Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"The House of Quark"
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
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129 comments on this post
Fri, Jan 4, 2008, 2:52am (UTC -5)
I agree, the B Story really caught my attention and was a great part of contuinity.
Sat, Jun 7, 2008, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 4, 2008, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 27, 2009, 8:46am (UTC -5)
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)
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)
Mon, Nov 26, 2012, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 21, 2012, 7:23am (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 16, 2014, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
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)
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)
Sat, Nov 8, 2014, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
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)
Fri, Jan 16, 2015, 10:54am (UTC -5)
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)
Fri, Jun 19, 2015, 1:47am (UTC -5)
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)
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.
Wed, Jul 22, 2015, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 28, 2015, 10:09am (UTC -5)
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.
Sat, Aug 29, 2015, 10:37am (UTC -5)
I do wish they would revise that matte of the Klingon home world - is that the only viewpoint?
Sat, Nov 21, 2015, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
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)
Wed, Mar 9, 2016, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
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)
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.
Wed, Jul 27, 2016, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Dec 28, 2016, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 1, 2017, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 29, 2017, 11:36am (UTC -5)
I do have to say that Gowron's reaction towards Quark was absolutely hilarious.
Thu, Feb 23, 2017, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 15, 2017, 11:54am (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 11, 2017, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
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.
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 11:52pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 14, 2017, 7:43pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 16, 2017, 10:11am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 28, 2017, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
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)
Sat, Mar 24, 2018, 6:44am (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 12, 2018, 7:18am (UTC -5)
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)
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.
Thu, Apr 12, 2018, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
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)
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".
Thu, Apr 19, 2018, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
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)
Love this episdoe!
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 1, 2018, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 12, 2018, 11:38pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 14, 2018, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
Rom and Quark are lamenting how poor business at the bar is. There is one drunk Klingon holdout, but Quark has just about had it; “I should have gone into insurance; better hours, better money, [fewer] scruples.” Quark will be here all night, ladies and gentlemen.
Quark blames the slow traffic on fear of the Dominion (and Sisko for “playing it tough”). This of course doesn't track at all with what we saw in “The Search.” Besides the brief incursions into Ops in “The Jem'Hadar,” the Dominion hasn't even been to the station, as far as we know. Sisko hasn't really had the opportunity to be tough or gentle with the Dominion outside of Borath's simulation (which Quark would have no cause to know about). The question is begged, however, as to whether they're still planning on destroying the wormhole. I would think that answering this question would be a priority.
Anyway, Quark is obviously more concerned about his own waning profits. The drunk Klingon demands a line a credit to pay for more blood wine and Quark flirts with the idea of kicking him out before acquiescing in a pathetic heap. But this Klingon is so drunk that when he attempts to attack Quark for his insolence, he manages to stab himself to death. Seems about par for the course for Klingons.
Act 1 : ***.5, 17%
Odo, having decided offscreen to remain chief of (non-Starfleet) security, is overseeing Bashir's CSI bit over the Klingon corpse. Quark's lobes are tingling at the profit potential he is witnessing. A crowd has gathered outside the bar in response to the death and Quark sees the chance to capitalise on the intrigue. He decides to play up the tabloid angle and insinuate that he murdered the Klingon personally, because obviously, this will encourage patronage. “Come to Quark's! Get stabbed by the bartender or your third drink is free!” I am amused at Quark's backup plan which is, if he gets into trouble with revenge-seeking Klingons, all he has to do is tell the truth.
Quark tells Rom that if business doesn't improve, he's going to have to fire him. So, when Odo begins his questioning, Rom immediately pipes up with their tabloid headline version of events, that Quark killed the Klingon in self defence. Armin Shimmerman hilariously chews the scenery for all onlookers as he “retells” the events in dramatic fashion. I can't do the performance justice, but it's genuinely hysterical.
Meanwhile, Keiko is pruning a plant when Miles comes home and starts unloading about his busy day. Keiko, it turns out, has had to close her school. The Bajorans who have relocated off the station are responding to the looming Dominion threat, just like Quark's customers. Miles is clearly concerned about his wife's wellbeing.
At Quarks, business is booming again. Odo informs the happy Ferengi that his “victim” was a man called...um...Kojak? Uh oh, Quark killed a cop! Whatever his actual job was, he was the head of an important family which is on its way to DS9. Odo gives Quark the opportunity to come clean before they start a vengeance-killing, but Quark is resolute in his tabloid success.
Rom thinks that since they've made up for their losses, it's time to fess up. Quark is suddenly concerned with maintaining the admiration he's receiving from the public. I mean, Quark has certainly been a punching bag more often than not on this show, but Quark has been more of a self-preserver than an idealist. This feels a little forced.
Later on, Quark is confronted (god damn it, people, STOP STRANGLING QUARK!) by Kojak's brother.
Act 2 : ****, 17%
While a puddle of urine forms around his ankles, Quark admits the truth to the angry Klingon, but of course, such a death would be disgraceful, and the feudal codes of Klingon law would see that dishonour inherited among the entire family. Oh, Klingons...so, in keeping with the tradition of what we've seen in TNG (“Sins of the Father,” and “Rightful Heir” in particular), Klingon “honour” is really a political system of rules-lawyering. Quark will maintain his lie because that makes Kojak's death an honourable one, which protects his family from disgrace and protects Quark from vengeance. This is pretty great satire, as we see that 1. the contradictions in Klingon society are very stark (why would the family seek vengeance if their dishonour cannot be erased?), and 2. vaulted Klingon ideals are transacted as easily as latinum in a Ferengi bar.
Meanwhile, Miles is being sweet, preparing an impromptu romantic dinner for him and wife, complete with champagne and sexy innuendo. The next morning, Miles is happy his little gesture seems to have cheered Keiko up, but as soon as he says goodbye, he realises this happiness is all too ephemeral. His wife will be home all day, pruning plants.
In the middle of the night, Kojak's widow, Grilka, lets herself into the bar. She has Quark confirm the “honour” of her husband's death right before pulling a knife. Unlike her mate, this Klingon is likely not so drunk she'll perform a Seppuku whoopsie-do. Quark is quickly cowering on the floor and Grilka demanding to know how Kojak really died. She admires the Ferengi's gift for deceit, and decides he'll do some lying for her right before hitting him with an off-button hypospray (this Klingon came prepared). She has them both beamed away, and next thing you know, Quark is awakening on Qo'nos.
An elderly Klingon explains to Quark that Kojak had no male heir, and apparently his brother, who threatened Quark into maintaining his lie, is a sworn enemy to his now leaderless house. Dr Exposition further explains that, had the truth about Kojak's death been known to the High Council, Grilka may have been granted special dispensation and made an honorary man or whatever, and thus allowed to lead the house. But he fears that now, the house will “fall.”
Grilka enters and hands Quark a tunic:
GRILKA: Put this on.
GRILKA: Because if you do not, I will kill you.
At knife point, Grilka forces Quark to marry him right then and there. Heh. Mazel tov!
Act 3 : **.5, 17%
On DS9, Sisko is briefing Kira and Dax about battle drills. Guess they're not collapsing the wormhole then? Miles enters and Dax is able to discern, just from the look on his face, that he's having “wife problems.” This scene is baffling, because in the same breath, she acknowledges that, having been both a husband and a wife several times, she understands the dynamic, and thus, she and Kira will see themselves out. Maybe they can do some dishes and paint each other's nails? Dax has more experience than Sisko at being a husband, so why wouldn't Miles be willing to talk to her about his problems? It's not like Sisko is his close friend—hell, he and Dax have spent more time together. Is this supposed to be a subtle echo of the sexism built into Klingon (and Ferengi) society? Well, if it is, it doesn't work, because there is no reckoning for this sexism. Kira just gets up and and the ladies take their clueless selves out of the conversation so the “boys” can talk. Yuck.
O'Brien asks for Sisko for permission to convert one of the cargo bays into an arboretum, giving Keiko a space like the one she had on the Enterprise. Sisko grants his permission. What saves this scene is the acknowledgement between the two boys that Keiko, having sacrificed her entire career to move their family to DS9, deserves, at least, every effort be made for her happiness.
Back on Qo'nos, the smarmy Klingon brother makes claim to the “fallen house” of Kojak directly before Gowron himself. Grilka enters the Council chambers and declares his claim out of order, having chosen a new male leader for her house. Quark scampers in, and she mocks her brother-in-law for having enabled this chain of events through his deception. Gowron name drops the episode's title, honouring Grilka's legal marriage and renaming the house to that of Quirk, erm, Quark. And there was much rejoicing.
