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Star Trek TNG - Season 4 - Episode 04

Star Trek TNG - 4x04 - Suddenly Human

Originally Aired: 1990-10-15

Picard must decide a human boy's fate. [DVD]

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 3.72

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- In the briefing room, the stars seem to start and stop moving seemingly at random. Though, star sync tends to be a common problem in TNG. Sometimes they'll be at warp and you'll see motionless stars...

- The Talarians were mentioned in a previous episode, but this is the first time we see them.

Remarkable Scenes
- I like Data's blurb about Taliarn war tactics in the beginning. It gives us a familiar feeling with the aliens of the week.
- Beverly nicely compliments the feel of familiarity with the Talarians with her accusations of brutalization.
- Picard's reaction to Troi nominating Picard to be Jono's mentor.
- Picard restraining himself from blowing up and Jono when he becomes his mentor.
- Picard's "well rehearsed" plea to Troi that she remove Picard from the responsibility of being Jono's mentor.
- Jono's flashback of his parents being killed.
- Picard confronting Endar about Jono.
- Endar's explanations about Jono's injuries.
- Endar and Jono's meeting.
- Everybody scheming a way to keep Jono.
- Jono seeing a recording made by his grandmother.
- Picard and Jono playing hoverball.
- Wesley being slapped in the face with banana split.
- Jono stabbing Picard.
- Picard realizing that Jono belongs with Endar.

My Review
An alien of the week episode. They tried to make it seem not so "made up on the spot" with the use of a previously mentioned but never before seen race, and with Data's history lesson, so it isn't all that bad. Still, the fact that we're probably never going to see this race again annoys me. Especially seeing as how they seem to have fought a war with the Federation. Though, it doesn't bother me that much. It seems throughout the episode that they wouldn't pose much of a threat. So I suppose Star Trek not spending much time on this race is appropriate. The ending was definitely not expected, but it is indeed the obvious moral choice. I got the feeling throughout the episode that they would fight to keep the boy at all costs. Especially with Jono's grandmother entering the scene. But Picard comes to his senses. While I agree with the ending, I feel the episode loses some of its potential in the ending because we don't get to see how Jono's grandmother reacts to Picards sudden and hasty decision. A shame, it would have provided for some good drama.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-08-05 at 12:57am:
    - Dr. Crusher's skills must be improving. In this episode, Jono stabs Picard with a knife, and in a very short time, Picard seems to be fine. Crusher says the blade glanced off the sternum (a bone in the center of the chest.) In "Who Watches the Watchers," a Mintakan shoots Picard in the shoulder with an arrow, and even after Dr. Crusher fixes him up, Picard wears a sling to support his arm.
    - At the end of the episode, the transporter chief must have read the script to know when to transport Jono back to the Talarian ship. After Picard escorts Jono to the transporter room, Jono steps up on the platform and Picard says good-bye. Then they both pause for almost four seconds. (If I were the transporter chief, I would have hit the button at this point.) Thankfully, the transporter chief doesn't, because Jono wanted to have one final, tender moment with Picard. After this, Jono gets back on the platform, waits less than three seconds, and the chief transports him to Endar's ship. (In case you are wondering, no one says "Energize.")
  • From djb on 2008-01-30 at 8:14pm:
    I have a hard time believing that the Captain's quarters are left unlocked, especially when he's sleeping! Jono just waltzes in there and stabs him, and no one says a word about how he got in there in the first place. You'd think there would be at least a minimum amount of security on his door!
  • From JRPoole on 2008-04-28 at 8:20pm:
    Actually, Jono had moved into Picard's quarters.
  • From Axel on 2018-08-15 at 8:50pm:
    Ah, you said it. Jono's grandmother is going to be *pissed*. Maybe. Or maybe she'll understand. We never get the chance to find out. All we know is that, clearly, she was under the impression that he'd be returning to her and his grandfather. So now they have to digest the fact that he's staying with the Talarians, that he chose to do so, and that in light of what happened, they'll probably never see him. Kind of a large sticking point to an otherwise interesting episode. I suppose Picard could make their break with Jono cleaner by saying in his report, "when I told the boy that he'd be returning to his human grandparents, to you, he stabbed me in the chest and I almost died. Sorry, Admiral...I, uh, I did this for your own protection."

    But as you say, it's the obvious moral choice. So I think the grandmother's only role was to give the viewer a small bit of doubt that returning the boy to Endar is the right thing to do. When the episode ends, and the decision is reached, she's quietly forgotten. Maybe I'm making a bigger deal of this than need be, but I it lowers my rating of the episode from a 7 to about a 5.

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