Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The House of Quark"

3 stars

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

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◄ Season Index

111 comments on this review

Dan
Fri, Jan 4, 2008, 2:52am (UTC -6)
Watched this again last night and thought it was a wonderful episode to follow on from the heavy (but neccesary) Search Two Parter.
I agree, the B Story really caught my attention and was a great part of contuinity.
Jayson
Sat, Jun 7, 2008, 11:47pm (UTC -6)
Aside from the good sense of humor DS9 had its real strength was in being able to really to use their re-occuring guest stars to great effect.
matt
Fri, Jul 4, 2008, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
this show is about love, between mother and sons, and husband and wife, and trek does it perfectly here
Nic
Tue, Oct 27, 2009, 8:46am (UTC -6)
Okay, what is the Dominion waiting for? In the previous episode the Female Changeling says they are "willing to wait until the time is right." Why? Why give the Federation time to prepare for your invasion? Why not invade now before they have a chance to prepare an adequate defense? Because the writers don't want to deal with it yet, that's why.
I think it's too bad that they closed the school, it makes the station a less desirable place to live (Jake must be disappointed too, but it's not addressed).
Other than that, it wasn't a bad episode, but I didn't think it was very funny, apart from the opening and closing scenes in the bar.
Kardinal
Tue, May 11, 2010, 5:59pm (UTC -6)
Because any kind of military mobilization takes time, because a direct assault as the first order of business goes against everything established about the Dominion - and as Quark said in this very episode, bulldozing what you wish to conquer is a bad move - because, because, because.

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

6/10
Eli
Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 7:03pm (UTC -6)
This is one of my favorite episodes of DS9. It's an excellent mixture of charming humor and engaging character interplay. Good fun. Great ending.
Rivus
Wed, Apr 16, 2014, 12:39pm (UTC -6)
The whole episode I was bracing myself for another display of Quark groveling at "Move Along Home" cringe levels, instead I get a thrown bat'leth and (if you'll excuse me) "COME AT ME BRO", followed by the most amusing divorce ceremony ever.

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

I agree with Nic, though... Does Jake just have to suck it up and tutor himself and everybody else now?
Yanks
Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 12:23pm (UTC -6)
As much as I don't look forward to the "Ferengi" episodes, I do enjoy this one.

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

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

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

3.0 stars for me.
Jack
Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
Q'on'os and the Klingon Empire is on the other side of the vast Federation from Bajor and Cardassia...it has to be at least a trip of several weeks. They kept Quark unconscious for that entire trip?!?
Filip
Sat, Nov 8, 2014, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
I was thinking the exact same thing Jack said the moment Quark woke up on Qo'noS.

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

Those two things do bother me a bit, but other than that an enjoyable episode.
Sawyor
Thu, Jan 15, 2015, 1:56pm (UTC -6)
This episode gave Quark some much-needed character development. One thing I love about DS9 is how it gives more depth to the more two-dimensional races from TOS and TNG.
Del_Duio
Fri, Jan 16, 2015, 10:54am (UTC -6)
^^ I agree, a very good episode! ^^

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

They're much more than just lightning whips and Moogie!
DVMX
Wed, Mar 18, 2015, 1:39pm (UTC -6)
I enjoyed this ep a lot. I think of the things I liked about it was that it showed consequences for Quark's actions plus a very pleasing resolution.
Teejay
Fri, Jun 19, 2015, 1:47am (UTC -6)
I find it interesting that no one on the station seems to care that, in the way the story is portrayed, both Quark and Rom were basically kindapped.

I wonder if this lack of concern for those two was intentional, or if the writers just missed it.
dlpb
Fri, Jun 26, 2015, 8:02am (UTC -6)
This really is a fun episode. It's not taking itself too seriously and apart from keiko's miserable face, it's very funny all round.

I think Gowron's face as he looks over Quark's figures is the funniest thing I've ever seen on any Star Trek series.
Nathan B.
Wed, Jul 22, 2015, 8:54pm (UTC -6)
"House of Quark" is such a fun and funny episode! In particular, I love how it satirizes so much in the typical Trek portrayal of Klingons. The Keiko story is really well done, too.
William B
Fri, Aug 28, 2015, 10:09am (UTC -6)
Yep, that is a lot of fun. I think it satirizes Klingon culture while also being affectionate of it, with Grilka in particular being a largely sympathetic and admirable heroine (and one for whom Quark's growing attraction to is very believable). It's an unusual Quark episode and the better for it.

