Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The House of Quark"

3 stars

Air date: 10/10/1994
Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore
Story by Tom Benko
Directed by Les Landau

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I am Quark, son of Keldar. And I have come to answer the challange of D'Ghor, son of ... whatever."

Quark gets into a bar fight with a drunken Klingon who accidentally falls on his own knife and dies. In order to drum up business and his own ego, the foolish barkeep concocts an audience-pleasing story saying he killed the Klingon in self-defense. When the Klingon's family chases Quark down, the results are anything but predictable.

It's a good Klingon episode and one of the best Quark vehicles yet. I guess when the writers need a lightweight episode, they can always count on Armin Shimerman to get the job done.

The Klingon's widow Grilka (Mary Kay Adams) comes to DS9 and abducts Quark to the Klingon Homeworld, where she forces him to marry her so she can keep claim on her family house and land under Klingon territorial laws. (Sound like a contrivance? It is, but who cares?) Now Quark and Grilka must work together to convince the High Council that the land should not fall into the hands of rival Klingon D'Ghor (Carlos Carrasco), who is an honorless opportunist anyway.

Adams and Shimerman work well together due to their characters' contrasting personalities, and the laughs flow plentifully from the silly setting. (I especially liked when the pint-sized Ferengi marched into the Chamber of the High Council wearing a powerful looking cloak and announced in a powerful voice his claim to the House of Quark.) Quark's eleventh-hour display of courage is surprisingly refreshing. Also welcome is the wild-eyed presence of Robert O'Reilly as Gowron and the appearance of Max Grodenchik as Rom, who displays a brief, unexpected wave of shame over Quark's display of initial cowardice.

What is likely to be overlooked here is the well-played B-story involving Miles and Keiko O'Brien, who have some delightful scenes together. Miles tries to lift Keiko's spirits who feels useless on the station without a career. It's nice to see them in scenes where they're doing something besides arguing. Ultimately, he finds her a six-month job opening on Bajor. It's one of the most simple stories, and often it's the simple stories that are the best. Character moments like these are what really defines Deep Space Nine as the one-hour television drama it is.

Previous episode: The Search, Part II
Next episode: Equilibrium

◄ Season Index

47 comments on this review

Fri, Jan 4, 2008, 2:52am (UTC -5)
Watched this again last night and thought it was a wonderful episode to follow on from the heavy (but neccesary) Search Two Parter.
I agree, the B Story really caught my attention and was a great part of contuinity.
Sat, Jun 7, 2008, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Aside from the good sense of humor DS9 had its real strength was in being able to really to use their re-occuring guest stars to great effect.
Fri, Jul 4, 2008, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
this show is about love, between mother and sons, and husband and wife, and trek does it perfectly here
Tue, Oct 27, 2009, 8:46am (UTC -5)
Okay, what is the Dominion waiting for? In the previous episode the Female Changeling says they are "willing to wait until the time is right." Why? Why give the Federation time to prepare for your invasion? Why not invade now before they have a chance to prepare an adequate defense? Because the writers don't want to deal with it yet, that's why.
I think it's too bad that they closed the school, it makes the station a less desirable place to live (Jake must be disappointed too, but it's not addressed).
Other than that, it wasn't a bad episode, but I didn't think it was very funny, apart from the opening and closing scenes in the bar.
Tue, May 11, 2010, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
Because any kind of military mobilization takes time, because a direct assault as the first order of business goes against everything established about the Dominion - and as Quark said in this very episode, bulldozing what you wish to conquer is a bad move - because, because, because.

Hey, there was a lot of rain today. Must have been the writers fucking up, that's why. I love it when informed people point out plot holes and inconsistencies in stuff they love, I hate it when witless people nitpick to show how smart and cool they are.
Sat, Jul 31, 2010, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
Nic, because the Dominion isn't stupid. It realizes if it wants to conquer the Alpha Quadrant, all four Empires, and not have them just collapse the Wormhole and win in five seconds it will take some time and preparation since it's only been 3 months since they've had first contact. So instead they start infiltrating, wiping out the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order that would have posed threats, used Changeling Martok to get two empires to devastate each other in a war while breaking down quadrant unity with the end of the Federation-Klingon Alliance, finally find a strongman to make a puppet in one of the four so as to gain a foothold from whence to conquer (eventually Dukat and the Cardassians, but we see in "To the Death" that they asked Sisko to do it as well.) Eventually, the Alpha Quadrant Powers are to be week and divided before you strike. It almost worked, if it wasn't for the Prophets sealing off the Gamma Quadrant.
Mon, Nov 26, 2012, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
David's last sentence almost sounds like it be out of Scooby-Doo...
Fri, Dec 21, 2012, 7:23am (UTC -5)
Jay's sentence makes it sound like he needs grammar lessons.
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 6:32pm (UTC -5)

Some good Quark fun. Lighthearted, funny episode.

Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
This is one of my favorite episodes of DS9. It's an excellent mixture of charming humor and engaging character interplay. Good fun. Great ending.
Wed, Apr 16, 2014, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
The whole episode I was bracing myself for another display of Quark groveling at "Move Along Home" cringe levels, instead I get a thrown bat'leth and (if you'll excuse me) "COME AT ME BRO", followed by the most amusing divorce ceremony ever.

And yeah, it's good to see Keiko responding negatively with depression, as awful as that sounds now that I think of it... It gives the character more dimensionality than the usual O'Brien marital duking we've seen. Here, we see Miles instead of returning angry canned lines off in the distance, we get 'I can't see her like this' and real solution.

I agree with Nic, though... Does Jake just have to suck it up and tutor himself and everybody else now?
Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
As much as I don't look forward to the "Ferengi" episodes, I do enjoy this one.

Little note of trivia. Mary Kay Adamns is no stranger to performing with rubber all over her face, she also played Na’Toth in BAB5. She excelled in both characters.

Mary Kay and Armin work wonders together. I'm glad we get to see these two working together again in the future.

I'll also agree about the "B" story. I didn't want to slap Keiko in this one.

3.0 stars for me.

Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 3:41pm (UTC -5)
Q'on'os and the Klingon Empire is on the other side of the vast Federation from Bajor and has to be at least a trip of several weeks. They kept Quark unconscious for that entire trip?!?
Sat, Nov 8, 2014, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
I was thinking the exact same thing Jack said the moment Quark woke up on Qo'noS.

I also wonder, does every dispute that Klingons have end up in front of the council? Sure it would make sense if the council was governing a village, but not an interstellar empire with billions of people.

Those two things do bother me a bit, but other than that an enjoyable episode.
Thu, Jan 15, 2015, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
This episode gave Quark some much-needed character development. One thing I love about DS9 is how it gives more depth to the more two-dimensional races from TOS and TNG.
Fri, Jan 16, 2015, 10:54am (UTC -5)
^^ I agree, a very good episode! ^^

Quark is one of the best DS9 characters by far. Further, the Quark / Odo interplay is one of the main strengths of this entire show IMO.

They're much more than just lightning whips and Moogie!
Wed, Mar 18, 2015, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this ep a lot. I think of the things I liked about it was that it showed consequences for Quark's actions plus a very pleasing resolution.
Fri, Jun 19, 2015, 1:47am (UTC -5)
I find it interesting that no one on the station seems to care that, in the way the story is portrayed, both Quark and Rom were basically kindapped.

I wonder if this lack of concern for those two was intentional, or if the writers just missed it.
Fri, Jun 26, 2015, 8:02am (UTC -5)
This really is a fun episode. It's not taking itself too seriously and apart from keiko's miserable face, it's very funny all round.

I think Gowron's face as he looks over Quark's figures is the funniest thing I've ever seen on any Star Trek series.
Nathan B.
Wed, Jul 22, 2015, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
"House of Quark" is such a fun and funny episode! In particular, I love how it satirizes so much in the typical Trek portrayal of Klingons. The Keiko story is really well done, too.
William B
Fri, Aug 28, 2015, 10:09am (UTC -5)
Yep, that is a lot of fun. I think it satirizes Klingon culture while also being affectionate of it, with Grilka in particular being a largely sympathetic and admirable heroine (and one for whom Quark's growing attraction to is very believable). It's an unusual Quark episode and the better for it.

