New Ground

The Enterprise is going on a surfing safari, following a test ship riding a soliton wave warp speed. Also, Alexander Rozhenko – son of son of Mogh – is back, and this time he is back to stay. Lying! Stealing! Parenting! Endangered species! The potential destruction of the Enterprise! So many issues, when we put New Ground in a very special episode of Mission Log.

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  1. Wildride says:

    Adding cousin Oliver to the cast? Way to jump the Space Shark — On a soliton wave, apparently.

  2. Wildride says:

    Alexander competes with Gul Dukat’s daughter Ziyal for most actors to portray the same character.

  3. Wildride says:

    I mean, at least Alexander will have Jeremy Astor to spend time wi–Oh, right.

  4. Wildride says:

    According to the Tech manual, 3 light years at warp 7 is about 2.2 days. At least the way I’m reading their chart, warp 7 is around 500C.

  5. CmdrR says:

    I got nuthin’. This episode should be good; should be a Worf/Alexander growth episode. But, it left me a flat. Also, I just keep wondering — Did the inventors of the Soliton Wave also invent a giant catcher’s mitt?

  6. deaddropsd says:

    Worse than Worf’s terrible fathering example for the previous year is the writing policy of TNG during this time that made recurring characters such an anomaly. Not letting extras speak….minimal to no continuity w intriguing interesting story arcs. Glad DS9 showed the right way to go about Trek lore.

    • Yeah, I think you nail what is a recurring problem with TV from a certain era as well as the difficulty of self-imposed rules on how TNG was written. It’s too bad TNG painted itself into a corner sometimes with those rules.

      • Earl Green says:

        It was routine for shows to not write/plot serially because there was no guarantee that episodes would air in the correct order in strip syndication. Satellite feeds for weekly shows had only just become a thing when TNG premiered; fresh feeds for nightly (“strip”) syndication were only becoming a thing around the time TNG went into its last couple of seasons. Until then, strip syndicated shows were “bicycled” – literally, the tapes would be run on one station and then overnight shipped to the next station in the chain, which would air those episodes the following week. I worked at a Fox station in ’93 that was still “bicycling” Mama’s Family and Love Connection to a station in southern Arkansas, and we’d receive them from (I think) a station in Springfield, MO. It was only around the time that I started that strip-syndicated shows were starting to do “gang feeds” (i.e. all the episodes for that week fed on satellite in the space of 3-5 hours in the wee hours of the morning) that would put every station in the country on the same schedule. So even in ’93, there’s no guarantee that, for example, Family will air right after Best of Both Worlds Pt. 2, because the tape might’ve been eaten by a VTR at the Shreveport affiliate, and you’ve got to run an “evergreen” episode kept for backup purposes (which was always, for some reason, Home Soil). It wasn’t until there was a mechanism in place to ensure stuff airing in correct order, or in “themes” as they later did with the nightly strip syndication run of Voyager, that you started getting even “lightly serialized” stuff like DS9, Highlander, and Xena. The mechanical, physical limitations of the medium as it was going into the ’90s was limiting the creative side.

        Fast-forward to now, a post-Twin-Peaks, post-Buffy, post-Babylon-5, post-Lost world, where we would be agape if CBS announced that Discovery would be 13 standalone episodes that were barely connected to each other. Binge watching is now the norm.

    • Durakken says:

      Interestingly Ro and Alexander both only really make a lot of appearances during the 5th season and then 1 or 2 episodes in the 6th/7th season. Which means that they were trying it out and they likely found that it didn’t work the way they were doing it.

      Also I don’t think DS9 went the right way with a Trek show. It’s a decent show for what it is, but there are just so many things about it that make it not be very trek like… like there not being a trek and it being 100% serial.

  7. Earl Green says:

    FYI – I almost drove right off the road laughing at “Miss Kaaaaaahhhhlll”. Nice try, gentlemen, but I’m still here.

    Now…this whole thing about whether or not Worf is making best use of the resources available to him aboard the Enterprise as an officer with a new family member. I’m going to say something I don’t say too often, and that is: I’ve been where Worf is. Okay, granted, I didn’t have a kid, send him away, and then get him dropped back in my lap. I heard the words “Honey, I’m pregnant”, after years and years of being told “this is actually something that’s medically not going to happen.” But yeah, you might as well have had my bumpy-headed kid step off the transporter in front of me. If I had a transporter.

