Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“Sons and Daughters”

2.5 stars.

Air date: 10/13/1997
Written by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle
Directed by Jesus Salvador Trevino

"Why are you on my ship?"
"To serve the Empire, General."
"That is a slogan, not an answer."

— Martok and Alexander

Review Text

Nutshell: Definitely not of the same caliber of the season's first two outings. Not bad, but not particularly compelling, especially under the circumstances.

Unlike "A Time to Stand" and "Rocks and Shoals," this week's outing holds very few impacting surprises or astounding moments of insight concerning the status of the Alpha Quadrant. It's a smaller character show that doesn't get as wound up in the bigger, more spectacular things happening in the DS9 universe.

As a smaller show, "Sons and Daughters" is reasonable and pretty nicely conveyed. But, like many shows that center around Klingon milieu (including last season's "Soldiers of the Empire"), there just isn't much of a sense that removes it from the "been there, done that" category. The topic is a well traveled road, and there just isn't a whole lot that leads this particular installment off the standard path.

Considering the types of stories that I would expect to come out of "A Time to Stand" and "Rocks and Shoals," much of "Sons and Daughters" is not what I had expected, or, really, had hoped to see. But for what we got, "Sons and Daughters" is decent—albeit not wonderfully realized.

The episode sports the return of Worf's son Alexander Rozhenko (now played by Marc Worden), bringing up some issues concerning Worf's parenting that had never really been put to rest back in the TNG days. Now a teenager, Alexander has decided to enlist in the Empire's war effort against the Dominion, and he has been assigned to Martok's ship, the Rotarran.

Obviously, this opens some old wounds for Worf. Some may recall how Worf and Alexander were never really on the same page when it came to their respective outlooks on life. But then again, one probably wouldn't expect that Alexander would have needed to chose his life's path at that point (a subject that made some of Worf's intents concerning his son in those days all the more difficult). Now that Alexander has aged several years, it makes sense that he would begin to question his role in the universe. For that reason, I've long thought that we would need to see Alexander again (with Worf having emigrated from TNG to DS9 and all). If nothing else, "Sons and Daughters" brings Alexander back as an issue that will certainly be present in subsequent episodes.

Suddenly having Alexander back in Worf's life is something that definitely screams "further character building" for Worf. The episode successfully conveys the sense that Worf was at least partially at fault for not having been present when his son needed him; rather, he claimed his life as a warrior versus Alexander's as a non-warrior as a basis for deciding their lives would simply be incompatible. Alexander's repressed anger toward his father for constantly "sending him away" when he was younger certainly has a strong basis for its existence.

At the same time, the story also realizes that Alexander's young age still gives Worf time to be the father for Alexander now that he wasn't in years past. The story's payoff is the best part of the episode. When the time comes that Worf and Alexander come to a reconciliation—Worf as a father who will teach his son the warrior's path, and Alexander as a son who has finally opened himself to the possibilities of his father's way of life—it's quite moving, and indicative of yet another recurring character for the series—a character who could himself turn out to be quite interesting in addition to the potential he could supply Worf.

Unfortunately, the events leading up to the payoff are not on the level of what they should be, especially considering we haven't seen Alexander for so long. The script by Thompson and Weddle does a good job of using Worf and Martok as characters whom we know so well at this point; I've grown particularly fond of J.G. Hertzler as Martok, who has created a very respectable and likable personality with a commanding presence that is simultaneously three-dimensional and true to Klingon attitudes. But what Thompson and Weddle do not do successfully is get to the crux of Alexander's character, which is the episode's biggest problem.

In broad terms, the writers do not give us any motivation for Alexander's about-face from wanting nothing to do with Worf's Klingon values to suddenly wanting to become a warrior. A few heartfelt lines of dialog probably could've made all the difference, but the absence of such dialog really hurts the situation's believability. For this to really work, we need to know why Alexander feels the way he does, and why he is suddenly compelled to prove himself to his father. The fact that Alexander has matured partially explains it, but in and by itself it is not the whole story. As a result of the lack of rationale, Alexander comes off as only half-developed, which is not good.

The other big problem leading up to the payoff is the overstated nature of the events the story uses to get there. When Alexander comes to the ship, he's a misfit—a completely inept warrior who hasn't a clue how to survive. The notion is okay, but I think I would've gotten the message without being beat over the head with it. Scenes like the one where Alexander, practicing with a bat'leth, drops the sword not once but twice in ten seconds are all too lacking in subtlety. His tactical error on the bridge—mistaking a combat simulation as a Jem'Hadar attack—is also a bit of a reach. It makes one wonder just how Alexander was permitted to enlist in the first place. Certainly the war isn't going so badly that the Klingons would enlist any able body willing to fight, skill or no skill. (Or maybe they would, but that strikes me as a rather silly policy.)

Meanwhile, the show supplies the usual Klingon clichés, including the Fight in the Mess Hall™—a forced and obvious scene with predictable results in which Ch'Targh (Sam Zeller) mocks Alexander's human upbringing. Ch'Targh, alas, is about as paper-thin as Klingon characters come.

A good Klingon episode needs to transcend the clichés and routine dialog with solid storytelling. "Sons and Daughters" only marginally accomplishes such a task. The Worf/Alexander story works reasonably with its various layers, but doesn't quite come into the sharpest focus. A crucial turning point where Alexander locks himself inside a room filling with toxic gases—apparently intentionally—seems to want to explain in one broad stroke the reasons why Worf and Alexander finally come to their point of reconciliation … but the story doesn't convey its intentions well enough, leaving the meaning of the scene a bit too implicit and vague to be satisfying. While I liked the net result of bringing Alexander to the series and giving him and Worf the understanding they've needed for years, I think the transition could've been handled much better.

So what about the "daughters" part of "Sons and Daughters," namely, the renewed relationship between Dukat and his daughter Ziyal? Well, the ideas contained herein are certainly relevant (if a little lightweight), and some of the character interplay proves interesting. Ziyal's difficulty in finding direction in life makes sense given her difficult past. And the fact that she's lost without purpose on Bajor is reasonable, especially considering her "father is leading a war against the Emissary of the Prophets." So Dukat talks to her and they come to a reconciliation of their own. Dukat convinces her to come back to the station.

