Rules of Acquisition (**½)
Hey guys, did you know that the Ferengi are misogynistic and greedy? If you didn't then you must not have watched any of DS9's Ferengi episodes because they pound those two facts into your skull repeatedly for for an hour straight. That's the problem with this episode, it's just the same old jokes over and over again. The humour rarely rises above the Two and a Half Men level. As a comedy episode, this doesn't really work, but if you treat it a little more seriously it's not so bad.
In some ways, this episode introduces the major Ferengi plot for the rest of the series; the emancipation of Ferengi females and the liberalisation of their society. It's not one of the most important or celebrated plotlines, but it is part of the tapestry of the show that makes DS9 grander than the others. With TNG using the Ferengi mainly as ineffectual villains, the issue of Ferengi females only came up as a way of making them seem like savages, it was never properly addressed, so it's good that DS9 chose to actually address that issue at least semi-seriously. Pel is a crusader for women's rights that has to pretend to be a man in order to prove her worth, much like many women in human history. The fact that Pel falls in love with Quark and can't stop herself from kissing him is somewhat unfortunate, it plays to the stereotype that women are romantics and are ruled by their emotions, which kinda undercuts the points that Ferengi females are equal to Ferengi males. But I guess that's the comedy side of things trying to barge its way into the story again.
What this episode is probably most famous for is the introduction of the Dominion, and the handling of that wasn't bad. In fact, of the three episodes this season that hint at the existence of the Dominion, this probably handled it the best as it was more than just a name-check, the Dominion were at the core of this plot. The entire negotiation story was secretly about learning of the Dominion, and we get some sense that they're the key to the Gamma Quadrant rather than some generic threat. I'm not sure how effective it was to place the first reference to the Dominion in a light-hearted Ferengi episode because the Dominion were already a major part of the show by the time I became a fan. I'm intrigued, did any of you see this episode when it aired and write off the Dominion as something inconsequential, or did the reference pique your interest?