I've talked before about how Quark's lack of "pride" compared to someone like Sisko works as a strength sometimes. The Klingons are much more intensely proud, and so the contrast with Quark pops all the more. The episode then is about Quark's gradually taking on the mantle of courage and honour, while being uniquely himself. This really is an episode about a Klingon-Ferengi wedding, insofar as we get a merging of Klingon and Ferengi values in Quark and in Grilka: He starts by claiming he defeated the Klingon in one-on-one combat because it's convenient for him to make money; then starts to realize that he actually values the respect that comes with it, in addition to the money; then because his lie had hurt Grilka she forces him to marry her to continue with the charade he has created; and finally he saves they day by risking his life for the House of Quark/House of Grilka, eventually creating a true story that earns him respect and admiration from Rom even if it no longer earns him the money he thought he wanted. The fake marriage with Grilka becomes real feeling along the same lines -- the lie of his nobility creates the fake marriage, and his real nobility brings him a real kiss. And he manages his heroic feats in his own way -- identifying D'Ghor's economic warfare against the House of Kozak (his demonstrating the economic warfare in the High Council in front of a bunch of confused, angry Klingons, especially Gowron, is one of the episode's highlights), and recognizing that his real chance to "win" combat with D'Ghor is to stand before him defenseless to prove his enemy's cravenness for all to see. Grilka learns to appreciate the value of Quark's pragmatism as he gets a bit of her nobility, and the romantic comedy is complete.

For the most part, Grilka does seem like a woman of honour who goes into duplicity because she needs to earn back what is rightfully hers and was taken away through Quark's lie and D'Ghor's treachery. Her initial reluctance to look over FILTHY LEDGERS, like Quark's initial unwillingness to believe that he really cares about nobility and honour, demonstrates that she is not initially willing to admit that she is engaging in some underhanded tactics to get what is rightfully hers, and her growing respect for Quark demonstrates her willingness to acknowledge that a bit of pragmatism in fighting for what's right, and in fighting against craven opportunists and liars at their own game, is not so bad. I guess I should say that I find Grilka's argument that Quark should face D'Ghor because of *honour* to be particularly rich, since of course D'Ghor's accusation that Quark is a liar is completely true. The real reason for Quark to fight is to protect Grilka's House, status and property, which Quark endangered by his lie. Fortunately, Quark makes clear that this is his real priority ("Who cares if some Klingon female loses her house?").

The Klingon wedding and divorce is very funny, and the use of the discommendation is so silly as to be a scream. Robert O'Reilly's face is also amazing.

The subplot with Keiko is handled well and touchingly; after a sense that their relationship was on the rocks for a while in season two, seeing Miles and Keiko really trying to make it work is refreshing. Removing the school from the show at a point where its role in the narrative has been unneeded for a year is a wise choice, and recognizing that Keiko needs her own job as purpose in life is a good step forward for both Miles and, well, the show. As a mostly-dramatic counterpart to the comic main plot this has a nice, small scale, but is nevertheless also about people recognizing the consequences of their actions and trying to correct it -- as the person who brought them to this station where Keiko's work has become irrelevant, it is up to Miles to fix it.

At least 3 stars, and...oh well, why not 3.5? It's definitely on the higher end of Trek comedies.
S. Kennedy
Sat, Aug 29, 2015, 10:37am (UTC -5)
It is a nice comic interlude episode, what I call a typical Trek 'coasting' episode where there is a bit of comedy and character development but nothing is that tense or politically charged.

I do wish they would revise that matte of the Klingon home world - is that the only viewpoint?
Diamond Dave
Sat, Nov 21, 2015, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
Time for a bit of light relief after a heavyweight start to the season. What's interesting though is the real feeling of continuity starting to pervade the series - even in an episode like this there are long running story lines playing out.

The Quark story very nicely lances the incongruities of the Klingon honour system. But it has some real heart at the centre of it, and Grilka emerges as a sympathetic character for Quark to discover a little honour himself.

The Keiko story also feels like a realistic approach. Good episode - 3 stars.
Fri, Feb 12, 2016, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
I got a good laugh out of Gowron and the council holding data pads and being subjected to Quarks financial explanations.
Wed, Mar 9, 2016, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
"The House of Quark" is quite possibly Trek comedy at its best. It takes two things that, when taken separately, are often over-played and not very-well thought out - Ferengi comedy and Klingon stubbornness - and actually uses them to offer some rather nice insights into both cultures while also providing some legitimately good laughs. Especially noteworthy is Gowron, in all his bug-eyed glory, getting flustered over Quark's financial explanations and his statement of "a brave Ferengi, who would have thought it possible." But what most stands out is the fact that what this episode basically boils to do is Quark teaching the Klingon High Council the value of honor and courage. BRAVO! That is some excellent writing. I also like how it shows the aftermath of the introduction of the Dominion - everything doesn't just go back to normal on the station. Fear of the Dominion isn't just causing changes on the political and military level but also on a much more interpersonal one - people are leaving the station so that means Quark has less customers and Keiko has fewer and fewer students to teach.

