Deep Space Nine: s03 e16 – Prophet Motive


It’s probably clear enough by now, but I might as well come out and say that I have very little time for Quark. It’s no fault of Armin Shimerman, but rather that for me, comic relief needs to be finely calculated, and Quark is anything but that. He’s a broad-brush cliche, and I find his forced interjection into stories to be tedious and off-putting.

So an entire episode centred upon Quark, and the Ferenghi mindset does not hold out much promise at the best of times and this is still far from the best of times with me.

Quark, and the latest visit from the Grand Negus, played so shriekingly by Wallace Shawn, was the A story to the B Story of Doctor Bashir’s nomination for the Federation’s most prestigious medical prize, the Carrington Award, but the B Story was so slight, and the time given to it so limited that it was a D story at best, and still more interesting to me.

Basically, Bashir is nominated by Jardzia Dax for a prize usually awarded to veteran physicians, centenerians, for their life’s work. He’s far too young for nomination, let alone a prospect of winning, and he starts by tring to insist on that and dampen down everybody’s enthusiasm, only to get secretly carried away, and disappointed when he doesn’t win.

That’s it and the whole of it: a D story, like I said.

Anyway, the Quark story was equally simple, just drawn out for comedic effect, of which there was none that I found comedic, especially as it was all founded on a reset principle: the situation would reset before the end of the episode. Basically, the Grand Negus, Zec, came to DS9 to billet himself upon Quark whilst he worked upon a complete rewrite of the Rules of Acquisition, namely their reversal into their exact opposite. Non-profit, giving, charity, kindness, the full 180 degrees to Ferenghidom.

And the Negus was going to make a gift – yes, a gift, for free – to Bajor of an Orb, the Orb of Wisdom. That was the key to it, because despite an attempt by Quark to see this as a subtly coded plot by Zec, there was never going to be anything else to it.

The secret was that the Negus had been into the Wormhole to disturb the non-linear time aliens who lived there, bugging them to let him see the future so he could make massive profit off it. Instead, they saw him as an irritating little bug (hip hip hooray) and de-evolved him back to when Ferenghi were honest, nice and giving.

So Quark took him back into the Wormhole, contacted the Prophets and basically badgered them into putting everything back the way they’d found it. What arguments he used to persuade them to do this completely anti-social thing rather than de-evolve Quark I don’t know because I was zoning out a bit by that point and couldn’t be arsed to go back and re-run that sequence. Sorry, very unprofessional and all that, but I really am sick of Quark and couldn’t give a monkey’s for this story-line.

So  let’s write this week off as the reviewer’s bad time rather than any specific failings of the episode, which also gave Rom a lot of screentime. That’s basically it, can we have a good one next Tuesday, please?

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