Fri
Aug 15 2014 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Sons and Daughters”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Sons and Daughters“Sons and Daughters”
Written by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle
Directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño
Season 6, Episode 3
Production number 40510-526
Original air date: October 16, 1997
Stardate: unknown

Station log: The I.K.S. Rotarran has rescued the away team (and presumably the prisoner Keevan) from the dark-matter nebula and returned to Starbase 375. Bashir and O’Brien are grateful to be off the Klingon ship with its Klingon food and Klingon singing to all hours of the night, while Worf and Dax are grateful for some alone time.

The Rotarran then continues to a rendezvous with the Vor’nak, taking on crew replacements—one of whom is Worf’s son Alexander. Worf had no idea that Alexander had even enlisted. Alexander identifies himself only as Alexander Rozhenko, saying he has no House. So, y’know, obviously some bitterness.

Kira and Odo meet in Quark’s to discuss resistance strategy, only to be joined by Jake, who wants in. Kira and Odo don’t actually say yes, though he does impress them with the fact that he knows that Dukat makes Kira greet him every time he returns to Terok Nor.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Sons and Daughters

This time when Dukat returns, it’s with his daughter in tow: he’s brought Ziyal back from Bajor. Kira is guardedly glad to see her, and not so happy to be dragooned into dinner with her and Dukat to catch up.

The Rotarran’s orders are to guard a supply convoy to Donatu V. The last several such convoys were destroyed by the Jem’Hadar, so they have to protect this one at all costs. Martok also asks why, after all they’ve been through, Worf never once mentioned that he has a son. Worf gives a bit of the backstory, explaining about K’Ehleyr and her death and Alexander being on the Enterprise and him not wanting to be a warrior. Worf does not know why Alexander has enlisted as he hasn’t spoken to him, and Martok urges him to do so. Worf says he will deal with Alexander in his own way, which is a total recipe for disaster...

Worf calls Alexander to his quarters, hoping to speak to him as father to son, but Alexander makes it clear that he has no interest in that. As usual, Worf handles it in the worst possible way, and it devolves into the inevitable shouting match.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Sons and Daughters

Kira goes to Ziyal and explains that she’s not coming to dinner as she despises Dukat and wants him to die. Ziyal explains that she came back to the station because it’s the only home she has—mainly because the two most important people in her life, Dukat and Kira, are there. She tried to attend the university on Bajor, but while everyone was polite, she was obviously an outcast as the daughter of the former prefect of Bajor who was waging war on the Emissary. She’s also forgiven Dukat for abandoning her to blow up with everyone else when Cardassia joined the Dominion because he’s all she has, apart from Kira.

Kira relents and agrees to come to dinner, but she refuses to enjoy it.

Alexander goes to the mess hall, where he is teased and hazed and made a figure of fun for being raised by humans. This results in a fight between Alexander and Ch’Targh, during which Alexander gets his ass handed to him (though he does, at one point, draw blood).

Worf interrupts the fight before Ch’Targh can do any real damage, which only pisses Alexander off, and Ch’Targh snidely asks if Worf will fight the Jem’Hadar for him, too.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Sons and Daughters

Kira comes to dinner and discovers that Ziyal is an artist. She’s actually getting her drawings exhibited at the Cardassian Institute of Art. She wants her art to help bring Cardassians and Bajorans together, which she says sounds a little silly, but both Dukat and Kira think she could very well pull it off and are impressed with her art. Dukat even admits that Kira was right to send her to Bajor and expresses gratitude for Kira taking care of Ziyal.

Martok tells Worf that he needs to make sure that Alexander is prepared to be a warrior—not as his father, but as his first officer. Moments later, there’s a battle alert. Alexander says there’s a Jem’Hadar battle ship targeting them—but the weapons never strike the ship. It turns out that Alexander forgot to erase the most recent battle drill from the sensor log. Ch’Targh jokes that he should be vigilant—there may be more hostile simulations lurking in the shadows—and Alexander laughs with them. Martok sees it as the crew starting to accept him, but Worf bitterly says that he’s being accepted as the ship’s fool.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Sons and Daughters

Worf tries to train Alexander to defend himself against a Jem’Hadar kar’takin with a bat’leth, but Alexander makes a total pig’s ear of it. Worf wants to know why Alexander didn’t continue the training he started on the Enterprise, and reminds him that this is war. The Jem’Hadar will cut him to pieces. Alexander’s response: “Then I will be dead and you will be happy. Now leave me alone.”

Dukat informs Kira that three of Ziyal’s drawings will be exhibited at the Cardassian Institute of Art, and he’s having a celebration in his quarters that evening, to which she is, of course, invited. Later, he has Damar deliver a dress to her to wear for that party. For about three seconds, Kira is delighted, and then realizes just what has been happening. She returns the dress to Dukat, reminds him (and herself and the audience) that she despises Dukat with the fiery passion of a thousand white-hot suns and she won’t be coming to the party. After she walks out in a huff, Ziyal enters, and Dukat—deciding, apparently, that he hasn’t been creepy enough—gives the same dress to his daughter.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Sons and Daughters

Martok walks in on Alexander doing really poor bat’leth drills. He wants to know why Alexander is there—he knows why all the other warriors are on board, but the boy obviously is not responding to the call of Kahless. Alexander refuses to speak of it, calling it a private matter, and then Martok announces that Worf has requested that Alexander be transferred off. “He has no right—” Alexander starts, thus showing his complete lack of understanding of how chain of command works, which Martok then explains to him. He says he just wants a chance to prove himself, and Martok points out that he just gave him one and he failed it.