Speaking of Keiko, that brings me to the B-plot. I suppose I could complain, once again, about romance in Trek once more taking a back seat to people's careers - because the writers just can't seem to grasp the concept that someone's career isn't everything. Keiko just has to be unhappy unless she's pursuing a career, huh? It's simply impossible to be happy being a stay-at-home mom (or a stay-at-home dad, for that matter)? I would call bullshit on that but I'm not going to. This B-plot is enjoyable enough for me to overlook it, this time. Meaney and Chao offer some pleasant character scenes and it is nice to see O'Brien as such a caring husband. And, on the truly bright side, with Keiko off the station, O'Brien is now free to pursue a relationship with his heterosexual life partner, Bashir. So, what's not to love?

If there is anything missing from "The House of Quark" it's the complete lack of any response from the characters on the station to Quark's, and later Rom's, kidnapping. Seriously, two people, including a community leader, get abducted right out from under everyone's noses and there's never even a peep from anybody (not even Odo?!) about it? Gee, I wonder why Starfleet would ever have concerns about Odo's handling of security and insist on having their own guy on the scene (not that Eddington apparently cared about these abductions either). I won't hold it against the episode, however, because the action on Qo'noS is so entertaining.

Wed, May 11, 2016, 11:56am (UTC -5)
@Luke, I actually disagree with your feeling about the portrayal of a military spouse trying to carve out her own career while entrained to her husband's movements around the globe (or galaxy, in this case). As a military officer, I have deliberately held off these few years since my commissioning from getting married, knowing that choosing the right woman for me who can handle that kind of life is a very important decision.

So having seen these situations around me daily, the B-plot resonates profoundly with me. I think every sentiment, every word of the story with Keiko and Miles was 100% the truth of this situation. The fact that Keiko is willingly sacrificing her career goals for her husband's, yet can't help but feel depressed nonetheless, along with Miles' sincere romantic and affectionate feelings for his wife -- with whom, as we have seen since TNG, he has experienced unimaginable trials -- is one of the most relatable and sweet interchanges I've seen in Trek.

And thankfully it had a happy ending! It's a good thing Ronald D. Moore didn't go full BSG-RDM on this plot -- otherwise it would have ended up with Molly abducted by the Dominion and Keiko tied up and gagged in the closet watching Miles have sex with a changeling doppelganger of herself! Haha.
Paul Allen
Wed, Jul 27, 2016, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
What do you know, a good Ferengi episode!!
Wed, Dec 28, 2016, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Sooooo..Keiko closes the school because there's only 2 students left.....that speaks volumes about her commitment!! So Jake and Nog can do independent study and she will tutor them? LMAO!! Wasnt this is EXACTLY why she wanted a school??? To avoid children having too much free time to get into trouble? Oh yes....let's let Jake and Nog run wild....AGAIN! This B-plot/storyline didnt cut it for me right from the get a teacher, I suppose it wouldnt, I suppose.
Sun, Jan 1, 2017, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Oh come on Ken. S3 Jake/Nog aren't going to run wild, and private tutoring is indeed a much better option when you only have two students. No school is gonna run (or justify its premises) with 2 students.
Sun, Jan 29, 2017, 11:36am (UTC -5)
I never understood how the head of the Klingon Empire had the time to deal with every family feud there was on their homeplanet. Let's assume that the planet's population was around 5 billion, how would Gowron be able to mediate in every single quarel its people had?

