"The Magnificent Ferengi"

Season Six, Episode 10
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Chip Chalmers
Music by Jay Chattaway
Main Cast:
Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko
Rene Auberjonois as Odo
Michael Dorn as Lt Cmdr Worf
Terry Farrell as Lt Cmdr Jadzia Dax
Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
Armin Shimerman as Quark
Alexander Siddig as Dr Julian Bashir
Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys

Guest Stars:
Max Grodenchik as Rom
Aron Eisenberg as Nog
Chase Masterson as Leeta
Jeffrey Combs as Brunt
Christopher Shea as Keevan
Cecily Adams as Moogie
Iggy Pop as Yelgrun


Quark gets word that his Moogie has been kidnapped by the Dominion and the Nagus orders he and Rom to rescue her. They get together a team of the finest Ferengi that did ever live (well...); Nog, Brunt, Gaila and a bloodthursty eliminator named Leck. They strike a deal with the Dominion -- they will exchange Keevan, a Vorta prisoner, for Moogie. They exchange takes place on Empok Nor, and all goes well until they accidentally kill the prisoner they hope to exchange. In desperation, they rig Keevan's body with neurostimulators to make it look like he's alive (kinda!) and just in the nick of time, they manage to shoot the Jem'Hadar guards and rescue Moogie.

And so we have another much-maligned Ferengi outing - and you know what? I really enjoyed it! That may make me a kind of outcast among other DS9 fans, but I really don't know how anyone could hate this endearingly goofy tale. It's a funny - often hilarious - romp and is bolstered by the fine comic performances of Armin Shimerman, Max Grodenchik et al.

It may get off to a slow start, but once it gets going it's a marvellous action film/western spoof and the banter between the curious assortment of Ferengi is delightful. As I said above, the performances of Shimerman and co. are first rate. They deliver their lines with perfect comic timing, and I must say that the Shimerman/Grodenchik/Eisenberg troika is, as ever, a simply wonderful team. Those three have a great on-screen chemistry and effectively convey a family of disparate and diverse oddballs, who nonetheless care for each other.

They are ably supported by some good guest actors. I've never been all that keen of Jeffrey Combs' Brunt, but he works well here and it's particularly revealing that at the first sign of trouble, Brunt is the first to run away. Nice also to see Cousin Gaila again, although the one I loved the most was Leck, the rather psychotic "eliminator"! Great fun to see a Ferengi "who doesn't share our priorities." Oh, and we also get to see the Vorta Keevan, from Rocks and Shoals. Actor Christopher Shea must have found this second outing for his character a stark contrast from his first. Rocks and Shoals was a very intense drama, with a strong role for the slimey Vorta, whereas here he's played strictly for laughs. But they are pretty good laughs. He's obviously none too enamoured by his Ferengi captors, and I relished Shea's wonderfully snobbish performance. Upon accidentally being shot in the stomach by clumsy Gaila - under his last breath he winces "I hate Ferengi!" Indeed.

Oh, and of course we also get to see Moogie again, with Cecily Adams starting to master the role as her own. I just loved her casual, cool-headed attitude in spite of being a prisoner of the Dominion. And she's a manipulative madam, too - upon being dragged away by her captor, she calls after her son "Rom, I'm counting on you! Remember, Moogie loves you!" Oh, and another quote I just loved - and whenever I use it I just get odd glances from those around - "My lobes haven't been this firm in over a century!"

And musn't forget a guest appearance by none other than Iggy Pop! Well, I haven't got a clue what Iggy Pop is doing on DS9, but he's surprisingly good in his wildly over-the-top portrayal of Moogie's Vorta captor. Weird, weird, weird. But then this is a weird episode. Good weird, though.

As for the plot - umm, forget it. It doesn't really make sense (why would the Dominion want to kidnap Ferengi civilians - after all, they hate Ferengi, don't they?). And Quark seems intent on proving that Ferengi can be just as tough Klingons or Nausicaans. Why?! What does that matter to him? Wouldn't it be more Quark-like to just hire some goons to go and do the dirty work for him? Still, we've been seeing some character development for the bar-keep, which I like. Perhaps he developed a taste for adrenalin kicks after his jail-break in Sacrifice of Angels? But, plot or plot implications don't really matter when you've got such great characterisations, dialogue and performances.

Great moments include the holodeck training sequence, which is a hoot. Also loved the scenes of those bumbling Ferengi racing about the darkened halls of Empok Nor, tripping over themselves, each other and any and all obstacles in their path. Oh, and the last act is just hilarious! Only Ferengi could be so stupid as to accidentally kill the hostage they need for their prisoner exchange! Cue Nog's hysterical attempts to try and make the corpse look alive, and the horrified expression of Yulgrun upon the prisoner exchange - "What have they done to him?!" What a riot! Very morbid, yes - as humour it's about as black as it gets. But it's right up my street, and I was just about rolling on the floor in hysterics.

This is the best Ferengi comedy since Little Green Men and despite a plot that employs dubious logic at best, I enjoyed it a lot. Why did everyone seem to hate it?! Don't the rest of the Trek-viewing public have senses of humour? Or perhaps some people just take their Trek a little too seriously? I certainly know a couple of people who simply can't accept Trek shows that are supposed to be funny. I politely suggest it's just a bit of fun, and meant to be humourous. "But Star Trek isn't supposed to be funny," they'll whine. But, that's what I like about DS9, I reply! It's ability to do a wide range of stories - and do them well! I love the action/adventure shows (in moderation) and the character pieces (in moderation) just as I love the war shows (in moderation) and the political and social issue shows (in moderation) and the comedies (in moderation)! We get a great variety of storytelling on this show, and variety truly is the spice of Trek. Chill out a little, folks!

I'm starting to rant, so I'll end my review here! Wonderful stuff - not quite perfect, but very enjoyable.

Rating: 8

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