Act 4 : ***.5, 17%
Quark quickly discerns that Grilka's plan to save her house hasn't gotten any farther than this sham marriage. In an irony of ironies, Quark proposes a more equal partnership in this endeavour. Grilka reveals that Kojak's drunken, gambling exploits have made them vulnerable. Quark asks to see the family's financial records, including D'Ghor's (the brother-in-law).
GRILKA: That is not how we do things here. We are Klingons. We do not dirty ourselves with filthy ledgers looking for some financial trick.
A further irony, that she can't seem to see that all she and D'Ghor have done so far to account for Kojak's failures are a series of underhanded tricks. Klingon honour codes are as absurd and shallow as Ferengi economics when you get down to it. She acquiesces.
On DS9, Bashir orders himself some Vulcan soup. Oh, and he gets himself a little dessert, too in relishing Miles' request for his opinion. Miles is designing the new arboretum, and Bashir observes that Miles attempt to placate his wife is essentially getting her a cargo bay-sized bouquet of roses to assuage her unhappiness. This is more anachronistic 90s sexist bullshit, but at least Miles abandons this stupidity for something more substantial. Bashir says Keiko really needs to pursue her passion again, not as a hobby, but as a profession. He's not wrong.
Quark discerns that Ferengi-style tricks with dirty ledgers is exactly the means by which D'Ghor has shifted the balance of power between the houses. Quark offers to explain this to the Council, and Grilka is grateful...so grateful she allows Quark to politely remove his hand from her thigh instead of smashing his bones to bits, a courtesy Kira never seems to grant him.
In the Council chambers, Quark holds his financial board meeting (hilarious) while Gowron and the rest try to keep up with all the accounting tabulations. Gowron is frustrated with this nonsense and gets to the point. D'Ghor denies Quark's claims and demands the matter be settled in combat. He has discovered “new evidence” that Kojak actually died by accident. And who should be dragged in but Rom, the witness. Uh oh.
Act 5 : ***.5, 17%
In the middle of the night, Quark and Rom are stopped from trying to run away by Dr Exposition and Grilka. D'Ghor's claim that Quark lied (which he did) can only be answered, according to Klingon law, by personal combat. Quark isn't about to risk his life over a matter of honour, whether legal or genuine. Grilka insults him, disappointed in his lack of conviction and allows the pair to leave.
In chambers, Quark makes and eleventh hour decision to face D'Ghor in combat (did you know his dad's name was Kelgar?). Quark throws down his sword and tells D'Ghor to kill him. Since Quark has no chance at winning the fight, he forces the Council to acknowledge that his death would be little more than an execution, which according to the arbitrary rules of Klingon society, would be without honour. Gowron recognises D'Ghor's lack of honour and they repeat the discommendation ceremony from “Sins of the Father.” Funny stuff. Grilka offers Quark a repayment for his courage. He asks for a divorce. One advantage I will definitely concede to Klingon law is that this complicated legal proceeding is accomplished through a backhand and spitting on the face. I know a few people who would welcome such a dignified hearing. So after a season's worth of disappointing romances, Quark finally gets a well-earned kiss from the Lady Grilka.
On DS9, O'Brien makes a sacrifice of his own. There is a six month expedition on Bajor requiring a chief botanist and he thinks Keiko is more than qualified. We will overlook more of the sexism which demands that Molly be with her mother instead of her father during this period, despite the fact that staying at her home in her quarters, rather than on a mobile expedition would be more stable for the child. We will also ignore the fact Bajor's economic issues still have seemingly vanished since they're conducting scientific expeditions and setting up colonies.
The opening shot is repeated, with Quark and Rom lamenting the renewed waning of business. Quark says he would prefer latinum to the genuine respect he's earned from this adventure.
Maybe, maybe not.
Episode as Functionary : ***, 10%
On the surface, we *finally* have a worthy successor to “The Nagus” from season 1. “The House of Quark” is in the same league comedically, and the performances from Shimmerman and the supporting players are quite strong. We are shedding the embarrassing characterisation from season 2 and restoring Quark's thief with a heart of gold persona we were originally promised, which is most welcome. The only flaw in this is that, because of the aforementioned characterisation nose-dive from last season, this change comes out of no where. His decision to act selflessly, and earn genuine respect (even if it won't bring him business) happens off screen. Provided this change sticks, I'm willing to forgive the grinding of gears necessary to get us here.
The social commentary from the episode is more profound. The Truth of how Kojak would have allowed Grilka to assume control of her house immediately upon his death. But then that very same Truth in Act 4 almost allows D'Ghor to take control. This is because what the Klingons label as “honour” and “glory” is really just political currency. And of course, dealing with currency is the heart and soul of Ferengi culture. Despite the Klingons' disdain for Ferengi values, in the end, at least Ferengi are honest about themselves and their motivations. The Klingons hide behind rhetoric and tradition. Weaving this commentary in with Quark's character growth/restoration is excellent stuff, classically Trekkian.
The B-plot is sincere and effective, but I can't shake my disappointment with the sexist dynamic which infects it. I am a married man, and my spouse is a man. I can attest to the fact that the underlying issues, as Bashir put it, are quite familiar, without the gendered stereotypes employed here. The dilemma explored between Keiko and Miles is very real and the general conclusion is reasonable, but there is no need for the Sisko/O'Brien “guy talk” scene, or the Bashir/O'Brien flowers scene. I realise that I haven't written reviews for TOS or TNG yet, so I should point out that I am well aware that the sexism in those shows is usually way worse than it is here, but it's still disappointing, especially when the A-plot hinges on overtly sexist cultural traditions. Oh well. Still a worthwhile outing.
Final Score : ***.5
Fri, Sep 14, 2018, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
I agree that it’s funny that the women will get chased out of room so O’Brien and Sisko can have a man-to-man conversation. Many times DS9 will imprint these sort of conservative 1990s social norms which feel a little funny existing in a show about the 24th century. But I suppose they’re trying to relate to non-Trek fans who like the future to be just like their present?
In any case, I do like the B plot overall for, if nothing else, it’s not just some throwaway material. Instead, it resolves a relatively big arc for Keiko’s teaching on the station and it’s nice that expedition story sticks.
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 1:40am (UTC -5)
With all the talk you gave to how sexist the B-plot is, I'm just curious.... what kind of sexism are you saying "Molly must go with her mother" is? Is it sexist against women by saying that the women must take care of the children or is it sexist against men for implying that a man obviously can't be capable of caring for a child on his own?
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 8:59am (UTC -5)
Yes exactly—by making the episode about saving Jadzia’s life instead of resolving the moral issues, there isn’t any time for her to comment on the betrayal or the larger picture for herself and her people.
Yes. To both.
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 1:40am (UTC -5)
"With all the talk you gave to how sexist the B-plot is, I'm just curious.... what kind of sexism are you saying "Molly must go with her mother" is? Is it sexist against women by saying that the women must take care of the children or is it sexist against men for implying that a man obviously can't be capable of caring for a child on his own?"
I don't remember even giving this a thought watching this episode. Did I miss something?
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
Um, I listed at least four separate examples of sexism in the B plot. What’s your problem?
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
I'll go through it in point form if you insist, but I didn't want to make a big deal out of it:
"This scene is baffling, because in the same breath, she acknowledges that, having been both a husband and a wife several times, she understands the dynamic, and thus, she and Kira will see themselves out. Maybe they can do some dishes and paint each other's nails? Dax has more experience than Sisko at being a husband, so why wouldn't Miles be willing to talk to her about his problems?"
I don't know why it's baffling that she would recognize that they want a "man talk." Are you arguing that it is "sexist" to want a man-to-man talk? Or are you saying that it's sexist to treat Dax as a woman in this context when she's been a man before? If the former, I would argue simply: no. No one should tell people what they "should" want. If the latter, this is more dicey because few people are used to Trills and the idea that someone who is currently a woman has lived past lives. On this score the writers probably weren't considering Trill relations and were more thinking about how humans would see her as a woman now: not a crazy idea. It's more an unexplored issue (about Trills) than an archaic one. At worst I'd say this was a lost opportunity to get in a word about Trill/human relations.
"Miles is designing the new arboretum, and Bashir observes that Miles attempt to placate his wife is essentially getting her a cargo bay-sized bouquet of roses to assuage her unhappiness. This is more anachronistic 90s sexist bullshit, but at least Miles abandons this stupidity for something more substantial."
It's sexist to try to get your wife things that will make her happy? I can't imagine how unbearable a world it would be if people tried their best to make their loved ones happy and were called "sexists" when the idea isn't the best. How accursed that would be. Or maybe you're implying that giving one's wife flowers when she's upset is sexist? Go ask various married women if they agree. They won't!
"On DS9, O'Brien makes a sacrifice of his own. There is a six month expedition on Bajor requiring a chief botanist and he thinks Keiko is more than qualified. We will overlook more of the sexism which demands that Molly be with her mother instead of her father during this period, despite the fact that staying at her home in her quarters, rather than on a mobile expedition would be more stable for the child."
