Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Grand Nagus And Quark's Mother Hook Up In “Ferengi Love Songs!”

The Good: Funny, Decent plot and character
The Bad: Somewhat predictable character arc.
The Basics: "Ferengi Love Songs" is a charmless tale that simple establishes Zek and Ishka's relationship and cements Rom and Leeta's.

The Ferengi subplot of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine often included episodes that were silly and of little lasting consequence. Until this point, "Rules Of Acquisition" stands out as the Ferengi episode where something of real import occurs. Besides the introduction of the Dominion, the Ferengi episodes do little, but amuse. In "Ferengi Love Songs," Ishka - Quark's mother - returns and little happens, but Quark's business license is renewed.

When Quark's Bar is closed due to a vole infestation, Quark's life seems desolate. He does what anyone in that situation would do; he returns home to visit his mother. Quark arrives on the Ferengi Homeworld to find his mother in a relationship with Grand Nagus Zek. Brunt, the FCA liquidator, employs Quark to break up the aging couple. His offer; break the pair up and get back his business license. Quark, feeling the strain of not being able to do business with other Ferengi, agrees. When Quark succeeds, he discovers that Zek is suffering from memory loss, a condition kept in check by Ishka. Now, Quark must help get the couple back together to thwart Brunt.

The episode does little but restore Quark's business license and establish the relationship between Zek and Ishka. That relationship comes into play in at least two subsequent episodes, but the restoration of Quark's Ferengi business license has remarkably few visible consequences. After all, back in "Business As Usual," Gaila and Hagath did business with Quark despite his lack of a license. Indeed, "Ferengi Love Songs" is one of the last points in the series where Quark is seen doing any business.

Wallace Shawn does an excellent job portraying Grand Nagus Zek. He is funny and he plays the aging Ferengi well, realistically creating bewilderment in a character that has been strong and smart up until now. Even in "Prophet Motive," he was not confused, which makes this new acting territory for Shawn on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Cecily Adams takes over the role of Ishka in "Ferengi Love Songs," a recasting decision that will last the remainder of the series. Adams does a fine job continuing the character with almost no sense of discontinuity.

Armin Shimerman's portrayal of Quark is fine, but does not stretch his acting wings. Instead, this is Shimerman reminding us how devious Quark can be. In "Ferengi Love Songs," he does that well, though he has done is equally well in the past.

Unfortunately, "Ferengi Love Songs" ends up as a rather average Ferengi episode, not expanding the premises and concepts of the Ferengi beyond what has already been done in previous Ferengi episodes. Indeed, "The Nagus" does more for establishing the Ferengi than "Ferengi Love Songs" does for expanding the race.

In the end, the only reason to watch this episode is for the b-plot. There, Rom and Leeta finally hook up in a meaningful way. Rom manages to propose to Leeta and the relationship takes for good. That b-plot throws the episode over ultimately into the "recommend" category. Were it not for that, the episode would be average without redemption.

As it is, "Ferengi Love Songs" lacks the charm to appeal to those who are not fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine or the Star Trek universe. But for those who enjoy the Trek universe, "Ferengi Love Songs" works well to continue the story of the supplemental characters of the series. It's entertaining, but little more than that.

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


For other Star Trek reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject for an organized list by clicking here!

© 2012, 2007, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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