DS9: Q about "AR-588"/"Paper Moon" (spoilers)

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Greg_S_H, Jan 13, 2004.

  1. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I may be mistaken, but I seem to remember dialog in "Siege" where Dr. Bashir says that Nog will permanently lose his leg due to complications that could have been prevented in a Starbase infirmary. I thought this was extremely bold; they were going to show the consequences of battle, and there wasn't going to be a big reset button to make it all okay. Nog would have to live with it for the rest of his life.

    Cut to "Paper Moon." Nog enters with a cane and a limp. So far, so good. They obviously carried through with the idea, and Nog now has some kind of prosthetic device. But, it turns out he has a perfect, fully-functional replacement limb. Other than the psychological reaction causing him to limp and feel pain, no one would know he had lost a leg.

    I just picked up the DS9 Companion, and this issue isn't addressed (from what I've read so far). Was this the plan all along, or did the word come from on high that Nog would not be allowed to suffer a permanent disability? I've read of other instances where the intended result of a storyline was undercut by squeamishness from the powers that be, and this feels like a case-in-point.

    Don't get me wrong--I like the story as aired. It remains an interesting study of Nog and the cost of war. But, I wonder if it was meant to have an even greater impact. It could have even been the catalyst for the theme of living with a disability. As it is, it was no longer an issue with Nog after the episode was done (not that there was much time, with the show winding down).
     
  2. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

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    The squeamishness by TPTB was that the original plan was for Nog to lose both legs. Berman said 'No way.' That being said, Behr et al's plan was for Nog to receive replacements and continue on his way... they were more interested in telling the emotional component of the story vs. the physical limitations. Considering that a lot of shows (Voyager included) would do this kind of thing and not even mention the consequences/complications, I think they did a good, not great, job.
     
  3. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    I thought this was as it should have been. If you've been around someone with a replacement limb recently, you know that current advancements in the technology are shockingly good, including newer devices that develop finger movements, etc.

    If Nog were to come out with some corny peg-leg, I probably would have been thrown off more then him having a very functional prosthetic that carries more psychological damage then physical limitations.
     
  4. Todd K

    Todd K Second Unit

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    I read an interview recently with one of the people formerly involved with the show (might have been Ronald B. Moore) that discussed this. David's post is correct. A few years ago I read they even considered having it be O'Brien who lost his leg.

    I was always curious to see what this bio-synthetic leg was all about. Would you have even been able to tell it was fake from looking at it? I would hope by the 24th century they'd have flawless replacements, possibly even identical cloned limbs.
     
  5. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I agree that it was handled well as it is, but I was keying off of dialog I think was in Siege where Bashir said he wouldn't be able to do anything for Nog's leg. Maybe that was just Bashir stating the worst-case scenario out of anger at what happened, or maybe I somehow invented the dialog in my mind. In any case, I didn't picture him having a peg leg, but he could have had a non-organic fitting that need never have even been shown. They could have just had Nog limp and use a cane for the rest of the show.

    But, I agree that it was a step other Trek shows probably wouldn't have taken anyway. I just got caught up in the fact that the DS9 writers showed consequences of storylines they presented, and was thinking it would be taken all the way.

    Now, the one thing I won't be convinced of is the mistake made with "Hard Time":

    From watching the rest of the series, I never caught a single reference to the events of this episode. To me, having memories of twenty years of incarceration--many of them in complete solitude--would completely alter a person. Other than the ending of that episode, it didn't have any effect on O'Brien at all.

    To be honest, I wouldn't want it to have an effect. Who wants O'Brien to be a shattered, brooding man? But, again, if you're going to be different from other, reset-button Trek, you really need to follow through. If you're not willing to do that, don't film the story.

    By the way, the DS9 Companion does mention the squeamishness at the idea of having Nog lose both legs. I think it mentions O'Brien being the original choice as well.
     
  6. Todd K

    Todd K Second Unit

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    I think what you're rembering (keep in mind I haven't seen the episode since it aired in '99) was Bashir telling Sisko he wasn't sure if Nog would be able to sustain synthetic muscle tissue or something like that. I think that's the thing that they'd need a starbase infirmary for.
     
  7. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    That sounds right, and I figured that was setting up Nog's inability to just get a new leg like nothing happened. Of course, psychologically, they didn't let Nog get off light.
     

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