Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 05 E 03 Looking For Par Mach In All The Wrong Places

Dax: [to Worf] It sounds like you have a bad case of Par'mach.
Sisko: I hope that's not contagious.
Dax: It's the Klingon word for "love"—but with more aggressive overtones.

Relations between the Klingons and the Federation are improving again, and so the Klingon noblewoman Grilka comes to Deep Space Nine for a social visit. In the episode The House of Quark Grilka had had a temporary nominal marriage to Quark to provide a male chief until she could get a dispensation to rule her clan personally. Now she wants to see Quark again and discuss old times.

Worf attempts to court her but her Chamberlain, as politely as possible, tells him that as a member of an ostracized house he is strictly unavailable. At the same time Quark falls in love with Grilka and goes to Worf for advice. Worf gives him some lessons on Klingon manners and traditions which he uses to win Grilka's heart. This enrages Grilka's bodyguard, who challenges Quark to a duel. Quark of course is a Ferengi and not good with such matters. So using a device Dax has invented, it is arranged for Quark to be mechanically controlled by Worf who of course does know how to handle a Bat'leth. Quark and Grilka's bodyguard fight for a while. Then the device breaks down. With a display of Ferengi fast talk, Quark demands the "Ferengi Right of Proclamation" and filibusters his way through the time it takes Dax to repair the device. Then Worf finishes the duel, the bodyguard is spared but humiliated and is fired and sent on his way. Grilka and Quark go off to enjoy a passionate romance. Meanwhile Dax, seeing Worf still obsessed with Grilka and oblivious to her, challenges him to an... intense practice match. Finally Quark and Grilka, then Worf and Dax, show up in Doctor Bashir's sickbay after having some fun, Klingon style. When the latter couple arrives, Julian resolves to stop asking people how they hurt themselves.

In a subplot Kira is carrying Keiko's child which has been transferred into her womb to prevent a miscarriage. Deciding that they are becoming too attached to one another by circumstance, they agree that Kira should take a vacation. Keiko innocently insists on Miles accompanying Kira to take care of the baby. When they enter the shuttle, Kira admits that the place she was planning on going to is one of the most romantic spots on Bajor. Shaken by how close they have come to betraying Keiko the two break away from each other and Kira's last words are, "Miles, get out!"


  • Abduction Is Amiable Affection: The way Quark and Grilka met.
  • Amicably Divorced: Quark and Grilka.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Worf tells Morn that he'll apologize later, before forcibly throwing him out of his barstool.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The puppeteering device Worf uses to control Quark during ritual battle.
  • Battle Couple: Quark charms Grilka by going to the holosuite to reenact the story of Kahless and Lukara, the ultimate Klingon Battle Couple. Quark is pretty much a failure in battle, but Grilka appreciates his effort and warms up to him.
    • Also Worf and Dax; this is the beginning of their relationship.
  • The Bully: Lampshaded by Worf when he whispers, "I will apologize for this later" to Morn before tossing him off a bar stool and shouting "you are in my seat!" to impress Grilka.
  • But I Read a Book About It: Worf may not be a natural at charming Klingon women but he knows everything there is to know about Klingon culture—including the mating rituals of obscure provinces like Grilka's.
  • Callback: The Quark plot makes several of these to House of Quark.
  • The Consigliere: Grilka's Chamberlain.
  • Destructo-Nookie: And poor Bashir has to repair the damage.
  • Duel to the Death
  • Fantastic Racism: Grilka's bodyguard, perhaps affected by a dark version of Bodyguard Crush.
  • First-Name Basis: Odo points out that Kira keeps referring to O'Brien as "Miles" rather than "the Chief."
  • Fish out of Water: Quark.
  • Friends with Benefits: Quark and Grilka.
  • Get Out: Kira says this to O'Brien before he leaves the runabout.
  • Going Native: Quark of all people, temporarily goes native with Klingons.
  • Holding the Floor: Quark plays for time after the mimic device shorts out and he's lost Worf's bat'leth skills in the duel.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Played with. Worf not only accepts rejection but helps bring Grilka together with Quark. However he was provoked by being told that being raised among humans would render him too socially ignorant to court a Klingon woman.
  • Mandatory Line: Sisko only appears briefly at the beginning to ask if par'Mach is contagious.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: Courtship begins with the male presenting the leg of a beast he slew at the female's dinner table.
  • The Matchmaker: Jadzia for Worf.
  • Matchmaker Crush: Inverted with Worf and Jadzia. He already has a crush - but it's in this episode he finally realises the matchmaker's into him.
  • Moment Killer: Worf gets Grilka's attention at first, but the Chamberlain politely interrupts to tell Worf that he has no chance due to his Family's disgrace.
  • Mythopoeia: A thousand years ago it was the dawn of the Empire. Five hundred warriors stormed the Great Hall at Quam Chee. Only the Emperor Kahless and the Lady Lukara stood their ground. It was here that they began the greatest romance in Klingon history.
  • National Weapon: Bat'leths, of course.
  • Oblivious to Love: Worf's obliviousness to Jadzia's attraction to him finally ends.
  • Oh, Crap!: Quark when the puppeteering device is broken.
  • Playing Cyrano: Worf trains Quark in how to woo Klingon matriarch Grilka, the Ferengi's one-time wife. Worf is infatuated with her himself, but he is an exile, disgraced in the eyes of Klingon culture.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Klingons.
  • The Power of Trust: If any wife trusted her husband as much as Keiko did it would take the most utter wretch in the universe to hurt her. Fortunately neither Miles nor Kira are utter wretches.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Grilka's Chamberlain.
  • Relationship Upgrade: While they had been flirting on and off, this marks the true beginning of Worf and Dax's relationship.
  • Shout-Out: War. What is it good for? If you ask Quark, absolutely nothing. Yes, he actually says that.note 
  • They Do: After many episodes of Belligerent Sexual Tension, Worf and Dax finally hook up.
  • Too Much Information: Bashir when Quark not-so-subtly hints at what he and Grilka were doing that landed them in the infirmary. And again when Worf and Dax show up looking like hell.
    Bashir: No... No, I don't need that image, either. In fact I'm gonna stop asking that question altogether. People will come in, I will treat them, and that's all.
  • Warrior Poet: Worf tries to teach Quark how to be a Warrior Poet. Oddly enough he succeeds. Sort of.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Miles and Kira.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Keiko.
  • Worldbuilding: Klingon customs and legends as told to Quark by Worf.
  • You Do NOT Want To Know: Bashir does this to himself after he idly asks what Quark and Grilka have been up to. And then when Dax and Worf show up shortly after.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Thoroughly subverted for comedy. Miles and Kira don't cheat, and Keiko isn't jealous of how close they're getting. Instead, they get hilariously freaked out about how they could, potentially, be attracted to each other. And Keiko keeps innocently putting them in situations where that happens.