Mark Watches ‘Deep Space Nine’: S03E03 – The House of Quark

In the third episode of the third season of Deep Space Nine, this is a really strange but remarkably sincere episode. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

Ah, the challenge of following a spectacular season opener: a difficult problem to face! It’s hard to feel like this isn’t a letdown after “The Search” because Quark’s plot feels so much like the wacky, reset-button-happy stories we got in season one of the show. It can be a sweet thing at times, but it’s not the most thrilling thing the show has done by far.

Let’s start this by talking about Quark. Now, I’m generally not a fan of the whole “married for an episode” trope that’s utilized here, but “The House of Quark” thankfully doesn’t focus on it too much. Hell, by the end of the first act, it actually seemed like most conflicts had been resolved. Quark had successfully lied about the death of Kozak, especially after D’Ghor showed up and insisted that he keep up the story. Quark’s profits go back up, the station’s bar is full again, and practically everyone was happy. After so many people abandoned Deep Space Nine post-Dominion, it was a welcome change for Quark.

Then Grilka, Kozak’s widow, shows up, and things become… complicated. That’s a nice way of putting it. Unfortunately, aside from one specific dynamic, I just could not feel truly interested in her story or the house dynamics on Kronos. I couldn’t! This felt like a watered-down version of many of Worf’s stories on The Next Generation. Someone wanted control of a house, everything was messed up, and Klingon culture ensures that there’s a lot of yelling and posturing over it. Grilka herself is, at the very least, an interesting character. She’s a female Klingon trying her best to make it in a male-dominated world, and she manages to succeed at that.

I found entertainment in Quark’s willingness to do something nice for someone else, though. Yes, he does ask for a divorce from Grilka, but he otherwise offers to look into Kozak’s and D’Ghor’s finances just so he can help resolve this issue. And how great is his monologue to Gowron and the rest of the council? He exploits D’Ghor’s greed by goading him into killing him, revealing his true nature to the other Klingons. IT’S BRILLIANT.

Ultimately, though, I thought Keiko’s story here was the most rewarding aspect of “The House of Quark.” This episode is a story-of-the-week script for the most part, but both Quark’s plot and Keiko’s rely heavily on the events in “The Search.” After the Dominion threat to Deep Space Nine, the station has emptied out. It’s an odd thing to see because I’m so used to it being so busy! And yet, all the Bajoran families have returned to Bajor. Quark’s is empty. Keiko only has two students left: Jake and Nog. That’s it. So she closes her school, and she… does nothing.

What is she supposed to do? She was trained as a botanist, and she opened that school out of necessity. What does her life become without it? She’s listless in her early scenes in this episode, partially out of denial, and I’m sure partially because she’s just… lost. And while Miles comes up with a number of sweet ideas to help her out – a romantic dinner and the chance to help build an arboretum – it’s not anything near a permanent solution. Will that make Keiko happy?

I hope that her decision to go on that six-month Bajoran expedition won’t keep her and Molly off the screen. I think there’s potential here that could be explored, and I’d love to see more of Bajor. I do appreciate that she’s respected as an individual by this story, though, especially since Miles recognizes that she gave up her career to move to Deep Space Nine with him.

The video for “The House of Quark” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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