So Alexander goes to Worf, challenging him. Worf refuses to accept it, and Alexander accuses him of sending him away again, abandoning Alexander just like he always has. Their argument is interrupted by a call to battle. This time there’s really-o-truly-o Jem’Hadar attacking. Alexander’s barely able to keep up with what’s happening. However, he can fix a damaged plasma injector before it badly damages the ship, and he volunteers to do so, since he’s of no use on the bridge. Ch’Targh volunteers to go with him—it’s a two-person job—and Worf tells them to go.

Martok engages in some impressive battle maneuvers and the Rotarran destroys both Jem’Hadar ships. Worf then checks on Alexander, only to find that, after he and Ch’Targh fixed the battle damage, Alexander locked himself in a corridor by mistake. Worf promises to be a better father to Alexander (Alexander, not being stupid, says we’ll see if Worf actually means it), and also promises to train him in being a better warrior. Alexander is then officially made part of the House of Martok.

Ziyal is disappointed that Kira didn’t come to the party, and Kira says that she won’t ask Ziyal to choose between her and Dukat—it’s no choice, Dukat’s her father. And then she walks away.

The Sisko is of Bajor: Sisko and Martok wager a barrel of bloodwine over who will set foot back on Deep Space 9 first.

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Dukat tries to deepen the imaginary relationship he and Kira have by having them bond over the one thing they truly share: affection for Ziyal. (Though one wonders if Dukat reconciled with Ziyal solely for the purpose of getting Kira closer to him.)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Sons and Daughters

The slug in your belly: Dax messes with Worf’s head by pretending that she won’t join the House of Martok when they’re married. This totally works, which is why Dax did it, reminding him that life when they’re married will be difficult but also fun.

There is no honor in being pummeled: Worf continues to be the worst father ever, as he and Alexander pick up right where they left off: Worf not understanding at all how to communicate with his son and Alexander being surly and stupid.

Rules of Acquisition: Quark urges Jake to stay the hell away from what Odo and Kira are planning, and also offers him a job as a waiter. Jake greets this offer with the disgusted silence that it deserves.

For Cardassia! The Dominion is giving a dozen or so industrial replicators to Bajor. Dukat, of course, describes it as “Cardassia” giving those replicators to Bajor, with the Dominion only getting a token mention at the end.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: The episode opens with Worf and Dax sucking face, though both are hugely disappointed when they’re interrupted by the Rotarran’s arrival at Starbase 375.

Keep your ears open: “I tell you, Worf, war is much more fun when you’re winning. Defeat makes my wounds ache.”

Martok, sore loser.

Welcome aboard: Marc Worden becomes the latest person to play Alexander; he’ll return in the role in “You Are Cordially Invited...” Sam Zeller and Gabrielle Union play Ch’Targh and N’Garen, respectively, while recurring regulars Marc Alaimo (Dukat), Casey Biggs (Damar), J.G. Hertzler (Martok), and Melanie Smith (Ziyal) all return.

Trivial matters: This episode was filmed second in order to accommodate the location shooting for “Rocks and Shoals.” This caused occasional problems in the writers room, especially with regards to the station arc...

The Klingon half of this episode was inspired by the 1950 John Ford film Rio Grande.

Marc Worden is the fifth person to play Alexander, following Jon Steuer in TNG’s “Reunion,” Brian Bonsall throughout the fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons of TNG, James Sloyan (as the fully adult Alexander from the future) in TNG’s “Firstborn,” and Richard Martinez in the photo Worf unpacked in “The Way of the Warrior” (and which he also looks at in this episode).

Both Ch’Targh and N’Garen appeared in the video game Dominion Wars, and your humble rewatcher had Ch’Targh appear briefly in the novel Diplomatic Implausibility.

One of the new transfers to the Rotarran identifies himself as the son of Ch’Pok, the advocate from “Rules of Engagement.”

The results of Sisko and Martok’s bet will occur in “Sacrifice of Angels.”

We’ve now seen three different methods of bringing someone into a Klingon’s House: two rituals, the ruu’stai from TNG’s “The Bonding,” and the ritual in this episode, plus Martok’s more prosaic placing of the House emblem on Worf’s baldric in “Soldiers of the Empire.”

Donatu V was established in “The Trouble with Tribbles” as the site of a major battle between the Klingon Empire and the Federation 25 years prior to that episode.

This is the first time the Jem’Hadar bladed weapon (first seen in “To the Death”) is called by its name of kar’takin.

Walk with the Prophets: “There is a bond between us.” In general, DS9 has done right by Worf. He’s advanced in rank, something the rest of the TNG cast—locked into movies that only come out every couple of years—were not really permitted. He’s been allowed to do well, not be defeated or stymied to show how badass the opponents are. He’s even had a relationship that hasn’t been cut short* (K’Eylehr, killed in “Reunion”), doomed (Ba’el in “Birthright, Part II”), or started too late (Troi, a relationship that didn’t really commence until TNG’s series finale).

* At least not yet. Sigh.

