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Retro Review: Who Mourns For Morn

Posted by Michelle - 23/05/14 at 06:05 pm


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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season: 06 Episode: 12 (s06e12)

Original US airdate: 02/04/1998

Morn’s death leads to a struggle among his former associates for possession of his valuables, which Morn has left to Quark.

Plot Summary: When Morn’s cargo ship is destroyed, Quark throws a wake for him and mourns Morn’s unpaid bar bill until he learns from Odo that Morn left him his entire estate. Soon after, Quark meets Morn’s self-identified ex-wife Larell, who claims that Morn had a thousand bars of gold-pressed latinum hidden away, and brothers Krit and Nahsk, who claim Morn owed them a fortune. Quark agrees to split the money with them, but doesn’t know where to find it until the angry brothers smash one of Morn’s paintings over Quark’s head and Quark finds in it a claim check for a storage locker, which holds a bar of latinum that has a Bolian bank account number inscribed in it. Larell tries to steal the gold, but needs Quark to retrieve the latinum, which Quark tries to do, only to be interrupted by a security guard, Hain, who claims to be working for the Lurian royal family. Quark is shocked to learn that Morn was a crown prince and the royals are now demanding the return of the late prince’s inheritance. Hain plans to arrest Quark for trying to take the money, but when he learns that Larell is on the station, Hain instead offers a reward if Quark will help capture her. Soon Larell, Hain, Krit and Nahsk all break into Quark’s quarters, and it is quickly revealed that they were all associates of Morn’s who carried out the infamous Lyseppian Mother’s Day Heist. Because the statute of limitations on the robbery has now run out, they all want the latinum, but they need Quark’s thumbprint to claim it. Quark manages to warn Odo of the time the shipment will arrive at the station, so while the other four are shooting at one another to seize the loot, Quark hides amidst the bars of gold and discovers that the latinum is missing. Odo arrests the co-conspirators for assault, but Quark is devastated at the loss of the fortune and is not consoled when Morn turns up alive, having faked his death to avoid his partners in crime. Upset at having been set up, Quark forgives Morn when he learns that Morn has stashed the latinum in his second stomach and is willing to share it with Quark.

Analysis: Finally, we get an episode about Morn…in which we barely get to see the main character. “Who Mourns For Morn” tells us that pretty much everyone on the station would grieve if the character were to disappear (except Worf, who can’t quite get over the discovery that Jadzia had a crush on the Lurian), and it’s a bit of a surprise to discover as a viewer that even though Morn rarely appeared onscreen for more than a few seconds and never said anything out loud onscreen, the big lug will be missed. For better or worse, that sentiment lasts only for the duration of this episode, during the course of which we discover that Morn is a criminal who hangs out with thugs worse than Quark’s usual associates and isn’t above putting his friends at risk to protect his stolen wealth. It’s all supposed to be funny and cute, and if the plot had been the B-story in an episode with a meaningful A-story, or if it had all led somewhere like Morn offering up the wealth to protect Bajor from the Dominion, that would be sufficient. But a solid 45 minutes of nothing but Ferengi antics and hyperbole about Morn, with only brief appearances by the rest of the crew and lots of painfully stereotypical heist-movie characters, can only be labeled unsatisfying, particularly since there are so many parallels with “The Nagus” in which Zek similarly faked his death and put Quark through the wringer in his desire for latinum. Ferengi episodes are at best a fluffy distraction from the serious business of interstellar threats, so when they turn stupid and nasty – Brunt wanting to slice a living Quark into saleable pieces, Quark dealing in weapons of mass destruction, dead Vorta used as comic props in an episode about Moogie’s abduction – they seem worse than a waste of time.

So Morn’s stomach is worth a thousand bars of latinum? I hope Morn regurgitates that latinum quickly, because I would not put it past a Ferengi to cut him open to get at the fortune…and if anyone gets suspicious, the Ferengi can always spring for a better interactive hologram than the one he’s been using when Morn is away on business. Except for Dax, at least none of the other regulars are dragged down by the events of “Who Mourns for Morn,” though I do wonder why Odo isn’t keeping a closer eye on all the shady characters wandering around the station, for surely some of them have criminal records apart from the Mother’s Day Heist. It’s nice to see how quickly he can interpret a briefly worded warning from Quark, but I’m puzzled why he doesn’t turn into a vole and spy on the group before weapons are drawn. Maybe Odo is distracted thinking about Kira, whom he escorts to Morn’s funeral, though I never thought Kira had any attachment to the Lurian whom she knows sometimes serves as a distraction from Quark’s schemes. I’m going to believe that Dax is merely teasing Worf by claiming to have a crush on Morn; it’s apparent that she goes for big beefy humanoids, but apart from the gregariousness that we never actually witness, it’s not clear whether Morn has a single admirable quality. Dax also gets the ridiculous job of warning Quark away from conniving women, as if either he or the viewers might not be smart enough to be suspicious of Larell just from the way she paws at Quark’s lobes. Quark’s behavior is entirely predictable, entirely too much like the recent displays in “The Magnificent Ferengi” and all the rest, and as hard as Armin Shimerman tries, it’s impossible to see depth in a character who is so consistently written shallowly…not just in his money-grubbing, ear-rub-craving values, but in his interests and loyalties and deepest wishes.

The running joke about how little we know of Morn might be funnier in retrospect if we were going to learn anything substantial about him from this episode forward to the end of the series. But although Morn keeps making his cameo appearances, sometimes used for quite amusing purposes, this is sadly the most substantial episode he ever gets. He likes rotting beets and sexy women? With a few minor changes, he could be a Klingon, or an Orion, or Cyrano Jones. That’s excusable when he’s being used as background material, but when he’s the center of a story, it’s fair to expect something more like the bravery we’re told Morn showed when he smuggled a message off the station for Captain Sisko while ostensibly on a trip to visit his mother. Just once to see him as Worf’s sparring partner or in the Bajoran shrine would be lovely. And what keeps him on the station, in danger, during the war, when we now know he has criminal connections? A secret crush? The belief that one day he will inherit Quark’s bar? The fact that his latinum-laden stomach weighs too much for him to want to drag it around? Some hint, some clue amidst all this filler would be nice.

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  • thereader

    Why in the world did you ever watch DSN when you have so much to criticize? Why don’t you go somewhere else and write about the things you like. DSN is definitely not one of them.

  • Enterprise1981

    ^ Says someone who doesn’t know how to argue the Star Trek-related points on these discussion forums.

  • thereader

    Well, 4 out of … how much? about 170 or so? That’s quite an achievement.
    BTW What is your first line supposed to mean? If you’re accusing me of something make it a bit clearer so I can make my statement, okay? Otherwise … well, you surely know …

  • Enterprise1981

    Just a few couter-examples, which are enough to constitute a factual error on your part.

  • Theragen Derivative

    My favorite thing about this ep is the dig it’s taking at the TOS title “Who Mourns for Adonais?”.

  • thereader

    You are saying that I don’t know how to argue ST-related points, but that’s complete nonsense. My comment concerns the reviewer’s rather strange point of view, but not ST or the episode or anything else ST-related. Maybe, just maybe you should read my original once more (maybe a bit slower this time) so you can understand what I wrote. My comments were REVIEWER-related – a reviewer with an almost fanatical feminist attitude and not the slightest sense of humor. Maybe Sex and the City or The L word would be better suited to be reviewed by this reviewer. And this is all I have to say. You can write whatever you want from now on, I will simply ignore you.

  • Enterprise1981

    Come on. Admit it. Some of you don’t like the author h8ing on your favorite DS9 episodes.