Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Profit and Loss"


Air date: 3/21/1994
Written by Flip Kobler & Cindy Marcus
Directed by Robert Wiemer

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Running from their own government, three Cardassians seek refuge on DS9, and it turns out that one of the Cardassians—a woman named Natima (Mary Crosby)—is an old lover of Quark's, who left years ago on rather bad terms.

"Profit and Loss" is a mess of an episode, with convenient turns in the plot that border on storytelling fraud. The episode is really about the relationship between Natima and Quark, but the completely underwritten plot surrounding the reasons Natima has come to the station—to protect two of her students (Michael Reilly Burke and Heidi Swedberg) who are wanted by Cardassian officials—makes surprisingly little sense, especially under any form of scrutiny. They're part of a movement that is "going against" the Central Command, but their motives and goals are so vaguely scripted that it ultimately means nothing.

Then there are the gaping plot holes, like just how Odo would have the arbitrary power to release the wanted Cardassians against an agreement the Bajoran government made with the Cardassian government (whether it's in the name of "justice" or not). There's also the scene where Garak gets away with vaporizing Gul Toran (Edward Wiley) on board the station without so much as a peep from security. None of this is remotely believable.

Character-wise, it was also tough to swallow most scenes featuring Quark and Natima. The first two acts feature Natima scornfully refusing to acknowledge Quark because of something devious he did in the past. Fine. But then, after the scene where she phasers him, her character makes a blatant about-face that practically invites incredulity. Their subsequent scenes are overplayed to the point of soap opera melodrama. The "chemistry" here couldn't be any more forced. The episode's sole saving grace is Garak, who supplies his usual wit, particularly in one unforgettable dialog scene where he uses "tailor allegory" to explain to Quark the nature of Natima's political intrigue. An amusing scene between Quark and Odo is also on the right track. But they're isolated moments in a severely botched episode.

Previous episode: Playing God
Next episode: Blood Oath

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7 comments on this review

Aaron - Thu, Jan 17, 2013 - 10:15pm (USA Central)
I agree with everything you've said except the rating: 1 star at most.

The actress who played Natima was particularly bad. I thought they only got good actors to play important Cardassian roles. She was written badly, too. She should have been eccentric in some way and maybe not so elegant in order for us to believe she could fall for a Ferengi.
Comp625 - Fri, Jan 18, 2013 - 12:15pm (USA Central)
I thought a 2-star rating was appropriate. Despite the plot holes, the episode was at least "somewhat watchable."

I was entertained by Quark's desire for romance. He typically has no luck with women, so it was nice to know that he did have a past relationship, and how he yearned for a rekindling.

The episode would have probably worked better if Natima was introduced as WANTING to rekindle things with Quark, only to find out that she had ulterior motives. Or alternatively, have Natima push away Quark ENTIRELY and have Quark still save the day. Instead, Natima's wishy-washy turn of emotions came across as implausible, and made the episode laughable, at best.

The other plot holes didn't help. I, too, wondered why Odo released the wanted Cardassians. One could argue that this was "somewhat" addressed by Starfleet when they introduced Eddington as punishment for Odo's freelancing actions in the Season 3 opener. It's a stretch but I'm trying to give the writers some slack.

Also, this was probably my least favorite use of Garak, thus far. I understand his motive of wanting to support Cardassia in an effort to regain credibility, but his attempt to stop the Cardassians fugitives was poorly handled. His scenes and storyline placements are SO WELL DONE in DS9 that his appearance in "Profit & Loss" simply felt awkward.

My last gripe was with the decision to have Gul Turan physically present and then vaporized without consequence. Surely, Turan's crew would have wondered why he was missing and opened fire on DS9. Also, the murder of Turan would be caused other political ripples - even if it was Garak who murdered him. This plot hole probably bothered me the most since DS9 episodes revolving around Cardassians have been really good until now. Maybe it would have worked better had Gul Turan been *en route* to DS9, only to find out that Natima & Co. was "never on the station."

My rating: 2 out of 4 stars (leaning towards 1.5)
Kyle - Wed, May 15, 2013 - 2:46pm (USA Central)
I really didn't think this episode was that terrible. I'd have given it a 3, but no higher than that.
nic - Mon, Jul 29, 2013 - 7:13pm (USA Central)
Thought it was a 3 star. Not much of a thinker but entertaining and watchable. Never really slow or dull.
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 4:47pm (USA Central)

I like Quark a lot so that saved what might have otherwise been a poor episode for me.

Jack - Sat, Dec 28, 2013 - 6:54pm (USA Central)
Must be before they decided to have Garak be from the Obsidian Order...here he's trying to restore his reputation with the Central Command, which Enabran Tain (or Garak) never had much regard for.
Yanks - Sun, Jun 29, 2014 - 7:12pm (USA Central)
Quark's performance is the saving redeeming factor in this episode. His constant "courting" of Natima from the Ferengi perspective was entertaining.

...that and Garak's mere presence...

Loved the Quark/Garak dialog in Garak's shop.

Love how Garak can always get a point across without mentioning the real point. IS there a term for that?

3 of 4 stars for me.

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