Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 3 Episode 16

Prophet Motive

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Feb 20, 1995 on Syndicado

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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out of 10
149 votes
  • Fun, Inoffensive, and Forgettable

    This lightweight Ferengi Comedy episode might sound like another vehicle for Wallace Shawn (Grand Nagus Zek) to showcase his talents, but it's really a Quark/Rom episode. Their reactions to Zek's new fun-loving philanthropist attitude drive the story, which is presented by freshman director Rene Auberjonois. The plot is uninspiring and predictable, but Armin Shimerman (Quark) and Max Grodenchik (Rom) are game and elevate the material, probably out of respect for Auberjonois. (The only memorable part is Quark summoning his inner Republican in his confrontation with the Wormhole

    Meanwhile, the B story (which is so insubstantial it feels like a C story) is about Bashir dealing with a nomination for an award he thinks he can't win. It's supposed to be an allegory for the Star Trek cast and crew dealing with Emmy nominations. Most viewers probably won't see the point of it (and I can't blame them), but it's inoffensive, harmless, and forgettable - much like the whole episode.
  • Two lightweight stories, but maybe worth watching for the little things.

    This episode has quite a few funny moments running through it - Odo and Bashir's acceptance speech, Julian and Miles playing darts for the first time, Rom embezzling the philanthropy, and pretty much every second Wallace Shawn is on-screen.

    The stories themselves are just not very good. The Ferengi half is amusing at parts but suffers from the lightweight feel of that genre. The Bashir half has even less to recommend it; this character just did not work in these kinds of "development" episodes, though he developed elsewhere just fine.

    Not nearly as bad as "Meridian" but easily one of the weaker episodes of season 3.
  • The Grand Nagus!

    This episode was clearly just a filler episode. While Wallace Shawn was hilarious as Zek (and Quark's reactions to his newfound lack of greed were just as good), the plot of this episode seemed more like it would have been better-fitting as a subplot to another episode.

    Likewise, the Bashir subplot wasn't particularly interesting. You knew he wasn't going to win that medical award (frankly, it would have been corny if he had).
  • Zek has an attitude adjustment courtesy of the prophets.

    Although this clearly wasn't the best Star Trek episode of all-time, it was a fine example of the thematic differences between Deep Space Nine and other Star Trek series. In particular DS9's bold ability to explore religious issues something still taboo in mainstream '90 Sci Fi and fantasy.

    It is interesting to note that this is only the second time that the mysterious prophets had appeared to crew members aboard a vessel inside the wormhole. Usually they ignore such vessels with the inexplicable example of Sisko in Emissary Part 2.

    Presumably Zek tried to consult the orb of Wisdom after obtaining but was unsuccessful in extracting the futures advice he was looking for. How Zek got the idea to try taking the orb with him into the wormhole is not known. In fact this is the first and I believe the only time that a Tear of the Prophet is taken inside it. (A vision of one appears to Dax inside the wormhole in Emissary) In any event it worked! The Nagus was indeed contacted by the prophets in a way reminiscent of Sisko's earlier encounter with the key difference being the demonstration of the Prophet's ability to alter Zek's personality.

    When Quark takes the orb into the wormhole with him the second time we see that the Nagus' pod is shaken violently. This is somewhat unusual even for wormhole travel. Presumably the prophets are not thrilled about the orb being brought back to its point of origin. Whether or not they would had allowed it to be taken all the way through to the Gamma quadrant is not known. It is interesting note however after Quark convinces the prophets to restore Zek the shaking stops.

    It is also interesting to note that the orb (which outside of the one seen by Dax are always inside of the characteristic box) does not appear to be constrained by a force field like other orbs seen on the show in the past. Another piece of trivia is that the orb itself is never seen on screen during this adventure. Instead we only see shot of items such as the revised book of Rules of Acquistion and the Nagus' disembodied head when Quark look in the box in his vision.

    Credit should be given to the producers for doing such a good job at replicating the look of Sisko's prophet encounter during Quark's. This episode also helps to establish what future Prophet encounters will be like.
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