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

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

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

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

At least 3 stars, and...oh well, why not 3.5? It's definitely on the higher end of Trek comedies.
S. Kennedy
Sat, Aug 29, 2015, 10:37am (UTC -6)
It is a nice comic interlude episode, what I call a typical Trek 'coasting' episode where there is a bit of comedy and character development but nothing is that tense or politically charged.

I do wish they would revise that matte of the Klingon home world - is that the only viewpoint?
Diamond Dave
Sat, Nov 21, 2015, 2:54pm (UTC -6)
Time for a bit of light relief after a heavyweight start to the season. What's interesting though is the real feeling of continuity starting to pervade the series - even in an episode like this there are long running story lines playing out.

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

The Keiko story also feels like a realistic approach. Good episode - 3 stars.
JC
Fri, Feb 12, 2016, 10:57pm (UTC -6)
I got a good laugh out of Gowron and the council holding data pads and being subjected to Quarks financial explanations.
Luke
Wed, Mar 9, 2016, 3:04pm (UTC -6)
"The House of Quark" is quite possibly Trek comedy at its best. It takes two things that, when taken separately, are often over-played and not very-well thought out - Ferengi comedy and Klingon stubbornness - and actually uses them to offer some rather nice insights into both cultures while also providing some legitimately good laughs. Especially noteworthy is Gowron, in all his bug-eyed glory, getting flustered over Quark's financial explanations and his statement of "a brave Ferengi, who would have thought it possible." But what most stands out is the fact that what this episode basically boils to do is Quark teaching the Klingon High Council the value of honor and courage. BRAVO! That is some excellent writing. I also like how it shows the aftermath of the introduction of the Dominion - everything doesn't just go back to normal on the station. Fear of the Dominion isn't just causing changes on the political and military level but also on a much more interpersonal one - people are leaving the station so that means Quark has less customers and Keiko has fewer and fewer students to teach.

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

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

10/10
Skywalker
Wed, May 11, 2016, 11:56am (UTC -6)
@Luke, I actually disagree with your feeling about the portrayal of a military spouse trying to carve out her own career while entrained to her husband's movements around the globe (or galaxy, in this case). As a military officer, I have deliberately held off these few years since my commissioning from getting married, knowing that choosing the right woman for me who can handle that kind of life is a very important decision.

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

And thankfully it had a happy ending! It's a good thing Ronald D. Moore didn't go full BSG-RDM on this plot -- otherwise it would have ended up with Molly abducted by the Dominion and Keiko tied up and gagged in the closet watching Miles have sex with a changeling doppelganger of herself! Haha.
Paul Allen
Wed, Jul 27, 2016, 5:54pm (UTC -6)
What do you know, a good Ferengi episode!!
Ken
Wed, Dec 28, 2016, 10:27am (UTC -6)
Sooooo..Keiko closes the school because there's only 2 students left.....that speaks volumes about her commitment!! So Jake and Nog can do independent study and she will tutor them? LMAO!! Wasnt this is EXACTLY why she wanted a school??? To avoid children having too much free time to get into trouble? Oh yes....let's let Jake and Nog run wild....AGAIN! This B-plot/storyline didnt cut it for me right from the get go.....as a teacher, I suppose it wouldnt, I suppose.
N
Sun, Jan 1, 2017, 1:00pm (UTC -6)
Oh come on Ken. S3 Jake/Nog aren't going to run wild, and private tutoring is indeed a much better option when you only have two students. No school is gonna run (or justify its premises) with 2 students.
Filip
Sun, Jan 29, 2017, 11:36am (UTC -6)
I never understood how the head of the Klingon Empire had the time to deal with every family feud there was on their homeplanet. Let's assume that the planet's population was around 5 billion, how would Gowron be able to mediate in every single quarel its people had?

