Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Ascent"

3 stars

Air date: 11/25/1996
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by Allan Kroeker

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Well, I guess you're not as successful a businessman as you think you are."
"Which means you spent the last ten years of your life trying to catch a nobody—with little success, I might add. So you tell me, which one of us is the bigger failure?"

— Odo and Quark

Nutshell: A bit repetitive and obvious at times, but the dialog works wonders with the characters.

"The Ascent" is a premise based on a bit of a cliché—the idea that two adversaries must put aside their differences in an effort to work together to survive. It hardly matters. A show like this is not about whether or not the characters will succeed; it's about what the two characters learn about one other and themselves in the process.

Like many Trek episodes, "The Ascent" is divided into two stories: an A-story that proves somewhat urgent crosscut with a B-story that is little more than entertaining fluff. Behr and Wolfe have successfully balanced these two stories together. While a silly B-story can often sabotage the efforts of an A-story, this doesn't happen here. Instead, the crosscutting between the story lines actually helps draw the situation into something that seems like the many days it's supposed to be rather than the much shorter period that the constraints of a one-hour time slot tends to make it feel like.

It's hard to believe "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." and "The Ascent" were both written by the same two people. The two are virtually antitheses of one other based on a similar structure. Both are situations based on dialog and relationships, but where the former episode failed miserably, here it works extremely well. Part of it, I think, is in the nature of the relationship. Trek tends to drop the ball when it comes to exploring relationships between men and women. There is too much emphasis on standard clichés and sophomoric sex jokes. And usually things feel forced, not genuine.

On the other hand, the relationship here—between Quark and Odo—represents character interaction at its finest. The dialog is sharp, acerbic, and genuine. It's sensible and credible, because it's based on a relationship built during the past four years of DS9's run. (The relationship between Dax and Worf, on the other hand, was built in four minutes.) Most importantly, it adds up to something, because in the end both Odo and Quark come to realize some new things about themselves and one other.

The episode opens as Odo arrests Quark, announcing that it's the day he has been waiting for the past ten years. Quark has been summoned to appear in Federation court in connection with a shady, subversive group known as the Orion Syndicate. (It's of great irony that Quark, much to Odo's surprise, later turns out to be a witness, not a suspect, in the Orion proceedings.) While in a Runabout en route to Federation court, a bomb on board set by the Orions to assassinate Quark explodes, forcing Quark and Odo to crash-land their shuttle on a frigid, rocky planet. (Scratch yet another Runabout—do these things even survive long enough to get names any more?)

They have minimal rations, no supplies, and the damaged communications system can't permeate the atmosphere. The only option is to begin the ascent—to carry the comm panel up a nearby mountain such that they might be high enough to get a signal out, before they either freeze or starve to death. In the meantime, they must rely on one other, and have little to do but talk and climb.

Since its genesis, the relationship between Quark and Odo has been something that requires a decoder ring, and that's perhaps why it's always been so interesting and entertaining. These two guys obviously don't hate one other; in fact, they probably wouldn't be complete without one other. It makes me wonder if Odo would truly be happy to catch Quark and send him away after ten years of pursuit. What would he do without Quark to keep him on his toes? At the same time, what fun would Quark's silly scheming plots be without Odo looking over his shoulder?

No, these two aren't enemies, they're merely rivals. Still, calling their rivalry "friendly" would probably not be accurate. Each gets genuinely annoyed when the other's actions disturbs his work schedule. But underneath the constant insult-trading, posturing, and threatening lies two people who know they're friends of sorts, but also know that their friendship is something that can never be voiced verbally. They must talk in code and never spell out their true feelings—because that's just the way their relationship is. The closing scene of the episode is great because it highlights this: The two characters verbally "confirm" their hatred of one other... but then break into a chuckle that reveals all.

And that's what "The Ascent" is all about. It's about these two friends and the way they never have, and probably never will, admit to their friendship. When mixed with sharp dialog, highly commendable performances and believable characterizations, these two personalities highlight what an asset to DS9 as a series these types of relationships are—it's the type of thing that defines the show. Plot lines come and go, but the characters are the real permanence, and the way "The Ascent" reminds of this is priceless—it's the reason fans tune into Star Trek week after week.

