The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Profit and Lace

When Grand Nagus Zek tries to revolutionise Ferengi society by granting females the right to wear clothes, leave the house and earn profit, it is not a universally popular move. With Zek now deposed and Liquidator Brunt about to take on the mantle of Grand Nagus, it is up to Quark, Rom and Nog to help Zek win back his position without taking back the reforms.

It seems only five minutes since I was writing about The Magnificent Ferengi, and after seeing this episode, I find myself pining for that amazing work of art. Yes, this is one stupid Ferengi romp too many, and it’s one that makes many of the others look good by comparison.

Despite serious undertones about women’s rights and equality, the episode is played like a farce that makes it entirely cringeworthy. All the gender stereotypes are wheeled out, and even Quark’s temporary transition to female doesn’t teach him any lasting lessons about how women are viewed. Yes, he reconsiders sexual harassing his dabo girls, only to discover that of course the girls secretly like it and want nothing more than to rub some Ferengi lobes. The episode even features Star Trek’s first ever man on man kiss, but the situation is so farcical that this landmark moment passes unremarked.

Points of note

  • Does Bashir performing surgery on Quark count as a violation of the Prime Directive, as it directly alters the future of Ferengi culture? For that matter, since when has anyone on DS9 actually given a stuff about the Prime Directive?
  • Way back in season one, Sisko warned Quark that he was not allowed to sexually harass his employees. Clearly Quark is counting on Sisko being too busy with the Dominion War to enforce this rule.

Summary – Profit and Lace: In which Quark briefly learns the unpleasantness of unwanted sexual advances, only to be reassured that actually, all girls secretly want it.

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