(written from a Production point of view)
Worf helps Quark woo Grilka, his Klingon ex-wife.
Quark is in the habitat ring when he sees Julian Bashir trying to eavesdrop in on the O'Briens, apparently wanting to meet up, but hearing an argument take place. Quark ribs him a little then takes him down the hall a bit, where he can hear. Describing a vague argument, Bashir is disappointed, but then Keiko O'Brien comes from down the hall – she was not in the room. Quark explains Kira Nerys is in there, and the argument is that Miles O'Brien is trying to force Kira to take it easy on her body while she is carrying his child.
Meanwhile, Jadzia Dax and Worf are at the Replimat discussing Barak-Kadan, a singer of Klingon opera when Grilka, Quark's ex-wife, shows up on Deep Space 9. While her intentions are unknown, Worf is smitten as soon as he sees her, and gets up to observe her. Grilka comes to Quark's and, to Worf's surprise and dismay, she seems quite friendly with Quark. Dax then recognizes her and explains she is Quark's ex-wife.
Quark happily serves Grilka a Maparian ale and asks her why she's there. Grilka mentions that her Great House, the House of Grilka, has suffered significant financial losses of late due to the war between Starfleet and the Klingons– but she doesn't ask for help, for Klingons do not dirty themselves with "filthy ledgers and bank accounts." Taking the hint, Quark "asks" to look at her financial records. As the Klingons leave, however, Grilka's guard, Thopok, threatens him to ensure he help her. He helps her as she planned. The two of them spend a great deal of time together, and they genuinely seem interested in one another.
Worf and Dax head to Ops while she explains what happened between them. Expressing his disdain for Quark and his unworthiness of her, Dax supposes Worf has a case of par'Mach. Jokingly, Benjamin Sisko asks if it's contagious.
Meanwhile in the infirmary, O'Brien is collecting medicine to ease Kira's pregnancy, for he views it as his duty to protect and assist the new surrogate mother of his child. O'Brien declines Bashir's invitation to the holosuites, and the ensuing conversation reveals the changing dynamics of the O'Brien household, resulting in Bashir ribbing his friend as the type of fellow who "would look" after O'Brien mentions he helped Kira out of her bath.
Later in Quark's bar, Quark is working with Grilka when Worf puts on a display to get Grilka's attention that includes throwing Morn out of his seat (after first apologizing in advance to Morn, sotto voce) and insulting Thopok. Tumek pulls Worf aside and informs him that Grilka is not interested in the advances of a traitor to the Empire. However, he can be excused for the transgression in Tumek's eyes because of his Human upbringing, leaving him naive about Klingon mating rituals. Worf says Tumek would be surprised what he knows, and Tumek admits that might be true, but it won't be discovered here. Loudly, he proclaims Grilka's request he leave, and Worf leaves.
In the USS Defiant mess hall, Worf expresses his regret at his attempt earlier to Dax, but Dax excuses it, saying he's in love. She also says what's really bothering Worf is what Tumek said about his ignorance with Klingon women and Klingon traditions in general. Before he responds, Quark enters to talk to Dax. Grilka has invited him to a private dinner in her quarters, and he needs a primer on Klingon mating rituals. While there wasn't any affection when they were married, he believes now something is there. Worf at first remains painfully aloof as Dax coaches Quark, but then surprisingly offers insight into winning Grilka's heart.
Meanwhile, with the blessings of Keiko, Miles has been giving Kira regular massages to help relieve her pain. While giving Kira a massage in her bedroom, O'Brien and Kira discover they have feelings for each other when Kira makes a remark about how she wouldn't mind spending three weeks in Ireland with Miles. O'Brien agrees then realizes what he said and feels guilty when Keiko walks into the room catching him giving Kira a massage. Keiko doesn't care, and says, "Don't stop on my account."
