The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Business as Usual

When Quark’s finances hit rock bottom, he is finally persuaded by his cousin Gaila to take part in the weapons trade business. But whilst he is initially overjoyed to be making more profit than he’s ever managed before, Quark soon becomes concerned about the morality of gun-running, especially when his Federation friend abandon him. But getting out of the weapons business is a lot more difficult than getting into it.

It’s another underwhelming episode this time around, as Quark tries to put aside the morality he’s been absorbing over the last five years, and enter into the profitable world of weapons dealing. We all know how this goes – he’ll have second thoughts, be too scared to get out of the business in case of retribution, and ultimately have to engineer some situation that makes everything go away. There are no real surprises, and all we can do is watch until the inevitable conclusion. In fact, the humorous B-story about O’Brien being unable to put his baby son down lest he start crying, is far more entertaining to watch.

War is good for business

We know that the average Ferengi will do anything for profit – although even so, not all Ferengi are weapons dealers. Over the years we’ve seen Quark evolve and change from a straightforward capitalist into someone with the occasional burst of altruism – although the fact that he was already helping people during the Bajoran Occupation indicates that the seed was already there.

Arguably, it’s a good thing that this episode reminds us that Quark isn’t human, and isn’t entirely soft and fuzzy. And yet it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed in him, especially when we see how his Starfleet friends turn away from him after his change in career. Oh Quark, we sigh – we all know this isn’t going to end well.

Other bits and pieces

  • I enjoyed Dax and Quark’s tongo games at the start and end of the episode. In some ways, they make a better couple than Dax and Worf, since they both have a sense of humour.
  • Quark mentions his quadrotriticale futures – quadrotriticale was of course the wheat at Deep Space Station K-7 in The Trouble With Tribbles (and Trials and Tribble-ations).
  • This episode marks the first and only onscreen appearance of Quark’s cousin Gaila. Gaila has been mentioned several times before, especially in reference to how his weapons dealing made him rich enough to purchase his own moon. He also gave Quark the defective shuttle used in Little Green Men.
  • No one really seems to care that Gaila and Hagath have likely been killed – yes, they weren’t nice people, but Sisko seems positively happy that they met an unpleasant end. Is that really the attitude of an enlightened 24th century human?

Summary – Business as Usual: Quark proves once again that he’s not your typical Ferengi.

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