Fri
Oct 25 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “The House of Quark”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The House of Quark“The House of Quark”
Written by Tom Benko and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Les Landau
Season 3, Episode 3
Production episode 40512-449
Original air date: October 10, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log: It’s 2100 hours and Quark’s is empty save for Morn—who leaves with an attractive woman—and an exceedingly drunk Klingon named Kozak. Fear of the Dominion is keeping people away from the station, which keeps them away from Quark’s. While Quark laments his decision not to go into insurance—“better hours, more money, less scruples”—Rom brings Kozak his thirteenth bloodwine. But the Klingon’s out of money and wants to be extended credit, and his and Quark’s discussion on the subject turns ugly when Kozak unsheathes his d’k tahg and makes a very clumsy attempt to stab Quark. They roll around on the floor for a bit, and the blade winds up embedded in Kozak’s chest.

Bashir examines the body while Odo questions Quark and Rom. Quark, though, sees the crowds gathering outside wanting to know what happened, and sees an opportunity to get people back in the bar with the story of his magnificent bar brawl with the cunning Klingon. (Rom’s protestations that it was an accident and the Klingon was drunk fall on very large, very deaf ears.)

Quark starts weaving quite an impressive tale for Odo that exaggerates every single aspect of the story, particularly the actual killing blow. Bashir and Odo’s facial expressions display the absolute height of dubiousness and disbelief, but the crowd outside eats it up, which is all Quark cares about.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The House of Quark

O’Brien comes home to see Keiko playing with a plant. He talks about his day, but when he asks about hers, she announces that she closed the school. Jake and Nog are the only students she has left, with all the other children having left the station. O’Brien tries to comfort her, but she brushes him off, since she never intended teaching to be her permanent career. But it’s also obvious she’s upset—probably because she’s back to where she was when they came to the station, with nothing useful to do, which is why she opened the school in the first place.

Odo informs Quark that Kozak was the head of a very influential House in the Klingon Empire. Despite the threat of Kozak’s family coming to find out what happened to their House Head, Quark sticks by his story, especially since the bar is packed with people. It’s not just about profit anymore, it’s about respect. He’s not just the venal Ferengi who runs the bar, he’s Quark, slayer of Klingons! And if someone from the House of Kozak comes by for vengeance, he’ll stand up, look them in the eye, and offer them a bribe.

Sure enough, D’Ghor, Kozak’s brother, accosts Quark in a corridor and demands to know how Kozak died. A frightened-to-death Quark is more than happy to tell the truth, but D’Ghor makes it clear that if Quark says Kozak died in an accident—a death without honor, that would disgrace his entire House—he’ll kill the Ferengi. But if Quark says that Kozak died as a warrior in honorable combat—the very story Quark’s been telling—then all is well, and no one will seek vengeance.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The House of Quark

O’Brien prepares a huge meal (complete with champagne) for Keiko for “I’m Married to the Most Wonderful Woman in the Galaxy” Day, an old Irish tradition that he just made up. It cheers her for a while, but the next morning when O’Brien goes off to a day of work and she’s at home with nothing to do, the depression comes back.

Quark is visited by Grilka, Kozak’s widow. Quark sticks to his story—but the second she unsheathes her own d’k tahg, Quark dives behind the bar and hides behind a serving tray. In light of this response, she’s somewhat skeptical that he managed to kill her husband in combat. He admits that it was an accident, and she’s impressed that he lied to Odo, to his customers, and to D’Ghor. Quark smiles and says, “It’s a gift,” at which point she announces that he’s going to use that gift to her benefit—right before she sedates him with a hypo and beams him and her to her ship.

He wakes up on Qo’noS, where he’s faced by Grilka’s advisor, Tumek, who explains to Quark that D’Ghor is an enemy of the House of Kozak. Since Kozak died without a male heir, the House would go to D’Ghor if he died in honorable combat. But if he died in an accident, then Grilka could petition the High Council for special dispensation to make a woman the head of the House because of the unusual circumstance of a warrior dying by accident.

Grilka’s plan is to marry Quark, thus making him the new head of the House, cutting D’Ghor’s plan off at the pass. (She doesn’t explain this part to Quark until after Tumek performs the ceremony that marries them.) Klingon tradition holds that a warrior may take the position and wife of the warrior he slays in honorable combat. Since D’Ghor testified before the Council that Kozak died in honorable combat with Quark, that enables Grilka to pull this little trick.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The House of Quark

The situation is sufficiently complicated that Gowron declares that the Council must deliberate on the matter. Until a final decision is reached, the House of Kozak is officially (if temporarily) renamed the House of Quark and D’Ghor may not take action against Quark until the Council makes a determination.

