The most recent episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place,” showed the planet Ferenginar taking its first step towards joining the Federation of Planets. But Ferenginar has had a long road, getting from there to here.
For this week’s Trek Tuesday, we’re exploring 8 magnificent Ferengi episodes. Did we include your favorite?
The Last Outpost
The Ferengi were first introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1, “The Last Outpost.” In this episode, the Ferengi are depicted as over-the-top villains. Their movement and even dialogue is very different from what they will become over the decades.
Interestingly, this episode does feature the actor best known for playing a Ferengi, Armin Shimerman. However, in “The Last Outpost,” he plays a Ferengi named Letek. Before taking the role of Quark on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, he goes on to play yet another Ferengi in TNG season 2’s “Peak Performance.”
Ferengi Love Songs
In Deep Space Nine season 5’s “Ferengi Love Songs,” Quark travels back to Ferenginar. There, he discovers that his Moogie, Ishka (Cecily Adams) is in a relationship with Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn). Throughout the episode, Zek confuses Quark for his brother, Rom (Max Grodénchik).
In this episode, we get an inside look at how politics on Ferenginar play out. This, of course, means a supporting role for Brunt (Jeffrey Combs), a recurring antagonist for Quark. But it also lays the foundation for the fact that Ishka’s influence makes her a key figure in Ferengi social development.
The Magnificent Ferengi
In Deep Space Nine season 6’s “The Magnificent Ferengi,” Moogie has been kidnapped! It’s up to Quark, Rom and Nog (Aron Eisenberg) to lead a team to rescue her. Unfortunately for them, that team also includes Brunt.
As with the movie from which the title of the episode is drawn, The Magnificent Seven, this episode sees a ragtag group being forced to work together in order to topple a seemingly unbeatable foe.
Profit and Lace
Later in Deep Space Nine season 6, in “Profit and Lace,” the effect of Moogie’s relationship with Zek continues to be felt across Ferenginar. In this episode, it is revealed that Moogie’s desire for females to have equal rights is steadily remaking Ferengi society. However, some Ferengi females still continue to eschew wearing clothes (as demonstrated by certain patrons of Quark’s Federation Experience in “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place”).
The Dogs of War
In Deep Space Nine season 7’s “The Dogs of War,” Zek contacts Quark with some shocking news: Quark is going to be appointed the next Grand Negus! Over the course of the episode, Quark realizes he has become soft due to the influence of Starfleet. He even allows employees of his bar to keep their tips. Disgusted by his departure from Ferengi custom, he pledges to return to “the old ways” when he rises to power.
However, Zek’s propensity to confuse Quark for Rom has continued into the final season. When Zek arrives on DS9, it is not Quark who is named Grand Nagus, but rather Rom. Unlike Quark, Rom is ready to bring more progressive change to Ferengi society. This course of action is confirmed by “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place.”
In the Star Trek: Enterprise season 1 episode “Acquisition,” Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) and the crew of the NX-01 Enterprise make first contact with the Ferengi. Unfortunately, this contact takes the form of a trio of Ferengi attempting to hijack the Enterprise.
One reason this episode is especially notable is the all-star actors who play the Ferengi. In addition to the return of Combs as a different Ferengi, the episode also features Ethan Phillips (who played Neelix on Star Trek: Voyager). Another Ferengi is played by Clint Howard. Howard has appeared in many different Star Trek episodes and series, beginning with Star Trek: The Original Series season 1’s “The Corbomite Maneuver” and continuing through his most recent appearance in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2’s “Under the Cloak of War.”
While most of Ferenginar might be moving towards a more progressive society, not every Ferengi is happy with these changes. In Lower Decks season 2’s “Mugato, Gumato,” the USS Cerritos makes contact with a group of Ferengi that Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) describes as “Last Outpost throwbacks.”
The story sees the Cerritos uncovering a Ferengi poaching operation. Fortunately, Ensigns Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) and Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) are able to use the language of capitalism to convince Kynk (Tom Kenny) to move toward a more humane Mugato reserve. And speaking of Kenny, he’s notable for playing an additional Ferengi: Quimp, who was introduced in Lower Decks season 1’s “Envoys” and returned in “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place.”
In Star Trek: Prodigy season 1’s “First Con-tact,” a figure from the past of Captain Dal R’El (Brett Gray) appears: Daimon Nandi (Grey Griffin). At first, she presents herself as an ally, and it soon becomes clear that Dal learned many Ferengi Rules of Acquisition under her tutelage.
But things turn sideways when the USS Protostar crew discovers Nandi has double-crossed them in the name of profit. At the end of the episode, Dal has learned an important lesson about who his real friends are. However, Nandi continues to cause problems for the crew by reporting their location to The Diviner (John Noble) in the very next episode. Thanks for nothing, Nandi!
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