Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Magnificent Ferengi   Rewatch 
August 4, 2016 7:21 AM - Season 6, Episode 10 - Subscribe

In 2374, a crack commando unit was sent to Empok Nor to rescue a woman captured by the Dominion for a crime she didn't commit. These men promptly killed their only bargaining chip in their minimum-security infirmary. If you have a problem… if no one else can help… and if you can pay them… maybe you shouldn't hire… The Ferengi Team.

First-timers, beware spoilers for season 7 on the Memory Alpha page for this episode.

- All of the Ferengi seen in this episode have been featured on the series before; aside from the obvious recurring characters, Gaila appeared in "Business as Usual", while Leck was an unnamed Ferengi who was seen exiting the chamber of the Grand Nagus in "Ferengi Love Songs". Zek is the only Ferengi recurring character not to appear in this episode. This was due to Wallace Shawn's unavailability. This changed the identity of the person who was kidnapped by the Dominion, as it was originally to be Zek, not Ishka.

- According to Ira Steven Behr, although this episode is primarily a comedy, like the episode "Family Business", it was an attempt to do something a little more serious with the Ferengi; "The whole thing about heroism in this episode, the questions of 'What is a hero?' and 'What value does that have?' basically had to do with the fact that the Ferengi needed to show that they could be heroes."

- The phrases 'syrup of squill' and 'hipecat root futures' are taken from the 1934 Norman Z. McLeod movie It's a Gift, starring comedian W.C. Fields.

- Iggy Pop's role as Yelgrun was the realization of a personal goal of Ira Steven Behr, who is a fan of the musician. Behr had tried to cast Pop as Grady in "Past Tense, Part II", but their conflicting schedules had made it impossible. Although Behr was thrilled to work with Pop, he was a little annoyed with himself for casting him as a Vorta; "His physicality is certainly part of who he is, and unfortunately we cast him as a Vorta, one of the most immobile of characters." Ultimately however, Behr felt that Pop brought something wonderful to the role; "He really got that demented quality the Vorta have, like Weyoun has – think Caligula! He was just a delight."

- This is the only episode in which Rom kills someone (in this case a Jem'Hadar).

- Kira helps Quark's operation in gratitude for rescuing her earlier, in the events of the episode "Sacrifice of Angels".

- Christopher Shea returns to the role of the Vorta Keevan, who he had first played earlier in the season in "Rocks and Shoals". In that episode he surrendered himself to the Federation, and he had been kept as a prisoner after that.

"A child... a moron... a failure... and a psychopath. Quite a little team you've put together!"
"What do you want, Brunt?"
"I'm here to sign up!

- Brunt and Quark

"(Waving his hand) Hi, I'm Rom. This is Nog, Brunt..."
"Rom, he doesn't care."
"Truer words have never been spoken."

- Rom, Quark, and Keevan, upon the latter's arrival on the Ferengi shuttle

"Family. You understand."
"Not really. I was cloned."

- Quark and Yelgrun
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Did I miss the reason why the Dominion captured Ishka? I guess we're to assume they would use her as a bargaining chip to get the Ferengi to join the Dominion, or at least trade with them (they're not a Federation member, from what I recall). Although capturing the Nagus himself might make even less sense...

They made a big deal that Vorta are supposed to commit suicide if captured, and that Keevan was an exception. Yet Yelgrun didn't seem to try to avoid capture or commit suicide. A shame he doesn't show up again, I thought he made a fun and very different sort of Vorta. Brought a lot to the role.
posted by 2ht at 9:58 AM on August 4, 2016

Yeah, the premise of the episode didn't make any sense. What possible reason would the Dominion kidnap Ishka? Why is Gaila being held in a starbase for a vagrancy charge? I suppose the Dominion was testing how Ferenginar would react. That's something the Dominion is fond of. And their intelligence has been shown to be top notch, so they are no doubt aware of Ishka's importance.

Anyway, that doesn't matter because episode was a lot of fun. My two favorite bits were Leck's "I saw we weren't going to rescue her so I put her out of her misery, line and Ishka's WTF look when she has to step around the Keevan zombie during the prisoner exchange.
posted by riruro at 11:27 AM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I can't get beyond the Weekend at Bernie's Vorta bit (though I suppose it's also somewhat of a Spock's Brain bit, which again, is not a good thing).
posted by juiceCake at 2:38 PM on August 4, 2016

This is the only Ferengi comedy episode I ever actually liked, IIRC. I'm not sure the episode actually fits into the series proper at all - the plot doesn't make sense, the slapstick doesn't really fit the feel of the regular episodes and so on, but I still thought it was pretty funny in more of a 'what if' capacity.

I also agree with Behr: Iggy Pop was my second favorite Vorta. (Really, nobody can compete with Weyoun, but he gave it a good go.)

though I suppose it's also somewhat of a Spock's Brain bit

Keevan's meat puppet routine was *totally* out of Spock's Brain, apart from him being dead. I think that's part of why I thought it was funny. (Although again, I won't argue that it actually belonged in series canon.)
posted by mordax at 8:54 PM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I absolutely loved Iggy Pop's Vorta - he did a fantastic job of conveying that he considered himself the only professional - nay, the only adult! - in the room.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 5:38 PM on August 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yeah, Iggy was great in a really unnerving way. Something that wouldn't have been part of the pop culture lexicon back when this was originally broadcast is that his glittering stare reminds me very much of Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones.

Also, I was reflecting on how much the Ferengi have evolved since the early years of TNG. Even after their ridonkulous introduction in "The Last Outpost", they were presented as credible threats to Picard & Co. for some time; here, they even talk to each other about how they're not really cut out for this sort of thing.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:52 PM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, I was reflecting on how much the Ferengi have evolved since the early years of TNG. Even after their ridonkulous introduction in "The Last Outpost", they were presented as credible threats to Picard & Co. for some time; here, they even talk to each other about how they're not really cut out for this sort of thing.

DS9 did a really great job expanding its major alien cultures (Ferengi, Bajoran, and Cardassian, plus the major Dominion members) enough so that they had something slightly approaching what we expect of humans in terms of depth and variation. Most of the other Treks, even the good ones, don't bother to make the aliens they introduce anything other than one-note monocultures.

How many other Star Trek aliens have enough diversity to put together a squad like this with personalities different enough that they bounce off each other and create conflict? I think the only ones that could match it were also featured in DS9. There are at best two different types of Klingon and Vulcan, not even that much difference in the various Romulans that show up from time to time. We barely meet any other Betazoids. This episode didn't even need to make up a bunch of new Ferengi since all but one had already been featured and had established relationships with the rest of the gang. That in itself is a reflection of how much more attention was paid to non-humans in DS9.
posted by Copronymus at 2:24 PM on April 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

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