Hide the silverware and oil the Dabo wheel! As of the most recent episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, the Ferengi have officially applied to join the United Federation of Planets (UFP). Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place” sees the merchant-savvy aliens negotiating to join the club, but only after the heroes dodge a long list of scams.
The Return Of Old Friends
Max Grodénchik (Rom) and Chase Masterson (Leeta) return for the first time since the 1999 series finale of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to voice their beloved characters. Fans will remember that Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn) passed on the title of Nagus to Rom at the end of DS9, making the humble bartender/engineer the head of the Ferengi government. Rom and the Bajoran Dabo girl Leeta tied the knot a couple of years earlier in the Season 5 finale.
We’re told that it’s in the large part because of the mysterious attacks on ships that we’ve seen in Season 4 of Star Trek: Lower Decks that the Ferengi are looking to join the Federation. In fact, the episode opens with a Ferengi ship falling victim to the unidentified craft.
It will be interesting to see exactly how the Star Trek fandom reacts to the news of the Ferengi applying to join the UFP. For more than a few reasons, the big-eared merchants don’t seem to be very likely candidates.
Sure, by the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it’s clear the Ferengi Alliance is already in for a lot of change. Largely because of the influence of Quark and Rom’s mother (or “Moogie”) Ishak, Zek has started making reforms like supporting the rights of laborers, outlawing monopolies, and enforcing laws aimed to protect the environment.
It’s in large part because of his different attitude that Zek picks Rom to take over toward the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and in Lower Decks we can see Ferenginar is already a much different place. If nothing else, Ferengi women walk around freely — without male escorts — and fully clothed. Previously the idea of women in clothing and outside of their homes without escort was portrayed as being outright disgusting to the males.
In the latest episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, the Ferengi apply to join the United Federation of Planets.
Still, reform takes time. While over two decades have passed here in the real world, in the universe of Star Trek only around six years have gone by since the events of the DS9 finale and the most recent Ferengi-flavored episode of Lower Decks. For a people who once barred women from almost every aspect of their society, to that same society applying to an organization that puts individual rights first and foremost, is a huge leap.
Not to mention that while the UFP of Star Trek isn’t really into the whole money thing, profit is clearly still a huge part of Ferengi culture. One scene in the recent episode of Lower Decks shows Mariner visiting what initially appear to be a war memorial on Ferenginar, but what actually proves to be a memorial to lost profits.
On the other hand, we were already warned by Star Trek: Discovery that Ferengi would join the UFP at some point. We see a high-ranking Ferengi working for Starfleet in Season 3 of Discovery, which is set in the 32nd century, around 900 years after the events of Lower Decks.