December 17, 2012
Star Trek: DS9 - Ep 10 - The Nagus
Thankfully, no. "The Nagus" is the first Ferengi-centered episode that Deep Space Nine had and it is still the best, even on repeat-viewing. While Ira Steven Behr, the producer of the show, would go on to produce many cringe-inducing Ferengi episodes in subsequent seasons, I can't hold that against this one. "The Nagus" is just a treat from start to finish. Even the B-plot of Jake (Cirroc Lofton) and Nog (Aron Eisenberg) staying friends despite their parents' wishes has some wonderful moments.
Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn) of the Ferengi has come to Deep Space Nine to see Quark, sample his holo-programs and hold a meeting on extending the Ferengi influence (though certainly not the reputation!) through the wormhole and into the Gamma Quadrant. Zek has decided that he's too old to take charge of these new opportunities so he wants to appoint a successor. All of the Ferengi in the room are waiting with bated breath, but it blows out explosively when Zek names Quark. Everybody is outraged, but they soon drop back into the familiar Ferengi pattern of sucking up to the boss. Others may be doing more than sucking up, though, and Zek is surprised that the first threat took so long to materialize. Things get worse when Zek dies right in front of Quark! How will Quark handle all this? Or will he survive to even have to worry about it?
Shawn plays Zek perfectly, just slightly over the top with a sort of shrill voice. It comes *this* close to being annoying, but it doesn't quite reach there (subsequent episodes are good at that). Grodenchik is perfect as the hopeless Rom, removing Nog from school at the first sign that the Nagus disagrees with the notion of a Ferengi being taught by a "Hu-mon female." He does even better when Quark becomes Nagus and enlists him as a bodyguard because he's the only one Quark can trust. The thought of Rom as a bodyguard is enough to initiate chuckles all by itself. Rene Auberjonois plays Odo in another wonderful performance with a mix of cynicism and sarcasm. His scenes with Quark as they try to figure out who tried to kill the new Nagus are priceless.
I have to mention the B-plot in this review as well. Nog gets pulled out of school and both his and Jake's parents have told them that Ferengi and humans have nothing in common and shouldn't be friends. I really love Eisenberg and Lofton's acting in this story. They are quite touching and effective. Sisko (Avery Brooks) doesn't want to try and separate them, despite O'Brien's (Colm Meaney) suggestions, but Jake seems to be misbehaving all the more. The final revelation of what's going on is quite sweet. Lofton and Brooks play the perfect father-son pair, as Jake wants to grow up and Sisko doesn't want to let him. Lofton is the antithesis of Wesley from Next Generation: a typical 14 year old. It was nice to see that Star Trek could actually handle a kid as a character.
This is Deep Space Nine's first attempt at a comedy episode, and it works wonders. As long as they don't overdo it, more of this would be greatly appreciated.
"You're saying 'Vulcans stole your homework?'" - O'Brien
"All this benevolence wearies me" - Quark