The details of Ziyal's discovery (her pursuit of art) are not particularly riveting (and Melanie Smith's overacting doesn't help matters), but what Ziyal's presence does accomplish effectively is to reemphasize some of "the other side" of Dukat. I still think Dukat is about as multifaceted as they come, and here his intentions are completely sincere, reopening feelings for his daughter which I had thought forever died in "By Inferno's Light."

Yet the funny thing about Dukat is the way he always seems to have a hidden agenda buried somewhere under the surface—even when that surface is truly sincere. In this case, he uses Ziyal's presence to try to induce a bond between him and Kira—an endeavor which itself comes across as surprisingly sincere. Naturally, Kira wants nothing to do with Dukat or what he stands for. But what's important here is the way Dukat is so charismatic, charming, and patient; he's completely convinced that he can make something out of nothing, and he tries very hard. Instances of his attempted kindness are so vivid that there are moments when it seems to us—and probably even to Kira—that it's impossible he is the same man who sold out his world and is now leading a war against the Federation. (I never thought I'd see Dukat, Kira, and Ziyal all sitting on a couch together, smiling.)

And the gift Dukat sends Kira merely serves to emphasize how complex and clever a man he his, balancing sincerity and hidden motives. When Kira refuses to accept the gift, what does Dukat do? He presents it to Ziyal as if it were always meant for her. A sneaky, but strangely nice gesture.

This B-plot is probably ultimately stronger than the A-plot is, but it might've been even better if Ziyal weren't such a hollow character. She's torn here and there by the other characters, but she still isn't much of a person so much as she is a convenient device for analyzing Dukat and Kira.

In the end, "Sons and Daughters" is a respectable character show that contains just a few too many rough edges to be successful.

Next week: The Founders are back, and they still want their rogue Changeling Odo.

Previous episode: Rocks and Shoals
Next episode: Behind the Lines

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Comment Section

74 comments on this post

    I love DS9, but there's no way Alexander would have survived the point having varying survived on Martok's ship

    It's scary and even sort of sad that Dukat can be such a likeable person. It's very hard to say no to a man who's obviously making a great effort to get you to like him and Kira perfectly conveys that feeling.

    The combat sequence seemed a little silly. A single bird of prey can take out 3 Jem'Hadar ships? That's making a mockery of the Dominion's supposed technological superiority, unless they're really that terrible in combat tactics.

    It's a strange coincidence that both the "son" and the "daughter" were recast at least twice, which I cite as one of the reasons this episode doesn't work (the other being the writing). Not for a second did I believe that Marc Warden was Alexander, and it's not because of how he looks physically but simply because his demeanor is so different - come on, guys, it's only been three and a half years since we last saw him in "Firstborn". Melanie Smith isn't as bad, but she's no Cyia Batten.

    The scene where Martok confronts Alexander is powerful, and it is because of the awesomeness that is J.G. Hertzler. Martok may be one of the most well-rounded "secondary" characters on any show, and his scenes in this episode were enough for me to recommend it.

    Among non-regulars, Hertzler's Martok is second only to Robinson's Garak in greatness.

    With the Dominion, it's not the fact that they are so skilled, besides the hand to hand of the Jem'Hadar. They have overwhelming numbers and can rebuild fast. They have replaceable ships and soldiers. So, when the BOP took out the 3 warships it's not too unbelievable.

    I agree with Jammer on this. Good Ep, but it's nothing special!

    Alexander is a kind of tragic character, as shown here. He believes himself a failure and by Klingon standards he is. He is certainly caught between two worlds, even more than Worf, who at least can fight with other Klingons successfully. Whatever becomes of him? In later episodes Worf describes himself as a failure as a father. That's rather sad as well.

    In terms of Dukat, it was good to see his "humanity" (so to speak) in this episode, and disappointing that in Waltz he turn to evil. That dismissed his much more interesting moral ambiguity, and how he thinks of himself as a good man while being regarded by others as evil. I would have liked to see him explore his good side more in the end, rather than become a cardboard cutout of evil (literally and figuratively demonized).

    To follow up on gion's comments;

    Given that Martok is a General it would have made sense to give him something more than a bop. A vortcha class cruiser or something.

    Perhaps its personal choice. BoP's are far more maneuverable and better trouble makers than Vor'cha cruisers. Plus they look far cooler =P

    If Alex "forgot to erase" the battle drill, that suggests it was already run...didn't anyone recognize the "attack" seems familiar?

    Looking back, I realize that one of the things I really liked about this arc was that Worf was barely present and Kira was back to her old self. I liked Worf fine in TNG, but I'm just so bored of the character and his general humorlessness, the honor and duty cliches, his unfathomable relationship with Dax, etc. If it wasn't for Martok, the Klingon episodes would be a total waste for me. I find every other character more interesting and more appealing, and it annoys me when they get sidelined just so we can see Worf do the same thing again. As much as I love DS9, I wish they hadn't been forced to take him onboard. He brings nothing to the show, and whatever he does do is something that someone else more interesting could have been doing.

    Not a strong episode. Alexander is not a likable character. Hated him on TNG, still annoying.


    A dissapointment after the first strong two eps in Season 6. Agree that J.G. Hertzler's Martok steals every single scene he is in on this episode.

    The whole episode feels a bit underwritten and weak leaving a lot of the characters with nowhere to go. I am not sure if its the writing or the actors but other peoples comments about the Worf/Dax relationship being unfathaomable (or badly written), the Worf and Alexander scenes also don't work, I agree the scene between Alex and Martok did work, the Klingon stuff is all a bit pedestrian, repetative and seen it done better before, but I did like the mess hall fight!

    Well it was bound to happen that Worf's son was going to pop up sooner or later. On one hand I'd like to say this was bad timing on the writers part in the current scheme of things. On the other hand I'd like to say it kind've makes sense in the scheme of things...especially the fact that Alexander did join a sort of Klingon auxiliary force. I agree this was a bit on the sudden side but it didn't cripple the episode. The scenes between Alexander and Martok were inspired.

    The continuing events on the station are well-played out as Ziyal returns from Bajor and is cause for further deftly-written characterizations among Kira/Dukat. Some smaller moments including Odo/Kira/Jake on the promenade, among others, add nice touches to the overall tapestry. A scene with Quark offering Jake a job as a waiter was almost off-hand in nature yet it stuck with me for some reason. In a good way.

