Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Little Green Men

Quark: "All I ask is a tall ship and a load of contraband to fill her with."

By nature I love brevity: Fun and entertaining. There are a few little bits of character beyond that, but yeah, that about sums it up.

I'm really not a big fan of Ferengi episodes. Sure, there are a few I like, but mostly they tend to be pretty terrible. I think I've finally pinpointed it, though - what distinguishes the Ferengi episodes I like from the ones I despise. It depends almost entirely on how much it relies on the regulars and how much it relies on guest characters.

The Ferengi episodes I like, other than this one, are 'The Nagus,' 'Profit and Loss,' and 'The House of Quark.' In 'The Nagus,' the focus is wholly on Quark and how this situation revolves around him. Though the other Ferengi are around, it's really just his story. 'Profit and Loss' and 'The House of Quark,' too, are stories about Quark; Rom is the only other Ferengi around in both. And here, the typical Ferengi guests don't show up; only regular characters Rom and Nog are along for the ride. In other Ferengi shows, I'll enjoy the occasional gag and little nuances about the actors' performances. But that's it. And in all of those episodes, every single one, the non-regular Ferengi characters have prominent and even central roles.

So that's what I think makes a Ferengi episode I like and what makes one I dislike. Quark, Rom, and Nog are such well-developed, interesting characters, that an episode revolving around them is most often going to be a good one. The non-regular Ferengi, even Zek and Ishka, are just not compelling enough to make me like their stories, I don't quite know why. Maybe it's the infrequency of their appearances; it's possible that if they appeared regularly I would come to care about them. But I just don't as is.

'Little Green Men' also benefits from a few important boosts. The first is the increasingly compelling arc of Nog, as he heads for Starfleet Academy. Nog was little more than a whiny brat who ran around getting into light trouble and antics with Jake, until 'Heart of Stone' last season gave him motivation and some goals. Now he's headed off, and there's some really good material at the beginning of this episode during his farewells. I like Worf's discovery of the tooth sharpener, and I love his goodbye with Jake to their favorite spot. But the best thing about this, at least for me, is the way that he shows he's still a Ferengi, even though he's decided to join Starfleet. He's been raised to value profit over all else, and that isn't just going to go away because he wants to avoid turning out like his father. The other important element that improves 'Little Green Men' is Odo. His relationship with Quark is great and one of the foundations of DS9, and any chance the writers get to showcase it is always appreciated.

I do, of course, have to talk about the gimmick of Ferengi as the Roswell aliens. It's really nothing more than an amusing situation to throw the group into so they can be amusing and have some danger to escape. But it's remarkably clever, and it leads to some funny reflections on society in the 40s. The idea that an America desperately clambering to take precedence over the Soviet Union would take advantage of the opportunities presented by technologically advanced aliens makes a lot of sense, as does the Ferengi's naiveté. The humanity that Quark, Rom, and Nog know are very different from the humanity of the 40s. Even though Nog has some idea of their 'primitive aggressive' tendencies from his guidebook, the group is not at all prepared to face a desperate and divided human government.

Strange New Worlds:

This time around we visited the not-so-alien world of 1940s Earth.

New Life and New Civilizations:

We learned that the Ferengi afterlives are called the Divine Treasury and the Vault of Eternal Destitution. The Divine Treasury is made of Latinum, and Ferengi must bid for their eternal lives from the Celestial Auctioneers.

Pensees:

-Quark has an untrustworthy cousin named Gaila, who owns a successful munitions consortium.

-Nog remarks that historical figure Gabriel Bell looks a lot like Captain Sisko. This is because he is Sisko, as a result of the events of the episode 'Past Tense.'

-All the Ferengi have their universal translators embedded in their ears.

-Quark's knowledge of human society consists of baseball, darts, root beer, and nuclear weapons.

-Nog's fictional 'Marauder-class' vessels are derived from the Ferengi Marauder, the unofficial name for the D'Kora class.

-Charles Napier, who played the General here, also played Adam in the TOS episode 'The Way to Eden.'

Quotes:

Odo: "Very generous of you, taking Nog to Earth."
Quark: "I'm a generous person."
Odo: "So I've noticed."
Quark: "Try not to miss me too much while I'm gone."
Odo: "I'll be counting the days until you get back."

Jake: "You know, aside from playing dom-jot and watching the Bajoran transports dock, it seems like we spent most of our time doing nothing."
Nog: "Maybe so, but I can't think of anyone I'd rather do nothing with than you."

Kira: "Quark, Rom, and Nog, together on that ship, all the way to Earth. Glad I'm not going with them."
Sisko: "Only thing that worries me - no one warned Earth that they're coming."

Quark: "They irradiated their own planet?"

Quark: "If they'll buy poison, they'll buy anything. I think I'm gonna like it here."

Wainwright: "You mean your people are going to invade... Cleveland?"

Carlson: "A vast alliance of planets. You get the craziest ideas."

4 out of 6 loads of contraband.

--
CoramDeo is not Herbert.

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