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:
“Rules of Acquisition”
The Grand Nagus, Zek, shows up on DS9 and enlists Quark to be a kind of ambassador for the Ferengi to the Gamma Quadrant. Quark’s new waiter, Pel, shows himself (but wait, there’s more!) to be an excellent advisor, and Quark brings Pel along to help with negotiations. The Grand Nagus keeps changing exactly what he wants Quark to acquire, while Quark continues to struggle with the people from the Gamma Quadrant he’s trying to buy from. Pel, a female Ferengi who has, in fact, covered up her sex in order to participate in wider Ferengi affairs, falls for Quark and after she reveals herself to him, the Nagus and Quark both must keep her identity secret while also giving her some of the prophets of their Gamma Quadrant findings. Pel leaves Quark with both wondering if they could have been more.
It’s pretty amazing to me how well the DS9 writers have acclimated themselves to writing the Ferengi as a genuine, interesting people group. On TNG they were never more than a kind of annoying mosquito to be swatted–along with some really silly episodes–but on DS9 they’ve been developed into fully realized aliens with a complex system of beliefs and culture. It’s great. This episode contributes well to that growing body of intrigue.
Pel’s character is particularly fascinating, because it shows the low status of women among the Ferengi, as well as how some Ferengi females would try to break out from the strictures of their society. I’m hoping we see more of this going forward–I honestly don’t remember much of DS9 at all, apparently.
The episode also does a great job highlighting the strangeness and excitement of the Gamma Quadrant, with aliens that are aggressive, interesting, and full of opportunity (yes, that’s a nod to the Ferengi). I quite enjoyed the ending, with Quark realizing (?) his own thirst for profit and his adherence to strict codes of behavior among the Ferengi could have just cost him big time on the personal relationships front.
Grade: A “An intriguing look into the politics of the Ferengi is accompanied by an exciting look into the Gamma Quadrant.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “I thought it was quite enjoyable with the return of the Grand Nagus and the unexpected lady Ferengi.”
The episode jumps back and forth between what happened on DS9 as Odo first is convinced by Gul Dukat of the Cardassians to take on a job investigating crimes and the present as someone attempted to kill Quark in a kind of burglary/heist gone wrong. In the past, we see Odo investigating a murder in which the (then) newly-arrived Kira was a prime suspect, finding him to be constantly thwarted in his investigation. In the present, the item that was stolen in the violent encounter with Quark was a list of names, apparently of people that Pallra, the woman who initiated the sequence of events and the wife of the murdered man in the past, has recently blackmailed. Odo manages to capture the Bajoran who has come back to try to kill Quark (again), but then realizes that Kira had lied to him in the past and had, in fact, committed the murder he investigated so many years ago. The episode ends with Kira and Odo contemplating their relationship.
Wow, this was awesome. We get a huge amount of insight into the past of not just Kira and Odo, but also of Deep Space 9 and the Bajoran-Cardassian conflict. There’s so much to it that I am not going to just type it all up. Watch the episode for all of it! The highlights, though, are seeing how much more militaristic the station was, what kind of conditions the Cardassians kept on the station, and more.
The particular excitement of this episode, though, is found in the skipping back-and-forth between the past and present trying to solve two mysteries at once. It’s a great way to hold tension through the episode, and was handled with such deftness that it came off wonderfully. I can’t imagine trying to write two mysteries across two time periods, connecting them, and pulling it all off, but it was done incredibly well here.
The ending is, like the previous episode, rather bleak. We are left wondering whether Kira/Odo can ever have true trust between them again. It’s the kind of outro that I love in Star Trek episodes. Well done.
Grade: A “A bleak look back at the origins of Odo/Kira’s relationship that basically just makes them both even more awesome.”
Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “I enjoyed getting the backstory for Odo and Kira and the Cardassian occupation, but it didn’t quite grasp my attention the way I hoped it would.”
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