Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 4 Episode 16

Bar Association

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Feb 19, 1996 on Syndicado
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Stardate: 49565.1 Rom breaks Ferengi law and organises a Union movement in order to improve the working conditions Quark subjects his employees to.

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  • Nice Labor/Management episode

    A Ferengi comedy with a serious subject matter, "Bar Association" tackles labor/management issues better than most shows set in the present. The catalyst for the plot, a four word pitch from the Lee sisters ("Rom starts a union") might sound like a B story or a comedy runner, but the idea proves to have enough depth to carry an episode. It's interesting to see the union organize and go on strike, and hear the diverse opinions about the situation from the DS9 regulars. And Armin Shimerman (Quark) is in his element playing the owner under siege, which allows the writers to throw in some funny gags. (He also gets to play Quark's more serious side when the Ferengi government - which treats organized labor like Wal-mart - discovers what's afoot and blames Quark for letting it get out of And then there's Sisko, who is dragged into the situation like Teddy Roosevelt was dragged into Coal strike of 1902. You can tell Avery Brooks is having a ball yelling at his castmates and playing the one sane guy on the station. But really, this is the Max Grodenchik show. For the first time, Rom is the center of the story, and Grodenchik makes the most of the opportunity, instilling Rom with passion and a new direction that raises the character to a new level.

    Director LeVar Burton shoots it all nicely, including a complicated scene with multiple Quarks and a jaw dropping uncut Steadicam shot that begins with Rom on the Promenade before moving up to the second level for a walking scene with O'Brien and Worf.

    All that said, this is an episode that will mean more to someone who has to deal with its issues and will mean less to someone who doesn't.

  • After Quark institutes drastic cuts in his employees' pay, Rom and the other bar employees form a union.

    In this episode, Bashir and O'Brien convince Rom to lead the other employees of Quark's bar in forming a union. The plot itself is not that interesting, though creative within the confines of the Star Trek universe.

    That said, it's fun to watch Rom's character grow. In the earlier episodes, he was constantly in his brother Quark's shadow, supporting him loyally and enduring his constant insults. As the show progressed, he started to push back. And here, Rom really goes all the way by confronting his brother head-on. Despite attempted intimidation by the Ferengi authorities, he doesn't cave. It's the "successful" Quark that gives in to his employees' demands. And at the end of the episode, Rom quits working at the bar and gets a better job.

    Basically, if you like Rom's character or the Quark-Rom relationship, you will like this episode. It's not just another DS9 "Ferengi-by-numbers" episode. If you don't like those things, then you will find this to be boring or filler.

    It's a shame that the directors didn't actually include the scene where Worf and O'Brien get into a shoving match over labor rights and Bashir gets thrown over a table. That could have been really funny.

    The less said about the subplot with Worf moving out of the station into the Defiant, the better.moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

Lt./Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax (Season 1-6)

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt. Commander Worf (Season 4-7)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Rom quits his brother's business and enlists with the Bajoran technical crew.

    • Nitpick: Even with the Bajoran Cleansing Festival going on, it doesn't stand to reason Quark's bar would be totally without customers. There would still be posted as well as visiting Federation personnel and other races/species passing through, not counting Morn.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Quark: I had to be tough on you, I was trying to make you a better Ferengi.
      Rom: What you were trying to do was make yourself feel important. Making me feel dumb made you feel smart. But I'm not dumb and you're not half as smart as you think you are!

    • Rom: Workers of the World, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

    • Odo: (Worf turns in a thief and asks Odo why this is permitted) Unfortunately, these things happen.
      Worf: They did not happen on the Enterprise!
      Odo: Really? Well, let me see. Stardate 46235.7: Ferengi privateers led by Damon Luren boarded and seized control of the Enterprise by using two Klingon Birds of Prey. Stardate 45349.1: Burlingoff Rasmussen, a petty criminal impersonating a scientist, committed numerous acts of theft against the crew of the Enterprise. Shall I continue?

    • Brunt: If this was Ferenginar, I'd have you all taken to the Spire of the Tower of Commerce, displayed to the crowds in the Great Marketplace below, then SHOVED OFF... ONE... BY... ONE!!! Small children would bet on where you would land, and your spattered remains would be sold as feed mulch for gree-worms.

    • Rom: (discussing Rom's ear problems) And besides, I've probably been getting too much oo-mox.
      Leeta: Really? Who's the lucky female?
      Rom: No female. Just me.

    • O'Brien: I'm perfectly healthy, except I've got a disgusting cyst on the back of my neck. Now either I paint a nose, eyes and a mouth on it and pretend I've got two heads, or you take it off.
      Bashir: I'll get you some paint.
      O'Brien: Julian, get it off me!
      Bashir: All right, all right. But you know what they say... two heads are better than one.

    • Quark: I don't pay you to think. I pay you to spin the dabo wheel. So get spinning.
      : But no one's gambling.
      Quark: How can they gamble when you're not at the wheel?

    • Rom: I feel dizzy.
      Quark: What else is new?

    • Quark: Could someone explain to me why the Bajorans need to abstain from worldly pleasures for an entire month? I mean, it's not like they're a bunch of hedonistic, holosuite-obsessed drunkards to begin with!

  • NOTES (4)


    • On the picket line when Rom is passing out latinum to stop people patronizing Quark's, Leeta says, "I hope Rom's voice holds out." Grimp responds, "I hope our latinum holds out."

      This exchange is likely a reference to an exchange near the end of The Wizard of Oz, in which the Cowardly Lion says, "I hope my strength holds out" and the Tin Man, hanging by the Lion's tail responds, "I hope your tail holds out."

    • Workers of the World, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.
      This line said by Rom, is a quote by Karl Marx who was the founder of Communism.

    • Brian Boru

      On leaving the holosuite simulation of the Battle of Clontarf, Chief O'Brien tells Doctor Bashir that he is a direct descendant of King Brian Boru.

      Brian Boru (941 - 1014) became king of Munster (a province of Ireland) in 976. In 1002, he forced the high king of Ireland to yield title to him. When the king of Leinster revolted against Brian's rule, they met at the Battle of Clontarf, and though Boru's forces won the battle, he himself was slain.

      In legend, Brian led a united Ireland against Viking settlers who had occupied parts of Ireland's east coast and founded the city of Dublin, thus acquiring a stature among the Irish similar to that of Alfred The Great in England.