So why did they feel the need to resurrect one of the worst aspects of the character? TNG spent the fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons showing us that Worf was the worst parent ever, resulting in a lot of annoying storylines and tiresome scenes of Worf and Alexander shouting at each other. The only time Alexander wasn’t actively unpleasant was when he was placed with other characters (Lwaxana in “Cost of Living,” other kids in both “Imaginary Friend” and “Rascals”).

One could hope that the recasting of the role would improve things, but Marc Worden would do the world a favor by changed the R in his last name to an O, thus letting folks know what to expect right off. (He was even worse in his one-episode role as a Jaffa on Stargate SG-1.) Worden is simply dreadful here, made all the worse by the story surrounding him by superior actors in Michael Dorn, Sam Zeller, and especially J.G. Hertzler, all of whom act him right off the screen.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Sons and Daughters

The hearts-and-bat’leths resolution is wholly unconvincing, as Alexander is still an incompetent dip, the crew still doesn’t take him seriously, and Worf is still the worst father ever. One successful battle against two Jem’Hadar ships (whose success was on the backs of Martok, Worf, and N’Garen in any case) should not have had the profound impact it did. This wasn’t like Worf and Martok’s fight in “Soldiers of the Empire,” it was just a routine battle that they won. Why does that change anything? Aside from showing off Martok’s battle prowess, and making us wish they’d gotten David Graf and Sandra Nelson back (Zeller in particular does decently, but both his Ch’Targh and Gabrielle Union’s N’Garen are pale imitations of Leskit and Tavana), the entire Rotarran plot just feels like a waste of time.

Luckily, the sodden Klingon plot is leavened by what’s going on back at the station as Dukat continues trying to get Kira to approve of him. If she won’t take his side as the “leader” of Cardassia (since he’s too arrogant/blind to see the strings Weyoun is manipulating), then she’ll get his approval as Ziyal’s father. Ziyal is indeed the one thing linking the two of them, as from the git-go Dukat has viewed Kira’s guidance as important to Ziyal, going all the way back to “Return to Grace” (though with some hiccups along the way).

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Sons and Daughters

It almost works, too. Luckily this time around, it doesn’t take a suicide to get Kira to snap out of it, she just needs to see herself in the mirror holding up Dukat’s gift dress. Having last time gotten herself out of the large-scale spider’s web she was trapped in, she now has to get out of the much smaller—but also far creepier—one Dukat is weaving. Marc Alaimo plays this all beautifully, because you just don’t know for sure if there’s any genuine emotion there or not. He seems to genuinely care for Ziyal, but you can’t help but wonder if he didn’t reconcile with his daughter for the express purpose of using her to get closer to Kira. He wants the Bajorans to approve of him and love him and hold him and squeeze him and call him George, and he sees Kira as the gateway to that. And when it doesn’t work, he can just give the fancy dress to Ziyal. (Which actually tops the cup-Kira’s-cheek bit in “A Time to Stand” as Dukat’s creepiest moment.)

This is half a great episode, so the rating below seems very fitting...

 

Warp factor rating: 5


Keith R.A. DeCandido actually had little trouble aping Marc Worden’s voice for Alexander in A Time for War, a Time for Peace and Articles of the Federation. Go fig’.

41 comments
McKay B
1. McKay B
My favorite thing about Sisko, beyond all his strong captainly abilities, is that he's a good father. Our lone, shining main-character example of balancing Starfleet senior officer duties with a healthy family life.

It would have been really nice if DS9 had made Worf learn to be a good father under his (and Miles') example. But then again, considering how far he had to come, I'm not sure 4 seasons would have been enough time for that amount of character development to be believable, even if they had brought in Alexander two years earlier and kept him around frequently. :-P
Mike Kelmachter
2. MikeKelm
You'd think after all the years of Star Trek and all of the great actors they've gotten to play Klingons they'd find one who could play Worf's son. Also, after how right they've gotten the Sisko Relationship (all three generations) that eventually they'd get Worf/Alexander correct. Then again, I've thought wrong before.

This iteration of Alexander was whiny and Worf (who has presumably seen good parenting by humans) can't figure out how to parent his own child. Admittedly, Alexander rightfully has a certain amount of resentment considering that all but 3 years of his life his father was out of the picture. However, as the viewers we have no idea why Alexander is there in the first place and he and his father never seem to talk about it. They immediately go to "You are going to get killed by the enemy" and "Good, I'll be dead and you don't have to deal with me." Seriously, I've seen better dialogue in after school specials and commercials about drug abuse prevention. If Alexander had gone off in a whiny manner on how it was just a little pot, it's not like he makes himself throw up all the time and it's like once a month or whatever... it probably would have fit here.

The one good thing about this episode is that it does do a good job of showing what a good man Martok is. He seems to care more about Alexander than Worf does as he is the one who tries to engage with Alexander on a personal level, not Worf. He's the one who reaches out to Worf and shows interest in his son and that Worf is a father. Yet again he comes across as a warm genuine guy who cares about others, which is not how Klingons are normally portrayed in the series.