    And because of what my then-spouse and I did, respectively, for a living, we arrived at the conclusion that I’d be the one staying home with the baby. And that’s where I got the deer-in-the-headlights look. Making best use of resources is mentioned, and it’s a valid point, but sometimes the environment doesn’t completely support that. I’m in a southern state where, no matter how much I’d like to fight the prevailing winds, it’s expected that either mom will stay home with baby, or both parents will go back to work and baby goes to day care. (Klingon boarding school optional.) You can read 20 books on the topic, but if the village you’re in isn’t being that village that wants to help you raise a child, you’re alone in the wilderness. I’d go all over the place with my baby – the store, the post office, you name it – and weird looks were the norm. So, “it takes a village to raise a child” works only if the rest of the village is okay with it.

    But that’s my situation, not Worf’s. I would love to have had even one resource along the lines of the lady on the other side of the horseshoe rail who just happens to be my friend the counselor.

    Then again, I did say “then-spouse” above, so maybe Worf got this more right than I did. But circling around to the point: there may well have been resources that I wasn’t aware of, even a year or two into being a stay-at-home dad. Parenting is an evolving thing, and so are the resources. So as much as we laugh uncomfortably about Worf lecturing Alexander on honor, or thinking of sending the kid to Klingon boarding school, it can be overwhelming in that moment where you just. don’t. know. what. to. do.

    So I can actually pull a lot from this episode. I thought it was dull and unnecessary when I watched it on first broadcast. Now it hits me a whole different way.

    And the Soliton Wave experiment, and the mention of going back, refining the tech, and trying again? That’s parenting too. You’re constantly experimenting with a petri dish whose entire life will be shaped by what you do. And mark my words…you *will* screw up.

    No pressure there.

    Side-note that may be something like rolling a grenade into the room: Worf talking to Alexander about honor? Worf! You’re trying to indoctrinate a child into your belief system before he or she even knows what the heck this is about! Bad Worf. Go sit on your ball chair and think about what you’ve done.

    Tune in next week as the test ship rides the ABC Movie of the Week intro until it collides with the “HBO Feature Presentation” space station. Oh, sorry. SPOILERS.

  8. Durakken says:

    These types of episodes always bother me because it’s like the writers aren’t writing for the characters, but asking themselves, what is the worst possible and unrealistic way that someone could act in a given situation and then going with it. It takes me out of the show every time. Just recently watched an episode of Smallville (rewatching that series) where everything that Clark says is literally him giving his friends lectures about how they’re terrible people for doing this or that and how it makes him feel terrible…while he does the exact same thing if not worse. It’s so cringey everywhere it turns up.

    As far as Geordi being oblivious to other people not being into goes… I feel for him, but I don’t think he’s oblivious. I think he’s a bit more like me in that I can see people being bored out of their gourd at what I’m saying, but everything I try, whether it’s talking about subjects I know they’re interested in, not going deep into a topic, changing topics, simply doesn’t work and at some point you just get fed up with caring that other people are that shallow and just ignore it, which looks like obliviousness.

    The moment thing… I’d have to be little bit of a jerk and responded with, “ahh yes, but every nanosecond is made up of irrelevant femptoseconds”. But really isn’t this another thing that doesn’t quite work with Data’s character? Sure a moment is 90s is pedantic, but isn’t Data pedantic? Doesn’t he have a problem with being poetic? If that’s the case then Data is once again either lying about his abilities or he’s got, no pun intended, data issues thinking that a nano-second is a moment.

  9. deaddropsd says:

    “Alexander”- Brian Bonsall

    • Earl Green says:

      I know he has had some trouble with the law… and then I think of the guy who played Anakin in Star Wars Episode I …and sometimes I really question the whole culture that child actors are dropped into, and the pressure that they are under at that tender age to be bringing home the bacon. Somewhere, things that need to be addressed aren’t being addressed, and we wind up with some really damaged people out of the deal. Read an interview with Jon Steuer (Alexander from “Reunion”) very recently, where he talked about basically being driven out of the acting biz, and not really comprehending how many followers his work had until he did a few Trek conventions.

      I know this doesn’t really have jack to do with Star Trek, I just sometimes wonder if the fandom(s) might not be part of the problem, throwing around the Cousin Oliver comments (and worse). In the age of the internet, that kind of criticism can reach these kids in a way that really didn’t happen as recently as a decade before TNG.

      • Dave Steph Taylor says:

        It is sad when you see actors who deal badly with the fame. I always wonder though if it is the fame and potential $$ that causes the problems, or if they would have gotten into trouble regardless.

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      See where having a bad dad gets you

  10. Dave Steph Taylor says:

    -Watching this, Alexander reminded me of the kid on the Munsters.

    – I don’t know how Brian Bonsall is in other shows, but he was really bad in this episode. I know he was supposed to be a troubled kid, but his performance was just off.

    – I get the feeling that Worf has had no contact at all with Alexander since finding out about him. Poor kid. I give the Rozhenko’s a lot of credit for taking in both Worf and Alexander.

