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- On Basilisk Station by David Weber
I didn’t remember this episode being so early in the season. In fact, can distinctly remember seeing some other early episodes, I must have missed this one and caught it later on a rerun. See, this is the episode that pissed me off, and I didn’t care about the show anymore because of it. I totally went all in for Babylon 5 after watching this one. I apologize for the wall of text format this one is.
Live watch / plot
Hmm, maybe this is not the episode I’m thinking of. So we have Quark and a Bajoran woman plotting some sort of heist. He used to smuggle goods to her during the occupation. She was apparently prime suspect in her husband’s murder some years back, but Odo wasn’t able to convict her. Once Quark leaves, a suspicious guy comes out of the shadows, then we have the intro.
After the break, we have Odo doing the stardate and log, apparently we’re getting a day in the life of security. Now Quark and Rom got into action on the heist, in which we learn the Rom has learned to unlock Quark’s security door to his storeroom in 10 seconds. And his vault! They obtain whatever it was they were looking for, and take it back to Quark’s place. Inside a case, there is a piece of paper with Bajoran names on it. Quark asks Rom to get him an imager, meanwhile the suspicious guy comes in. This is in the middle of the night and the bar is closed, so I guess he broke in. He takes the paper and shoots Quark, apparently killed as Rom states so when he finds him. Bashir is called in and rushes Quark off to the infirmary. He’s not completely dead yet, but may be dying. Odo immediately suspects Rom, quoting Rule of Acquisition #139: Wives serve, brothers inherit. I wouldn’t have expected Odo to be quoting the rules, but it’s not surprising that he knows them. LOL, Odo says Rom isn’t as stupid as he looks. This has been a strange recharacterization of Rom in this episode. Normally I’d have said it was a ploy by Odo, but Rom was good at the breaking in.
Under Odo’s pressure, Rom reveals that the intruder stole a list of Bajoran names, they they found in the storeroom that was put there back when it was the chemist’s shop when the Cardassians ran the place. Odo opens the door and we flash back to around that time when the murder occurred, and presumably the list, that presumably has some connection to the murder, was hidden.
He enters and inside is Gul Dukat. The station is lit with drab bluish lighting, probably both as a symbol of this being Odo’s memory and to give an oppressive feel to the Cardassians who are running the place. Gul Dukat first met Odo when Odo was basically used as a circus freak to entertain with his “Cardassian neck trick.” Gul Dukat tasks Odo to solve a murder. This does seem like the episode I’m thinking of. We find out the Odo doesn’t use chemicals, when the shopkeeper’s wife asks if he’s been there before. She is the Bajoran that Quark was getting the list for, and the murder Odo was tasked to solve was that of her husband, the incident referenced at the beginning of the episode. The shopkeeper’s wife was oddly not crying when she heard about his death, and reveals that he was having an affair, and suspects the other woman was the murderer. She doesn’t know the name, but can point her out. The shopkeeper, Vatrick, and his wife don’t live in the community quarters, but have a private room. The unspoken implication is that they are of some extra value to the Cardassians to get the better treatment. I wouldn’t have caught that the first time I saw it, but remembering the episode as I think I do, I picked up on that detail. She then points out Kira as the suspect, and we flash back to “present” day where Kira approaches Odo and wonders if the list had something to do with Vatrick. In the voice over to get us back up to speed, Odo mentions that the murder was 5 years ago, and he’s still dedicated to solving the murder. Quark is still alive, clinging to life and Rom is trying to remember the names on the list. He remembers something like “Chesso.” Odo asks Kira about it, but she doesn’t remember the name, Odo explains that he knew she was innocent of the crime. Back to 5 years ago. Odo interviews Kira. Some intersting but unelicdating things are revealed. Back to “present” day. Odo is interviewing Vatrick’s widow. She states that she doesn’t know anything about the list, but it is revealed that she has come into some money recently to pay the power bill. Quark is still unconscious, and hopefully recovering. Kira seems to have found Chesso for Odo, but Chesso just died the night before. Odo is treating it as a homicide and they’re stationing security to protect Quark. Odo still suspects the Vatrick woman. Back to 5 years ago. Odo and Quark have their first meeting, and Odo learns that Kira paid Quark for an alibi. This episode is well scripted and acted. Odo talks to Sisko and Dax, revealing that he’s found the list, by the fact that the Vatrick woman’s communication logs showing calls to a set of people she hadn’t contacted until two days ago, and they all deposited 100,000 Bajoran Litas into her bank account in the last 26 hours. She’s blackmailing them. The suspicion is that they were working with the Cardassians, hence them having that much money, and something to be blackmailed over. Suspicious guy apparently overhears this. Odo says he’s always known the “justice” trick, but is beginning to have doubts. Back to 5 years ago. Kira says she needed an alibi because she sabotaged some mining equipment, but I’m a bit confused as to how the space station is a mine. Back in the “present” day, suspicious guy attempts to finish the job of killing Quark, and Rom inadvertently saves his brother’s life. It’s a funny moment when he realizes it and freaks out because that means he’s not getting the bar. They arrest suspicious guy and the Vatrick woman, who says that Odo will never be able to prove she killed her husband, because she didn’t, to which Odo replies, “I know.” The show has given us clues that he now suspects Kira, or perhaps he’s known for some time. Kira follows him into his office to ask when he figured it out. And he just fucking lets her go. What a shitty ending.
