In a galaxy of compelling species, the Ferengi are one among Star Trek’s most peculiar, and most fascinating. Rising from not-quite-threatening villains of their TNG debut to an enchanting capitalist foil to the Federation’s post-scarcity utopia in DS9 by means of characters like Quark, Rom, and Nog, their outdoors perspective on Star Trek makes them an extremely compelling instrument for a collection to look at its heroes. However Decrease Decks turned that examination on the Ferengi themselves, and to wonderful impact.
Completely Killer Unique Clip
The extremely titled “Parth Ferengi’s Coronary heart Place”—a very out of nowhere however appreciated nod to the legendary cult comedy Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace—has to steadiness a advantageous line between advancing the private arcs of its heroes this season with what’s arguably the extra attention-grabbing bulk of its material: a visit to Ferenginar as Grand Nagus Rom, and his spouse First Clerk Leeta (DS9’s Max Grodénchik and Chase Masterson making a triumphant return), search to conclude negotiations with Starfleet because the Ferengi formally be a part of the Federation.
There’s rather a lot to get pleasure from within the contrivance that sees Boimler, Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford tag alongside for the journey as Captain Freeman attends conferences—a pretend journey information fact-finding journey, that larges pushes Boimler apart to offer Mariner a touching development on her arc this season about self-sabotaging her ambitions to be an officer, and extra importantly to discover Rutherford and Tendi’s will-they-won’t-they relationship in a surprisingly nuanced style. Other than giving Boimler a cute gag arc (discovering that, in fact, the Ferengi have mastered the artwork of addictive cable tv), these are essential and needed steps for our heroes to take, and giving the highlight over to the nonetheless comparatively underexplored Rutherford and Tendi and twisting what might’ve been a predictable friends-to-lovers arc is simply one other nice exploration Decrease Decks has made out of defying its viewers’s expectations. However it truthfully explores this concept even higher in what’s technically the overarching B-plot of the present in giving us a correct take a look at the Ferengi homeworld, and the way its tradition has developed within the years since DS9.
For all the enduring ‘90s collection did to supply us an perception into Ferengi tradition by means of the eyes of Quark and his household, Star Trek actually hasn’t adopted up within the years since on a few of its most attention-grabbing evolutions of that perception, because the patriarchal, capital-fueled society—an particularly aberrant component in Star Trek’s wider view of the long run when it got here to the alien societies it deemed allies to the Federation, if not part of it—discovered itself slowly challenged from inside. Though performed for gags as a rule in DS9, plotlines like Quark and Rom’s mom Ishka difficult the Ferengi’s regressive view of girls in its society, and Rom’s eventual ascension to management because the Grand Nagus on a sociopolitically progressive platform set the stage for giant adjustments in Ferengi society, ones that now logically begin to climax in what Decrease Decks units up by means of displaying us Ferenginar’s acceptance into the Federation. And much more crucially, Decrease Decks explores this development of the Ferengi with a fragile mixture of humorous commentary and respect for Star Trek to ship one thing that seems like an important addition to the canon, broadening our view of one of many franchise’s most iconic alien species within the course of.
Decrease Decks by no means takes the straightforward approach out that even Deep House 9 did generally with the Ferengi, treating their moments of focus as an opportunity for farce relatively than something significantly severe. That’s to not say there isn’t humor—there’s one thing hilariously grim in a quick second the place we see Mariner discover a memorial to the Dominion Warfare’s horrific lack of life that, in Ferengi type, is as a substitute devoted as “A Sober Farewell to Misplaced Earnings,” for instance, or perhaps a reducing little bit of commentary on our personal TV trade in Boimler’s nascent habit to Ferengi broadcasting. However “Parth Ferengi’s Coronary heart Place” finds its best power in by no means treating the Ferengi themselves, their attitudes and their creating tradition as we discover it past the confines of Quark’s lens, as a joke worthy of derision. If something, the Ferengi, and Rom’s shrewd negotiation techniques, grow to be one other essential step on this season’s subverting of Star Trek fandom’s expectations, in the end giving us one thing deeper than what it appears to be on the floor.
Having the Ferengi be a part of the Federation—though we largely knew it was coming given their prominence in Discovery’s far-flung future—is a crucial a part of increasing our view of them, however Decrease Decks cleverly nonetheless performs with their fame as wheelers and sellers to point out that, whereas Ferengi tradition has modified and developed since we final noticed it, it’s not been utterly overhauled to the purpose of being unrecognizable. They’re nonetheless a proud folks, they’re nonetheless shrewd orators and shrewder negotiators—what’s diplomacy, if not one other type of enterprise deal—and above all, they’re not silly, as folks metatextually or in any other case may usually assume of them. That’s extremely performed right here in Max Grodénchik’s masterful returning efficiency as Rom, as he and Leeta lull Captain Freeman and performing negotiator Admiral Vassery into assuming he’s a simple-minded spouse man that may be walked over into accepting Starfleet’s phrases.
We likewise are lulled into the identical false sense of safety as an viewers as Vassery is, till the twist that Leeta and Rom are literally working to strong-arm the Federation right into a deal that might massively undermine them—not for insidious causes as first assumed, however as a result of what they really need is for the Federation to face up for itself beneath Ferengi scrutiny, to show that they’re truly taking them, and all of the strides they’ve made beneath Rom’s management, critically. Rom and Leeta need Captain Freeman to determine what they’re actually enjoying at, and to in flip be keen to barter like a Ferengi herself, out-dealing the sellers. It’s a exceptional growth of Ferengi tradition and its perspective on the Federation at massive in a approach that feels extremely conscious of the years which have handed since we final actually hung out with the Ferengi in Deep House 9, a pure evolution of the plot threads laid down by the tip of that present, whereas nonetheless lovingly adapting what we do learn about them already into new areas and eventualities.
That Decrease Decks managed to do all that whereas additionally nonetheless neatly advancing its essential character’s private arcs this season—in methods pleasantly surprising or in any other case, contemplating Rutherford and Tendi’s relationship appears even stronger now regardless of the “setback” that they’re not performing on no matter potential romantic emotions they’ve for one another—is a package deal deal that even Quark could be envious of. In a season of robust episodes, maybe no Star Trek fan would’ve anticipated a goofily titled Ferengi-focused story to be one among its absolute strongest thus far—and in a season that has been all about defying expectation, maybe that it’s can also be a part of the purpose Decrease Decks has been hammering residence this time round.
Stream Star Trek: Decrease Decks now on Paramount+.
Need extra io9 information? Try when to anticipate the newest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s subsequent for the DC Universe on movie and TV, and all the pieces you might want to learn about the way forward for Physician Who.