Sunday, September 18, 2011

Enter The Subplot For Star Trek: Deep Space Nine With "The Nagus"

The Good: A solid plotline, Good characters, Fun allusions, Good acting
The Bad: Sociological problems
The Basics: Good for general entertainment, "The Nagus" surprisingly maintains interest level after multiple viewings. Part of the essential DS9.

"The Nagus" represents the advent of the first of two major Star Trek: Deep Space Nine subplots. If the main plots of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are the Gamma Quadrant Exploration (which later becomes the Dominion plot) and the Bajor/Cardassia plot, then there are two important subplots (some would argue three, but we'll cross that one when we come to it. Come to think of it, we'll mention the second subplot only when it pops up, too!), the first of which is the Ferengi subplot.

The Ferengi Subplot begins with "The Nagus," which is the name of the leader of the Ferengi people. The Grand Nagus comes to Deep Space Nine to hold a business meeting on making opportunities in the Gamma Quadrant. Then he promptly dies. Quark gets named Grand Nagus of the Ferengi people in a turn for the humorous. While the unlikely turn of events seems to work out initially for him, soon his competitors are vying for the job both through business negotiations and more nefarious methods.

Quark is funny as the leader of the Ferengi Alliance and his attempts to make profit make him . . . well, none that we can see in this episode. After an assassination attempt, it becomes clear that Quark isn't going to last long unless he has help . . .

"The Nagus" is a good episode. It's fun, it's funny, it's cynical. It also features an hilarious allusion to The Godfather (reviewed here!)! That scene is wonderful even without knowing it it pretty much borrowed from the famous film. It marks the first, of several, times that Quark will be used to make mass culture references that are funny.

"The Nagus" lifts Quark out of being a token rogue element and it continues to raise the caliber of what the Ferengi are as a people. From their first episode in Star Trek The Next Generation where they were whip wielding barbarians to being the ultimate capitalist empire here in "The Nagus," they've come a long way! The problematic aspect is certain lines (i.e. Rom's at dinner) are written from the perspective of humans but said by Ferengi. That is, the lines utilize our values and judgments on the Ferengi, but are spoken by them. They speak as if they are condemning themselves and it "reads" wrong.

If for nothing else, this episode is part of the essential Star Trek Deep Space Nine in that it is the first of two important subplots and it sets up a second season episode (by showing that the Ferengi are working in the Gamma Quadrant) that becomes the defining moment in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It's fun, even for non-Trek fans if they can get past the sheer number of bizarre looking characters in it!

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the first season by clicking here!


For other episodes from the Star Trek franchise, please check out my index page!

© 2011, 2007, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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