Grilka wants Quark to stay quiet and do as he’s told, but when he asks what the next move is, Grilka has no idea, because she’s following the Indiana Jones playbook (“I don’t know, I’m making it up as I go”). Quark suggests an equal partnership, or at least to be given the entire story as to what the hell’s going on.

The House of Kozak was weakened by Kozak’s gambling and drinking, and a lot of his debt is to D’Ghor. Quark asks to look at the financial records of both Kozak and D’Ghor to see if he can find a Ferengi way out of this, which Grilka only very reluctantly accedes to. (Klingons don’t concern themselves with filthy ledgers...)

O’Brien asks for Sisko’s permission to convert a cargo bay to an arboretum for Keiko to care for, which Sisko happily grants. But Bashir points out to O’Brien that creating an arboretum as something for her to do reduces her profession to a hobby. Botany can’t be something she does for lack of anything better to do, she needs to actually be a botanist.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The House of Quark

It takes Quark all of five seconds to figure out that D’Ghor has been manipulating things financially to weaken Kozak’s House and strengthen his own. Rather than make a declaration and meet Kozak’s forces in battle, he’s plotted and schemed behind the scenes like a Ferengi. Grilka is disgusted, while Quark is just smug as all heck about it.

Quark shows the details of D’Ghor’s financial trickery to the Klingons, who struggle with the minutiae, but get the gist: D’Ghor used money (yuck, poo) to bring down a noble House. D’Ghor responds with anger, saying Quark has dishonored him, and challenges him to honorable combat. To back it up, he now says he has “new evidence” that Kozak died in an accident, to wit, the only other witness: Rom.

At this point, Quark and Rom are done—they did their bit, and now D’Ghor wants to kill Quark, to which Quark’s response is to run away very fast. Grilka is disgusted and lets him go. The next day in Council Chambers, when Quark doesn’t show up, D’Ghor asks that the House of Quark be dissolved and its lands and holdings be transferred to him.

But then Quark walks in, wearing a cassock and holding a bat’leth, and announcing himself as Quark, son of Keldar, and he’s there to answer the accusations of D’Ghor, “son of...whatever.”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The House of Quark

They face each other, bat’leths raised. Gowron declares combat to begin, at which point Quark throws his weapon to the floor and gets down on his knees. This was never anything more than an execution, and he refuses to play along by fighting back to make it look honorable. Instead he sits and waits for D’Ghor to rise to power by executing an unarmed Ferengi half his size. D’Ghor is actually all too happy to do that, at which point Gowron stays his hand and discommendates him for such dishonorable behavior. After D’Ghor is cast out, Gowron grants that there are whole bunches of unusual circumstances, and grants Grilka special dispensation to lead her House.

Grilka asks how she can repay Quark, and he says he’d like a divorce, please, at which point she smacks him, declares “Our marriage is done!” in Klingon, and then spits on him. “You’re a free man,” she adds, and then kisses him passionately.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The House of Quark

Back on DS9, in a crowded Quark’s, O’Brien tells Keiko about an opportunity on Bajor for a mountain survey that needs a chief botanist. It’s a six-month expedition, and she can bring Molly along, and it’s only a couple hours away.

At the bar, Rom tells Quark how magnificent he was in the Great Hall—and then asks him to tell the story again. Quark says everyone’s sick of it, but Rom says he wants to hear it. After saying he’ll take the time to tell the story out of Rom’s pay, Quark stands up and starts spinning a yarn....

The slug in your belly: Dax recognizes that O’Brien is having wife trouble just from the look on his face, as she’s been both a husband and a wife, and she recognizes his facial expression after having seen it from both sides.

Rules of Acquisition: Quark makes up a 286th Rule: “When Morn leaves, it’s over.” He also says that “discretion is the better part of valor” is an old Ferengi saying. Oh, and he gets to be the head of a Klingon House for about a day or so....

Victory is life: The threat of the Dominion has scared people away from DS9. Many Bajorans, especially those with children, have left the station to move back to Bajor, and Quark’s bar is empty at 2100 hours.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: Apparently “I’m Married to the Most Wonderful Woman in the Galaxy” Day ends with a great deal of sex, based on the O’Briens’ morning-after conversation.

Meanwhile, the first time Grilka kisses Quark, after Tumek marries them, she is disgusted and spits on the floor in revulsion afterward. The second time is after the divorce, and is a genuine passionate thank-you for everything Quark did.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The House of Quark

What happens in the holosuite, stays in the holosuite: Another part of “I’m Married to the Most Wonderful Woman in the Galaxy” Day is moonlit walks on the holosuite, apparently.

Keep your ears open: “I really am grateful for all you’ve done, Quark. That’s why I’m going to let you take your hand off my thigh, instead of shattering every bone in your body.”

Grilka, setting boundaries.