I do have to say that Gowron's reaction towards Quark was absolutely hilarious.
Thu, Feb 23, 2017, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
Going to have to echo some previous sentiments that Gowron and his entire Council holding data pads whilst Quark walked them through the finer details of Grilka's finances was pure comedy gold. Robert O'Reilly's face especially was uproarious. Pretty good episode overall, I was howling in most of the scenes. My favourite line was 'I am Quark, son of Keldar, and I have come to answer the challenge of D'Ghor, son of... whatever.' Armin Shimerman is a born comedian. LOL!!!!
Lt. Yarko
Wed, Mar 15, 2017, 11:54am (UTC -5)
Um, where's Molly? It was hard for me to feel sorry for Keiko's mopiness when, apparently, someone else is raising her daughter!
Tue, Apr 11, 2017, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
So now I'm wondering: what does the teeth of the offspring of a Klingon and Ferengi look like?
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
Loved this episode, although ... does it seem odd that Gowron rules the entire Klingon Empire AND settles land disputes that would likely be handled in earth by a municipal court judge?
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 10:44pm (UTC -5)

Maybe the land dispute had already gone through municipal and higher level courts so Grilka was appealing to Gowron as a supreme magistrate? It's not like Gowron dirties himself doing actual battle very often. He's a career politician and he probably made his career as some sort legislator.
Peter G.
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 11:52pm (UTC -5)
It seems like this land dispute was going to determine the leadership of Grilka's house, and likewise whether D'Gor House was going to be able to seize their land. In terms of local politics this may have been a large-scale issue in terms of shifting power in the Empire. We were never really told how powerful each house was, but if they had standing to appear before the High Council they must have been important families. In the end such matters could decide who might be the next Council member, and so I see it as entirely appropriate that Gowron should oversee such matters.
Fri, Apr 14, 2017, 7:43pm (UTC -5)
I don't really have anything new to add--agree with the positive comments above. A hilarious episode in terms of the Ferengi and the Klingons--wow, a Ferengi episode that is actually good, and stands the test of time. Quark, Grilka, Gowron--just priceless. And the B-story with Miles and Keiko is actually sweet--most of the time I can't stand the total lack of chemistry between those two, and find Keiko annoying. (I've thought for years that they should have cast a better wife for Miles.) But this story rang true. I do agree with someone who said we should have seen Mollie...would have rounded it out better. This episode is a keeper for me. I watch it every once in a while just for fun and light relief when I'm not in the right frame of mind for the heavier gloom and doom (albeit excellent) episodes.
Sun, Apr 16, 2017, 10:11am (UTC -5)
Poor Miles. He's either getting kidnapped, beat up, or cloned. Then he has to come home to a mopey wife. They should just call it quits. Miles can go on doing what brings him joy (his work) and Keiko can go pursue her career and find something else to be unhappy about. Molly seems to be getting raised by robots, so that's taken care of.
Fri, Jul 28, 2017, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
These dumb sitcom level stories--especially after the Dominion threat-- is not why I watch Star Trek for. This is fluff that I wasn't the least but interested in. The only decent but was the subplot about With Dominion threat the station population has dwindled.

And Ron Moore did a lot of these pointless filler episodes--this, Par'mach, Change of Heart, Empok Nor, the Rom/Leeta garbage in Dr Bashir I presume?, You are Cordially Invited. His writing skills are kinda overrated on DS9
Wed, Aug 23, 2017, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
This was lighthearted fun, but I dislike Quark so much it was hard to get through the whole thing. I'm glad I did so I could see the divorce, but it wasn't quite worth a whole episode of him. I will grant he was less annoying than usual, and his bravery was nice.
Sleeper Agent
Sat, Mar 24, 2018, 6:44am (UTC -5)
This is likely in my ds9 top 5 episodes of all time. Absolutely genius.
Thu, Apr 12, 2018, 7:18am (UTC -5)
Aside from the obvious laughs, this was the first episode to really demonstrate the more assertive and layered character that Quark became from the Season 2 finale. Armin Schimerman's performance has always been great, but for the first season and much of the second, Quark, Rom and Nog were basically an extension of the "Ferengi Problem" in TNG - borderline anti-semitic stereotypes that basically serve to lampoon anarchocapitalism as the series' laughing stock and narrative punching bag. Had this been the Quark of before, he probably would have joked his way out of it with some kind of shady trade, but instead they made him an astute economist.

Of course, the fact that he was the right man in the right place at the right time was incredibly contrived, but having the Ferengi be driven by more than simple profit makes them much more interesting characters. Rom's utterance of "there's more to life than profit" is somewhat mindblowing.
Thu, Apr 12, 2018, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
Not a fan of Ferengi comedies although this one's one of the better ones, which isn't saying much. I think the quiet B-plot about Keiko losing her purpose and the fears of the Dominion make for a much more interesting story than Quark's nonsense. Kind of a weird juxtaposition for this episode...