In many ways that's what makes Martok, and your Klingon book series so good- you can tell that Martok genuinely cares about his people and his empire, not just about power. He's climbed up the ranks and is not a stick-in-the-butt aristocratic character, but rather someone who has learned from all of his experiences and truly values other people. While it's a bit hokey, you find yourself watching (and reading) about him and genuinely rooting for him. Unlike Gowron, who was a protagonist but an unlikeable one, Martok is quite the opposite.
McKay B
3. McKay B
EDIT: OK, I guess Beverly is another good example. But her "senior officer" duties were very different, and her relationship with Wesley was never as powerful as Sisko/Jake, even if it generally seemed healthy.
Christopher Bennett
4. ChristopherLBennett
In Marc Worden's defense, I think he's done some fairly decent voice acting in various animation roles, including Iron Man in various Marvel direct-to-video animated films. At least, he has an interestingly rich voice.

My problem is more with the idea of bringing Alexander back at all in this way. For one thing, I could've done without giving him another dose of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome; this episode aired only 7 years after the character first appeared played by a 6-year-0ld (and possibly only 8 years after he was conceived, though that's ambiguous). So having him suddenly be an adult is really awkward. But even more awkward is the complete and unexplained abandonment of his entire characterization. Alexander resisting his father's desire to make him more Klingon and choosing to strike his own, less stereotyped path was a relatively interesting arc; having him do an inexplicable about-face and suddenly want to be just another cliched Klingon Warrior, the one thing he wanted least up to now, was a terrible and nonsensical idea. I know they made some token effort to explain it as him wanting to be with his father or something, but it was an inadequate and unconvincing excuse for basically throwing away his entire personality and substituting this pod person.

Also, where was the story arc? What happened? There was no resolution. The whole plot just kind of fizzled out with everyone just saying, "Ehh, okay, we'll accept the status quo," which isn't much of a climax. It doesn't have an arc so much as a languid drift. And given that Alexander only appeared once more after this, it had no long-term payoff either. It was a half-hearted idea that didn't work and was pretty promptly abandoned.

But yeah, it's only the station side of the episode that works at all. I actually don't think I enjoyed that part much either, but it was the beginning of Ziyal's most interesting arc on the show, so it worked in that sense. Still, this episode just underlines why I think Weddle & Thompson were the weakest links in the writing staff. Their episodes generally fell flat compared to what Behr, Beimler, Moore, and Echevarria were doing.
McKay B
5. happytoscrap
It always made sense to me that Worf would be a bad parent to Alexander. Worf is 100% Klingon, but was raised and grew up around 100% humans. Worf seems to have human traits but highly esteems Klingon values.

Alexander is 75% Klingon and was raised to dislike Klingon values. He never knew Worf until he was very much past those influential infant/toddler years.

Worf wants to teach Alexander to be a Klingon Warrior....even though Worf was raied by human parents. Alexander has spent his most influential years being told by the person he loves the most- his mother that Klingon ways are stupid. How is this relationship supposed to go?
Alexander is stunted from the death of his single parent and now has to live with Worf....who might be his real father but to Alexander, has to be seen as pretty much a deadbeat dad. Resention seems par for this course.

I would have called shenanigans if Worf was some sort of great father and Alexander was some sort of well behaved good son.

I loved this episode for the fact that it brought Alexander back into the fold. I liked having Worf/Martok/Alexander on the same ship. I'm glad they furthered this story line rather than pretend that Worf didn't have a son.
Mike Kelmachter
6. MikeKelm
CLB.. I think the argument I heard from the writers and producers is that we have no concept of how Klingons age, but yes Alexander was born in 2366 and it is now only 2374, so he is 8 years old. And given that he is 1/4 human, he probably develops at a slightly slower rate than the average Klingon.

If DS9 really wanted to get Alexander involved, then have him be on the convoy (say, visiting an old friend of Worf- maybe even the same one that took in Kurn) and the Rotarran finding out that it was going to be attacked. You could have had the same last scene (Alexander joins the House of Martok) but in a sensical way.
David Levinson
8. DemetriosX
Any time Alexander shows up in any iteration, I just cringe.I wouldn't even mind if they stuck to the whole "Worf isn't a good father and they have a difficult relationship" thing if it were at least decently written. But it never is, not once.
“I tell you, Worf, war is much more fun when you’re winning. Defeat makes my wounds ache.”
Martok, sore loser.
You... I just... Oooh, ouch.
McKay B
9. Mr. Magic
I at least love Martok's "War is much more fun when you’re winning!" line.

I think we can apply that belief to any major situation, be it a Baseball game or a job hunt.
McKay B
10. Eduardo Jencarelli
To me, this was Weddle and Thompson getting used to working on television on a weekly basis. They had precious little experience, and started working on staff in the middle of an unprecedented season-opening story arc. Call it a break-in period. I'm willing to forgive these issues with their first episode as staff writers.

I actually think the Kira/Dukat/Ziyal plot works pretty well, being mostly character focused. It certainly pushes the envelope on Dukat's obsession with being adored and accepted by Bajor.

Of course, someone had to resurrect the Worf/Alexander soap opera. I blame both Ron Moore and Ira Behr. As far as I know, story editors don't usually pitch a lot of stories. They work on established plots from the showrunner. Still, I don't think any writer, no matter how talented, could make this doozy work.

Supposedly, Michael Piller issued notes for every script he read for the remainder of DS9 and Voyager's runs (as creative consultant). I wish I could read those notes, to see if he approved of the direction (probably so, given he showran most of those TNG Alexander episodes).

