Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 1 Episode 11

The Nagus

4
Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Mar 21, 1993 on Syndicado
7.8
out of 10
User Rating
187 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

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Stardate: 46657.0 Quark is appointed as ruler of the Ferengi Empire when the Grand Nagus enters into early retirement; however, all is not as it may seem. Meanwhile, Commander Sisko is concerned that Nog is a growing bad influence on Jake, but is delightfully surprised when he learns that the situation isn't exactly as he had thought.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Quark the Godfather

    8.0
    Every once in a while an episode of Star Trek comes along that so perfectly defines an alien species, its effects reverberate forever into the future of the franchise. Sure, "Amok Time" didn't invent the Vulcans, but who can think of these logical beings without Amok's creation of the Vulcan hand salute and the accompanying phrase, "Live long and prosper"? The Borg are introduced in The Next Generation's second season, but it's the final episode of the third season ("The Best of Both Worlds") that reinvents them and establishes their creeds of "You will be assimilated" and "Resistance if futile". (In a way, the DS9 first season episode "Dax" does something similar for the Trill, reinventing these symbionts and laying the foundation for future



    With "The Nagus", a Quark episode that's an homage to "The Godfather" (1972), the Ferengi are so completely and successfully defined, the elements of Ferengi culture it invents (the Grand Nagus, the Rules of Acquisition, the sale of vacuum sealed remains of the dead, the lovable, hapless Rom and his ambitious, unorthodox son, Nog) not only appear countless times throughout the remaining six and a half seasons of Deep Space Nine, they spill over into TNG, Voyager, and even Enterprise. It's especially impressive that this episode was spearheaded by one man, David Livingston, who at the time of this episode was Supervising Producer. (His coworkers have good naturedly pointed out that Livingston, in his position as the money watchdog, would normally keep the costs of episodes down by doing things like allowing only five extras when a director wants a dozen; yet here we get a whole gaggle of Ferengi!)



    And what a cast! What Celia Lovsky is to "Amok Time", Wallace Shawn is to "The Nagus". (And if that doesn't sum up the differences between the Vulcan and the Ferengi, I don't know what Just as Lovsky, an established star, forever elevates Spock and the Vulcan race with her performance, so does Shawn for Quark and the Ferengi. Meanwhile, the development of Jake and Nog's friendship over the objections of their parents serves as a nice counterpoint in the B story.



    All that said, this episode is not likely to crack any "Top Ten DS9" lists. Maybe we "hew-mons" hold a prejudice against our greedy alien friends, but nobody is going to mistake this one for "The Visitor". The episode is nothing more or nothing less than a great little Ferengi comedy.moreless
  • Kicks off the Ferengi arc.

    7.5
    This episode sets the tone for Ferengi episodes during the rest of the series run, and it's not a bad start. Usually these were played for laughs - not difficult when you have Quark, Rom, and (about once a season) Zek.



    Wallace Shawn's casting as the Grand Nagus was an inspired choice, and his over-the-top performance is one of the highlights of this installment. We also get Rom's first extended appearance, and the rough outlines are already here.



    Finally, I believe this is the first episode to focus on Quark. We've seen enough of him in earlier episodes that the writers don't need to spend too much time developing the character.



    Enjoyable.moreless
  • The best and the worst of the Ferengi.

    6.5
    The Ferengi Grand Nagus arrives on the station for the first time and gives away his title to Quark. This does not make many other high-ranking Ferengi very happy.



    This is the first Ferengi-driven DS9 episode. There's way too much of that annoying Ferengi laughter, especially coming from the Nagus. Also included are hints of how good some future Ferengi episodes can be. Quark and Rom exchange some truly funny lines. What makes this episode different from Ferengi episodes yet to come is that the story just isn't that interesting. In the end, Quark really isn't the Grand Nagus. So what was accomplished?



    While all that is going on, Jake and Nog continue to develop their friendship. The scenes they share make this episode worth watching.moreless
  • My advice is to lock up the silverware!

    7.5
    Basically 'The Nagus' is a 24th century homage to The Godfather and with a lively and witty script by Ira Behr and some solid directing by David Livingston, it works a treat!



    It's an unashamedly lightweight yarn, but the competent execution and playful humour allow for a lot of fun and some genuine laughs. This is DS9's first out and out comedy episode (the first of many) and it also serves as the template for the whole sub-genre that became the DS9 Ferengi farces. Whatever you might think of subsequent Ferengi outings (they actually went downhill towards the end of the show's run) you'd be hard-pressed to resist the undeniable charms of this endearing, genuinely amusing romp. And Wallace Shawn is just wonderful as the cantankerous Zek.moreless
  • Quark is suddenly named leader of the Ferengi financial empire, and discovers that he's not only popular — he's now a target for death.

