Monday, April 15, 2013

Deep Space Nine, Season 3: The House of Quark

Deep Space Nine, Season 3
"The House of Quark"
Airdate: October 10, 1994
48 of 173 produced
48 of 173 aired


Quark is pulled into an intrigue involving Klingon society and politics when a drunken warrior falls on his own blade at his bar.

How do you solve a problem like Grilka?


Matthew: So, obviously this is a Ferengi Episode, inasmuch as it focuses on Quark. But really, it is moreso a Klingon Episode, because it shows us an aspect of Klingon society, namely the politics of the great houses, marriage, and property rights. Do I love what this tells us about Klingon culture? I don't know. I didn't hate it, to be sure, but I don't know that it answered any particular questions that had always been gnawing at me. As a Ferengi Episode, it's pretty light, which is kind of how I like it. A little Ferengi information goes a long way. Having one or two max in a scene tends to be enough for me.

Kevin: I think what makes this episode good, and what saves it from other Ferengi failures is that Quark is in an absurd situation but he's not himself absurd. If anything, he is the closest thing the audience has to an everyman in this episode. I also enjoy that the episode gave him a chance to be resourceful and crafty as opposed to merely criminal. I also enjoyed the element of D'Ghor using finances to attack Grilka's house as a way for Quark to get a few jabs against Klingon society the way he's done against human society. Most importantly, the comedy episode is actually funny. Between the scene in the bar, the wedding scene, and the scenes in The Great Hall, I laughed out loud several times during this episode. Lastly, I think the solution was well done as it relied on known elements of both Quark's character and Klingon culture.

Matthew: The side stories are just sort of OK. On the one hand, I like that the scenes on the station address the business and school consequences of the Dominion encounter. The Keiko story did not feel essential, though, since it didn't feature Jake or Nog or any other students at all, and since all of the botany was in dialogue.

Kevin: I actually really enjoy the  Keiko storyline. I think it did a really good job portraying a real marriage and the problems it faces. Keiko's desire for a career is portrayed well, and for a franchise that occasionally stumbles head long into sexism, it's nice that they can show a woman who desires a career in an honest, non-judgmental way. Bashir is smarmy as always, but his basic point that her career is as important as O'Brien's is a good one to make. I think it's also a credit to O'Brien's character that he is also willing to make sacrifices for the sake of his family.

Matthew: The story does a pretty good job of advancing Quark's character, showing that he does value things besides latinum. The comedy elements of Quark taking credit and then deflecting it is good, lots of good funny beats between Quark and Grilka. It was really funny whenever Grilka was aggressive or bossy with Quark. It showed us a fun aspect of Klingon womanhood, but it also showed us how Quark deals with being challenged physically - with humor as well as by weaseling out of situations.


Matthew: Armin Shimerman both funny and identifiable, as always. He had a great rapport with Mary Kay Adams as Grilka. When actors have comic chemistry, it can be a joy to watch. Adams really nailed the Klingon female, and I wonder what if any research she did on it, or if it was just good direction, good acting and improvisation. Shimerman was able to infuse Quark with a certain sort of dignity, even as he was conniving or craven.

Kevin: The chemistry really sold their scenes. I still lose it when Quark tried to make the pass on Grilka at the computer console, and I actually bought the kiss at the end. It was funny, obviously, but I never got the impression that it was being played just to shock or gross out the audience. The actors had chemistry that transcended the make up. Joseph Ruskin previously played Galt in "Gamesters of Triskelion," and I bet all the quatloos that he has one of the best voices in all the franchise. He'll be back several more times over the other series, and that makes me happy. He did a good job portraying the loyal, but slightly beleaguered majordomo. Robert O'Reilly was really good as Gowron. He hasn't really been played for laughs before, and I really like that he was able to act like Gowron, but riff well off of Quark and Grilka.

Matthew: This was a bit ho-hum for both Chao and Meaney, in my book. This was mostly the fault of the script perhaps, but it was not transcended by the acting. Keiko felt kind of pissy and irritating to watch. O'Brien came off as a bit clueless and patronizing. They did have a nice scene at the end, though, when O'Brien encouraged her to go on her long science trip.

Kevin: I didn't mind Keiko as much. On some level, nascent depression is only going to be so entertaining in and of itself. I agree the scene between the two at the end is the best part of their story, and the whole story should have been more of that. I would have liked to have seen a big fight or at least a bigger conversation. Still, for whatever other problems, the sense that the O'Briens are a real, live couple was still there.

Production Values

Matthew: Klingons have red blood, I guess. The costumes were nice, ranging from furry civilian gear to the now-standard warrior stuff. The Klingon sets are repurposed TNG assets for the most part, and there's not a thing wrong with that if you ask me. They looked cool then, and they look cool now.

Kevin: I let the blood thing go ages ago; it's just not worth the headache.  It's like the ridges. There is an explanation, but I absolutely don't care what it is and sincerely hope they never try to explain it explicitly. I think they were lighting the Hall differently this time, which on the pro-side, made the details sharper, but on the downside, it lost a little of the implied size. Especially with that many Klingons in the room, it felt a little smaller than its TNG appearances. Still, awesome sets overall though. I enjoyed the staging of D'Ghor being discommendated, another TNG call back. I liked Grilka's house, but wish we had gotten to see more than the foyer.


Matthew: At the end of the day, I think this is a 3. It's not a story that necessarily needs to be told, but it's fun while it's on the screen. It won't ring in the annals of Great Trek forever more, but then, not everything needs to. It's solidly average.

Kevin: I think Armin Shimerman's acting and the raw comedy value of the episode make it above average for me. If I were rating on pure entertainment value, I would give it a 4, but that alone is not the basis for a rating. Overall, I agree with the three. The O'Brien plot needed a little more than we got, and as much of a glimpse into Quark's character we saw, we should have gotten more of a look at the Klingons as well. Still, this is a fun episode and a total of 6 from the both us.

1 comment:

  1. So I just re-watched this episode and I have to saw the Grilka might need be put on the Women of Trek piece.