Final Grade B+
As entertainment in and of itself, this episode is pretty good by itself, however it destroyed the character of Odo for me, who was absolutely my favorite character due to his commitment to justice, and I swore off the show after watching it, as I couldn’t excuse nor trust Odo ever again. I definitely saw some other episodes before this one, so I must have caught it later in a rerun. I’ll just have to excise this episode from my head canon to continue on and see how things play out.
We’d better get at least two new Rules of Acquisition in this episode, considering the title!
Live watch / Plot
Open to Morn sleeping on the promenade, leading into Quarks bar, closed, with an in progress Ferengi poker-type game called Tongo.
Oh, game in a TV show I should probably note. I love the round cards they have (they may actually be oval). I think they had cards like that in the old Battlestar Galactica. Dax is playing as well, and she’s winning. We find out the the Ferengi tend to like their women naked and submissive (and breed-able?). So, this new Ferengi waiter has a clever profit generating idea he shares with quark, where we learn the 59th Rule of Acquisition: Free advice is seldom cheap, and that the 22nd rule says a wise man can hear profit in the wind, and that there are 285 rules! Rule of Acquisition 33: It never hurts to suck up to the boss! Then the Grand Nagus calls and designates Quark as his Chief Negotiator! Intro.
So, I definitely remember this one. Spoiler: The Ferengi waiter is actually female, but passing as male. It’s basically a gender-swapped Tootsie situation, and I’m expect there will be some women’s lib “morals” thrown in, which at the time wouldn’t have fazed me. Let’s see if the “all cultures are equal, and this is an internal affair” stuff they just talked about when they wanted to leave Bajor to the Bajorans comes into play.
The Nagus has arrived on the station to host a business conference. He has a very amusing negotiation with Sisko. Later, he talks to Quark about is plans for the Gamma Quadrant. The next day, the new waiter, Pel, overhears Quark daydreaming about it and reminds him of the 48th rule of Acquisition: The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife. “He” explains that the reason Quark was invited was to be the fall guy in case the negotiations failed. Quark decides to ask Pel to assist him as consultant, to the chagrin of Rom, but Rom is an idiot, so it was a good decision by Quark. We follow Pel to “his” quarters, where it is revealed that “he” is actually a woman!
We are introduced to the Dosi by the first one being through through the airlock door due to a “minor” disagreement. They have red faces and big muscles, which makes them look like Oompa-Loompahs on steroids.
The negotiations go… aggressively.
Later Dax and Kira have a conversation about their opinions on the Ferengi, and I fall in line with Dax’s observation that the Ferengi are fun, because you always know where you stand with them. Interestingly, Kira uses the word “misogynistic” which I didn’t know the meaning of at the time, and I don’t recall it being used. The first time I remember hearing the word was at least a decade later. On to the Tongo game, where Pel demonstrates a show of loyalty to Quark. The next day, Dax discusses it with Pel, where she reveals to Dax that she’s a woman, and that she’s in love with Quark. Quark comes in and rushes her off to the negotiations, which don’t go so well, and the Dosi leave the station. Pel convinces the Nagus to let them borrow his ship to follow the Dosi to the Gamma Quadrant. On the way, Pel and Quark have a Feregni style heart-to-heart, where we learn the 21st rule of Acquisition: Never place friendship above profit.
Rom is having a terrible time running Quark’s bar, where through a conversation with Odo, we learn of Rom’s jealousy toward Pel. Odo perhaps eggs him on a bit and Rom ransacks Pel’s quarters, discovering her secret.
On the Dosi world, we learn that the Dosi, like the Ferengi, are very serious when it comes to profit. It’s a farcical scene where people are punching and shooting each other in a saloon-like venue. Quark persuades the Dosi to a deal of 10,000 vats of tula berry wine, but Quark must insist on 100,000 after the Nagus upped the demand for reasons unkown. They stay on the planet and don’t retire to the ship, which makes Pel nervous, since there’s only one bed. We learn a part of rule 103: Sleep can interfere with…[something], and 62: The riskier the road, the greater the profit. Pel kisses Quark but then the female Dosi from earlier walks in on them. She explains that he can’t sell them 100,000 vats because, as I suspected, there aren’t that many on the planet. She says that she knows someone who CAN sell them that many, if they are serious. The Karama, someone who is an important power in the Dominion, the big player in the Gamma Quadrant. This is the first mention of The Dominion, which plays a huge role later in he series. Quark and Pel go back to the ship, where Quark is ecstatic about what they have found out. It wasn’t about the tula berries, it was about the Dominion all along! Pel want to talk about the kiss, but Quark doesn’t. Back on the station, Quark discusses with the Nagus the situation with the Dominion and gives him the name of the Karama, probably a little too eagerly, although he did say he was going to give Quark a cut of all Ferengi business in the Gamma Quadrant. Rom along with Pel, reveals the secret to Quark, whereby Quark promptly passes out. Quark has a talk with Pel, where he explains that he wants a more traditional wife. He wants her to go, but he gives her some latinum for her troubles. Later she barges in on Quarks meeting to say goodbye to the Nagus, and reveals the truth to him. Quark gets out of the situation but loses his Gamma Quadrant profits. We have a couple more interesting denouement scenes to end it off.
