|Index||7 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After watching The Best Of Both Worlds I really believed Next Gen could not get better than this. Then I saw this episode and had to pinch myself as it was one of the best episodes of Star Trek as a whole, that I've ever seen. This is actually part three of the previous two parter and is about Jean Luc's exorcism from the demons of his experience as part of the Borg collective. The guest cast in this was first rate and Jeremy Kemp was fantastic as the brother with a grudge to Jean Luc. Worf's foster parents gave a golden performance and really brought a warmth and new softer side not often seen in Worf. In the Picard home we see Robert and Jean Luc squabbling and it eventually comes to blows then laughter at their absurdity of being two men fighting like schoolchildren! Jean Luc's laughter quickly turn to tears as the events of his experience overcome him. Robert makes it clear that Jean Luc needed that release and the two get to singing and drinking together. Worf eventually confronts his parents and tells them that he does care and he's glad to have them aboard. They make it clear the he is their son and that they love him and would be proud of him no matter what he'd done, in one of the episode's most touching scenes. Back at the Picard's Jean Luc says farewell and he says goodbye in turn to Rene then Marie, Robert hands Jean Luc a bottle of Château Picard and tells Jean Luc to try and not drink it alone. The two brothers then face each other for a brief moment, watch these two actors for a powerful scene as they look at each other as two brothers who have nearly lost a lifetime together and finding it again, who then embrace, and Jean Luc walks away. Back on the Enterprise Worf's parents are departing and Worf asks his Mom to send him some rokeg blood pie! When Jean Luc meets Worf and family he is delighted and asks Sergei did he have the full tour of the ship, he replies that there's still a few areas because of the repairs, he is quickly bustled into the transporter room by his wife to depart, Jean Luc walks away with a smile being far more repaired than the ship itself.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
ST:TNG:78 - "Family" (Stardate: 44012.3) - this is the 2nd episode (to
air) of the 4th season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, though it is
the 4th episode to go into production.
After the tumultuous events of "The Best Of Both Worlds", the Enterprise and her crew need to recuperate. While the Enterprise docks in Earth orbit to undergo repairs, Picard and crew take time off to visit family.
For Riker and Troi, it's to visit an old romantic spot in Angel Falls, Venezuela.
For Worf, his human parents come to see him because of his dishonor in "Sins Of The Father", only to greet a distant Worf who is uncomfortable with them being there.
For Wesley, it's to meet his father Jack (in the Original Series Star Trek movies uniform) in the form of a hologram made at the time Wesley was 10 months old.
And for Picard, he goes back to the French village where he grew up - to meet his estranged brother Robert (played by Jeremy Kemp) who has a disdain for technology and the future (unlike his captain brother) and also to meet his wife and nephew (a nephew we will see again in Star Trek: Generations along with the mention of Robert and wife).
This is truly a unique TNG episode, in that it's "down to earth".
Trivia note: this episode is the only time you don't see the Enterprise Bridge in all of TNG. You won't see the Picard family vineyard again until "All Good Things . . ." And, Guinan (played by Whoopi Goldberg) asks Worf's parents why they never introduced him to prune juice (referring to her introduction of the drink to Worf in "Yesterday's Enterprise)!
The sage continues. Picard, reeling from the effects of being invaded
by the Borg, goes on holiday to visit his brother at his vineyard.
There is little love between the brothers. Robert (Row-Bear) has stayed
close to the soil, growing grapes and producing wine, while Jean-Luc
has been exploring the stars. Robert, the older brother, has been in
the shadow of his brother his whole life and is full of resentment.
Even though they have not seen each other for years, the tension
between them can be cut with a knife. His brother comes off initially
as petty and small minded. He also accuses Jean-Luc of trying to
corrupt their son. The thing that is going on, however, is that the
Captain is damaged. He has never felt out of control before and his
experiences in the previous episode are on his sleeve. There is a
wonderful scene which I won't spoil.
Other subplots have to do with Worf's adoptive parents showing up on the Enterprise. It's the old Klingon tussle with his roots. His parents are impressive, especially his father, a very well known engineer. They are, however, humans, and Worf feels they are a bit too showy. It's a neat subplot.
Also, Beverly Crusher hands Wesley a recording his father made for him. She has picked up a storage box that contained his effects, including his uniform. He, of course, died early. There are some scenes in this episode that will make it hard to keep a dry eye. What a great beginning to this season.
This episode picks up after the giant Armageddon-like battle with the
Borg. Now, things are calm and it's a time to regroup, relax and take
stock. And, for Picard and Worf, it's a time to reconnect with family
now that they are just outside the Earth. And, there's a minor plot
involving Wesley viewing a message left to him by his father--a father
who was killed in action long ago.