I do have to say that Gowron's reaction towards Quark was absolutely hilarious.
Vii
Thu, Feb 23, 2017, 11:02pm (UTC -6)
Going to have to echo some previous sentiments that Gowron and his entire Council holding data pads whilst Quark walked them through the finer details of Grilka's finances was pure comedy gold. Robert O'Reilly's face especially was uproarious. Pretty good episode overall, I was howling in most of the scenes. My favourite line was 'I am Quark, son of Keldar, and I have come to answer the challenge of D'Ghor, son of... whatever.' Armin Shimerman is a born comedian. LOL!!!!
Lt. Yarko
Wed, Mar 15, 2017, 11:54am (UTC -6)
Um, where's Molly? It was hard for me to feel sorry for Keiko's mopiness when, apparently, someone else is raising her daughter!
Linda
Tue, Apr 11, 2017, 10:04pm (UTC -6)
So now I'm wondering: what does the teeth of the offspring of a Klingon and Ferengi look like?
Erik
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 10:29pm (UTC -6)
Loved this episode, although ... does it seem odd that Gowron rules the entire Klingon Empire AND settles land disputes that would likely be handled in earth by a municipal court judge?
Chrome
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 10:44pm (UTC -6)
@Erik

Maybe the land dispute had already gone through municipal and higher level courts so Grilka was appealing to Gowron as a supreme magistrate? It's not like Gowron dirties himself doing actual battle very often. He's a career politician and he probably made his career as some sort legislator.
Peter G.
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 11:52pm (UTC -6)
It seems like this land dispute was going to determine the leadership of Grilka's house, and likewise whether D'Gor House was going to be able to seize their land. In terms of local politics this may have been a large-scale issue in terms of shifting power in the Empire. We were never really told how powerful each house was, but if they had standing to appear before the High Council they must have been important families. In the end such matters could decide who might be the next Council member, and so I see it as entirely appropriate that Gowron should oversee such matters.
lizzzi
Fri, Apr 14, 2017, 7:43pm (UTC -6)
I don't really have anything new to add--agree with the positive comments above. A hilarious episode in terms of the Ferengi and the Klingons--wow, a Ferengi episode that is actually good, and stands the test of time. Quark, Grilka, Gowron--just priceless. And the B-story with Miles and Keiko is actually sweet--most of the time I can't stand the total lack of chemistry between those two, and find Keiko annoying. (I've thought for years that they should have cast a better wife for Miles.) But this story rang true. I do agree with someone who said we should have seen Mollie...would have rounded it out better. This episode is a keeper for me. I watch it every once in a while just for fun and light relief when I'm not in the right frame of mind for the heavier gloom and doom (albeit excellent) episodes.
Gooz
Sun, Apr 16, 2017, 10:11am (UTC -6)
Poor Miles. He's either getting kidnapped, beat up, or cloned. Then he has to come home to a mopey wife. They should just call it quits. Miles can go on doing what brings him joy (his work) and Keiko can go pursue her career and find something else to be unhappy about. Molly seems to be getting raised by robots, so that's taken care of.
Startrekwatcher
Fri, Jul 28, 2017, 2:52pm (UTC -6)
These dumb sitcom level stories--especially after the Dominion threat-- is not why I watch Star Trek for. This is fluff that I wasn't the least but interested in. The only decent but was the subplot about With Dominion threat the station population has dwindled.

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

Of course, the fact that he was the right man in the right place at the right time was incredibly contrived, but having the Ferengi be driven by more than simple profit makes them much more interesting characters. Rom's utterance of "there's more to life than profit" is somewhat mindblowing.
Rahul
Thu, Apr 12, 2018, 7:42pm (UTC -6)
Not a fan of Ferengi comedies although this one's one of the better ones, which isn't saying much. I think the quiet B-plot about Keiko losing her purpose and the fears of the Dominion make for a much more interesting story than Quark's nonsense. Kind of a weird juxtaposition for this episode...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But even putting aside the implications or interpretation of the story, I think that while there's no accounting for taste, it's pretty harsh to give 2 stars to an episode that have innovative ideas, moves the story right along with new locales and a return of Gowron, is directed in a snappy energetic way, and has an intelligent and witty resolution that captures the best of both the Ferengi and the Klingons and what we can admire about them. This may not be to everyone's liking, but it is a *well-made* episode. And honestly Gowron's face when he throws the PADD away should be worth 4 stars by itself.
Rahul
Fri, Apr 13, 2018, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
@ Peter G. --

