Family ( #StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Four, Episode 2) Picard Retreats to Family Vineyard

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break.

Still recovering from his ordeal with the Borg, Picard visits his brother at the French vineyard where they grew up.

In his boyhood village, Picard’s roadside encounter with his nephew Rene is just perfect, as are the domestic scenes with his warm sister-in-law Marie and his brittle, jealous older brother Robert (in a French village where people speak in various British dialects).

A distracted Picard can’t articulate to his brother’s satisfaction why he dropped by the family home, as he toys with the idea of resigning from Starfleet and taking on an earthbound project.

Even though I knew it was coming, I was chilled by the sight of Captain Picard, pursued by his bullying big brother, fleeing down a tree-lined lane (thanks to an awesome, long tracking shot). An ultimatum, a punch, fierce grappling in a muddy vineyard, and then…

Well, if you’ve ever seen this episode, the confrontation in the vineyard will be the scene you remember most, demonstrating that Star Trek is so much more than space battles and alien abductions.

The C plot with Wesley watching a holographic message from his late father was also well done (though I didn’t care for him reflexively reaching out at the end — he should know it’s just a hologram).

The B plot reminds us that the consequences of Worf’s discommendation (S3.E17 “Sins of the Father“) are still unfolding; but as much as I liked seeing his human parents, this subplot seemed like an excuse to set more scenes on the Enterprise while Picard is away. Likewise, Guinan’s scene with guest stars added little to the plot.

Chief Petty Officer Miles Edward O’Brien gets a full name and some good moments that remind us that starships have enlisted personnel too, not just officers.