**** (4 stars out of 5)
The holographic Vic's hotel contains a jack-in-the-box character: a mobster named Frankie Eyes. He's bought the place, turned it sleazy, and roughed up our beloved lounge singer. Only a well-planned wacky heist can ruin the gangland goomba and save the day!
The Deep Space Nine crew rallies around their fictional photonic friend, devoting their off hours to solving the dilemma- within 1962 parameters and using only historical Vegas materials. (So no arming Cirque du Soleil with photon grenades, then.) Kira puts the make on Frankie Eyes. Kasidy and O'Brien compete to antagonize the guard into giving one of them a free strip-search. Bashir brews the ipecac, Odo distracts goons with his supple wrists, Nog cracks the safe, and Ezri wears skimpy clothes and slips the mickey to the guy in the count room.
It's Captain Sisko's job to ruin the mood by reminding us that Vegas was WHITE, WHITE, WHITE in 1962. Leave it to Captain Wet Blanket to disdain a fantasy game because of the LACK of period-specific racism.
Of course, Sisko's cause is just. You don't just forget how awful the past was just because it's been hundreds of years. Yet there must come a day when even a righteous grudge gives way to enjoying your present life. The Captain does eventually unclench- sharing the stage with the hologram Vic. Sharing the song in their hearts: 'The Best is Yet To Come'.
"Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" was all about rallying around a fiction and investing heavily in fantasy. AND HAVING FUN, DANG IT! Deep Space Nine was almost never comedic. Brilliant drama, great stories, fine performances, heady ideas... but usually pretty doom-y and gloomy. So here's to just having a blast. Like Vegas itself- hot, wild, inebriated fun.