Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places   Rewatch 
April 10, 2016 5:59 PM - Season 5, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Well, I spent stardates lookin' for you/ Quark's Bar and holodeck lovers were never true/ Playin' a petaQ's game, hopin' to win/ Tellin' those dishonorable lies and losin' again... (it sounds better in the original tlhIngan)

From Memory Alpha and yearning hearts everywhere:

- The 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac served as the inspiration for this episode. In the play, by Edmond Rostand, two male characters, Cyrano and Christian, fall in love with the same woman, Roxanne. Cyrano is an unattractive man, but one of great wit; Christian is very handsome, but not particularly intelligent, so Cyrano agrees to help Christian woo Roxanne. In the famous seduction scene, as Christian attempts to win Roxanne's heart, Cyrano hides in a nearby bush and whispers the right things to say to Christian. There is no real equivalent of the Jadzia Dax character in the original play. The idea of doing an episode of Deep Space Nine based upon Cyrano de Bergerac was Michael Dorn's. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Cyrano de Bergerac also featured prominently in the Next Generation episode "The Nth Degree".

- Although the A-story in this particular episode was a big hit with fans, writer Ronald D. Moore is more proud of the B-story involving O'Brien and Kira. According to Moore, "that was one of the most real storylines we've ever done. They were flesh-and-blood people in a very believable situation, reacting believably."

- This is the first television episode directed by DS9 recurring guest star Andrew Robinson (Garak), although his character does not appear in the episode, or maybe thanks to it, so he could concentrate into his brilliant direction of a classical, romantic "comedy of errors". It was a fortunate coincidence that Robinson's first directing job would be this episode, based as it is on a stage-play, as Robinson had won two Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards in 1995, both for directing; one for Samuel Beckett's End Game, the other for Harold Pinter's The Homecoming. He later directed two episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, "Blood Fever" and "Unforgettable".

- The title comes from a line of the famous country song "Lookin' for Love", a hit for Johnny Lee in the '80s, with the Klingon word for "love" instead. It is the one and only time that a Klingon word appears in an episode's title.

- Joseph Ruskin (Tumek) had previously appeared as Galt in TOS: "The Gamesters of Triskelion", and as Odo's Cardassian Informant in DS9: "Improbable Cause". He would subsequently be seen as a Son'a Officer in Star Trek: Insurrection, and as a Vulcan Master in VOY: "Gravity".
Phil Morris (Thopok) had previously appeared as an unnamed child in TOS: "Miri", and as Cadet Foster in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. He was subsequently seen as Remata'Klan in DS9: "Rocks and Shoals", and as John Kelly in VOY: "One Small Step". According to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, Morris auditioned for the role of Benjamin Sisko but was turned down because he was too young.

"War! What is it good for? If you ask me, absolutely nothing."

- Quark (after Edwin Starr)

"This is ridiculous! I'm surrounded by corpses, my shoes are dripping in blood, and you want me to feel romantic? Why am I putting myself through this?"
"Because later that night, Kahless and Lukara jumped on each other like a pair of crazed voles. Grrr!"
"One more time..."

- Quark and Jadzia Dax

"To this end my blade soars! Through the aquarium of my soul, seeking the kelp of discontent, which must be cut, so that the rocky bottom of love lie in waiting with fertile sand, for the coming seed of Grilka's affection. And yet, does this explain my need for her? No. It is like a giant cave of emptiness, waiting for the bats of love to hang b-..."

- Quark
posted by Halloween Jack (16 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
And another good episode!! This is surely approaching a record for any Trek series!

Much to love in this one, even Garak's direction is great. The return of Grilka and her interaction with Quark is just great, both funny and touching; Worf's desire for her set against Jadzia's desire for him works really well; and the rest of the cast are all bit players in this one but still it works. The O'Brien/Kira thing is a bit weird (especially because of the O'Brien/Bashir frienship and that Kira and Bashir are married IRL!) as I just don't see Kira falling for O'Brien that easily. I like the idea that they are "real people in a real situation" but still, it felt a bit forced to me, especially as O'Brien and Keiko have surely one of the strongest marriages on all of Trek (even after their fighting in a previous season.)

The whole Worf wearing a transmitter to send the moves to Quark, and how quark is practiaclly dragged around by the bat'leth is hilarious. And his little speech in the middle of the fight is just funny, and delivered so well.

My favourite line in this episode is after Jadzia repairs the transmitter Worf is wearing, and she says, "No showing off this time, Worf, just get it done."

One thing I find interesting is that a 300 year old slug would find brainless Worf attractive, when previously she/it went for transparently-headed aliens!