Welcome aboard: Robert O’Reilly, who had the recurring role of Gowron on TNG, reprises the role for the first of many times on DS9 (he’ll actually wind up appearing more times on DS9 than he did on TNG). Mary Kay Adams makes the first of two appearances as Grilka (she’ll return in “Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places”), while Carlos Carrasco plays D’Ghor, the first of three appearances he’ll make on the show (he’ll play another Klingon in “Shattered Mirror” and Krole in “Honor Among Thieves,” and he’ll also play a trader in Voyager’s “Fair Trade”) and regular stunt double John Lendale Bennett plays Kozak. Plus we get recurring regulars Max Grodénchik as Rom and Rosalind Chao as Keiko.

Finally, the magnificently voiced Joseph Ruskin makes his first of two appearances as Tumek (he’ll also reprise the role in “Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places”). Ruskin is the only actor to have physically appeared* in stories featuring all five crews (while he never appeared on TNG, he was in one of the TNG feature films), having played Galt in “The Gamesters of Triskelion” on the original series, and going on to play a Son’a officer in Insurrection, a Cardassian informant of Odo’s in “Improbable Cause,” a Vulcan tutor of Tuvok’s in Voyager’s “Gravity,” and a Suliban doctor in Enterprise’s “Broken Bow.”

* Majel Barrett also appeared with all five crews, but her appearances on Voyager and Enterprise were only vocally as the voice of Federation Starfleet computers.

Trivial matters: This is the first and only time DS9 will feature scenes set on Qo’noS—surprising, given how important Klingons become to the ongoing storyline starting in the fourth season. It’s the last time we see the Great Hall in the 24th century (it’ll next appear on Enterprise, taking place in the 22nd century, starting in “Broken Bow”).

With his story credit for this episode, Tom Benko became the only person in the history of Trek to serve as a writer, a director (of TNG’s “Transfigurations” and “Devil’s Due”), and an editor (he edited 40 episodes of TNG) for the franchise.

This episode was directed by Les Landau, who also directed the first episode to take place on Qo’noS in general and in the Great Hall in particular, TNG’s “Sins of the Father.” He shot the Great Hall scenes very similarly to the way he did them in the TNG episode, thus proving Karl Marx’s adage that history repeats itself, “the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

Your humble rewatcher had the High Council hearing three requests for special dispensation to make a female the head of a House in the novel A Burning House. The divorce ritual was also seen in that novel.

While Tumek is simply identified as an advisor, it is likely that he is the House gin’tak, the same role that “K’mtar” claimed to have for the House of Mogh in TNG’s “Firstborn.”

Professor Stephen Hawking visited the set during the filming of this episode. No word on whether or not he looked at the wormhole and said he was working on that....

Walk with the Prophets: “A brave Ferengi—who would have thought it possible?” What a magnificent gem of an episode. The Ferengi and the Klingons are pretty much 180 degrees from each other in terms of philosophy, so dropping Quark into the middle of a Klingon blood feud is comedy gold.

There are several things that make the episode work, starting with just some superb performances by Armin Shimerman and Mary Kay Adams. We already know after two-plus seasons how magnificent the former is, but the latter is excellent as well, creating a fully realized character in a remarkably short time. Grilka is smart, quick on her feet, passionate, and clever. Just a joy to watch, and her interactions with the other characters are excellent.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The House of Quark

The familiar face of Gowron is nice to see, also and Carlos Carrasco is perfect as the blustery D’Ghor. He pretty much is the stereotypical Klingon blowhard, but that’s what the role actually calls for, so it works. Add Joseph Ruskin’s great voice to the mix, and everything is set.

Luckily, the script lives up to the people speaking it. The intrigue is compelling as hell. So much of Klingon honor is artifice, but so are most social constructs, and there actually is a certain logic to it. Having said that, it’s an interesting question, as the entire episode hinges on how Kozak died. If he died by accident, one thing happens; if he died in glorious combat, something else happen. Yet ultimately, what difference does it make? Kozak’s just as dead in the end either way.

I like the fact that, on one hand, Quark exposes the artifice in the climactic scene, but on the other hand, D’Ghor didn’t exactly behave in a Klingon manner, either. The only difference between Quark and D’Ghor is that Quark isn’t pretending to be something he isn’t. Of course, what’s really hilarious is that Gowron and Grilka are disgusted by the pollution of matters of honor with something so base as money (which gives us the classic scene of Klingons staring incomprehensibly at the ledgers and accounts Quark has given them, which remains one of the ten funniest scenes in Star Trek history), but money is truly what it’s all about. They call it “lands and holdings,” but that’s just a euphemism for moolah.

