The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Bar Association

When Quark’s profits drop during the Bajoran Time of Cleansing, he insists that all of his workers take a pay cut. Unwilling to allow this, Rom decides to break with Ferengi tradition and form a trade union. Will Quark bow to his brother’s demands for better conditions, or will the Ferengi Commerce Authority step in to restore the status quo?

Bar Association is an important turning point for Rom, and as such, I was very much looking forward to it. In fact, I probably set my expectations a bit too high, as overall this isn’t an amazing episode. The crux of the show is Rom stepping out of his brother’s shadow and starting to become his own person, but to get to that point we have to sit through a very standard “mistreated workers form a union” story, complete with Quark getting beaten half to death by Nausicaans (offscreen, but still disturbingly violent).

The B-story, such as it is, focuses on Worf’s difficulties in adjusting to life on the station, and how it has made him even grumpier and tetchier than ever. He brawls with Bashir and O’Brien, and ultimately decides that living on the Defiant is a better choice for him. When Dax points out that he will eventually have to adapt to DS9, his response is that “Perhaps in the end it will be all of you who that have to adapt to me”. This is typical Worf – he remains rigid and inflexible, and it feels like it’s only the fact that Dax is so obsessed with Klingon culture that keeps them together once they become a couple.

The journey of Rom

Remember how much I hated Rom being a shallow idiot in the first season? That’s because I knew what was to come. Over seasons two and three, we saw that Rom was not as stupid as he appeared, and in particular he had a knack for mechanical engineering. Now, he finally leaves the bar and goes to work for Chief O’Brien- and he even gets a kiss from Leeta. He truly is beginning to forge his own path in life, and while it won’t be easy, it will be rewarding.

It’s true that Quark has treated Rom pretty badly over the years, but to some extent, this has been motivated by good intentions – knowing that Rom lacks the lobes for business, Quark has been trying to protect him from the world.

Other points

  • The Bajoran Time of Cleansing is a month in which the Bajorans give up earthly pleasures – presumably their equivalent of Lent or Ramadan, to some extent. Despite its relative importance in the Bajoran calendar, this is the first time it has ever been mentioned.
  • The tooth sharpener that is stolen from Worf is the one he bought from Nog in Little Green Men.
  • When Worf tries to insist that the Enterprise was more secure than DS9, Odo points to the events of Rascals and A Matter of Perspective as just two examples where security on the Enterprise was less than desirable. Although Odo says that these events were the exception rather than the rule, we, as avid TNG viewers, know just how often the Enterprise got into one scrape or another.
  • Rom admits that he has probably been giving himself too much oo-mox – this is the equivalent of a human admitting they have been masturbating too much. Very risqué by Star Trek standards.

Summary – Bar Association: Rom forms a union.

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