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

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

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

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

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

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

A more comedic take on Gowron can only go so far. Quark trying to make himself seem courageous at the beginning and the parts with Rom -- I just wanted those parts to be done with very quickly. The satire, if you will, of Klingon society/government didn't have the desired effect for me. So I feel, in relation to other episodes I've rated, 2 stars is appropriate for "The House of Quark".
Peter G.
Thu, Apr 19, 2018, 12:48pm (UTC -6)
Just watched this one again to refresh my memory, and it occurs to me that there's more here than 'Ferengi hijinx.' I think the mistake here would be to chortle early on when Quark says "It's not about profits any more, it's about respect." Maybe we're prone to roll our eyes here at how self-deluded Quark is about something he's lying about anyhow. But in fact this is probably the most honest he's ever been. What we see in House of Quark is a story about a man whose religion is money and even he admits that respect is simply something he *needs*. No one can only care about money, even if they protest to the contrary. Having him take over a Klingon Great House is a funny way of showing us how even the least valorous of us probably has inner fantasies or even a self-image of heroism, or of being larger-than-life, or of being acclaimed. Klingon culture is basically a extreme version of that thing we need, which is to be shown respect and "honored".

Seen in this way this is probably the most important Quark episode of the series, insofar as it's a defining moment where we see that either he really isn't a regular Ferengi, or else if he is that they are full of self-deceit in general. And not only do we get a Ferengi who realizes he needs what Klingons call honor, but likewise we see a Klingon who craves what Ferengi do - seizing lands and power using economic trickery. It's a funny juxtapose to be sure, and I think there's some IDIC in there about even the most hardened cultures having something to learn or gain from others even that are very different from them.
wks
Fri, Jun 8, 2018, 8:27pm (UTC -6)
I have always wonder about the loopholes of honour and courage, and i am probably not alone. So it is great to see the writers showing how some Klingons manipulate it in dishonourable ways, and using a Ferengi was a great tool!

Love this episdoe!
Iceman
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 9:29pm (UTC -6)
"The House of Quark" is simply fantastic-a great, genuinely funny script carried by an excellent performance by Armin Shimmerman. Quark genuinely gets to be a hero, and it's lovely to see. The fact that he has great chemistry with Grilka, and that it's a very well paced hour don't hurt either.

4 stars.
Jack
Sat, Sep 1, 2018, 3:52pm (UTC -6)
Man, if you don't give this four stars, you don't give nothin' four stars.
Lukaeber
Wed, Sep 12, 2018, 11:38pm (UTC -6)
How are there no security cameras in the 24th century?
Elliott
Fri, Sep 14, 2018, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
Teaser : ***, 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.
QUARK: Why?
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
Chrome
Fri, Sep 14, 2018, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
This surely is one of better season 3 episodes and probably among the best of DS9. One thing that DS9 really excels at is putting people together from different alien cultures and showing them work together for a higher purpose. It really took a sophisticated understanding of Trek material to develop the commonalities of the Ferengi (still somewhat undeveloped at this point in the series) and Klingons with their decades world-building and history in the Trek universe. I’ll just give one example of how the difference were handled deftly. After Quark discovers D’Ghors’ financial manipulating, Grilka warms up to him. Then we hear that Quark put his hand on Grilka’s thigh (symbolic of Ferengi greed) and Grilka’s response that she’s repressing the urge to break every bone in his body (a typical violent Klingon solution) in retaliation to Ferengi culture. It’s a subtle clash of cultures, but it works, perhaps in large part to the remarkable chemistry Mary Kay Adams and Shimerman have here. Really some top notch writing from RDM, too.

@Elliott

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.
Luke
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 1:40am (UTC -6)
@Elliott

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?
Elliott
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 8:59am (UTC -6)
@William B

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.

@Luke

Yes. To both.
Yanks
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 4:24pm (UTC -6)
@Luke
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 1:40am (UTC -5)
@Elliott

"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?
Peter G.
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 4:51pm (UTC -6)
"I don't remember even giving this a thought watching this episode. Did I miss something?"

No.
Elliott
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 5:21pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G

Um, I listed at least four separate examples of sexism in the B plot. What’s your problem?
Peter G.
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
@ Elliott,

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?
William B
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 7:58am (UTC -6)
@Peter, Elliott,

"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.
Peter G.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 9:31am (UTC -6)
@ William B,

"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'.
Elliott
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 10:18am (UTC -6)
@Peter G, William B

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.
Peter G.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 10:51am (UTC -6)
@ Elliott,

"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.
Chrome
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 10:53am (UTC -6)
I think we’re missing key details in Miles/Keikos relationship which allow for many interpretations to be valid. I’m a married man with a wife and a kid, but I couldn’t imagine my wife would ever be happy if I went out and picked out her job for her, even if I garnished it with “oh hey, you can still take care of our kid!” - (typing that out now seems pretty funny). That said, Miles is an enlisted man that leads a more conservative lifestyle and Keiko knows that. It’s altogether possible that Keiko wants exactly the kind of lifestyle Miles offers - where her husband makes all her big decisions - from her man. Anecdotally, of course, I’ve seen Japanese women more happy as homemakers even to the extent that they take a certain pride in it.

