Episode 5.18: Business as Usual

This is Quark’s best episode, in my opinion. His morality is really put to the test. He’s actually in a fairly desperate situation. He’s barred from doing business with other Ferengi. He’s in immense debt. He doesn’t have new prospects of income on the horizon, and his primary source (the bar) is up for collateral with three creditors. Gaila’s offer is really attractive to Quark. Mere weeks with Hagath would wipe out Quark’s debt. Because of his desperate situation, Quark forgets where the line is. He forgets that even selling holographic weapons is morally reprehensible. The moment lives start being discussed however, he realized he was in over his head. When he shows up at Dax’s quarters with the tongo board, I think he’s trying to seek help from her. In the end, he found a clever way to get out of it (let everyone kill each other), but he was also reminded where his moral lines are. He turned down 10 million bars of latinum because he would have had to destroy a planet for it.  For all of his pettiness and minor criminal activity, Quark has more scruples than to an arms dealer. He only does so here because he felt like he had no other choice. I’m glad they pulled back and didn’t have him go down this path willingly.

I wonder how often we rationalize our behavior so that we can get out of situations. If my scruples were put to the test, would I maintain my standards, or would I start to slip in ways like Quark does here? I think it’s really easy to judge someone without understanding the journey that brought them to a moment. Now, I’m not defending Quark’s actions, nor am I saying that actions are objectively wrong, but I am saying that temptation is a very strong motivator. It’s too common to find ourselves in a situation where we must choose between two unfortunate situations. I actually see parallels from this episode to In The Pale Moonlight (Ep. 6.19) Both involve moral compromise, though this one is more light-hearted and the gain is merely financial. Quark is left with the choice of becoming destitute or selling a few weapons and compromising his personal integrity.

This is another B-side story that I feel like is all fluff. Some nice banter between Bashir and O’Brien, but that’s about it.

Random Thoughts: 1) The actor who plays Bashir, Alexander Siddig, directs this episode. However, he’s billed as Siddig El Fadil, which was his stage name from the first part of the series. I’m not sure why he reverted here for his director’s credit. 2) Random connection, but Josh Pais, the actor who plays Gaila, also played Raphael in the 1990 Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. 3) Steven Berkoff, the actor who plays Hagath, is fairly well known. He was in the Bond film Octopussy. He’s also got a number of theater credits. 4) Lawrence Tierney, the actor who played the Regent, is well known for taking on mobster roles. 5) Gaila says that weapons are a growth industry, further hinting at war to come. 6) A Rule of Acquisition is obliquely quoted, and no number reference is given. Rule 62: The riskier the road, the greater the profit. 7) Quark does get out of all his debt. 8) Yet he gets back in debt to repay the damage to the cargo bay. But it’s better to be in debt to the Federation than to anyone Quark would find elsewhere. 9) I did like the scene in Odo’s office where Quark is told he won’t be prosecuted by the Bajoran government. He’s reminded by Sisko of all he’s gotten and how grateful he should be.

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~ by Joshua Black on June 30, 2018.

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