Worf’s journey has taken him into battle against some of the toughest and most cunning adversaries. From omnipotent beings to fellow warriors, he has fought bravely and has strived to come out on top. Originally airing on January 6, 1992, in this episode we find him facing his greatest challenge yet. This is New Ground.
Stardate 45376.3 New Ground
The Enterprise is asked to participate in the test of a new space travel technology. Meanwhile, much to his surprise, Worf’s son comes to live with him aboard the Enterprise.
Story A: Worf and the case of Fatherhood
Worf’s mother arrives and informs Worf that his son, Alexander, is to remain with Worf aboard the Enterprise. She and Worf’s father, Sergey are simply getting too old to keep up with a Klingon child on their own. Worf reluctantly accepts the responsibility. Soon he discovers that being a Father is a full time job and he needs to learn to find a work/life balance before his duties to both his son and the ship outweigh each other.
While at a school field trip, Alexander steals a model of a lizard and gets caught lying about it. Worf tries to handle the situation like he would with an adult and explains to Alexander what he did wrong. Thinking that his son will embrace honor as Worf has, He tells him of the fight between Kahless and Morath and explains how lying or stealing dishonors not only a person, but that person’s family and name as well. Alexander agrees to not dishonor his father again.
Of course this doesn’t go quite as planned and Alexander acts out again. Worf soon finds his son in the holodeck using Worf’s calisthenics program and also his batleth…without Worf’s permission. At first he has a moment of pride when he sees his son best his opponent and then realises that, although he is proud, he must chastise the boy for his behavior. Worf talks to his son and informs Alexander that he will be sent away to a Klingon school. Worf sends his son to their quarters to discuss the matter later.
Worf later talks with Troi where he realizes that Alexander’s disobedience is due to his son feeling abandoned by both his mother and his father. Much of his anger and unwillingness to care for his son stems from his pain of losing K’ehleyr. He returns to his quarters to talk with his son where Alexander confirms this pain. It is clear that the boy is angry and hurt. Worf is called away to help deal with the problem that has arisen from the Warp experiment that has occupied the rest of the crew.
Story B: Warp without Warp Drive
Doctor Ja’Dar from the Science Institute on Bilana III briefs the senior staff on the new propulsion system they have developed. Geordi is excited about the prospect and is looking forward to the test.
Soon the test begins and just as the ship reaches warp 2.35 the Enterprise must stop the engines and the test ship is destroyed. Unfortunately the soliton wave, the wave that was being used to propel the ship, is still moving towards its destination and is only getting faster. Once it hits the planet, it will not only destroy the colony but also much of the planet it is on.
Geordi and Data surmise that the only way to stop the wave is to place the Enterprise in front of it and cause a backfire with photo torpedoes that will dissipate the wave. As the Enterprise gets in front of the wave, Alexander sneaks away to biolab four and is injured due to the wave hitting the ship. As they try to evacuate the area they discover that Alexander is trapped in the lab and a fire has broken out. Worf and Riker rush to the Biolab and to save Alexander and the rare animals. With only minutes before the wave hits the planet and radiation floods the deck, Worf and Riker save Alexander (and some of the animals) just in the nick of time.
In the end, Worf chooses to keep his son with him on the Enterprise. He challenges Alexander to face the challenge of being on the ship with him, facing the difficult times ahead together as a family. Alexander accepts.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Many people dislike Alexander but I find his character a nice addition to Worf’s story. Once they established that Worf had a son, it was rather disturbing that he wanted nothing to do with him. It was clear he loved this child that had appeared in his life, but it was also clear that his career and his Klingon heritage was far more important to him. The latter bothered me alot but the writers of the series were very good about making you forget the existence of Alexander pretty much entirely up until now.
Worf’s journey in learning and embracing his Klingon heritage has been more about obtaining approval from a Father he will never know than about being Klingon. So, when the Klingon Empire casually dismisses Mogh, Father of Worf, as a traitor, this puts Worf into a tailspin. The one role model he has built up for himself has let him down and he now is truly the son of no one, neither human nor Klingon, so he feels he has no place in the universe. Enter Alexander.
In a way, Alexander represents the alternate future that Worf never got to have. This is a Klingon Boy who has been abandoned, being raised by humans but has a Father that can show him the ways of his people. The fact that Alexander even exists scares Worf in a way that he cannot comprehend. This child is the future of his family line, one that, until recently, had been disgraced and ignored. Alexander is also a constant reminder of the one person Worf feels that he failed, K’Ehleyr. Had he been able to allow himself to be with K’Ehleyr when she was ready to be with him, he may have been there to save her from death and that haunts him. Alexander’s mere presence reminds him of that failure every moment he is around and this is almost too much for the Klingon Warrior to bear. So, he sends the child off to the two people who he knows raised a Klingon Child, his adoptive parents, the Rozhenko’s. While Sergey and Helena were more than willing to help, they also soon realize that they can’t take care of a young child again and that Alexander needs his real father. Worf now has an opportunity to give his own son something that he himself never had, a Father and in turn, a heritage.
Deep down this is a story about accepting responsibilities, no matter how difficult those responsibilities are. For a warrior like Worf, it is accepting a challenge he never thought he would face anytime soon, the challenge of Fatherhood.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
We see Worf display that superhuman Klingon strength as he saves his son from under a fallen beam. It’s pretty epic.
Picard has a moment where he must choose to risk the lives of Worf, Riker and Alexander in exchange for saving the lives of the colonists from the Soliton wave. He chooses the colony but not without a moment of struggle.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Hero Worship
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Late To The Game 3/7/2020 (Originally published 9/10/2018)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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