Star Trek 434: Time's Orphan

434. Time's Orphan

FORMULA: Children of Time + (Miri x Second Chances) + The Abandoned + Captive Pursuit

WHY WE LIKE IT: Its emotional core. Fatherhood according to Worf.

WHY WE DON'T: The reset button.

REVIEW: Parenthood is the theme of this episode, and while the O'Briens suffer a crisis, there's a sweet and amusing subplot about Worf proving his worth as a parent by taking care of Kirayoshi. It's probably the best part of the episode, with Worf taking everything way too seriously (child-raising seems to be an epic task for Klingons), but building on a connection sparked in Business as Usual. After Alexander's bungled rearing, maybe Worf has a point, and though she doesn't show it, it's all very charming to Jadzia. Also of note is a short scene in which Kira says she would want a child someday and Odo looking rather uncomfortable. It's a nice moment that's easy to miss.

But of course the main plot concerns Molly falling into a time portal and becoming a feral 18-year-old before she is recovered. It does make me wonder how long it takes a child to lose language and basic ideas like "what is a ball?", but it's well enough played. Keiko is accepting of the situation, perhaps surprisingly, and O'Brien is tortured, not surprisingly at all. The emotional core of the story is sincere, though the high concept is distracting. It just seems a bit extreme, and there's little explanation as to where the time portal came from.

Things of course go wrong and the O'Briens must give savage Molly up either to the authorities or defying them in O'Brien fashion, back to the wild. It's a sad moment, but compromised by the reset button at the end. Though they try to show that the older Molly knows she's giving up her existence, it's a bit far-fetched given her understanding of everything else, so the sacrifice is tragic rather than heroic, and though the rest of the episode was sincere, this bit of writing is not.

LESSON: Bob Ross' concept of "happy trees" will survive at least until the 24th century.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: In the end, Time's Orphan seems wholly unnecessary, though yes, it tugs at the heart strings at times.


Matthew Turnage said...

"child-raising seems to be an epic task for Klingons"

Everything seems to be an epic task for Klingons!

Austin Gorton said...

Indeed, I would be surprised to find a subject the Klingons haven't written an epic poem about.

Anonymous said...

Matthew Turnage said: "Everything seems to be an epic task for Klingons!"

True. But Klingon Constipation Poetry is quite moving...

Jeff R. said...

I personally put this episode, rather than Profit and Lace, as the low point for the series.

I hadn't remembered that the two had been back-to-back in the series, though.

Siskoid said...

While I don't think Time's Orphan is a high water mark, it at least has a sweet subplot. I can't say the same for Profit and Lace.

While P&L is less irrelevant than T'sO, T'sO at least isn't offensive, which I deem P&L to be.

So it's P&L by a nose!

LiamKav said...

Plus, this episode has O'Brien shouting "bollocks" in frustration, which is almost worth it all by itself.


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