Star Trek: The Next Generation (1990): S04E02 – Family


Introduction

“Family” is the second episode of the fourth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the 76th episode overall. It was originally released on 01 October 1990, in broadcast syndication.

It was written by Ronald D. Moore, from an idea by Michael Piller. It featured additional work taken from a spec script by Susanne Lambdin. “Family” was directed by Les Landau.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, the Enterprise is docked at Earth following the events of “The Best of Both Worlds”. Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) visits his brother’s family in France, where he begins to come to terms with his treatment by the Borg. Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) views a holographic recording made by his deceased father, Jack (Doug Wert). Meanwhile, Lt. Worf’s (Michael Dorn) adoptive parents Sergey (Theodore Bikel) and Helena Rozhenko (Georgia Brown) come on board the Enterprise to comfort him following his discommendation.

Initially, executive producer Rick Berman wanted a science-based subplot included, but Piller convinced him otherwise. The premise was hated by series creator Gene Roddenberry, but Moore’s script went into production nonetheless. “Family” had an extended guest cast, some of whom returned later in the series. The episode received a Nielsen rating of 9.6 percent, the lowest of the season. However, it has been referred to by critics as one of the best episodes of the series. The guest cast was praised, as was the Picard-centric plot with Stewart’s performance in the scene where he confesses his feelings about the Borg held up as a highlight.

Outline

The Enterprise-D is docked at Earth Station McKinley, undergoing repairs and refitting following its battle with the Borg. The episode follows the interactions of three members of the crew with their family members. Lt. Worf’s (Michael Dorn) adoptive human parents, Sergey (Theodore Bikel) and Helena Rozhenko (Georgia Brown) visit the Enterprise, having only just learned about his discommendation. Worf, though believing love and support is too human, at first is embarrassed by this, but in the end appreciates their concern. Doctor Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) retrieves a chest, kept in storage on Earth, containing her late husband Jack’s mementos, including a holographic recording he made for Wesley (Wil Wheaton) when their child was only 10 weeks old. Beverly, though worried that the two of them have only recently truly come to terms with Jack’s death, eventually gives the recording to Wesley. Wesley runs the recording and is uplifted by the message.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), recovering from his Borg assimilation, visits his family’s vineyard in La Barre, France, which is run by his elder brother Robert (Jeremy Kemp) along with his wife Marie (Samantha Eggar) and son René (David Birkin). Jean-Luc is considering a position on Earth with an underwater research project called Atlantis. Robert has always been jealous of his brother’s success and is concerned that Jean-Luc’s presence will drive René to also join Starfleet. The two have a bitter argument and end up wrestling each other in a mud puddle, eventually culminating in an emotional reunion, with Jean-Luc breaking down and crying, admitting his sense of powerlessness and guilt at the things he did while under the influence of the Borg. Robert states that Jean-Luc will have to learn to live with what he did, regardless of where he goes. Jean-Luc decides to go back to the Enterprise. The two spend the night getting drunk as they resolve their differences. After Jean-Luc leaves, Robert decides to let René follow his dream to join Starfleet as René sits under a tree and looks up at space.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Les Landau.
  • Writer(s): Ronald D. Moore.
  • Release Date: 01 October 1990.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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