So as tensions mount and the situation looks bleak, a physical fight between Odo and Quark ultimately ensues. While this is perhaps an overly obvious result and it conveniently allows the added plot twist of Odo breaking his leg after an accidental roll down the slope, it's one of those things that just had to happen sooner or later for the sake of completeness.

What the rest of this story line is about is survival. The climb is a towering task entailing more than a week of walking, and after Odo breaks his leg, Quark has to build a stretcher and carry him up the mountain the rest of the way. Without food, heat, or supplies, this is nearly impossible. After briefly giving up several times, Quark somehow makes it high enough to get the signal out. That's perhaps a given, but the way the episode conveys the trip is respectable, despite the repetitive nature of the plot. Thanks to some strong performances and decent technical work, there wasn't a moment I didn't believe the two characters weren't really on a mountain, freezing, tired, and starving.

The light but identifiable B-story centers around Nog's return to the station, now a sophomore cadet assigned to field study. Jake moves out of his quarters with his father and into new quarters with Nog. Nog, however, has been changed by the academy. He is now very disciplined but also extremely (for lack of a better expression) anal-retentive. Jake is a laid-back slob. Can you say roommate problems? This is something I can understand based on personal experience and the testimony of many acquaintances.

Sisko gets some amusing little moments in the plot, as his talk with Rom about their respective sons proves enlightening (although Rom's admittedly amusing gag of thinking his son's behavior change is because he has been replaced by a Changeling impostor does little to alter my recently-voiced opinion that he's a dimwit). My favorite line, however, comes near the end, when Sisko lays down the law concerning the two's rooming squabbles: "I know you can make it work, because I'm your captain [to Nog] and I'm your father [to Jake], and what I say goes [to both]. Good day, gentleman." The notion is very amusing... and is extremely Sisko.

"The Ascent" is a character episode all the way—classic DS9.

Previous episode: Things Past
Next episode: Rapture

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54 comments on this review

Tue, Mar 17, 2009, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
About Rom, I think it's been firmly established that he's some sort of idiot-savant- great at all things technical, but pretty hopeless when it comes to anything else. Aside from the first season attempt to kill Quark, Rom's character has been pretty consistent.
Sun, Feb 28, 2010, 10:06pm (UTC -5)
As good as this episode was, I couldn't help but notice that the size of the transmitter was just a contrivance to add difficulty to their journey. We've seen subspace transmitters before and they are usually at least four times smaller.
Sun, Nov 21, 2010, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
Agreed, Nic.

This episode came to my mind when I saw the later VOY episode where DOc's mobile emmitter was this huge backpack.
Ingrid Rose Stonecipher
Sun, Dec 5, 2010, 9:25am (UTC -5)
I think you're right about the fact that Odo and Quark became friends and ''The Ascent' episode was a good episode . I don't think Rom is as stupid as some people think he is though . He's not perfect and isn't one of the smartest people in the world but he lead a strike when he working for his brother and won.
Peter Cordes
Sat, Sep 24, 2011, 12:29pm (UTC -5)
The setup for the crash is so typical of star trek. Discover something dangerous. Do you take half a minute to call DS9 and tell them what's up before you try something that might destroy your ship or comm system? nope. /facepalm

Same thing for every episode where someone working alone hears or sees something weird. They could take 5 seconds to say "computer, alert security in 30 seconds unless I cancel this request". Don't even need to waste any other people's time if it was a false alarm, but no, much better to leave the bridge unaware of the body snatcher that's going to try to take over the ship.
Sat, Oct 15, 2011, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
The damage was awfully selective here to further the plot...the hull of the runabout was more or less still in tact after the crash, but somehow the comm system, the replicators, and (most ridiculously) all but two of the emergency rations ((were those two packs in a different place than the rest?)) were lost.
Sat, Oct 15, 2011, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
As for the Nog and Jake story...if Jake is really as much of a slob as presented here (clothes in the replicator?...please) if I were Nog I'd have kicked his ass when I got home, station commander's son or not.
Vulcan Logic
Thu, Nov 24, 2011, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Oh stop being a killjoy Jack. It was a great episode.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
@ Jack: you left oput how the explosion destroyed all but one EV suit.