On this point I sort of see your objection, which is that staying with Miles isn't even voiced as an option, which we may attribute to the writers defaulting to assuming the mother should always have the child. However It seems to me that failing to mention the matter on-screen isn't a slam-dunk that it's for that reason. Consider some real logistics: maybe it's because the Chief needs to sometimes be on-call 26 hours a day for his job with the many emergencies they have. Think of it if he was a doctor and the hours they keep, especially in a crazy post - such a profession would make being an effective single parent an impractical proposition. Or maybe Miles just sort of wouldn't enjoy being the only parent on duty all the time, in which case we could chalk their decision up to a recognition that Keiko is just the more capable of the two of them. So this one has more to argue but I still feel like one almost has to be looking for objections to dislike the idea of a child staying with her mother.
I scanned your review twice and couldn't really find a fourth objection you listed, so sorry if I missed one that was very relevant to your point.
Overall my concern here is that a sort of "presentism" can be worked into material written in the past, which means applying modern standards to older works and judging them based on those standards. So for instance you can look at TOS and comment on Uhura saying "How sexist! She's just a communications officer instead of a command level officer or Captain!" And you'd miss how progressive it was to have a black woman on board at all. That kind of critique is a sort of self-congratulatory method that historians tend to eschew in favor of seeing the norms at the time and inspecting what the media was doing in light of those norms. In the case of TOS Uhura's inclusion was super-progressive. Likewise there's the "sexist" costumes, which by all rights were more likely an expression of female emancipation from the rigid dress code forced on them by patriarchy (although I'm sure this point would involve a larger debate than the former).
In House of Quark I can't help but feel that what was intended to be progressive - a story about how women's careers are just as important as men's - is being regarded through revisionist goggles and being somehow seen as sexist. That's really crazy, when back in the 90's the model of "woman at home" was still standard, if waning due to socioeconomic realities about it taking two jobs to pay the bills. But stay-at-home-daddy wasn't even a thing, and although admittedly it would have also been super-progressive to have O'Brien take that course, the station really couldn't do without its Chief Engineer. But nevertheless the "flowers" scene, which you call sexist, basically states that women don't need to be placated, they need to be important, which means placing their careers on an equal level with those of men. If that's not progressive for the 90's I don't know what it.
There is a danger of the "not progressive enough for me" approach, where an actually progressive thing for 1994 will be seen as "retrograde" based on how things would be portrayed in 2018. And not just portrayed in 2018 either, but in super-progressive 2018 material, because plenty of liberal people still end up having the wife spend more time with the children, and plenty of liberal guys still want to have guy-talks with their male friends. I guess you'd have to call all of them sexists too?
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 7:58am (UTC -5)
"In House of Quark I can't help but feel that what was intended to be progressive - a story about how women's careers are just as important as men's - is being regarded through revisionist goggles and being somehow seen as sexist. That's really crazy, when back in the 90's the model of "woman at home" was still standard, if waning due to socioeconomic realities about it taking two jobs to pay the bills. But stay-at-home-daddy wasn't even a thing, and although admittedly it would have also been super-progressive to have O'Brien take that course, the station really couldn't do without its Chief Engineer. But nevertheless the "flowers" scene, which you call sexist, basically states that women don't need to be placated, they need to be important, which means placing their careers on an equal level with those of men. If that's not progressive for the 90's I don't know what it."
I don't think I agree. MASH had episodes about how a woman's career is as important as a man's, and it was sort of the central premise of Mary Tyler Moore. Granted neither Margaret nor Mary had children. But I don't think that men and women's careers having equal weight was at all novel in pop culture in the 90's. I see your point that it wasn't the norm though.
Additionally, statistics show that there were 1.1 million stay at home fathers in the US 1989: https:// www.statista.com/statistics/319707/number-of-stay-at-home-dads-in-the-us/. Hardly the norm, but I don't think that constitutes "not even a thing."
I don't really see Elliott's objection to the flowers scene itself though.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 9:31am (UTC -5)
"I don't think I agree. MASH had episodes about how a woman's career is as important as a man's, and it was sort of the central premise of Mary Tyler Moore. "
I can't speak for Mary Tyler Moore, but I'm almost done a watch-through of M.A.S.H. There's a general arc, it's true, for Major Houlihan, that her career is as important to her as a man's, but the social stage at which this takes place (late 70's, early 80's) is where the norm is to dismiss women's careers and it takes significant pushback to make them see the value of her career. But even then there are plenty of episodes where she bemoans not being married. There is also the occasional episode (maybe a half-dozen in total) involving a guest star female whose career isn't taken sufficiently seriously and she's treated terribly and that's corrected by the end.
So this was certainly begun in the 70's. But in DS9 what we see isn't "stop tormenting women who want to work", and is also far beyond the typical MASH theme of "stop treating career women as a joke". Rather what we're told is that even in private family life Miles sees not only that one in theory should respect career women - which is already a given since he met her on the Enterprise when she was a working botanist - but rather than he should be fighting for her to have her career rather than letting her fall into 'just being a parent'. This this is the next level of progressive writing, where MASH pushed back against discrimination, and now in DS9 we're seeing the husband actively pushing for the wife's career even when she isn't actively fighting for it. And I'll also note that MASH was quite progressive, and it's fitting that it should take 10-15 years for TV to be ready for the next step, which goes from "you don't be harassed for wanting a career" all the way to "you shouldn't be puttering around the house, go to your career!" It's a fairly significant step in 'progressive TV'.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 10:18am (UTC -5)
Just like with Odo's assumed heteronormativity, there are aspects to 90s television--even progressive Star Trek--which are stuck in their era; I completely understand this and rated this episode accordingly. But that doesn't mean that when there are problematic elements in the show, we should ignore them, even if recognising them is the benefit of hindsight. Just because, for 1994, the Keiko/Miles story was right in line with mainstream feminist thought, doesn't mean that the story isn't infected with sexist attitudes. All that means is that it's more regrettable that attitudes were what they were. And yes, TOS, despite being ahead of its time, was extremely sexist, because all TV in the 60s was sexist. It doesn't cease to be so because of moral relativism.
"Are you arguing that it is 'sexist' to want a man-to-man talk?" Kind of. There is an assumption that the women won't be able to relate or understand Miles' perspective, even though Dax literally has been a husband far longer than Miles or Sisko. So the implication is that, now that she has a vagina, her input into the issue isn't helpful. That is sexist.
"Or maybe you're implying that giving one's wife flowers when she's upset is sexist? Go ask various married women if they agree. They won't!"
For me, this is more of a problem with the cliché. Miles had already tried cheering Keiko up with a romantic dinner date. He's too smart to think that more gifts is going to solve the problem of her unhappiness. The women I know would find it insulting, if they were deeply depressed about a substantial issue like being able to pursue their careers, to be given flowers as a token of appeasement. Painting Miles as this bumbling I-don't-understand-complex-emotions-because-of-my-penis man is the anachronism. And it is sexist.
"[S]uch a profession would make being an effective single parent an impractical proposition."
That didn't stop Sisko from bringing his son with him to DS9. Jake is a bit older than Molly, I know that will be the argument, but Jake was still not old enough to look after himself when they arrived. More to the point, it's Keiko who says, "I can't leave you and Molly for six months." Now, if she's saying she can't bear to be away from her child that long, this is fine, but why is it that Miles is perfectly capable of being away from his daughter for half a year? That's a double standard based on gender, which is sexist.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 10:51am (UTC -5)
"And yes, TOS, despite being ahead of its time, was extremely sexist, because all TV in the 60s was sexist. It doesn't cease to be so because of moral relativism."
While I do agree that some values are objectively so regardless of era, there are degrees to which criticism should be issued. For instance any picture in the past of slavery should rightly be tarred, even if it was 'more progressive' slavery. However when considering an 1850's Maverick for abolition whose position was that there should be no slaves, but who would still have recoiled from the idea of his daughter marrying a black person, it would be useless and counter-historical to accuse such a person of being a racist. Yes, compared to today's standard that position is racist. But at the time you could only realistically expect so much progressiveness at once. Looking back and calling the maverick a "racist" because he's just not progressive enough...I would vehemently oppose that move.
Regarding Odo's sexuality that's a great point, and if anything I would agree that the show (or culture) just wasn't ready for a bi/pansexual crew member. In fact I doubt many people were even that well acquainted with bisexuality in the first place, no less having it prominently displayed on a show. Even as of a few years back I found even liberal bastion urban centers to be mostly focused on "gay vs straight". So even now bisexuality has barely made it into the mainsteam, no less back in 1994. So while given the internal logic of the Changelings there's no reason Odo should only like women, given the era it would have been unreasonable for even a progressive show to go beyond that at the time.
