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Star Trek DS9 - Season 7 - Episode 10

Star Trek DS9 - 7x10 - It's Only a Paper Moon

Originally Aired: 1998-12-30

Synopsis:
After losing his leg in battle, a somber Nog returns to the space station to recuperate. [DVD]

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 5.46

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 47 4 3 5 6 6 9 14 24 29 26

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Numerous major long term plot threads are serviced here.

Problems
None

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- The senior staff picking on Julian for his holosuite programs.
- Nog being rude to Jake's girlfriend, then attacking Jake.
- Vic: "She called you a hero? And for that you slugged your best friend? Remind me never to give you a compliment."
- O'Brien: "I'm an engineer, not a philosopher." Not exact, but I'll count it. Count 27 for "I'm a doctor, not a (blah)" style lines, which McCoy was famous for.

My Review
An episode centered around Nog's difficulty in dealing with the loss of his leg is a natural progression of the events from DS9: AR-558. Unfortunately, the episode falls somewhat flat. I was never quite fond of Vic Fontaine, and this episode steals precious time from what could have been another marvelous Ezri counseling session, but nope, it's all about Vic and his trivial holographic life. Not that I'm totally insensitive to the sentient hologram, nor do I not appreciate the theme of the episode that escaping too much into a fantasy world is bad, it's just that a more "real world" setting episode probably would have better suited the episode. We've seen holodiction handled far better with Barclay on TNG.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Benjamin Baxter on 2008-07-15 at 4:18pm:
    Problem: Sometimes when Nog walks, he's limping with the wrong leg. At least, that's what it looks like it.
  • From Remco on 2009-07-25 at 7:13pm:
    I didn't get the impression that this episode was about holodiction. The prolonged holodeck time only had a positive influence on Nog. If we've seen anything before, it's 7 years of counseling sessions with Deanna Troi. I thought this was a fresh spin on both holo-issues and psychological counseling.
  • From S. Egil on 2009-08-20 at 1:32pm:
    Regarding the problem of veterans' post-traumatic stress syndrome, the writers get many things right in this episode. Listen to Nog's breakthrough confession to Vic about his battle revelation that he too, though young and eager, was mortal and vulnerable. Combat veterans will certainly find much truth in this. The play of Nog's mortality against Vic's supposed (hollow)immortality makes for an interesting and subtle story. But why weren't the other crew members, most of whom had seen grueling combat themselves, more skillful and empathetic in helping Nog?
  • From rpeh on 2010-08-04 at 4:18pm:
    One minor problem: in the scene just after Nog moves into the Holosuite, and the staff are discussing Bashir's programs, Ezri's collar insignia changes. It starts as a Lt. JG but with the black pip to the right, then it cuts away to Jake. When it cuts back again, the pips are the right way round.

    Having demonstrated my amazing powers of observation, the episode falls a bit flat. I agree that Ezri would have been a better choice for counsellor, but they did kind of explain that when Nog told her that all he'd done was talk to people about his feelings.

    I'll give it a 4.
  • From Krs321 on 2011-10-04 at 8:22am:
    Have to disagree with this review and your opinion of Vic in general.

    1. This episode isn't about Vic and his trivial holographic life. It's about PTSD and Nog. The fact that Nog could escape to a literal fantasy world is what makes the episode.

    2. Vic is the, what, 3rd sentient Hologram now? Shouldn't Starfleet be flipping out and studying this phenomenon?

    3. Vic is a better counselor than Ezri. Honestly, they should've introduced Vic a long time ago. He's more interesting than Jadzia or Ezri. They just need to spend less time showing him sing.
  • From Omcn on 2012-01-10 at 7:48am:

    This is one of my fav. ep. in the season if not the entire series. This is a classic example of how Trek has an excellent way of pointing out the flaws in modern (and apparently for centuries to come) treatment to mental illness. Does Ezri show off her stuff? No. Why not? Cause with a problem like this it needs to be handled in an extreme way and the holosuite is the perfect place with Vic the perfect hollow character. I think that the way Nog reacts to doctors telling him the pain he feels is "all in his head" is very believable. I love that as soon as Nog reacts violently Ezri is ready to end the experiment of allowing Nog to let things run its course in the hollowsuite, that is so realistic. Vic (not a "trained" counselor) knows better and stops her from removing him. A violent outburst is often a show of the road to recovery and modern (as well as in the future) always view violence as a negative progression of mental illness. This ep. rounds out nicely with Nog finding his purpose again, not as a soldier but as a businessmen which again fits in with his character nicely. I love this ep. for the commentary on mental illness and in dealing with physical impairment.
  • From Harrison on 2012-08-28 at 9:58pm:
    Watching a self-absorbed depressed Ferengi adolescent mope around a holosuite isn't my idea of good TV drama.

    Blech.
  • From Esper on 2014-04-04 at 3:48pm:
    I think this was a magnificent episode.
    The episode handled PTSD suffering and healing process perfectly and the whole ride made Nog's character more alive and likable persona whom you can relate with.

    I also liked Vic a lot considering he is entirely made by Bashir's genetically enhanced doctor brain, so no wonder he knows a thing or two how to handle PTSD patients.
    All and all I give this episode 9/10. The duo brought both of them both alive, each in unique way.

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