Alone on the bridge of the Defiant, Worf indulges in Klingon opera. Quark disrupts his privacy and proceeds to describe how his night with Grilka went – perfectly. Worf is strangely accepting of the Ferengi's intrusion, and it slowly becomes apparent that Worf is living vicariously through Quark's associations with Grilka, assuming a Cyrano de Bergerac-esque advisory role. Quark asks if Worf will continue helping him, and Worf agrees. They head out immediately.
With Dax, Quark's education in Klingon courtship continues in the holosuites. They are fighting Klingons as Kahless the Unforgettable and Lady Lukara in the Great Hall at Qam-Chee during a significant moment in Klingon history, and a great romance between the two. Quark, however, has trouble with the Klingonese and finds the whole thing ridiculous. Worf forcefully advises Quark that he must put himself a thousand years in the past and immerse himself in Klingon history. Quark still finds the whole thing ridiculous but becomes more interested in continuing after Dax tells him that after the battle, Kahless and Lukara jumped on each other like a pair of crazed Cardassian voles.
Meanwhile, Odo and Kira are going through security reports and Odo expresses his frustration at a frequent theft occurring. Odo believes O'Brien is at fault, since he hasn't been working on upgrades on upper pylon three that might have prevented the theft. Kira defends him, but Odo suspects Kira is going too far with it. Kira admits she's become like family, and asks him to drop it, so Odo agrees.
At Quark's, Thopok expresses his disdain for Grilka's allowance of Quark's courting to Tumek, but Tumek reminds him he should not presume to judge her. Soon, Grilka and Quark arrive and, after participating in a holosuite simulation with him, Grilka points out to Quark that he has just acted out one of the most romantic of Klingon operas, and she pointedly, and somewhat suspiciously, asks him, "What are your thoughts, Quark… why do you pursue me?" His answer, that she, his "object of great value", may be worth all the latinum in the quadrant, cinches it. The two of them are in love. All seems well until Thopok, Grilka's bodyguard, becomes fed up with the offensive romance and declares that he cannot work for a House where a Ferengi is welcome. He challenges Quark to mortal combat.
Later, Kira announces to Keiko and Miles that she is going to Bajor for a few days to relax in her friend's cabin. Miles is pleased, but Keiko is shocked by this news because she is worried Kira will go into premature labor. Keiko demands Miles go with her, and when he refuses, Keiko accuses them of fighting again and settles the debate – Miles and Kira will go to Bajor together.
Now Quark is faced with the prospect of either losing Grilka or dying (for he still doesn't stand a chance against a Klingon with a bat'leth). Worf again helps the Ferengi; using a special device, Worf is able to control Quark's body movements and helps him defend himself. They test it out in the holosuites, and it looks successful, but Quark's physical ability does limit the effectiveness. Dax suggests he sleep, so he goes. Worf can't believe the effort he's putting into this. Dax probes him as to why he likes her, and, when he responds with her commanding nature, challenges him by asking what he would do with a woman like that. She says if she was him she would look for someone more entertaining, but Worf retorts she doesn't understand.
Again in the holosuite, Grilka and company wait for Quark. With a little bit of ceremony, Tumek asks what Quark is doing there, and Quark does his best to respond appropriately. Dax and Worf are in position and sync the device, instantly working and making Quark more confident. They begin, and soon Thopok wonders aloud how he learned to fight. Quark is pleased, but then a technical glitch forces Quark to stall, now without Worf's help.
Dax finds the device's optronic relay was damaged and tries to fix it. Meanwhile, Quark yells at Thopok to wait. Stalling for time, he proclaims a false Ferengi custom, the Right of Proclamation. Grilka accepts it and lets him make a speech. After a while, the device is fixed and Quark immediately gets back to the fighting. Ultimately, Worf now is able to make Quark drop Thopok, but, instead of killing him, Worf forces Quark to hand the bodyguard's bat'leth to Grilka, proving his courage and sealing the deal. Grilka tells Thopok his honor is satisfied, and discharges him from her House. She then begins the mating ritual with Quark, and, then Dax shuts off the device, leaving Worf alone.
