
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

It's funny, I never once thought of the 'paradise' society as a utopia, so it seems a bad deal whatever the price might be. From my perspective, the only benefits Alixus's (Strickland) society has seemed to already be covered by the utopia that is Star Trek's version of earth. Things like: no poverty, no war, no famine, etc. I guess the community itself was smaller and thus closer knit, but that hardly seems like it would be worth it in exchange for dying of easily treatable diseases and living under an ideologically-charged dictatorship.

If 'Paradise' is any kind of utopia, it's a Fascist neo-luddite/neo-transcendentalist utopia, a utopia specially designed to appease a certain ideology, and for that reason I thought Strickland was very well cast for the roll. Her character is an ideological extremist who essentially kidnaps a group of people and forces them to live in harsh/lethal conditions and justifies her actions by saying she knows what's best for them. I don't think we were meant to have much sympathy for her character.

To that end, I agree with the other posters about the ending needing to be changed, at least to an extent. The fact that no one in the colony was even remotely angry about Alixus's deceptions was a hard pill to swallow; not to mention that none of the colonists showed the slightest interest in returning or even checking-up on their old lives. The only explanation I can think of for why no one would express such intentions or feelings is that Alixus still had some level of cult leader-like influence over them. However, if that was the case it should have been explicitly addressed.

The only character I would like to recast/redirected was Alixus's son. Between his generic 'Disney prince' appearance, skimpy clothing, and often vacant-looking expression on his face throughout the episode I find myself describing the character with my favorite new 30 Rock term: 'Sex idiot'
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Old October 21 2012, 03:27 AM   #5
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

The first time I saw this episode, I did think of a alternate ending.

Alixus would be seen imprisoned in Federation facility, multiple visits over the course of many years Chief O'Brien would come to see her. He would tell her how the colony was acquiring technology, growing in size, building large towns, then cities, immigrants are flooding the world.

Mighty rivers are being dammed, forests removed to create cropland.

In the very last scene, O'Brien turns and dispassionately leave, the camera pushes in on her face, and there are tears. She accomplished nothing.

Fade to black.


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Old October 21 2012, 09:07 AM   #6
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

Skipped it, that's all I got to say. In our rewatch of DS9, this episode was up yesterday. We watched for 20 minutes, but then it became to much.

The ending needed tweaking, for sure. But other performers would help a lot too. The actress playing Alixus was just so unconvincing, and her voice... Not sure it she always speaks like she's chocking up with tears, but it annoyed the hell out of me.
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Old October 21 2012, 10:44 AM   #7
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

"Paradise" has always been one of my favorites. Sure, the end's highly unrealistic, but all of the performances are pretty strong and I really like the premise. Alixus is a wonderful villain; you just love to hate her! Her interaction with Sisko is very powerful, as are his efforts to defy her when she's putting him under torture.

I guess with the end the writers tried to say that there's also something to gain from a society which abolishes the use of Treknology™. The episode is pretty sure about Alixus being an evil dictator and a horrible person to lead such a society. But the society itself isn't necessarily bad. Granted, it seems rather unlikely that these people would accept all their losses so easily, but it gets the message across. I agree, though, that the writers should have found another way to say their piece.
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Old October 21 2012, 04:24 PM   #8
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

I don't understand why Alixus had to lie to them in the first place. Just saying that she wanted to set up a Treknology-free colony in a remote area would have still attracted a bunch of settlers. Probably not the same set of people that went with her, but still, there's always someone out there with a similar philosophy. Alixus missed out on getting true believers to join her by lying to the people that did follow her.

I like to point out that Alixus was not really free of technology, just free of 24th century technology. If she were really willing to rough it without technology, she'd be living like a chimpanzee, and even they use sticks to poke things and catch ants. So, is it even really possible for humans to live technology-free?
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Old October 21 2012, 07:52 PM   #9
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
I don't understand why Alixus had to lie to them in the first place. Just saying that she wanted to set up a Treknology-free colony in a remote area would have still attracted a bunch of settlers. Probably not the same set of people that went with her, but still, there's always someone out there with a similar philosophy. Alixus missed out on getting true believers to join her by lying to the people that did follow her.

I like to point out that Alixus was not really free of technology, just free of 24th century technology. If she were really willing to rough it without technology, she'd be living like a chimpanzee, and even they use sticks to poke things and catch ants. So, is it even really possible for humans to live technology-free?

agreed on both points. There are always going to be people who are willing to join "alternative communities," we have them around today. So why couldn't Alixus have found willing, voluntary participants? Perhaps lying and trickery made the whole "experiment" more enjoyable for her because her real interest was in authoritarianism and sadism, and not her "social experiment?"
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Old October 22 2012, 11:13 AM   #10
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

I don't understand the objection to the colonists continuing to sympathize with Alixus. This is her cult. Just because she's revealed to be the antichrist should be no grounds for her followers to change their attitudes one iota. Cults don't behave that way.