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.
Elliott
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 11:12am (UTC -6)
"She said she can't be away from Molly that long. Miles didn't say the same, therefore he doesn't feel the same."

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.
Jason R.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 12:12pm (UTC -6)
Elliott it seems you define sexism as essentially any difference between male and female gender roles and expectations. That's a view that I'm sure many in 2018 would agree with but let's be clear - you object to any difference between the sexes and how they relate to one another. A non sexist world is one where there is essentially zero difference between men and women.
Elliott
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R

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.
Elliott
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R

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.
wolfstar
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 12:59pm (UTC -6)
You know, you can have great, enjoyable, constructive arguments with people who have the exact opposite opinions and beliefs to you, as long as they're are reasonable and approach the debate in good humour. But not if they're completely dogmatic and lack EQ.

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.
Elliott
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 1:18pm (UTC -6)
@wolfstar

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?
Jason R.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 2:12pm (UTC -6)
"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."

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.
Peter G.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 2:19pm (UTC -6)
"human races are mere social construct"

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.
Elliott
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 2:36pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R

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.
Jason
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 2:50pm (UTC -6)
@Elliot

"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!
Bashir: What?
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)
Elliott
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 3:13pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R

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?
Peter G.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 3:22pm (UTC -6)
@ Elliott,

Check username again...
Jason
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 4:14pm (UTC -6)
@Elliott

"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.
Elliott
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 4:25pm (UTC -6)
@Jason

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.
Jason
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 4:47pm (UTC -6)
No snark Elliott - honest. I'd say you are projecting on me something of your own creation, which probably isn't surprising since it seems I've wandered into a hornet's nest.

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.
Elliott
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 5:15pm (UTC -6)
@Jason

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.
Jason
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 5:56pm (UTC -6)
@Elliott

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.
methane
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 10:44pm (UTC -6)
"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."

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.
Elliott
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 11:40pm (UTC -6)
Man, what fragile egos.

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.
Peter G.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 12:15am (UTC -6)
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?
Jason
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 12:25am (UTC -6)
Actually, the ego loves notions like privilege because it puts the blame and responsibility for being miserable onto others. So-called "privileged" people even believe that their privilege is making them happier, even though it's plain to see that it's not.
Jason R.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 5:52am (UTC -6)
For the record, Jason and Jason R. aren't the same. Not that I'm disagreeing with Jason specifically. It just got a bit confusing.

Not sure I see how privilege fits in either. But it's essentially a conversation ender. It signifies the end of any meaningful dialogue.
William B
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 10:58am (UTC -6)
@Elliott, quick q (just curious, not stirring up any more trouble): did you dock the ep for sexism? You said you hadn't, but I assumed that the only reason you went to 3 stars rather than 3.5 for the functionary rating was the sexism charge. The only other criticism I saw in that section was that you weren't sure if this episode's Quark was consistent with the s2 problem areas of the character.
Elliott
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 1:23pm (UTC -6)
@William B

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.
Elliott
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 1:35pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G

"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."
Chrome
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G./Elliot

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.
Peter G.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 2:41pm (UTC -6)
I think Elliott's wording is better if the objective is to make certain that a certain premise about equality is understood. But since the objective of the scene is actually to show Miles doing a nice thing for Keiko, adding in content to show other things would be extraneous. As it is Elliott's version is more clunky, although certainly not unacceptable by any means. I think it's worse writing, though, especially since the original scene already contains the data he wants to insert more overtly:

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.
Elliott
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G

"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?
Peter G.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 3:39pm (UTC -6)
@ Elliott,

"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.
Chrome
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

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.”
Elliott
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 4:01pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G

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.
Peter G.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 4:06pm (UTC -6)
@ Chrome & Elliott,

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.
Thomas
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 5:09pm (UTC -6)
"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?"