And it cuts the other way, too. The Ferengi way—for all that they rely on deception and misdirection in their business dealings—is actually pretty straightforward in that it’s all about profit. All the Rules of Acquisition, all the lies, all the scheming, it’s all in the service of dying with the most toys. (But again, by that time, you’re dead...) Yet when Quark starts telling the story of his epic battle against Kozak, he loves the respect he’s suddenly accorded. Even at the end, Rom looks upon him admiringly and asks him to tell the story again, because he wants to hear it—that’s a Klingon request, not a Ferengi one.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The House of Quark

On top of all that, the B plot is kind enough to right a wrong that has been a blight on the show since “A Man Alone,” to wit, the absurd sledgehammering of Keiko into the role of schoolmarm. I especially admire that they cop to the mistake, with Bashir pointing out to O’Brien that Keiko is a botanist and that she won’t be happy until she actually is a botanist. The character only appears occasionally anyhow, so sending her off for six months isn’t much of a hardship on the show’s structure, and she hasn’t gone far.

It’s a good Ferengi episode, a good Klingon episode, a good bit of intrigue, and even a couple of good love stories (the O’Briens, as well as Quark and Grilka).

 

Warp factor rating: 9


Keith R.A. DeCandido will be at the Morris County Library in Whippany, New Jersey on Saturday the 26th for an all-day celebration of the 20th anniversary of DS9by the U.S.S. Justice fan club. He’ll also be one of the instructors at the Pocono Writers Conference on Sunday the 27th, an all-day workshop being held at the East Monroe Public Library in Stroudsberg, Pennsylvania; other instructors include Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Kathryn Craft, Mike McPhail, Bernie Mojzes, and Michael Ventrella.

44 comments
Christopher Bennett
1. ChristopherLBennett
Yup, Quark is absolutely magnificent in the climax. Great stuff.

Was this the only time we saw Gowron played for comedy? Interesting that it's his first appearance on DS9. No doubt the increased presence of Klingons in the franchise correlates with the addition of Ron Moore to its creative staff.

I revisited these characters in the one and only piece of published DS9 fiction I've written, "...Loved I Not Honor More" in the Prophecy and Change anthology, but we can talk about that after "Looking for Par'Mach in All the Wrong Places," to which my story is a direct sequel.
David Levinson
2. DemetriosX
The main plot really is a lot of fun and actually lets Quark do something heroic within Ferengi parameters, rather than having to step outside his culture as the writers often make him do in a Quark episode. The B-plot is obviously the new writing crew coming in and cleaning up a mess created by the first bunch. If they could have left it at that, things might have been OK. Alas, they eventually dove head first into the shrewification of Keiko. If only there hadn't been that decision to get O'Brien married back on TNG, he could have come to DS9 alone.
Christopher Bennett
3. ChristopherLBennett
@2: I wouldn't have wanted Keiko to be left out altogether, because there are few enough Asian characters in the Trek universe as it is -- and because Molly was utterly adorable. But they could've certainly handled the character better.
bookworm1398
4. bookworm1398
The Quark story really is a lot of fun for all the reasons you had. Its great to see him save the day.
I also like the interactions of the other characters with O'Brien here and how he tries to figure out what to do. I don't understand why Molly has to be shipped off with Keiko though, wouldn't staying on the space station be a more suitable enviorment for her than traipsing through the unexplored wilderness?
Raymond Seavey
5. RaySea
The scene with the High Council reading the ledgers has always left me a bit torn. On the one hand, it IS hilarious. On the other, though, these people run an intersteallar empire: somebody has to deal with economics and finance. It seems like they would have somebody that could evaulate Quark's claims in an educated way and report on them. Of course, I suppose you could argue that they just didn't really care, and would rather just have a good clean fight to settle it.
bookworm1398
6. TBGH
I don't want to rehash the entire discussion again, but let me just reiterate that it is common for professionals (regardless of gender) to switch to teaching when they are dislocated, retire, or have another life-altering event.

I find her entire character arc up through this episode believable and true to a person of intelligence and strength.

As for this episode, loved it and it was a necessary palate cleanser after all the intrigue and death (of non-speaking characters) in the previous two episodes.
bookworm1398
7. ChrisG
I agree that this was a terrific episode, giving us a nice perspective on both the Ferengi and the Klingons through the contrast.

But I admit it always bothers me that the O'Briens just assume without a moment's consideration that Molly should go with Keiko. Yeesh. If nothing else, that decision and the deliberations leading to it should be a revealing challenge for both of them, and an interesting source of conflict.
bookworm1398
8. RobinM
This is one of my favorite DS9 episodes because it's fun. It shows off the Klingons and Ferengis and Quark gets to be a hero.
Christopher Bennett
9. ChristopherLBennett
@7: On the Molly issue, consider it in the context of the rest of the episode, where civilians are leaving DS9 because they no longer consider it safe due to the Dominion threat. Given that, it's understandable why it would be taken for granted that a child would be better off with the parent who went to Bajor than with the one who stayed on the station.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
10. Lisamarie
If you had described this episode to me, I would have said, "WHAT???"