Alexander had a major step back on every level, especially compared to TNG's Firstborn. What happened to the promising new direction James Sloyan alluded to? And the rapid aging syndrome is a sin. Even Klingon physiology can't account for aging 16 years in 7.

And as for Marc Worden, well, Krad really put it best. Replace Worden with wooden, because that Klingon ship stank of rotten wood.

A 5 seems about right. Excellent Dukat story. Horrible Klingon setback. At least Martok kept it from being boring.
Christopher Bennett
11. ChristopherLBennett
@10: Sure, the idea probably came from the staff, but it's the execution that really falls flat for me -- the failure to justify Alexander's change of heart coherently, the failure to give the subplot any clear climax or resolution.

As for Alexander's age, most of the posters here are clearly assuming he was conceived and born after TNG: "The Emissary," which makes sense, since that episode implied that Worf and K'Ehleyr had never had sex before. But happytoscrap appears to be making the assumption that I think Keith himself has made in his books and expressed to me once or twice, that Alexander must actually have been conceived and born after Worf and K'ehleyr's initial romance six years earlier. That's hard to reconcile with the dialogue in "The Emissary," but the 6-year-old Jon Steuer Alexander who appears in "Reunion" makes far, far more sense if he was conceived seven-ish years before than if he was conceived just 16 months before (going by broadcast dates). By that interpretation, Alexander would be 13-14 years old in this episode, which is a more plausible rapid aging rate than becoming an adult in less than 8 years.
McKay B
12. Eduardo Jencarelli
@11

But it still feels out of character for K'ehleyr to keep Alexander's existence hidden on The Emissary, and then introduce him out of the blue on Reunion, which is why I don't buy that theory.

And I recall Larry Nemecek's TNG Companion embraced the rapid aging concept. The Firstborn section specifies he's 10, and was 3 only a couple of seasons prior.
Mike Redlan
13. Redlander
Worst father ever? Wow, somebody has their hyperbole program running today. Maybe worst by touchy, feely 24th century standards. Worf seems like a pretty average, hard-nosed TV dad to me. He and Red Foreman could go bowling together.
McKay B
14. NWCtim
There was a cut squence between Kira and Dukat that takes place at the end of the "industrial replicator to Bajor" scene, where Kira and Dukat bond even more over making fun of Damar's distaste of all things Bajor.
McKay B
15. Ashcom
The Alexander storyline here, wow, don't even know where to start. Do the Klingons not have basic training? And if so, did nobody spot the fact that Alexander was completely incompetent and didn't know how to fight, or did they spot it and just decide to give him a vital role on the bridge crew of a battle cruiser anyway?

I felt that the story on the station had its flaws also, but at least it had a strong centre in Kira being torn between her disgust for Dukat and her affection for his daughter. But the bit with the dress just seemed a bit like it was repeating last week's "realisation" scene in a bit of a weaker way. I could buy Kira being drawn in to tolerating Dukat for the sake of Ziyal, but I just didn't buy that scene at all, I don't think she would have been drawn in to the extent that she wouldn't have just sent the dress back straight away without even looking at it.
Christopher Bennett
16. ChristopherLBennett
@12: Was it really out of character that K'Ehleyr (sheesh, it's so hard to remember how that's spelled) would be hesitant to reveal a son to Worf when she hadn't seen him in six years and had no idea whether he'd be good father material, and then would reveal the truth after she'd reconciled with Worf and decided it might be worth having him as part of her son's life? It makes perfect sense to me.

As for "Firstborn," that line in the book doesn't make sense. Nothing in "Reunion" says the boy is three, and it's less than a year and a half after Worf and K'Ehleyr's previous meeting. So he can't have meant it chronologically. But Jon Steuer was six in "Reunion," not three, so he can't have meant it physiologically either. And Brian Bonsall was 12 in "Firstborn," while the character's age wasn't specified beyond "nearing the Age of Ascension," which other dialogue suggests is somewhere not much below 13.
McKay B
17. Eduardo Jencarelli
Was it really out of character that K'Ehleyr would be hesitant to reveal a son to Worf when she hadn't seen him in six years and had no idea whether he'd be good father material, and then would reveal the truth after she'd reconciled with Worf and decided it might be worth having him as part of her son's life?

@CLB

She didn't care for Worf's dishonor and discommendation, for one. She was a free-spirited, self-assured confident half-Human/half-Klingon woman. K'Ehleyr wasn't the kind of person who'd shy away from a conflicting situation or hide some deep, dark secret. She was practical, and dealt with problems as they came along. Her only character flaw was finding a way to control her anger.

Hiding Alexander was really Worf's thing, given his choice to let the Rozhenkos raise the boy.
Christopher Bennett
18. ChristopherLBennett
@17: I'm not talking about his discommendation. That's got nothing to do with it, since in this scenario Alexander was born years before the discommendation happened. Just forget all the Klingon and Trek stuff and picture it generically: A woman dated a guy six years ago, broke up with him, got pregnant without his knowledge, but because of her unresolved tensions and conflicts with him, she didn't know if he'd make a good father and so she chose not to tell him about their son. Not because she "shies away from conflict," since it's not about her -- it's about the well-being of her son, which trumps all other considerations.

