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.
Hand Wave: Sisko asks (as might the audience) where Leyton got the changeling sample used in his frame-up. Leyton responds by asking whether that detail really matters at the moment, and Sisko concedes that it doesn't.
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.
Admiral Leyton is a subversion. In "Homefront", he seemed like most reasonable Starfleet admiral ever, but this episode reveals he was actually insane all along.
President Jaresh-Inyo is a deconstruction. He's so reasonable that not only does he listen to the heroes, he also listens to the villains. After all, it's perfectly reasonable for a president to listen to his Starfleet chief of staff, especially when that admiral has evidence proving his accuser is actually a changeling.
Red Shirt: Two off-screen on the Defiant, and several more on the Lakota.
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.
Shout-Out: The officers that Sisko mentions in the transfer log are named for characters from Catch-22.
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.
Swiss Cheese Security: Sisko is able to get from his holding cell all the way to Leyton's office without being stopped by security, all while supposedly being wanted as a changeling infiltrator. Especially egregious since the previous episode had shown Starfleet was beefing up security at its headquarters.