But I really kind of loved it. Despite the very problematic aspects of the honor-driven Klingon culture (Klingon experts: does wife of slain warrior have any say in of husband's killer gets to claim her?) and the way other peoples' honor inordinately affects another person's own standing.

You know how some people kind of start liking Jaime Lannister in spite of themselves as they read Game of Thrones? This might make me start liking Ferengi.
Christopher Bennett
11. ChristopherLBennett
@10: The actual line is, "If the leader of a House is slain in honorable combat, the victor may be invited to take his place and his wife." So it's not like the victor can just force the widow to marry him. It happens at her invitation, or at least her house's invitation.

And we see at the end that it's very easy for a Klingon female to divorce her husband. So it's safe to assume that she does have a lot of say in the matter.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
12. Lisamarie
Yes, I was wondering if divorce is always that easy, and would be as easy were the husband a Klingon with some standing. And is it always the wife who does the inviting? Her house's invitation could be interpreted a few ways. Nitpicking again, sorry. I can only imagine how a tradition like this would play out in some earth cultures.

I still think it's an odd that there is even a rule/custom covering this scenario and assuming that a widow would want to be married to her husband's killer (I suppose some Klingon women might view the killer as a more desirable mate), but I'm not Klingon. I think I'd make a pretty bad one!
bookworm1398
13. Ward3
I rather liked this episode, even though I don't like Ferengi episodes in general. This one just plays out well, and Grilka is a played so convincingly. It is also rather interesting to see how Quark plays out his duel - clever, in character yet just as brave and honourable as the Klingons, but in a Ferengi way. I should watch it again today.
Mike Kelmachter
14. MikeKelm
Two reoccurring comments for me: first that DS9 has the strongest task of any show in the trek universe. The fact that this episode is carried by a scondary character so ably (can anyone imagine a Guinan focused storyline?) speaks volume. It's like the 5th pitcher in the rotation being just as good as the ace- just awesome. Second, DS9 did more to flesh out other cultures than any other Trek show. The Ferengi, who were originally conceived as hopping around idiots have just as much honor as the mighty Klingons- it's just a bit more complicated.

I also love that it was Quark's intelligence and courage that saved the day- a very satisfying Trek ending.

One problem I do have is that Gowron and the high council are (comedic ally) made out to be financial idiots. I realize that they are warriors, but I can't imagine that you could lead any interstellar culture without some knowledge of economics and finance. While I mostly applaud the writers for fleshing out the culture and gender role side of the Klingons, this felt a little too "Planet of the. Hats" for me. Someone of the high council has to be the finance minister....
Joseph Newton
15. crzydroid
A pretty fun episode; I especially liked Quark's handling of the combat at the end. It was very much like him out-logicing the Vulcan.

I think the playing the Klingon Hall scenes for comedy kind of weakened them though, much as people say the Borg were defanged. In "Sins of the Father," during the "excommunication" scene (for want of a better term), the music and everything all played together to make this a very serious and powerful thing. Here, it was fun to see them all turning their backs and reminisce about that, but the way it was done just made it seem like it was following a farce making fun of Klingon cultural customs which were originally meant to be serious.

Also, I was never really sure why making and arboretum would be making it a hobby, or how she wouldn't be a botanist. It'd be like, the station has an arboretum now, so now they need a botanist. She'd be the botanist in charge of the arboretum, and she could probably still do research if that was her thing. What would she do as a botanist otherwise? That's what she did on the Enterprise.
Joseph Newton
16. crzydroid
@14: I wouldn't exactly call Quark a secondary character. He's in the opening credits. The analogy should be more of a Neelix-centered episode. Though I cringe to think they may have actually done that.
bookworm1398
17. Randy McDonald
Mike Kelm: I can actually imagine a fair amount of financial and economic illiteracy among Klingon leaders. Skill in personal combat and larger military conflicts is the ultimate factor determining who leads the Klingon Empire, and Gowron's accession to the chancellorship occurred after a prolonged civil war. Especially since Ezri Dax warned that under Gowron's leadership the Klingon Empire would fall, I can imagine that good governance might have been lacking under Gowron.
bookworm1398
18. athersgeo
@16 Actually, one of Voyager's strongest early episodes is a Neelix-centric episode (Jetrel)
bookworm1398
19. Greasy Mud Farts
@15

