Family. No other word in any language evokes such a diversified response. For some Family means comfort, belonging, roots. For others it is something to avoid and to be embarrassed of. Still others family is something they need to discover so they know their place in the world. In this episode that aired October 1,1990 we see how the crew deals with Family.
Stardate 44012.3 Family
After their encounter with The Borg, the crew take shore leave on Earth. Many families reunite while Picard continues to struggle with his recent experience and the choices that got him there.
There are several stories in this one so I will break them up like I normally do. The main story deals with Picard so we will start there.
the ‘A’ Story: The Picard Legacy
After dealing with his assimilation and Jean-Luc takes the opportunity to visit his brother, Robert, on Earth at the family Vineyard in France. As expected, he is not dealing with his time as Locutus well and, although he has not been there in 20 years, his experience has led him to want a connection with his past. While there, Jean-Luc meets his nephew and his sister-in-law who welcome him with open arms. His nephew, Rene, is fascinated by the stars much to his father’s chagrin. Robert is a traditionalist and hate the convenience of modern technology. Although he has not seen his brother in years, he still harbors animosity toward Jean-Luc as Robert feels that, by joining Starfleet, Jean-Luc abandoned the family.
After meeting with an old friend, Louis, Jean-Luc considers leaving Starfleet to head up an oceanic project. Louis is determined to get him on board and this causes the Capotain to struggle with his life choices. If he takes this new job, he can be closer to family and rekindle those relationships. If not, he will be with his other chosen family, his crew.
Soon Robert confronts Jean-Luc about what happened to the Captain. Robert points out that his brother is being petty. That the ‘Great Captain Picard’ has returned home to be a hero. Robert feels that he has lived under the shadow of his younger brother and is ashamed of Jean-Luc for considering tucking tail and running from his fears. They soon get into a fist fight (after having drank a bit of wine, only to realize what fools they are. Robert only wants the best for his little brother and, despite Robert’s jealousy, he knows that his brother needs a push to be the man Robert knows he is. They are brothers, and even if they don’t like one another, they will always be family.
the ‘B’ Story: Worf and the Rozhenko’s
Worf is upset that his adoptive parents, Jack and Helena Rozhenko are planning a visit to the Enterprise. Jack is an old Starfleet engineer and they are VERY proud of their son. They are also very worried about their son, Worf has faced a great disgrace in the Klingon Empire and they want to be there for him somehow. As they tour the ship, they interact with various members of the crew, including Guinan. We learn through their conversation that they adore their adopted son and did their best to raise him as best they could. While it was hard, they persevered.
Worf finally tells his parents that he is happy that they came to visit. They explain that they needed to be there for him in his hour of need. That they will help him bear the weight of his dishonor. After initially rejecting it, he finally understands that they care and they are part of who he is. While Worf has lost his biological family legacy, he has his adoptive family and he never realized how important that is to him.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is one of the more touching episodes of the series. It is entirely about character building and uses the events from the past two episodes to really dive into the family aspect of the crew. One thing I love about this episode is that it is almost an epilogue for the Best of Both Worlds Two Parter. Most series and movies only show the major events and hardly ever show how the characters deal with saving the world, or fighting of hordes of killer monsters. In most stories, They just do and keep going. In reality, humans have to process these world changing events or they will not function properly. This episode really gave us a chance to see how members of the Enterprise cope with such a tremendous event in a way that was honestly very touching.
For Picard’s story, this was a man who is suffering from PTSD. Although he is too stubborn to admit that he is facing doubts and fears, he needs a personal connection to someone. Since he is near Earth, it is a great opportunity to reconnect with his estranged family. While there, he has to face his fears and anxieties head on as he is given the chance to play it safe, to not risk facing anything as threatening as the Borg again. Here we have a hero who we have been following for 3 years finally show that, underneath his hard exterior, he is human as well. This really gives us a chance to see this character as more than just a two-dimensional creation and it is fantastic. If anything, it makes you appreciate Picard all the more.
Worf’s story is mostly about pride. He doesn’t want to burden his adopted family with his Klingon dishonor and, in his own pride, doesnt think he wants them around as he is ashamed. Ultimately they show that they are his true parents as they are there for him even if he doesn’t really think he needs them. This kinship really comes into play later in the series with a certain Klingon Boy named Alexander that Worf ends up taking care of. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
There is also a nice little bit for Wesley but it is such a small part it wasn’t worth bringing up in The Breakdown. Beverly receives a box of things that belonged to her late husband Jack Crusher. In it, she finds a holographic recording of him that is meant for her son Wesley. She give the hologram to Wesley and, for the first time in a while, Wesley gets to see his Father again. It was a touching moment but mostly a filler bit in this one.
This has always been a favorite episode of mine and I will be honest, this time around I got a little choked up. It is a solid episode to start with but knowing the fates of Rene and Robert made this episode a little more melancholy and heartfelt. Little does Picard know that this will indeed be the last time he will see his Brother and Nephew alive. But, again, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
Chief O’brien gets a full name! Ladies and Gentlemen meet Miles Edward O’Brien! We also learn that he is a Chief Petty Officer despite wearing Lt Pips on his uniform. Starfleet rank is weird….
We learn that Worf’s full human name is Worf Rozhenko.
Guinan tells the Rozhenko’s about Worf’s love for Prune Juice, much to his mother’s delight.
We finally see Jack Crusher and it is interesting that he is wearing a TOS movie uniform not unlike the ones seen in Yesterday’s Enterprise by the Enterprise C crew. So again, the STNG uniforms are a fairly recent change.
I think I have a logical reason for Picard’s lack of a French accent. Hear me out. I am a Texan, raised here since I was very young I grew up with a very strong Texas accent. Over time that accent has lessened to the point where it only emerges when I am excited or agitated about something. (or when I am around other people with southern accents but that happens). For Picard, I would imagine that he too, once had a strong accent but over time it has neutralized into a basic European accent. Having been away from his boyhood home for 20+ years he has been exposed to a multitude of accents, both human and alien. In time his accent would probably get muddier until it was more like what it is now. Now, we all know the real reason is that Picard is a frenchman played by an Englishman, Patrick Stewart, but in cannon, I think my theory works.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Brothers
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Late To The Game 11/9/2019 (Originally published 6/22/2018)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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