(written from a Production point of view)
|DS9, Episode 7x15|
Production number: 40510-566
First aired: 24 February 1999
|←||164th of 173 produced in DS9||→|
|←||163rd of 173 released in DS9||→|
|←||559th of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
When holographic mobsters assume control of Vic Fontaine's lounge, Bashir, O'Brien, Kira, Odo, Nog, Ezri, Kasidy, and Sisko plot to run Vic's rival out of business and restore the program to normal.
While in Vic Fontaine's holosuite club, Miles and Julian try to convince Vic to join them in their Alamo program. Vic declines, and instead offers to sing a tune to get them into a "Texas state of mind." In the middle of Vic's Alamo rendition, however, he is suddenly booed off the stage, as a new, raunchy act emerges from behind the curtain, stealing Vic's show. Confused and in a state of disbelief, Vic gets shuffled by the crowd; when the crowd parts, he is confronted by Frankie Eyes, a gangster with an axe to grind against Vic. Frankie abruptly informs Vic that he has recently purchased the hotel, casino, and lounge. Vic, who is no longer welcome in the club, is being replaced with a new act.
Miles requests that the computer remove the two new, offending characters from the program, but nothing happens. So he tries to freeze the entire holosuite program, again to no avail. Frankie is accompanied by a thug, Tony Cicci, who begins to get physical with Vic, as Frankie demands Vic leave the premises. To defuse the situation, Vic agrees to leave peacefully, while Frankie checks out his new casino. Julian and Miles discuss how to fix the errant program, but they frighten Vic by suggesting they may have to wipe out part of his memory. They agree to find another, less destructive way to save their holographic friend.
Back in Ops, the crew members debate the true value of a holodeck "friend," with Worf arguing that Vic is merely a hologram, and should be treated as such, even if he is a talented entertainer. Miles, Nog, and Kira all argue that Vic is "more than just a program." Julian soon learns that the new adversarial holosuite character has been implanted purposely by Felix, the designer of the program, as a jack-in-the-box, a character buried very deeply within the program storyline, and not easily removed. Felix warns Julian that the jack-in-the-box is also period-specific, meaning that it must be beaten with 1962 means and methods, or else the integrity of the entire program, and Vic's existence, may be jeopardized. Captain Benjamin Sisko emerges from his office and asks what everyone is talking about. The crew explain what's happened to Vic, but are surprised when Benjamin isn't interested and orders them all back to work. Nog promises his help, since Vic saved his sanity after he lost his leg (DS9: "It's Only a Paper Moon"). Kira also promises her support, as well as Odo's, since they both owe Vic for his help in bringing them together (DS9: "His Way").
Meanwhile, Benjamin and Kasidy are enjoying a quiet, romantic dinner, when Kasidy broaches the subject of Vic's dilemma. Benjamin is surprised to find Kasidy coming to Vic's defense, insisting that Vic is more friend than program. Back on the holosuite, Miles and Julian go to room 107, Vic's room in the hotel, only to find Vic beaten and bruised, and still shaky on his feet.
With three bruised ribs and a sprained wrist, Vic explains how he was roughed up as a warning message to speed his departure. Frankie is a childhood rival from Vic's youth, whom Vic used to beat mercilessly in street stickball, playing as children. Miles and Julian promise Vic they will hatch a plan to end the jack-in-the-box threat.
Kira and Odo begin infiltrating the revamped casino and club, now crawling with gangster clientèle; Vic's band has been replaced by a number of sultry, burlesque dancers and blues musicians. Odo, enchanted by the action on-stage, befriends Cicci and the other gangsters at the bar. Kira, meanwhile, is approached by Frankie, who takes an obvious interest in her. Kira accompanies Frankie to the roulette table to distract him, while Odo endears himself to Cicci by effortlessly stretching his changeling arm, in what appears to be the best bar trick ever concocted. In this way, Odo learns from the henchmen that Frankie is merely a pawn of Carl Zeemo, a big-time gangster who is behind the purchase of the hotel.