"Dax literally has been a husband far longer than Miles or Sisko. So the implication is that, now that she has a vagina, her input into the issue isn't helpful. That is sexist."
That isn't the implication, not even slightly. Her own statement shows that it's not. The implication is that Miles would feel *more comfortable* talking to a man. It's not about who has which data to offer him. It's like when a woman would prefer a female gyno; it's not because male gyno's didn't study properly at medical school, it's a question of preference, and it's not sexist.
"He's too smart to think that more gifts is going to solve the problem of her unhappiness. "
Right, and he thinks that the arboretum will give her something *to do*. It's not a random gift. The scene is clear about this, it's not another flowers attempt. Julian shows him that what he's giving her is a hobby when in fact she needs a career. And by the way I don't think it's at all unreasonable to suggest that people need a hobby. If we wanted to be really pendantic I could point out that in a post-scarcity society suggesting that someone needs a career to make them happy is the anachronism and is dated for the 24th century. The hobby idea is ironically probably the more reasonable idea for most people given that doing a job isn't actually required to bring in income. In Keiko's *particular case* if she's passionate about botany then as Julian points out the hobby isn't enough, she needs her career. It's a fine point to make and he's right, but O'Brien was no dunce about it on his end. He's trying to do big things for her and that's sexist? Ugh.
"Now, if she's saying she can't bear to be away from her child that long, this is fine, but why is it that Miles is perfectly capable of being away from his daughter for half a year? That's a double standard based on gender, which is sexist."
She said she can't be away from Molly that long. Miles didn't say the same, therefore he doesn't feel the same. You're asking why Miles isn't the literal same person as Keiko with the exact same feelings and needs?
I mean, if you want to show sexism on DS9 I could join up happily in appropriate circumstances. I'll readily rip into Profit and Lace with a vengeance, and also anything to do with the presentation of Leeta. I have no objection to calling a spade a spade. We can perhaps agree to disagree on House of Quark.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 10:53am (UTC -5)
But we’re missing a lot of information here. Like, I’m no botanist, but performing botany on DS9 sounds like pretty fulfilling work itself. Are we sure Keiko wouldn’t want that? The story never tells us, so I think you’re free to your own take. Just keep in mind Miles/Keiko have the most successful long term relationship in Star Trek.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 11:12am (UTC -5)
Be honest. Are you really trying to say that you don't see any gender inflection in the idea that both Miles and Keiko would assume that Molly couldn't be away from her mother for that long, but she could be away from her father? It's really just a difference in personality? I don't buy it.
"He's trying to do big things for her and that's sexist?"
Yes, exactly! Giving someone a gift because you love them is one thing, trying to *fix* them by giving them something (whether something to admire like flowers or something to *do* like a hobby) is condescending. It bothers me that Miles would fall back on this trope, but as Chrome pointed out, Miles is himself kind of an anachronism.
Regarding your point about careers in the 24th century, even today, people often work harder than they have to in careers that they love (at least those who are lucky enough to have them) even if the financial benefits are unimportant to them. The difference between a career and a hobby isn't whether it provides income, but whether a person has professional accountability to the work. Stakes, in other words.
"It's like when a woman would prefer a female gyno; it's not because male gyno's didn't study properly at medical school, it's a question of preference, and it's not sexist."
Actually that's sexist, too. I'm not saying many women don't quite sincerely feel this way, but it's still a form of sexism.
"However when considering an 1850's Maverick for abolition whose position was that there should be no slaves, but who would still have recoiled from the idea of his daughter marrying a black person, it would be useless and counter-historical to accuse such a person of being a racist."
This is the point where we diverge most fundamentally. You are assuming that calling a racist man a racist even if, given the context of his society and time, he were far *less* racist than most other people, is dismissive of his relative progressivism. It isn't. The Maverick should be applauded for his forward-thinking vision, but that does not retroactively make him not racist. Racism is racism. Sexism is sexism.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Sexism is a form of prejudice. Just like racism. It is not racist to note that people of different races might have different skin colours or facial features because that's the definition of race. It is racist to make assumptions about people based on their race. Likewise, it is sexist to make assumptions about people based on their gender. Assuming that Keiko, as a woman, must be with her child where as Miles, a man, doesn't necessarily have to is sexist because it makes assumptions based on nothing more than the fact that Miles and Keiko have different genitalia.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Sexism is a form of prejudice. Just like racism. It is not racist to note that people of different races might have different skin colours or facial features because that's the definition of race. It is racist to make assumptions about people based on their race. Likewise, it is sexist to make assumptions about people based on their gender. Assuming that Keiko, as a woman, must be with her child where as Miles, a man, doesn't necessarily have to is sexist because it makes assumptions based on nothing more than the fact that Miles and Keiko have different genitalia.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
I've long been of the belief that everyone should just ignore Elliott.
If he comments on an episode and no-one takes the bait by responding, it's just one comment that can easily be skipped over.
If people respond and argue back, he doubles down and the resulting endless back-and-forth ends up dominating the entire thread (due to his emotional tone-deafness and inability to compromise). And that's happening on every single thread on this site. There's barely an episode thread on this site that doesn't have an "Elliott argument" under it (even episodes he liked, like this one!).
And I think that's what he wants.
I love debating things with people with different opinions. But it has to be in good faith. Not joyless, rigidly ideological and cherry-picking, and wilfully nuance-free. (Take his comment on Equilibrium: "Sisko continues to be a morally rotten leader, having no compunctions about letting a planet-wide deception continue if it means getting what he wants for himself, namely the continued company of his friend." No, it just means this episode wasn't very well-written.)
Elliott has every right to post his reviews. But I, and this is just a personal opinion, think it'd be smart for people to stop responding. He provokes, waits for people to bite, then doesn't have the EQ to argue his case in a non-dogmatic way, so not only will you never win an argument with him, it's unlikely to be in any way constructive either (let alone bring new insight to the episode). It's fruitless, like cleaning the transporter room with a toothbrush. I think those TOS episodes where Kirk argues with a computer and ties it in logical knots until it explodes have perhaps misled people into thinking they achieve the same with Elliott... you can't. Not when the ultimate goal is just attention and validation.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
You have absolutely no right to conclude that my arguments occur in bad faith. That I have enjoyed conversations with people of differing opinions over the years is not evidence that I am looking for "attention" anymore than it would be for every other comment-poster. Plenty of people post their reviews on this site and most of those have follow-up comments. If you don't want to engage with me, that's your business, but how dare you police me or my alleged motivations from the comfortable anonymity of your keyboard?
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
I understand your viewpoint and I imagine many would agree with you that differences between men and women are merely "genitalia" and "plumbing" to use another common metaphor.
My response is first to suggest that there is nothing trivial about genitalia, from which a host of biological realities (from breastfeeding to childbirth to sexual pleasure responses stem) and second, to note that there is alot of research into male and female brains that disputes the common "it's just plumbing" approach to sexual dimorphism. Ironically, this research into male and female brains, comes in the context of transexuality.
The race analogy is a false one because human races are mere social construct whereas sexual dimorphism in humans (and the reality of our biological differences) is not, clearly.
Incidentally, I want to emphasize that nowhere in this episode is there an implication that Keiko *must* watch the children or that it can be no other way because she is a woman. Your comment isn't against that proposition (and if it is, you are debating a straw man). Rather, it seems you object to the notion that default assumptions about people could in any way be informed by their sex in an enlightened society i.e. any society that is not strictly neutral in its attitude toward men and women is bigoted or sexist a priori.
I gotta disagree, strongly.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
Tiny nitpick: not quite, although practically speaking this may as well be true. There are medical differences as well as physical realities in human 'breeds' that adapted better for certain environments. That said I would agree that there is no moral reason to consider races as being an actual divider between people.
This small point aside, I agree with your general argument.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
Sexual dimorphism in humans is an extremely volatile subject. I have several transgendered friends who are more qualified to speak on the particular subject you're alluding to than I am. However, I do need to call out some of the warped reasoning in your response here:
"note that there is a lot [sic] of research into male and female brains that disputes the common 'it's just plumbing' approach to sexual dimorphism. Ironically, this research into male and female brains, comes in the context of transsexuality."
First of all, you might want to actually cite any such research you want me or others reading your comment to consider. For example, this essay (https://medium.com/@juliaserano/transgender-people-and-biological-sex-myths-c2a9bcdb4f4a) is written by a transgendered woman who is also a biologist. The central thesis of her argument is that there is a distinction, biologically speaking, between gender and sex (although these terms may be imprecise, anyway). The former has nothing to do with "plumbing." I would suggest reading it.