Was curious about this myself. How did having an
arboretum on DS9 make her any less of a botanist than having an arboretum on TNG? Or is there some detail I'm missing?
Christopher Bennett
20. ChristopherLBennett
@15 & 19: On the Enterprise, Keiko would've gotten to discover and catalog new forms of plant life in the wild. Just tending known plant species in an arboretum isn't the same thing at all. Especially if that arboretum exists for the sole purpose of giving Keiko something to do. Maybe there are arboreta that serve real research goals, but that wouldn't have been the case with the arboretum that O'Brien proposed.
bookworm1398
21. Erik Dercf
This episode is excellent. It is funny and characters in it grow beyond what they previously were. The only flaw to it is that Grilka like so many other wonderful guest characters isn't revisited in future episodes.
Christopher Bennett
22. ChristopherLBennett
@21: As stated in the "Welcome Aboard" section, Grilka does return in the episode "Looking for Par'Mach in All the Wrong Places." But she does disappear inexplicably after that one, which is why I wrote "...Loved I Not Honor More" to, err, explicate it.
bookworm1398
23. Bobby Nash
Loved this episode. So much fun to see Quark taken out of his element and still finding a way to thrive. I also enjoy seeing the O'Briens together. I think they make a good couple and I'm happy whenever Keiko is on the show.

Bobby
bookworm1398
24. Ashcom
@16 & @18

Not forgetting "Mortal Coil" which is also one of Voyager's best episodes. In fact, one wonders why, when Neelix was used so well in these episodes, the show didn't explore his serious side more often.

@3 - actually, with Keiko, Sulu and Harry Kim, to the best of my recollection that means there were morecharacters of Far-Eastern Asian origin than there were either of black, Middle-Eastern or Indian Sub-Continent origin in the various Star Trek franchises (Tuvok obviously being a Vulcan so can't be counted).
bookworm1398
25. Warren Beattie
(can anyone imagine a Guinan focused storyline?)
Only with a certain amount of shuddering and nausea.

I've been wondering about Keiko's role as a botanist on DS9 too. To CLB: of course you can have a botany lab or arboretum on a starship, especially a big, fancy, top-of-the-line on like a galaxy-class; but considering how quickly DS9 rose to prominence as the AQ base and hub of all things GQ, once the wormhole was discovered, would it have been to much to hope that it would include scientific matters, including botany? Dr. Mora's study of the proto-changeling springs to mind.
The more I think about it, the more it seems that DS9's apparent main function was to let passing starship crews stop off at Quark's; with occassional distractions of trade agreements for tulaberry wine, the odd diplomatic meeting, and shooting at the baddies' ships a few times.
The number of times we've seen them go off on planetary surveys in the GQ, I tell ya... and that's just the DS9 crew. Are the scans and specimens of all these expeditions collated and studied on board the ships (especially runabouts) or immediately beamed off via subspace transmission to Starfleet HQ on Earth? Maybe it's just me, but it's difficult to believe.

So Keiko O'Brien, only botanist seen by us on the flagship of the Federation - and apparently head of it's biology lab, after a look at Memory Alpha, all of which makes me think she should have at least a doctorate - puts her career on hold to follow her husband to a lonely outpost at a corner of Federation space; but soon has the wide, unknown botanical vista of the GQ laid out before her, and a possible opportunity to get in on the ground floor of it's formal study, all while keeping her family close by. She can have her cake and eat it too. So yeah, it's annoying that the best the first set of writers could do was dress her up as a schoolmarm; but again, the more I think about it, it's equally annoying that the best alternative the next set could come up with was to put her on an interstellar bus and bundle her off to a single bajoran valley.

But to the meat and potatoes of the episode, of which I have unfortunately less to say. But it is one of my favourite Quark episodes (and I like Quark episodes... most of 'em) for reasons already mentioned. Personally, I think the hallful of fearsome warriors tapping away on dinky little padds (or smartphones, or whatever*) is pretty funny, and I don't think it defangs them too much - not with their roles in the upcoming Klingon-Federation and Dominion wars. They definitely weren't defanged to the same degree as the Borg, what with their quick fizzling out in TNG and their vulnerability to Voyager's modified-nanoprobe cure-all.

