Firstborn (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 21) Worf prepares his reluctant son for a rite of passage

Rewatching ST:TNG

Worf awkwardly rehearses a speech to prepare Alexander for a rite of passage. Doused by a water balloon intended for Alexander, Worf bungles the speech. He’s even more rattled when Alexander admits he doesn’t want to become a warrior.

Picard suggests Worf visit a nearby Klingon outpost for an upcoming festival.

Wide-eyed Alexander is enchanted by a participatory street theater bat’leth opera, and runs off to see the sights with friends (mentioned only in dialog).

When three bad guys surround Worf and Alexander, a stranger steps in to help fight them off. K’Mtar says he was sent by Worf’s brother Kurn to protect Worf from an assassination attempt. A knife left by one of the attackers bears the marks of the Duras clan.

K’Mtar gives a wonderfully sensitive, age-appropriate talk to young Alexander, acknowledging that the boy is afraid, and encouraging him to think about how learning Klingon ways will make him feel safer because he will know how to defend himself. Alexander is comforted and Worf is clearly impressed.

Worf objects that K’Mtar is being rude to Riker, but K’Mtar dismisses politeness as a Human thing. He is eventually more than just surprised that Riker could track down the Duras sisters (after a long-distance video call with Quark). The cinematography suggests K’Mtar has something to hide.

Although Alexander seems enthusiastic about learning from a holodeck simulation of the attack on his father, he refuses to finish off his simulated opponent, which enrages K’Mtar, who threatens to challenge Worf’s right to raise the boy.

More B-plot scenes depicting the investigation lead us to Lursa and B’Etor, who raise an important question about the provenance of the dagger found at the scene of the crime. When Worf goes to ask K’Mtar about it, he finds him aiming a weapon at Alexander. A fight ensues, much info gets dumped, and Worf learns to see his son in a new light.

Although I understand the writers are trying to finish up this father-son relationship as the series winds down, I did not care for the central plot twist, which is lazy and formulaic. Wouldn’t it have been cool if the “Worf marries Troi in a different timeline” had included Alexander, so that we could watch the boy grow up and see for ourselves the consequences of Worf’s choices? But that would impinge upon the Picard-focused multiple-timeline finale, which I’m sure they were already concocting at this point in the production.

Because Picard has mentioned his older brother and the father were disappointed in his in his career choice, we’ve seen Wesley reject Starfleet, and now we see Alexander pushing back against Worf’s expectations, and of course we see Troi’s volatile relationship with her controlling mother. Given the frequency of stories like this as the series wraps up, one suspects the creators of ST:TNG just might have had some issues with fulfilling parental expectations.