It was rather ridiculous how selective the explosion was...similar to the intelligent phenomenon in disaster movies that always strike right in the middle of the most urban area they can find.
Tue, May 1, 2012, 11:31pm (UTC -5)
I never could believe the whole Odo, Quark rivalry, it was just too fake, this outing did not help matters, all to predictable.
1-1/2 Stars
Fri, Jun 29, 2012, 5:44am (UTC -5)
So Quark offers Odo "Vulcan Love Slave" - with the current "50 Shades of Grey" obsession you have to wonder if it's a 24th century re-write ;)
Mon, Sep 17, 2012, 1:38pm (UTC -5)
Quark: "Care for a game of fizzbin?" ROFLMAO
You've got to love that nod to TOS
Mon, Jan 7, 2013, 4:48pm (UTC -5)
Pretty solid episode, the main story was way better than the secondary, if only because the former's characters are much more interesting (BTW, I think Shimerman is one of the best actors of the show - although he wasn't brilliant in this ep).

I found Nog's pronounced bulge in his new uniform quite disturbing, though.
Chris Harrison
Sat, May 25, 2013, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
Has the Federation abandoned habeas corpus by the 24th century? Or did Odo not reveal the charges against Quark because he was so sure he already knew what the situation was?
Sat, Sep 28, 2013, 9:46am (UTC -5)
They haven't eliminated habeus corpus. Odo didn't even know he was transporting Quark as a witness, not a suspect.
Thu, Oct 24, 2013, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
As much as I like interactions between Quark and Odo, this was not a good episode. The scenario was not believable.

Tue, Feb 4, 2014, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
If it weren't for this episode, I wouldn't be a Star Trek fan. I watched it with my dad when it first aired and loved it. Ever since then DS9 has stayed deep in the back of my mind, and 17 years later here I am, finally watching the series and 'The Ascent' again. I still love it.
Klovis Mann
Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
....DS9 meets "The Edge".....

......I thought switching back and forth from the "A" story to the "B" story lacked balance......the Nog/Jake bickering tended to trivialize the Quark/Odo life and death struggle we're supposedly invested in....

......nice location shooting tho.....

.....There are quite a few complaints in these threads re: Quark and the Ferengi.....I agree to some extent.... the Ferengi episodes are among my least favorite.....I attribute that to weak writing......

......that said, Armin Shimerman deserves a shout out, not only for this episode but for his work throughout the series....he consistently makes hay out of thin material....I put him up there with Rene Aberjonois and Colm Meaney as best of cast.....

......This episode didn't hold my attention.....
Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
Quark and Odo together were great as usual. While the situation they were in made it that much more entertaining - the setup for it didn't really pay off. The B-plot was a mildly pleasant diversion.

Worth watching mainly for the camaraderie-in-code of the A-plot and is enough for a guarded 3 stars.
Thu, May 8, 2014, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
I watched this one on Netflix last night. It holds up well because of the acting and because the writing is reasonable. I do wonder why Odo didn't check to see why he was asked to escort Quark, but I guess that's a bit of a conceit.

It's also interesting because this episode is much more like the first three seasons -- pre-Worf, pre-Dominion war and buildup -- where a couple of the DS9 characters just have an adventure. That doesn't make it better or worse. But it is different.
Thu, May 8, 2014, 2:57pm (UTC -5)

I think this episode and the one preceding it are very heavy on showing that Odo, while a fantastic constable, is not without his faults. It feels as if the writers came to this decision to give more 'humanity' to his character, even before he lost his ability as Things Past made clear.

Also, I like the little nod in the B-plot where Jake's writing is named "Past Prologue", the title to S1E2. I have suspicions that the writers of the show view Jake as symbolic of their positions, which in my mind makes me think that "The Muse" and "The Visitor" could both have some abstracted autobiographical motivation to them (The Muse in a writer's dealings with damaging substances, and The Visitor in a writer dealing with loss). I can't say for certain, but I wouldn't put it past them.
Thu, May 8, 2014, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Oh also (alert:spoilers to "Rapture"), further solidifying my point... Jake gets to make the decision that prevents Sisko from witnessing the final vision. The writers know that they cannot reveal *everything* crucial to the plot, even cryptically. That would kill some of the mystery, and by extension the suspense that goes with a good story.
Sun, Jun 22, 2014, 4:56am (UTC -5)
I really like this episode. It shows how to characters who don't like each other, really do like each other in a respectful way. I think for myself that I can learn from this and hopefully use it in real life to others I seamed to not get along, but respect anyway. "Like getting on with others more than not" :)
Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 9:01am (UTC -5)
This is an above average episode because of the sheer amount of screen time Arim and Rene get.