*I'd seen padds in use in TNG, but there was one particular episode of DS9, focussing on Jake's writing, that really made me think how cool something like that would be. Almost twenty years later, it tickles me pink that I'm typing all this out one.
Joseph Newton
26. crzydroid
@24: Why does Tuvok being Vulcan make him not count? Are you limiting this to representation of Earth cultures in Starfleet rather than representation among the actors? Is that why Worf doesn't count? Is that why Guinan doesn't count? But then why do Geordi, Sisko, Uhura, and Mayweather not count? Four is more than three (though counting Mayweather means counting Hoshi, which you don't include, so we're at least still tied). And are we talking about characters in Starfleet, strictly recurring characters or regulars, or are we including any and all characters?
Dante Hopkins
27. DanteHopkins
First, as to the Klingon High Coucil's(hilarious!) struggle with macroeconomics: Klingon society has engineers who build ships and maintain warp drive, scientists who catalog planets that are suitable for colonization (or conquest), whether said planets have valuable resources, and doctors who (at the very least) keep warriors healthy and keep the Homeworld free of plagues. So it makes sense Klingon society would also have economics experts who handle the dirty business of money. Of course, all the above would be out of the main vein of Klingon politics, and although they are necessary for the Empire, they would not lead Klingon Houses or have seats on the High Council. (That scene is really funny. I'm chuckling as I write this.)

As to the episode, I always look forward to this one. Grilka is such a wonderful character magnificently played by Mary Kay Adams. I would love to have seen much more of her, a strong Klingon female who's not a Lursa or B'Etor schemer, but an honorable Klingon woman protecting her House. It is a missed oppurtunity she did not become a recurring character in later seasons. But I'm grateful we get to see her one more time after this, and CLB, thanks for bringing her back. I will definitely get that anthology.

And I'm glad DS9 put right what once went wrong and let Keiko be a botanist. I thought it was particularly cool that it was Bashir who pointed out the flaw in O'Brien's well intentioned plans. The young doctor's argument was flawless, and really showed Bashir's continued growth and maturity.

Just great stuff all around.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
28. Lisamarie
I agree with @25 - I think an arboretum on DS9 would be a great way for her to do actual research on GQ lifeforms (or even Bajoran or other known plants). It doesn't have to be reducing it to a hobby. And, well, one of our good friends has a PhD in botany, and he's not catalogeing new species, he was doing experiments on known life forms. So Keiko could certainly do that, assuming they could get her the equipment. And given that they have a science lab, I don't see why they couldn't. But, glad she gets to go on her field trip nonetheless :)
Christopher Bennett
29. ChristopherLBennett
On the subject of the High Councillors' ability to understand economics: Yes, ideally you'd think that they should understand economics, but since we're dealing with politicians, that can't be assured. Look at today's United States Congress, where the House science subcommittee is run by scientific illiterates and creationists. People get jobs in legislatures because they're good at winning votes, not because they're qualified for the responsibilities they're given. Klingon society in the 24th century glorifies warriors above all other social classes, and people rise to power in the High Council by earning victories in battle or being able to kill their rivals for council seats. That's not the kind of political system that would put qualified technocrats or economists into high office. So the High Council's ineptitude at economics is entirely plausible to me.
Andrew Love
30. Andy Love
I was never clear on whether Quark's line about "D’Ghor, son of...whatever" was a deliberate attempt to use what must be the most serious insult possible in Klingon culture, or simply a reflection of how little he cared about Klingon formalities.
"So the High Council's ineptitude at economics is entirely plausible to me."
In addition, even those on the council who understood economics would be embarrassed to admit such knowledge in a public forum.
bookworm1398
31. Thomas B
Thoroughly enjoyed this episode.

There's an old sci fi trope that Roddenberry didn't shy away from: the noble human correcting the flawed (ie, complex) alien. Revisit that path often enough, and your aliens become more interesting and more sympathetic than your Earthlings.

Given that, I'm really surprised it took Trek so long to showcase a story primarily about the interaction of two alien cultures. It basically doubles the interesting.

Also, Armin Shimerman is fantastic, clawing his way out of the flat Ferengi role here, showing he's capable of compassion, courage, and pride in both, just as he showed he was capable of both yearning and regret in "Profit and Loss." He started as one of the most easily stereotyped characters on the show, and now has some of the most depth.

