Quark faces some changes in the episode that originally aired on May 13,1998. This is Profit and Lace.
Station Log Stardate Undetermined
In order to prevent Liquidator Brunt from taking over as Grand Negus, Quark undergoes a sex change.
Yes, you read that right so bear with me please.
Here we go.
Quark shows his misogynistic ways as he tries to get one of his dabo girls to perform oomox on him as he praises her work at his bar. His efforts are interrupted when Rom busts in informing Quark that he has lost contact with Ferenginar. Fearing the worst they go to Ops believing that the Dominion have invaded their homeworld. Their fears are elated when Grand Negus Zek and Ishka arrive on the station informing them that Zek has been deposed as the Grand Negus with Brunt in line to take over as the leader of the Ferengi Government. Zek has arrived on DS9 to begin his attempt to retake the Ferengi homeworld or die trying.
Zek takes over Quarks quarters as the new headquarters of ‘the sole legitimate government of Ferenginar’. His plan is to invite the heads of Fereginar to their new quarters in order to get Ishka to sell her new vision to the heads of state. He is convinced that they can take the government back over. Soon however, it becomes clear it will be much more difficult when most of his contacts on Ferenginar, with the exception of Slug-o-cola chairman Nilva, refuses to attend the meeting with Grand Negus Zek. Things get even more difficult when Acting Nagus Brunt arrives on the station.
Acting Nagus Brunt makes it clear he plans to take over completely and plans to prevent them from preventing him from becoming the Grand Nagus of Ferenginar. Quark soon steps in and threatens Brunt even though he knows it is a dangerous move. As soon as Brunt leaves, Quark heads to his quarters where makes it clear to his mother that he knows his life is all but over. The two begin to argue and, in the process, Ishka passes out from the excitement. In the infirmary, The Nagus informs Quark that Ishka was the linchpin of his plans and they are soon shocked to learn from Bashir that Ishka has suffered from a heart attack.
With Ishka requiring a new heart, there is no chance for her to be available for the upcoming meeting with Nilva. Soon Zek comes up with a plan to replace Ishka with a new female, and that female will be Quark
Undergoing a sex change operation, Quark takes on the persona of Lumba and begins working with Rom’s wife Leeta to learn to become more Female. With only a short time before Nilva arrives, Quark and team begin to prep for the upcoming meeting. They are surprised however, when Nilva arrives early.
Immediately Nilva makes it clear he must conduct business that night and is interested in chatting with Lumba that very night. Nilva and Lumba head to Quarks bar and begin to talk business. Lumba convinces Nilva that allowing females to wear clothes gives them pockets and the females will want to fill those pockets. Adding them to the work force will increase purchases and thus profits. Lumba then convinces Nilva that he can increase sales of Slug-o-cola by marketing to women. With Nilva convinced, the two head to Nilva’s quarters in order to enjoy a Slug-o-cola together. There Quark learns first hand what it is like to have someone try to force themselves on him. Just when things get intense, Brunt arrives accusing Lumba of being a man in desquise. Lumba soon proves that she is really a female by disrobing in front of them both. Brunt is shocked at the revelation and Nilva agrees to help Zek regain his title as Nagus.
After Nilva leaves and Quark has been returned to his male form, Odo finds the Ferengi Bartender lamenting Nilva’s departure. It is clear that the affects of Bashir’s surgery is still affecting Quark and the Ferengi asks Odo for a hug.
Zek and Ishka head back to Ferenginar to reclaim his throne and continue moving Ferenginar into the future. Still experiencing his emotional swings, Quark shocks himself when he refuses the advances of his Dabo girl who has decided she liked the idea of giving Quark Oomox while also giving her a raise.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
While I normally love the Ferengi episodes, this one always bothered me as it always felt disingenuous. Sure the trope of a man becoming a woman and experiencing life in a different way has been around since the dawn of entertainment, but this time it just felt forced.
The biggest problem, besides the rather awkward sex change story that is done for nothing but laughs, is that Quark literally learns nothing from his experience. Unlike films such as Switch, where a man is reincarnated as a woman and learns he should not be a sexist womanizer, Quark receives no big revelation, no education in his treatment of women and certainly no change to the personality of his character. To be honest, this episode may as well never have happened as it literally has zero ramifications to the characters involved.
Well that’s not entirely fair, Ferenginar does experience the beginnings of a suffragette movement but that could have been accomplished in so many better ways. All in all, this is probably one of the worst episodes of the season, if not the series and really should be skipped at all costs. It’s bad, hands down.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- This is not the last we see of Zek or Ishka.
- sadly not even the great Wallace Shaun could save this train wreck.
- and we will pretend Alexander Siddig didn’t direct this one okay…
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Ferengi Love Songs
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Late To The Game 4/2/2022 (Originally published 1/27/2020)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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