Love the banter back and forth between these two and we get plenty of it here.

"ODO: Stop trying to be a hero. You'll get to the top faster if you leave me behind.
QUARK: Don't you get it? I'm not trying to rescue you. I'm taking you along as emergency rations. If you die, I'm going to eat you.
ODO: You're joking.
QUARK: Waste not, want not. Comfortable?"


Nog comes back and is all "bootcamp". Even if you don't like the character (and I like him) you have to admire his dedication and determination to become a Star Fleet Officer. Whether or not he's a good leader in the future is really irrelevant, he's trying his best and I have to respect him for that.

3.0 for me.
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
I'm not big on this one. This is my second time through the series - the first being a decade ago - and I found it even more dull than the first time.

Odo and Quark are good together, but in this case I'm not sure just sticking two actors in a scene together to let them play off each other is enough. There's a lot of climbing, fighting, helping, but it all feels very cliche and both characters surviving is almost a foregone conclusion. That the B-story exists and Odo and Quark's plot STILL feels drawn out (to me at least) shows there isn't much more to add to the "these characters are rivals but still kind of like each other" idea. Honestly, it was already expressed well enough throughout the series, most recently in "Broken Link" before sick Odo leaves the station to visit the Great Link. That 30-second exchange said as much as all the scenes this episode gives the two characters.

It all just feels redundant and forced to me, though it's kind of neat to see the fragility of Odo's new body.

I'd give it a low 2 1/2 on Jammer's scale. Watchable, I guess, but absolutely skippable.
Tue, Nov 11, 2014, 5:48am (UTC -5)
This was the episode that made me a fan of DS9. I couldn't get through its first season, which I found dull and unlikeable the first time round, but when I caught this episode I couldn't believe Star Trek characters were talking to one another like this: as if they were real people, with sharp, witty and funny dialogue. Fuck Rick Berman for not being able to write any more twenty-fourth century dialogue: this clearly showed that 24th century dialogue is crap, frustrating and unexciting. Only DS9 broke away with this. Its Ferengi characters really were closer to modern humans than the Starfleet personnel of the future.
Wed, Jul 29, 2015, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
What's also really great here is the camera work and music. I think they used a light blue filter. Really makes it seem more cold and lifeless.

Music-wise this has some of my favorite short pieces in the series.
Sun, Dec 27, 2015, 7:51pm (UTC -5)
Both stories were pleasant enough. Good dialogue & acting, even if the plot is standard stuff.

Watching this episode reminded me how much Nog evolves as a character over the series. When you think of things that made DS9 memorable, Nog isn't what you're likely to mention. But his transformation over the course of the series is both significant & believable. One of the many little things that make this a strong series.
William B
Wed, Jan 6, 2016, 11:04am (UTC -5)
The big appeal of this episode is mostly to get to spend the better part of an hour with Auberjonois and Shimerman in a room -- er, on a mountain -- together, and on that level the episode works. I'm not sure if it means much beyond that. Given that Odo and Quark's frenemiship (frenemy-ship? frienemy-ship?) was established in dialogue in "A Man Alone," and they have come just to the edge of open acknowledgment in "Crossfire," I was a little surprised by the glee with which Odo tells Quark that Odo is finally putting Quark away for good, and seems to believe it. It is interesting to consider whether Odo wants to reestablish his cred as the ultimate lawman in the wake of his secret coming to his conscious mind (and becoming public) in "Things Past." In any case, the whole of the Odo/Quark dynamic relies on different levels of pretense -- they are very close, are obsessed on some level with the chase with each other, but it's all a game, except that acknowledging it was just a game would ruin it. Odo is behaving perfectly in keeping with his official function (and his official role in the game) when he expresses delight at the thought of QUark going away for good, but is Odo putting it on because he does not *really* believe Quark is going away forever, or does Odo believe he has to keep playing his role, even if it means they're about to end their relationship and his almost-friend is going to jail, or does Odo not even recognize that he actually doesn't want Quark to go to jail? Or -- most devastating, maybe -- is the pretense that the two are just playing actually the real cover-up, and there is actually animosity between the two?

