Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In the Cards   Rewatch 
June 27, 2016 8:17 PM - Season 5, Episode 25 - Subscribe

Sisko, J. and Nog [NFI], "The Acquisition of Unique Artifacts in a Post-Monetary Society: A Case Study", The Journal of Deep-Space Studies, Stardate 50929.4, v. 47:9, pp. 1701a-e.

The entire archives of Memory Alpha, sold to the blue man in the good shoes:

- Ronald D. Moore commented: "Basically we reverse the normal structure in this show, so that the A-story is the comedy and the B-story is serious. It's a fun show". This episode is somewhat unique in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine insofar as it is the only show with a light-hearted humorous A-story and a serious and important B-story. Usually, the positions are reversed, a serious A-story is often offset with a lighter B-story (the third season episode "Life Support" is a good example: the A-story is about the death of Vedek Bareil and the signing of the Bajoran-Cardassian Treaty, while the B-story is about Jake and Nog going on a double date). In the case of this episode, the A-story is about Jake and Nog obtaining a baseball card, while the B-story is about Bajor's involvement in the inevitable Dominion War.

- In the original version of the teleplay, Elias Giger was trying to resurrect his dead wife, using just her ear to genetically recreate her. This particular idea was Ira Steven Behr's, but Ronald D. Moore was having trouble getting it to work. Eventually, René Echevarria pointed out that the reason it wasn't working was because Giger is not supposed to be a character to be taken seriously, but if he's trying to get back his wife, the audience is going to want him to succeed, which undermines the reason the character exists in the first place. Echevarria suggested that he be searching for immortality, but Moore wasn't keen on the idea. Behr then proposed that Giger should be trying to achieve something that initially sounds very interesting and plausible, but quickly begins to sound crazy. After Behr's suggestion, Moore came up with idea of "cellular ennui" and the theory that you could literally be bored to death. Behr and Echevarria both loved it, and so Moore began to write a new draft of the teleplay.

- Jake quotes Captain Picard from Star Trek: First Contact when he says "we work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity." Moore commented, "I take great glee at mocking my own work."

- The layout of the A-story of this episode, Jake and Nog trying to buy a baseball card but continually being forced to get something in lieu of the card, is similar in design to the B-story of the first season episode "Progress", where they are trying to earn latinum, but keep on ending up with commodities rather than profit. Nog continues this tradition on his own in the seventh season episode "Treachery, Faith and the Great River", where he describes this process to Chief O'Brien as sailing the river of the Great Material Continuum.

"Lions and Gigers and bears."
"Oh, my."

- Nog and Jake

"The entire future of the galaxy may depend on us tracking down Willie Mays... and stopping him."

- Jake, to Weyoun
posted by Halloween Jack (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Even though this one is very in-your-face about being a Happy Times Before the Shit Hits the Fan episode (and not the only one in the series either), I'm fond of this one. Among other things, it showcases how far Cirroc Lofton has come as an actor.

It also basically has the plot of one of those RPGs where this one NPC won't give you Rope until you bring him Bread, which I find charming in this case (probably because I'm not the one who has to do it).

The Odo scene is marvelous in an old-fashioned vaudeville kind of way: "The who?" "His what?" Weyoun is great in this one, too (but then, when isn't he). And what's not to love about Winn dissing him so directly--and at the same time so inaccurately?
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:53 AM on June 28, 2016 [4 favorites]

It's good to know they were intentionally going for something different here, because the whole time I was thinking how weird this episode felt. It sort of works as a calm before the storm play, though it probably won't be a memorable one for me. Well, with one exception. Any time a show does a gag where they are trading one thing for another to try to get some object, it always gives me an itching to watch MASH. I'm not sure if that show was the first to do this routine, but I think they did it the best.

(It seems like just a handful of years ago you could turn the TV on any time of day and MASH was being played on one station or another. Now it's nowhere to be found. Possibly my favorite show of all time.)

Any episode that includes both Weyoun and Kai Winn should be exceptional. Unfortunately neither were at their best here, but they were still so good.
posted by 2ht at 6:26 AM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've got a big soft spot for this episode, always have. Breather episodes usually annoy me, but shifting the focus to Jake and Nog worked, IMO.

