Grand Nagus Zek once again travels to DS9, this time to enlist Quark in a business negotiation with the Dosi. Zek tells Quark that the Dosi deal in tulaberries, and that tulaberry wine will help them get their foot in the door in the Gamma Quadrant. Quark is initially eager to participate – until Pel, an ambitious waiter, points out that Zek might be setting Quark up to take the fall. Impressed with Pel’s business sense, Quark hires “him” as his assistant. Pel rises to Quark’s defense several times, and “his” loyalty eventually attracts the notice of Dax, who discovers that Pel is a female – and in love with Quark.
Negotiations do not, in fact, go well, and Quark ultimately finds himself taking Pel with him on a mission to the Gamma Quadrant to pursue the wine deal further. There, Quark discovers that the Dosi are not the most powerful traders in the Gamma Quadrant – that the Ferengi will have to go through the Karemma – a member of the Dominion – to get their 100,000 vats of wine. He also discovers, to his befuddlement, that Pel is attracted to him.
When he returns to the station, Quark triumphantly shares with Zek the intelligence he’s gleaned from his trip, and Zek offers Quark a share of future profits. But then Rom, who in the meantime has discovered Pel’s false ears, tells Quark that Pel is a female. Quark attempts to bribe both Rom and Pel to keep this secret, but Pel will have none of it – at dinner later, she storms in and reveals to Zek her true identity. Quark loses his share of the profits, and Pel reluctantly leaves the station to start a new life.
Overall: 7.5 – One of the best Ferengi episodes by far.
Here, we’re still in the era in which Ferengi episodes actually were pretty funny and not at all painful. In fact, if I were to rank the episodes that feature multiple Ferengi (as opposed to those episodes that, say, feature only Quark or only Nog), this one would certainly fall very near – if not at – the top, as several moments are definitely guffaw worthy. I personally found Zek’s fancying Kira particularly hilarious, but I love Kira, so that may just be me.
In addition to the humor, this episode also manages to accomplish three serious tasks. First, it brings in a character who challenges the Ferengi status quo without succeeding in doing anything more than planting a tiny seed. At the end of this episode, Quark seems ready to concede that perhaps women shouldn’t be punished with jail time for attempting to accumulate profit, but he’s still absolutely adamant that any woman in his house follow Ferengi custom. Secondly, this episode allows the Ferengi to come off as intelligent. “Know your audience,” is an important business maxim, and Zek comes up with a quite clever plan to acquire said knowledge regarding the Gamma Quadrant. Which brings us to this episode’s final notable achievement: it introduces us, in an oblique way, to the Dominion. That earns the episode +5 just by itself.
The Dosi are difficult to take seriously. However, Memory Alpha reports that their portrayal was the director’s decision – a decision he ultimately regretted – so I’m disinclined to fault the actors for this. Meanwhile, the Ferengi guests take full advantage of the rare high quality script.
This episode presents a standard feminist message, but it’s not obnoxious – who in this day and age objects to women making the choice to seek profit? It also, thankfully, allows our little supposedly capitalist “trolls” to make smart business decisions. As mentioned above, we see them gathering intelligence before hitting a new market; moreover, we see Zek accepting that charity can be a doorway to opportunity. That’s certainly a little more like it!
QUARK: “The risk is to you, Lieutenant.”
DAX: “I could probably think better without your hand on my thigh.”
QUARK: “Now, how did that get there?”
ROM: “Maybe so, but I still prefer a Ferengi female. One who never wears clothes, never talks back, and never plays tongo.”
DAX: “Is that how you really prefer your women? Naked and submissive?”
QUARK: “Do you find such a lifestyle appealing?”
DAX: “Don't you wish.”
QUARK: “I do. I really do.” – Heh for both of the above.
QUARK: “How do I look?”
QUARK: “Who, me? What have I got to be nervous about?”
KIRA: “It's Zek who should be nervous, with Quark here as his chief negotiator.”
(Zek smacks Kira on the butt. She immediately turns, outraged.)
KIRA: “If you ever do that again-”
ZEK: (feigning innocence) “Do what?”
KIRA: “If you ever do that again, I'll stick those fifty thousand kilos of brizeen right up your-” – LOL! Too bad Kira didn’t get a chance to finish that sentence.
KIRA: (after a latinum earring is delivered to her in Ops) “Did Zek really think this was going to get him anywhere?”
DAX: “Probably not, but it doesn't stop a Ferengi from trying.”
KIRA: “You sound like you admire them for it.”
DAX: “I suppose in a way I do.”
KIRA: “I don't understand your attitude about the Ferengi.”
DAX: “That's because you don't socialize with them the way I do. Looking back over seven lifetimes, I can't think of a single race I've enjoyed more.”
KIRA: “Did anyone ever tell you that you have very strange taste?”
DAX: “I admit they place too much emphasis on profit, and their behavior toward women is somewhat primitive.”
KIRA: “They're greedy, misogynistic, untrustworthy little trolls and I wouldn't turn my back on one of them for a second.”
