Date: August 21, 2020
Season 6, Episodes 22 and 23
Musical Accompaniment: Saxophone, piano, and guitar love songs it is…
Interstellar News: Things have ramped up at work, but at least I got a good trip in to the butcher today.
So what had happened in “Valiant” was…: Nog and Jake are traveling to Ferenginar, the former to deliver an important message to the Nagus and the latter to try to score an interview. On the way they are shot at by Jem’Hadar but are saved by the Valiant, a ship similar to the Defiant. The crew of the Valiant, however, is a bunch of Red Squad cadets who have been “lost in enemy space” for the past eight months. “Captain” Watters and “Chief” Collins explain to Jake and Nog what happened to the adultier adults and it’s strongly implied that they decided to stay and be heroes instead of returning to Starfleet. They finally find the Jem’Hadar ship they’ve been looking for but instead of returning to Starfleet with the data, as was their original mission, they decide to enact a risky plan to blow up the ship… which doesn’t work. Everyone dies except for Jake, Nog, and Collins, who are saved by the Defiant. Jake decides to write about the experience, and Nog tells him to write both sides of the story.
Jake: You joined the crew?
Nog: Something wrong with that?
Jake: It’s a little fast. We just got here and Watters puts you in charge of the Engine Room?
Nog: Captain Watters is used to making quick decisions. He felt I was the right man for the job, so he promoted me.Nog drank the Watters Kool Aid and Jake is totally confused and concerned.
“You’ve never been to the moon?”: Why on Earth was Red Squad not disbanded after the mishegoss of “Homefront/Paradise Lost“? They clearly think they know what they’re doing, which they don’t, and it costs them their lives. This episode very clearly shows why the “with great power comes great responsibility” quote should never be taken lightly, as Watters had way too much responsibility for his age and experience. Now I know some young people who have gained an incredible amount of experience in a short time, but you generally need one or both and you always need a mentor. These cadets are exactly like the “Gifted & Talented” kids, the “Honors” kids, the ones that have never had to cope with failure because they’re just that awesome… so of course it never occurs to them that failure might happen. They’ve also all been through the Academy so they have been taught to respect the uniform and the rank of those above them, so it’s a dangerous game played on the ship. Jake is wonderful because he’s so analytical and asks a lot of questions, so he not only helps the viewer but he tries to be the voice of reason. Unfortunately he’s stuck “talking to the bulkhead” and gets landed in the brig.
I genuinely enjoyed the opening scene where Quark is in the weeds and obviously short staffed too and then Dax comes in to fix the replicator and Quark is so stunned he just stands there. Unfortunately that scene is only there to say why Nog wasn’t fixing the replicator and nothing else happens on DS9, which was a bit of a letdown. I had an issue with the homesick scene because it went on for too long and there was also some flawed logic. If the sun only comes up once a month, how could you see God every morning? I also was super shocked, at the time but not once I thought about it, that the Jem’Hadar shot the escape pods as they were escaping. I know they don’t care for the rules of war but usually the Vorta at least want to put on a show that the Dominion isn’t all that bad. The best arc, though, was Nog’s story. At first you can tell he has so much pride in delivering the message to the Nagus, then he’s sort of skeptical about the Valient’s crew, but once he’s offered the Chief Engineer spot his ambition takes over his good sense. Though, by the end, you can tell how remorseful he feels about joining the crew… like he should have known better. I’m super torn on if I like this episode or not, it has some good points. It earns 5 escape pods that all live to tell the tale.
So what had happened in “Profit and Lace” was…: Quark is praising his newest dabo girl and then reminds us that he’s a total slime, but thankfully Rom interrupts because he can’t get in touch with anyone on Ferenginar. Zek and Ishka arrive at DS9 because Zek added an amendment that female Ferengi could wear clothes and now Brunt is the acting nagus unless they can do something. Nog, Rom, and Quark start making calls to other Ferengi but are met with resistance and only Nilva agrees to come to meet Ishka and hear her proposal. Quark and Ishka have a fight which causes her to have a heart attack, so Quark gets a quick transition surgery, is renamed “Lumba”, and dresses in drag in order to convince Nilva that this is a good plan for all of Ferenginar. “Lumba” and Nilva have dinner and she totally sells him, but then he was “dessert” back at his place (wink wink) and Brunt unsuccessfully tries to Austin Powers him. Relieved that Nilva is on their side, and feeling better, Ishka and Zek leave DS9 and Quark deals with his hormone imbalance.