    – A simple question about the Enterprise-D. Apparently there is no clearing family members to come aboard. I know they have family members live with them, but being the flagship of Star Fleet, you would think there would need to be some kind of clearance procedure.

    – Troi was actually a good therapist in this one. The way she “directed” the conversation but was still allowed Worf to come to his own concussions.

    – I agree that this Episode really would have benefited from spanning the story out for half a season.

    – And I agree that we might be being a bit harsh on Worf. He has spent all of a couple of hours with his kid who has been uprooted twice in his life so far. Give ’em time. As a foster parent, when a new child is brought to our home it takes at least a couple of weeks to get used to each other, to the new school, etc.

  11. James Goss says:

    I used to dislike and skip this episode. But now that I am a father, I empathize with Worf’s plight, and find a lot more to enjoy in it.

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      Differing perspectives over time.

    • TrixieB says:

      Did your wife watch as well? How did she feel? I’m curious. My son was a tad younger than Alexander when I watched, and I was furious at Worf.

      All the dads here seem to relate. I loathe his selfish petulance with the fire of a thousand suns. Pondering the difference.

      One day they’ll be out of the house. It is bizarrely quiet without them.

  12. JusenkyoGuide says:

    I’ll just say this… Me as a 15-year-old watching this air the first time kept thinking how horrible a father Worf is.

    Me at 37 with two sons of my own and suddenly figuring out that 99% of parenting is winging it on the fly has a whole hell of a lot more sympathy for Worf. Especially, like Worf, I’m doing it without a model to fall back on. Yeah, the dude had his human adoptive parents, but he wants to be Klingon and father like a Klingon should… But he lost his father at a young age and thus doesn’t know what a Klingon father is really like.

  13. Muthsarah says:

    Season Five’s been a bit of a let-down after the last one, hasn’t it? It got off to a great start, with Darmok, Silicon Avatar, Ensign Ro, but then…. It’ll pick up, I know.

    Next solid episode is “Ethics”. John, Ken (if you’re even reading, and I’m sad to say, I suspect you’re not), this is an episode you guys could go two hours on, I feel.

    But we’re not there yet. At least “Masterpiece Society” should serve up some meat.

    Season Five. Very, terribly uneven season. With ideas, sure, but…hard to keep up one’s enthusiasm.

    I’m sorry if this posts bums you out. The season, on the whole, is good. It’s just…always troubled me. Happily, I came into TNG in Season Six, when it (for a while) re-gained its mojo, and would dish up unequivacol greatness every other week, it seemed.

    • Not bummed at all! If there is one thing we’ve learned, it’s to approach every show fresh and let it stand on its own. Even some of the least popular (according to fan counsensus) have proven to give us something to talk about.

      • Dave Steph Taylor says:

        The joy of the podcast is that even when it is a show that one or both of you don’t enjoy, you guys find ways to have discussions about what what was shown.

  14. TrixieB says:

    Here’s the thing, Ken. He could have done some parenting long distance. He could have fostered a relationship. He should have known his child’s birthday. He gets no pass. Mistakes, we all make them. He was psychologically abusive. Plus, he had a stable upbringing. He knew better.

    I was a parent of a young child the first time I watched this. I was appalled. Flip the roles. How would you react to a mother acting this way? We expect so much more of women.

    Adults handle things better. Even not involving children, we don’t walk around being selfish and thinking only of how we feel. We’d none of us have jobs or friends if we did. He has scarred that child. Given how often Worf helps others, this was a terrible episode. A badly written Tasha Yar level bad.

    The whole episode would have fared better if Worf was written well.

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      I agree that Worf should have kept up correspondence at the least. He clearly wanted very little to do with Alexander.

      I think the thoughts the guys were expressing are that we only saw the first couple of hours of Worf’s hand on parenting. Check back in a couple of months.

  15. deaddropsd says:

    Love how that science lab door held every hint or clue of RAGING FIRE behind it’s massive, efficient doors. Lol, not one wisp of smoke or I dunno…water sprinkler system or ?? voice beacon or force fields?!?!? hahaha, hindsight….

  16. nathankc says:

    The theatrical / literary principle John made reference to, ie “the gun hanging on the wall in the first act, must go off by the third act” has an actual name. The name: Chekhov’s Gun (okay, not *that* Chekov, but still…. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chekhov%27s_gun)

    • Exactly! I recall somewhere this being compared to Hitchcock as well, but I wonder how Chekhov would feel about Hitch using all kinds of plot elements that only serve as distraction.

  17. John Anderton says:

    Not nearly as bad as I remember. This show does indeed improve with age. Not repulsive. Dorn is fine here. Sitris also. Ken is probably right: not really Trek. Could
    have been a House on the Prairie episode.