Episode of the Week: 4x02 "Family"

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Jeyl, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Isn't it kind of fitting that the first TNG Episode of the Week is Family? I know it's technically the second episode of Season 4, it's still it's first fully fledged episode that's not a direct continuation where the last episode left off.... Well, kind of. "Family" is for all intents and purposes a continuation of the last episode, just not an immediate one like Part II of Best of Both Worlds was. For all it's episodic intent, "Family" does make for a good third part in a three episode trilogy that began with Best of Both Worlds. I like stories that don't end solely on the climax but also include a nice timely resolution.

    Our episode opens with Worf and Riker on the bridge of the Enterprise while she's undergoing repairs from the Borg attack. Worf is head strong in his duty to make sure that every system is in peak performance which Riker thinks is a bit too much, especially with Worf's human parents coming to visit. We also get more instances of continuity when Riker mentions what happened on the Klingon home world. TNG, you changing too fast.

    In the Captain's quarters, Picard is readying for his trip back home for some R&R with his family. Troi comes in to ensure if he's fit for all this, and we get a nice subtle set up that will pay off later in the episode.

    Picard: Your help has been invaluable during my recovery, but, look, (raises his arms) I'm better. The injuries are healing.​

    It's too bad everyone deemed Troi helping Picard recover was tossed in as a mere mention instead of being fully fleshed out. But that's ok because unlike a lot of episodes, we actually have a scene with Beverly and Troi together and talking about stuff. Let's roll the dice and find out what the two of them could bring to this episode....

    *rolls dice*

    Wesley's daddy issues! :klingon: Yep. We finally showcase Beverly and Troi together and it's to showcase that this show will never ever give them roles of equal importance to the male leads since all they ever care about is what goes on with the male characters. Bechdel test passer this episode is not.

    Honestly, who cares about Wesley's Daddy issues? This series so far has a crap ton of characters with daddy issues with only one mother issue being used for annoying comic relief. It would been nice to actually have Wesley get to know his own living mother a bit more instead of this character who we don't know or care about. We already have Worf with his daddy issues, Riker with his very forgettable issues and Data with his. Even at my age of 29, I still ask my mother stuff about her life when she was growing up. What it was like to be a kid, an adult entering the working world, why she said "yes" to Dad, ect. Why not have Beverly talk about his father? Why not let Wesley learn something about both his parents from the one person who actually lived it? I'm just tired of seeing characters like Troi and Beverly treated only as messengers.

    While Picard is having family issues of his own on Earth, we finally get to meet Worf's human parents and it's such a relief. They seem very proud, cheerful and eager to see what Worf has done since he left. When the issues of "Sins of the Father" is brought up, we get a nice little "slap" on the whole Klingon honor system when his parents tell him that they know he did the right thing and that they will always be there to remind him of that.

    Back on Earth, Picard is seriously contemplating on leaving Starfleet for good and take it easy back on Earth. His disapproving brother, Robert, keeps getting on his case about how jealous he was of Picard's accomplishments. After a few scenes of them bickering, the two finally lash out at each other in the fields, get covered in mud, and laugh it out. While Robert seems content enough, Picard's laughter is soon turned to tears when he starts confessing what it was like to be taken over by the Borg. It's a very nice moment in Star Trek that we NEVER see happen. About the only time Kirk ever broke down emotionally was when he was manipulated into believing he was losing command.

    So with Picard demons set aside for now (Hehe), he returns to the Enterprise to continue it's mission of exploration. Back on Earth, Robert notices Rene sleeping underneath a tree in a very star filled night. When asked if they should get him, Robert says "Let him dream".

    Ron D. Moore ladies and gentlemen. He creates these two characters who left a lasting impression on the show and decides that their next appearance should be that Robert and Rene both burned to death offscreen so we can see Picard cry. And this isn't even the worst thing you've done on this show Ron.

    CONCLUSION:
    A very nice "break" episode that is all about the characters. While some plots work better than others, I found Worf's parent plot to be my favorite. It's nice to see that Worf has a family that really cares about him and wants to make sure that despite his strong views of Klingon honor, they're willing to look deeper into the real meaning of what he did. That was a good smile by him in the end. Now that we've gotten this very male centric family episode out of the way, here's hoping our female cast gets a little love in the upcoming episodes!

    STINGER:
    "Arms raised in victory!"

    Come on, Trekcore! Don't make me go standard definition!
     
  2. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    One of my top 10 episodes, easily. I thought all three of the plots worked well, especially love Worf's and Guinan's few lines were class. Maybe I'm just getting sentimental in my old age.