Whether this is meant to be a satire of Klingon society or not, it paints the Klingon beliefs/system in a bad light although their whole honor thing is wishy-washy anyway -- depends on the intent of the Klingon in question. D'Ghor tries to use the honor BS to his benefit at every turn, yet was sucking his brother dry financially.

There were some good comedy moments but not from Quark. Gowron being like WTF?!? about the hearing with Grilka was great -- love his facial expression (and his huge eyes). And then when he calls Quark "Quirk" was good. He had no interest in looking at the financial stuff Quark put in front of him. But I facepalmed when Rom showed up on Kronos at the hearing -- stupidity overload.

Shimerman's not a bad actor but the Quark character really should be minimized, for me. But he gets to show another side to the Quark character here, although it's not that important in the grand scheme and the A-plot in this episode isn't interesting or very funny.

A couple of things to shake a stick at: that Grilka can shotgun marry Quark, who has no idea what he's getting into let alone her kidnapping him on DS9 and taking him to Kronos... We're supposed to overlook these things for the purposes of the comedy but it's just contrivances by the writers. VOY had some far better comedies revolving around Doc.

The twist on the honor thing in the end was a good way to get Quark out of a pickle -- there would be no honor for D'Ghor in killing a defenseless Quark -- and Gowron lets him know as much. Good moment for the Quark character.

2 stars for "The House of Quark" -- I will say there was a good chemistry between Grilka and Quark, Gowron was funny but this A-plot was a silly story that was more tiresome to get through than funny. The episode also had some of the best and most realistic Miles/Keiko scenes and that feeds into the building Dominion arc. And the good thing is Keiko is going off to Bajor for 6 months to do botany.
Peter G.
Thu, Apr 12, 2018, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
@ Rahul,

Your review seems rather harsh on what is generally seen as a light and fun episode about an unlikely friendship between a Ferengi and a Klingon woman,

"Whether this is meant to be a satire of Klingon society or not, it paints the Klingon beliefs/system in a bad light although their whole honor thing is wishy-washy anyway -- depends on the intent of the Klingon in question. D'Ghor tries to use the honor BS to his benefit at every turn, yet was sucking his brother dry financially. "

Are you sure about that? Perhaps if you think that the Klingons are meant to represent an actual system of government then I could see your point. But overall, since TNG-era Trek where they weren't the USSR any more, they seem to be to embody old honor-society values and a sort of Samurai/Viking temperament. It's more about the attitude than anything else. I think that a great many people would look at TNG Federation people and say that what's missing in them is fire, spirit, a sort of rugged or raw side of humanity. It's all very polished and...well, sometimes boring. The Klingons give us that sense of adventure, thrill, blood-churning passion, that Feds seem to usually lack. Also, the Federation runs the risk of coming off as rules-heavy where there's a regulation for everything, very cut and dried, whereas the Klingons care more about doing things honorably than about sticking to the letter of the law and being a 'good citizen.' There's something to be said for both. It is a problem in our times that it seems that you can't compel people to behave honorably or with charitable intention; if you give them an inch they take a mile and take advantage of something or of the system. So we instead employ laws that strictly prohibit basically everything abusive (other than in commerce) to make sure that some jackass or other doesn't do it, because if not for threat of punishment they'd do any manner of things without regard for the nobility (or lack thereof) of the act. So Klingon society also shows us a people who in theory care so much about honor that the social aspect of that alone compels them to behave in certain ways, and the civil laws aren't required to prohibit them.

And that brings us back to this episode, which shows us clearly that an honor system requires people who want to participate. But in reality there will always be outliers, or sociopaths, or people who are users and don't care; they will abuse the system if they can, and so it seems inescapable that an honor system is doomed to fail in big matters, and strict regulation and oversight is needed. And I do say that this is a really sad thing, and even sadder to see in a society that (naively) is trying to go based on honor. This episode gives us that contrast, where even the thought that someone would do that is so horrible that Grilka is just stunned. And to be honest I think this is the reaction most people would have. "Who would do that??" Well, people would, and the Klingon society is an outstanding avenue of showing us just how ridiculous it is that people would stoop to that. Who better than a Ferengi to point this out? And it's great because he, himself holds up his business acumen as a badge of honor of a different sort.

