Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “Profit and Lace” (part 4 of 6)

Later, Ishka goes to Quark’s quarters and finds him curled up in a fetal position, pondering running away from it all and starting a new life somewhere. Strangely, I’m doing exactly the same thing right now. Ishka says this reminds her of when he was a “lobe-ling”. She says he was “always such a miserable child!” Perhaps, even at that age, he knew in his heart that someday he would make this episode.

Ishka says they all deal with stress differently. Quark curls up into a ball, Zek wants to play tongo, and she wants to eat some “fresh tube grubs”. Quark asks how she can eat at a time like this, leading to the expected Laverne & Shirley-esque comeback where she takes his question literally and describes in detail how she plans to eat the grubs. (Laverne ate insects, right?)

Quark hands her a bottle, but she complains that these tube grubs are “minced”, not fresh. Quark says it’s all her fault, leading to another extremely limp joke about how it’s not her fault the grubs aren’t fresh. Yeah, I know—all jokes in this episode are limp. And once you see Quark in drag, you’ll be limp, too. Even if you’re a chick. But alas, I’m getting ahead of myself.

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Quark accuses that Moogie, a staunch feminist, had the plan in her head all along to manipulate Zek into giving females equality. He yells that he wants Grand Nagus Zek back the way he used to be before he met her. And this diatribe also includes yet another repetition of the “Acting Grand Nagus Brunt” joke, and I think I’ve just about run out of ways to criticize the lameness of it. Let me think. Nope, I’m all out. When my own personal Mockery Well runs dry, you know something’s been repeated too much.

Quark says it’s all her fault that Zek is out of power, and he wraps this tirade up by yelling that Moogie is “the worst thing that ever happened to the entire Ferengi Alliance!” Which is really saying something. But still, I’m assuming all those Ferengi episodes are also pretty high on that list.

Moogie screams back that he’s a “miserable excuse for a son”, and just when she’s about to get to the really good insults, Quark shouts in her face and she collapses. Of course, she stiffly falls backwards, because that’s funny. Or at least, it was funny on that one episode of Alice. God, that Mel was hilarious. And that wacky Vera, too. Or, how about Flo? “Kiss my grits!” Oh yeah. This episode.

Quark is terrified that he may have killed his mom. At the exact same moment, everyone watching starts celebrating, and the two events are not related.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine "Profit and Lace" (part 4 of 6)

Finally, someone recognizes the comic genius of Linda Lavin!

Cut to the station’s Infirmary, where Moogie’s family keeps vigil. Zek angrily demands to know what Quark did to her. Quark relates the whole story, except for the part that includes the yelling and the collapsing and the dying. He insists he did nothing wrong.

Showing up at that moment to refute Quark’s claims is Dr. Bashir, strangely decked out in a crimson medical dress like he just stepped out of a Cronenberg film. He says Moogie will live, because he gave her a new heart (which, as established in a few TNG episodes, is not really that big of a deal). But she’ll need a few days to recuperate.

Bashir says she’ll also need to be kept far away from Quark, because she keeps saying, “It’s all Quark’s fault,” over and over again. Just like Alexander Siddig kept saying, “It’s all Ira Behr’s fault,” over and over again. To tell you the truth, at certain times during this episode I found myself saying, “It’s all Gene Roddenberry’s fault” over and over. You know an episode’s bad when it makes you wish the entire franchise never existed in the first place. Anyway, Zek and Rom give Quark accusatory looks, but he just blows them off.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine "Profit and Lace" (part 4 of 6)

“Hello, my name is Alexander Siddig. You killed my directing career. Prepare to die.”

A transition takes us to Quark’s bar, where he finally reveals exactly what happened that led to Ishka’s collapse. Rom says they have no choice but to contact Chairman Nilva to tell him the meeting’s postponed. But here’s where the ribald spirit of comedy finally asserts itself, because Zek exclaims that they can’t postpone the meeting. Brunt will be confirmed as Nagus in a mere two days. Oh, what a bind! It’s just like that Three’s Company episode!

Mr. Roper, I mean, Brunt shows up just in time to gloat some more. He already knows what happened to Ishka, and points out that the guys don’t know another “brilliant Ferengi female” to take her place. So then, Ishka is the best female mind that Ferenginar has ever produced? Hmm. I’m starting to side with Brunt now. Is that what the writers intended?

Zek makes to start a fistfight, which Brunt calls “pitiful”, because he used to be the Grand Nagus and now he’s just a common “barroom brawler”. Brunt chastises Zek once again for siding with a female, and leaves to, I guess, go gloat someplace else.

Rom suggests letting Nilva meet with his wife Leeta instead, which is a dumb idea on multiple levels and in many different dimensions. The guys are all out of options; There’s no Ferengi female to meet with Nilva. What to do, what to do?

Zek suggests they “make” a female. Quark thinks he’s talking about a hologram, but Zek has something “better” in mind. “Better” in the same sense that getting your genitals squeezed in a vise is “better” then introducing them to a buzzsaw. In other words, not better. So, so, so very not better. You could almost say it’s the opposite of better. What is that word again?

Oh yeah, worse. Much, much worse.

His idea, as it turns out, is to have Quark pose as a female.

Are you laughing yet? No? Then you never will. This is perhaps the single worst idea in all of Star Trek. Those guys who said, “Hey, let’s have Spock’s brain get stolen!” Those guys who said, “Hey! Let’s have a thirteen year old fly the ship!” Those guys who said, “Hey! Kirk dies when he falls under a bridge!” Those guys who said, “Hey! Let’s have a whole episode about the captain’s dog being sick!” All those guys? Bona fide geniuses compared to whoever first said, “Hey, let’s put Quark in drag!” I’d put this statement somewhere on the level of “Hey! Let’s change the formula for Coke!” or “Hey! Let’s invade Poland!”

Multi-Part Article: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine "Profit and Lace"

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