    At this point of the arc, I would think one would hope for something a little more substantial. But what is here isn't necessarily bad. In fact it's quite good in some parts.

    I like this one a little bit more than Jammer. Better than average episode that disappoints a bit only within the context of its role in the current arc.

    3 stars.

    I thought this episode was unconvincing. First you have Alexander suddenly wanting to jump into the fray, which goes against his character completely. Then you've got Worf deciding to teach him how to be a warrior, even though he still apparently doesn't know why Alexander joined or if it's even something he wants. He always encouraged him to find his own path, but now he doesn't even care.

    Adding to the feeling of this episode being completely out of place is how Alexander was cast. This person does not sound anything like Alexander, nor does he act like him. I understand he may have changed dramatically in the time he spent with Worf's parents, but this seemed too much.

    And then there's Ziyal, who I would expect to be less naïve and not to give in to having a relationship with Dukat just because 'he's her father'. He left her to die, then became all insane and creepy toward Kira, *clearly* accepting that he would not have a relationship with her anymore, and now they think about having dinner? This show is getting weirder with each episode.

    @Lionheart: Ziyal's characterization was weird, I think, because they had three different actors playing her. The last one (whose name I don't remember) played her as very innocent, especially for someone who grew up in a Breen labor camp.

    Martok makes this episode. His words and delivery continue to be outstanding every time he gets some screen time.

    I wanted to join this crew after this:

    "MARTOK: I am General Martok. Welcome to the Rotarran. May you prove worthy of this ship and bring honour to her name. This is a glorious moment in the history of the Empire, a chapter that will be written with your blood. Fight well, and our people will sing your praises for a thousand years. Fail, and there will be no more songs, no more honour, no more Empire. Who among you hears the cry of the warrior calling you to glory?"


    I agree with Jammer, Alexander's ineptness didn't need to be shoved down our throats to get the point across.

    I'm still not sure why he would enlist when he knows his "Klingon skills" are just not there and as Martok revealed here:

    "MARTOK: I have no need to. I look in their faces and I know why they are here. They are Klingon warriors. They have answered the call of Kahless.
    ALEXANDER: Well, so have I.
    MARTOK: Lie to yourself if you must, but not to me. You do not hear the warriors' call. I ask again, why are you here?"

    But, I do like how the Klingon crew came to accept him and welcome him into the crew.

    I don't think Work made a mistake so for him to concede to this is not good.

    Dukat is still alive? God I just want to throat punch him!!!!! Will someone just pick up a damn phasor and shoot him?

    2.5 stars for me.

    ....So...does anybody else have a little piece of them that kinda wishes Dukat and Kira would have gotten together?

    No? Just me then?

    @Nonya - For like a minute. From the moment he sat on the spine to the moment he told Kira his plan to kill Ziyal (which all happened in a single scene). The episode so nicely helped you let your guard down with Dukat and make the two of them feel cute together and then slammed you in the face with the fact that he's a killer and what he's capable of.

    It partially redeems him of course that he didn't kill Ziyal (especially if you take the position that he told Kira because he wanted to be stopped) but it was such a contrast between the two of them laughing together and him talking about murdering his daughter that the brief thought was fleeting. But I'll admit I had it.

    @Nonya I wanted Kira and Dukat to both shoot and vaporize eachother at the same time like the Breen and Jem Hadar did in By Infernos Light.

    Coming back to this show for the first time in a decade, it's interesting how the Dukat-Kira dynamic is so similar to what happens with Starbuck and Leoben on New Caprica in BSG. What I mean is - creepy villain trying to "domesticate" a female lead he has become enamored with. BSG's is way more extreme, which is why I like DS9's take better. It's more insidious the way and very... well, Dukat.

    Like Jammer I like the B-plot in this more than the A-plot. The stuff with Alexander wasn't bad, though. It's decent, not great, but it made for some good scenes (everyone's already mentioned how great Martok is, and I agree). It also really shows Worf in a bad light, who is essentially berating his own abandoned child for not living up to the standards that he himself is obsessed with to the point of parody. How could Alexander even have a chance? FWIW, I enjoyed the actor who did Alexander - very believable as a frustrated and awkward teenage boy.

    To make an unfair criticism, I kind of wish the "Sons" aspect of this episode involved more Jake! I enjoy seeing him do his thing on Terok Nor, which is some nice development from his experience in "Nor the Battle to the Strong".

    3 stars for me. A fair episode that probably gets more flak than it deserves because of it's (admittedly odd) placement in the middle of a major narrative arc like this.

    I thought this episode was really weird and didn't provide a satisfactory viewing experience. It was all right the first time, since the audience wants to watch it simply to see what happens next, but it really doesn't hold up to a second viewing in the way 'Tacking into the Wind' does, for instance. (Then again that's probably an unfair comparison - Tacking easily gets 4 stars from me.) Contrary to popular opinion, I rather liked Alexander on DS9, and 'Firstborn' I found to be very solid and moving episode, but the Alexander story arc here was just very lacking. I didn't understand the battle scene and what led to Alexander and Worf's aboutface - are we supposed to believe that there's something honourable about Alexander's (presumable) attempt to commit suicide?

    I also didn't understand what the scene where Damar brings Kira the dress from Dukat, is supposed to convey, unless it's that Dukat's trying to overwork his XO (seriously, it seems like Damar has to do EVERYTHING on the station, from cargo bays to security, personnel reviews and then neutralising the minefield). Or that Dukat secretly hates Damar and was hoping that Kira would punch the living daylights out of him for the dress delivery.

    On the subject of Kira and the B-plot, it was more compelling than the A-plot as many have pointed out, but again, doesn't really hold up to a rewatch. Nothing here that we don't know - yes, Dukat fancies her, Ziyal wants them all to be one happy family and Kira hates that idea and Dukat. Perhaps it wasn't executed properly, but I felt that it was another "been there done that" concept that I didn't have much interest in watching. I feel it would have been better if we'd seen some more about the Cardassia-Dominion power struggle, rather than Kira and Dukat sniping at each other day in and day out. Neither characters are at all likeable this season, unfortunately - Dukat just comes across as a slimeball and Kira as being foolhardy.