Not as alone as he thinks, however. Dax, who until now has pressured him about the fact that there is nothing special about Grilka, says her and Quark are on the same wavelength and Quark can see an opportunity when it presents himself. Now, she's obviously not talking about them anymore. Worf, who never has done well picking up romantic subtleties, still does not get the hint. Exasperated, Dax finally takes matters into her own hands and jumps Worf, and after a very brief sparring with bat'leths, ends up beginning a mating ritual of her own with him.
About this time, Kira and Miles are meeting in a runabout to depart for the trip to Bajor. Before they can depart, Kira admits that the place she is going to relax is one of the most romantic sites on Bajor. On hearing this, Miles puts his foot down and says, "I'm not going!" They come up with a cover story to tell Keiko and Kira goes to Bajor and decides to visits Shakaar in the capital instead. Miles stares into Kira's eyes and says "it would have been nice." Kira responds that it would have been… in another life. She urges him to leave and he does.
When the two couples – Quark and Grilka and Dax and Worf – come to the infirmary with broken bones and bruises aplenty, it is enough to convince Doctor Bashir that he is best off not asking how his patients received their wounds anymore. In a private room in the back of the infirmary, Dax and Worf talk about what happened. Worf understands that Dax is unlikely to rush into marriage, even though tradition recommends it. They do agree, however, that they ought to pursue their relationship further. Worf is uncomfortable being in a relationship with an uncertain future, but Jadzia teases him that they've established at least one thing for certain: the woman on his mind is no longer Grilka. At that, Worf throws back his head and gives one of his rare booming laughs.
"Did you see her?"
"The Klingon woman."
"She was glorious!"
- - Worf and Jadzia Dax
"You're the only Klingon I know who drinks something besides bloodwine. Or prune juice."
- - Quark and Grilka
"War! What is it good for? If you ask me, absolutely nothing."
- - Quark, paraphrasing the song "War"
"I will apologize for this at a later time. You are in my seat! (hits the table with his fist) Bartender! Bloodwine!"
"A perfect evening."
"Mmm. Almost. Her bodyguard was giving me threatening looks all night."
"That is to be expected. The idea of a Ferengi courting a great lady is… offensive."
"You know, it's attitudes like that that keep you people from getting invited to all the really good parties."
- - Worf and Quark
"This is ridiculous! I'm surrounded by corpses, my shoes are dripping in blood, and you want me to feel romantic? Why am I putting myself through this?"
"Because later that night, Kahless and Lukara jumped on each other like a pair of crazed voles. Grrr!"
"One more time…"
- - Quark and Jadzia Dax
"You are a coward and a liar – and you have no honor! So tomorrow you will kill me, or I will kill you!" (growl)
- - Thopok to Quark
"You people have rituals for everything except waste extraction! You must have a ceremony or secret hand-shake or something I can do!"
- - Quark, facing the problem of dying, or being branded a coward and losing Grilka
"What are your thoughts, Quark? Why play out one of the most romantic scenes in Klingon literature for me? Why learn to speak Klingon and observe our customs? Why do you pursue me?"
"I only pursue those things I wish to acquire."
"'Acquire'... now, you sound like a Ferengi again."
"I am a Ferengi. That means I have a talent for appreciating objects of great value. And I believe... you may be worth more than all the latinum in the quadrant."
(A stunned Grilka now understands what Quark meant)
"I claim… the Right of Proclamation!"
- - Quark
"To this end my blade soars! Through the aquarium of my soul, seeking the kelp of discontent, which must be cut, so that the rocky bottom of love lie in waiting with fertile sand, for the coming seed of Grilka's affection. And yet, does this explain my need for her? No. It is like a giant cave of emptiness, waiting for the bats of love to hang b-…"
- - Quark
"You realize that according to Klingon tradition…"
"According to tradition, we have to get married."
"But as you keep insisting, you are not a traditional woman."
"And the truth is, Worf… at heart, you're not much of a traditional man."
