I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I really don’t go for Quark-centric episodes, which makes this week a bit of a problem. ‘Bar Associate’ was more palatable than these things usually are, however, which was because this was more of a Rom-centric episode, ably supported by Leeta the dabo girl (Chase Masterson with her cleavage well to the fore).
In some ways this was a heavily political episode. Like many others, I have the image of America as a land of individualism, the legacy of the Wild West, the man with the gun on his hip, making his own way. That makes America a land where the Union, workers coming together to negotiate collectively, even more of an anathema than it is in this country (more fool us). Most fictional depictions of American Unions paint them as barely one-step above criminal enterprises.
So it was out of the ordinary to see DS9 so firmly in favour of Unionism, at least in so far as it struck against Quark.
It’s the month of the Bajoran Ritual of Cleansing (which meant no Kira until a tiny cameo near the end). Nobody’s coming into the Bar, so Quark cuts the staff’s pay by a third, unilaterally. Rom’s already ill because Quark doesn’t allow him sick-leave to get his ear infection treated, and knows damn well that once profits resume their normal level, the pay won’t. After all, Ferengi is capitalism at its worst extreme.
So, after being prompted by Chief O’Brien, whose ancestors included a prominent Union leader (shot 32 times for his pains), Rom decides to form a Union and go on strike against Quark.
This is a very dangerous thing to do since it strikes directly at the heart of Ferengi culture and tradition, and indeed it leads to the appearance of Ferengi Commercial Authority Liquidator Brunt, with a mandate to stop this by any means necessary, fair or, preferably foul.
Foul includes trying to intimidate Rom by beating to death someone he cares about. No, not Leeta, though Brunt does spend a lot of time with his eyes lingering on her prominent bosom, but rather Quark himself. This prompts Quark to settle the strike: in return for Rom officially dissolving the Union, the staff will get all their demands settled. It’s a deal.
More importantly, Rom has stood up to his grasping, dictatorial, doctrinaire **** of a brother, and held his nerve. So he promptly quits his job as waiter and becomes a junior technician for Starfleet, moving their relationship on towards a more balanced level.
This may well be less irritating than most Quark stories, but it still didn’t engage my interest all that much. I’m afraid I’m just too prejudiced against him and the caricatural Ferengis to ever really get absorbed into one of their episodes. Important as this episode may have been to Rom’s progress, and to the series on a character level, it was just too lightweight for me, after so many good, heavy episodes.
The B story this week was hardly developed enough to be called a B story. It was nothing more than a couple of nudges along the way to developing the relationship between Worf and Dax, and a couple of nudges about how Worf is finding it hard to adjust to life on board DS9 as opposed to the Enterprise. He moves quarters into the Defiant and has a comeback to Dax’s suggestion that he’ll have to adapt to them in time by suggesting that they might have to adapt to him, and that’s about it.
And that’s about it.