The “Spock’s Brain Award”: All Star Trek 101’s worst episodes ranked from to bad to worst

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in the television series, "Star Trek."
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in the television series, "Star Trek." /
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – “Profit and Lace”

“Why does it deserve the “Spock’s Brain Award”?

"““Profit and Lace” generated the most heat from viewers (and we’re not talking ardent affection). Why? Quark gives his mother a heart attack and then he has a sex change. ’Nuff said.”"

Nope, not “’nuff said”. There is plenty more to be said about this episode, none of it good. My admiration for Deep Space Nine knows no bounds, but it’s my sincere opinion that in over 800 episodes of the Star Trek franchise, “Profit and Lace” is the absolute worst episode.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, but so little good ends up on screen that good intentions count for nothing. The intention was to show the feminist revolution led by Quark’s mom, Ishka, on the Ferengi homeworld, come to fruition, and have Quark learn the error of his misogynist ways. When the Grand Nagus Zek enacts equal rights for women on Ferenginar, chaos ensues and he’s deposed. Zek and Ishka decamp to Deep Space Nine, set up a government in exile with Quark, Rom, and Nog, and try to rally allies. But when Ishka has a heart attack after an argument with Quark, Quark has to have a sex change operation to take her place.

Confused? It’s not worth trying to understand.

You know how when Bugs Bunny would dress as a Bobby Soxer or an antebellum gentlewoman to fool Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam, they’d always immediately fall for him? Well “Profit and Lace” works at the same level of sophistication, except where Bugs’ gender fluidity made him a queer icon, here it’s just deeply problematic. Y’see the potential political ally that Quark has to meet with attempts to molest him, and it’s played for laughs.

Something positive may have been salvaged from this if any lessons were learned. After all, the episode starts with Quark going full Harvey Weinstein on an employee. The sexual predator becoming a woman for a day sounds like a set-up for an epiphany, right? Well, Quark briefly acts like a better person, before learning that the employee liked being Harvey Weinsteined.

Who wrote this?!

Previous episodes like “Little Green Men” and “The Magnificent Ferengi” proved that Deep Space Nine could do the impossible, fill an episode with Ferengi shenanigans without being really really annoying. But with nothing at all to redeem “Profit and Lace,” being really really annoying is the awful cherry on top.

Next. The fans are being given all the credit for saving Star Trek: Prodigy. dark