Monday, June 12, 2017

Deep Space Nine 7x24 "The Dogs of War"

rating: ***

the story: Zek finally names his successor.

what it's all about: Parts of "Dogs of War" act as the first act of the final episode, "What You Leave Behind," which like the final episodes of Next Generation and Voyager is already two hours long.  You get Damar preparing to be the leader of a full-scale Cardassian resistance movement in the basement of Garak's childhood home, Kasidy announcing her pregnancy, and the build-up to the massive final battle.

All that is well and good.  It's also the final "Ferengi episode."  Ha!  "The Emperor's New Cloak" seemed like the final "Ferengi episode," but buried at the end of he final ten hours of the series is another!  Unlike "Cloak," "Dogs of War" gives the Ferengi some closure.  In the first-ever "Ferengi episode," in the first season ("The Nagus"), Zek visits the station intending to announce an heir, convincing Quark he's got the job when it was really just a ploy.  This time he finishes the job and it's...Rom!

Yeah!  "Ferengi episode" became something of an epitaph, a signal that the good qualities of the series were going to vanish and a bunch of weirdo business freaks would spend the hour wasting time with nonsense.  That's how some fans found it, anyway.  But these were some of the best character work of the series, doing everything no other aliens had ever really gotten, a full series arc and a dramatic revision, a chance at redemption.  "Ferengi episode" became a thing well before Deep Space Nine even began, after the Ferengi made a dismal debut in Next Generation as the would-be successors to the Klingons.  Obviously that never happened, so they became something else, such a broad sketch of a society that their stories could literally be about anything, as long as it ridiculed...our worst failings. 

The funny thing is, it was always Quark who showed the most depth, but his brother Rom who got all the credit for it, willingly bucking every Ferengi tradition while Quark seemed to uphold it.  Quark has no real moment in the final episode, so his career statement is in "Dogs," where he seems to claim he'll continue being a true Ferengi even as Zek and Rom and his own mother Ishka have smashed tradition all asunder.  Sounds like he becomes the character who least develops during the course of the series, right?  Well...

He's actually the one who had the shortest distance to cross.  He'd already been willing to work with fate in whatever shape it took.  He was the most adaptable resident of the station, even if the one with the seeming least amount of scruples.  But by Ferengi standards (all this is spelled out in "Body Parts," by the way), he was a very bad Ferengi indeed, no matter how things looked.  He was the ultimate opportunist, and because of him, his brother was allowed to develop into the new-style Ferengi he became. 

Anyway, I think Quark ends on a good note, the usual chaos around him as always driven by his actions, regardless of the outcome, which here means the very idealistic vision Gene Roddenberry always expounded, that the future will always be better than the past.  And that leaves the series with nowhere else to go but the end. 

criteria analysis:
  • franchise - Casual fans will never forgive the Ferengi for being such an epic disappointment, but it will forever be their loss.
  • series - The conclusion to an arc that began all the way in the first season.
  • character - Quark's closing argument.
  • essential - Things turn out well for his family.

notable guest-stars:
Casey Biggs (Damar)
Jeffrey Combs (Brunt/Weyoun)
Aron Eisenberg (Nog)
Max Grodenchik (Rom)
J.G. Hertzler (Martok)
Barry Jenner (Admiral Ross)
Salome Jens (Female Founder)
Penny Johnson (Kasidy)
Chase Masterson (Leeta)
Andrew Robinson (Garak)
Tiny Ron (Maihar'du)
Wallace Shawn (Zek)
Cecily Adams (Ishka)
Vaughn Armstrong

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