    I enjoyed this episode more than the first two episodes of S6. The "astounding moments concerning the status of the Alpha Quadrant", as Jammer puts it, in those episodes mean nothing to me as a person not living in the 24th century. Sci-fi and television must have moments to relate to as human beings, and this episode had that in its two parallel plots. It wasn't that great an episode but it was better than a lot of meaningless activity and politics concerning the Dominion and Federation which ultimately mean very little to me as a living, breathing 21st century human who isn't involved in an intergalactic war.

    Perhaps Alexander did need to return for the story, but unfortunately that return means having to revisit one of the least satisfying characters and storylines on TNG. And this does not succeed in moving that story forward any more - the by the numbers family drama is depressingly predictable, and the happy family gathering at the end just feels wrong. Any time you hear "and you will teach me what it means to be a father" your heart should sink.

    Ziyal's characterisation in this also doesn't feel quite right when compared with earlier episodes (and I don't think that's purely down to the actress changes). She also seems a bit more happy families than you'd think - especially, as Kira pointed out, Dukat had left her to die in the last series. There are some good moments as Dukat attempts to lure Kira in through Ziyal, but Kira's moment of awareness seems fake - didn't she have exactly that moment of awareness last time out?

    Just as well we have a bit of good Martok action then. 2 stars.

    I'm still waiting for the Dominion, or anybody for that matter, to actually care that the Federation destroyed the supply of ketracel white in the alpha quadrant.

    Almost universally considered the weak link in the six episode Dominion Occupation arc, "Sons and Daughters" is a definite step down from the previous episodes. However, that is only because it suffered the misfortune of being placed where it was, as it is still an above-average episode. Coming on the heels of four consecutive episodes that I personally would consider examples of "classic Trek", there was no way a story focused on something other than the large-scale happenings of the war wasn't going to be something of a let-down.

    The biggest problem is that the episode is little more than set-up for future ones. Alexander seems to have only been brought back in order to have him in "You Are Cordially Invited", because the writers appeared to think that they couldn't have Worf and Dax get married (which was planned for the episode immediately following the Occupation arc, after all) without Alexander present. Ziyal is only brought back to set-up her tragic death three episodes from now. And Ziyal provides further set-up by acknowledging that Sisko is the Emissary of the Prophets - foreshadowing his momentous actions in the Wormhole in "Sacrifice of Angels". Therein lays the episode's greatest weakness - it provides critical foreshadowing but offers little else.

    It is good to see Alexander come back, as I never disliked the character as so many other fans seem to. In fact, I've always had a great deal of sympathy for him because, let's fact it, Worf was indeed a pretty lousy father. And given that Alexander's existence hasn't even been acknowledged by "Deep Space Nine" since.... when.... "Rules of Engagement"?.... almost two seasons ago at this point.... it's nice to see them finally bringing Worf's status as a parent into the mix. And it's nice to see him and Worf finally come to some sort of understanding, even if it does require a bit of continuity stretching (at the ripe old of NINE, Alexander is ready to join the Klingon Defense Forces?). This story of reconciliation just needed to happen sometime in Season Five.

    The Kira/Ziyal plot is better. Ziyal is just a much more likable character than Alexander (even I'll admit that though I'm something of an Alexander apologist). Dukat's sleazy charm is also entertaining to watch. Watching him present Kira's gift to Ziyal like nothing is wrong about it really does make the skin crawl. Kira's bluntness in rejecting him displays some of the qualities that make her the badass we all love. The episode could have done with a bit more of Kira and Odo organizing the "new resistance" in the background to keep the arc moving, but I suppose it's okay without that.


    Any ST episode involving Alexander which does not end with Alexander lying dead in a pool of his own blood and vomit cannot by definition get higher than 1 star.


    I have only the vaguest recollection of Worf having a son on TNG. Finding out now that he not only has a son but has not communicated with him in any way for five years is a huge detriment to a character who is supposed to be one of the heroes. What's his excuse? If he hasn't communicated with Alexander, who is living with Worf's parents, then he also hasn't communicated with his parents in that time. What a jerk.

    The mess hall brawl was stupid. Why would a Klingon pick a fight with someone who is smaller and weaker and untrained? What's the sport in that? That's just being a bully.

    There was nothing in the B story that we haven't seen before. Kira hates Dukat, She forgets for a moment that she hates Dukat. Then she remembers that she hates Dukat.

    The thing with the dress was ridiculous. If Dukat had sent her a small token, like a book, or one of his daughter's pictures framed, it might have made sense. But a dress is something you send to a lover. Kira wouldn't have been grossed out from the first second.

    Also, did Garak make the dress? What did he think of doing that? Why would a dress that fit Kira also fit Dukat's daughter? Their sizes are not the same.

    Worf has obviously not been an engaged father, and that is a flaw in his personal character, but it's good *characterization*. It doesn't make him less "one of the heroes," it makes him more of a real person.

    I haven't seen the ep in a while and don't recall dialogue specifics, but my impression was that the period of noncommunication was a product of Alexander's own alienation as much as Worf's distance (actual and emotional). Primary responsibility rests with the parent, of course, but I never thought Worf didn't care--he just didn't know what to do.

    There is a universe of difference between being an unengaged parent and a parent who has had no communication whatsoever with his child (or his own parents who are taking care of the child) for five years.

    The episode did not indicate that the lack of communication was Alexander's choice; it was Worf's.

    If Dukat is now the leader of Cardassia, why is he living on DS9/Terok Nor? Shouldn't he be ON Cardassia?

    Why would Alexander be such a physically small Klingon? Worf is certainly a large Klingon, and his mother K'Ehleyr was a tall human/Klingon hybrid.

    Great review by Jammer.

    I had a bit of a problem with J.S Trevino's directing.

    The lighting in some of the Klingon vessel was off, the color yellow was overdone in my opinion (I remember thinking so when I saw this episode back on TV and I still think the sane as I am watching it again now in my DVD DS9 set). Just watch right as Worf walks into the Mess Hall to stop the fight, it's yellow-ish all around the screen.

    There is also a terribly done scene switch in which Kira makes the remark about Dukat being a "despot," Dukat laughs and his laughter is interrupted in the middle and we switch to Worf and Alexander scene. Very awkward cut, dismal editing.

    Martik rules in this episode.

    I have never liked how they did Alexander. He was conceived at the end of season 2 in TNG and we first see him in season 4. By season 6 of DS9 he's only 10 at the most in human years (Since DS9 started showing during season 5 of TNG). They never aged him properly nor explained to any satisfaction the Klingon aging process.

    Because he is shown as perhaps an 18 year old, he either ages twice as fast as humans or they just f'd up bad with him!

    Re: Adam

    It's been a couple of years since I last viewed TNG season 2, but as far as I can remember, Alexander appeared to be around 5 or 6 years of age when he was first introduced as his mother had not informed Worf of the pregnancy and had raised him for a few years before Worf even knew of his existence. Add 9 more years since then and Alexander's age is something around 14 or 15

    Worf is so precious, walking around with his bachelorette sash and nagging Jadzia about details of their wedding. What a bridezilla!

    Again, Worf is the worst. Emotionally abusive fiance, constant stick-in-the-mud, vain bridezilla, murderer, and a crap dad to boot.

    I suppose it's not exactly OCC for Worf to ignore Alexander like that-I even get why he would do it, not wanting to force his ideals on him-but it is worse than anything I recall him doing on TNG. I suppose it's so that Alexander would be more sympathetic, but it feels pointlessly cynical and mean-spirited to override Firstborn's happy ending (hell, arguably Worf's entire development as a father on TNG), especially just to resolve it in a single episode.

    This episode is awful because it highlights everything that is wrong with Worf's character on Deep Space Nine. Compared to TNG, he has lost in depth and turned into a clichéd version of himself. The writers of DS9 never really figured out how to make the character their own.

    As others have pointed out, Alexander and Worf had developed a rather good relationship by the end of TNG. There were no indications that Word would send him back to his foster parents. The abandonment issue Alexander had had was long resolved - Worf had implicitly agreed never to push him away again. That's the vibe I received. And then, Alexander had disappeared by the time that Worf transferred to DS9. That was somewhat odd to begin with because the bond between father and son suddenly seemed broken. But the writers could have come up with a good explanation - that Alexander preferred to go to school on earth, for example. I would've firmly expected him to stay on good terms with his father, even if they were seperated.

    And then this episode happened. It is revealed that father and son haven't been speaking to each other in five years. Worf has returned to being the grumpy Klingon of TNG's earlier seasons, unable to maintain any relationship with his son. He has become a stereotypical version of his earlier self. He has de-evolved as a character. When he married Jadzia, he didn't even once mention his son towards her. And don't even get me started on the relationship between Jadzia and him... it is 90% cliché as well. The formula "opposites attract" is taken from the Romantic Comedy genre, but the trouble is that the two actors never really clicked. Most of their interaction feels like badly written fanfiction. Worf is overused for comedic relief and becomes a shallower version of himself, compared to TNG.

    And this episode right here is pretty much the lowpoint of all that bad character writing.
    I mean, I generally love Michael Dorn and how he portrays Worf. Worf episodes are always enjoyable, on some level. But that doesn't give the writers a free pass to be lazy and produce nonsense like this. The motivation of Alexander is also never clarified - he claims that he DOESN'T want to prove himself in front of his father and that his father had nothing to do with his decision to join the Klingon military. But then again, it bursts out of him that he feels abandoned by his father and it suddenly looks as if he only joined the military to somehow re-connect to the world of his father. None of it makes a lot of sense.
    And by the way, why doesn't he serve on a Starfleet vessel? Why suddenly turn to the Klingons that he never had a real connection to?

    The episode fails on so many levels, I can't give it more than 1.5 stars.

    I want to add something to my comment - I actually once thought that this was an okay-ish episode, because I only had vague memories of Alexander from TNG and thought he was done alright in "Sons and Daughters". But having rewatched TNG recently, I now realized how awful the relationship between Worf and Alexander was handled here.

    Basically, if you don't remember TNG, you might give this episode 2.5 stars like Jamahl. If you have TNG fresh on your memory, though, you realize how inappropriate this episode really is.

    2 stars. The weakest in the occupation arc

    It grounded the storylines being juggled in the air to a screeching halt. Ziyal never did much for me as a character a lot of the Kita/Dukat stuff felt recycled from Return to Grace.

    I didn't like what DS9 did to Alexander. I liked him on TNG and making him a complete joke in this episode was annoying. Plus this stuff was well trodden and absolutely nothing new or interesting

    It's a shame such an hour was wasted on this drivel. The best moment was the teaser seeing the Defiant crew rescued from there it was all downhill

    Alexander says Worf hasn't tried to contact him ion 5 years, but "A Fistful Of Datas" was less than 5 years earlier, and he was still living on the Enterprise with him.

    Nothing special here -- feels like a story we've seen before between father and son. And we get more examples of Dukat's scheming to get closer to Kira -- this time through his daughter. The Dukat/Kira subplot is far more interesting mainly because of Dukat's devious attempts. Not surprised Dukat's managed to get Ziyal back on his side (now if he could only do that with Kira, he'd be having his cake and eating it too...)

    The Worf/Alexander subplot plays out in pretty standard manner - Worf hasn't been a good father and Alexander lets him know it and ultimately they make up. It wasn't clear what Alexander wanted to prove in serving on a Klingon warship -- and the episode is heavy-handed in showing how inept he is. No way should he be qualified for serving on a space vessel.

    I'm not even clear what Alexander did to earn respect in the end -- he got trapped in some room in trying to help on the lower decks or something after a battle with Jem'Hadar ships. This part seemed contrived to make him appear to do something useful as a bridge to being made part of Martok's house in yet another Klingon ritual.

    Dukat's certainly turning into an interesting character. When he gives his daughter the black dress that he meant to give Kira, I thought he was such a scumbag.

    Ziyal's character is pretty naive and shallow -- Alexander, at least, has something going on inside but it is not clear what. His purpose wasn't well-handled here -- at one point he talks about how Worf would be happy to see him fail.

    2.5 stars for "Sons and Daughters" -- well-executed standard type of story that isn't bad, but certainly a step or 2 below the 1st 2 Season 6 episodes. Plenty of the usual Klingon cliches, which don't do much for me at this point, seemed to dominate this episode.

