Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Rules of Acquisition"


Air date: 11/8/1993
Teleplay by Ira Steven Behr
Story by Hilary Bader
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Every once in a while we'll get an episode like this, which doesn't know what it's trying to be and simply resides in the realm of neutrality. As a story, "Rules of Acquisition" is pretty mediocre; it centers around Zek coming to the station and hiring Quark to establish a Ferengi business presence in the Gamma Quadrant. Along with his new business partner Pel (Hélène Udy), Quark opens negotiations with some terribly hokey and unrealized Dosi traders, who eventually reveal that the Dominion—a mysterious presence in the Gamma Quadrant (which, as we now know, will become a significant element of the series)—is a major force to be reckoned with.

The plot serves as a launchpad for the real premise: the revelation (if you can call it a revelation since it was revealed in the trailers) that Pel is a Ferengi woman masquerading as a man. The last act documents the fallout from Pel's admission, showing how sexist and backward Ferengi society is. But what is this supposed to mean? Are we supposed to take it seriously? Much of the episode seems to think we aren't, as it's filled with the usual Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, farcical jokes, and other such lunacy (like many of Zek's scenes).

Is this supposed to be a satire? If so, it doesn't have the teeth. A half-serious drama? If so, it suffers because it gives Quark no stand on the issue. As a Ferengi, Quark seems to disapprove of Pel's actions, but the story is never really sure what we're supposed to make of his opinions. What about a romance? The final scenes indicate Quark has fallen in love with Pel, but the reasoning seems either arbitrary or nonexistent. There isn't the slightest bit of chemistry in the characterizations, or even a hint of sincerity in Quark to take the "romance" at face value. All in all, this episode is a sometimes-entertaining farce with less relevance than even such a premise is worthy of.

Previous episode: Melora
Next episode: Necessary Evil

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6 comments on this review

Ingrid Rose Stonecipher - Sun, Dec 5, 2010 - 9:47am (USA Central)
Quark might not have chased after Pel but he did like her because she was funny and smart , brave and much better looking without those fake ears . Dax knew he liked her which was why she said he'd miss her. Because she knew he would but he wouldn't admit it. The episode wasn't a farce The price Quark had to pay for being tradtional no matter what was losing a great female like Pel . The price Pel payed for wanting more freedom was getting her heart broken . I thought it was a good episode and a wonderful tragic love story .
azcats - Fri, Sep 20, 2013 - 4:03pm (USA Central)
well said Ingrid. i liked this episode.
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 3:36pm (USA Central)

A decent Fergeni episode. Feregni episodes are meant to be fun; this one was ok but not great on that front.

Cheyne - Sat, Nov 16, 2013 - 9:19am (USA Central)
While no classic, this episode is important on two fronts:

The first mention of the dominion, and the first Ferengi female (unless I'm mistaken).

While definitely a filler, at least it shows DS9 was working off a long term plan in terms of the dominion. This really contrasts with Enterprise over its 4 season run, which was one bizarre lurch in a wildly different direction after another, which surely part of what led to its early and unfortunate demise.

As for Pel, well, at least it gives us an original insight into a species that has always been rather two-dimensional... unfortunately though, even DS9 never manages to redeem the Ferengi... I still think there was a missed opportunity there with the Dominion and the Ferengis' role in the events that unfold.
Dusty - Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 5:13am (USA Central)
Does Jammer approach Ferengi episodes determined to dislike them? It sure seems that way, and if so he's depriving himself. I found nothing wrong with this episode at all. It's a dramatic comedy that satisfied me on both front. Pel is an interesting character, and Quark did return her feelings to some extent (hell, the chemistry was there even before he knew she was a woman, he just tried to ignore it) but not enough to go against Ferengi tradition. I hope to see her again, though.

This is also the first time I remember the Dominion being mentioned.
Yanks - Wed, Jul 2, 2014 - 8:51am (USA Central)
I believe the first time the "Dominion" was brought up was in Sanctuary.

I'm not sure I side with Jammer on this one. While it's not an epic episode by any means, it obviously is there to bring into play Ferengi culture further on down the road. We all know what Moogie thinks of Ferengi law.

Why shouldn't we take this (woman’s rights) seriously? ... because it's the Ferengi? Not sure what Jammer is saying here.

Quark DOES have a stand on this "issue". He clearly is a Ferengi traditionalist that it torn because of his feelings for Pel. If he wasn't he would have gone to the GQ with her at the end.

I also HATE when the trailers for these episode give a key plot point away. I tics me off every time. Note to TV makers.... the guest appearance in the opening credits can also give away stuff. I just hate that.

2.5 stars for me because I loved Pel in this episode. Well done Hélène Udy.

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