- - Worf and Jadzia Dax
"I am a fool."
"You're in love – which I suppose is the same thing."
- - Worf and Jadzia Dax
(Quark and Grilka, Jadzia and Worf are all in the infirmary with lots of bruises and mildly stressed bones, both couples having just made love in the Klingon way)
"What have you been doing?"
"You mean… what have we been doing?"
(Naughty laughter by Quark and Grilka)
"Never mind… I don't need that particular image running around in my head. I'll just treat you… (Worf and Jadzia enter) What happened to you two?"
"Well, uh… if you must know…"
"No! No, I don't need that image either. In fact, I'm going to stop asking that question altogether. People can come in, I will treat them, and that's all."
- - Bashir, Quark, Grilka (not speaking, just laughing), Worf, and Jadzia Dax
Story and script
- The 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac, inspired by a real life 17th century French writer and duelist, served as the inspiration for this episode. In the play, by Edmond Rostand, two male characters, Cyrano and Christian, fall in love with the same woman, Roxanne. Cyrano is depicted as an unattractive man, but one of great wit; Christian is very handsome, but not particularly intelligent, so Cyrano agrees to help Christian woo Roxanne. In the famous seduction scene, as Christian attempts to win Roxanne's heart, Cyrano hides in a nearby bush and whispers the right things to say to Christian. There is no real equivalent of the Jadzia Dax character in the original play, although the character of Le Bret could be seen as that as he was Cyrano's very close friend and confidant both in the play and in real life and thought to be Cyrano's real life lover. The idea of doing an episode of Deep Space Nine based upon Cyrano de Bergerac was Michael Dorn's. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Cyrano de Bergerac also featured prominently in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Nth Degree".
- The lack of explanation for exactly how the Virtual Control Device functioned was something which writer Ronald D. Moore did purposely. He felt that in the context of the episode, stopping to explain how it worked would have slowed down the action and taken away from the comedy, so he chose to leave it purposely vague; "Dax had invented it, and I wasn't interested in explaining it to the viewers. We just buy the premise and move on." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The final draft script is dated 25 July 1996. 
- This episode is a sequel to "The House of Quark".
- This is the first television episode directed by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine recurring guest star Andrew Robinson (Garak), although his character does not appear in the episode. Robinson had won two Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards in 1995, both for directing: one for Samuel Beckett's End Game, the other for Harold Pinter's The Homecoming. He would go on to direct two episodes of Star Trek: Voyager: "Blood Fever" and "Unforgettable".
- Armin Shimerman did many of his own stunts during the fight scene. He practiced at home for ten days prior to shooting the scene, and according to Shimerman, "I got pretty good with the bat'leth actually." Shimerman also worked with a mime artist to help him make it look as if the bat'leth had a mind of its own at the end of the fight. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Armin Shimerman commented that the episode was "a great delight for me. Although it was a comic episode, I had learned a lot about playing romance from that episode with Mary Crosby back in the second season. As an actor, I learned that I played it too much with my heart on my sleeve, and that's not true romance; it's just hokum. So I wanted to try new things in the relationship with Grilka, and that turned out much more to my satisfaction". ("The House of Quark", Star Trek Monthly, issue 36)
- Terry Farrell commented: "What's with that title? What happened to easy names like "The Quickening" or "Defiant"? I can hardly remember those anyway! It was great to finally have my romance with Worf. The show jumped a little bit to a conclusion. I would like to have seen little indications along the way in which Worf contemplated whether or not Dax would be a good mate. As it is, it's out of the blue that he's going to go for it with me. He admits his love at the end, and that was like, 'Wow! Another jump'. Overall, I really enjoyed doing it. Michael and I got a kick out of comparing each other's bruise makeup". (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 18)
- Although the A-story in this particular episode was a big hit with fans, writer Ronald D. Moore is more proud of the B-story involving O'Brien and Kira. According to Moore, "that was one of the most real storylines we've ever done. They were flesh-and-blood people in a very believable situation, reacting believably." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The episode was listed as an essential episode of the series in The Joy of Trek.