Worf, for all his faults, is actually good in this episode, to be fair.
posted by marienbad at 4:57 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, the last 6 tags are ace!!
posted by marienbad at 4:58 AM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just don't see Kira falling for O'Brien that easily. I like the idea that they are "real people in a real situation" but still, it felt a bit forced to me, especially as O'Brien and Keiko have surely one of the strongest marriages on all of Trek (even after their fighting in a previous season.)

I kinda disagree. They have that whole "been through real serious war against Cardassians" connection. They know each other well enough to recognize each other's integrity. They've been roommates awhile, yet more than roommates. Shakaar's been around almost not at all. And Miles obviously likes women with a bit of spirit. I could totally see it.

One thing I find interesting is that a 300 year old slug would find brainless Worf attractive, when previously she/it went for transparently-headed aliens!

Yeah, I'm trying to reconcile that one myself on this rewatch. All I've got so far is, maybe she adores him for the same reasons we do.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:24 AM on April 11, 2016

I think part of Dax's attraction to Worf is explained by Curzon's very close relationship to the Klingons. Wasn't Curzon presumably one of the Federation's first ambassadors to the Klingons? [Checking...] Looking at Curzon's Memory Alpha page says that he was one of the early ambassadors to the Klingons from the Federation and that he was part of the Khitomer Accords... So, there is plausibly some sort of symbiont interest in the Klingons.

Great episode! I laughed at several points in the episode. Shimerman's reading of the Edwin Starr quote was perfect - it was impossible to tell to what degree he meant what he said, if at all.
posted by Slothrop at 6:21 AM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

A really fun one. We don't think of Ronald D. Moore as a comedy guy, but this one is really funny. I remember being shocked and delighted by the gag where everybody is in the infirmary with injuries from rough sex. That's a rather scandalous gag for a Trek show!

The O'Brien/Kira thing, I'm less sold on. I can buy O'Brien being (very reluctantly) attracted to Kira, especially in this situation. He likes strong women, Kira is beautiful, she's carrying their child and he's living with her every day. He doesn't want to feel what he feels, but there's this bothersome attraction. I can get that. But it doesn't quite click for Kira to reciprocate. I had no trouble buying that she would eventually fall for Odo. They're very close friends, he woos her and he's a very impressive fellow in many ways. But O'Brien just doesn't seem like her type, he's a working class scrapper and not conventionally heroic or glamorous like Shakaar or Odo. Plus Kira is as hard on herself as she is on everybody else. If she WAS feeling something like this, I think she would refuse to engage with it and she'd probably just channel that into being furious all the time. Whether she thought it through or not, I think she'd push O'Brien away by making herself so hard to live with that their attraction would fizzle.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:23 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Eh. O'Brien has been treating her like a queen, they've been living together for awhile now, and who knows what Bajoran pregnancy hormones do to a woman. I didn't find it hard to buy for a comedic one off. If they'd taken it seriously, that would be another story.

What I don't understand is why Worf never pursued Dax. We'd seen flickers of interest in the past, but nothing like what he showed toward the Klingon woman. Maybe he understands Trill/human mating rituals even less than Klingon ones.
posted by 2ht at 2:24 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

O'Brien has been treating her like a queen

I don't think that factor matters to Kira at all in terms of attraction, so I'm in the "not buying Kira being attracted to O'Brien" camp. She has a type that she's attracted to, and it's the exceptional (Bareil, who brokered the peace accord with the Cardassians; Tom Riker, who exposed the Cardassians' secret fleet and was willing to pay the price for it; Shakaar, a successful resistance leader turned civilian leader of Bajor, and Odo, the most important Changeling in the universe.) Not the everyman, no matter how many nice things he might do for her.
posted by creepygirl at 6:49 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm setting up my pup-tent in "not buying Kira being attracted to O'Brien" too (with a view of camp "not buying O'Brien being attracted to Kira" as well). I mean, I can't really see the living arrangement leading to a sexy-feelings kind of intimacy -- I feel like it would go the reverse, like a kind of sudden-onset Westermarck effect from seeing each other at their schlumpiest.

Not sure what I think about Jadzia/Worf. I do love Quark/Grilka though, so, fun episode overall.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:54 PM on April 11, 2016

DAX: Look, if you're serious about this, then you have to go slow at dinner. No innuendo, no staring at her cleavage.
QUARK: So what do I do?
DAX: You talk. You ask her about her family's history and their accomplishments. She'll consider this a great sign of respect.
QUARK: Respect? Okay, okay, I can do that. Anything else?
WORF: Grilka is from the Mekro'vak region. It is customary among her people that the man to bring a leg of a lingta to the first courtship dinner. Make sure it's fresh, as if you had just killed it. Then use the leg to sweep aside everything on the table and declare in a loud voice, 'I have brought you this. From this day, I wish to provide food for you and your House. All I ask is to share your company and do honour to your name.'
QUARK: Then what?
DAX: Well, either she accepts your offer or she has her bodyguard shatter every bone in your body.
QUARK: Sounds reasonable.