But even putting aside the implications or interpretation of the story, I think that while there's no accounting for taste, it's pretty harsh to give 2 stars to an episode that have innovative ideas, moves the story right along with new locales and a return of Gowron, is directed in a snappy energetic way, and has an intelligent and witty resolution that captures the best of both the Ferengi and the Klingons and what we can admire about them. This may not be to everyone's liking, but it is a *well-made* episode. And honestly Gowron's face when he throws the PADD away should be worth 4 stars by itself.
Fri, Apr 13, 2018, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
@ Peter G. --

I totally agree with you about the Klingon honor system vs. Federation's rules at every turn system: "It is a problem in our times that it seems that you can't compel people to behave honorably or with charitable intention"

If we think of our society say 25-50 years ago, we had less laws than we do today. And 25-50 years from today, we'll have even more laws. So what you say is spot on -- you can't govern people's hearts and minds and when they feel aggrieved, they'll take advantage of the system (however that manifests itself).

And this repeatedly happens in Klingon episodes that it really rubbishes how their society is governed and makes me think they should "get with the times". So seeing this idea repeatedly emerging in Klingon episodes is a bit tiresome, for me. The Klingons pride themselves on honor, yet I struggle to think of a Klingon that acts "honorably" (aside from Worf).

The fact that in Klingon society there are fewer laws, stuff that is so fundamentally wrong in our society (the future Federation, if you will) is accepted over there if it is considered honorable (for example, killing). But the honor system is the backbone of the Klingon government, and we've had countless examples of how it is abused in TNG and DS9. (Gowron himself is a devious character.) So perhaps at a very deep level, Trek is meant to show how ludicrous Klingon government/society is such that we, the viewers, become thankful for our system with its infinite number of laws.

With respect to this episode, I had to shake my head that Grilka could just marry Quark. What a perverse way of fitting in with Klingon honor and, for example, how does this jive with the crap Dax had to go thru when she married Worf later in the series? So even the Klingon honor is twisted in this comedy/satire. I no longer know what to make of it.

As for my rating -- it may sound trite to say this -- but I actually do try to carefully evaluate the episode overall. Largely my rating's based on my objective enjoyment (which was the part that suffered here) but also definitely for the premise, writing, acting, and sometimes technical considerations. This episode is [largely] a comedy and I honestly believe, it is not as good as some other similar era Trek comedies like "In the Cards" (3*) or "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy" (3*) or "Someone to Watch Over Me" (3*) just off the top of my head.

A more comedic take on Gowron can only go so far. Quark trying to make himself seem courageous at the beginning and the parts with Rom -- I just wanted those parts to be done with very quickly. The satire, if you will, of Klingon society/government didn't have the desired effect for me. So I feel, in relation to other episodes I've rated, 2 stars is appropriate for "The House of Quark".
Peter G.
Thu, Apr 19, 2018, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
Just watched this one again to refresh my memory, and it occurs to me that there's more here than 'Ferengi hijinx.' I think the mistake here would be to chortle early on when Quark says "It's not about profits any more, it's about respect." Maybe we're prone to roll our eyes here at how self-deluded Quark is about something he's lying about anyhow. But in fact this is probably the most honest he's ever been. What we see in House of Quark is a story about a man whose religion is money and even he admits that respect is simply something he *needs*. No one can only care about money, even if they protest to the contrary. Having him take over a Klingon Great House is a funny way of showing us how even the least valorous of us probably has inner fantasies or even a self-image of heroism, or of being larger-than-life, or of being acclaimed. Klingon culture is basically a extreme version of that thing we need, which is to be shown respect and "honored".

Seen in this way this is probably the most important Quark episode of the series, insofar as it's a defining moment where we see that either he really isn't a regular Ferengi, or else if he is that they are full of self-deceit in general. And not only do we get a Ferengi who realizes he needs what Klingons call honor, but likewise we see a Klingon who craves what Ferengi do - seizing lands and power using economic trickery. It's a funny juxtapose to be sure, and I think there's some IDIC in there about even the most hardened cultures having something to learn or gain from others even that are very different from them.
Fri, Jun 8, 2018, 8:27pm (UTC -5)
I have always wonder about the loopholes of honour and courage, and i am probably not alone. So it is great to see the writers showing how some Klingons manipulate it in dishonourable ways, and using a Ferengi was a great tool!

Love this episdoe!

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