In the twenty-third episode of the third season ofÂ Deep Space Nine, Quark’s bar is closed due to the actions of his mother. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watchÂ Star Trek.
Trigger Warning: For extensive talk of misogyny.
Oh, I’m so torn about this episode. I can’t deny that I loved the plot that finally introduced us to Kasidy Yates. IT IS SO PERFECT. And when “Family Business” finally focuses on the complicated arrangement of Quark and Rom’s family, it’s also stunning. And yet, it’s not exactly anÂ enjoyableÂ experience. You can’t get to the scenes where Ishka opens up about her husband and Rom without sitting throughâ€¦ lots of misogyny. LOTS OF IT. And yeah, that’s the whole point! Ferengi culture is viciously patriarchal, so much so that women aren’t allowed a shred of independence or agency in their society.
So yes, I get that the show had to depict this to an extent. That still doesn’t translate to entertainment, though. I spent a great deal of this episode grimacing and bristling, uncomfortable with the idea that I had to sit there and watch a male character shout sexist nonsense towards one of theÂ onlyÂ Ferengi woman we’d ever seen. (At this point, Pel is the only other woman, right?) It’s just notÂ fun, you know?
At the same time, I know that “Family Business” has to have this conflict so that we can understand how much Rom adores his mother. There isn’t a point in this episode where he treats Ishka like Quark does. He’s far more kind to her when he expresses his discomfort with her decision to wear clothes. (And note how willing she is to do something to make him more comfortable for a moment when he’sÂ niceÂ to her. TAKE NOTE, QUARK.) He doesn’t tell her to stop pursuing profit outside of the suggestion that confessing would make his brother happy. He has no real selfish interest in any of this! Rom cares SO MUCH about his mother and brother, and it’s honestly a treat to watch. Maybe Rom isn’t good at money or profit, but the guy has an amazing skill: empathy. Understanding. Diplomacy. I don’t know what place he could find within Ferengi culture that would allow him to use his talents, but someone should get on that. ROM IS BEING WASTED.
And look, evenÂ IÂ can admit that watching Ishka and Quark bond is cute. Adorable, even! It’s a touching moment and a chance for us to see Quark as we’ve not seen him before. He’sÂ vulnerableÂ here, and it’s one of the most interesting scenes in all of “Family Business.” I didn’t expect that this episode would unravel Ferengi society, and I think to do so would be silly. But after all the bonding and honesty, the solution that the writers come up with is to have Ishka give up her wealth and confess to her crimes. Yes, it’s pretty cool that she outwits both Quark and the FCA, and I love that Rom is a part of this, helping her to be subversive in a society that doesn’t respect her. But it feels like a conclusion written to close up a plot hole, not a satisfying ending. The conflict is resolved, but what does itÂ mean? Did anyone grow as a person because of this experience, or are these characters back at square one? I feel like it’s more of the latter, you know?
SO LET’S TALK ABOUT JAKE, WHO IS SO EXCITED FOR HIS FATHER TO MEET KASIDY YATES THAT HE TELLS EVERYONE.Â literally everyone. Does Morn know? Tell him. What about some rando in Quark’s? Tell ’em about Kasidy. I’m sure that Jake told some voles about her.Â Fight me on this. But he tells all of these people because he knows that this woman might be perfect for his father, who hasn’t seriously seen anyone since Jennifer died. Why? How much you wanna bet he found out that Kasidy’s brother played baseball and that she was a fan? How much you wanna bet that he knew then that this woman was like a sign from the Prophets?
I JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT JAKE AND SISKO AND NOW I HOPE THAT KASIDY YATES BECOMES A PART OF THAT, TOO.
The video for “Family Business” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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