“Sons and Daughters”

“Well, Ron and Ira wanted us to look at more resumes for actors who could play Ziyal, so … “

After rescuing Sisko and Co., Worf and Martok (on board Martok’s Bird of Prey) take on a mission to defend a convoy, with five new crew members, including Worf’s estranged son Alexander (Marc Worden) who’s a substandard warrior, to say the least. Meanwhile, as Kira starts planning her new resistance, Dukat brings his daughter Ziyal back to DS9 from Bajor, where she’d been since “Call to Arms”. Alexander struggles to adapt to life as a warrior, but eventually wins over the crew and becomes, like Worf, part of the House of Martok. Kira, again, feels herself getting too close to accepting Dukat — this time, by trying to be involved in Ziyal’s life — and eventually pulls back, saddening Ziyal.

Why it’s important

This one just barely made the tapestry. It’s by far the weakest of the six-episode arc, but the return of Ziyal is really, really important going forward (as we’ll discuss in further reviews). To a much lesser extent, the continued bond between Worf and Martok is important, too. But then there’s the Alexander matter …

“I’m the fourth actor to play Alexander — but I can pull off whiny with the best of them!”

What doesn’t hold up

Alexander, of course, is one of Trek’s least popular characters. As a child in TNG, he rarely contributed much and too often was not present when he should have been (shouldn’t there have been two crazy “de-evolved” dinosaurs running around the Enterprise in “Genesis”?). The character was mentioned in passing (and seen in a photo) when Worf joined the DS9 crew, but he was explained away as being happier with Worf’s adopted parents on Earth. And, really, the creators should have left it there. Bringing him back here just makes no sense.

For one thing, how is Alexander old enough to serve in the Klingon Defense Force? He was apparently the result of Worf and K’Ehleyr knocking boots back in “The Emissary”, which occurred in 2365, and we first met him in “Reunion” in 2367. This episode takes place in 2374, so, at most, he would be 8. The creators apparently explained this away by saying Klingons age faster. While I find that highly, highly questionable, I probably could shrug it off if the payoff here was worth it.

There’s also the really goofy idea that the commander and first officer on a Klingon ship wouldn’t know the names of the crew replacements before they showed up on the ship. Keep in mind that Martok’s ship and the Klingon cruiser carrying the replacements were flying in formation for early in the episode. Wouldn’t the cruiser send the names over — thus negating the “reveal” of Alexander?

And, frankly, how could the Klingon Defense Force send someone so unqualified to serve in the military? A mistake by Alexander could have easily resulted in the death of fellow soldiers or defeat to the Dominion. I know the idea is that the Federation and the Klingons are somewhat desperate, but they wouldn’t have been THAT desperate.

Finally, the episode ends in a laughable way, considering what we see of Alexander going forward. Worf agrees to make him a warrior and Martok brings him into his house. And, then, Alexander goes back to Alexander land, showing up only once more and being mentioned in passing another time. As was typical of so many Worf/Alexander shows on TNG, the verbal commitment made by the two of them here results in nothing.

So, I ask again, what the hell was the point of bringing the character back?

How do you spell “over the top”? Z-I-Y-A-L.

Final thoughts

The stuff on the station is much stronger in this episode. It cements the idea that Dukat takes so much of his own self-worth from the approval of others (notably Kira) while also being an amazing opportunist. His move to give Ziyal the dress Kira had returned was almost too perfect.

That leaves Ziyal, who’s really an interesting character in that she routinely takes me to the edge of what I can take. She seems far too accepting — she’s willing to forgive Dukat for nearly killing her back in “By Inferno’s Light” — while also believably conveying the idea that she’s very much alone, aside from Dukat and Kira. Melanie Smith occasionally goes overboard with the “happy Ziyal” stuff (see above) but she does a good job of portraying the character.

Lastly, we see Kira, Odo, Jake and Quark discussing the new resistance in a public place at the beginning of this episode. It’s really the first sign of the ridiculousness of Kira’s new resistance and it’s lack of proper discretion.

Coming next week …

Odo’s loyalties are tested. Again.

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