Friday, March 8, 2013

It's Only a Paper Moon

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Do you know the one with the holographic lounge singer and the one-legged crazy man?

There's no punch line. But it's one hell of a great dramatic episode from a dynamic duo.

Back from getting his biosynthetic limb and some adequate counselling, Nog is as physically healthy as he's going to get, but still on medical leave for phantom pain. The Ferengi engineer can't just HOP back into his life, forgive the flippancy. Not when there's a couch and a television.

As is his right, Nog selects an unorthodox location for his therapy: he MOVES IN to Vic's Vegas hotel and never goes outside anymore. (Either the holosuite replicates meals and disintegrates waste or that place is going to stink up real fast.)

Nog's corporeal family and friends timidly try to coax him back to interaction, while Vic just appreciates the company and the strange oppurtunity to 'sleep' and 'do paperwork'. Although he leaves the paperwork to the kid with ledger ink for blood.

When Jake's lady friend Kesha gazes a little too long at Nog's invisible impairment while calling him a 'hero'. Nog turns on her, barking rudely. Partly out of tradition, Nog has ruined Jake's date. But it's the first time he does so by punching his best friend.

Nog never quite clued in to his mortality before, and he can't face it yet. If the Jem'Hadar had fired a couple of inches higher, it might have been his head or something. "If I stay here, at least I know what the future is going to be like."

"You stay here," Vic says. "You're going to die. Not all at once, but little by little. Eventually, you'll become as hollow as I am."

When he's ready to rejoin reality, Nog arranges things so Vic is left on 26 hours a day. Get a Life, indeed.

I'm over the paper moon about Nog and Vic, I really am. They fancy themselves ladies' men, but for all the loneliness. "It's Only a Paper Moon" is exactly what I needed to hear at that time in my youth, and I still feel the truth of it when I revisit the story. Fantasy comforts us, but only our loved ones can truly sustain us.

1 comment:

  1. Love your opening line here Mike. I don't know if you watch Being Human - either the BBC one or the Syfy Channel one - but it too starts out with what sounds like the beginning of a joke: "Did you hear the one about the vampire, the ghost, and the werewolf who tried to live together as humans?"...
    I loved this episode of Star Trek because the two stars were two characters who were not part of the main ensemble of Sisko-Kira-Dax-Odo-O'Brien-Bashir-Quark-Worf, and the story was brilliant, born as it was out of concepts introduced in previous episodes that most shows wouldn't take the time to explore. This was something DS9 really excelled at!