So when she's reunited with him, she's hesitant to reveal the truth, especially since they're still arguing. Then they make amends and get together again and end up in a more amiable place, but she's still not sure how to spring "Oh, by the way, we have a kid" on him, not until the time is right. Or until she decides that there is no better or worse time and just brings the kid along the next chance they have to get together. I don't see that as inconsistent or implausible characterization.
Mike Redlan
19. Redlander
#18

I always figured K'ehlayr (however you spell it) was hesitant to bring her son into Worf's life for the same reason Carol Marcus kept David away from Kirk. She didn't want Alexander to be like Worf, exposed to all that Klingon culture she disliked intensely. (Though I suppose her being involved in Klingon politics didn't help!)

That was my interpretation anyway.
McKay B
20. Eduardo Jencarelli
@18

I guess I could see it that way, given enough suspension of disbelief (even though I have a hard time picturing anything generically within the Trek universe). At least, it's a plausible excuse for K'Ehleyr, even if I don't completely buy it. Better than the average technobabble explanation for bizarre events anyway.

Rapid aging or not, withholding inormation about your son's existence or not, I tend to think none of it really changes the fact that the writers decided to write Worf as a suburban, arguing, bumbling father figure, for better and worse. Thankfully, this is the second-to-last Alexander appearance in all of Trek.
McKay B
21. Crusader75
I would not rate this episode a 5 given how much the Alexander plot annoys me. The inexplicable age-up. His deciding to embrace an ethos he explicitly rejected as a child just in time to be a total failure at it. I presume he never adequately explains why he chose this path because the writers could not justify his motivations to themselves. Worf may be a proverbial bull in china shop when it comes to dealing with his son, but I cannot but think that he is essentially right, Alexander has no business on the Rotarran or really in the Klingon military at all.
McKay B
22. Crusader75
@18 & 19 - Which means K'Ehleyr was not a great mother or person when it came to Worf and Alexander. There are few more personally awful things I can think of than deliberately hiding a child's very existence from its father. That obviously hurt Worf and Alexander's relationship from the start as he was in no way emtionally prepared to a single father to grade schooler he barely knew. She may have been impressive in other areas, but her choices were terrible here.
Christopher Bennett
23. ChristopherLBennett
@22: I think being a good mother would be defined by doing what's best for your child rather than what's best for the child's father. If the father is someone who you don't expect to be part of your life, who's dedicated to a worldview and philosophy you don't approve of and don't want your son to follow, and who's committed to a career that would preclude him being around to raise your son, you might decide the least disruptive thing for your son was to ensure the father stayed out of his life.

And you can't exactly blame K'Ehleyr for not knowing in advance that she would be murdered and Worf would have to raise Alexander alone. Although I'll concede that arranging for your child to be taken care of in the event of your death would be an important part of good parenting.
McKay B
24. Crusader75
@23 - Whether or not the father is going to be a disruptive influence is something that should be determined before you make a kid with that person. Unless the father is abusive, he has a right to know he has a child and be a part of the kid's life, and the child has a right to know his male parent. What K'Ehleyr chose was convenient for her and not in Alexander's best interests and was a lousy thing to do to a decent if bullheaded guy, Worf.
McKay B
25. RobinM
The Alexander story in this episode never made sense to me at all. Alexander is aged to much and why would he be on a Klingon ship at all? He was not rasied to value Klingon culture accept for Worf and his Honorable Warrior thing, and he had already chosen not to be a warrior. He was raised by his mom, his human grandparents and on a star fleet ship. Unless he got drunk and shanghaiged on board because he has no training at all. I always thought Kira was excited about the dress until she realized who it was from and sent it back. I also always wondered if half of Dukat's thing for Kira involed her mother in anyway?
McKay B
26. JGBW
The weakest installment of the 6 part arc. I've never liked Alexander and just didn't care about the story here. The Ziyal stuff was slightly better. I usually skip past this one when rewatching
Christopher Bennett
27. ChristopherLBennett
@24: Well, maybe having a kid with Worf and not telling him for six years is a lousy thing to do, but it's more believable as something that could happen than a humanoid child going from conception to the equivalent of a 6-year-old in just 16 months. Given a choice between a scientifically absurd scenario and an act of bad behavior, I can more easily believe the latter. Because people making bad decisions is something that actually does happen.

And yes, we've seen humanoid children on Trek grow to maturity in a matter of days, e.g. the Jem'Hadar child from earlier in the series, but I don't think there's any other evidence that Klingon-human hybrids mature that quickly. Granted, B'Elanna Torres was 15 years younger than her portrayer; but in "Lineage," when B'Elanna has the holodeck simulate what her and Tom's child will look like at age 12, the simulation looks like a 12-year-old girl. Also, it seems that the young B'Elanna we see in her flashbacks is meant to be around that same age; she was played by a 12-year-old actress, and there was a reference to an 11-year-old classmate of hers. Therefore it seems that B'Elanna matured at a fairly normal human rate. So if a 50-50 Klingon-human hybrid and a 25-75 hybrid will both mature at a normal human rate in their preadolescence, it's hard to believe that a 75-25 hybrid would mature so much more rapidly. Alexander being conceived during "The Emissary" and being an adult 8 years later just doesn't add up.
McKay B
28. lvsxy808
@ 25 Robin M:
I always thought Kira was excited about the dress until she realized who it was from and sent it back. I also always wondered if half of Dukat's thing for Kira involved her mother in any way.
Oh yes absolutely, to both. She thinks the dress is pretty, but then remembers who it's from and is disgusted with him, and with herself for slipping for a second. And then when she sees Ziyal wearing the same dress, it hammers home the point - Ziyal and Kira are much the same in Dukat's eyes.


