Image: Paramount Pictures
3 – Family
Throughout The Next Generation, we’re told how Picard sacrificed everything for his career in Starfleet. A family, a real relationship, everything that some say makes a person who they are. Which is why “Family” was such a kick in the gut for Picard fans everywhere.
“Family” picks up almost directly after the events of “The Best of Both Worlds” and shows Picard trying to deal with what the Borg did to him and what he did as Locutus. That means a trip to Earth while the Enterprise is being repaired to stay with his brother Robert and his family.
It is in France that we learn of the complex family dynamics of the Picard clan. It turns out Robert has always been jealous of Jean-Luc and his success and harbors a fear that his son René will also leave the family vineyards to join Starfleet and explore the galaxy. Meanwhile, Picard is thinking of leaving the Enterprise to take a research position on Earth after what happened to him at the hands of the Borg.
The result is a tour de force by Stewart and Jeremy Kemp, who played Robert. The scenes where Picard and his brother are wrestling in the mud and Picard admits to his feelings about what happened while he was assimilated are powerful stuff. It also shows Picard taking the first tentative steps towards healing and forgiving himself.
“Family” is by necessity smaller scale episode than fans were used to and featured no explosions, no phasers and no dire threats to the universe. Instead it showed a man who had been shattered and the long journey that would be necessary to put him back together again.
And that journey would start with his family.