Second, any commonalities between the brains of the roughly 3.5 billion humans who identify as female can be considered statistical trivialities when dealing with individual men and women. Even if, statistically speaking, one could draw generalisations between all women throughout all of history in all cultures, that does not entitle one to make assumptions (engage in prejudice) against any individual woman for falling outside of those generalities.
"The race analogy is a false one because human races are mere social construct whereas sexual dimorphism in humans (and the reality of our biological differences) is not, clearly."
I'm sorry that you don't seem to understand the difference between gender identity and sexual function. But the same essay I linked above should help clear that up somewhat.
"[I]t seems you object to the notion that default assumptions about people could in any way be informed by their sex in an enlightened society i.e. any society that is not strictly neutral in its attitude toward men and women is bigoted or sexist a priori."
What, then constitutes sexism in your opinion? What degree of default assumption is acceptable before a society is considered sexist?
"[No] where [sic] in this episode is there an implication that Keiko *must* watch the children or that it can be no other way because she is a woman. Your comment isn't against that proposition (and if it is, you are debating a straw man)." That's not precise, either. My argument is against the implication that Keiko watching Molly would be the default position. My debate with Peter G isn't about whether this would be wrong (I believe we agree that it is), but how we should contextualise this attitude given the time in which this episode was created. And for the record, I agree that, for 1994, the implications of this subplot are not particularly regressive, but I contend that identifying the sexism present in this attitude is still necessary and appropriate, without penalising the episode.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
"Sexism is a form of prejudice. Just like racism. It is not racist to note that people of different races might have different skin colours or facial features because that's the definition of race. It is racist to make assumptions about people based on their race. Likewise, it is sexist to make assumptions about people based on their gender. Assuming that Keiko, as a woman, must be with her child where as Miles, a man, doesn't necessarily have to is sexist because it makes assumptions based on nothing more than the fact that Miles and Keiko have different genitalia. "
Unreleased script outline for DS9 episode 8x01 "Unexpected":
(O'Brien walks into Bashir's office.)
Bashir: Miles! Great to see you. Loved our game of darts last night. Is there something I can get you - perhaps a mild analgesic? You must have quite the headache after being so soundly thrashed...
O'Brien: Morning Julian... actually, do you mind if we sit down? It's rather important... medically speaking.
Bashir: Of course! Now what seems to be the problem?
O'Brien: Well... to be honest, I'm not sure how to say this... but I'm pregnant!
O'Brien: I just found out. There's no doubt about it. I'm going to have a baby.
Bashir: Miles... are you feeling okay?
O'Brien: Of course! What, don't you believe me?
Bashir: Well... I mean...
O'Brien: You don't, do you?
Bashir: Don't get me wrong, it's just that... well, you don't have the genitalia for it.
O'Brien: How dare you! That's sexist!
Bashir: Miles... perhaps we should run a full scan... starting with your neurology...
O'Brien: Don't try to change the subject! You're a bloody sexist and you know it. Right, I'm going to Sisko. Odo will want to hear about this too. I hope you enjoy your time in the brig, I for one won't be missing our darts games...
(Miles storms out leaving Julian with a stunned look, pinching the bridge of his nose)
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
Your snark seems to indicates you have no interest in learning about the difference between gender identity and sexual function.
If Captain Janeway were denied a promotion because she was in her late 50s, that would be ageism. If she were told she couldn't conceive a child like your farcical O'Brien, that would be acknowledging biological reality. Do you see the difference?
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
Check username again...
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
"Your snark seems to indicates you have no interest in learning about the difference between gender identity and sexual function.
If Captain Janeway were denied a promotion because she was in her late 50s, that would be ageism. If she were told she couldn't conceive a child like your farcical O'Brien, that would be acknowledging biological reality. Do you see the difference?"
Settle down, it was just a joke. I know the difference between biology and gender. I was just pointing to your comment that sexism is making "assumptions based on nothing more than the fact that (males and females) have different genitalia." People do that all the time (eg doctors) and it's fine. At times when it's not fine, there's a lot more to it than that.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
Okay, if you know the difference, then why the snark? A doctor telling someone without a womb that they can't incubate a child is not making an assumption, it's acknowledging biological reality. Prejudices against transgendered people are too extreme to make light of this difference. They are abused, murdered and driven to suicide every day because of people who justify their attitudes with the kind of jokes you made above.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Then again, I'd also say the fuss over all these "isms" is more than a little overstated (considering that there's barely anything else on anyone's moral radar these days). Social inequality exists, no doubt about that. And I know many would say I'm taking my sexual and racial privilege for granted, which may also be true. But I would say that those privileges are never what brings a life lasting happiness. Fight for equality on all levels, by all means - it's a worthy fight. But don't expect it to bring total peace and prosperity when it comes. And I don't think Star Trek has done much to dispel that enduring utopian myth.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
I think making up a farcical dialogue scene from "DS9's un-aired 8th season" is the definition of snark, but whatever. I don't know where you got the idea that people expect "life-lasting happiness" to emerge by fighting against transphobia and sexism. You acknowledge that your privilege protects you from dealing with many prejudices the rest of us can't escape, but are still happy to proclaim that we're just "fussing over -isms." So you acknowledge your privilege, and then revel in it. I think we can do better than that.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 5:56pm (UTC -5)
Actually I've heard it said quite frequently that someone or other should have nothing to complain about by virtue of being a certain color or sex, implying life is peachy for the socially privileged. And when you look at episodes like "Past Tense" (which you're coming up on) where the difference between an unequal society and post-revolution is like heaven and hell, changing everything... it's hard not to come to the conclusion that people generally think that the unequal suffer not just more, but infinitely so.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 10:44pm (UTC -5)
I would say the plumbing itself is trivial to our psychological makeup. What isn't trivial is that we are, each and every one of us, a chemical soup, which is why a vast range of other chemicals that we can ingest (ranging from foods, prescribed drugs, recreational drugs, to environmental agents) can alter our psychology and affect our development. And the bodies of women and men naturally produce different levels of a variety of chemicals (like testosterone and estrogen) that lead to differences in bodies and mind.
However, these chemicals are only one of many factors into what makes people different from each other, and individual men and women produce these chemicals at very different rates. Gender is far from the only important characteristic for a person.
Saying the average man is taller than the average woman is true; but if you grab 5 random men and 5 random women off the street, there's a real chance that the smallest in the group is a man and the tallest is a woman.
Height is certainly not the only gender difference that can arise from these differences in chemical exposures (although I don't think we understand these differences as well as the average person thinks we do), so a society free of sexism will still see differences between the "average man" and "average woman", even if large numbers of men and women fall outside of these norms.
Perhaps a sexism-free society would see men be 70% of nurses and women be 70% of teachers; or perhaps the reverse. You would be sexist to look at any individual man and say they they are naturally predisposed to one profession & ill-suited for the other (because gender isn't the only thing that affects abilities & desires), but you would still expect the distribution of the professions to end up different from 50%.
So, whatever. Elliot can be unhappy that Keiko and O'Brien have what we consider to be a "standard late 20th century" relationship. But even in the future some men and women will still seek out those roles, even if they're in the minority. The other women on DS9 tend to go further away from those defined roles.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 11:40pm (UTC -5)
Look, I like Keiko a lot. I like Miles. I like their relationship. But I watched this episode with a few female friends of mine for their perspective and their reaction was the same as mine. When you’re used to media representation defaulting to your preferred mode of being, I know it’s easy to see any challenge to that paradigm as threatening, or as over-concerned bitching, but this is an expression of extreme privilege. There’s a podcast you all might check out called Women a Warp. I suggest checking it out.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 12:15am (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 12:25am (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 5:52am (UTC -5)
Not sure I see how privilege fits in either. But it's essentially a conversation ender. It signifies the end of any meaningful dialogue.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 10:58am (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
In fairness, if the Miles/Keiko stuff hadn't bothered me, I would have waffled between 3 and 3.5 for the EAF section, and probably came down on the lower side because of that issue. So, I suppose one could technically say that my rating was affected by the sexism, but to a very minor degree, one that would not have altered the final rating in any event.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
"I see nothing wrong with Keiko preferring Molly to be with her. But I also would have found nothing wrong with Miles preferring Molly to be with him. So where's the 'privilege' in my position? How does the theory of privilege apply to how I view the episode?"
The privilege is in not feeling the consequences of unspoken assumptions. The Miles/Keiko scene could have been fixed very easily:
KEIKO: I can't leave you and Molly for six months.
O'BRIEN: Molly and I will be fine! We'll miss you, too.
KEIKO: I can't be away from both of you for that long! What if I took Molly along?
O'BRIEN: Well, I don't want to be away from either of you! But this is important, and I thought you might feel that way, so I checked, and it shouldn't be a problem. And as for me, well, Bajor's only three hours away in a runabout. We can manage.