In any case, the sense that things suddenly got *real* with Odo's delight at sending Quark away sets the tone for the episode, and there is a slightly different charge to the two-dudes-annoy-each-other material on the Runabout, in which Odo is mostly the more deliberately annoying (I love the self-satisfied laugh Odo has after smacking his lips extra loud), and then they are trapped on the planet together and things get really, really real -- wherein they have to rely on each other as allies rather than enemies. Eventually, rather than getting along, they explode, including in the exchange Jammer quotes above -- in which it's stated explicitly that Quark is a middling failure, and so Odo's defining himself in opposition to Quark just makes him a middling failure too. The reality is that they aren't enemies, but they also can't *actually* be friends that easily, because to be friends would mean genuinely dropping the pretense that the roles they have chosen -- lawman, petty crook -- are not totally satisfying. Most of the character analysis here is of Odo, where Quark also opines that Odo really wanted to be a solid all this time, and the overall picture painted here is that Quark and Odo are both putting on pretense, but Quark is mostly aware of it (to hide his shame at his economic failures), whereas Odo is still unaware exactly what it is he wants, and has held onto the lawman identity, and lawman-after-Quark identity in particular, for a long time. While much of it is because Odo's leg is broken after their fight, I have always thought it appropriate that Quark is the one who makes it to the top, because ultimately, Quark is the one who really genuinely knows he wants to live (and recently re-learned how much he values living in "Body Parts"), and Odo is constantly searching for reasons to go on, most of which are absent on this mountain. It is weird/pathetic to think that Odo really was enthusiastic about catching Quark for some bigtime offense not so much because he *actually* wants Quark to go to jail, but because he has expended so much energy into convincing himself that pursuing Quark is an existentially satisfying life goal, and his adversarial relationship with Quark is an adequate substitute for intimacy. The scene at the end of the two laughing together suggests growth in the sense that Odo now acknowledges that they are actually frenemies rather than pretending otherwise, which...I mean, I sort of thought that had already happened years ago, but I guess Odo can be slow on the uptake with emotional matters. I guess I don't have big complaints about the main story except that the character development seems to mostly be something that I thought had already happened (Odo, at least, recognizing that he values Quark), and the plot thins out with the air as Odo and Quark continue climbing.

The Nog and Jake subplot is okay. That Jake is a slob doesn't bother me -- the point is largely that he feels he shouldn't have to clean up after himself for someone else's benefit anymore now that he's an independent gentleman. Nog coming back all Starfleet discipline makes sense in that he must have tried very hard to prove (to himself as well as others) that he is not the juvenile delinquent he used to be. Nog rifling through Jake's stuff and correcting it for spelling grammar is silly and annoying, but believable-ish from Old Friends. The thing is, Jake and Nog take big liberties with each other at the start because they assume that they are friends and thus can count on the other to accept whatever they do; Jake and Nog would behave much more reasonably, I think, if they were paired up as roommates with a total stranger. The contrast with the A-plot comes in here -- Jake and Nog, like Quark and Odo, have an assumption about what their relationship is, and fail to make the adjustments when their situation changes and so get on each others' nerves to the point of sabotaging themselves. I do somewhat have to wonder at what point Jake would be old enough that Sisko couldn't give him "orders" about where to live -- maybe he would just have to leave the station before that happens -- but anyway.

So I enjoyed this one, but I think it is comfortably average -- 2.5 stars, say, though maybe a high 2.5.
Diamond Dave
Wed, Jan 20, 2016, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Two 'odd couple' stories played out for our viewing pleasure, and it's really too by the numbers to be really enjoyable. Yes, the Odo/Quark relationship is endlessly fascinating but really there's only so much snark they can throw at each other before it gets just a little tedious. And in the tedium of scrambling over rocks, rocks and more rocks, it just gets old quickly. At least we followed a Seinfeldian "no hugging" policy...

As to the B-story, Nog comes back as an uptight neat freak. Not entirely compelling, although Rom's concern that he might be a changeling is amusing enough. However, the high comedy moment is the look of Odo's broken leg - almost worth the price of admission alone. 2 stars.
Mon, May 2, 2016, 12:57am (UTC -5)
Take two characters and stick them in a room together. If they're both good characters and/or have at least something of a decent relationship established, wonders can occur. That's why TNG: "Chain of Command, Part II" works so well. It's why DS9: "Waltz" and ENT: "Shuttlepod One" will also work so well. Odo and Quark are both great, not good - great, characters and have a wonderfully complex and intriguing relationship. Placing them alone together in a room (well, nature really) was not only a brilliant idea, it produced a truly enjoyable character-based episode.

