Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 4 Episode 2

Family

9
Aired Unknown Oct 01, 1990 on CBS
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Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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8.4
out of 10
Average
241 votes
  • Good science fiction doesn't require technobabble, space battles or weird looking aliens.

    8.5
    "Family" was the perfect followup to the blockbuster "Best of Both Worlds". Given the harrowing events that its characters often faced, it's tough to imagine that they could just go back to work-as-usual a few weeks later - yet that is often what happened. But the creators of the show realized that Picard's experience with the Borg was not just any harrowing event - it was a life-changer, the kind of circumstance that would make any individual question, at the very least, the direction of his life up until that point.

    In Picard's case, that meant going back to square one - the village in France where he was born, in order to stay with his brother Robert, his sister-in-law, and his nephew Rene. While there, he seriously considers quitting Starfleet and becoming a civilian "captain" of a large engineering endeavor. And looking for solace, he instead finds that hard feelings from Robert have not died down, and that his brother takes a perverse pleasure at the Borg events.

    This is really what the best kind of science fiction is about - not about the Enterprise, but about the people inside and what they tell us about ourselves. The climactic "battle" between Picard and his brother is one of the most penetrating, emotionally intense sequences of the series. This story has an extremely satisfying Instead of stretching this main plot over the full 44 minutes, the writers decide to fill out the episode with two thematically-related family subplots. The first, while clearly lighter than the Picard story and not on the same level quality-wise, is quite entertaining and affecting - an unexpected, unwanted but ultimately meaningful visit to the Enterprise by Worf's human step-parents. Worf's father in particular is amusing and likeable - almost a parody of the Trek fan who knows every nook and cranny of the Enterprise despite never having been aboard.

    The second subplot, while mercifully short, is still a waste of time - Wesley's discovery of a holographic recording of his father. While it does add some slight depth to Wesley's character, it detracts from the episode as a whole. Surely the Picard story could have been longer instead of this lightweight fluff.
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