Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3, Episode 6 – « Hear All, Trust Nothing »Quark (Armin Shimerman) is a great success story, and Star Trek: Lower Decks explained how the Ferengi built a profitable franchise that continues into Star Trek: Picard’s era. Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3, episode 6, « Hear All Trust Nothing, » is the long-awaited return to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine after 23 years. Of course, no visit to DS9 would be complete without Quark, who was in the thick of the episode’s chaos involving the Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) of the USS Cerritos opening trade negotiations with the Karemma of the Gamma Quadrant.
Throughout Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s seven seasons, Quark struggled to become a rich and successful Ferengi. Quark’s Bar operated (to poor profits) on the Cardassian space station Terok Nor during the Occupation of Bajor long before Starfleet it over and renamed it Deep Space Nine, but Quark’s fortunes didn’t improve even after the United Federation of Planets occupied the station (because Starfleet Officers don’t use money). Quark lamented his meager profits as the proprietor of his bar, and he tried numerous get-rich-quick schemes, such as smuggling contraband or even selling weapons, but they inevitably failed or were shut down by his nemesis, Constable Odo (Rene Auberjonois). Quark was also outraged by the progressive changes made to Ferengi culture by his Moogie, Ishka (Cecily Adams), thanks to her relationship with Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn). As DS9 ended, Quark thought he was going to become the next Grand Nagus, but Zek chose Quark’s brother Rom (Max Grodénchik) as his successor.
Star Trek: Lower Decks revealed how Quark finally turned his fortunes around. The Ferengi has franchised Quark’s Bar into dozens of worlds, and he’s now a mogul. The secret to Quark’s success is the Quark 2000, a food and drink replicator that adds a little « extra something » that makes his cocktails and adult beverages a cut above the Synthehol that Starfleet’s replicators can generate. But of course, Quark was cheating the system because the Quark 2000 used stolen Karemma technology. When the aliens found out, they arrested Quark and tried to take him back to the Gamma Quadrant before the Ferengi was rescued by Ensigns D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) and Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero). As punishment, Colonel Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) forced Quark to turn over 70% of his profits to the Karemma.
Somehow, Quark continued his success in business into the early 25th century in spite of losing his illicit advantage of the Quark 2000 in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3. In Star Trek: Picard’s timeframe, Quark is as successful as ever. In the Picard season 1 episode, « Stardust City Rag, » Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his motley crew, including Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), visited Quark’s Bar in Freecloud. Although Quark wasn’t seen in the episode, he was respectfully referred to as « Mr. Quark of Ferenginar. » The Freecloud location of Quark’s Bar is also considerably more high-end than the original restaurant on Deep Space Nine, so profits are clearly rolling in for the Ferengi.
Quark is easily the most popular and the most important Ferengi character in Star Trek. He literally changed the concept of the Ferengi for the better after they were introduced as smarmy villains on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Quark even had his own Ferengi supporting cast on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that grew to include Rom, his nephew Nog (Aron Eisenberg), Rom’s wife Leeta (Chase Masterson), Moogie, Grand Nagus Zek, and Quark’s rival, Liquidator Brunt (Jeffrey Combs). The Ferengi-centric DS9 episodes were always comedic highlights of the series. Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Picard show that Quark deservedly achieved his Ferengi dreams of success, and it lasts decades after Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ended.
Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 streams Thursdays on Paramount+.