Oh sure, the story is kind of repetitive and nothing really unexpected happens. The idea that one of the characters has to single-handedly save the day after the other is injured literally comes from Writing 101. But so what? These two actors (and the characters and relationship they've created) more than adequately carry the story. And while "The Ascent" is largely a filler (or maybe a bottle) show, the writers still managed to offer some good character insights. For example, we're shown that Quark is, in fact, a fairly decent guy. He may be a petty thief and a scoundrel, but he certainly isn't villainous enough to achieve admittance into the Orion Syndicate - Trek's rather thinly veiled version of the mafia. And, despite his statements to the contrary, he's not willing to leave Odo to die alone until he absolutely has to. It's always nice to see Quark actually treated with respect by the writers.

Meanwhile, over in the B-plot, we get another relationship story, though a less effective one. Probably the best part of this plot was its use of Rom. You know, maybe having him leave Quark's employment in "Bar Association" was a really good idea after all. Because he sure has been used better, as a character, since his abysmal use back then. The scene of him telling Sisko that he fears that Nog is really a Changeling is comedy gold. "Nog's moved back in with me, you know. It's horrible. He put me on report the other day. Said my tool kit was untidy. That's the exact word he used. Untidy. *shakes the vile of Nog's blood again*" That literally had me laughing out loud. The problem with the B-plot is that, while it mirrors the A-plot's focus on Odo and Quark quite well, it is resolved far, far too quickly. Jake and Nog have grown so different and far apart that they literally can't stand each other any more. However, one quick little scene together and everything is just fine and dandy again between them. The dreaded Trek Reset Button reared its ugly head rather noticeably here.

Mon, May 2, 2016, 1:01am (UTC -5)
Oh, something I forgot to mention....

Another wonderful plus to "The Ascent" is that it actually focuses on Odo's new status as a Solid. Given that he'll be returned to a Changeling just three episodes from now, that's definitely a welcome addition. Actually, the show hasn't really focused all that much on Odo's new solidity since "Apocalypse Rising", has it? Episodes either skim over it with a few quick lines of dialogue or just outright ignore it. However, here Odo actually has to deal with the fact that he's Human when he breaks his leg.

For that I'll be generous and up my score.

William B
Mon, May 2, 2016, 11:01am (UTC -5)
@Luke, you know, I'm convinced. I think that this is a good show and I don't think I adequately explained why it doesn't get 3 stars on the Jammer scale from me, despite the Writing 101 and somewhat repetitive elements.

Looking back over what I wrote, I think I missed something (I don't know why this occurs to me now) -- Odo obviously played up that he was happy Quark was going to jail forever because he wanted Quark to talk about what he knew about the Orion Syndicate. I mean, I know that Odo *said* that he pretended he knew that Quark was going away for good but had no proof, but I guess I didn't fully register that this meant that his previous behaviour is also called into question. As long as he still has a goal in mind -- here, trying to trick Quark into revealing the information -- of course Odo being Odo he won't actually consider whether he actually wants Quark to go away to jail; it's more important that he play the hardass lawman role when that role might pay off with an arrest. In other words, Odo pretends the game is over so he can gloat, but the reason he is gloating is that the game is still going on. We don't really know *how* Odo would react if he thought he had finally caught Quark at this point in the series, where he and Quark have somewhat made progress on admitting to their relationship ("Crossfire," e.g.); by late season six Odo is willing to look the other way in "The Sound of Her Voice," but I think that is a consequence of things like their getting some of their issues out here as well as other events in season six. It is a good character piece.
Thu, Aug 4, 2016, 10:22pm (UTC -5)
I kept expecting Gollum to jump out from behind a tree and say, "My transsssmitter, my precioussss."

If there are trees there have to be bugs. That's called an ecosystem.

As with the previous episode, this episode felt like it came too late in the series. By Season 5 Odo would not take glee in arresting Quark and sending him to jail for life. Nor would Sisko allow it. Sisko, recall, blackmailed Quark into staying on the station in the first place. Very early in Season I Quark said to Odo that he may be the closest thing to a friend Odo has -- which I think has defined their whole relationship.

