"Profit and Loss" or he's No Bogart and she is Totally not Bergman
Running from their own government, three Cardassians seek refuge on DS9, and it turns out that one of the Cardassians—a woman named Natima is an old lover of Quark's, who left years ago on rather bad terms. now I thought they only got good actors to play important Cardassian roles. She was written badly, too. She should have been eccentric in some way and maybe not so elegant in order for us to believe she could fall for a Ferengi.
If "The Nagus" was a Quark story that's a comic take on "The Godfather"; this is a somewhat more serious-minded homage/rip-off of "Casablanca," so much so that it was originally titled "Here's Looking at You." Spoilers: "Casablanca" takes place in Morocco in WW2, currently under French control but outside the zone of German occupation, and before the American entry into the war, and the title location becomes a kind of quasi-neutral environment standing at the intersection of so many different powers and interests that personal, individual actions can more or less affect the outcome of the world; I.E. Just like DS9... even down to having a bar named after the owner. who sold guns to the losing side now quark is very much in the "Casablanca rick" mold and it works even down to his cloaking device as the analogue of the letters of transit.
However... Character-wise, it was also tough to swallow most scenes featuring Quark and Natima. Natima does not work for me at all what's she doing with quark maybe she wanted some goblin rough. The first two acts feature Natima scornfully refusing to acknowledge Quark because of something devious he did in the past. Fine. But then, after the scene where she phasers him, her character makes a blatant about-face that practically invites incredulity. Their subsequent scenes are overplayed to the point of soap opera melodrama. The change in the story was so strong at that point that I thought Quark started hallucinating due to the phaser blast. Everything that happens from this point on in DS9 is quark's death dream (I kid)
My last gripe was with the decision to have Gul Turan physically present and then vaporized without consequence. Surely, Turan's crew would have wondered why he was missing and opened fire on DS9. Also, the murder of Turan would be caused other political ripples - even if it was Garak who murdered him. This plot hole probably bothered me the most since DS9 episodes revolving around Cardassians have been really good and tight until now.
The episode's sole saving grace is Garak, who supplies his usual wit, particularly in one unforgettable dialog scene where he uses "tailor allegory" to explain to Quark the nature of Natima's political intrigue. An amusing scene between Quark and Odo is also on the right track. But they're isolated moments in a mildly botched episode. it could be worse it could be "Journey's End"....
"Journey's End" or how to steal a Culture in 43 mins by space magic
There is a common mainstream American media misconception, which is that "Entire foreign cultures exist purely to help some middle class white American male to get his shit together."
Wesley Crusher returns to the Enterprise during a break from Starfleet Academy and Wes is a huge dick to everyone (by TNG standards) "The First Duty," which already dismantled his boy-wonder image,, but on the other hand it's not exactly a worthwhile change of pace, and it feels awfully ham-fisted... Yeah, Wesley is struggling with doubts over who he is and where he's going, but having him lash out just makes him seem childish... and It was lazy writing in this episode to not even talk briefly the events of "The First Duty" as a partial cause to Wesley's disillusionment with being at the Academy. One would think that it would be a traumatic and life changing experience as it was with Sito in "Lower Decks".
Meanwhile the Enterprise prepares to negotiate the details of moving a Federation colony off a planet that, as a result of a recently signed treaty changing the Federation/Cardassian border, will soon reside inside Cardassian space. Federation colony — made up of American Indians who have preserved a centuries-old culture on this far-away world — being told they are being forced off their land because of political machinations larger than themselves. The irony of this happening to the same guys twice Huh.
While the notion of "Space Indians" feels like something that would've been fodder for TOS, the writers bring a decidedly TNG sensibility to it, with Picard wistfully noting the disturbing parallels between this assignment and what happened to Native Americans hundreds of years ago. Unlike last time however they settled on a planet in dispute during a war... 20 year ago you will recall this was slap bang in the middle of the long drawn out Federation/Cardassian War! This would be like squatting in a house in a war zone and moaning about the rescue.
