Lots of Ferengi converge on the station for conference called by their boss, Grand Nagus Zek.
It seems like the Ferengi are basically an organized crime family and it appears that the Grand Nagus is the don. It is believed that he is there to dole out business opportunities in the Gamma Quadrant, but actually comes to appoint the successful barkeep Quark as his successor, which angers those summoned to the conference. The peril of the position gets to Quark, who begs Zek for advice, only to have Zek die. After taking the position in full, Quark’s brother, Rom, and Zek’s son, Krax, plot to take out Quark. Krax wants power and Quark isn’t very nice to Rom. Just in this episode, he has twice threatened to throw him out the nearest airlock (though he never meant it). First, a locator bomb fails to get him at the bar. Then they fool him into stepping into an airlock with no ship docked. Before they can actually eject him into space, Zek appears. It turns out he was testing Krax to see if he was ready to take over. He is not.
While all of this is going on, Nog is not being a good student and being a bad influence on Jake. O’Brien, who is substitute teacher while Keiko is still on Earth, doesn’t believe Nog’s excuse for not having his essay on ethics. At dinner with the Grand Nagus, Rom forbids him from attending school. Commander Sisko is having trouble connecting with Jake. When Jake is late for dinner, Dax suggests he go looking for his son. He finds him in a cargo bay, teaching Nog to read.
It’s not a bad episode and introduces us to more of the intricacies of the Ferengi and their “Rules of Acquisition.” It also seems to mark a turning point for Jake and Nog.
Wallace Shawn is brilliantly cast as Grand Nagus Zek, who has enormous earlobes. By the way, at least four of the actors playing Ferengi in this episode have played or will play other Ferengi on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Armin Shimmerman (Quark) was in “The Last Outpost” and “Peak Performance.” Max Grodénchik (Rom) was in “Captain’s Holiday” and “The Perfect Mate.” Lou Wagner (Krax) was in “Chain of Command, Part I.” Lee Arenberg (Gral) would go on to appear in “Force of Nature” and “Bloodlines.”
There is a nice moment where O’Brien and Sisko discuss parenting. Also, the moment that Sisko discovers Jake and Nog reading in the cargo bay is very sweet.
When Sisko leaves the dinner table to go find Jake, Dax (who we learn has been a parent five times over) stays behind and helps herself to some of his aubergine stew. Sounds delicious!
Speaking of dinner, when Zek joins Quark and Rom for dinner, he eats something called “tube grubs.” They look a lot like the live creatures eaten by those taken over by the aliens in the TNG episode “Conspiracy.”
When Quark has people bow down to him as Nagus, he has a Corvan gilvo in his hands, like the cat of Blofeld in the James Bond films. That endangered creature was first seen in the TNG episode “New Ground.”
An observation: Odo and Sisko are quite curious about all the Ferengi that just seem to keep showing up. Seems like there should be more information already in their possession when it comes to incoming ships. Just saying.
Also, it looked really easy for just about anyone with enough height to open an airlock’s outer door.
Final note: “The Nagus” marks composer John Debney’s Star Trek debut. He will go on to score another episode of DS9 and one episode of TNG.