Overview – Worf must learn to work with his estranged son, Alexander, who has joined the crew of the Rotarran on the eve of a vital and dangerous mission, Meanwhile, on Deep Space Nine (Terrok Nor), Ziyal has returned to the station, putting Kira at odds with Dukat.
Score: 7/10 – This episode was a bit slower than what we have come to expect in the opening season arc. This episode seems to have been done to move character development along more than overall story plot, and because of that the pace seems a bit slower. We do see more of Worf and Martok than in the previous episodes, and hardly anything from Sisko’s crew. We see the return of Alexander Rozhenko, Worf’s estranged son. He’s all grown up now and has enlisted in the Klingon Empire’s forces, which leads to some tension between him and his father. Alexander has difficulty fitting in with the crew, at first, and his desire to prove himself costs him. Aside from what the wedding episode that will follow the multiple episode arc, this is the only time we will see Alexander. On the station, things for Kira become more complex as Ziyal arrives on the station, and Dukat uses it to his advantage to get to Kira.
Relevance - 3 points. A point is scored for showing us how Sisko’s crew was rescued from the planet they were marooned on in “Rocks and Shoals”. A point is scored for the barrel of bloodwine bet that will be settled in the final episode of this arc. A point is scored for addition of Ziyal into the mix, as her fate will factor into how stories and characters develop in a huge way. Additional points could have been scored for many other aspects of this episode, but we hit the limit here, and that is sufficient for me.
Continuity - 2 points. To score this section, I would have to say that a point had to be deducted for the sudden accelerated growth of Alexander. He was born eight years before this episode aired, and he is a young man. Now, this does not come from the character continuity, as the way that the story is told it makes sense that Alexander would take this path, even if it goes against all the issues he had with Klingon culture in the past. I deduct the point from the Universe section, as they have shown teenaged Klingons before. The reason for this was given as a combination of two factors. One, to cast a younger actor would have been difficult for filming, as there are laws as to how long a youth actor can be in front of the camera. This would have placed huge constraints as to the filming sequence. Second, the writers and producers felt that if Alexander was younger, Worf would have come across as being border-line abusive towards his son. So, while the change works for the story, I still had to take a point off. Oh, and story wise, everything seems to fit.
Character Development – 3 points. Two main characters get quite the extensive treatment. Kira almost gets pulled into Dukat’s web as she tries to be supportive of Ziyal. She eventually sees through his ploys and puts her foot down. She shows some great wisdom and fairness in telling Ziyal that she will not force her to choose between Kira and her father. Meanwhile, Worf gets a solid, though not original, story as the negligent father forced to confront the results of not being there for his son. They argue, they make mistakes, and get into trouble, and eventually they reconcile. Some of the recurring characters also get some good development. Dukat, Damar, and Ziyal on the station all see some notable development. Meanwhile, we also see Martok show some wisdom as he confronts Alexander in the training hall. Martok tries to get Alexander to admit the reason he joined the military, and Alexander only gives a slogan-type answer. I like the line that Martok uses after Alexander pleads for a chance to prove himself, to which Martok responds “I just gave you one! And you failed!”. A great Martok moment.
Social Commentary – 3 points. Two different lessons on parenting in this episode. First, from Dukat, there is the tale of using your child as a part of your game of manipulation. Second, Worf learns the consequences of not being there for your son. Neither man is likely to win the “Father of the Year” award with this episode. We also see with Kira how to not hold the sins of the parent on the head of their child without driving a wedge between them.
Cool Stuff – 0 points. Sadly, one of the prices of trading in action and intrigue for character focus is that there is not a lot of cool stuff to experience. While this episode is a decent enough episode, there is nothing that stands out as being a “wow” moment. The speech that Martok gives Alexander comes close, but beyond that, not much. This is not necessarily a bad thing. With everything that happened in the last episode, it was good to slow things down a bit. We just have to accept that cost that often comes along with this direction.
Rank – Captain (18 points). I would say that this episode is likely the weakest of the six that we open this season, but it is still a worthy episode. It’s always nice to see how things progress on the Klingon ship, and we get some good and important character development. Obviously, you should not miss this episode, but you would almost be able to get away with skipping it if not for the key element of adding Ziyal into the Kira-Dukat angle.
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