Then, the entire station, including Odo, pitched in to save his bar when he lost everything just a few episodes. ago Odo may tell himself that he hates Quark, but even he can't actually believe that at this point.

Also, even Odo has to acknowledge that although Quark's big criminal schemes have not worked out, he is actually a good businessman. His bar is well run and very popular.

At some point in the last ten years Odo would also have had to have acknowledged to himself that Quark is pretty small time as far as being a crook. The idea that he's part of the Orion syndicate just does not add up with all his petty schemes gone awry.

Why doesn't Quark make Odo crutches?

Wouldn't it make more sense for Quark to leave Odo behind? If Quark can't get to the mountaintop, they'll both die. If he does, they'll both live. He's a lot more likely to make it if he's not dragging an extra 170 pounds of dead weight around.

Do they have any water? If not, they've been dead for days.

Does Jake pay rent? Or does he just get to live wherever he wants because his dad's the captain? Or can anyone move onto DS9 and not pay rent?
William H
Wed, Nov 9, 2016, 9:14am (UTC -5)
Why did Quark drag Odo up the mountain? It seems like a bad idea all round.
Thu, Jan 5, 2017, 6:22am (UTC -5)
So Nog exercises first thing in the morning, in his uniform, then takes a shower, then puts back on his uniform! No sweatpants in the future? And Nog can't send Rom a text message telling him when his ship is about to arrive? And of course, the runabout has no phasers, tricorders, or a medkit to take with them!
Tue, May 16, 2017, 12:20am (UTC -5)
Only slightly more plausible than an episode of Naked and Afraid. Should have brought Moogie along...
Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 11:05am (UTC -5)
A bit infintile but funny the way Odo and Quark interact...
Thu, Sep 7, 2017, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
Found this episode dragged quite a bit -- the barbs traded between Quark and Odo became very repetitive. It was funny for the first 15-20 mins.

The ascent of the mountain just kept going and going. Sure they both realize they have stuff in common (failure as an investigator, failure as a thief). Lots of Odo going "Aaargh!" When you see the mountain Quark and Odo have to scale, there's no way they should be able to do it given they have like 2 food rations and multiple days of journey on foot to go. The payoff of learning more about Quark and Odo's friendship/hatred/needing each other relationship is not enough of a payoff for what the viewer has to go through to get there.

Nog's arrival and new personality is perfectly annoying (the character's always been annoying for me) -- the interaction with Jake as they room together was fairly typical of a neat freak and an artsy type. Of course, the 2 make up...

Nearly 2 stars for this episode but 1.5 stars is what this pretty basic cliche'd episode deserves. Trek has had better "survival" episodes -- even from ENT. Nice ending though when they share a chuckle while lying in sickbay.
Sat, Dec 23, 2017, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
2 stars

Stock odd couple sitcom stuff meh
Fri, Feb 23, 2018, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
I thought it was a bit of a drag. Get it? Get it?
Fri, Feb 23, 2018, 5:51pm (UTC -5)

At least Quark came out on top in the end!

...I'll show myself out.
Wed, May 23, 2018, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
This really wasn't nescessary. It had already been established that Odo and Quark's relationship was thawing and that they actually cared for each other (as $G noted). So to me the idea of Odo gloating over the idea of having Quark locked in some distant prison for the rest of his life was jarring, well before the mountain stuff.

This was one of my favourite episodes of this season originally, but I only found it average this time 'round.
Mon, Aug 20, 2018, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
"The Ascent" is an episode that works, and works damn well thanks to the strength of the chemistry between Rene Auberjonois and Armin Shimerman. The story may be average at best, but they manage to make even the most pedestrian scenes wildly entertaining.

