The Nagus (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 1, Episode 11) Quark is named the financial leader of all Ferengi

Rewatching ST:DS9

In an episode focusing on father-son dynamics, Jake declines the chance to spend time on Bajor with Sisko, Nog bears the brunt of punishments heaped onto his father Rom, and the visiting Ferengi leader Zek expresses dissatisfaction with his son Krax.

I give credit to actor Wallace Shawn and the make-up team and everyone else involved in creating such a repulsive caricature; but the truth is I just didn’t like spending time with the cackling, wheezing, decrepit Grand Nagus.

For a race that is famous for being greedy, I think the depiction of Ferengi is a bit inconsistent, because they also have a sensual side, which means spending on fleeting pleasures, rather than hoarding wealth.

When I first saw this episode, I seem to remember enjoying the comedy. And this really does feel like a sitcom, in which Quark finds his life totally turned around when circumstances make him the inheritor to the grand Nagus’s scepter. We get predictable scenes of Quark becoming too full of himself, Rom scheming unsuccessfully against his newly elevated brother, and Krax fighting for his own role.

The character Rom starts to take shape as the put-upon sibling, in a dynamic that reminds me of the bumbling Sheriff Roscoe from the Dukes of Hazzard. Roscoe was mean to his likable deputy Enos (or the occasional replacement deputies Festus or Cletus) but we knew Roscoe himself was a pawn of the even worse Boss Hogg.

Well if what comes to mind is a comparison to the Dukes of Hazzard, I guess that’s pretty much all I need to say about the A plot. (There is also a hint of King Lear wanting to step down and enjoy his retirement, but that plot is really a red herring.)

We haven’t seen much of O’Brien in the last couple episodes and it was amusing seeing him try to run the classroom in his wife’s absence, but my attention wandered and I found myself mostly listening to this episode while I was multitasking. I liked the bits where Sisko talked with O’Brien and Dax about parenting. In this context, I was surprised at the direction the Cisco/Jake relationship took when Sisko spied on his son and find out why he spent so much time with Nog, even after Nog was pulled out of school.

Jake is actually trying to teach Nog to read the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, a collection of capitalistic aphorisms that Jake and his father would consider nonsense in the post-scarcity, post-money economy of the Federation.

This episode does a good job of getting us to laugh at a Swiftian satire of capitalism, while the literacy plot twist suggests the kids are alright, and maybe we can all do better than mock the “other.”

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