Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1996): S05E03 – Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places


Introduction

“Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places” is the third episode of the fifth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, originally airing on 14 October 1996 in broadcast syndication.

The story was written by Ronald D. Moore and directed by actor Andrew J. Robinson, who played the recurring character Garak. The episode received a Nielsen rating of 5.7 percent, a slight decrease from the previous week.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures on Deep Space Nine, a space station located near a stable wormhole between the Alpha and Gamma quadrants of the Milky Way Galaxy. In the episode, Worf (Michael Dorn) becomes infatuated with Grilka, but is unable to pursue her as a result of his dishonor among Klingons. In an adaption of the 19th-century play Cyrano de Bergerac, Worf instead helps Quark (Armin Shimerman) win Grilka’s love. When Quark – wholly inexperienced in Klingon fighting and mating rituals – is forced to fight Grilka’s bodyguard to legitimise their relationship, Worf employs a device to remotely control Quark’s body movements in combat, enabling him to defeat his opponent.

Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) attempts to console the dejected Worf, and becomes the aggressor in a romantic scene between the two. It is revealed that “par’Mach” is the Klingon word for “love” with an aggressive connotation.

Michael Dorn had originally proposed a story along the lines of Cyrano de Bergerac. Writers were deliberately vague in their depiction of the technology used to help Quark defend himself; viewers are shown a transmitting device on Worf’s head and a receiver concealed behind Quark’s head, but given no indication of its workings. “Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places” has been met with mixed critical reception.

Outline

Grilka (Mary Kay Adams), the Klingon ex-wife of Quark (Armin Shimerman) from a “marriage of convenience” (see “The House of Quark”), unexpectedly boards Deep Space Nine. Although her intentions are unknown, Worf (Michael Dorn) is immediately attracted to her, but is dismayed at her friendliness toward Quark. After failing to impress Grilka, Worf is admonished by her adviser, Tumek, who says that Worf’s dishonour precludes her from mating with him. In pursuing Grilka romantically, Quark finds himself ignorant with Klingon mating rituals, so he asks Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) for help. Worf, eager to prove himself capable of courting a Klingon woman, joins Dax in coaching Quark to win Grilka’s affections. Through diligent efforts to learn Klingon culture, including the holosuite reenactment of an ancient Klingon battle scene, Quark is successful with Grilka; her bodyguard, Thopok (Phil Morris), becomes outraged at the unconventional relationship and challenges Quark to a fight.

Unskilled at combat, Quark stands to either lose Grilka or be killed. Worf again helps the Ferengi; using a special device implemented by Dax, Worf is able to control Quark’s body movements from an adjacent holosuite and help Quark defend himself with a bat’leth. Although the device temporarily malfunctions, he defeats the bodyguard. The scene concludes with Grilka and Quark alone and enamoured with one another. Worf opines to Jadzia that Quark is unworthy of such a great Klingon woman and she counters that Worf’s interest in Grilka is superficial, asserting that there are better options awaiting him. Observing that Worf still fails to notice her hints, Dax initiates an aggressive romantic encounter. Worf is surprised but responds. In the next scene, both couples are shown in the infirmary; Doctor Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) treats their wounds and quickly deduces the source of their injuries. Dax and Worf decide to begin a relationship.

In a subplot, Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney) is faced with the increasingly uncomfortable situation of Major Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) carrying his baby and living with him and his wife, Keiko (Rosalind Chao) (see “Body Parts”). The two begin to feel attracted, which are apparent to both Doctor Bashir and Odo (René Auberjonois), though Keiko remains oblivious. O’Brien and Kira try to avoid growing closer, resulting in Kira deciding to take a trip to Bajor for a few days only for Keiko to insist that O’Brien accompany her on her retreat. As the runabout is about to depart, Kira reveals that their destination is in a highly romantic setting, which prompts Miles to back out of the trip; Kira also changes her plans and decides to visit her lover, First Minister Shakaar, instead.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Andrew J. Robinson.
  • Writer(s): Ronald D. Moore.
  • Release Date: 14 October 1996.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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