Sunday, May 14, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 110 (New Ground)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

They say that breaking up is hard to do. Apparently, getting back together isn’t any easier. Way back in the early seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Worf had a child, Alexander. Worf is Klingon and the mother was half-Klingon half-human. Shortly after Worf was told that he had a child, the mother died, leaving Worf with Alexander to worry about. Feeling that it would be difficult to raise a child and be chief of security, Worf sent Alexander to live with his own adoptive parents. In “New Ground”, Worf’s adoptive mother brings Alexander to Worf, telling him that she and her husband are too old to be taking care of a Klingon child. (Worf doesn’t know that she has Alexander until both are aboard the Enterprise.) As if it was hard enough the first time, they now have to deal with being several decades older. They simply can’t take care of Alexander.

As it happens, the Enterprise is getting ready for an experiment. Someone has developed a technology that, if successful, would replace warp drive, the current faster-than-light engines used in the Star Trek universe. A station on a planet will generate a wave that will carry a ship to another station, which will nullify the wave. Granted, this doesn’t add a lot of stress for Worf in particular, but he has missed the first few years of Alexander’s life. He has his normal duties plus the responsibilities involved in taking care of a child, such as enrolling him in school.

Things are difficult for Worf. Alexander is understandably resentful towards Worf. Alexander lies. He steals. He shows hostility towards Worf. Worf doesn’t have the aid of Alexander’s mother, but his crewmates are patient. When both Dr. Crusher and Alexander’s teacher contact Worf within minutes of each other, Captain Picard tells Worf that what they are doing can wait.

Worf is considering sending Alexander away to a Klingon school, mostly because Alexander has no knowledge of what it means to be Klingon. (His mother rejected Klingon culture and passed this on to her son.) Worf is proud of his Klingon heritage, which allows for a great deal of tension with Alexander. The biggest problem for Worf is admitting that he has a lot to learn about parenting. When dealing with Alexander, Worf oversimplifies a lot of problems.

The moment of truth comes when an experiment with the new form of propulsion fails, leaving the Enterprise to solve the problem. The wave expands to such massive proportions that the receiving station won’t be able to stop it. In fact, if no one stops it, the planet that it’s on will be destroyed. In stopping the wave, lethal amounts of radiation will be released and that radiation will flood certain parts of the Enterprise. Worf has to get his son out of a burning room before the room is flooded with the radiation. Worf succeeds with the help of Commander Riker. Worf and Alexander come to an understanding that it will be more of a challenge for Alexander to stay, but Worf will have him if Alexander feels that he’s up to it.

The story involving the new form of propulsion wasn’t written very well. It looks like it was just a way to set up a dangerous situation where Worf would have to rescue Alexander. It was never seen or heard of again. (Fans of the Star Trek series are very familiar with promising technology that makes one appearance in the series, but is never explored again.)

Because of the way Alexander was raised, there is going to be tension between Alexander and Worf, and this is dealt with several times throughout the rest of the series, although not to this extent. This episode was simply to put Alexander back in to Worf’s life. It also sets up Counselor Troi as someone that Worf trusts and can depend on. It also is meant to have Alexander see that Worf is someone that’s looking out for him rather than some overbearing father who just wants to lay down a bunch of tough rules.

There are only about two or three episodes that you’d have to have seen to fully understand this one. If this was the first episode of the series that you watched, I don’t think that you’d be missing out on too much, though. However, it’s so late in the series that if you’re watching reruns on Spike TV, you might just want to wait until it starts at the beginning again.

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