Back in Vic's hotel room, the gang (which now includes Kasidy and Ezri Dax) begins planning the fall of Frankie Eyes. Vic explains how Frankie's business works by him paying "skim" money to the big boss every month - so the simplest, most effective way to get rid of the gangster is to steal the casino's holdings, and deny Zeemo his payoff.
The main stash of mob money is locked in a safe in the casino countroom, guarded by two countmen and a guard.
The gang begins reconnoitering the casino to develop a plan: Frankie shows Kira to the countroom, where large amounts of cash are accumulated and stored in the safe. Kasidy, playing her part as a casino gambler, continually tries to strike up a conversation with the countroom guard, distracting him from his duties. Odo introduces Ezri as someone new in town, whereby Cicci immediately hires her as a cocktail waitress. Vic appears on the casino floor, pleading with Cicci to allow him to see Frankie. Frankie, accompanied by the cool-acting Kira, rebuffs Vic's advances rather insultingly, and leads Kira toward the poker table.
Benjamin expresses to Kasidy his reluctance about the majority of his senior staff involving themselves in the Vic Fontaine holosuite program. Kasidy defends their actions as friends helping out friends in need. When pressed, Sisko further explains that he feels uncomfortable with the setting (Las Vegas 1962), because of the racial strife of the era. Kasidy responds by explaining that Vic's program is not designed to contain any of the racial tensions of 1960s United States of America. Rather than ignoring these issues, she believes, they can act out how things could have been, almost in a Utopian-type environment, where one's only limitations are "the ones we impose on ourselves." This has a noticeable effect on the Captain.
In the hotel room, the characters realize that in order to pull off their plan, they need another person helping. With Worf and Quark most likely unwilling to help, the gang begin to worry until, to their surprise, Benjamin enters the room promising his support, having been swayed by Kasidy's argument.
In Vic's room, the "crew" go over their plan once more:
- 1: Kira keeps Frankie preoccupied; while he is busy flirting with her, he will become oblivious to what happens on the casino floor - and therefore, the countroom;
- 2: Vic and Benjamin (in the guise of "high-rollers") will attract a lot of attention at the gaming tables (and therefore draw attention away from the countroom) by throwing around a wad of cash;
- 3: At precisely 11:45 pm, one of the countmen (Al) leaves the room to phone his mother, and is gone for exactly eight minutes, while the other countman (Howard) has a martini brought in. Ezri (as the cocktail waitress) delivers a drink to Julian (sitting at poker table three), who, with some sleight-of-hand while tipping her, slips a few drops of ipecac into the martini meant for Howard. Ezri then delivers the drink tray with the martini on it to the countroom.
- 4: Once Ezri leaves the countroom, Kasidy runs up to the guard outside the countroom and tells him Miles stole her chips. Miles plays innocent, and together they create enough of a disturbance to keep the guard away from the door for at least two minutes.
- 5: As soon as Howard takes a sip of his martini, the ipecac will case violent nausea, and Howard will come flying out of the countroom "at warp speed"; with Kasidy and Miles keeping the guard distracted, Nog enters the now-empty countroom, dressed as a maintenance worker. Using his superior Ferengi hearing, Nog will crack the safe.
- 6: As soon as Nog opens the safe, the drink tray Ezri left on the table will shape-shift back into Odo, morphing part of himself into a suitcase. While Odo transfers the contents of the safe to the suitcase, Nog removes his maintenance uniform to reveal a security guard uniform.
- 7: Finally, Nog and Odo will then carry the million dollars out of the casino, (taking care not to draw attention to themselves) and dump the cash into the garbage cans outside.
Without the money, Frankie has no skim money to pay Zeemo his cut, and everything will return to normal.
