Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Nagus"


Air date: 3/20/1993
Teleplay by Ira Steven Behr
Story by David Livingston
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn), the leader of Ferengi commerce, holds a Ferengi meeting to plan business expansion of Ferengi culture into the Gamma Quadrant. But first he chooses a successor to fill his shoes when he retires: Quark.

The first of what has since become a long-standing tradition of unfortunate annual Ferengi outings proves surprisingly entertaining. It's goofy and lightweight, and it knows that without shoving the fact down our throats. As a result, the episode finds the right tone of comedy and, consequently, finds some laughs. As an establishment of the greed that has typified the Ferengi on the series, this show works. One amusing scene features a roomful of cackling Ferengi sitting around a table. I don't believe we've seen so many Ferengi at once, and this time more is merrier.

Once Quark is (temporarily) labeled the new Nagus, the show becomes a comic take on organized crime, as Quark slowly realizes that dodging assassination attempts comes with the territory. The idea of Rom conspiring to kill his own brother wryly utilizes Ferengi greed and treachery (though watching Quark grovel for the second episode in a row might've been pushing it). The show begins to lose its comic zip near the end, but Zek's unexpected reappearance is one of the show's highlights; particularly Wallace Shawn's hilarious delivery of the line, "You failed. Miserably!"

Keeping in tone with the series' evaluation of the Federation's affairs with other cultures, there's a relevant B-story featuring Jake and Nog and each of their parents' concerns about the cross-cultural friendship. The heavy-on-optimism ending to this subplot is a bit schmaltzy, but also quite respectable.

Previous episode: Move Along Home
Next episode: Vortex

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9 comments on this review

William - Tue, Jul 24, 2012 - 11:27pm (USA Central)
Once again, I completely concur.

DS9 rescued the Ferengi, and this was a big step in the rescue effort. This is probably my favorite one-hour, self-contained episode of DS9 up to this point.

Call me schmaltzy, but I was touched by the Jake/Nog part.
Van_Patten - Tue, Oct 9, 2012 - 5:14am (USA Central)
Difficult to add much to the summary above. The first of what would become an annual Ferengi outing and this one works better than most, if not all of its successors, with the writers' predilections for these episodes culminating in the Only episode of the series that, 13 years after it finished airing, based on Jammers Review, I refuse to watch on principle!

The Nagus is very lightweight but does at least recognise that. It moves very quickly and, as mentioned the subplot does intertwine nicely with the main one (although the Ferengi must learn quickly if Nog goes from illiteracy to potentially going to Starfleet Academy in 2 years, but that could be nitpicking)

For the main plot, Armin Shimmerman gives a very strong performance. Also worthy of note are Wallace Shawn, as Zek, who is excellent, and also Max Grodenchik as Rom, wholly admirable as the brother trying to collude in his on- screen brother's downfall. On of the greatest disappointments was that the writers, with both characters' turned them into parodies of what they were here, adding inappropriate relationships and making them two of the most annoying characters on the show. Lou Wagner (as Zek's son, Krax) is also good, and I wish they had had the nous to use him, rather than the increasingly over acted character of 'Brunt- FCA' who became arguably the worst character in the series over the last three seasons.

An amiable, eminently watchable romp - 3 stars from me.
MrCase - Wed, Feb 6, 2013 - 4:31pm (USA Central)
This was first Ferengi centered episode of any Star Trek show that i didn't hate. Actualy, i enjoyed it quite a bit.
grumpy_otter - Fri, Apr 12, 2013 - 6:25pm (USA Central)
I've never cared much for the Ferengi--does anyone?--but this didn't make me want to poke my eardrums.

But not much to it, other than the nice moments between Jake and Nog. I don't think I'll remember much.

I kept waiting for the Nagus to say something like "Never get involved in an acquisition war on Bajor," though. A bit distracting.
T'Paul - Sun, Jun 30, 2013 - 12:58pm (USA Central)
I agree, probably the most substantial part was the Jake - Nog story, that sets the background for Nog's starfleet future.

For me there is a rather dramatic change in Rom's character throughout the series... a favourable one to be sure, but a big one, from Ferengi goon and sidekick to engineering genius married to a dabo girl
azcats - Mon, Sep 9, 2013 - 12:18pm (USA Central)
CHief: that nog is a bad influence.
Sisko: i am not going to make Jake between the 2 of us.
Chief: oh i doubt that.
Sisko: that is because your daughter is 3, wait until she turns 14.

lol, that was a great line. and i loved the look on Sisko's face!

yes, i liked the nog.jake story. it was like a bro-mance of Romeo and Juliet.

probably the best ferengi episode in Star Trek.
Snitch - Mon, Oct 14, 2013 - 6:15pm (USA Central)
It works well for a Ferengi story, what always puzzled me was the fact that Quark would just forgive his brother.

2 1/2 Stars
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 1:51pm (USA Central)

A fun episode with some important development for the Ferengi story-lines to come.

Jack - Sun, Jan 19, 2014 - 9:56pm (USA Central)
The fire caverns Sisko wanted to visit...aren't those where the Pah Wraithes are?

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