New Ground (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 10) Worf’s Son Visits, Acts Out

Rewatching ST:TNG

As LaForge nerds out over the Space Thing of the Week (a test of a new faster-than-light propulsion method), Worf receives word his mother and young son are coming on board for a visit from Earth.

The big reveal is that tiny little angry Alexander thinks he’s not going back. Worf’s mother says Alexander has some trouble with obedience and honesty, and needs his father’s influence.

Worf apparently didn’t put his combadge on “do not disturb” when he went in for a routine meeting with the captain, because he keeps getting interrupted by personal messages related to his care of Alexander. Wouldn’t it be nice if in the future all bosses are as understanding as Picard, who at first mildly scolds Worf for being late, but then tells him, “Take care of your son. The security matters can wait.”

Scenes of Worf bristling during a conference with a civilian teacher, and steeling himself to confront his tiny son for stealing a toy and lying about it, let actor Michael Dorn show his comic timing. But the script doesn’t just trot out the “it’s funny to watch clueless men try to parent” tropes. Worf is gentle and patient, using a statue of two Klingon warriors to illustrate a lesson about honor. “I accept your word,” he tells his contrite son. “We will not speak of this matter again.”

Of course, it’s far too early in the episode for that speech to resolve the problem. Troi warns him the situation is probably not resolved, and brings up Worf’s unresolved anger at the late K’Ehleyr, the boy’s mother. Of course Worf brushes her off, and of course she is right. And of course, just as Worf is dealing with his latest personal crisis, a new crisis with the Space Thing of the Week means Alexander is left unsupervised; and because the script requires it, the boy goes directly to the area of the ship that’s going to be flooded with Plot Device Particles in exactly four TV-action-friendly minutes.

All those unlikely coincidences earn a facepalm from me, but the episode ends on a high note. Alexander has just promised to make his father proud when he goes away to Klingon boarding school, but Worf surprises him by issuing an even “greater challenge” — stay on the Enterprise and forge a father-son bond with him. (I knew it was coming but still got some Plot Device Particles in my eye.)