Ziyal is his actual daughter, the result of his successfully seducing a Bajoran woman and getting her love. He did the same with Meru, so Kira is kinda-sorta his daughter too in his eyes. That's what frustrates him so much - if he managed to get Naprem, Ziyal and Meru to love him, why won't Nerys? Why can't she see the obvious, as they did - that he is a noble, righteous man who was forced to do bad things by circumstances outside his control? So she becomes all the greater focus of his efforts - if he can get her on his side, he can get anyone.
McKay B
29. rtms
I think one big problem with Worf and Alexander is that Worf himself holds himself to an almost fantasy ideal of the perfect Klingon. Worf was raised on earth by humans until presumably he entered the academy. We've never heard how he learned about Klingons or the culture. Did he ever live on the Klingon homeworld, have adoptive family there etc. From what I have seen he's gotten his Klingon education piece meal and third hand. It's probably one of the biggest reasons K'Eleyer dumped his ass the first time. He was a guy who had no clue it seems about real Klingon culture trying his hardest to be a Klingon warrior etc. While she was content with her human side and upbringing, merging the two cultures to fit her life and personality. She accepted herself as she was, while Worf never did. Suddenly you got a son who has lived all his life with this far more stable woman, suddenly going to this unstable man and life only to be thrown out the door for conveince sake and yeah, you have one screwed up kid. Like Worf he thinks he needs to be amoung Klingons to be Klingon instead of just being himself as Luxwana taught him and his mother taught him. He's a very confused teen ager .
McKay B
30. CaptainSheridan
With all the episode's issues aside (Alexander's rapid aging, the untrained bridge crew, etc etc.--- aside from all that, I liked the way the part was played in this episode by Worden (intentionally or not)-- it really felt like he was a human in klingon make-up playing pretend at being klingon- which is pretty much was Alexander was doing. I don't know why, but that worked for me in this episode. I love how Martok comes across in this one as the in the family matters (even if he is a sore loser! :)
McKay B
31. happytoscrap
@11

Yeah, I did assume Alexander was conceived and then grew rapidly. Not because of something sinister or science fiction.

But for the same reason the Molly O'Brien is often the wrong age. Just inconsistencies stemming from a not so perfectly conceived story arc/tons of different Trek authors etc.

I love Star Trek in almost any incantation but to love Star Trek, in my opinion, you are forced to suspend belief or at least allow for some fudge factor at times.
McKay B
32. Eduardo Jencarelli
But for the same reason the Molly O'Brien is often the wrong age. Just inconsistencies stemming from a not so perfectly conceived story arc/tons of different Trek authors etc.

@31

The only reason I can think for changing Molly to a 4 year old when she was supposed to still be a toddler was because someone decided she had to be the one to reject her rejuvenated preteen mom on TNG's Rascals (probably Rick Berman, the classic conservative voice on the production).

Completely unnecessary bit of melodrama, as Colm Meaney was more than capable of running with that scene, conveying the necessary emotions without much dialogue.
McKay B
33. Ginomo
Many of you have mentioned the issues I have with this episode so I won't rehash.

To me it's obvious that the Alexander plot was written to fill a need without giving much thought to previous characterization. They wanted to marry Worf off, but that would definitely bring up the question of where his son is, which they'd conveniently swept under the rug up until now (and understandably so, DS9 already had 2 single dads). So we need to get him back somehow, but how? Enter this mess of a plot line. Quite honestly it would have been more understandble if Alexander joined Starfleet or even the Bajoran militia than this.

But even more than that, the thing that has always bugged me the most is the part Worf's human parents play in all this. The scenario we're given is that Worf sends Alexander to them somewhere after the Enterprise's desctruction. Then Worf doesn't see or talk to them again until Alexander shows up on Martok's ship. Even if Worf is a crappy enough Dad to do that (which I actually don't think he is, we've all seemed to have forgotten his progress with Alexander in Firstborn) I cannot imagine the Rozhenko's just letting that happen.

Even though we only saw them a couple times, TNG did a great job of establishing that Worf has a close relationship with his human parents and that they really love and care for him. Helena made it clear in New Ground that they weren't able to handle a Klingon child again, but even if Worf was able to talk them into taking Alexander a second time, I can't see them just letting Worf fall off the face of the earth. And then we're supposed to believe that when Alexander runs off to the KDF, The Rozhenkos never contacted Worf to tell him? I've never bought that.

(In regards to Alexander's Rapid Aging Syndrome, I have heard the theory that he was born before TNG's Emissary and I don't see how that's possible. Worf and K'Ehleyr both nearly come out and admit that their "holodeck workout" in that episode was their first time together.)
Christopher Bennett
34. ChristopherLBennett
@32: I think it's probably because it's harder to film scenes with a baby than with a toddler. You have less time to work with them (even with the standard practice of using twins) and they don't take direction. Most SF and fantasy series come up with ways to quick-age babies out of infancy, whether by having them be magical or alien babies that mature super-fast (a bunch of shows) or having them trapped in another dimension where time goes faster (Angel) or having the heroes themselves put in suspended animation for a couple of decades (Xena) or whatever. Soap operas do it too and just don't bother to explain it (hence the term Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome). Really, it would've been stranger if TNG hadn't aged up Molly, since it's such a common practice.

