Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places

Quark: "Then what?"
Dax: "Then she either accepts your offer, or she has her bodyguard shatter every bone in your body."
Quark: "Sounds reasonable."

By nature I love brevity: DS9 does Cyrano de Bergerac, and it's actually surprisingly interesting and funny. As episodes where two main characters get together, though, it's... a whole lot better than Trek normally gives us. Looking at you, 'His Way'.

Look. I love 'The House of Quark'. It's a classic example of two things that should never go together, but are really funny when they are put together. So I was sort of predisposed to like this episode. It does have some pretty glaring flaws, but it's entertaining, and it's well executed from the concept.

One of the interesting flaws has to do with continuity, which is uncharacteristic for DS9. For example, when Worf is asked if he has ever pursued a Klingon woman, he says no, and does not acknowledge TNG's K'Ehleyr. When Quark is speaking with Grilka at the beginning, he says that he thinks war is good for nothing. But Rule of Acquisition #34 says explicitly that 'War is good for business'. It's not like any of these things couldn't be resolved easily; one could make the very good point that Worf never traditionally courted K'Ehleyr, and Quark might prefer Rule of Acquisition #35: 'Peace is good for business'. But the fact that it is easy to address these issues makes it all the stranger that they went unacknowledged.

Future continuity, too, is a little dicey, although it's not the fault of this episode. Grilka disappears after this and is never seen or mentioned again. And although Trek is full of these things, the device Worf uses to control Quark's movements would probably be really useful in some other situations. It's pretty clear the episode has one long-term goal in mind – getting Worf and Dax together – and the rest is inconsequential.

But the actual episode while you're watching it is harmless enough. The A-story is dependable, since Cyrano de Bergerac is such an interesting and rich story. I liked the glimpses of Klingon culture we got, including the first on-screen sample of Klingon opera. Mary Kay Adams' Grilka is a delight, and the regular actors also got a great chance to flex their comedic talents. But I actually prefer the B-story a little bit, an opinion shared by the episode's writer, Ron Moore.

In the B-story, we find three satisfying character arcs, for Kira, O'Brien, and Bashir. I love this because it's very, very human (Kira's Bajoran, but I digress). We see O'Brien struggling through his natural inclinations for the sake of his marriage, and Kira's journey through those same struggles, again for the sake of propriety. Too often on television, people throw everything away for a stupid, fleeting passion claiming it's love. And indeed, that is a very real temptation that people face. But here, O'Brien's commitment wins out, and he and Kira take wise and mature steps to make sure nothing happens that they will surely regret. There's a nice little bit part for Bashir, too, as he eavesdrops and pokes his nose into places it doesn't belong, and finds himself by the end regretting even simple questions like 'What happened to you?' It's a light-hearted poke at another deep-seated human tendency, towards nosiness and gossip.

All in all, this is some good fun, nothing too deep or difficult. It's a little careless in places, but otherwise very entertaining.

Strange New Worlds:

Today's episode stayed entirely on the station, although Kira was headed for 'the most romantic place in all of Bajor'.

New Life and New Civilizations:

Some more of Ron Moore's beloved Klingon culture, and a little fake Ferengi culture, but no new creatures here.

Pensees:

-So if Grilka said he had the soul of a Basai master, and Quark was unaware that a Basai master was a poet, does that mean Quark was a poet and he didn't even know it?

-This episode was directed by Andrew Robinson, known to many as Garak. He also directed two episodes of Voyager.

-'Looking for par'Mach in all the Wrong Places' is the third longest title of a Star Trek episode, behind 'For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky' (TOS) and 'The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry' (DIS).

-You may recognize the older Klingon man as Galt from the TOS episode 'The Gamesters of Triskelion'.

Quotes:

Quark: "You're the only Klingon I know who drinks something other than bloodwine. Or prune juice."

Worf, to Morn: "I will apologize for this at a later time... (louder) YOU ARE IN MY SEAT!"

Quark: "It's attitudes like that that keep you people from getting invited to all the really good parties."

Kira: "Miles?"
O'Brien: "Yes, Nerys?"
Kira: "Get out."

A pleasant experience. 4 out of 6 pairs of size 18 boots.
--
CoramDeo is ready to give his five bucks if it comes to it.

2 comments:

Victoria Grossack said...

I think K'Eheleyr was only half-Klingon and she had rejected most Klingon traditions. So in a sense she was not Klingon.

Victoria Grossack said...

Also, I have found that "His Way" has aged surprisingly well. At least for me.