The entire caper should take, by Benjamin's estimate, eight minutes; Julian unabashedly predicts it will take only five. They will need to carry out their plan the following night, as Frankie's big boss Zeemo will arrive the night after to collect his skim money. The crew spend their remaining time practicing their various grifts to cut their execution time down to minimum.
The following night, all decked out in 1960s period attire, the eight participants march through a half-empty Quark's into Vic's, turning many an eye in the joint. Quark, who has traditionally viewed Vic as competition, and has never gotten close, remarks, "I'm telling you, Morn... something's going on at Vic's that we don't know about."
Their plan underway, Kira enters to distract Frankie. Julian orders his vodka martini (stirred, not shaken) from Ezri. Vic encourages Benjamin to loosen up the purse-strings, so as to appear the part of high-roller; he reluctantly increases his wager from $100 to $2,000. Kira lures Frankie into a private table in the restaurant, away from the action.
When a rogue customer accidentally spills Ezri's drink tray, Julian saves the moment by grabbing another drink, tainting it, and handing it to Ezri for delivery. Their plans take another turn for the worse when the regular countman is not there, replaced by an acerbic, insulting man. After a brief repartee, Ezri finally persuades the new Countman to gulp down the drink, while Benjamin and Vic do their thing at the tables. Kasidy and Miles easily distract the Guard (perhaps too easily, as Miles will soon discover), so Nog slips into the countroom when the Countman scrambles to the restroom.
Nog, who was unprepared to find the safe employing an auto-relock tumbler, cannot crack the lock. In the meantime, all the other participants stretch out their parts, so as to give Nog longer to achieve his goal. With Kira slowly nursing her drink, Frankie is surprised to have a guest ... the big Mr. Zeemo himself, arriving in town a day early to collect his money - the very money Nog and Odo are trying desperately to get their hands onto in the countroom!
Kira, stalling for time, exclaims what an honor it is to meet him, to which Mr. Zeemo replies matter-of-factly, "I know." Nog, still struggling with the safe, is informed by Odo that they've expended their allotted eight minutes. Julian, discarding a winning full house hand, walks away from the poker tables to intercept the second countman, re-routing him away from the countroom. Vic causes a scene by pretending familiarity with Mr. Zeemo's escort, a young blond beauty, only to be escorted away himself by Cicci. As a last resort, Benjamin begins throwing money around – literally. He casts handfuls of cash into the air here and there, causing a sensation (and quite a disruption) on the casino floor.
In the countroom, Nog finally unlocks the door to the safe. Odo begins putting the safe's million dollars into his "briefcase" of an arm, while outside Miles, carrying on the act for too long, gets arrested for stealing. Leading Miles away to a holding cell, the Guard is instructed to perform a strip search on the poor chief. Kasidy pretends to break down, to keep the other guard's head turned at the last minute, while Odo and Nog flee the countroom, making their escape. Their flight takes them, with the money, past Mr. Zeemo, astounded at seeing all the money floating around the casino floor.
It is a different story in the countroom, however, as there is no money in the safe, much to the shock of Frankie. Not being able to produce the cash, and appearing to have squandered the money like confetti on the casino floor, Frankie is escorted out drearily, past the burlesque show, past the blues band, and right past the co-conspirators, neatly lined up at the bar in order:
- 1-Julian, the drink-doctorer,
- 2-Nog, the safecracker,
- 3-Ezri, the cocktail waitress,
- 4-Odo, the bag-man,
- 5-Kira, the decoy,
- 6-Benjamin, the high-roller,
- 7-Kasidy, the victim,
- 8-and, of course, Vic.
- (Miles, the falsely-accused patsy, is not present as he is being strip-searched)
As Frankie is led through the curtains, presumably to meet his doom, the ambiance in Vic's lounge immediately returns to how it was before the Jack-in-the-Box upset everything. Vic offers a glass of the bubbly to each of his co-conspirators (each of his friends) when suddenly Miles appears, putting his jacket (and, presumably, clothes) back on after his encounter with the guards. Vic agrees to accompany Miles and Julian on their Alamo program any time they desire – "coonskin cap and all". Vic and Benjamin conclude the adventure by together crooning the duet "The Best Is Yet to Come" to the delight of all.
