I’ve completed my re-watch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Now it’s time to start Deep Space Nine! I am much less familiar with this show, though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about 80-90% of the episodes. It’s been so long that I’m sure it will all feel brand new. My wife has never seen the show. She and I will go through, review every episode, and give commentary and a grade from A-F. There are SPOILERS for each episode below. Without further adieu, here’s:
Quark is back getting a checkup on Ferenginar and discovers he has a rare disease that will kill him. Obviously, the thing to do is sell off his desiccated remains in advance in order to pay his debt. He accepts an offer on them only to discover that the diagnosis was mistaken and he’s not dying, but the buyer, Brust from the Ferengi Commerce Authority, still wants to collect his dead body. Quark is stuck between violating a contract–and thus the Rules of Acquisition–and living or killing himself. In desperation, he hires Garak to kill him, but dreams that the First Grand Nagus tells him the Rules don’t have to be followed in every case. He breaks his contract, thus leading Brust to liquidate his assets. But then Quark discovers the friendship of others on the station, who all pitch in to get his business back up and running.
Oh yeah, and Keiko’s baby is transferred to Major Kira due to an incident on a runabout. No biggy.
The main plot of this with Quark is everything good Ferengi plots have been on DS9. It has scenes of Ferenginar, it has the Rules of Acquisition featuring large, and it has humor and reality mixed together in compelling ways. There is no question from Quark’s character right now that he would act the way he does, choosing to hire someone to kill him rather than violate a contract, and the resolution, while being somewhat deus ex machina, is also hilarious and somehow suitable at the same time. The writers then throw in the whole station coming together and showing Quark how valued he is, adding a heaping helping of sentimentality on top of what was already an emotional porridge pot. I loved it.
That subplot, though. Totally random, though I suspect it is due to a real life pregnancy and having the show go on! It will certainly make for some interesting family dynamics with the O’Briens!
Grade: A “Once again, the Ferengi plots manage to be consistently entertaining, funny, and relevant throughout. This one was touching, tongue-in-cheek, and a kind of commentary on the dangers of wealth all at once.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “I thought it was a fun view into Ferengi commerce and culture. It also had some good character development for Quark in particular.”
Odo gets sick and must fight to maintain a solid form. The crew of DS9 agrees to try to seek a cure for his illness. In doing so, they bring him to the homeworld of the Founders after a brief meeting with a female Founder who manages to stabilize him for the moment through linking together. As the only Changeling to ever kill another of his kind, he is to be judged by the Founders on the homeworld. He agrees and they proceed to the planet. There, Garak attempts to kill all the Founders from the Defiant but is stopped by Worf. Meanwhile, Odo is judged to be cut off from the Great Link and also made permanently human–his ability to shapeshift stripped from him as punishment.
There is so much going on here, whether it is the implications for the Cardassian-Dominion conflict (or indeed, the wider conflict between Quadrants), Odo’s character development, or Garak’s character. The frankness that the Founders say they will defeat the Cardassians is alarming and pushed Garak to the edge, but it is also somewhat disturbing to see the quickness with which he turns to genocide as the only option in the battle.
For Odo, the implications run even more deeply, as perhaps the central part of his self-identity is stripped from him. Ironically, he almost gets what he wants–to blend in with humans–only to have his nose left as it was so he will always stand out as a reminder of how he has been cast out. It’s a poignant moment and a punishment that is made understandable through the words of the Founders, though they mostly interact as a big blob-sea. It’s impressive writing and directing to make it happen.
Grade: A- “A tough episode with many implications for the seasons to come. Odo is quickly becoming one of the most sympathetic characters in the series.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: A “Pretty epic big-picture plot development.”
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