I wasn't thrilled with this episode, but it had its moments. :)
posted by zarq at 7:33 AM on April 13, 2016

I can buy the Kira/O'Brien thing as a purely physical vibe they're both getting. In the first conversation where they both figure it out, he's massaging her and they're laughing and bonding - it's the kind of situation where any two single people might have just ridden the chemistry wave and hooked up without thinking about their long-term compatibility. And after they put two and two together, they are mostly just disturbed by the idea, but the chemistry is already there and needs to be killed.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:18 PM on December 1, 2020

"that was one of the most real storylines we've ever done. They were flesh-and-blood people in a very believable situation, reacting believably."
What is he even talking about? Kira’s predicament somehow feels like it’s one of the least believable things on this show about aliens, post-scarcity, time travel, and Space Jesus.
posted by schmod at 2:55 PM on June 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Putting aside the Miles/Kira believability question (I totally buy it, btw. I don't think they're even, like, hot for each other so much as the situation just led to a moment where a bell suddenly rang that they couldn't un-ring and now it just feels weird in a way that it didn't before that moment), I really love how they adapted Cyrano for the A-Plot here, because:

Putting Quark into the Christian role is objectively a hilarious choice for several reasons, but doing things this way is also just more respectful to Grilka in the Roxanne role. Rather than Christian being pretty while leeching off of Cyrano's wit to woo Roxanne, Quark getting advice (and bat'leth training!) from Worf and Dax is more like him putting the work in to show Grilka a fun time, but underneath all of that he never is pretending to not be himself - he's proud to be himself! - and Grilka digs him for who he is, which wasn't ever really in doubt. As a result, there's no real dishonesty there, but rather just Quark putting in some extra effort, which Grilka understands and appreciates. The classic Cyrano scene is instead adapted into the fight scene, but that's fine, because fuck the bodyguard for forcing that to happen. In the end, everyone can visit Dr. Bashir for their sex-bruises with full knowledge and consent.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:07 PM on January 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I fully believe Jadzia being into Worf. We know she likes sex in general, Worf has that beefy strength. she appreciates Klingon culture, and I bet he knows how to treat his dates well.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:57 PM on February 23

Those massages were really good, y'all.

Hard to believe Keiko is this clueless. My theory is that she's decided it's fine if they go at it, but even funnier if she tortures them like this.

I really loved the Grilka plot. The previous Grilka ep was decent, but this was a lot better. It managed to do some fine comedy but also really be true to the character developments. One puzzler was Quark's commitment to pursuing Grilka. My first point is that this can hardly be the last duel-to-the-death he'll face if he sticks around her. Is that really what he wants? The other is that we've seen what a super sexist he is--including giving the hu-mans lectures about how they let their women walk all over them--and then his personal taste seems to be for super strong Cardassian and Klingon women? The only thing that squares with is the fact that Trek has been so inconsistent about Ferengi all along.

Some other weirdnesses:
- Quark can just wander onto the Defiant to see if Worf or Dax are there? We know that Odo strategically gives him free reign, but surely this is too far.
- Does Worf have some kind of augmented reality glasses so that he can fight an opponent he can't see? I missed that part of it.
- Worf got in serious trouble for mercy killing his own brother, even though that's cool in a Klingon context. Now He, Dax, and Quark are all involved in a duel to the death. Just the latest piece of evidence that Worf is capable of learning nothing for more than a week.
- It appears that after Klingon sex, it is customary for the happy couple to wander over to the hospital. Just what kind of medical insurance do Klingons have, anyway?
posted by polecat at 3:51 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]

We know that it's considered good luck among Klingons to break a collar bone on your wedding night; it must be part of the standard coverage.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:00 PM on April 6

If you ask Quark (or even if you don't) he'll tell you that obviously he believes all the things he's supposed to believe as a proper Ferengi. He'll make a big show of it. But in many areas we see that his actual actions tell a different story. I don't think that's inconsistent writing, I think that his real feelings don't always match the ideology he feels that he has to perform in order to maintain good standing in his community (as he imagines it, anyway).
posted by vibratory manner of working at 8:11 PM on April 6

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