@33: You're right, the theory about Alexander being older does require overlooking some dialogue from "The Emissary," but there's a lot of Trek dialogue that has to be ignored or rationalized away, like "Your world of starship captains doesn't admit women" or "You've been looking in on the doings nine hundred years past" to the Napoleon-obsessed Trelane or (paraphrasing "The Alternative Factor") "If matter and antimatter meet, total, complete, absolute annihilation of everything that exists, everywhere." Or for that matter "I never kissed you with a beard" when Troi had actually kissed the bearded Riker a bunch of times in TNG. Making Trek continuity work at all requires being flexible about the details.
Dante Hopkins
35. DanteHopkins
I always assumed Alexander joining the Klingon Defence Force was Guinan's telling Worf back in "Redemption, Part I", that one day Alexander would want to know what it's like to really be a Klingon coming to pass. When I first saw this episode, I immediately thought back to that conversation between Guinan and Worf, then I sighed because I knew we were in for another hour of Worf being the worst parent ever, and an older Alexander's endless whining. And sure enough, that was the episode, saved only by the overall awesomeness of General Martok, who as someone said, showed more concern for Alexander in one conversation than Worf did the entire episode.

Though it never bothered me much (probably because I was always indifferent to Alexander), I can totally buy K'Ehlyr (hope I spelled that right) having Alexander prior to "The Emmisary" and not telling Worf because she didn't know what kind of father Worf would be, or if he wanted to be a father at all. Not a good decision, necessarily, but a realistic one.
Charles Olney
36. CharlesO
Just want to add my voice to the chorus of people who think the Alexander story is terrible. He's a disaster of a character from his very first appearance, but this is right up there with the very worst episodes featuring him.
McKay B
37. McKay B
@33: I assumed that the Rozhenkos simply didn't tell Worf about Alexander's decision to go join the Klingon fleet because Alexander asked them not to. I can imagine them honoring such a request, and I can imagine Alexander either hoping to shock his father or hoping not to run into him and interact with him at all.

Also, I love Martok. In case anyone didn't know that by now. It's amazing how well Hertzler can play him and make him awesome even in crappy plot arcs like this one.
McKay B
38. Random22
Alexander's joining the Klingon services is simple. He's a kid who wants to impress his dad, wants his Dad to respect him. I think we can all agree that Worf certainly gives the impression of being perpetually underimpressed with Alexander. Alexander only has Worf left. and Worf really is the Klingon's Klingon. How better to impress him than to join up and (in theory) be the biggest damn Klingon hero ever. It is kinda dumb, but kids join up with the military right now for very similar reasons; have a parent they want to impress.

It was just Alexander's dumb luck that he ended up on the same boat as Worf and had to have his dad witness every single rookie mistake he could make. He probably planned on Worf never finding out until he was actually competent and had actual achievements.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
39. Lisamarie
Pretty much agreed here that the Alexander plot line made no sense. In a way, it back tracked on some of the previous episodes where it seemed that Worf HAD made some progress...there's no reason that, even if he sent him to live with his parents, he couldn't have been having regular contact with him. But instead we get this. I also think we didn't get enough explanation of why Alexander would choose this lifestyle (aside from wanting to impress Worf, but still, how on earth did he make it past basic training, or are they just that desparate at this point?). And the end made no sense - I actually thought at first the issue with the locking tool cabinet was Alexander intentionally trying to commit suicide (I misheard it as him locking himself in with the injector), maybe to protect others if it was going to blow. And then I realized, now, he actually just accidentally locked himself in a cabinet. Why does that make things change?

The Dukat/Ziyal/Kira stuff was much more interesting to watch, although I can't believe Kira would even take the dress out of the box. I feel so bad for Ziyal though...she's just so manipulated and lost and can't break free of this toxic relationship with her father. Actually, I got the impression she was trying to do some matchmaking (and maybe she also has some vested interest in Kira liking Dukat, because then it would mean her father IS a nice man and she's right to love him too), which would be cute in any other show, but here...ugh! It's like she dropped in from some other sitcom.

As I have said, especially in earlier episodes befure you realize how creepy Dukat really is - there are times you kind of want to root for him, but then you realize how gross that is, and how charismatic but evil people can get the influence they do. Although I do think that could have been an interesting alternative reality - one where they hadn't made Dukat such a total villain and actually was a more conflicted person with some good to him. But pretty much every one of his actions seems geared towards his own self interest and you can't trust a word out of his mouth. I would totally buy that he only reconciled with Ziyal as a way to get leverage over Kira, for his own twisted reasons.
Joseph Newton
40. crzydroid
@39: Maybe Klingons don't have basic training because they assume that every Klingon who's made it past 10 is a competent warrior.
McKay B
41. megancyber
*krad - He wants the Bajorans to approve of him and love him and hold him and squeeze him and call him George. *

All Hail and all sorts of WIN, Just for that review comment!

http://consciouscompanion2012.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/aaepx.gif
McKay B
42. megancyber
*krad - He wants the Bajorans to approve of him and love him and hold him and squeeze him and call him George. *

All Hail and all sorts of WIN, Just for that review comment!

http://consciouscompanion2012.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/aaepx.gif

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