DAX: “Neither would I. But once you accept that, you'll find they can be a lot of fun.” – That’s pretty much how I’m approaching this episode.
PEL: “Quark really likes you. He talks about you all the time.”
DAX: “You know he once convinced me to go up to a holosuite with him. Turns out he recreated the bedroom I slept in as a child. He overheard me describing it to Kira. Of course, most of the details were wrong, but it was a very sweet gesture… up until he tried to kiss me.”
PEL: “That sounds like Quark.”
DAX: “I don't care what anybody says, I love him.” – In reality, Quark does have a heart of gold.
ZEK: “Ah, Major, did that shipment of brizeen nitrate arrive on time?”
KIRA: “Yes, it did.”
ZEK: “Good. And here you are to thank me.” (He pats his knee.) “Have a seat.”
KIRA: “Actually, I just stopped by to return this.” (She gives him the earring.)
ZEK: “Why? Is something wrong with it?”
KIRA: “No, it's lovely. I just can't accept it.”
ZEK: “Then I suppose a night of wild passionate romance is out of the question?”
KIRA: “That's right.”
ZEK: “Just thought I'd ask.”
(Kira gets another slap as she leaves.)
KIRA: (to herself) “Dax must be crazy.” – Hee!
PEL: “I was really impressed with the way you handled Inglatu.”
QUARK: “I was good, wasn't I? Now let's go to bed.”
(Pel tries to stall further.)
PEL: “Wait! The look on his face when you knocked over that barrel…”
QUARK: “That was risky.”
PEL: “The riskier the road, the greater the profit.”
QUARK: “Sixty second Rule.”
PEL: “That's right.”
QUARK: “You really know your Rules.”
PEL: “And you have a very nice smile.”
QUARK: “I do?”
(Pel suddenly jumps Quark - LOL)
PEL: “Quark, I have something I have to tell you.”
(Zyree enters and looks on the scene, bemused.)
ZYREE: “I'm not interrupting anything, am I?”
QUARK: (happy to escape) “No. Definitely not.” – Zyree’s reaction is great here.
ZYREE: “All right, then. Let me give you some advice. Inglatu will never sell you a hundred thousand vats of tulaberry wine. Not because he doesn't want to, but because he can't.”
QUARK: “If he can't, who can? You?”
ZYREE: “I wish I could, but there aren't that many vats on the entire planet.”
QUARK: “Then we're finished.”
ZYREE: “Not necessarily. If you really want a hundred thousand vats of tulaberry wine, I can put you in touch with the right people. For a price, of course.”
QUARK: “Of course. I always said you were my favorite Dosi. Now, who do we have to see?”
ZYREE: “The Karemma.”
PEL: “Who's the Karemma?”
ZYREE: “An important power in the Dominion.”
QUARK: “The Dominion? What's that?”
ZYREE: “Let's just say if you want to do business in the Gamma Quadrant, you have to do business with the Dominion.” – Obviously, this is only a squeeful moment in hindsight.
PEL [OC]: “But you need me, Quark. I'm the only one you can trust.”
QUARK: “Not anymore.” (Pel comes back out) “Well, what did you expect? I mean, look at you. You're wearing clothes.” (He says the last with genuine disgust.)
PEL: “Is that a crime?”
QUARK: “As a matter of fact, it is. Look, it's just too risky for you to stay here. You can take this with you.” (He holds out a box.)
PEL: “What is it?”
QUARK: “Ten bars of latinum. To help you start a new life. If you're going to pretend you're a man, act like one. Take the profit.”
PEL: “This is not about profit anymore - it's about love.”
QUARK: “Spoken like a true female.”
PEL: “I love you, Quark, and I know you care about me, too. Admit it.”
QUARK: “What difference does it make if I do? You'd never be happy being a Ferengi wife.”
PEL: “Then come with me to the Gamma Quadrant. No one there cares if I wear clothes or not.”
QUARK: “I'd care.” – Ouch. Very good scene.
ZEK: “Quark, this is outrageous. Now, what's going on here?”
QUARK: “I, I, I-”
PEL: (jumps in front of Quark) “Leave him out of this!”
ZEK: “You dare give me orders?!” (to Quark) “You knew about this all along, didn't you?”
PEL: “So, tell me more about my big future!”
ZEK: “You have no future! I'll see to it that you spend the rest of your life in prison!”
QUARK: (steps up) “No.”
ZEK: “Let me remind you that taking business advice from a female is a violation of Ferengi law.”
QUARK: “I didn't know she was a female.”
ZEK: “Stupidity is no excuse. Now, one more word out of you and you are going to share her cell.”
QUARK: “Then you'd better make sure it's big enough for three.”
ZEK: “Are you threatening me?”
QUARK: “I wonder what your associates will say when I tell them you allowed a female to represent you in a business negotiation.”
ZEK: “I didn't know she was a female.”
QUARK: “Stupidity is no excuse.” – Very clever. I love it when earlier lines get thrown back. :)