For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here
Overview – Quark, suffering from the Ferengi business ban, is broke and desperate. When his cousin Gaila arrives with a business proposition to use Quark’s holosuites for selling weapons, Quark accepts. While at the start Quark is enjoying his success, he soon finds himself at odds with the respect of friends and his conscience. Meanwhile, O’Brien is trying to find a way to keep his infant son from crying when not being held.
Score: 7/10 – A solid Quark story with some great guest stars. Steven Berkoff is great as Hagath. Josh Pais finally brings to life Cousin Gaila with true Ferengi gusto. As far as the side story with Miles struggling to care for his infant son, it allows the rest of the crew not directly connected to the Quark storyline to have some screen time, yet it is not related to the main plotline in any way. While this is not a bad thing, necessarily, it comes across as little more than entertaining time filler. The one thing that was a little weak was the dream sequence that causes Quark to change his ways. While I have no problem with using the dream motif in a story, this one felt a bit stretched. For one, why would Quark be thinking about O’Brien and his baby? Likely he wouldn’t since Quark hadn’t seen O’Brien the whole episode. It felt more like the writers were trying to push the two stories together. Still, a fun episode that shows some great exploration of Quark’s character.
Relevance - 3 points. We finally meet Cousin Gaila, the man who was able to buy his own moon. We will see him again in the “Magnificient Ferengi”. The effects of Quark’s business ban with the Ferengi is the main reason for the events of this episode. Plus, with the side story of how to keep Yoshi O’Brien to sleep, we will see Worf’s aptitude with looking after the youngest member of the Chief’s family.
Continuity - 2 points. Storyline continuity gets a point as everything fits. Gaila fits the storyline that Quark had previously established. Universe continuity is also good. When Kira reveals that Haggath had sold weapons to the Bajoran resistance during the Occupation, it makes sense. As do the reactions of Sisko and Kira when they inform Odo that charges will not be filed against Quark, showing that while they do not like having to help bail out Quark, they make it perfectly clear that they will not overlook any further discretions. Character continuity was a little tricky for me this time around. As I mentioned earlier, Quark seemed to be bothered by the proposed death toll of a deal he was brokering and had a dream that saw those concerns personified. Unfortunately, among the personifications of those concerns were Jake Sisko and Miles O’Brien. Kira, Jadzia, and even Captain Sisko being in his dream made sense, as did many of his employees. Jake and Miles, however, didn’t have any interactions in this episode with Quark, so it doesn’t make much sense that he would be dreaming of them. So, I think I will have to dock them a point here.
Character Development – 2 points. Definitely a Quark powerhouse episode. Armin Shimmerman has stated that this episode is one that shows Quark as a very three-dimensional character. We see that he has a conscience, reaffirms that he is a people person at heart, but that when things are desperate he will rationalize his choice to deal in weapons. He does make the right choice in the end, but it costs him the repairs to the cargo bay that is damaged as a result of Quark’s plan. The side story gives us some nice Miles moments. As he struggles to care for his son who wails as soon as Miles puts him down, we see him trying to live his regular life. He’s at the bar playing darts and with him on his rounds, eventually getting some time off to care for him while his wife is away. The best is when Worf comes to speak to him and ends up holding Yoshi, resulting in the baby calming down and Miles being able to get some much needed sleep.
Social Commentary – 3 points. Ah, the guilty conscience. The realization that our actions have consequences. So often in our world we see leaders of government and industry make decisions and wash their hands of how those decisions affect the lives of the common man. Gun makers and tobacco dealers say they have no liability for the lives that their products cause. Governments use gambling as a way of increasing revenues while disavowing the costs associated with gambling addictions. Too often we stand and condemn those who make such choices, and yet when we ourselves become the decision makers, do we truly change the system? We sometimes elect leaders for their promise to be different, and we often get more of the same. Quark is in a desperate situation, which makes it easy for him to grab at the chance to get himself back on his feet, but when he starts to get his hands dirty, he finds himself doubting his choice. It does cost him something in the way of friendships (Dax) and respect (Sisko), but ultimately he realizes that his choices cannot excuse the loss of millions of lives. Of course, one can argue that the death toll had to reach the millions before he had the change of heart, but we can also ask ourselves if this is more an issue of determining the cost of one’s soul.
Cool Stuff – 1 point. I am going to give a point here for some of the cool weapon demos we see in the holosuite. Other than that, while this is a fun episode, there was nothing that was wowing me.
Rank – Captain (18 points). Nice to see Quark treated seriously for a change. Quite often his episodes and stories are used more as comic relief. This one shows some great depth to the character and makes a point.