    When the BBC here in the UK first premiered this episode (April 1994; Sky TV had first shown it a year earlier) it had been almost two years since it had shown BOBW. As such, it edited together its own 5 minute summary of BOTH parts to preface "Family". I don't think it has ever been shown again, or used in any other context.
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Really dull episode. Wish they would've just jumped to the next episode instead of wasting time on this one.
     
  4. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To be fair on the 'daddy issue' thing with Wesley, it isn't introduced in a particularly intrusive way. It's kind of off-handed, actually. Beverly gets a few odds and ends from storage and happens to find among them Jack's message for Wes. It isn't like she's obsessing about it, she even says she kind of forgot about the thing! And she even acknowledges that Wes hasn't got a 'daddy issue' anymore, and that's why she's the one who is slightly hesitant to let him see it now. She's worried that it might bring all that stuff back to the surface. But it never occured to her until now. As far as it goes it's a valid subplot, even if it is probably the most expendable thing in this entire episode.
     
  5. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    It's one of my favorite episodes, but I like simple character dramas. The Picard story, unsurprisingly, is by far the best.
     
  6. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    disagree-giving Picard time to recover and heal from his experience in TBOBW added touches of realism and continuity to what was mostly an episodic show. I always thought it sucked that they didn't too a follow up to COC part II in terms of Picard recovering.
     
  7. Use of Time

    Use of Time Commodore Commodore

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    Always liked this episode. Nice calm follow up to an emotional roller coaster.
     
  8. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Here here! I found Endgame very unsatisfying because of that. Seven years of longing to get home, and the show ends as they are flying toward it.

    Killing Robert and Rene offscreen in Generations is just one of the reasons I hate that movie. But I would say that killing K'Ehleyr in Reunion was a worse choice.

    Season 4 begins the Trek career of Brannon Braga, so cue up space/time distortion and/or alien mutation episodes!
     
  9. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    TrekCore hasn't uploaded screenshots in over a month. I'm hungry for some season 4 comparisons.
     
  10. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed. And it was something different.

    When the show started syndicated reruns, they aired "Suddenly Human" the next day because it had the next production number and I was upset because I was looking forward to "Family".
     
  11. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This was an absolutely necessary episode. If it didn't go into enough detail about how hard a time Picard had in recovering from his assimilation at least we got a hint that it was difficult and traumatic. Everyone needed time to stand down and deal with their issues. It was also nice to see Patrick Stewart matched up with an actor who was every bit his equal in Jeremy Kemp. I'm not about to dis any of the regular cast members who are certainly competent at least and very good at their best, but Stewart simply is in another class and seeing matched up with someone on the same level is quite interesting when it happens.
     
  12. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I echo the thoughts of those above that say this was a perfect way to bookend BOBW. The scene starting with the brothers drinking wine in their chateaux and culminating in them rolling about in the mud of the vineyard is easily the most emotionally charged and well-acted of TNG's entire run (IMO).

    The Wesley / Jack bit at the end is saved completely by the beautiful lines about seeing everyone you've ever loved in your newborn baby.

    I think what makes this episode so special is that it is so rare. Rarely do we see consequences in episodic television. Here the characters are shown to be Human. Something Robert mentions to Picard.

    I tear up every time I see this episode.
     
  13. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    The "let him dream" bit was one of the best caps to an episode of Trek that I've ever seen.
     
  14. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yup. One of many reasons to hate Generations. :rolleyes:
     
  15. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    This episode is noteworthy for being the first time that Trek dared to do pure drama without any sci-fi jeopardy of the week in the mix.
     
  16. DMG

    DMG Ensign Newbie

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    One of my very favourite TNG eps, purely for the Picard story strand. Saw it for the first time in 20 years when SyFy got to season four of their HD broadcasts recently. Every bit as good as I remembered - the scene in which Picard breaks down after the vineyard scrap is one of the most moving bits in Trek IMO, and beautifully acted by Stewart.
     
  17. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Everyone else who enjoys this episode has already stated for me how satisfying and noteworthy "Family" is. I wanted to chime in, anyway and say that I'm glad to see it has so many fans.
     
  18. Makarov

    Makarov Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I love this episode. Picard's vineyard just looks beautiful, I don't know if it was all on a stage or not but wow.

    I refuse to believe that Rene died in the fire - he probably escaped on some grand adventure and meets Picard again in the future.
     
  19. Paul Weaver

    Paul Weaver Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Not my copy it doesn't. Opening shot of a large spider-spacestation gripping the enterprise, then cut to Riker and random blue-shirt in observation room, then Worf enters.

    Don't get me wrong, I liked the episode too, and I wouldn't normally nitpick, but I believe Family has the distinct pleasure of being the only episode of TNG without a scene on the bridge.
     
  20. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There are three episodes with no bridge scenes - four if you count Shades of Gray, which only had stock footage of the bridge. Liaisons and Dark Page are the other two.