Recap / Star Trek: Deep Space Nine S04E12 "Paradise Lost"

As Starfleet enforces sweeping security reforms on Earth, Sisko investigates the threat of Changelings and the Dominion. But mounting evidence indicates the entire situation could be an inside job.


  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Sisko hauls in a Red Squad cadet for a chewing out, making the cadet believe Sisko's in league with Leyton. Sisko then demands the cadet walk him through the plan to sabotage the planetary power grid to explain their "damn sloppy work".
  • Boring, but Practical: This episode demonstrates why Starfleet has kept the Excelsior-class ships in service for a century. The Lakota manages to go toe-to-toe with the Defiant, a ship designed to fight the Borg, and very nearly wins.
  • False Flag Operation: Leyton has Red Squad disable Earth's entire power grid, then blames it on Changeling infiltrators.
  • Frame-Up: Leyton fakes a blood screening to make Sisko look like a Changeling infiltrator, thus getting him out of the way.
  • Graceful Loser: Once it's clear Leyton cannot win, he quietly takes off his rank insignia in resignation.
  • Historical In-Joke: The Starship Lakota commanded by an officer named Benteen? Hmmmm... Double points for the Lakota and Benteen fighting a last stand for a seriously deluded officer.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Sisko pulls off Leyton's combadge when demanding his resignation. Leyton then takes off his admiral bars when admitting defeat.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Admiral Leyton's methods to "Strengthen Earth" wind up shifting into violent zealotry. He's basically trying to establish a burgeoning dictatorship. His final step is declaring he will hold and defend Earth against the rest of Starfleet.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Insane Admiral Leyton sets the Lakota against the Defiant by convincing Captain Benteen that the latter ship is full of changelings.
  • Not Me This Time: Yes, Changelings have infiltrated Earth. But they're innocent in this particular instance.
  • Paranoia Gambit: Changeling!O'Brien elaborates on this to Sisko. There are only four changelings on Earth (well, so the changeling says, anyway), but just the mere thought of infiltration has sent the planet into panic.
  • Revealing Cover-Up: Sisko and Odo notice a transporter log indicating that Red Squad was beamed back to the San Francisco just after the blackout, demobilized, then mobilized just three hours later. When the Academy commandant asks Sisko to erase that log entry, because it might cause problems, it's their first hint that something bigger is at work.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: The Defiant has the Lakota on the ropes, but doesn't deliver the killing blow. This convinces Benteen to disobey her orders and turn on Leyton.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: Starfleet having only one ship in the vicinity of Earth despite a time of crisis, and despite an admiral who's followers include the head of Starfleet Academy, Leyton only has the Lakota to do his bidding despite Starfleet having thousands of ships as seen later in the Dominion War. This could be less that it's the only ship in area and more it's the only ship in the area commanded by Leyton's most trusted lieutenant.
  • That's an Order!:
    • When Nog is reluctant to provide Sisko with the names of Red Squad, Sisko points out that it wasn't a request. He wants a name, he wants it now, and that is an order!
    • Leyton reiterates his orders to Benteen to stop the Defiant by any means necessary, even if it means destroying her with quantum torpedoes. Fortunately, she's sane enough to stand down.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Leyton seems to start one as his plans go south, but ultimately reins it in and resigns quietly.
  • We Have Reserves: Leyton claims he has enough forces to "make a fight out of it." after Benteen and the Lakota crew turn on him.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sisko himself says that Leyton is enacting his coup out of genuine, but misguided, patriotism.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out what happened to the actual changeling infiltrators on Earth who bombed the Antwerp conference.
  • What the Hell, Hero?/"The Reason You Suck" Speech/Rage Against the Mentor: Sisko lets Leyton have it for plotting against Jaresh-Inyo.
  • Whole Plot Reference: It's essentially Seven Days in May IN SPACE!
  • With Due Respect: Shepard says this while countering Sisko's accusations that Red Squad did "some damn sloppy work" when they caused the power outage.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Sisko's attempt to convince Jaresh-Inyo that Leyton's plotting against him comes close to this, but Sisko remains rational enough to make Inyo willing to consider the evidence.