Final Grade B+
All in all, I really like this episode, despite the somewhat preachy bits. I almost always enjoy a Ferengi episode, and this one had a lot of good Ferengi information in it. Also that first mention of the Dominion is important. This one is is a non-skippable episode.
Need to sum up my final thoughts here…
Oh, I’ve been looking forward to this one because there’s something I’ve been waiting to point out.
Live watch / Plot
Bashir does the intro. He and O’Brien have been working overtime to prepare for a new cartographer, Melora. She’s the first Aloran to join Starfleet, and requires special accommodations. She needs a wheelchair, so they basically have to make the station wheelchair accessible.
This is because she is from a low gravity planet. She’s quite determined to be independent, which I generally approve of, but it is bound to spark some contention or it will be a pretty boring episode. Intro.
Woah, I just saw that the guest star, Melora is played by Daphne Ashbrook, and I was trying to remember where I knew that name from. She was in the TV movie of Doctor Who starring Paul McGann as The Doctor!
Quarks is in the middle of a business transaction when someone he knows from his past enters the bar, and states that he’s come to kill Quark. He has a freaky proboscis that connects to his chin.
Well, she’s certainly trying to be strong, independent, handicapped woman, and Bashir seems to be melting her with his charms. So far, so good. Meanwhile, Quark is wining and dining his would-be killer, in an attempt to appease him. Bashir and Melora go to a Klingon restaurant, where she talks back to the Klingon proprietor, proving how tough she really is in that wheelchair. It’s a rather fun scene, though.
The next day when Dax goes to Meet Melora for their mission, she finds that she had a little oopsie in a supply room.
You see, Cardassians didn’t design the station with wheelchairs in mind, because they are evil Nazis that don’t care about cripples! Except, wait, no. This is an absolutely ridiculous design for non-wheelchair bound persons, let alone wheelchair access. Seriously, why would you design tripping hazards all over the station like this? It’s insane!
So her mission was delayed a day, and that evening Bashir visits Melora and he discovers 53 more things to do in near-zero gee.
Dax and Melora are now on the mission.
Heh, Vulcan music, and the thought of a logical species having the need for such creativity. I like the piece, and the fact that even Vulcans need music is perhaps ironically suggestive of the existence of God. Melora is asking Dax about the feasibility of relationships in Starfleet, clearly interested in something serious with Bashir.
Quark seeks Odo for assistance in not getting killed, and when Odo hears that Quark was threatened to be killed, He give us this:
A lovely smile. This is hilarious, because you have to remember that Odo *never* smiles. Odo does commit to doing his job, to his own dismay, which again reveals his high moral standards.
Dr. Bashir reveals to Melora that he can “fix” her “condition” so that she doesn’t need the wheelchair or servo motors to help her move, and she seems excited by that possibility.
Proboscis guy shows up in Odo’s office. I guess Odo wanted to dissuade him from killing Quark since he can’t arrest him for anything yet.
Bashir does the procedure on Melora and it seems to be working.
Proboscis guy shows up in Quarks quarters, attempts to kill Quark, but Quark convinces him not to do so immediately, by buying him off.
Melora starts to have second thoughts on the procedure, as it’s a one-way ticket. She can’t go back to her home again with the low gravity once she’s adjusted to earth normal gravity. Dax likens the situation to The Little Mermaid, which did NOT have a happy ending.
Quark is finishing off his business transaction from earlier to get the latinum to pay off his killer, when the killer turns a gun on them and demands the merchandise, too. Then we learn Rule of Acquisition #16: A deal is a deal. The other alien gets shot by the killer, who then takes money and the merchandise, Quark hostage and later Dax and Melora when they run into the pair as they are boarding from their runabout. They all take off in the runabout, the Orinoco, at gunpoint. The runabout is in a tractor beam, but he shoots Melora so they release the beam. Sisko, Bashir, and O’Brien pursue them through the wormhole with the Rio Grande runabout. Melora ends up saving them by turning off the gravity. She elects not to go through with the procedure, and discusses it with Bashir in the Klingon restaurant while they are somewhat humorously serenaded by the proprietor.
Final Grade: B-
This was an interesting episode with some decent action at the end. The issue of handicaps is interesting, and they didn’t really ram an opinion one way or another down our throats. However, in the fictional universe her decision not to go through with it does make a little more sense than in our world.