Recap Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 4, Episode 2 - Family

The Enterprise-D is docked at Earth Station McKinley, undergoing repairs and refitting following its battle with the Borg. During the repairs many of the crew are either visiting family or receiving visits from family members.

Jean-Luc Picard is still recovering after the physical and mental traumas inflicted on him by the Borg. Having made considerable progress with the help of Doctor Crusher and Deanna Troi, he decides to visit his old family home, a vineyard run by his older brother Robert in France.

Picard meets his nephew, Rene, and his brother's wife, Marie, whom he had remained in correspondence with during his Starfleet career. A friend of the family, Louis, tries to interest Picard in heading the Atlantis project, a research facility under construction on the ocean floor. Rene hints that he's thinking of becoming a Starfleet officer like his uncle, whom he is developing a growing admiration for, to Robert's chagrin.

Meanwhile, Lt. Worf's adoptive parents, Sergei and Helena Rozhenkho, visit him on board the Enterprise, a visit Worf is not looking forward to. When Worf's parents do arrive after being only a few minutes "late", the two are worried about their son, having only just learned about his discommendation. Worf believes that love and support is too human, but belatedly appreciates it.

Also in the mean time, Dr. Beverly Crusher receives a shipped chest full of her late husband Jack's mementos. Counselor Deanna Troi is visiting her quarters and she and Beverly talk about her marriage. Several mementos bring tears to Crusher's eyes.

One memento that brings a weak smile to Crusher's face is a book, How To Advance Your Career Through Marriage, which she says Jack sent to her while she was in her final year of medical school as his way of proposing marriage to her.

One item that brings Crusher close to tears again is a hologram video disk with a message Jack had left for her son Wesley, to be given to Wesley when Wesley became of age (specifically, turned 18 years old). Crusher is uncertain of when would be a good time to pass this on to her son and remembers how long it took both of them to come to terms with Jack's death.

Robert Picard, unhappy that he had maintained the strict family tradition, while Picard was allowed to pursue an illustrious career in school and in Starfleet (of which he is extremely jealous), accuses Picard of visiting merely so he could be helped by Robert as he had been in the past. Picard snaps back a rant of how Robert had teased and bullied Jean-Luc while they were growing up.

Jean-Luc and Robert only make up after Robert instigates a confrontation which ends in a physical fight with both of them landing in a pool of mud. Lying in the pool of mud, Picard finally confronts the humiliation and powerlessness he felt while under the Borg's control. Being back around his rigid brother in the home where they'd fought so many battles with each other and with their domineering, rather cold father and the whole Borg trauma has Picard feeling a trace of tears which come and quickly go.

After the fight he and his brother become drunk on wine inside the house. After they are mildly scolded by Marie for bringing mud into the house, Picard realizes that it was time he was back on board the Enterprise. He admits that he did return partially to seek his brother's help. Marie is immensely relieved.

Wesley Crusher also "meets" his father through the hologram video that his mother passed onto him that was recorded when he was 10 weeks old. The message is a very loving, touching message, illustrating how dearly Jack loved his son and wife. Jack ponders out loud whether his son would join Starfleet and whether he'd become a doctor like his mother.

All too soon, the message signs off with hints that Jack had been planning to make more recordings as Wesley grew up. As the message winds down, Jack's image seems so real to Wesley that he reaches out as if to hug his father's image, but all too quickly, the message ends and Jack's image vanishes, which brings tears to Wesley's eyes. Wesley finally has a chance to say: "Goodbye, Dad."

During the course of the repairs, although it is not shown on-screen, the warp core's dilithium chamber hatch is removed and replaced. In a later episode, "The Drumhead", it is revealed that this hatch has an undetected flaw, which causes it to explode just before the events of that episode.

The episode closes with Robert and Marie seated after dinner, pondering Jean-Luc and Robert's different choices in life. They note that Rene has been sitting outside under a large tree for a very long time, gazing longingly at the stars. Most significantly, Robert tells Marie that it's okay to let Rene ponder his dreams.

Source: Wikipedia

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