As for Worf, he's embarrassed by his human adoptive parents. While nice folks, the always stolid and gruff Worf doesn't know how to act in front of the crew and he's obviously uncomfortable. And, in Picard's case, he heads back to his ancestral home in France--and his homecoming is awkward, as his relationship with his brother is estranged. It seems that the brother wanted Jean-Luc to remain home and run the family estate--whereas Jean-Luc wanted the adventure of space travel. All this gives Worf and Picard a chance to think through where they've come in life and where they are headed.
This is a wonderful follow-up episode to the great two-parter that preceded it. Great because it explored the frailty of two important characters and did it in a way that seemed real and quite touching. Exceptionally well acted and among the very best shows in the series.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Family" is a very personal film to me. While the subplot with Wesley
Crusher is of such significance to me, the "Picard returning home to
France to salvage old wounds still bleeding just a bit" part is
certainly a major reason the episode retains such a measure of value,
with this power that resonates because of what just previously happened
to the Captain in "The Best of Both Worlds".
In "Family" Picard's past will be open to us, as will his emotional wounds still gushing internally yet truly shared externally. Picard's brother, a wine grower, taking his father's place on the farm kept in the family for generations, still harbors ill will, resentment, and jealousy towards Jean Luc; mainly displeased with how he left behind such a shadow, brother Robert (Jeremy Kemp) considers him too arrogant, absent humility, and "too good" for the farm and little village of his youth. This is Picard's chance to right the ship and better his relationship with a brother he hasn't seen in 20 years (he hadn't visited the home of his youth in this span of time), but "Family" is also a chance to explore the Borg's rape of the Captain. Such violation gave Patrick Stewart an opportunity to expose emotions laid bare, with a vulnerability rarely shown at such a scale; Picard spends a lot of time distanced and withdrawn, until he finally admits it all in a confessional to a brother needing to see his "humanity". That muddy scuffle in the wine thickets is a chance to see just how damaged a person can be when violated as Picard just breaks open for Robert who is honest in that the Captain will have no choice but to live with what Locutus of Borg did to innocent life. That tension between brothers, with a charming Samantha Eggar as Robert's wife, Marie, trying to smooth matters over and offering a kindness Picard so desperately needs, provides plenty of emotional fireworks. Robert and Marie's son has dreams of being a starship captain, bonding with Picard while he's visiting. There's a beautiful closing scene where the kid is looking out into the stars that perhaps paralleled Jean Luc's own experience as a child. Sadly, as we learn later, this dream won't come true.
Also a marvelous subplot features Theodore Bikel and Georgia Brown as Worf's delightful human parents: unflappable, proud, and awestruck by their son's achievements and the Enterprise itself, taking advantage of the shore leave and the starship's docking at an orbit of Earth while under repairs after their war with the Borg, these two just want to see their son and spend time with him. Bikel, of course, is so amazed at the ship and wants to see every inch of it, fascinated by its inner workings because he was once an officer (now retired, of course, but still he's curious and interested), with Brown always so gushing with joy, sometimes embarrassing to Worf (he asks them to possibly "be more restrained"). A smaller but just as valuable subplot has Dr. Crusher going through her husband's things from Earth kept in a box for the right time, finding an "introduction" to her son from him, wondering if she should allow Wesley to finally see it (she feels uncertain because he's just coming to terms with his father's absence). Because I lost my father at such a young age, this was especially potent to me. Wesley seeing his father, the message directed to him right after birth, and the father talking as if he would have plenty of time to direct other messages to his son: this allows a son to see his father and accept that while he never would have time with him, he would know what this man really felt and the look on his face while speaking this to his son. Ultimately, this is about Picard coming to grips with a contentious past regarding his brother that needed settling and to no longer avoid the agony beset upon him by the Borg experience.
This story was PERFECTLY timed for a release after the Borg crisis. It
reminded us of humans' and klingons' superiority over the Borg in the
form of three dimensional, sentient beings who aren't under the thrall
of collectivized thinking. It also connected us even further into Worf
and Picard's backgrounds. Patrick Stewart delivered a convincing and
passionate note of closure (until "First Contact") about his traumatic
Borg experience, which his character needed desperately and is probably
why he visited his family in the first place.
Every every actor who was involved with this episode delivered well, including the guest actors who played Worf and Picard's relatives.
It's definitely a great start to season four.
'Family' is one of my favorite TNG episodes; partly because it's
deceptively uneventful, but mostly because it's a brilliant human
drama. The acting is impressive from everyone involved, but especially
Patrick Stewart. This shore leave story feels entirely necessary after
the dust settles from 'The Best of Both Worlds' and Picard takes this
opportunity to reconnect with his roots.
A contentious sibling relationship is something we can all relate to, but Robert is the presence Picard needs to finally come to terms with what he was forced to do:
"You don't know, Robert. You don't know... They took everything I was. They used me to kill and to destroy and I couldn't stop them!"
This is a show-stopping scene and renews the explorer in Picard. And that restless sense of adventure doesn't stop with his generation.
It's an amazingly cathartic episode.
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