April 23, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Weekend Trek “Who Mourns For Morn?”

Quark finds himself in a lot of trouble when he learns his regular customer Morn left everything to Quark after Morn's untimely death.

Well, this is odd.  It’s an episode clearly being played as more of a comedy, seeing as how it focuses on Quark and his episodes are rarely completely serious.

And yet, I didn’t find it all that funny.

I think the issue here is that the episode is basically about Morn, that silent alien customer who is always parked in Quark’s.  He never speaks, but there’s a running gag that Morn does all kinds of things when he’s not on camera.  He tells great stories, is one of the funniest beings many of the cast have ever met, and he has has a wonderful singing voice.  There are dozens of throwaway lines about Morn that involve his speaking, and yet he never says a word on screen.

And I have never found the joke all that funny.

To be clear, Morn has one of the most distinctive looks in Star Trek, and I suspect his silence is due mostly to the mask the actor wears.  Said actor never really got credit in the show, and Wikipedia tells me he briefly appears in this episode as a Bajoran pushed by Quark into Morn’s usual seat when it appears Morn died, so the guy did get his face into an episode once.  But as far as the mask goes, it may not have moved around convincingly enough to convey speech, so instead he says nothing, often interrupted when it looks like he’s about to say something, or we’re told later he said or did all kinds of things when the camera wasn’t looking.  Again, I’m not a fan of that joke.

This episode is basically one long version of that joke.  Morn dies (not really), leaves Quark everything in his will, and many times over someone will say something about Morn that was never revealed before.  He was the member of a royal family.  He was married.  He won a huge lottery and has a hundred bars of gold-pressed latinum.  And so forth.

If anything, this episode did one thing I appreciated:  finally explained what gold-pressed latinum is.  Ferengi believe gold is worthless, but latinum is very valuable.  It, however, only comes in a liquid form, so rather than pay for stuff with an eyedropper, something Dax figures was pretty annoying, the stuff got pressed into gold, a substance that is much easier to make change with.  Anyway, Morn had a fortune’s worth of the stuff stashed…somewhere, and all Quark has to do is find it and maybe watch out for Morn’s ex-wife, Morn’s ex-business partners, and the security agent that spreads the “Morn’s royalty” story.

Of course, none of these people are on the up-and-up.  They’d committed a big robbery with Morn once, but he hid the loot.  Now that the statue of limitations is up, they can claim it.  Oh, and they don’t want to share.

This is all well and good, and there are some amusing moments, like when Quark realizes he only has some worthless bars of gold with the latinum extracted, but like I said, this one didn’t work for me.

So, in the end when Morn walked in and revealed he faked his own death because he knew Quark would find a way to survive the other criminals, without telling Quark as much, and he had the latinum hidden in his second stomach for the past decade–hence the reason he lost all his hair, another line I found a bit amusing–Quark will settle down when Morn spits out about ten bars worth of latinum.

Oh, and Quark has an idea since some primitive cultures still value gold a whole lot.

Yeah, this one didn’t work for me.  The next one, though, looks a lot more promising.