    "Sons and Daughters" is a fine way to shatter the momentum and consistency of the Occupation arc. It's really, really poor on a number of levels. The dialogue is clumsy and amateurish. Alexander aged 10-12 years in 3 and a half. His actor is also fairly terrible. The sub plot is slightly better, but still incredible. Ziyal's character continues to be inconsistent-I prefer the version of her that stood up to Garak in "For the Cause"-and it tells us nothing new about Kira and Dukat's relationship, just as the main plot tells us nothing new about Worf and Alexander's relationship-Worf's a terrible father, Alexander's whiny and a terrible warrior. It's supposed to be tense, but it's really more uncomfortable than anything else. Even thematically, this episode makes no sense. Why parallel Dukat/Ziyal and Worf/Alexander? The two relationships have almost nothing in common.

    2 stars, barely, for Martok.

    Something that I noticed in this episode is that I don’t blame Worf for abandoning Alexander. Parents do have a responsibility to their children’s well-being and Worf assured that by putting him in the care of his parents, but parenthood is not and will/should never be a truly selfless act, we have children because we want them to be extensions of us, they never live up to that entirely but a good son holds onto the values, legacy and dreams of his father and is at least in part the son that their father wanted them to be, from childhood Alexander demonstrated that he had every intention of turning away from his father and his father’s culture and legacy, he is a failure and Worf saw that and cut his losses.


    While yes, I agree with the overall sentiment that people have children to leave behind some sort of living legacy, I'm not sure that excuses Worf of abandoning him. Worf acknowledged that at one point Alexander will never be his ideal heir, but he recognized Alexander would follow another path and accepted it. I think the issue here is, part of accepting someone else's differences is not just saying "well they're different from me, so I'll leave them be" but more like "they're different to me, but that doesn't mean I can't spend time with them".

    I think this show works on that level - that Worf sees his son isn't all he wanted, but instead of distancing himself like he did in the past, he learned to accept the differences and celebrate Alexander's victories in his own battles.


    It's been awhile since I've seen TNG, but from what I remember, Worf and Alexander's relationship was pretty toxic. Worf constantly wanted his son to live up to his impossible standards. He didn't realize (or maybe he did and lied to himself) that most Klingons don't live up to them either. I feel like Worf was a pretty bad father. Forcing him to reckon with that is a good idea on paper-it was the execution that let this episode down.


    Well now I think you're arguing something different from anti-futurist; that Alexander would be right to abandon his father and follow his dreams. But this episode insists that Alexander became *more* interested in Klingons and being like his father as he got older, despite whatever mistreatment he had as a kid.

    I have a hard time accepting that Worf mistreated Alexander at all. From a completely *human* standpoint all you could even say is he chose to be a tough father and that it had less than desirable results, but there are human parents even tougher than that around the world, and I'm sure it sometimes works, sometimes not. It's not like he was beating him up. But that's from a human point of view. From a Klingon point of view Worf was being really soft on him, so arguably part of the problem was that you're not going to get a warrior out of sort of pampering and sort of being tough on a kid. That's a mixed signal: you want to raise a badass killer then you'd better give him the entire treatment, something probably impossible on the Enterprise. But on the other hand if Worf didn't try at all then he'd have no pretense left of caring about warrior culture. So that's an impossible situation for him.

    It was complicated further by K'ehleyr screwing over the boy's convictions in the first place. She raised him to think of Klingon tradition as stupid - ok, fine - but then after she dies he was left with a father who cared deeply about tradition. So basically it was like the boy was raised in a divorce situation where the parents are on opposite sides of an issue, and she raised him to have contempt for Worf's side. Well that's all well and good, except that it made no provision whatever for the eventuality that Worf might one day care for the boy, or that the boy himself might have wanted the opportunity to decide whether he cared for Klingon culture, himself being 3/4 Klingon. So Worf inherited an already sabotaged situation; what was he supposed to do with that? Continue to raise the boy with the notion that Klingon values are stupid? That's ridiculous, so after some friction I think it made complete sense to pass him off to his grandparents, who could at least potentially raise him in a way vaguely similar to what K'ehleyr wanted. But during that period of friction I think Worf made a valiant effort to not be too hard on him, while still being hard enough that he might come around eventually and want to be a warrior. That didn't work out, but he did his best for what that's worth.

    As a brief sidebar, the Worf-Alexander situation is reminiscent of Klingon culture in general, where everyone pretends to care about honor and the rest but where their heart is maybe not that much in it, beyond that they do like killing. But as becomes evident, they will probably find in not too long that they have to change, and in fact have been changing already. Alexander is an interesting look at what might be the near-future of Klingons, where some children begin to reject the old culture when it's no longer viable to have an empire. This friction between fighting to retain the old ways with young people who won't have it is probably a solid foundation for a look at the Klingons in general, if only that relationship had been used to that effect. Sadly it ended up only being more of a nuisance than anything.

    Passable, not terrible but not much going on here.

    The daughter part with Ziyal was more engaging than the son part with Alexander. The Clumsy Smurf portrayal of Alexander didn't work that well.

    Almaio great as always.

    I need to add "episodes that include Alexsander" to my list of auto-skip parameters, along with "an alien force is in control of a crew member", "any of the troi family or anyone from betazed are the main focus", "crew member is sexually violated by alien" (a subset of the former usually) or "ferenghi comedy".

    So worf, both on his own heart and in the eyes of alexander, has failed as a father. And according to kira, dukot is a p.o.s. who does not deserve the love, respect and loyalty of his daughter. Chief o'brien gets criticism from his wife about his fathering job. In another star trek series (the next generation) captain picard was a father who made serious mistakes with his son. In short, star trek is tough on fathers.

    But never an unkind word about anybody’s fitness as a mother.

    Deanna Troi might differ, and so might T'Pol. Star Trek actually has some terrific fathers (Sisko is one) but it does a lot more father-child plotlines than mother-child ones, which is an issue in itself. So there's a larger pool of fathers from which to pick bad ones if you want to.

    Also, what Picard thing are you talking about? I can only imagine it's "Bloodlines," in which it turned out that he was not his son at all. Maybe you mean "The Inner Light"? There's some tentative unrest with the son and his relationship with his daughter seems all around terrific.

    @D K
    Did you forget the mother of Kira who she almost kills for being a collaborator while her father seems alright.