Zek: Three days ago, I added a new amendment to the Ferengi Bill of Opportunities giving females the right to wear clothes.
Rom: In public?
Ishka: Anywhere we want.
Quark: That can’t be the good news. If Ferengi females can wear clothes in public, then they can leave their homes. If they can leave their homes, they can go to work. If they can go to work, they can make profit.
Ishka: What’s the matter, Quark? Afraid of a little competition?Quark doing his best “anger leads to fear and fear leads to the dark side” speech.
“ACTING Grand Nagus Brunt!”: I will temper this review with a caveat. Since I started DS9, and possibly before, two very important people in my life kept telling me this was the absolute worst episode. I think they hyped it down(?) too much because I was excepting something worst than “Plato’s Stepchildren” , “The Gamesters of Triskelion”, or the fucking clip show. What I actually got was several bits of ridiculousness and hilarity mixed in with a ton of “what where they thinking”? Also, ironically, when Quark tried to break Zek and his mother up he totally warned Zek that she wanted equal rights for Ferengi gemales, and it totally happened. Here are the parts that are awful: Quark being a sexual harasser at the top of the episode, Nilva chasing “Lumba” around his quarters, in fact the whole bit in Nilva’s quarters, Aluura having a change of hear about oo-mox, and Quark trying to go back to his harassing self.
Here are the parts that were just the right amount of funny or good. Rom being all atwitter because he thought everyone was dead, actually all of Rom’s parts were right on the money. The three Ferengi men making all of the calls was a nice touch, but totally something expected, just like Quark trying to figure out how to walk and talk and act like a woman. Thankfully neither was a long montage. Nog running around trying to get Nilva to tour DS9 instead of heading straight to where Quark is totally not ready to debut Lumba is a touch funny. The two tall silent guardians of the Naguses (or is it Nagai?) facing off silently at each other while Brunt sneered at everyone. Quark kicking Brunt out of his bar and, strangely, having the fight with his mother. You can see just how alike they really are and how selfish Quark really is. Later he understands he was an ass and goes through with the surgery and the plan, and he really believed what he was saying or it wouldn’t have worked. Logically Ishka’s plan makes sense for Ferenginar as a whole, as you’d have twice as many Ferengi out there earning profit as well as doing things like buying clothes. Quark and Odo’s hug was fantastic and I loved it, especially Odo’s reaction to it.
I’m not saying this episode doesn’t have its problems, but I certainly don’t think it’s the worst of Star Trek. I think I would even watch it again just when I needed something ridiculous to make me giggle. If you take out some of the awful parts, it’s not all that bad. Unfortunately, it’s also not all that good. There’s some issues about body image, trans-phobia, sexual harassment, and a good bit of other things that make you go “yuck”, and that’s sad because there could have been so many better ways to accomplish the same task of humor, just not at the expense of others. The more I think about the episode, the less I like it as a whole but there are some parts that just were so over the top they were humorous. I mean, just take away the part at the end with Aluura, make her throw the padd at Quark or something, and the episode gets a lot better. Making little tweaks here and there could make this not such a shit show. Then again, I’m a hu-man female and not a Ferengi who grew up in a different culture, so while I cringe at Quark it’s totally the way he was raised and how his entire society acts. Do I think it’s despicable for any one biological sex to have such power over the other? Absolutely. But I also have the presence of mind to understand this is a fake alien culture that is supposed to be different and it’s not up to me to make it human or “right”, it’s up to me to realize that there was such promise in how the Ferengi could have handled this and they kind of dropped the ball here with this take. Also, there is one GIGANTIC flaw on top of all the other little ones. Nilva says “Giving females the right to wear clothes allows them to have pockets. Once they have pockets, they’re going to want to fill them with latinum.”… but we all know women’s clothes don’t have pockets! Come on bro, you almost had it. Another 5 orders of dessert for this episode.
I should call this entry “The Ferengi Five”.