3 stars.
Wed, Dec 19, 2018, 9:41am (UTC -5)
Shimmerman is a great actor and is able to imbue Quark with so much personality.Its a wonder he is able to keep him so likeable despite being such a heel. It would have been a much lessor show without his considerable abillities.
Wed, Dec 19, 2018, 9:44am (UTC -5)
on watching the series for the first time in 2018 I am blown away by the quality of it. That said so far this season I am afraid it is starting to tread water a little bit. Tribbles, this one, and Odos flashback were all good but felt like repeats or episodes that are repeats of season 2 episodes. Although I am hopeful the show will pick up again with the Dominion war I know is coming. Also although they were essentially filler they were quite good filler episodes.
Fri, Dec 21, 2018, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
As other commentators have wisely pointed out, at this stage in the Odo - Quark relationship Odo really shouldnt be so gleeful about catching Odo. Which makes me think of the interesting idea of an episode where Odo finally catches Quark..... but he is saddened by it, especially after Quark has shown time and again he essentially has a good heart underneath his bluster. Like the cogote fincatchung the road runner, the truth is Odo wouldnt really know what to do if he finally pulled it off.
Cody B
Tue, Jan 15, 2019, 10:43am (UTC -5)
There was a missed opportunity to flip the prejudice Sisko had in season one towards Jake hanging out with Nog and how sisko didn’t think much of ferengis. Rom could have rubbed that in Sisko’s face a little and now act like Jake is the one who just isn’t get enough for disciplined Rom.
Thu, Jan 17, 2019, 9:27am (UTC -5)
The actors are great and add a lot typo the Quark and Odo ascent. They are so perfect at the end, especially.

Very contrived crash and runabout damage, but I'm always happy to overlook that stuff.

I think the ep sets up a bit of a parallel between Nog & Jake and Odo & Quark, and I think it's about the nature of friendships and what makes a friendship, and what makes a friendship enduring . . . or not.

I enjoyed it.
Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 12:23am (UTC -5)
It’s awful and judgmental, but I skipped this one on my watch-through of the series tonight.

Like $G said, there’s something dull about the episodes where 1-2 people are trapped or lost for 40 minutes of the episode, whether it’s TNG or DS9. Extra bonus points if they are stuck in the same cave set that they use for everything (“The Sword of Kahless”, “Nor the Battle to the Strong”).

I’ll get over my short-sightedness and watch this when the mood is right...
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 10:27am (UTC -5)
I love how there's always a planet nearby when a ship needs to suddenly land. Anyway, this episode is uneventful and unnecessary. We've already had enough prior interaction between Odo and Quark; no resounding changes happen to thier relationship here. The B plot about roommates disagreeing about cleanliness is about as interesting as this sentence.
Tue, Sep 17, 2019, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
I have to say I'm a bit surprised by the generally positive reactions to this episode. It just doesn't do much for me. It seems like an hour of exposition.

"Show me, don't tell me." But the dialog is mostly the characters in the adversarial/bosom buddies pairs TELLING what they are and how they see each other. Despite the painfully high stakes for Odo and Quark, there really isn't much of a plot, and what little there is has holes in it like Swiss cheese. (Not only, as Quarkissnyder said above, is there no way they'd survive without water, but they should be suffering from altitude sickness, which makes dehydration even worse. The whole point in climbing the mountain is to get to thinner air.)

And yes, after Odo is injured, it should be perfectly obvious to them both (and to the writer, and to us) that Quark should continue the ascent alone. If their plan works, a rescue ship will come and can use its scanners to locate Odo, apparently the only other humanoid on the planet. If it doesn't, their mutual problem will soon reach its dire resolution.

I have nothing against a good bromance. Heck, they could have thrown in a C plot with Bashir and O'Brien. But even a character story needs a story.
Thu, Oct 17, 2019, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
Below average episode for me. I’m a Quark fan, Odo is so mean to him. OK Quark is a shady character, but Odo hates him so much he takes such perverse pleasure in seeing him go to jail, he’s willing to travel 8 days just to see him get what he deserves. Than it turns out Odo wasn’t even told what the proceedings were really about. Yeah right.
Quark for the win!!
Jamie Mann
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 6:47pm (UTC -5)
Sadly, this one was a fairly meh episode for me.

As other people have noted, it's an episode which could have worked a season or two earlier, but at this point, the relationship between Odo and Quark has already been explored, and there's little new here, and a load of bickering which could pretty much have been lifted wholesale from the aforementioned earlier episodes.

It would have been more interesting to have more of a focus on Odo's struggles with being a Solid - while it does factor into the storyline, especially with the broken leg, this would have been a prime opportunity to explore the implications of his situation. In fact, it would have worked better if he'd been injured in the crash and then had to depend on Quark for survival...

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