Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 07 E 10 Its Only A Paper Moon

Go To
Don't be fooled by Nog dressed like a 1950s sitcom dad. This episode's about PTSD.
After spending a month at a Starfleet hospital after his leg was shot off at AR-558, Nog finally returns to DS-9. However, it's quickly clear that he's suffering from PTSD. He's not his normal chipper self, he barely acknowledges the senior staff as they greet him, and he limps with a cane. Evidently, treating soldiers suffering from PTSD has become a forgotten science in Starfleet, as all of his doctors and psychiatrists insist there is nothing wrong with him. Ezri tries to do her job, since counselors are valuable in war. However, Nog doesn't feel like talking to anyone, and so retreats to his room.

Nog tries to seek solace in "I'll Be Seeing You," as sung by Vic Fontaine. It played during the battle of AR-558 and he finds some comfort in it. However, headphones have evidently become a lost technology, as he plays it through the comm of his and Jake's shared quarters. Finally, Jake has had enough and forces him out. Nog then breaks into his uncle's holosuite and runs the Vic Fontaine program. Still not better after hearing fifteen variations of it, he declares he doesn't want to go back to his life. Vic offers him to stay in his suite in the Las Vegas hotel. Naturally, the senior staff is a bit stunned by Nog now living in a holosuite, but Ezri decides to let this play out and convinces Vic to try to help ease Nog back into the real world.

Vic begins to do this by finding things to get Nog's mind of his troubles, like his own financial problems, old Earth films, and his shows. However, it doesn't go well. While at a show, Jake comes in with a date and tries to chat up Nog, who gets exceptionally defensive when he catches Jake's date staring at his leg. It culminates in Nog throwing a table on Jake, to which Vic immediately throws the Ferengi out. Afterwards, with a little heart-to-heart, Vic is finally able to switch Nog's mind to something else: his bookkeeping. Soon, Nog becomes well adjusted to living in 1962 Las Vegas. Soon, Ezri confronts Vic that Nog is getting lost in this fantasy world, leading the hologram to realize that it is time for Nog to go back.


In their suite, Vic finally tells Nog that it's time. However, the Ferengi will hear none of it. They have big plans, including a new casino. He's also run Vic longer than he ever has been on, giving him an entire life. Acknowledging this, Vic thanks Nog, but says it's still time that Nog went back to his own. Against the ensign's wishes and pleas, Vic turns his own program off. As Nog tries ripping apart the holosuite to turn him back on, Vic finally reappears and Nog begs him not to send him back. He's afraid he'll get killed in this war. He thought he would be alright, but he's more scared than he's ever been. The hologram delivers some wise words to Nog: "All I can tell you is that you've got to play the cards life deals you. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but at least you're in the game." With this, Nog finally returns to the real world, and as a thanks to Vic, he arranges to have the program run 26 hours a day.


This episode contains examples of:

  • Artistic License – Medicine: Inverted, as the doctors of this Century seem to have forgotten about phantom limb pain.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Nog is surprised to see it in the climax of Shane, having experienced real battle for himself.
  • Breaking Speech: A gentler version. It's Ezri who eventually gets through to Vic that he can't keep letting Nog do this to himself.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Vic gets a lot of spotlight here, but this is ultimately Nog's episode.
  • Got Volunteered: Quark.
    Quark: And just who is going to pay for all this holodeck time? [everyone slowly looks at him] I guess I am.
    Sisko: And that's very generous of you, Quark!
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Nog calls Vic's club a "latinum mine" rather than a gold mine.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: Fontaine is having trouble with the IRS. Nog straightens things out and discovers that they owe him a large refund.
  • NEET: What Nog basically turns into. Completely locked away from the real world.
  • Odd Friendship: Vic Fontaine maybe isn't the first guy you think of when you think of Nog's most trusted confidantes, but for several days, they're inseparable.
  • Plot Armor: Nog realizes that his isn't as strong as he thought it was.
  • Reality Ensues: If you suffer a grievous, near-fatal injury, don't expect to be back to normal next week.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Nog - he tells Vic he thought he was invincible, but when he lost his leg he realized for the first time that he really could die.
    • After the episode aired, Aron Eisenberg received many letters from disabled veterans complimenting him on his performance, saying it was very true to life.
  • Take That!: While discussing what to do with Nog, his family and Ezri mention that it's a good thing he isn't in Bashir's Alamo, spy, or Viking programs, remarking on how ridiculous they all are. Bashir's responses get more offended each time.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: It's played with in that everyone but Nog realizes that he doesn't really need a cane and his problem is entirely psychosomatic. Vic gives him one that looks fancier but can't support his weight as a way to wean him off of it.
  • Title Drop: Courtesy of a song that Vic sings during a Time Passes Montage.
  • Tough Love: It's only after a talk with Ezri that Vic realizes that he can't keep enabling Nog, and he eventually, to Nog's horror, deactivates himself and the program.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: