Enlightenment > Star Trek > TNG
TNG 5-10

TNG 5x10
"New Ground"

Original airdate: 1/6/1992
Rewatch date: 4/5/2012

Worf must become a father for his son, Alexander, while an experimental new form of warp drive spirals out of control and threatens to destroy an inhabited planet.

Spoiler-free notes:

"Data, isn't this exciting? We are going to witness a moment in history." "Every nanosecond in this continuum is a moment in history once it has elapsed." My feelings exactly, Data. I hate that expression, along with any event being called "truly historical."

I mentioned in the notes for "Redemption II" that exploring Worf's humanity and revisiting his relationship with his son would be a good way to advance his character following the entire dishonor arc. I didn't just say that because I knew this episode was coming--though I'll admit that was part of it--but also because it's true. Even if I hadn't known Alexander was about to show up again, I would have recognized that he is the only real loose end in Worf's storyline.

Even though Alexander is being played by a different young actor, it's been long enough that I can hardly tell the difference.

Man, the internal comm is worse than a cell phone. Worf can't even decline all the calls coming into him from Mrs. Kyle and Dr. Crusher while he's meeting with Picard. There should be some way to control that kind of stuff, like being able to put your communicator on vibrate or having your calls forwarded.

The first time Worf caught his son in a lie, he handled it pretty well. His only mistake was in believing that it would never happen again.

The scenes between Worf and Mrs. Kyle remind me of one of the reasons I didn't go into teaching: the friggin' parents.

Alexander's running the program that Worf and K'Ehleyr were running when he was conceived.

I completely understand that the scene between Worf and Troi is absolutely essential for a number of reasons, but I find it hard to believe Worf would go see her in her office and seek her advice willingly. If Klingons have a hard time complaining to a doctor about physical discomfort--as we saw in "Clues"--I can't imagine it would be easy for them to complain to a counselor about emotional discomfort.

Shouldn't the Enterprise be warping toward the wave while they discuss how to stop it? What's with all the waiting around?

So they have weakened shields and have to pass through the soliton wave, which they know will be rough and dangerous. Shouldn't this call for a saucer separation, to protect all those innocent lives (including Alexander's)?

I don't want to sound cold, but every second they wait for Worf and Riker to rescue Alexander allows the wave to get closer and closer to the ship, meaning that the explosion will cause more damage to the ship, probably putting more than just Alexander's life in danger. Given the incredible stakes--the lives on the ship and the lives of the entire planet the wave is heading towards--trying to save Alexander is an extremely risky gamble. If this were a Vulcan ship--what with all that "good of the many" talk--Alexander probably wouldn't make it. Granted, when push comes to shove, Picard proves he's willing to sacrifice Alexander, Worf, and Riker in order to stop the wave.

This is a tough episode to talk about, because on one hand, it is an important step forward for Worf's character and a touching story about parenting. On the other hand, though, it's kind of a snoozer as Star Trek episodes go. There comes a time on any show that deals with both genre and character that the balance between them will be tough to maintain. For TNG, this is that time. The characters have grown to such a place that stories like this one are absolutely necessary, but for the audience members who are tuning in to see lots of crazy sci-fi, the soliton wave B-plot isn't going to be enough to keep them happy. Having said all of that, I think I appreciate this episode a heck of a lot more than I used to. Maybe it's because I'm a parent and can relate to it better, but when Alexander told his father that all he wanted to do was make him proud, I'll admit my eyes watered a little. Then again, I have a cold, so maybe it doesn't mean anything.

Spoiler section:

Geordi says witnessing the soliton wave would be like witnessing Zephram Cochran engage the first warp drive. As a matter of fact, Geordi will witness Zephram Cochran engage the first warp drive in Star Trek: First Contact.

TNG 5x09
"A Matter of Time"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
TNG 5x11
"Hero Worship"
Copyright 2012 e. magill. All rights reserved.