Without something in the dialogue which makes it clear that there's no *assumed* imperative that Molly couldn't be away from Mother for 6 months, but could be away from Father, the episode is falling back onto tropes. When media recycles tropes like this, it validates a particular perspective which we can call "normal." If your mode of being conforms to this "normal," then you are privileged; you don't have to assert or prove the validity of your mode of being against the "normal."
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Elliot about that being a better way to word the scene. Similarly, they could’ve brought up the Dominion threat to DS9 again as a way to promote that Molly going to Bajor would be best. The problem is the default assumption shouldn’t be Miles won’t or can’t take care of Molly on his own. That’s not what I’d expect in the 24th century or even in 21st century. If Molly was a newborn and still needed nursing or something I could see why Keiko could be the default caregiver. But Molly is what, six years old? That’s hardly an age where she’d be automatically expected to be with mom. It’s easy to see why some would want more *reality* in this scene.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
I'll paraphrase the original:
Miles: I propose you go to Bajor for 6 months and Molly will stay here with me.
Keiko: But I can't be away from Molly for that long!
Miles: Ok, then she'll go with you.
Miles' original proposition was already that Molly would stay with him and not with her mother. This is already encoded into the world of the show. The fact that Keiko objects would be the thing to question if you insisted on objecting. As I mentioned, yes, it could be argued it's because there's a norm that Miles is defying in suggesting Molly stay with him, and Keiko is merely reminding him of this norm with her objection. However this reading requires one of two premises to be reasonable, both of which I personally would reject:
1) Miles knows this norm and is being a maverick in his suggestion. I reject this because the series rarely if ever presents him this way (as a social progressive).
2) Miles is a dufus who has been to hasty to remember *the universal social norm* that supposedly everyone would know about. This would fall under the "incompetent dumb male" trope. I reject this as well because Miles is likewise never presented as oblivious or a dufus.
The more reasonable reading of the scene, in my opinion, is that we're not meant to inspect Keiko's objection closely because the main intent while she's away is for the writers not to have to deal with either her or Molly in upcoming scripts. Otherwise a studious audience member might well be asking "wait a minute, where's Molly and why is O'Brien never taking care of her??" It would be a nitpick of sorts but a legitimate one since so much hay is made of child-care in the series. So their choice is to get rid of Molly, and for Keiko's objection to serve as an "oh yeah, Molly will go too" afterthought. The scene *is not* about parenting gender roles and there would be no point wasting time establishing parental gender roles unless one was hung up about adding in disclaimers to scenes just to make sure the I's are dotted and T's crossed and no one can call offense. I maintain that clunky or bad writing will result from writing with this kind of disclaiming being thrown in regularly.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
"in my opinion, is that we're not meant to inspect Keiko's objection closely because the main intent while she's away is for the writers not to have to deal with either her or Molly in upcoming scripts. Otherwise a studious audience member might well be asking "wait a minute, where's Molly and why is O'Brien never taking care of her??" It would be a nitpick of sorts but a legitimate one since so much hay is made of child-care in the series. So their choice is to get rid of Molly, and for Keiko's objection to serve as an 'oh yeah, Molly will go too' afterthought. The scene *is not* about parenting gender roles and there would be no point wasting time establishing parental gender roles unless one was hung up about adding in disclaimers to scenes just to make sure the I's are dotted and T's crossed and no one can call offence [sic]. I maintain that clunky or bad writing will result from writing with this kind of disclaiming being thrown in regularly."
I mostly agree with you--the writers clearly weren't trying to say anything about gender roles, but were looking for an elegant way to write Keiko and Molly off the station for a while. The problem is with the fact that what you call "disclaimers" is what I would call being responsible. And it doesn't make for clunky writing at all. Look at a show like "Bojack Horseman." That show is remarkably responsible with the social implications of its writing, and is arguably the best thing on TV right now, with dialogue that is incredibly well-written.
All you have to do is reverse the genders to see the problem. If Keiko were the Chief and helped Miles find a botany job on Bajor, how would this scene play out?
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
"All you have to do is reverse the genders to see the problem. If Keiko were the Chief and helped Miles find a botany job on Bajor, how would this scene play out?"
I already answer that one: I wouldn't care if the roles were reversed. In either case I'd see it as a plot point, not as a political statement.
However since you do read a objectionable premise into Keiko's reply, I should think your proper conclusion would be that Keiko is a sexist, rather than the show. The show duly represented Miles as offering to take care of Molly, and therefore have one character taking the stance that this is fine. It's true his position is overruled because Miles wants to make Keiko happy, but the writers presented both positions, and in fact defaulted to his position as his initial plan. So it's Keiko's objection that would seem to be in question, and although I don't recommend it you might perhaps argue that she, personally, is using an old-fashioned idea. Maybe you could chalk it up to traditional Japenese culture or something and make it a feature instead of a bug. For my part, I wouldn't read too much into it.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
I’m not sure how you’re getting Miles’ original suggestion is that Molly stay with him from that text (even your paraphrasing). Keiko does bring up childcare first (something that could either be interpreted as she insists on being with Molly or that she’d feel bad making Miles do it). But Miles’ first suggestion is that she take Molly, and what’s more, it’s something he’s already done the homework on. Compare that to say, “She can stay here, I asked Dax and Bashir and they said they’d help out.”
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
Just to clarify, unlike some other stories (I'm currently reviewing "The Abandoned"), I don't think this issue is a major problem for the episode. It's a minor point that stuck out to me. That said, I do wish I could make you understand why it bothers me. There's an awful kid's movie called "Cop Dog" about a dog that solves crimes or whatever. Now, the plot of this story has no romantic angle for the dog, and well, fuck it's a story about a sentient dog that solves crimes for little kids to watch. But the film goes out of its way to have a pointless scene in which the dog expresses sexual interest in another dog with a great big pink bow on its head (so we know it's a GIRL dog). This has nothing to do with the rest of the story, but it reassures the troglodyte audience that this canine is totally not gay. Without this scene, a kid could imagine, if they felt so inclined, that the heroic protagonist of this movie was whatever sexuality they identified with--straight, gay, in between, or asexual. But because this scene is there, the trope that normal males are attracted to females, and that this is the only normal way to be is enforced. I am telling you that when you grow up without role models who look like you or who act like you, it's traumatic.
To be clear, I don't think the writers of the movie were making an explicitly homophobic statement by including that inane scene anymore than the DS9 writers were trying to be sexist in this B-plot. But the results reveal unconscious or latent biases which *are* in fact the result of deep-seated homophobia and sexism, respectively. I'm not really mad about it. I still enjoyed the episode and think the B plot is fine, but it something worth pointing out, because we should always be trying to understand and work past such biases in ourselves and not be complacent about it.
Everything is a political statement, whether you want it to be or not. Our lives are political, our art is political. It is inescapable.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
Right you are, that's my bad. He says nothing about it at first and she's the one who says she can't leave him and Molly, seemingly implying that that was his suggestion, but he doesn't actually say that. I guess I remembered it incorrectly. Eh, it still seems like she's the one bringing up that objection, but it's true that he checked it first. Whether that means he intended Molly go with her all along, or just covered his bases, I don't know. It mostly just looks to me like the writers wanted Molly gone and threw in one line about it. The tone sort of reads like:
M: There's an expedition for you.
K: So far away? (objection 1)
M: Yes, it's very important (justifying the distance) and lasts 6 months.
K: For that long? (objection 2)
M: Yes, it'll be ok.
K: But what about Molly? (objection 3)
M: Already arranged for. Have a nice trip!
This structure would be significantly disrupted to begin introducing issues about suggesting child-care options and then settling on Molly going with Keiko. I still agree that Elliott's version is acceptable, but it feels worse to me given what they were going for here.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Exactly the same. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Keiko the stay-at-home parent while Miles was out working every day as the Chief? Doesn't it make sense that the parent (whatever gender) who has been caring for the child most of the time would not want to suddenly leave them?
You can read politics into anything but that doesn't mean the thing is political - it just means that you are.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
Keiko only became a stay-at-home parent in the first place because they moved to DS9, and more recently because the school closed, so Keiko doesn't even have a part-time job. The whole point of O'Brien helping her get a new job is so that they can *both* work again, like they did on the Enterprise. But since this job takes Keiko off the station, it should be a *question* with whom Molly would stay, not assumed to be Keiko.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 5:17pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 19, 2018, 6:00am (UTC -5)
That is a neurotic reading of the scene. A better explanation is that what is commonplace is considered normal and what is normal is commonly portrayed by default.
If I watch a movie made by Indians in India I would not presume that the portrayal of an Indian marrying another Indian must convey the message that non Indians are aberrant or cannot marry.
