*** (3 stars out of 5)
Alixus believes man's recent quest for self-improvement is ludicrous: rather than evolved she feels humanity has become "fat, lazy, and dull". Modern technology is ruining the classic community! Tie sticks to your iPads and start tilling the soil, kids!
Sisko's dad was a chef, so Ben and his brothers worked in his vegetable garden. What a coincidence! Alixus punishes dissent by cooking people in a metal box out in the sun!
Trying to figure out where the men have gone, Dax and Kira catch the missing runabout at warp with no one behind the wheel. Kira recklessly plans to beam over on the fly, but asks if Dax has a better idea. Dax responds,"I'm the science officer. It's my job to have a better idea."
Rather than the better idea of remote controlling it with prefix codes (like even backwards Alixus apparently did) Dax uses a reckless tractor beam rope trick that barely works without getting them killed but DOES fills time with special effects. Just the way I likes it!
Ben is hot boxed, (and not in the good way), for Miles' "crime" of wasting time attempting to fix his wretched technology instead of filling rusty replicators with hog slops or whatever the hell. Meanwhile, a local woman dies from lack of modern medicine, and she wasn't the first. Curse you, technology, for taunting us by still existing!
When Miles uncovers Alixus' hypocrisy-powered Technology-Stopping Technology, her son Vinod tries to directly explain the virtues of the primitive arrow-in-the-back process.
Sisko takes Alixus & son in to the authorities but nobody, THAT'S RIGHT, NOBODY speaks up to go back to the Federation with them. They claim they'd rather keep living in this crap-hole, I mean... community.
"Paradise" was apparently written as a subtle reference to the lovable antics of the Khmer Rogue. In case (like me) you didn't pay enough attention to Cambodian atrocities of the 1970's, Pol Pot and Friends used some Alixus-like tactics and rhetoric (plus genocide) in pursuit of utopia but only the elite benefitted while the people slaved in the fields, sweatshops, sex dens, and government torture chambers. The 80% of them that survived did, anyway. Three cheers for humanity, ladies and gentlemen! (Sorry. It's been really hot all week, I'm a little punchy.)
In case the episode's (ambiguous?) attempt to present Alixus as reasonable and her disciples as laudable caused any confusion, let me offer my own tirade. Technology does not stop people having communities! We've had both since long before the shovel and the arrow. And while I'm ranting, are you telling me NOBODY abandoned Alixus' principles?!? EVEN when it became clear she'd been lying the whole time? Letting her followers starve, puke, stroke out and die for ten years? I would find this story easier to believe if these "fat, lazy, and dull" but otherwise perfectly decent people had decently shoveled her self-righteous head off.