How did the Trill realise that if they cut open their stomachs and put a disgusting worm that lives in ponds of goo underground into their body that they'd develop a symbiotic relationship? I can appreciate that people sometimes do weird things with their bodies while bored, but that seems to be several steps beyond dripping hot wax onto your arm.
Profit and Loss (**)
What is love? Baby don't hurt me. Don't hurt me no more.
I like this joke, I think I'll keep it and run it into the ground.
Quark, the galaxy's ultimate materialist, is in love and is willing to sacrifice all his possessions to be with the object of his affections. Yeah, I don't buy it. At least this romance-of-the-week story is a bit more grounded than Melora
or Second Sight
as Quark and Natima have a history together, but it just rings false to me. If Quark had been lovesick all this time then there would have been signs, but there was no indication that he was so in love with someone that he'd be willing to throw away everything to be with her, nor will he even mention her again in the future. All the scenes where Quark was begging and pleading for her to stay felt very out of character for him and that harmed much of the episode. It shouldn't be surprising though considering this episode started out as a homage to Casablanca, which meant that Quark's motivations were copied over from Rick Blaine rather than having them grow naturally from his character.
Even beyond the romance angle, this episode struggles. It's like watching a car driving down an icy road, heading in a direction that you want it to go in, but swerving all over the road and occasionally hitting things. What it does right is introduce the Cardassian dissident movement, something that plays a big role in later story arcs. It also has Garak, a character that every show should include. Even shows that strive for grounded realism, like The Wire, would be improved by including a Cardassian super-spy. But even Garak can't help himself from being flung around in the metaphorical car, doing whatever acts the episode needs him to do. For a guy that usually plans three steps ahead of everyone else, he falls for a very simple lie from Gul Toran and then switches sides seemingly out of spite. Does Garak really support the dissident movement? Does he aid their escape so that they can be a thorn in the side of the Cardassian leadership? I don't know, and I'd be fine with not knowing if I didn't feel that even Garak doesn't know why he did what he did, he just did it because the plot demanded it of him.