DS9 Spoiler: "The House of Quark"

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Tim Lynch

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Nov 2, 1994, 5:38:20 PM11/2/94
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[DS9] Lynch's Spoiler Review: "The House of Quark"

WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for DS9's "The House of
Quark". Please proceed no further without awareness of that basic truth.

Well ... basically a sitcom plot, inanities intact -- but it was cute.

But first, a summary:

======
While O'Brien deals with family problems, Quark finds himself caught in a
bind when he falsely boasts about killing a Klingon.
======

Well, there was good and bad in "The House of Quark", which is to be
expected. I think I liked it a bit better than part 2 of "The Search",
however; this show had far less lofty goals, yes, but it managed to achieve a
reasonable number of them without too many plotting goofs.

First, some continuity notes on the new season's changes. I'm pleased to see
that the Defiant is *not* being shoehorned into every plot simply because
there's this neat new set to play with. I'm also very pleased to see that
the Dominion remain a giant question mark -- no one knows quite what they are
or what's going to happen, and people are frightened and jumpy as a result.
That makes a *great* deal of sense, and is a good sign. [It also suggests
that the ID of the Founders is a well-kept secret, given everyone's lack of
reaction to Odo. That's also sensible.]

Some of the other plot threads set up in the season opener, however, seem to
have magically been cut away, which grates. We've just found out Odo is a
member of the race that *created* the Dominion, for heaven's sake. Starfleet
isn't worried about this? The lack of reaction of general station personnel
to Odo is sensible -- but the lack of senior people checking up on him, and in
particular the spontaneous disappearance of Cmdr. Eddington (who was there
because Starfleet wasn't happy with Odo *before*, remember), is not at all
sensible. Not good.

Okay, enough of the presence/absence of past stuff. What about the stories
we saw this time?

For the Quark-centered story, I enjoyed myself almost without wanting to. I
occasionally had the feeling "wait a second; this is almost making the
Klingons comic foils. I *shouldn't* be liking this", but somehow ended up
chuckling anyway. Things like the looks of Ultimate Skepticism [tm] on
Bashir's face during Quark's story were enough to keep me entertained early
on.

The main plot made sense (mostly), and actually does fit in with the idea
that the Klingons boast about honor, but rarely embody it. It was more than
a bit overdone, though -- in particular, D'Ghor did everything except twirl
his mustache and tie Grilka to the nearest runabout track. He was a
combination of Stock Bad Klingon and Klingon Parody, and frankly was more
boring than anything else.

Given that the plot was really almost sitcom level ("Quark's lies get him
into a wedding full of wackiness!" :-) ), though, it's a good thing that the
dialogue was a lot of fun. Even though I knew Quark's talking the Klingons
through the financial dealings wasn't going to work, and I groaned in
anticipation of what was coming ... I still grinned when I saw Gowron trying
desperately to wrap his neurons around an increasingly untenable situation.

While Quark's return to save the day was roughly 800% predictable (after a
very run-of-the-mill guilt sequence, too, saved only by Quark's "okay, let's
go" as soon as Grilka finished), his gambit *was* awfully nice thinking on
his part, and did take at least a few guts (which were almost strewn all over
the Great Hall ... but I digress). Nothing special, but fun. (D'Ghor's
willingness to eviscerate Quark right after the speech was fun, too -- it's
nice every so often to see a villain who really *doesn't* care whether he/she
looks like slime doing something.)

The story wasn't without its flat-on-its-face moments either, though. In
particular, I found the discommendation *way* overdone. I've always had the
impression that discommendation was only used for the Really Big Stuff, like
betraying one's family to the Romulans, not simply financial stuff. This
just felt pretty much *wrong*. [Some of Grilka's stuff also felt a bit like
"woman who can't get out of a problem without a man", which tends to get my
teeth on edge.]

All in all, though, Quark's story was a by-the-numbers plot, but pretty
smartly executed.

O'Brien's subplot, on the other hand, was very interesting. Not so much
because of the marriage problems (though they weren't bad), but because of
the ever-persistent rumors of Colm Meaney leaving the series. If they turn
out to be true, this would be a nice way to lead into it -- O'Brien decides
he really can't stay on a station where his wife is so unhappy, and opts out
for another location. We'll see.

The subplot itself was nicely done as well. As before, the strength was in
the execution rather than the story itself (though this one had an ending
that wasn't quite so obvious). I particularly liked the turnabout of having
Bashir give O'Brien advice on women -- after "Armageddon Game", it must've
been hell for O'Brien to have to sit there and listen to it. What's more,
the premise made such sense given the Dominion that I was surprised no one
had thought of it earlier. Of *course* the tension will make people leave
the station, and naturally that will lead to the lack of children.

It's worth noting, though, that that will lead to a lessened cultural tie
between the Federation and Bajor. This might cut down on some of the types
of shows I've really enjoyed from DS9 in the past, but it might *also* open
up some new types of stories. It depends on what people do with it, I
suppose.

[Besides, the line "you can't ask her to turn her *profession* into a hobby"
was also extremely right for its situation.]

There's really not much else to say. Which means, of course, that it's time
for a few short takes. :-)

-- "You are on Kronos." Hel-LO! After three years of debate over whether
the Klingons moved off Kronos for good after ST6 or simply evacuated and
returned, we know. Thanks, guys. :-)

-- You know, that marriage ceremony was pretty wimpy for a Klin ceremony. I
mean, this is a culture that hits its teenagers with pain-sticks. No blood
at a wedding? No physical pain?

-- Rom's newfound respect for Quark will be an interesting new wrinkle to
their relationship; assuming, of course, that it lasts. Ferengi do tend to
fall into the "what have you done for me lately?" concept quite easily, even
ones as thick as Rom.

-- And, of course, there's always got to be one dialogue "oops". Kira had it
this time, with her one line. :-) While I loved the sentiment of her "hmm;
must be some kind of human thing" reaction to Dax suggesting they leave the
boys alone, *Dax isn't human*, and she's the one who made the suggestion. I
think "some kind of Federation thing" might've been better -- but hey, that's
me.

That's about it. "The House of Quark" certainly didn't fascinate me or keep
me riveted -- but it was diverting for an hour, which isn't a bad thing in
itself. So, to close:

Plot: Solid, but by the numbers. Not a lot of holes (other than lapses from
previous stories), but not much of interest either.
Plot Handling: Very cute.
Characters/Acting: Leave D'Ghor out of it and we can cut a deal. :-)

OVERALL: Hmm ... let's say a 6. Decently done fluff.

NEXT WEEK:

Dax has some *weird* dreams...

Tim Lynch (Harvard-Westlake School, Science Dept.)
BITNET: tlynch@citjulie
INTERNET: tly...@juliet.caltech.edu
UUCP: ...!ucbvax!tlynch%juliet.ca...@hamlet.caltech.edu
"How can I repay you?"
"I would like a *divorce*, please -- no offense."
-- Grilka and Quark
--
Copyright 1994, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask...
This article is explicitly prohibited from being used in any off-net
compilation without due attribution and *express written consent of the
author*. Walnut Creek and other CD-ROM distributors, take note.

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