As a Jew, I don't consider the ubiquity of Christmas carols or Christmas movies in December to be a statement that I'm abnormal. I consider this to be healthy.
Wed, Sep 19, 2018, 8:13pm (UTC -5)
To me it's way more problematic that there really isn't anything to do with her! I how she goes to school on Bajor because there sure as hell isn't one on the station.
And I say this as a really nurturing Dad who rolls his eyes hard when people say it's nice that I babysit. No, I parent thanks. I kiss booboos, give baths, change diapers and am currently reading this to stay awake next to my little one while I sing her to sleep.
Keiko thinks that Miles intends for her to go without Molly. That comment alone goes a long way for me.
Thu, Sep 20, 2018, 2:59pm (UTC -5)
That's not a fair analogy. The ubiquity of Christmas Carols does not exclude the existence of Jewish people. Seeing heterosexual people in relationships does not exclude the existence of other sexualities. That's not the point. When media goes out of its way to erase you (like insisting that a fucking dog in a kids' movie is definitely not gay), that's making a statement. Trek is a great example of this, in positive and negative ways--there are no Christians or Jews or Muslims in the 24th century. This is a deliberate statement. Likewise, there are no queer people in the future. Depending on whom you ask, either or both of these are upsetting
Thu, Sep 20, 2018, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
But ya.... everything does go out of it's way to make everyone heterosexual. I'll agree with you there. I mean, it took me a long time to notice because I'm straight, but I think I agree.
Garak was made straight even though his relationship with Ziyal was bizarrely unnecessary. Any time fans think a character might be gay they seem to hook up with a woman. Even thought the option to leave it ambiguous is fine.
Thu, Sep 20, 2018, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
In full agreement. I'm an anti-theist, but I'm way more bothered by the mandatory pledge of allegiance and the fact that kids have to endure "active shooter drills" now than the idea a Christmas pageant or whatever.
Behind the scenes stuff reveals that the producers/actors/writers really did want to show a more sexually-diverse 24th century. Robinson explicitly played Garak as pansexual in the early seasons. Roddenberry instructed Behr to depict Risa as a kind of "Justice" planet redux, with homosexual and bisexual orgies happening all over the place in "Captain's Holiday"--not convinced that would make for good television any more than the existing Risa eps, but it certainly would have been less boring than what we got. They even filmed some same-sex couples in "The Offspring" which were removed from the re-shoots for broadcast.
Nice to see you back in the threads. Hope your little one is feeling better.
Sun, Sep 30, 2018, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 10, 2018, 1:21am (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 10, 2018, 9:20am (UTC -5)
The title and ep description had me expecting a lame offering, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Loved the Miles and Keiko scenes. They have a great, realistic marriage with a very strong bond. She's made sacrifices and he's appreciative; he tries to cheer her up and she's appreciative. She's trying to figure out a way to get past her school-choosing doldrums and keep her part of the DS9 deal, but Miles decides its his turn to sacrifice a bit, and encourages her to take Molly "only three hours away" for an exciting, 6 month job opportunity. She's appreciative.
In a less sweet, but more dramatic way, we see a somewhat similar dynamic play out with our Odd Couple on Kronos, a storyline which more directly addresses how those close to you can hurt you as well as help you, how it's important to identify the truly loving and trustworthy.
One thing that bothered me was how no one on the station seemed to notice or care that Quark had been kidnapped, but I'll go ahead and ignore that.
Lots of fun touches like the way the "divorce" happened, and good performances from all involved in the main plots.
Just fun and sweet. I liked it very well.
Mon, Dec 10, 2018, 9:45am (UTC -5)
Miles doesn't automatically give up Molly for 6 months because of some outdated sexist notion that Moms are better. The point here is that HE wants to be the one making the sacrifice this time. He wants HER to choose, this time. If Keiko had asked him to keep Molly for the whole six months, or part of it, he would have done so, gladly. It's plain he's going to miss his wife and daughter. That's the whole idea: sacrifice, love, putting the needs of someone else above your own.
No one is trying to sell the idea that a woman can't possibly be happy as a mom and homemaker. The idea is that Keiko (Keiko, an individual) is struggling with having her career on hold all this time, Miles sees it, and wants to help her.
It's interesting that Quark, a member of the most sexist species we've seen in the Alpha Quadrant, helps Grilka become Head of Household. (I, a single mom, love filing as "Head of Household." Makes me feel all strong and sassy and stuff. House of Springy. Has a nice ring to it. :) )
Sun, Feb 10, 2019, 4:26am (UTC -5)
I agree with Jammer that the B-story, though not given many minutes, is sweet and well-intentioned. I don't know why, but the O'Briens just don't radiate much emotion or affection. Their marriage always felt like a plot detail, not an essential partnership. Thus, Miles's awareness of his wife's pain (too often, Miles seems oblivious to his family, no matter how hard the writers try to give the O'Briens occasional screen time). Keiko seems cold, and this is not a fault of Chao or the Keiko character. Rather, their relationship just always seemed perfunctory, which is why the B-story here is so welcome.
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 11:51am (UTC -5)
Quark is awesome, I love him! I’m getting a “Quark’s Bar” t-shirt! He is that great!!
Mon, Mar 18, 2019, 8:34am (UTC -5)
Quark is hysterical, his bride is hysterical, the whole situation brilliantly has fun with the Trek universe without breaking canon even slightly. Can you imagine this done with TNG characters? Bravo to the writers.
Sun, Dec 29, 2019, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
2 main things always bug me about the episode though.
1. (minor annoyance) Why is the grand Chancellor of the Klingon High Council, leader of one of the major powers in the GALAXY, presiding over a property dispute? Is there no small claims court?
2. The arboretum was a good idea. Bashir was completely wrong about it.
You see... in the Trek universe we have abandoned currency based economics. We don't pursue careers for profit and we don't measure success by how much wealth it generates. Instead it's all driven by personal passion and self fulfillment. So the line between CAREER and HOBBIE is blurred in Trek. The only real difference is between the two in Trek is how much time you commit to it and whether you choose to specialize in it. If Kaiko had her own arboretum then she could dive back into her chosen field. She would basically be doing the same thing she was doing on the Enterprise. She would be benefiting the station, exploring her passion. She could still go on away missions to find exotic plants, but now she would have somewhere to take them and study them.
THATS WHAT A BOTANIST WOULD WANT!
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 9:37pm (UTC -5)
Now, I'm not saying he *isn't* very Ferengi in this episode. (Though even when he is, it's all positive -- looking through ledgers and rooting out the truth.) But in his speech on honour? No Rules of Acquisition there, no profit sought. He's working fully within Klingon culture there, and cutting to the heart of the charade in the process. Takes some serious lobes to keep a cool head with a bat'leth wielded in front of you. And it takes a hell of a shrewd thinker to find that loophole, to turn the situation on its head to get out of it. That's Quark.
Grilka is great, and great fun. Glad to see a prominent female Klingon who doesn't have one of those weird cleavage windows. Also, rows of Klingon warriors tapping confusedly on sci-fi calculators -- what a sight.
As for the Keiko plot, which seems to have attracted a whole lot of conversation above, I honestly found it pretty respectful on the whole. There were a few minor stumbles I noticed, and reading through the comments has given me more to think about, but my overall impression while watching? "Thank goodness, this is treating Keiko as an individual with her own life rather than just as the wife character attached to O'Brien. That's not something we get to see from her too often." I think that holds true despite whatever other aspects of it have been discussed.
Jon R above me does mention something that came to my mind during the episode, though. An arboretum on DS9 would be a lot of work -- it's not a single static object, like an oversized bouquet (in line with Bashir's comparison). But I think there's still a discernible difference between "hobby" and "career" in the Federation: a hobby is "personal passion and self-fulfilment" for their own sake, but I think another thing that distinguishes "career", specifically when botany's concerned, is doing it for the sake of advancing *everyone's* knowledge, not just your own. The words "personal" and "self" can still be involved, but a career goes beyond that.
Granted, it's still something of a blurry line, I won't disagree on that. (Hell, scientific research before modern times was often a "hobby" for people with enough money and leisure time to pursue it.) But I think the episode itself makes the distinction well enough:
BASHIR: You can't ask her to turn her profession into a hobby. Would you be satisfied just puttering around in a workshop making nano-circuit boards and playing with tricorders?
O'BRIEN: I suppose not.
O'Brien's job as Chief of Operations is vital to DS9. The station wouldn't function without him. A hobby would entertain him in ways that wouldn't really have much greater meaning, but his *profession* makes the station liveable for everyone on board. Going off that, *importance* is a key thing to consider. An arboretum would probably be a nice thing for DS9 to have, but it probably wouldn't be doing much to advance the field of botany.
The job O'Brien brings up to Keiko, on the other hand?
O'BRIEN: They've never surveyed these mountains. It's a very important expedition.