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.
Elliott
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 5:14pm (UTC -6)
@Thomas:

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.
Elliott
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 5:17pm (UTC -6)
Also, I suggest reading some Carol Hanisch or even just some Chomsky. Everything is political, whether you want it to be or not.
Thomas
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
I love Chomsky (he's like a big old teddy bear and I own several of his books) but come on, be reasonable Elliott - this isn't a complicated issue. His world revolves around politics, therefore everything is political. When you're looking to buy a house, you see 'for sale' signs everywhere. You don't need a professor to figure this out for you.
Jason R.
Wed, Sep 19, 2018, 6:00am (UTC -6)
"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. "

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.
Robert
Wed, Sep 19, 2018, 8:13pm (UTC -6)
I've been following along here and chugging on it. I think Eliott is reading the scene wrong (but the scene has problems). Keiko's first assumption is that Molly would stay with Miles and Miles had already assumed Keiko would want to take her. To me that, and this story, is the opposite of sexist. Especially for the 90s. So is it sexist that Keiko ends up taking her? No. And just the fact that it was a possibility that Miles would keep her is enough for me. Especially since this was a clunky "write them off" plot device.

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.
Elliott
Thu, Sep 20, 2018, 2:59pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R

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
Robert
Thu, Sep 20, 2018, 3:52pm (UTC -6)
@Elliott - Well, the ubiquity of Christmas stuff can be a bit much when you aren't Catholic I think. Can make everyone else feel "othered". Some people want to get rid of Christmas/Halloween/etc. in schools (to use an example) to remove this "othered" feeling. I personally would rather do the opposite and celebrate everything.

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.
Elliott
Thu, Sep 20, 2018, 4:24pm (UTC -6)
@Robert:

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.
Iceman
Sun, Sep 30, 2018, 10:28pm (UTC -6)
I also don't want to cause any more trouble-just wanted to counter wolfstar: Elliott's not a troll in my opinion. Even though I completely and utterly disagree with him about DS9, he gives reasons for his opinions, and responds to all comments regarding his thoughts. Though he does seem to take joy in bashing DS9 which is quite popular on this site, that just makes him a good ol contrarian, not a troll. I can empathize with him-how he feels on here is basically how I feel every time shows like "Game of Thrones" and "The Leftovers" come up.
Cody B
Mon, Dec 10, 2018, 1:21am (UTC -6)
Nothing too special but a lighthearted easy going episode is good here and there. The end got a legit lol from me. Rom:”Tell me the story of when you fought the Klingon again”. Quark: “Why? It won’t do any good or help business”. Rom (tenderly and proud of his brother): “No brother, for me, I love hearing it”. Quark: “Okay fine...but I’m taking the time it takes to tell the story out of your paycheck”. Also I found Quark’s Klingon wife oddly attractive. I’m not into the dominatrix thing much but hey you only live once.
Springy
Mon, Dec 10, 2018, 9:20am (UTC -6)
This is really a sweet episode that continues with the family, friends, teamwork, "everyone playing their role," season theme, and adds the notion of sacrifice and respect as being important parts of love.

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.
Springy
Mon, Dec 10, 2018, 9:45am (UTC -6)
Just some quick comments after reading some of the comments:

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. :) )
Hapworth
Sun, Feb 10, 2019, 4:26am (UTC -6)
This is a good episode, and Armin Shimerman's comedic skills are sharp here (I loved him as Principal Snyder on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," where he's always convinced that the high schoolers he oversees are hooked on PCP (LoL!)). It's too bad that the Ferengi episodes are usually so underwhelming. Shimerman has always delighted me because of his Bogart-esque role and delivery (which I noticed before the Casablanca-driven episode "Profit and Loss"). I mean, Quark runs a bar, he's sort of in self-chosen exile, and his offhand apathy (partly driven by profit, sure, but it also seems to be a deep-seeded character trait) all make him a much more interesting character than the DS9 writers realize. Quark is hilarious here, and his "brave" move at the end shows his cleverness and his heart.

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.
Mike
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 11:51am (UTC -6)
Can’t Keiko just get a job on DS9?

Quark is awesome, I love him! I’m getting a “Quark’s Bar” t-shirt! He is that great!!
NoPoet
Mon, Mar 18, 2019, 8:34am (UTC -6)
See, unlike Dax, who should be awesome but is rather a boring, one-note character in love with herself, Quark and O'Brien really matter, they provide interest and heart. Even the usually horrible (and widely disliked) Keiko is used to good effect here. I would still rather wash my face in Worf's armpits than be married to her though.

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.

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