Please feel free to comment on my review.
I saw this ‘TNG’ episode when I was at my Nana and Bamp’s house in Newport as a little kid. I did see some of ‘The Best of Both Worlds, Part II’ before, but this was truly the first ‘TNG’ episode I watched.
‘Family’ is an episode that directly follows after ‘The Best of Both Worlds’. It deals with Captain Picard’s recovery after being assimilated by the Borg. Picard takes time off away from the Enterprise.
He decides to go and visit his family in France on Earth. This is something he’s never done for a while, as he’s always been busy with his Starfleet duties and he has never spent time with his family.
I’m glad this episode deals with Picard’s recovery from the Borg. It makes sense to focus on Picard and how he feels about his traumatic experience. He says he feels better, but it’s not what it seems.
The episode sees Picard return to his home in La Barre, France. His family own a vineyard run by his elder brother Jeremy Kemp as Robert (pronounced ‘Robere’ in French). Robert has a wife and child.
Samantha Eggar guest stars as Marie, Robert’s wife and David Tristan Birkin guest stars as René, Robert’s son. Marie and René seem welcoming to Picard on his return home. Robert however is not.
There’s friction between Picard and Robert, as it seems they don’t like each other. Robert disapproves of Picard’s career in Starfleet, since it wasn’t what their father had wanted them to be.
Whilst Picard is spending time on Earth, he considers taking a position with an underwater research project called Atlantis. It could mean Picard giving up his career in Starfleet and leave what he loves.
Picard’s indecision leads to him having an argument with Robert. It turns out Robert is also jealous of his brother’s success in Starfleet. He’s also disapproving of Picard encouraging René to join Starfleet.
When Picard gets asked questions about his experience with the Borg by his brother Robert, it leads them to arguing outside before they end up wrestling in a mud puddle. This was mesmerising to see.
The bitter argument and fighting soon ends up with Picard and Robert laughing with each other. Picard also admits his feelings of powerlessness and guilt from what the Borg did via controlling him.
This is where Picard begins to show his frailties in ‘TNG’ from now on. Beforehand, Picard seemed to have a strong exterior. Now we begin to see him as relaxed and not as strict as he was beforehand.
Robert sort-of becomes encouraging to his brother when he tells him that he’ll have to learn with what happened to him with the Borg. It of course leads Picard to return back to the Enterprise ship.
The episode also features a subplot for Worf when he reunites with his adoptive human parents. They are Theodore Bikel and Georgia Brown as Sergey and Helena Rozhenkho, who are great to see.
Worf’s parents visit the Enterprise and it’s a reunion Worf wasn’t really looking forward to. There are times when Worf’s parents embarrass him in front of other members of the Enteprise while aboard.
But it soon turns out Worf is pleased that his parents came to see him. They tell him they know about his recent discommendation in ‘Sins of the Father’ as they promise that they will support him.
The episode also features a subplot for Wesley Crusher. Beverly discovers a chest of her late husband Jack’s mementos. This includes a holographic recording he made for his son before he died.
Beverly gives Wesley the holographic recording for him to see. Wesley runs the recording in the holodeck; gets to see what his late father looked like before he sadly died and what message he has.
The episode also features Colm Meaney as Chief O’Brien, who’s there in the transporter room to beam Worf’s parents aboard. There is also Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan, who meets Worf’s parents.
There’s also Dennis Creghan as Louis, who tries to persuade Picard to help with the Atlantis underwater project. There’s also Doug Wert who plays the hologram of Jack Crusher, Wesley’s dad.
‘Family’ is a pretty good character-driven episode in the ‘TNG’ series. It’s a departure from the sci-fi plot driven episodes of ‘Star Trek’. I’m glad it was made to establish Picard’s recovery from the Borg.
‘Family’ (TNG) rating – 9/10
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