"The Magnificent Ferengi"
Airdate: December 17, 1997
132 of 173 produced
132 of 173 aired
When Quark receives a message that his mother has been kidnapped (and that there is a reward for her safe return), he puts a posse together to go get her back.
Yelgrun reacts to some mean Ferengi tube grub flatulence.
Matthew: I am definitely on record as saying I don't enjoy broad Ferengi comedy shows. That hasn't changed here, but this episode succeeds to some degree because it isn't purely a comedy show. I don't like the points where it veers into farce, and I'll discuss those below, but at the core, even if I don't care about Ishka, and there isn't much of an emotional core to Quark and Rom's desire to save her, the basic story structure of bringing together a band if disparate people for a mission works. They worked in some previous characters such as Brunt, Cousin Gaila, Leck, and Keevan, and made some of them at least moderately interesting (with the "eliminator" Leck being the most interesting to my mind) and gave them sufficient twists and turns to keep the viewer engaged. So I think this show does a pretty good job on basic entertainment value.
Kevin: I tend to enjoy the broad Ferengi episodes a bit more. I may be more alert for the moment they go off the rails, but overall, Shimerman always brings enough to the table that I at least enjoy myself. Here, I think the episode largely succeeds because it makes one of the central points treating the Ferengi with something akin to respect. It even manages to resolve the episode by relying on rather than dismissing their wily natures. Also, the clear riff on the Magnificent Seven was fun and done with a sufficiently light hand to be a fun homage. Lastly, all the one liners really sang for me. "Rom...he doesn't care." "Truer words were never spoken." just slays me every time.
Matthew: As far as things I didn't like - I found the holodeck simulation to be a bit much. Would they all be so hapless with weapons? The Ferengi have really fallen a long way from the militarily competent force they started out as on TNG. Also, would they really be flung around by phaser fire in a holodeck? How could safeties account for that? Falling and breaking your neck should work on any floor, holographic or otherwise. Rom accidentally blowing the 50 bars vs. 20 bars scam was stupid for his character, and I think it was played for a cheap laugh. Rom is such a borderline character. When he stands up to Quark or makes interesting contributions, such as suggesting negotiation rather than fighting, he is fun to watch. When he is cheap comic relief, I just cringe. Oh, well, at least Leeta wasn't present very much in the story.
Kevin: They probably did lean too hard on them being incompetent. They could have brought that down a shade. I mean Rom cooly snagged Damar's "Super Secret Jem'Hadar Genocide Plan" padd a few episodes back, so I think he can reliably trusted to keep his cool in a crisis. I also found the Frankenstein solution a tad overly cute, but I can't deny I chuckled.
Matthew: The basics of the prisoner exchange were competent. The Keevan automation could have gone into Spock's Brain territory, but it was done quickly enough to make it simple funny and an interesting tension source. Yelgrun was an interesting antagonist for the episode, and is another in a line of well done Vorta. I do think it was a teensy bit cheap to place the station on Empok Nor, but it works in continuity so I'll allow it. I will ask, though - just what is the off axis station supposed to mean if the interior is still full gravity?
Kevin: Way back in Season 3, the writers explictly created the trio of Founders, Jem'Hadar, and Vorta to insure that the villain wouldn't crap out like the Ferengi, and I have to say the Vorta are the clear win. A lot of it is the acting (Hi, Jeffrey Combs!) but they are just the most ripe for drama. Their machinations are just inherently more relatable and interesting than the Founders' "above it all" or the Jem'Hadar's single-mindedness. I forgive the axis thing just as a convenient visual cue as to which station we're on.
Matthew: Shimerman was typically excellent. I enjoyed his initial scene probable most of all, in which he holds court at his bar. Grodenchik was good when he was allowed to be, but as usual couldn't sell the scenes in which his character is made to be dumb. Jeffrey Combs was his usual Brunt, which is fine, but it's no Weyoun. I found Aron Eisenberg to be grating, but that was mostly script. I enjoyed Hamilton Camp as Leck, because he provided a nice change from the typical Ferengi role as buffoon.
Kevin: Something I really liked in "Soldiers of the Empire" in Season 5 was that it painted such diversity inside the Klingon people. I enjoy it here as well. There is obviously a clear through line for all the characters, but everyone down the line has a fully formed personality that is just more fun to watch and makes the Ferengi a more interesting people. I liked the shades of super-eager in Eisenbeg's performance. He's the Wesley of Ferenginar for a little while. I have to complement them all on comic timing. They have it in buckets.
Matthew: What's to say about Iggy Pop here? He kicked ass. His voice is super interesting, and his chemistry with both Shimerman and Cecily Adams' Ishka was superb. He also cut a really visually interesting figure in the Vorta makeup. So all in all, he completely obviates any accusations as stunt casting. If you had told me this was any other professional actor, I'd have no trouble believing it. Speaking of Vorta, Christopher Shea was excellent as Keevan, playing almost a straight man to the Ferengis' buffoonery.
Kevin: Iggy Pop really nailed it. I wonder how much prep work he did for this in terms of understanding the universe. He really felt a part of it. You can just imagine him having whispered conversations with Weyoun at some Vorta summit. I liked Adams' Ishka. She has good comic timing with all the members of her family. And Keevan's dead pan was also pretty fantastic.
Matthew: We see Empok Nor again, which of course is just the main set re-dressed. It was re-dressed in a way that was just fine, but not terribly interesting. Why are there so many crates and barrels on an abandoned station, anyway? The Ferengi ship was the other new-ish set we got, and it looked fine. All in all, nothing much to report in this category. Makeup and costumes were fine all around.
Kevin: They did a good job with that firing line on the Promenade. Especially for the amount of time that must have taken for a quick shot. I was impressed by the implied scale.
Matthew: The entertainment value of this show is deflated a bit by its lack of ambition and its propensity to veer into silly humor. Parts of it were tension-filled, but other parts made me roll my eyes. This is a pretty easy call as a 3 for me.
Kevin: I would consider this in the top tier of Ferengi episodes, take that how you will. Still, I always watch it when I rewatch Season 6, and it's a fun exploration of how the Ferengi view themselves and want to be viewed by others. I agree with 3, for a total of 6.