November 28, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Weekend Trek “The Magnificent Ferengi”

Quark has to put together a team of Ferengi to rescue his Moogi from the Dominion.

Wait, I get an episode with both Jeffrey Combs and Iggy Pop, and it focuses on the Ferengi?

I think I found the perfect episode.

Seriously, there is so much to like about this episode.  Quark, feeling a little perturbed that his stories of profit are not as interesting to his patrons as the stories told by the people Odo dubs “heroes” when they come back from dangerous missions, learns he has the chance to be a hero too.  His mother, Ishka AKA Moogi, was kidnapped by the Dominion on a return trip from getting cosmetic surgery.  The Grand Negas sends Quark a message to get her back.  Rescue mission.  Of course there’s a reward.  Can Quark do it?

Well, not on his own.  First stop:  Rom.  Rom will of course want to rescue his mother, and he’ll be the only one given the full details on the reward.  Can’t Quark just hire some Klingons or something?  Well, he figures he wants to prove Ferengi can handle themselves in a situation like that, and Rom is his first recruit.  Granted, the two are talking while Rom is working in the Jeffreys Tubes of the station and they somehow end up in Sisko’s office.

That was a damn good Sisko joke considering the character probably isn’t generally allowed to be funny.

OK, so, what makes this episode so great?  It’s mostly because it does just about everything right.  The closest I can come to a criticism is Iggy Pop as a Vorta.  He has a deadpan delivery, and I don’t know if that’s on purpose or he just isn’t that good an actor.  Regardless, it actually works for the character, so I have no further complaints.

Well, maybe a minor one.  Keep reading.

Anyhoo, who the heck do Quark and Rom know that they can get for a strike team of Ferengi?

First up is the other obvious choice:  Nog.  Nog is Starfleet, but let him have a title like Worf, and he’s in.

Then there’s Leck, a Ferengi Eliminator.  He doesn’t think like other Ferengi because he doesn’t care about latinum.  He does care about being cheated if it comes to that.  Essentially an assassin and perhaps the only member of the team who knows what he’s doing, he loves a challenge, and there’s no better challenge than the Jem’Hadar.

Quark’s cousin Gaila the weapons dealer is next.  He had to be bailed out of lock-up, but the real problem is he’s better at selling weapons than he is at using them.

And finally, there’s ex-Liquidator Brunt.  Nobody likes the guy.  He wasn’t invited.  But unlike the others, he has his own ship.

From there, it just goes the way an episode like this should.  Holosuite simulations show the group is too inept to do a commando-style mission.  But then Rom suggests they rescue Moogi the Ferengi way:  cut a deal.  Kira vouches for Quark since he helped free her during the Dominion occupation to trade a captured Vorta from a previous episode for Moogi over on the abandoned Empok Nor station, a chance to reuse the regular sets while in-episode offering a chance for Nog to prove useful since he’s been there before.

As it is, the Vorta is a rather depressed fellow.  His type are supposed to kill themselves rather than let themselves be captured, so this won’t be a happy reunion.  His mopiness contrasts nicely with Iggy’s deadpan Vorta.

The funny thing is, everything somehow goes both right and wrong.  Quark’s plans are almost thrown out the window when the Dominion shows up with a whole lot of Jem’Hadar, but he’s able to negotiate it down to two and set it up so he can make a quick getaway.  Iggy is so annoyed by all this, he’ll agree to just about anything.  He really doesn’t like the Alpha Quadrant, especially the Ferengi.  That doesn’t stop him at one point from listening in as Moogi gives him financial advice.  Besides, Quark’s a good negotiator.

He isn’t good at keeping a prisoner alive during a scuffle that breaks out when the other Ferengi learn the reward is much bigger than he told them.

But Nog is good at engineering, and a corpse is just a machine, so one remote controlled-Vorta coming up.

And that doesn’t work when the Vorta’s controls get stuck and he just keeps walking into a wall.

By then, the other Ferengi actually manage a successful ambush to take down the Jem’Hadar and capture Iggy to give to Starfleet in exchange for the dead Vorta.  Moogi is saved.  Quark and Rom are heroes.  And Leck calls the whole undertaking the most unprofessional mission he’d ever been on, so of course he’ll be glad to go along on another if Quark ever needs him.

That joke was the other minor quibble.  Hardly groundbreaking humor there.

But hey, everyone gets what they want I suppose.

Well, maybe not that dead Vorta left forever walking into a wall…