    9.0
    It's business as usual for Quark at his bar, until he is approached by a Ferengi named Krax, who presents his father, Grand Nagus Zek, the elderly, shrewd, revered leader of the Ferengi business empire, accompanied by his Hupyrian servant, Maihar'du. Quark and his brother Rom, in awe and fear, quickly try to show Zek the respect he deserves, and set him up with five of Quark's favorite holosuite fantasies. However, Quark is worried that the legendary Ferengi is really on the station to buy the establishment — at a price which Quark can't refuse — dirt cheap. Zek then emerges from the holosuite, quite satisfied, and makes Quark invite him to dinner. Quark is quite dissatisfied with this. Meanwhile, O'Brien, playing substitute teacher at the station's school until his wife returns from Earth, takes note of Nog's falsehood as to why his homework isn't done — and even more so, Jake's reluctant willingness to cover for his Ferengi friend's lie. He voices his concern to Sisko, advising him to find a way to separate the two children. Sisko understands, but also fears that trying to force them apart will ultimately work against his relationship with his son. That evening, in Quark's quarters, Zek, Krax, and Rom are in the midst of dinner, with Maihar'du and Nog performing the serving duties. Zek states how pleased he is with the bar's success, which worries Quark even more. But Zek is enraged when he learns that Nog attends school, upon which Rom tells his son to immediately stop going. That dealt with, Zek gets to the business at hand — he wants the bar, but only for the next day, with Quark playing host to a very important conference to be held there. The purpose — the future of the Ferengi. And the future lies — in the Gamma Quadrant. Many important Ferengi arrive at the station for the conference, including a very belligerent one named Gral, who does little to hide his dislike for Krax. Much to Quark's surprise, Zek demands that he stay for the discussion. Then, much to everyone's surprise, Zek announces that he is stepping down as Grand Nagus, and that the Ferengi who will replace him and lead their greedy ventures into the Gamma Quadrant — is Quark! The conference erupts into chaos, and Quark stands in shock. With great power comes many friends, Grand Nagus Quark quickly discovers. Also, potential threats, as he learns from an encounter with Gral, who offers to "protect" Quark from harm — in exchange for Gral's pick of the most lucrative opportunities in the Gamma Quadrant — a trade that Quark would be wise not to refuse. Terrified, he goes to Zek, who basically tells him that threats come with the job. While Quark is asking more advice, Zek quietly passes away, leaving the new Grand Nagus to figure it all out for himself. The bar is closed to honor Zek's passing, and the Ferengi group holds the funeral service there. Quark makes Rom, the only person he trusts, his bodyguard. However, Rom says he had hoped to now run the bar, which Quark thinks is absolutely absurd. During the proceedings, Nog meets secretly with Jake, and they decide to remain friends despite their parents' feelings. Odo comes to the funeral ceremony, asking to have the body autopsied, which he learns is impossible because Krax is selling the "vacuum desiccated" remains as prized collectibles. Odo leaves, treating Quark with the same old disrespect as he departs. Suddenly, while Quark stoops down to pick up someone's loose coin, a glowing sphere whizzes by, barely missing his head, and blasting a hole in the far wall. Sisko, Odo, and O'Brien investigate, determining it was a Ferengi locator bomb — meant for Quark. But the new Grand Nagus refuses their help. Odo, however, suspects the culprit is Maihar'du, the only one among the group who didn't attend the funeral. Meanwhile, Quark's generosity with fellow Ferengi causes his popularity to increase, and worry to rise with the real would-be assassins — Rom and Krax! Sisko becomes frustrated when Jake doesn't return home for dinner. On the advice of Dax, he sets out for one of the cargo bays, where the computer has located Jake. Walking in quietly, he is surprised to discover Jake with Nog, with Jake patiently teaching the young Ferengi boy how to read. At the same time, while Quark prepares for his first trip through the wormhole, Rom unsuccessfully asks him again if he is willing to turn the bar over to him. As far as Rom is concerned, that seals his brother's fate. He and Krax escort the Grand Nagus into an airlock tunnel, where a Ferengi ship supposedly awaits. But Quark, now sealed in the tunnel alone, sees that the only thing on the other side is empty space. Just as Rom and Krax are about to eject him into the cosmos, Zek arrives with Odo and Maihar'du. While Quark is freed, Zek explains that he faked his death by going into a Hupyrian sleeping trance. The reason — to test his son and his worthiness to be Zek's successor — a test Krax failed miserably. Zek, resigned to the fact that he cannot yet retire, thanks Quark for his help and departs. Quark, on the other hand, deals with Rom for trying to murder him — and congratulates his brother for such wonderful treachery! Rom is a true Ferengi, after all.moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman

Quark

Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

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

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Alexander Siddig

Alexander Siddig

Dr. Julian Bashir

Lou Wagner

Lou Wagner

Krax

Guest Star

Barry Gordon

Barry Gordon

Nava

Guest Star

Lee Arenberg

Lee Arenberg

Gral

Guest Star

Tiny Ron

Tiny Ron

Maihar'du

Recurring Role

Max Grodenchik

Max Grodenchik

Rom

Recurring Role

Aron Eisenberg

Aron Eisenberg

Nog

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Nitpick: At one point Sisko and O'Brien are talking about Jake and Nog's friendship, when Sisko points out that Jake is 14 and O'Brien's daughter, Molly, is 3 (and Sisko seems to be using Earth years).  Molly was only born during Star Trek: The Next Generation's fifth season episode "Disaster" which took place just over a year before "The Nagus"; somehow Molly managed to grow to the age of 3 within a year-and-a-half.

    • When O'Brien is speaking to Nog about his homework, we see a display about comparative Xenobiology behind O'Brien. The creature displayed on the top left of the display appears to be the aliens from the TOS episode "Catspaw".

    • This episode marked the first appearance of Wallace Shawn in the recurring role of Grand Nagus Zek.

    • This episode introduced the Ferrengi Rules of Acquisition; the code by which all Ferrengi conduct their business affairs. The rules that were revealed are:
      The First Rule of Acquisition: Once you have their money, you never give it back.
      The Sixth Rule of Acquisition: Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity.

    • This episode makes the first mention of the Bajoran Fire Caves. They are mentioned sporadically throughout the series and play a critical part in the series finale.

    • The Grand Nagus' son Krax plays an important role in this episode, but is never heard from again afterwards.

  • QUOTES (5)

  • NOTES (1)

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Quark and Nava: Nava asking Quark for the opportunity to introduce synthehol to the Gamma Quadrant.
      This scene is extremely similar to the opening scene of The Godfather where Bonasera asks Don Vito for a favor. This similarity includes everything from the dialogue, the room, and even the tone of Quark's voice.

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