Mark Watches ‘The Next Generation’: S07E21 – Firstborn

In the twenty-first episode of the seventh season of The Next Generation, what the hell. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.

I think it has taken me until this episode to realize that I don’t really like Alexander.

I have tried my best to appreciate the relationship between Worf and his son. I really liked “Reunion”! I still think it’s an exciting episode of The Next Generation. But aside from “Rascals,” which I can barely defend as a good episode because it’s subjective, I haven’t truly enjoyed a single Alexander episode since his debut. All of them have been weird, and I never quite see how Alexander fits into the world of The Next Generation. If that were an intentional thing, I might appreciate him more, but instead, I get the sense that the writers don’t know what to do with him. Look, after seeing how Jake is included in the show as a son over on Deep Space Nine, it’s very difficult to feel excited about Alexander’s sparse appearances on this show. It makes no sense that he’d be unseen for so long. The only reason I even feel compelled to address this is because… lord. “Firstborn” is so ridiculous that it earned it.

It didn’t help that this felt repetitive, first of all. We’ve seen stories dealing with Alexander’s identity. Most of the episodes post-“Reunion” dealt with the complication between his human upbringing and his Klingon side. (Hell, even “Reunion” itself addressed it.) The rivalry between the house of Duras and Worf’s family house has been done to death, so much so that I was genuinely surprised by the show bringing it back up again. And how many times have we seen Worf try to teach his son about Klingon traditions? I don’t feel like it’s an exaggeration to say that this has become rather common for stories involving Alexander.

So what sets this episode apart? Initially, there’s not much that does so. I expected that the assassination attempt would inspire Alexander to take his Klingon heritage more seriously, but was that enough? Was that enough to get him to leave behind his life on the Enterprise and immerse himself in his own culture? We got real close to that during the Holodeck training sequence, especially when Alexander showed promise but threw it away because he refused to kill his opponent. He knew that person wasn’t real, and yet he still wouldn’t “kill” them. Yet instead on latching on this revelation, the writers take us in a bizarre direction, choosing to pursue a plot where K’mtar threatens to invoke some Klingon law that would challenge Worf’s right to be a parent to Alexander. As quickly as this is invoked, it is also abandoned while the episode follows another plot, one that brings back B’Etor and Lursa to our screens. Why?

So that plot can be abandoned, too.

I think you can see the pattern emerging here. There are just too many red herrings and nonsensical twists in this story for me to get invested in any of them. Every time something interesting seemed to happen, the show would twist in a new direction. Again, it’s not even like those new “directions” were new plots, either. They felt like recycled bits of stories we’d seen before. However, it’s when this show DOES do something new and potentially interesting that, ironically, it fails the hardest.

I simply refuse to accept the Time Traveling Alexander story. I REFUSE.

It makes so little sense to me that I am actually angry that someone thought I would buy this. So you’re telling me that in forty years, time travel can be purchased, and that this is the first evidence that said time travel exists? Are you telling me that Alexander witnesses Worf’s murder and is so distraught that he could not save his father that he then travels back to the time period when he was about to become a teenager so that he could… NOPE I CAN’T EVEN FINISH THE SENTENCE. Why the fuck did he not travel back in time to just prior to Worf’s murder and stop it then? If there’s a connection between Alexander’s refusal to pursue the life of a warrior and this future murder, then it’s barely revealed to us. All we know is that Worf dies, and Alexander sees himself responsible.

Instead of a million other options, Alexander travels back in time, meticulously inserts himself as a member of his own family (enough so that Worf will trust his claims that he’s there to protect Worf and Alexander), and then does what he can to turn his twelve-year-old self into a warrior. It is, perhaps, the most ill-conceived plan I could possibly think of. Yes, let’s put the fate of saving one’s father into the hands of a TWELVE-YEAR-OLD. Let’s hope that the fickle desires of a pre-teen Klingon/human match up with your intentions! And when this fails because you DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO CONVINCE YOURSELF OF SOMETHING, then you should definitely plan to murder the younger version of yourself, GUARANTEEING THAT NO ONE IS AROUND TO SAVE YOUR FATHER FROM BEING MURDERED ANYWAY. You are literally doing nothing to save Worf!!! YOU ARE MAKING IT CERTAIN IT WILL HAPPEN.

Terrible. SO SO SO TERRIBLE. Please take the ability to time travel away from people who utilize it so poorly. And how the fuck did Alexander return to his own time? Did he? That’s left wide open, so now I have to assume he got home through magic or he’s drifting through the past, and his life is destined to complete this circle forever. What the fuck, y’all! I love time travel more than most things, and this is the worst case of it I’ve ever seen.

The video for “Firstborn” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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