Tom Benko and RD Moore probably deserve a lot of credit for that as well. Moore seems dissatisfied with leaving a race reducible to one human trait, advancing Klingons in TNG, and probably pushing for a little more realistic Ferengi over the course of DS9.
bookworm1398
32. Ashcom
@26 - yes, I was only including human characters since the original comment was on "Asian characters" not the actors who played them. I must admit that I have never actually watched Enterprise and thus pretty much forgot it even existed, hence not including those characters. I had also, to my shame, forgotten about Geordi LeForge! I was still counting three black characters, the third being Jake, but kind of counting him and Sisko as one because they are related. It still applies that to the best of my knowledge (and excluding Enterprise which I don't know about) Bashir is pretty much the only Middle-Eastern character, and I can't think of any from the sub-continent.
David Levinson
33. DemetriosX
@32
Actually Bashir's origins are a little hard to pin down. In fact, a lot would seem to point more to the subcontinent (counting Pakistan as part of it) than to the Middle East. He had an English great-grandmother and his fascination with things English -- the Battle of Britain, James Bond, he knows the words to "Jerusalem" -- and the fact that one ancestor was named Singh would seem to point more to either growing up in Britain or to being from some part of the Muslim world with a strong association with Britain, i.e. Pakistan or India.
Christopher Bennett
34. ChristopherLBennett
@33: Well, the British had a strong presence in the Mideast as well; see Lawrence of Arabia, the conflicts surrounding the building of the Suez Canal, etc.
David Levinson
35. DemetriosX
@34
A strong presence, but not a strong cultural influence. Just as an example, playing cricket. They might play some cricket in Egypt, but nowhere else between there and Pakistan.
bookworm1398
36. Ashcom
Bashir is a name that derives from the Arabic language, so I just kind of assumed that that was Julian's ethnicity. From the accent I also assumed he was either British born or British educated. This would, of course, also reflect the ethnic make-up of the actor (Alexander Siddig being Sudanese born but brought up in England).
Joseph Newton
37. crzydroid
Khan is the only character I can think of that is said to be from India, although he was played by a Mexican.
Christopher Bennett
38. ChristopherLBennett
@37: There was a Mr. Singh in "The Changeling," and another Singh in a first-season TNG episode. I think Singh was the only South Asian name Roddenberry knew. (There was a Singh in his Genesis II pilot movie as well.)

There was also Lt. Rahda in "That Which Survives" -- presumably a misspelling of Radha. There was Captain Chandra in "Court-martial" (also glimpsed in the 2009 movie under the name Nensi Chandra). There was the starship captain played by Vijay Amritraj in The Voyage Home -- although the script calls the character "Joel Randolph." Conversely, there was an Admiral Shanthi in two TNG episodes, but she was played by an African-American actress.

There was an Admiral Gupta mentioned but not seen in DS9: "Whispers." And TNG: "Power Play" referenced a 22nd-century Admiral Uttan Narsu, which seems to be a South Asian name.
bookworm1398
39. bookworm1398
I always assumed Bashir was supposed to be Middle Eastern since the actor was in real life. I can't think of any non-British cultural references he makes in the show, nothing analogous to Sisko's collection of African art.
I imagine the ethnic makeup of the Star Trek crews was influenced by the pool of available actors in the US, so its not surprising that the first four shows did not have any Indian origin ones. Enterprise could have cast someone.
Rob Rater
40. Quasarmodo
"Since Kozak died without a male heir, the House would go to D’Ghor if he died in honorable combat. But if he died in an accident, then Grilka could petition the High Council for special dispensation to make a woman the head of the House because of the unusual circumstance of a warrior dying by accident. Grilka’s plan is to marry Quark, thus making him the new head of the House, cutting D’Ghor’s plan off at the pass. (She doesn’t explain this part to Quark until after Tumek performs the ceremony that marries them.) Klingon tradition holds that a warrior may take the position and wife of the warrior he slays in honorable combat. Since D’Ghor testified before the Council that Kozak died in honorable combat with Quark, that enables Grilka to pull this little trick."

I guess I'm confused by the little trick Grilka is pulling. She found out that Kozak did die in an accident, which allows her to petition the High Council for special dispensation to make a woman the head of the House because of the unusual circumstance of a warrior dying by accident. So basically, everything she wants and a pile of flapjacks. Instead, bizarrely, she decides to marry Quark, who she finds revolting, knows he could never physically defend her house, and who's story is a lie that could be unraveled, which would reveal her intent to deceive the Klingons in charge. Add to that she has no idea what to do after she puts her plan into effect. It comes across as another contrived situation.
Christopher Bennett
41. ChristopherLBennett
@40: But D'Ghor had already told the Council that Kozak had died in combat. It would've been Grilka's word against his. And that wouldn't have given her enough leverage. She needed the fake marriage as a stopgap to keep D'Ghor from taking her holdings.
bookworm1398
42. metria31183
Loved this episode.

I wonder, though, if whoever came up with name of Quark's father was a fan of David Eddings. The character Silk (whose real name was Kheldar), was essentially a human version of Quark.
bookworm1398
43. Scavenger
#30: I think it's Quark doing a deliberate insult, as he introduces himself in the formal Klingon manner.

#25 re PADDS and iPad. John Rogers is the creator of the TV show Leverage. Johnathon Frakes was a frequent director of Leverage. On one of the DVD commentaries, Rogers realtes the story of them seeing the iPad announced and moments later, Commander Riker walks into the room.
bookworm1398
44. DougL
I just finished a rewatch of the whole series. I will watch Voyager next, but it is these two shows that have aged so well that if I hadn't watched them on TV so long ago you'd never know they were shows from 20 years ago.

They have top quality visual effects, costumes and very clean visual quality. Top notch television from a production standpoint.

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