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1.11 The Nagus

DS9-RW

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#1 Orpheus

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:15 AM

With the sudden death of Grand Nagus Zek, Quark becomes the new leader of the Ferengi Alliance, but he also becomes a target for murder.



#2 writergroupie

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:04 AM

"It's like talking to a Klingon!" :D

As the Ferengi episodes could veer further into shtick than most other episodes of the show, I was pleasantly surprised by how well this episode holds up.

Wallace Shawn gets his intro here as Grand Nagus Zek along with charming silent loyal servant Maihar'du.  This episode popularized a fair amount of Ferengi customs - shout outs to the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, the kissing of the staff, the bribery and value system of the culture and how they approach commerce.

I know that some Ferengi episodes could go over the top with the humor as I mentioned, but I found this episode well tempered by the marvelous subplot of Jake teaching Nog to read, and really establishing what a good kid he was and what a good dad Sisko was which made the episode particularly enjoyable.

This was really the first episode to me that felt purely DS9 without the TNG residue and resonates well with where the series would go (probably no surprise this was an Ira episode).  This was all about DS9 and its characters.  And funny, I only just realized - this was a bottle show wasn't it?  Again impressive that it didn't even feel like it while watching it. :)
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#3 Josh

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:36 AM

Man, Jill! You're just moving along home with this rewatch! We can't keep up with you! :p

(I'll probably watch this one tomorrow night but it recall it being less agonizing than most Ferengi episodes, perhaps because it was the first.)

Edited by Josh, 21 January 2013 - 01:36 AM.

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#4 writergroupie

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:19 PM

:D Just trying to watch when I can, but trying to stay on the weekly suggested schedule. :)  And I really wanted to get through and past "Move Along Home" so I sped up a bit to get that one in my rearview mirror. :D

And yes, I think this is definitely one of the less comedic Ferengi episodes - because it was the first and because of the Sisko/Jake/Nog subplot. :)
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#5 Josh

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:30 PM

"Move Along Home" is pretty agonizing but I can't lump it in with bottom of the barrel eps like "Profit and Lace", "Let He Who Is Without Sin" or "Meridian." My litmus test is whether I can make it through the episode or not. The last time I watched "Profit and Lace", I turned it off five minutes in. ;)
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#6 FarscapeOne

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:44 PM

I always thought casting Wallace Shawn as Zek was perfect.  I have to say, the casting department for DS9 was the best of the sequel series.  Even though I think TNG, DS9, VOYAGER, and ENTERPRISE all had the same casting department, for some reason it was better on DS9.

#7 FarscapeOne

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:47 PM

View PostJosh, on 21 January 2013 - 03:30 PM, said:

"Move Along Home" is pretty agonizing but I can't lump it in with bottom of the barrel eps like "Profit and Lace", "Let He Who Is Without Sin" or "Meridian." My litmus test is whether I can make it through the episode or not. The last time I watched "Profit and Lace", I turned it off five minutes in. ;)

I agree with you here, but of the episodes you mentioned, "PROFIT AND LACE" is the only one with NO redeeming quality to it whatsoever, in my opinion.  Might be the reason why Siddig was the only of the main cast of actors who also directed that DIDN'T direct an episode in the 7th season.

At least with "MERIDIAN" we got Jeffrey Combs first coming aboard, despite not being Brunt or Weyoun.  And "LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN..." at least gave us some backstory and explanation as to why Worf has always been so disciplined.

Edited by FarscapeOne, 21 January 2013 - 03:50 PM.


#8 QuiGon John

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:32 PM

My memory is that "The Nagus" was far better than most Ferengi episodes. They didn't become ridiculously horrible until they became a "thing," the running joke from the Vault of Eternal Destitution. The Nagus was actually sort of amusing, in a more-Ferengi-than-thou kind of way. Hated Rom, hated Leeta, hated Brunt, hated Moogie. But this episode didn't have the latter three, and Rom wasn't in full-on annoying idiot savant mode yet. So this episode was fine.

I may never forgive it for what it spawned, however...

#9 Josh

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:56 PM

View PostQuiGon John, on 21 January 2013 - 04:32 PM, said:

My memory is that "The Nagus" was far better than most Ferengi episodes. They didn't become ridiculously horrible until they became a "thing," the running joke from the Vault of Eternal Destitution. The Nagus was actually sort of amusing, in a more-Ferengi-than-thou kind of way. Hated Rom, hated Leeta, hated Brunt, hated Moogie. But this episode didn't have the latter three, and Rom wasn't in full-on annoying idiot savant mode yet. So this episode was fine.

I may never forgive it for what it spawned, however...

There's only two Ferengi episodes that I can tolerate. This one and "The Magnificent Ferengi." Episodes that center around Quark only tend to have a higher batting average (like "Business as Usual" or "Body Parts").
"THE UNICORNS ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" - John Burke.

#10 QuiGon John

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:07 PM

Quark-only episodes were often pretty good. Magnificent Ferengi wasn't awful, largely because of the Dominion angle. I even enjoyed Little Green Men.

A lot of the other episodes gave me the same feeling you get from a joke that keeps being told over and over, and it's really not that amusing, only the person telling the joke doesn't realize it and keeps digging themselves in deeper.

That's sort of what the DS9 writers did with the Ferengi. :p

#11 FarscapeOne

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:30 PM

If there was any one flaw that Ira Steven Behr had as a writer on DS9, it was his major fascination with the Ferengi, and ultimately how they were portrayed.

