All Grown Up and Nowhere To Go
"Sons and Daughters" Plot Summary:
On Martok's ship, which has rescued Sisko and crew, Dax and Worf sneak a smooch, then Dax teases that she doesn't want to join Martok's house when they marry because then she'll have to deal with all those boring Klingon rituals. No sooner does she leave than Worf's son Alexander arrives as a new Klingon recruit, expressing disdain for his father and wanting to prove himself as a warrior. He's woefully under-trained, so the other Klingons pick fights with him. Martok encourages Worf to heal this rift, but Worf is resistant.
Back on the station, Dukat arrives with Ziyal, who has left school on Bajor and is eager to reconcile her father and Kira. She shows them both her drawings, which have been praised by Cardassian and Bajoran critics alike. Kira is pleased for Ziyal, but increasingly uncomfortable with Dukat's attempts to bring Kira into the family. When he sends her a dress to wear for a party to celebrate Ziyal's work being accepted for an art show, she gives it back to him and tells Ziyal that, while her place is with her father, Kira's own place is to oppose him.
Upon learning that Worf intends to have him transferred from Martok's ship, Alexander tells his father that he'd rather die than have Worf send him away again. A battle with the Jem'Hadar interrupts further recriminations, and Alexander helps save the ship. Though he's still making grievous errors, Worf promises to learn to be a father if Alexander will learn to be a Klingon. The boy is formally adopted into the House of Martok.
This episode seemed far more plodding than the previous two this season, but that may have to do with the fact that it was a Klingon show, where people throw around words like "honor" and "family" as if they can replace plot. I'm with Dax: I can think of few things more boring than Klingon blood feuds. The arguments always sound like teenage boys having a lunch-room brawl: "You fight like a Ferengi!" "I can chug more blood wine than you can!" Then the knives come out, the loser snivels, the victor declares himself macho champion of the hour. Worf, who sometimes seems like the most grown-up of the Klingons, has no sense of humor whatsoever.
I don't much like the fact that they cast a skinny kid as Alexander; it's easy for bigger Klingons to pick on him as a sissy when he looks so puny next to them. His lack of fighting skills would have been more dramatic had he had a more imposing physical presence. Right now, he doesn't look like he has a chance of making it as a Klingon, even if he learns to hold a bat'leth correctly. Plus, the absentee father rhetoric he spouted was full of cliches, which made the story less moving than it should have been - let's face it, there's no excuse for the way Worf keeps pawning Alexander off on other parents. Ironically, in the middle of the show, the station ran a one-minute commercial encouraging fathers to take part in their sons' lives which was far more effective than this episode in making its point.
The Ziyal storyline was only slightly more compelling. The best news: she never once mentioned being in love with Garak. I suppose this could be considered a continuity error, but I find the Garak/Ziyal pairing so distasteful (in terms of their ages, social positions, and attitudes about life) that I'd take any excuse to see it dropped. The writers did deal with Ziyal's fraught relationship with her father, but not in nearly enough detail. In her short time on this series, first he abandoned her for being illegitimate, then he embraced her, then he cut her off again...she forgives him far too easily for me to find her a strong presence.
I do like Ziyal's relationship with Kira. Kira's maternal side got the extreme short shrift last season when she bore a child for the O'Briens and then seemed to forget all about it, so I was happy to have her adoptive daughter back. Their interaction was very real, tense and hesitant but still warm. I really liked Kira's reaction to seeing Ziyal's finding her calling, and her fumbling attempts to be nice to Dukat in his daughter's presence.
However, I almost threw up when her initial reaction to the dress Dukat sent her was to twirl around with it. I don't want to believe that she would ever enjoy getting tarted up for a man like that, especially not for Dukat. Kira hit it off so well with Bareil and Shakaar because they both knew her as a resistance fighter and Bajoran nationalist; neither one of them expected her to become something else for them, to dress up and become a fashion-plate girlfriend, though they were both powerful men on Bajor. She was always independent. Who is this creature now playing Cinderella, even if she got over it when she remembered that her prince of the moment is a tin-plated dictator? Not any Kira I know, nor ever want to see again.
So Alexander decides to be a warrior, and Ziyal decides to be a peacemaker - interesting choice of roles for these two kids with a lot in common. Mixed ancestry, foster parentage, no real home...I'd have loved to have seen the two of them together, to hear them compare notes. But I find myself hoping that we won't see either of them for awhile, given the mundane material the writers have come up with for them.
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