"Maybe there's a pointer fault in the holosuite's parameter file."
- - O'Brien attempting to explain the sudden changes in Vic's.
"We cannot ignore the truth about the past."
"Going to Vic's won't make us forget who we are or where we came from. It reminds us that we are no longer bound by any limitations. Except the ones we impose on ourselves."
- - Sisko and Kasidy on historical accuracy
"Miles... You thinking what I'm thinking?"
"That depends on what you're thinking."
- - Bashir and O'Brien
"Mr. Zeemo, it's an honor to meet you."
- - Kira and Zeemo
"Robbing casinos isn't part of any Starfleet job description I've ever read."
- - O'Brien
"So, where are you from again?"
"That's in Jersey, right?"
- - Tony Cicci and Odo
"If you guys screw up, I'm the one who gets buried in the desert."
- - Vic Fontaine
"You call this a cheesesteak? I wouldn't feed this to my parole officer."
- - Tony Cicci
"Once he takes a sip of his drink, Howard will come flying out that count room at warp speed."
- - Bashir
"I'm telling you Morn, something going on in Vic's that we don't know about."
- - As both Quark and Morn watch the station staff and Kasidy Yates walk by.
"Vodka martini. Stirred, not shaken."
- - Bashir, a play on the favored drink of James Bond (who took his drink "shaken, not stirred")
"What do you mean, uh-oh? We don't have time for uh-oh!"
- - Nog and Odo
"Where have you been?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
- - Bashir and O'Brien after the latter returns from possibly being strip-searched
Story and script
- The working title of this episode was "Buduh-bing Buduh-bang". 
- This episode was a pet project for Ira Steven Behr for some time; "I'd wanted to do a caper show for years, but I'd never been able to pull it off. It was now or never – and with Vic Fontaine and a holosuite version of Las Vegas within reach, all the elements seemed to be in place." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The script borrows from (and parodies) the 1960 Lewis Milestone crooner's film, Ocean's Eleven, starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Angie Dickinson. This story, about a similarly convoluted casino heist/inside job, was remade forty-one years later by Steven Soderbergh, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy García and Julia Roberts. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Of Benjamin Sisko's controversial racial commentary in this episode, Behr explains, "We didn't want the audience, especially the younger audience, to think that 1962 Las Vegas was a place where you had a lot of black people sitting in the audience as nightclubs, or enjoying themselves at hotels and casinos. That just didn't happen. So by having someone of Sisko's historical understanding questioning that fact, we could clarify before we got him to Vic's that he's well aware that Vegas was very, very, very white." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- By the time this episode aired, Behr was well aware that there had been something of a fan backlash against Vic Fontaine; some fans loved him, but many despised the very concept of him. Behr specifically wrote Sisko's role to act as a surrogate for the fans who wouldn't accept Vic, with the idea being that if Sisko could be won over, then anyone could be won over. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The comment that Frankie makes to Kira about the fact that there isn't a statue of Bugsy Siegel in Vegas, matches perfectly the same comment that Hyman Roth makes to Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II about Moe Greene (the fictional "Siegel").
- The Vic/Sisko duet at the end of the episode, "The Best Is Yet to Come", refers to the nine-part series finale. In the production order, the "Final Chapter" commenced right after "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" with "Penumbra." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 666)
- "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" was filmed before this episode, but this episode was broadcast first. As such, this episode was the last standalone Deep Space Nine episode to be shot.
- Art director Randy McIlvain says he studied both Milestone's Ocean's Eleven and the 1964 George Sidney movie Viva Las Vegas, starring Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret, for inspiration in designing the casino. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The keyboardist of Vic's band plays a Hammond organ instead of the usual piano during the mob's interregnum, lending a notable change of mood to the music.