I think he had so much fun writing and exploring the Ferengi that he became blinded to how they ended up being portrayed.

#12 Josh

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:33 PM

View PostFarscapeOne, on 21 January 2013 - 05:30 PM, said:

I think he had so much fun writing and exploring the Ferengi that he became blinded to how they ended up being portrayed.

I agree. He also had a gigantic blind spot with Dukat which ultimately destroyed that character.
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#13 DWF

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:23 PM

I rather liked the Godfather scene in this one but for the most part it was a typical Ferengi comedy, The Magnificent Ferengi and Little Green Men being the exception.
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#14 writergroupie

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:54 AM

View PostFarscapeOne, on 21 January 2013 - 03:47 PM, said:

View PostJosh, on 21 January 2013 - 03:30 PM, said:

"Move Along Home" is pretty agonizing but I can't lump it in with bottom of the barrel eps like "Profit and Lace", "Let He Who Is Without Sin" or "Meridian." My litmus test is whether I can make it through the episode or not. The last time I watched "Profit and Lace", I turned it off five minutes in. ;)

I agree with you here, but of the episodes you mentioned, "PROFIT AND LACE" is the only one with NO redeeming quality to it whatsoever, in my opinion.  Might be the reason why Siddig was the only of the main cast of actors who also directed that DIDN'T direct an episode in the 7th season.

At least with "MERIDIAN" we got Jeffrey Combs first coming aboard, despite not being Brunt or Weyoun.  And "LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN..." at least gave us some backstory and explanation as to why Worf has always been so disciplined.
I think everyone agrees Profit and Lace was one of the lowest points ever. :(

But I'm the contrarian who happens to love Meridian for the exact same reason I'm a sucker for TNG's The Price and VOY's Resolutions.  Because they're stupidly, romance-novel/ficcy/shippy stories!  They may be terrible... but I still fall for them every time. :blush:
I write, therefore I am.

But... but... if it's not magic and sparkly how can I use it to reshape the universe?  Without the magic sparklies, it's like... just a metaphor.
-- Me (on bonsai)

#15 FarscapeOne

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:51 AM

The thing is, I remember when I first saw the promo for "PROFIT AND LACE", before it aired the first time, I swore it was going to be titled "DRAG QUARK".

#16 Virgil Vox

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:37 PM

I always liked the Ferengi episodes. Though I hadn't seen this one before. I liked it. Rom displays more of his idiot savant personality but it's not quite all there yet. I thought it was funny that Quark rewarded Rom for trying to kill him. Ah, Ferengi.
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#17 FarscapeOne

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:19 PM

Quark rewarded him with that 'title' because it was one of the few times in Rom's life, maybe even the first as far as Quark knew, that Rom acted like a true Ferengi.

#18 DWF

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:37 PM

View PostFarscapeOne, on 24 January 2013 - 02:19 PM, said:

Quark rewarded him with that 'title' because it was one of the few times in Rom's life, maybe even the first as far as Quark knew, that Rom acted like a true Ferengi.

It also meant he didn't have to give Rom a raise. :D
The longest-running science fiction series: decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core. Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans... Cybermen! They're still in the nursery compared to us. Fifty years of absolute fandom. That's what it takes to be really critical.

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#19 FarscapeOne

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:09 PM

Quite true.  A token gesture, basically.

#20 Orpheus

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:12 PM

I've always felt the show completely missed the boat with the Ferengi culture.

They really had a great premise, too. I'm probably more conservative and more of a laissez faire free marketer than most of you (and I was an outright Objectivist/Libertarian in my youth), but I still saw how a species that mirrored the Yankee traders, and the excesses of the colonial era could have been --could hardly fail to be-- insightful and educational. Yet, the Ferengi were simple-minded parodies -- whether in combat, in negotiation, or (as here) on heir own.

We're all aware of the (literally) Machiavellian machinations among the royalty in pre-colonial Europe, in historical China, etc. This was *literally* a parody of that, not an exploration. Contrast it with any serious historical drama of the era -- you almost can't: there's no common ground.

What saddens me is that I sometimes suspect the writers thought they *were* exploring something. Yet those same writers were clearly capable of great insight and delicacy. I don't self-identify with the current leadership for what passes for a conservative wing in the US government, but I see too many people today who feel free to casually refer to, say, devout Republicans, as suit-wearing chimps (or mullet-wearing, Bible-thumping, etc. depending on what stereotype they're pandering too) Is it possible that the writers really held that view of "the excesses of capitalism"?

Don't get me wrong, you don't have to look far into the excesses of capitalism to get as extreme an example as you wish (e.g. slavery) The same can be said for communism or socialism, but it was almost like the writers were afraid to dignify the Ferengi with any issue of gravitas. I personally can see a *real* Ferengi empire having real assassination, but here, Quark&co seemed surprised by this novel prospect. I can see 'real' Ferengi having (or turning an official blind eye to) some form of slavery or indenture and a functional equivalent of selling less-fortunate Ferengi or other sentients for their labor or other services. I can see them (more than the Klingons) devastating ecosystems and even entire geologies and then moving on. Where are the weighty issues that the Ferengi were supposedly created to elpore. Did I miss that ep?

As much as I like Zek's playful charm and Shimerman's series-long performance, every element of the Ferengi culture (and most characters) were pathetic handrubbing comic book villains -- no, the junior bookkeepers of a comic book archvillain and not one of them, Zek included, would ever be promoted out of the basement.

It's not that I didn't enjoy the episode. I just imagine it done seriously and... wow, such a difference



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