The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Profit and Loss

When Cardassian professor Natima Lang arrives aboard the station with her two students, it initially seems like an innocuous visit. But when Sisko and the senior crew discover that they are fugitives from the Cardassian government, it looks like it may be impossible to grant them safe passage. Meanwhile, Quark is delighted that his former lover Natima has returned, but she seems less enthused about renewing their relationship.

I think I enjoyed this episode back in the day, but upon rewatching it, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed this time around. Giving Quark a relationship story with a bit of meat to it sounds like an excellent way to explore a new side of his character, but I just found myself unable to take it seriously. Much of the episode is spent with Quark harassing Natima until she finally gives in and admits she still loves him, but even this can’t ignite any chemistry between them. In fact, I would have preferred it had Natima actually gotten over Quark – especially since his plan was to blackmail her into staying on the station with him. I guess we’re meant to believe that Quark loved her in his own Ferengi way, but it just undermined the supposed strength of his feelings.

Meanwhile, the ever delightful Garak should have been a highlight of this episode, but ultimately it felt more like his motivations were down to the whims of the plot than because he particularly expected to gain anything from his actions.

Life on DS9

  • Garak jokingly suggests to Bashir that he might be an outcast spy – in fact, this is exactly what he is. Bashir, of course, immediately disbelieves such a seemingly ridiculous suggestion.
  • Kira seems surprised that Cardassians might fight amongst themselves – I guess she might find it easier to regard them all as one grey homogeneous mass of villains, but given that she’s used to complicated political situations, you’d think that she’d understand the existence of opposing factions. In fact, you’d think the Cardassian underground might have even been allies to the Bajorans, since both factions hate the ruling military class. I guess there might have been tensions between the potential allies, due to racial mistrust or differing priorities.
  • Was Garak really expecting to benefit by informing Central Command of Hogue and Rekelen’s presence on the station? He must know that the Cardassian government intends to give him as little reward and recognition as possible.
  • Natima enjoys Samarian Sunsets, the same drink once enjoyed by Deanna Troi in Ten Forward.
  • Cloaking devices are illegal in Bajoran territory. They are of course also banned by the Federation, as per the Treaty of Algeron.
  • During the Occupation, Quark both defrauded the Cardassians and gave food to the Bajorans.

Summary – Profit and Loss: Quark has been missing Natima and pining for her so much that he never once thought to mention it before.

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