- The title is the third longest in all of Star Trek's television episodes and the longest in Deep Space Nine. The first is TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" and the second is DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry".
- The title comes from a line of the famous country song "Lookin' for Love", a hit for Johnny Lee in the '80s, with the Klingon word for "love" instead. It is the one and only time that a Klingon word appears in an episode's title.
- Another musical reference: when Quark and Grilka are discussing her visit, he says "War, what is it good for? If you ask me, absolutely nothing", which was a nod to the Edwin Starr song "War". Quark seems to have forgotten the 34th Rule of Acquisition: "War is good for business", though it is possible that he leans much more towards the 35th Rule of Acquisition: "Peace is good for business". Or he may be referencing the 76th Rule of Acquisition: "Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies."
- When asked by Tumek, Worf says that he has never pursued a Klingon woman. However, he was once involved with K'Ehleyr, the mother of his son, Alexander. Before his family was dishonored, Worf attempted to marry her. As half-Human, half-Klingon, K'Ehleyr was not fond of Klingon tradition, so Worf likely did not court her per Klingon custom. Though, they did engage in the Klingon mating ritual. TNG: "The Emissary", TNG: "Reunion")
- Tumek's line "The challenge has been given and accepted. Let no one interfere." closely resembles T'Pau's words from TOS: "Amok Time".
- Joseph Ruskin (Tumek) had previously appeared as Galt in TOS: "The Gamesters of Triskelion", and as Odo's Cardassian Informant in DS9: "Improbable Cause". He would subsequently be seen as a Son'a Officer in Star Trek: Insurrection, as a Vulcan Master in VOY: "Gravity" and as a Suliban doctor in ENT: "Broken Bow".
- Phil Morris (Thopok) had previously appeared as an unnamed child in TOS: "Miri", and as Cadet Foster in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. He was subsequently seen as Remata'Klan in DS9: "Rocks and Shoals", and as John Kelly in VOY: "One Small Step". According to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, Morris auditioned for the role of Benjamin Sisko but was turned down because he was too young.
- Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 5.2, 3 February 1997
- As part of the DS9 Season 5 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Commander Worf
- Terry Farrell as Lt. Commander Dax
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira
- Rosalind Chao as Keiko O'Brien
- Mary Kay Adams as Grilka
- Joseph Ruskin as Tumek
- Phil Morris as Thopok
- Bill Blair as an alien
- Dennis Madalone as
- Tom Morga as holographic Klingon
- Steph Silvestri as operations officer
- Unknown actor as Bolian male
- George Colucci as stunt double for Armin Shimerman
- Caron Colvett as stunt double for Terry Farrell
- Brennan Dyson as stunt double for Michael Dorn
aggressor; Alpha Quadrant; aquarium; Bajor; Bajorans; Barak-Kadan; Basai Master; bloodwine; Bolian; botanical pathology; compound fracture; courting/courted; curse; D'Ghor; Ferengi; fertility; fireplace; forshak; fruit juice; garrison; Gowron; heart; Holana River; House of Grilka; Ireland; Kahless the Unforgettable; Keldar; kelp; key; kilometer; Klingon; Klingon Empire; Klingon mating rituals; Klingon opera; Kozak; latinum; lingta; Lukara; makara herb; Maparian ale; massage; Mekro'vak region; mistress; Musilla Province; O'Brien, Michael; O'Brien, Molly; O'Brien's mother; optronic relay; Parada; pazafer; Promenade; prune juice; Qam-Chee; Qo'noS; Quark's; racket; rash; radius; rib; Right of Proclamation; rotting; runabout; sadism; sand; scalding; security protocol; separ gemstone; Shakaar Edon; soul; springball; swelling; takeo herbs; targ; tendon; thigh; toast; traitor; tricorder; Tygarian; vole
- "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places" at Wikipedia
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"Nor the Battle to the Strong"