At this point the train derails and goes off the bridge into the river of shit below!
We have contrived guilt surrounding the claim that one of Picard's ancestors was a man who participated in a massacre of Indians, which seems superfluous while indulging the show's spiritual mumbo-jumbo as somehow able to magically provide facts that most people would need books for. worse he silliness of the comparison is almost insulting to the real historical atrocities the episode half-heartedly namechecks. I guess we're supposed to see it as significant that this guy has the Picard name. But really, Picard is a descendant of HOW MANY people who were alive during the 17th century? Picard rightly dismisses the idea that he has some responsibility for Javier Picard's actions, but then seems to take it seriously, and the script seems to expect us to at least believe in it a bit.
Then Wesley is befriended by an Indian named Lakanta (Tom Jackson) and encouraged to explore his spiritual side in a faux vision ritual that I wish I cared more about, but which feels kind of perfunctory. Wesley sees his father in this vision, which I guess technically means this episode qualifies in the season's never-ending Family Tree Theater sweepstakes. Worse It turns out this Indian is actually the mysterious Traveler trying to lead Wesley to his destiny as an exceptionally rare human with the ability to transcend space and time. How the Traveller stuff would be seen if it were written today. Certain subjects have become more touchy in society, and I'm not sure in the modern day how they'd take "older guy who has always had a bit of a shine for this young boy stalks him and then takes him on a magical adventures" so let me get this right this non-specific unreal Native American tribe. And then just when this wise man has shown Wesley, and us, the value of this unnamed tribe's religion it turns out he's actually the Traveler using space magic.
Then The political solution is too easily solved, such that Picard is able to sidestep the distasteful actions we had been told the whole episode would be unavoidable. I love the parallels to Insurrection here. The secret of eternal life may not be a sufficient moral justification for moving a few hundred magic space fuckin elves, but we'll happily relocate this entire colony by force because of the treaty. Yup Picard won't protect a group due to a cardassian treaty, but an element that could CURE DEATH, and he protects the group hoarding it! What an asshole. That I think doesn't reflect much on this episode, but it shows how absurd Insurrection is.
once agian the staff at star fleet command are inconsistence made flesh.
Wes then jacks in star fleet and having wasted 4 year of his life and goes off to be a collage drop out and later the host of table top
So, right after Wesley resigns, we find out he HAS THE POWER TO STOP TIME! WITH HIS MIND! That he has the superpower to stop time removes any real conflict from his story, because obviously he doesn't have to be in Starfleet when he has *superpowers*. It's not just a matter of "Starfleet's good for some people, but not for me"; it is now "Starfleet was pretty cool, but I AM BASICALLY A GOD, so." And a God who still is going to study what the Native Americans have to say, even though I didn't see any of them with the ability to stop time with their mind... . That Wesley leaves Starfleet is a reasonable end to the character. The way it happened was not.
oh and that "whistly" music stop that shit right now. at one point TNG had the best music on TV see best of both worlds now we are down to this.
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Yup Picard ends up creating the Maquis, albeit indirectly, shows that Picard didn't really sidestep the moral issues, but found a best-of-a-bad-situation compromise that creates more problems. I was expecting DS9 reference to how the Cardassians wiped out Anthwar's village a week after the Enterprise left, or sent every last Indian into a labour camp amid vacuous protests that the Cardassians' souls would be stained. but it turns out even worse as when the big bads of ds9 the dominion show up it’s canon that this world get wiped out from orbit... well done Picard your worse than your ancestor. as for the Maquis... Star fleet guys willing to plunge the civilizations into war just so they don't have to move... FUCK them.
Also hang on why is Wesley in 'Nemesis' as a member of Starfleet?... er magic...
A quick thought listening to this episode of the bOrgcast: even if DS9 has the best security possible keeping civilians out of Ops, there are two people on the station who are going to bypass it and stroll in line they own the place: Quark and Garak.
Maybe they've given them unlimited access because they can't be bothered working out how the circumvented the security this[\i] time.