If anything, the colonists ought to have been ready to stone Sisko and O'Brien to death so that the so-called crimes of the blessed Alixus would not lead to her unjust punishment in the filthy hands of the Federation.

OTOH, I agree that it was unnecessary for Alixus to engage in this elaborate plot. But not out of character. She'd just not see the benefit of the direct approach, and would not realize her followers would follow even without the deception. That's classic cult stuff, too - the leader doesn't think very highly of the followers, and definitely won't credit them with the ability to make the right decisions on their own. The "authoritarianism and sadism" angle is pretty evident there, too.

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Old October 22 2012, 01:38 PM   #11
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

The colonists were human, but due to their isolation they've had no contact with the UFP in years, so they could be classed as an independent colony and not under the protection of the Federation, which would mean their laws wouldn't apply.

At the end, Alixus and Vinod should have been locked up in the box for their crimes, so as to comply with their own legal system.
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Old October 22 2012, 03:15 PM   #12
sonak
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

Timo wrote: View Post
I don't understand the objection to the colonists continuing to sympathize with Alixus. This is her cult. Just because she's revealed to be the antichrist should be no grounds for her followers to change their attitudes one iota. Cults don't behave that way.

If anything, the colonists ought to have been ready to stone Sisko and O'Brien to death so that the so-called crimes of the blessed Alixus would not lead to her unjust punishment in the filthy hands of the Federation.

OTOH, I agree that it was unnecessary for Alixus to engage in this elaborate plot. But not out of character. She'd just not see the benefit of the direct approach, and would not realize her followers would follow even without the deception. That's classic cult stuff, too - the leader doesn't think very highly of the followers, and definitely won't credit them with the ability to make the right decisions on their own. The "authoritarianism and sadism" angle is pretty evident there, too.

Timo Saloniemi

I could agree with this interpretation, that the colonists were so brainwashed by her at that point, except I don't think that's the way the writers intended it. I think it was supposed to show that the colonists were genuinely grateful for what Alixus gave them in terms of community, no matter the deception or crimes involved.

In real life, we would consider such colonists as being under the hold of "Stockholm Syndrome," but I guess in this episode we are meant to assume that they are not.
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Old October 22 2012, 04:33 PM   #13
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

sonak's transporter ghost wrote: View Post
the ending. Ugh, change that horrible ending. The colonists should have been ready to stone Alixus(was that her name?) to death on the spot.


Instead, they all serenely accept that she lied and tricked them, resulting in easily preventable deaths and suffering.

The ending makes them look like pathetic suckers and is totally unrealistic.

No real group of people in that situation would react that way.
This. Besides, why the hell weren't those people dragged off in handcuffs after holding a bunch of Starfleet officers against their will and torturing one of 'em? WTF? Also, that "no-one will ever find you here, Beeeeeen, so give it up already". Man, that was dumb. Sisko and pals weren't a bunch of no-name colonists who were supposed to vanish into the depths of space, never to be seen again. Sisko was the commanding officer of the most important space station around, and he was kind of expected to come back. He was kind of on a schedule.

That episode makes me angry, and that god-awful woman should've been dragged away in chains. They all should have.
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Old October 22 2012, 06:57 PM   #14
Pavonis
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

I guess if Alixus set up more of a cult than a colony, I can understand why the remaining colonists didn't react as expected to the revelation. They're more or less brainwashed after 10 years of their lifestyle. They wouldn't shake that conditioning off in 5 minutes.

I imagine that the Federation might have followed up on the colony-cult after Sisko revealed their existence. Perhaps more people were arrested, but it's more likely that therapy was offered to all of them, even Alixus. That does seem to be the UFP's preferred method for addressing crimes. It would be even more relevant in this case, since the crime is basically the establishment of a cult. Locking cult members away would be less productive than reconditioning them to Federation psychological norms.
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Old October 22 2012, 08:17 PM   #15
Timo
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Re: How would you have improved 'Paradise'?

Besides, why the hell weren't those people dragged off in handcuffs after holding a bunch of Starfleet officers against their will and torturing one of 'em?
They did nothing illegal in that respect, according to local laws. Sisko and O'Brien did.

If Starfleet were in the habit of "dragging away" people who don't immediately bow to their will, they'd have their hands full. But not even the hippie-beating herbert Kirk really stooped to that. He was held at gunpoint or worse often enough, but his preferred solution was to punch the local leader in the face and call it even.

Apparently, Sisko just doesn't punch women in the face.

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