Monday, April 3, 2017

Deep Space Nine 6x12 "Who Mourns for Morn?"

rating: **

the story: This is an episode about Morn, but it doesn't actually involve Morn...

what it's all about: Morn is a character only true Deep Space Nine fans will care about, one of those gimmick characters like Wilson (never saw his face in Home Improvement) or Maris (Niles Crane's never-seen but often-referenced ex-wife in Frasier) who are basically an ongoing gag.  Morn was Quark's most famous patron at the bar, a familiar slug-like presence who never spoke but was always drinking.  (His name was an anagram for Norm from Cheers.)  This is the only time he's in the spotlight, so it's the only time I'll list Mark Allen Shepherd, the man behind the impressive husk, in the guest-star credits, even though Morn appears in virtually every episode.

So if Morn isn't in his own episode, what is the story?  Basically, it's Quark's last great escapade, the kind he originally made his name with, making deals with shady characters for quasi-justifiable reasons that are borderline criminal (Odo would remove all the quibbles from the preceding statement). 

It's basically a throwaway episode, a breather after all the Dominion War heaviness, an experience where you don't have to worry about anything, even the apparent death of a supposedly beloved character in Morn (see the title, which riffs on the classical episode "Who Mourns for Adonais?").  Even when Worf and Jadzia were getting married ("You Are Cordially Invited") or Quark was up to trouble with a bunch of other Ferengi ("The Magnificent Ferengi"), or the Mirror Universe randomly resurfaced ("Resurrection"), there was still a sense that these were meaningful stories to the overall course of the series.  This one absolutely isn't, and that's not a bad thing at all.  It's a lark, plain and simple.

The timing of its original broadcast is actually pretty fascinating.  "Mourns for Morn" came after "Waltz," a heavy Sisko episode, which came after "Magnificent Ferengi."  Rather than consider that two silly Ferengi episodes bookend a heavy Sisko episode, I'll next draw your attention to the episode after "Mourns for Morn," which is "Far Beyond the Stars," another heavy Sisko episode.  If anyone could lay claim to being truly the complete opposite of Sisko, it would be Quark.  After "Beyond the Stars" is another relatively lightweight episode, "One Little Ship," which doesn't feature Quark.  No, the irascible bartender's next spotlight is the much-derided "Profit and Lace" near the end of the season.  It should be noted that "Profit and Lace," despite whatever else can be said about it, was not conceived as a throwaway episode. 

criteria analysis:
  • franchise - If you're not a fan of this series, you can skip this one.
  • series - Even if you are, you can skip if you like.
  • character - It is about Morn, but it's a Quark spotlight.
  • essential - It's fun to watch as a fan of either.
notable guest-stars:
Mark Allen Shepherd (Morn)
Gregory Itzen


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