Star Trek 451: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

451. Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

FORMULA: The Royale + It's Only a Paper Moon + A Piece of the Action

WHY WE LIKE IT: The role-playing.

WHY WE DON'T: Sisko's racial politics.

REVIEW: As a role-player, I've always been interested in the untapped possibilities offered by holodeck technology - even explored them in a Star Trek PBEM some time ago - and if I lived in the Star Trek universe, I'm sure I would be a Felix. Bashir's mysterious friend can't help putting a role-playing element in what is essentially an entertainment program, though I'm guessing keeping Vic running continuously for so long has jumpstarted the "jack-in-the-box". In any case, it's a chance to do a fun heist story à la Ocean's Eleven.

And it IS a lot of fun. We get to see the entire plan pulled off seamlessly, and then the actual way it goes with lots of little screw-ups forcing the characters to improvise (the strip search is particularly amusing). The recon portion of the adventure, as the characters try to get in good with the mobsters is good too, and Kira is incredibly hot in period attire. I'm a wee bit surprised at how well she pulls off her character, but it's not a great stretch from acting the comfort woman in Wrongs Darker. The mobsters themselves are pretty much stock, though Mr. Zeemo is a hoot. Wish he'd had more screen time. But generally, good music and atmosphere, and that slow shot of the cast walking into Quark's in period dress has to be called a classic.

Controversy surrounds Sisko's distaste for Vic's on the basis that in the 60s, black people wouldn't have been welcome there, bringing more current racial politics into a future where none of that matters. It can definitely be attributed to his "second life" as Benny, a 60s SF writer, but it still seems out of place. And since he changes his mind behind the scenes and never mentions it again, it's a useless impediment to the plot. Instead of making a point that didn't need to be made, he could just as well have found the enterprise trivial given all the serious work to be done on the station. At least the link to Far Beyond the Stars seems to have given the creators the impetus to put Robert "Gowron" O'Reilly in a scene without make-up.

Since this is a Vic story, you need a good song that says something about the show. The choice: "The Best Is Yet to Come". Seeing as this was the last bit of fluff before the last 10 episodes, all focusing on the Dominion War, I'd say it was a good one.

LESSON: Rebooting isn't always the best option.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: One last romp before the Dominion War takes over. Fun fluff.


LiamKav said...

I wonder if they're a bit damned if they do, damned if they don't. If Sisko says nothing, then people will wonder why black people are being accepted in posh 1950s casinos. They can't even use the (to be honest, rather unconvincing) handwave Doctor Who used with regards to Marsha.

I can't remember, but was Vic's always packed out with a fully multi-racial cast of extras? Because if they went to the trouble to say, however subtly, that "this is how the past should have been", it makes it even harder to argue with the producers refusal to ever put a gay couple in the background.


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