    O'brien is by no means a bad father. It is just the only married couple and it may come as a shock to you but married couples argue.

    Worf is mostly an absent father which was really not that unusual in the 80s.

    And Dukat... well being a genocidal dictator of Bajor kind of qualifies for p.o.s status but he is portrayed as a good father. He sacrifices his career for Ziyal, often shows deep concern for her well being and basically hands the Federation victory when he refuses to look into her possible betrayal. He also loses his marbles after seeing her being killed. I would say that fatherhood is the only thing where he continuously shows his good side.

    I guess it's nice that you didn't write something about sjw controlling the world.

    Man, I feel bad about my previous comment. I can spout off about the pointlessness of stupid "gotcha" comments that damage discourse, yet there I go, dropping one like some smug idiot.

    Anyway, regarding the "No bad mothers" topic, in addition to Lwaxana, there is also Quark's mother, Ishka, who I'm sure would be described as some asa social justice warrior, and for once rightly so, since she did. She could slso be seen as the Ur example of a feminist. But she was a TERRIBLE mother. Favoritism, being apparent in her disdain for her husband IN FRONT OF her children and putting her own desires ahead of the needs of her kids to their detriment.

    I believe Guinan herself, mysterious as she was also mentioned some difficulties with one of her children in one episode or another.

    BOTH of Seven's parents were criminally unaware of the danger they put their daughter in as they pursued scientific discovery.

    B'Elanna's dad may have left her, but her mother, if I recall correctly tried to force a heritage on her without seeing the difficulties B'Elanna was having with that part of herself.

    There is a reason that "Daddy issues" is an ubiquitous trope, because a lot of writers seem to experience it and put it into their writing and a lot of people seem to relate to it. It's almost like bad parenting extends beyond lines of gender and politics, and the implication of its representation being somehow tied to either of those two in an attempt to shoehorn it into the BS Left v Right dichotomy arguements is folly, because it is a crappy thing in life that happens regardless of political stance.

    And boy, lemme tell you, I am sick of all these LvR arguments all over the internet and having every. Single. Little. Thing being reduced to that inane and stupid conflict, especially when it's a damn spectrum and not a this or that choice. By and large, no one seems to talk things out anymore, instead just viewing a stance on a topic as an indicator of political belief and insult or denegrate as applicable. It's really quite short-sighted of us all, and darn tiring to read everyday.

    I think it's even simpler than that. Not that I've done an exhaustive sampling or anything, but I think the general trend in fiction is that men have strife with their fathers and women have strife with their mothers. Men in conflict with mothers is much more rare, and women in conflict with fathers occurs, but usually with more serious conflict (ie, abandonment or physical abuse rather than "emotionally distant" or something like that). I won't try to explain why that's the case, but it does seem prevalent from my perspective. And since there's more male Star Trek characters, that means more daddy issues rather than mommy issues.

    (Of course, my above assumption only works with adults and their parents. Kids can be in conflict with either parent pretty regularly I think).

    In fact, this is almost universally the trend in Star Trek. Ignoring Enterprise and Discovery since I don't watch those, here are all the main characters with family problems:

    Spock - Dad
    Picard - Dad
    Riker - Dad
    Troi - Mom
    Worf - Son
    Quark - Mom (the exception!)
    Bashir - Both for the same reason (although I think Dad was more?)
    Odo - "Dad" (The scientist who studied him)
    Ezri - Mom (although in fairness, her brother also had a problem with Mom, but would it still be with Mom if he was the main character?)
    Paris - Dad
    Torres - Both for different reasons (probably moreso Mom than Dad)

    So other than Quark and the two characters that had problems with both parents, the pattern seems clear to me. Also, for being a utopia, family life seems pretty terrible in the future...

    Fri, Oct 25, 2019, 2:24am (UTC -5)

    "And Dukat... well being a genocidal dictator of Bajor kind of qualifies for p.o.s status but he is portrayed as a good father. He sacrifices his career for Ziyal, often shows deep concern for her well being and basically hands the Federation victory when he refuses to look into her possible betrayal. He also loses his marbles after seeing her being killed. I would say that fatherhood is the only thing where he continuously shows his good side."

    OK, enough....

    Dukat was going to MURDER his daughter (only stopped because of Kira)... nothing more needs to be said.

    Horrible father.

    Ok but he wants to do it because of Cardassian cultural habits and after not killing her he is a pretty good father apart from the whole intergalactic warlord thing of course. :)

    I'm really not sure what the point of this episode was.

    Arguably, there's some good points in the B-plot, especially the moment when Kira realises that she's happy about having received a gift from Dukat. But Ziyal just isn't a particularly interesting character - perhaps not as dull as Blandy McBlandface (aka Eddington) but still eminently forgettable.

    Back to the A-plot, and I have to ask again: what was the point of this? We've already had the demotivated/demoralised Klingon crew theme in Soldiers of the Empire; throwing Alexander into the mix doesn't really offer any new angles on this. And the whole "angry teenager and distant father" plot feels overly hammy, even by Star Trek standards.

    Let's move on...

    A decent episode, thanks largely to the always wonderful Martok, and some good scenes involving Klingon Bird of Preys escorting convoys and fighting off Jem'Hadar fighters.

    The episode's main drama, however, was rather hokily written. We have Dukat attempting to bond with Ziyal on one hand, and Worf's attempts to bond with Alexander on the other, both arcs interesting from a structural perspective (how they echo and contrast one another), but both written as they were cheesy 20th century domestic dramas; there's little alien, far-future or interesting about this stuff.

    Worf's been character assassinated repeatedly (didn't he commit terrorist attacks on Risa last season?), so his treatment of Alexander in TNG is just another in a long list of things you have to pretend didn't happen. DS9 at least acknowledges Worf was a jerk of a father, and in this episode mounts a reasonable attempt to rehabilitate this aspect of him.

    I can't believe Jammer gave such a boring, paper-thin episode with a poorly devised, cliche-ridden A story, 2.5 stars. I'm not a massive fan of Klingon stories anyway but thought even those who are would find this a dull fest. The B story was kinda predictable too. 1.5 stars max from me.

    @Steven, great comments, 100% agree.

    And let's not forget Sons of Mogh! DS9 really did Worf dirty.

