Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: April 24, 1989
Written by: David Assael and Robert L McCullough
Directed by: Robert Iscove
Riker patches things up with his father while Worf gets angsty about not having painsticks.
So, there's a problem in Engineering and Data thinks it's a minor problem they can solve by reprogramming, but Picard says they're on they're way to a starbase, anyway, so they might as well have them look at the problem. Why are they going to a starbase? Because there are some "personnel transferrs" to do. Riker is curious about this since, as the first officer, he should be one of the first to know if someone's coming or going. Picard pulls him aside and says it's him. Riker has been given the opportunity to take command of the USS Aries in the wake of its former captain's retirement. Riker says he'll think about it, but in the meantime, someone is coming to brief him on the Aries current mission status. And guess who that someone is!
You got it! It's his dad! When Commander Riker sees Mr. Riker on the transporter, he's shocked at first. But then his startled manor turns into angst and he excuses himself to take care of his duties while a security escort takes Kyle Riker to his quarters. Meanwhile, Wesley is awfully excited that someone on the ship actually has a father! So he runs up to the orphan, Worf, in the hallway and gushes about Kyle Riker visiting to him and, for some reason, Worf doesn't take it very well. "ENOUGH!" says Worf, and then storms off, leaving Wesley kind of confused.
|"Was it something I wore?"|
Worf then visits Will in Will's quarters and Will gives a story about how when he was a child he hooked a fish, but his father, afraid he would screw it up, reeled it in for him. And that pretty much sums up their relationship. But Worf was there for something else. He says that if Will chose to take command of the Aries, he would like to go with him. Even after he assured everyone last season that he had no intention of leaving the Enterprise. He tells Riker that he knows he'll do the right thing.
|A match made in Sto-vo-kor.|
Wesley figured out that it's the anniversary of Worf's Age of Ascension. It's a Klingon tradition to celebrate this anniversary with Klingon friends and family, but Worf has none of that here. Thus the grumpiness. So Wesley decides to set up a party. He invites a lot of people, but only Pulaski, O'Brien Data and Geordi go besides him. He sets up a Klingon chamber in the holodeck filled with some holo-Klingons with painsticks and then brings in Worf. Worf is pleased that his friends, his chosen family, would do something like this for him, so he walks on through the painsticks gladly.
|This is also what Klinon sex looks like.|
At first glance this is another episode with two disconnected plot lines, but there are a lot of subtleties to it that are easy to miss. Worf is sad that he doesn't have family to celebrate with him, Riker is sad that he does have family that doesn't seem to want to celebrate with him. They both work it out through some kind of brutal sport that they experience with their "family", Worf's being his chosen family of crew member friends. And, in the end, we discover that all it took was a little "reprogramming" on the part of Riker and Worf to fix their "engineering problem" and look at life differently. Riker finds that it won't do for him to "run away" by accepting the promotion, because that's exactly what his father did when Mrs. Riker died. This episode almost slipped by production because Roddenberry was convinced that humans had evolved beyond daddy issues at this point in the future, but the director insisted that this story be told, and I'm glad he did. Gene may have cut back on a lot of the possible emotions of the episode, but it all worked out as far as I'm concerned.