- The music played when the crew walks into Quark's to get to the holosuite casino is a re-orchestrated version of the Deep Space Nine main theme. Portions of this arrangement can also be heard at various points in the episode.
- The music played in the casino at the beginning of the episode, after Frankie Eyes takes over, is an arrangement of Night Train.
- Despite the fact that the crew would not have been in any actual danger in attempting the caper, the 30-second promotional spot (available at wbm) suggested that they would be "history" if they failed.
Cast and characters
- Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.
- For the role of Carl Zeemo, Ira Behr states, "We wanted an actor who would carry the weight of history to any film buffs who were watching the show. Marc did a million film noir gangster movies. And he was perfect as the character." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Ira Behr had wanted Avery Brooks to sing on the show for some time, and after shooting this episode, Behr commented, "It's just jaw-dropping how good he is." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Previously, Brooks had briefly sung in the episodes "Move Along Home", "Far Beyond the Stars" and "His Way".
- Robert O'Reilly (better known for his role as Gowron) portrays the replacement accountant. He was credited here as Bobby Reilly to help hide the fact that it was the same actor.
Reception and awards
- This show didn't get a great reaction from some fans, many of whom commented that it fundamentally fails because the main characters are never in any real jeopardy, but Behr disagrees that this lack of jeopardy is a problem; "It didn't matter to us that the regular characters weren't in jeopardy. None of us wanted to do the old 'Holosuite-is-malfunctioning-and-we're-all-gonna-die' thing. We just wanted to do a show about helping this hologram." In fact, Behr saw the story as something of a commentary on how invested Star Trek fans can become in the characters; "In the same way that viewers have invested in the artifice of Star Trek and care about characters who aren't real, we decided to do a show about our characters caring about Vic." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Nana Visitor was a big fan of this show, as she felt that although Kira was acting in a somewhat unusual manner, the role was very much in keeping with Kira's backstory; "She must have done it with so many Cardassians when she was doing terrorist work. I mean, as a terrorist, a woman would have to get used to the fact that using her sexuality to charm men and to trick her way in was one of her strengths. That's a reality." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) This would seem to recall the second season episode "The Homecoming", where she flirts with a Cardassian guard, causing him to lower his defenses and allowing her to knock him out.
- Bashir orders a vodka martini "stirred, not shaken", for his part of the plan. This is a James Bond joke, in keeping with the tradition of making a joke of this nature during holodeck based episodes in which he appears.(citation needed • edit)
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series.
Video and DVD releases
- This volume uses the production order for this and "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"; this episode was broadcast first but filmed second. It appears second on the video release.
- As part of the DS9 Season 7 DVD collection.
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Nicole de Boer as Counselor Ezri Dax
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Commander Worf
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Colonel Kira Nerys
- Penny Johnson as Kasidy Yates
- Marc Lawrence as Mr. Zeemo
- Mike Starr as Tony Cicci
- Robert Miano as Frankie Eyes
- Aron Eisenberg as Nog
- Bobby Reilly as Replacement Accountant
- Chip Mayer as Ryan
- James Wellington as Al
Special guest star
- Andrea Robinson as Blonde
- Sammy Micco as Croupier
- Jacqueline Case as a Dancer
- Kelly Cooper as a Dancer
- Michelle Johnston as a Dancer
- Michelle Rudy as a Dancer
- Kelly Sheerin as a Dancer
- Paige Brooks as a Casino patron
- Stuart Coleman as a Casino patron
- George Colucci as Henry
- Brian Demonbreun as a science division officer
- Leslie Hoffman as a Casino patron
- Luther Hughes as Vic's bass player
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Linda Madalone as a Casino patron
- Dan McGee as an operations division lieutenant
- Mark Riccardi as a Casino patron
- Chuck Shanks as an operations division officer
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Unknown performers as
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