    I feel like this episode set out to do some interesting things, but it failed for the most part.

    ----PLOT A----
    I like the idea of bringing Alexander back into things.

    Well let me clarify. I would have preferred if Alexander were never a character to begin with. I hated the character in TNG. But now that the character exists, we can't just ignore him. We can either check up on him occasionally or kill him. And NO, we can't erase his memory and tell him he's someone else entirely. That's bad writing :p

    Anyway, the writers did the right thing and decided to bring back Alexander. Quell the curiosity about wtf he's been up to and force Worf to face the fact that he's a bad daddy. A fine enough premise.

    But the episode makes the first mistake by making the episode about Worf... this episode SHOULD be about Alexander (or at least about the both of them) yet we go through the entire episode not even sure what his motivations for being there are. We're never sure why Alexander decided to join the military. We don't know if he ended up on Worf's ship by accident. We don't know if he's trying to prove something to himself, his father, or what. Meanwhile he shows clear aggression towards his father (well earned aggression IMO) yet we never really explore those feelings he's having in any great depth. The most we do is acknowledge them. We go through the entire episode without really knowing what's going on in Alexander's head other than he's pissed at his pops.

    Then this story ends really abruptly with him accidentally locking himself in engineering. Worf lets him out and suddenly Alexander forgives him and we get the overly convenient Star Trek ending where Alexander is initiated into the house of Martok. I have no idea what this ending is supposed to mean for Alexander, Worf, or their relationship. The episode failed to explain where Alexander and Worf were at the beginning of the arc, so how are we supposed to understand where they end up at the end? It was just a drunk song and dance about vague daddy issues and regret.

    There's also one lingering element that bothers me about that ending... was it trying to imply that Alexander locked himself in engineering during the emergency on purpose with the intent to die to save the ship? Or was it implying that he locked himself in there by accident? Part of the reason I'm not sure is because AGAIN the episode doesn't give us any insights into Alexander's state of mind or motivations.

    ----PLOT B----
    The B Plot on DS9 is acceptable, if a bit mundane. It does a good job furthering the strained relationship between Kira and Dukat. It was clever of Dukat (and by extension, clover of the writers) to use Ziyal as a device to try and manipulate Kira. Although this highlights one of my main grievances with the character Ziyal.

    She isn't really a character that exists for her own sake. She exists solely as a shallow device to accommodate the plot. There is nothing wrong with a character serving as a plot device. But the problem is the character never developed any depth of her own. She was always either a fan girl for her father, a fan girl for Garak, or a fan girl for Kira. It didn't help that she wasn't around often and was recast several times.

    Believe it or not, my favorite version of Ziyal was that one time she was played by Tracy Middendorf in "For the Cause". Her version seemed less fragile and damsely than Cyia Batten and less naive and immature than Melanie Smith. Tracy added a clever confidence to Ziyal that made her feel like her own character. She actually felt like someone who spent 6 years on a Breen labor camp (a detail the writers almost completely forgot about after she was freed) It's a shame she was replaced.

    Gul Ducat giving the dress to his daughter after Kira rejected it, and pretending it was always for her is the best moment of the episode. "I try."

    The first couple minutes illustrate quite well what a fuddy dud Worf was on DS9. I loved him on TNG, but despised him on DS9.

    Jadzia jokingly pretends she doesn't want to join Martok's house and Worf flips out that Martok won't understand and will take it as a grave insult.

    In this particular situation, it works great, but the problem is Worf was like this ALL THE TIME in DS9.

    In TNG, there were plenty of FUN times with him, but not on this show.

    And to be clear, listen to Worf's henpecked little bitch whinging.

    Is it the writing or Dorn's delivery? I don't know.

    I vastly preferred Martok to Worf on DS9. Martok exhibited a nuanced Klingon that understood both worlds fairly well.

    Why wasn't Worf this?

    It frankly felt like Martok was the TNG Worf with maybe 20 more years.

    DS9 Worf is a whiny brooding emo hipster. Maybe that's better than TNG S1 and S2 whereworf, but not by much. I think the writers are mostly to blame, but Dorn's acting is pretty stilted even in TNG so he bears some of the burden too.

    J.G. Hertzler as Martok is one of my all-time favorite Klingons. He reminds me of John Colicos as Kor, when the Klingons were introduced in TOS “Errand of Mercy”. They don’t play them as two-dimensional caricatures but crafty, brutal, intelligent warriors who you believe COULD have an empire. Klingons are great, but waaay more interesting when they’re doing more than brawling & boasting about victory & honor.

    The Klingon ship after the battle was won regarding Alexander at the end probably needed a little more fleshing out. E.g.

    The guy who went with him to Engineering (and the one who originally started a fight in the mess hall) instead of saying that Alexander accidentally triggered the door to lock, instead have that officer tell Commander Worf that his son just sealed himself in the reactor room, stopped the plasma leak and vented the lethal radiation manually whilst inside to save the entire ship and crew. Have this guy have borne witness to the other junior officers having been in a state of shock or something during the moment of battle, and indecisive as to what to do, whilst Alexander actually acted decisively in the heat of battle.

    Then have this guy offer a warrior's handshake/embrace to the former "ship's fool" and refer to him as the ship's good luck charm instead of laughing at the end. That way Alexander Roshenko earned the respect of the crew through an honourable act. Then the scene can continue with Worf talking to him and then the whole House of Martok scene.

    His son's actions needed explaining.

    Given that we know Cardassians flirt by fighting with each other, do you think Dukat interprets Kira's hatred as flirtation? Even if he knows that isn't how Bajorans flirt, it's got to come across that way.
    This tit bit always makes me enjoy Garak and Julian's scenes much more. Garak is constantly needling Julian ...

    Dukat has shown that he knows how to manipulate Bajoran women into thinking that he is a nice guy. In "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night" his whole benevolent dictator routine is on full display. It's pretty disturbing.

    Kira is, I think, in two ways important to Dukat. On one hand he wants absolution for his horrifying crimes from her but at the same time still has the desire for her submission. There is of course no chance for that to ever happen. Kira is not going to forget that Dukat is a genocidal monster. At that point she doesn't even know what he did to her mother and so many other kidnapped and gaslighted women who were forced into sexual slavery.

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