383. Body Parts
FORMULA: Family Business + Sins of the Father + The Child
WHY WE LIKE IT: Quark's many deaths and real assets.
WHY WE DON'T: So does Moogie get sold into servitude?
REVIEW: Time for Quark to suffer the ol' Star Trek exile. Brunt returns to put the screws on our favorite Ferengi bartender, and you have to admit, his plan is pretty devious. Have Quark believe he's dying, then count on his ego and greed to get him into trouble, first putting his remains on sale, then accepting a large offer and forcing him to obey his contract whether he die or not. Brunt's motives are also interesting. He seems to be a Ferengi of principle and sees it as his duty to engineer the downfall of a Ferengi corrupted by hoo-man ideals. Brunt no doubt sees himself as a hero, and indeed, the reason we have to like Quark is the reason why he is shunned by other Ferengi.
Dark comedy ensues as Quark hires Garak to kill him. He doesn't like any of the methods the Cardassian might employ, and ultimately, can't even let himself be surprised because his survival instinct is just too strong. That's always been Quark, that has! The dream about the Divine Treasury is a nice piece of business as well that makes a clever point about the Rules of Acquisition being a marketing scheme. But as with most Ferengi comedies, it sometimes goes too far (or broad). I could do without Rom's moaning and Quark choking himself in his sleep.
In the end, Quark has to break the contract and loses everything including his shirt. It's almost a sad moment, except that it ends so very sweetly with the crew unloading their crap onto Quark so that he can start the bar going again. Sisko even agrees to pay a storage fee (so Quark can have some dignity too). Hey, they can't let a "community leader" fall. The very thing against which he was railing earlier in the episode is what saves him: friends.
The subplot is a good example of writing under pressure. Behind the scenes Alexander Siddig and Nana Visitor had fallen in love and gotten married, and Visitor had become pregnant. While Gates MacFadden could manage to hide her pregnancy with a lab coat, Kira was a very different character. So does she have an "accident" with Shakaar? And with Keiko pregnant already, are we going to be raising two kids at the same time? The solution to implant Keiko's baby into Kira after a shuttle accident is actually an inspired solution. While at first it seems a bit crazy, it leads to the incorporation of Nerys into the O'Brien family, which can only be good for all characters involved. Again, a very sweet resolution.
LESSON: Never sell your soul on eBay.
REWATCHABILITY - Medium: You could find the subplot disturbing, but sometimes life happens, and it's actually a pretty brave decision. The Ferengi comedy has its ups and downs, sure, but ends on a heart-warming note.