Random thoughts:
* Jake's behavior here really reminded me of The Visitor. His obsessive streak about his dad is played for laughs in this case, but that still had a dark edge for me given the greater context.

* Post-Starfleet-application Nog always felt like a pretty good effort to un-Flanderize the Ferengi to me, sort of like meeting the Klingon lawyer defending Worf that one time. I liked watching him be willing to sacrifice his life savings to help a friend who was plainly tilting at windmills. (I also liked how deftly he handled the auction, and how good he was at the 'trading up' game, of course. I wish Ferengi always got that sort of treatment, instead of being the comic relief race.)

* Giger's hilarious, full stop. I'm so glad they didn't go with the 'clone the dead wife' thing. The whole episode would've curdled if you could take the man seriously. The bit about how his cells were 'mildly entertained, but still getting bored after five hours' always kills me.

* As ever, seeing Weyoun was great. I loved him taking time to talk to Giger at the end and really hear him out. Most villain types aren't so curious or friendly. Even The Founders, who have that whole 'to become a thing is to understand it' philosophy don't seem as genuinely *interested* in other people as Weyoun can be. Cynically, I imagine it mostly makes him better at his job, but it's just an interesting switch from dour bad guys.
posted by mordax at 7:17 PM on June 29, 2016 [5 favorites]

I love this episode, it is such a fun episode, and full of great comedy. The whole cell boredom stuff that Giger spouts, his "Soulless minions of Orthodoxy" line kills me, and that strange chamber he has built to entertain his cells is fabulous.

The scenes with the other main characters are superb - O'Brien making them audit the cargo bay, and when they say to Bashir, "Surely you'd rather be doing something else" and he says you couldn't drag him away from his research is brilliantly done.

As mentioned, it is good for Jake, as it shows how far Cirroc Lofton has come, and how he has changed, not only as an actor but how much Jake has changed as well. And the same applies to Nog - I can only agree on what a great job they have done with him and the other Ferengi on DS9 as compared to TNG.
posted by marienbad at 2:23 PM on July 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

And what's not to love about Winn dissing him so directly--and at the same time so inaccurately?

I loved how it was pretty much inescapable, when Winn tells Weyoun, "we are nothing alike," to notice how alike the two are — both powerful, dangerous people who hide behind facades of smiles and politeness.

Any time a show does a gag where they are trading one thing for another to try to get some object, it always gives me an itching to watch MASH. I'm not sure if that show was the first to do this routine, but I think they did it the best.

TVTropes calls it Chain of Deals and has several examples under the "Fairy Tales & Oral Tradition" heading, so M*A*S*H was far from the first, but I agree it did it best.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:10 PM on August 8, 2017

My favorite bit was Weyoun at the end saying, paraphrased, "oh, I'm also interested in weird genetic experiments for immortality!" Knowing that his character was made immortal (via clone backups) precisely so they could reuse him on the show, after killing the character on his first appearance.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:07 AM on November 7, 2019

I also like the moment where Jake guilt trips Nog into providing the money for the auction, and Nog complains about humans - it kind of makes me think, in this universe where alien species all have their stereotyped cultural differences (aggressive Klingons, stoic Vulcans, scheming Ferengi, etc.) that maybe this particular type of emotional manipulation - this passive-aggressive guilting - is a particularly human quality.
posted by nightcoast at 2:04 AM on December 1, 2022

Yeah, this was fun. For one thing, it’s really nice to see them finally come up with something decent to do with poor Jake. Those are few and far between.

The funniest thing about the episode for me may be the scene where Giger explains his work. I’m trying to take him at face value, and I’m trying to imagine this whole “cellular boredom” business as being some kind of metaphor he’s trying to use to explain his extremely complex, cutting edge science stuff to a couple of laymen. But then there is this gradual dawning realization that no, he really means that literally, like he’s trying to tell jokes to his cells so he’ll live forever, and he is a complete whack job. Great stuff.
posted by Naberius at 9:55 PM on November 18, 2023 [1 favorite]

« Older Podcast: Within the Wires: Rel...   |  Empire: Time Will Unfold... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments