The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Prophet Motive

When Grand Nagus Zek visit the station, Quark and Rom are horrified to learn that their leader has thrown out the Rules of Acquisition – and replaced them with a more benevolent and philanthropic philosophy. Faced with the possible loss of Ferengi society – or at least the public lynching of the Nagus by annoyed Ferengi merchants – Quark and Rom decide to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Meanwhile, Dr Bashir is nominated for a prestigious award in the field of medicine, and despite his best efforts, he can’t help but excited at the possibility of winning.

There’s a price to be paid for watching DS9, and that price is regular episodes featuring the Grand Nagus, and some crazy Ferengi scheme. This episode is a rather underwhelming attempt to turn Ferengi values on their head by turning Zek into a philanthropist – but since his interactions are limited to Quark and Rom, we never really feel the potential impact on wider society. Admittedly, some of that will come later on with Ferengi women’s rights, but it does mean that this episode fails to have much of an impact.

Elsewhere, the B plot about Bashir being up for an award that’s usually given as a lifetime achievement, is merely mildly entertaining and predictable – Bashir tells everyone he doesn’t care about the award, nor does he expect to win, except of course he’s secretly hopeful. Naturally, he doesn’t win, which is just as well, as although his smugness has been toned down since season one, there’s nothing like an award to swell an ego.

Bits and pieces

  • This is our second encounter with the Prophets, and as usual, for beings who don’t exist in linear time, they have no problem with referring to past, present and future. They are even aware that Zek and Quark’s visits take place after Sisko’s visit. I’m calling bullshit.
  • Zek has an orb to seull back to the Bajorans – the Orb of Wisdom.
  • Why does Rom need to steal items from the bar for his quarters, when he could just replicate anything he wants for free?
  • In the past, the Ferengi were not always as obsessed with profit as they are now. This is either not taught to the general populace, or is beyond recorded memory. I like to imagine it’s a shameful past, known only by a few historians and government officials.
  • This episode includes Bashir and O’Brien’s first darts game. The in-universe reason for them starting to play darts is because they are fed up with racquetball, but in fact it was because a dartboard was a cheaper and easier prop than having to maintain the racquetball set from Rivals.
  • This episode sees Quark lumbered with a large quantity of self-sealing stem bolts, just as Jake and Nog were in Progress. Progress also featured yamok sauce, which turned up last episode. Never forget.
  • Odo, the notorious loner, has a friend with tenuous contacts to the Carrington Award.

Summary – Prophet Motive: Rom stands up for himself and makes a profit.

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