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DS9 2-07

DS9 2x07
"Rules of Acquisition"

Original airdate: 11/7/1993
Rewatch date: 6/28/2013

Quark goes to the Gamma Quadrant to open negotiations with the aliens on the other side of the wormhole, but his Ferengi companion turns out to be a woman in disguise.

Spoiler-free notes:

This episode reminds me of a Shakespearean gender comedy like "As You Like It," with how it includes a cross-dressing character and the writers exploit that to play with cultural gender stereotypes and expectations (in this case, it's an alien culture) along with dancing on the edge of the issue of sexuality to create situational laughs. It also manages to avoid the biggest problem of those Shakespeare plays by having the cross-dressing character be under several pounds of alien make-up, which genuinely helps the audience be uncertain as to Pel's actual gender. In a Shakespeare cross-dressing play (at least, in one staged today), you can always tell that the character is a woman in disguise, and it's hard to accept that other characters in the play cannot. TNG faced a similar problem in "The Outcast." Here, I had to look online to learn whether the actor under all the make-up was a man or a woman.

It's fun to see how Dax interacts with the Ferengi and accepts them for who they are. It helps the audience do the same.

The make-up and costumes for the Dosi are really extravagant and over-the-top, reminding me (in a good way) of some TOS aliens.

So... what's this Dominion thing?

Apparently, the showrunners and writers weren't happy with "Rules of Acquisition." I, on the other hand, really enjoy it. It builds on the comic potential of the Ferengi seen in the first season's "The Nagus," and it seems to be starting to explore the Gamma Quadrant in a more meaningful way. It also shows a side of Quark's character we haven't seen before, elaborates on Ferengi culture, and never becomes an abject farce as it easily could. I look forward to more Ferengi episodes like this in the future.

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