Now she gets the chance to be on the cutting edge. She gets to do things that have never been done before, to lead a team working toward the pursuit of knowledge. She gets her chance to be vitally important, not just doing arbitrary and largely pointless things to wile away her time.
I think that definitely has its appeal beyond puttering around in an arboretum.
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 11:01am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 20, 2020, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
As I tried to catch up on my business's bookkeeping and discovered I had reversed the debits and credits on an entire year's depreciation transactions, believe me, I realized that accounting is not for the faint of heart.
Go get 'em, Courageous Quark.
Wed, Oct 14, 2020, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
We get two plots in which a husband attempts to help his wife, the first involving Miles and Keiko, the second involving Quark and his newfound Klingon bride.
The Miles and Keiko stuff is touching, and pleasantly subdued, and its nice to see Sisko and Bashir rallying to support them. (Unfortunately this subplot led to Keiko's school shutting down, and Keiko temporarily leaving the show, decisions which I think hampered the season. IMO Keiko's school should have been milked for a few more episodes. Lots of good potential there.)
Then we have the Quark subplot, which manages to be both funny and touching. Quark is at his endearing best, farcical but sympathetic, as is his newfound wife, who plays a Klingon woman lost in some kind of odd Klingon take on Jane Austen or Henry James (she's trying to hold on to her property, and preserve her family name, but conniving men and centuries-old customs stand in her way). Her plight is quite affecting.
And we get to see Gowron. Bulgy-eyed Gowron! I'd forgotten he's introduced in this episode. Everything's better with a little Gowron.
This episode also works to not only "flesh out" Klingon and Ferrengi culture, but to INVERT them. And so we see a Klingon sub-culture obsessed with legalese, games of inheritance, property, financial predation and acquisition. Less honor bound, less reliant on raw physical combat, more interested in material status and covert financial conquest.
On the flip-side, we see a Quark less interested in profit, selfishness, scheming and cowardice, and more interested in chivalry, status and his heroic reputation. The Ferrengi becomes the Klingon, the Klingon becomes the Ferrengi.
I saw on wikipedia that the actress who plays Quark's wife, Mary Kay Adams, said of Trek: "Actors I am close to who have done these shows all agree that Star Trek is fabulous because it's the closest thing to playing classical theater..It's very archetypal, it's very Shakespearean in its scope."
I thought that was a cool quote - you can easily imagine this episode performed by a theater troupe in a college auditorium - and points to something lacking in a lot of modern Trek.
Wed, Oct 21, 2020, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
Given all the sexism discussion above, I’ll weigh in with my own opinion.
ST made a questionable decision to cast females as submissive sidekicks in many races (Klingon, Ferengi, the “Suddenly Human” race), whereas it depicts males in that role never - except “Angel One,”
where male submission was the focus of horror and disgust from not only the characters but the viewers. Perhaps just as bad, ST depicts many women in traditional roles that it refuses to show men in: the self-sacrificing spouse of a Great Person ; the prostitute;; the d’abo girl/dancer, the caring counselor, the parent cradling an infant. So it was refreshing to see a Klingon woman acting, well, very Klingon, and very much her own person. It’s a bit of a salve for the crude use of Klingon women elsewhere, as fodder for bro jokes among male characters.
Regarding Elliot’s comments: I didn’t see any sexism in Miles’ attempts to make his wife happier. I though career-man Julian came off especially well, when he recognized that Keiko had a scientist’s passion just like his own, and matter-of-factly pointed this out.
The final decision of what to do with Mollie did grate. The problem is not that she ended up going with her mother, but that Miles had unilaterally decided to ship her off with Keiko *before asking Keiko.*. Why didn’t the writers see fit to have him say, “She could stay with me or go with you. She could even go back and forth every month or so, depending on your duties and mine. We can make it work.” (I mean, surely there are some people on the station happy to help out or make extra money. Garak in particular strikes me as a fun ‘uncle’ for Mollie. And am I the only one who thinks a botany expedition would be a much trickier place to be raising a child than a space station? She’s going to be literally bushwhacking in the wilderness with a small group of busy scientists on the move and exposed to the elements. Will she lug Mollie on her back?)
Bottom line: No woman would ever dream of informing her husband, “Here - I’ve unilaterally decided you should take care of the baby around the clock for the next six months. I’ll be far away, not helping at all.” When Keiko tells Miles “I couldn’t leave you and Mollie”, the implication is that she couldn’t put all the work of baby-care on Miles. The fact that Miles has no such qualms and doesn’t seem to know how much work a baby is, is crazy. That he presents his plan as not just the obvious (and only) solution, but also as an unmitigated good that isn’t selfish and won’t burden her at all, is jaw-dropping.
(If the show were different and darker, I would suspect Miles was trying to punish and sabotage her. “You’re not happy being a military wife and mother? Fine: see how you like balancing work and motherhood put in the wilds with no Miles O’Brien around. In six months, you’ll come back begging to be a stay-at-home wife.”)
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 1:31am (UTC -5)
DS9/Trek is guilty of stretching believability a little to feature popular cameo characters, and to keep the show's cast size reasonable. But in-canon, they explained that D'Ghor usurping Grilka's house would advance him into council influence. It was a power grab, and thus, totally relevant to Klingon court of honor to preside.
[The Miles-Keiko debate]
To be honest, I usually find their romance scenes so saccharine or hammed, that I actually skipped a chunk this time (And I *never* do that!)
But the resolution didn't strike me as him dictating to her to take the job, or foisting Molly on her, or punishing her. He investigated, found a desirable job, and presented it to her, to help with her obvious lack of fulfillment. It's not saying being a full time parent isn't fulfilling, it's saying she's a scientist who wants to do science. The better question to ask is whether running a middle school for alien teenagers in Season1 was an acceptable consolation, when she was initially complaining about raising a family on DS9. In her place, I *would* find teaching work rewarding over applied, but if I'm switching from research/fieldwork to teaching, I'd prefer it to be my subject, not gradeschool I.e. In her case, teaching botany to adults at an academy.
In fact, I disagree with Bashir condemning Mile's first Keiko-solution. The writers' message was clear - Don't give Keiko pointless busy work just to pacify her. Agreed. But maintaining an arboretum filled with species from *another freakin quadrant* would be more than rewarding for most scientists. Not to mention easy to produce useful lab research that could last a lifetime of discoveries. They handled this topic well in Voyager, with the hydroponics bay, and on Enterprise, with the doctor's animal menagerie and science conventions.
(Probably an insight learned from all the scientists they consulted, writing these shows!)
Sat, Apr 10, 2021, 1:27am (UTC -5)
I really hope Keiko is really good in bed for O'Brien to endure 7 years of Resting Bitch Face. I thought I saw Colm Meaney crack a real smile when he told her about the 6-month trip.
Tue, Aug 17, 2021, 2:13am (UTC -5)
The Keiko story was good as well. The only thing I didn't like was Bashir giving O'Brien the wise advice. WTF does Bashir know about successful relationships? This would have been a perfect time for Sisko to display the wisdom gained from being a family man. A chance the story just tossed aside. I mean, Bashir, reeeally?
Mon, Sep 6, 2021, 11:31pm (UTC -5)
I love that Grilka used “cho’echu” to energize the Klingon transporter. I know it’s fairly trivial, but the fact that they got the grammar right in accordance with ‘Wrath of Khan’ made me smile.
Mon, Sep 6, 2021, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 29, 2022, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 29, 2022, 10:30pm (UTC -5)
Maybe that's why the Klingon knives have three blades...
Tue, Feb 1, 2022, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
The first time(s) I watched the DS9 I never really liked Quark. He just seemed too ridiculous. I still have that opinion regarding the more complete ferengi episodes, but this one I liked.
Quark was the underdog who outsmarted the Klingon still gaining their respect.
But he is actually a quite poor ferengi in many ways.
He is not successful enough so that he can leave his small his small bar in a remote outpost to do big business elsewere.
His heart is much bigger than it seems to be. He has more honour and conscience than he likes to show. He makes us look on things from another point of view.
Sat, Mar 19, 2022, 11:38pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 17, 2022, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
The Klingons being uninterested in finance highlights the fact that the Klingon Empire is in a state of advanced decline brought on by the warrior caste becoming dominant.
You can actually believe those Klingons in Undiscovered Country could run an interstellar empire. Gowron and the others? Not so much.
Wed, Aug 10, 2022, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
That notwithstanding, this was a highly enjoyable little episode. There wasn't a lot of action but there was genuinely intriguing, um, intrigue. Quark (did I mention he's my favorite character a dozen times over yet?) shows himself to be way more mature, serious, intelligent, and resourceful than the lazy Ferengi stock caricature would have us believe.
Great ending, too.
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