Something I noticed in this rewatch, and perhaps Jimmy has too, is how arrogant the crew can be. It wasn’t something I put much notice into before season one of Star Trek Picard. But then Jimmy and I get to episodes like “Suddenly Human” and it seems a lot more appropriate than I thought it did.
Anyway, Jimmy and I had some thoughts on the episode below.
Picard tries to get through to a teenage boy raised by aggressive aliens.
jimmy: Another episode centered on family. Dom would be proud.
tomk: And Watson would probably hate it.
jimmy: And we wouldn’t care.
tomk: To be fair, most family episodes don’t feature Picard getting stabbed.
jimmy: Or touching foreheads.
tomk: That is the best way to apologize in that culture. Klingons have whole selections of greeting cards for that.
“My honor insisted I stab you during dinner. I will not apologize, but here’s a card.”
jimmy: Funny. Though this seemed to be more a sign of affection than apology.
tomk: True. Klingons don’t have greeting cards for that.
jimmy: Are you sure?
tomk: Most of that is in English.
jimmy: Klingons speak English too.
tomk: Only for the TV audience or in mixed groups.
Besides, why would a Klingon card need to tell someone what a word means in Klingon?
tomk: Ok, here’s my question: if this episode is about a boy adopted by an alien culture, why isn’t it a Worf episode instead of a Picard episode?
jimmy: Worf’s not the Captain.
tomk: No, but he is an alien adopted by people from another culture.
jimmy: I’m teasing, but in the context of the show he only respects Picard’s male authority. But you’re right. Seems like an obvious missed parallel.
tomk: But Joey Jono Junior Shabadoo did get a scene with Worf.
jimmy: Maybe they thought that was enough.
tomk: They thought wrong. Wrong, I say!
That was the best they had. All the rest were of an orange clown.
tomk: Lousy bozo.
Well, I did like the look Troi gave Picard when he mentioned not being good around kids.
Such an odd “fault” though for someone with such confidence and used to authority.
tomk: Well, maybe he wanted to stay away from that kid’s 90s hair.
jimmy: Or his total lack of ability to eat a banana split. Apparently they also don’t have spoons where he is from. Though they have star ships…
tomk: Soft foods and soup are for wimps.
jimmy: But not prune juice.
tomk: Well, you don’t need utensils for drinks…do you, Jimmy?
jimmy: Is a straw a utensil?
tomk: What’s it made out of?
jimmy: Hopefully not one of those horrible paper ones.
tomk: You could probably really hurt someone with a metallic one.
jimmy: Or with, you know, a ceremonial Klingon dagger.
tomk: You can’t drink anything with one of those.
jimmy: That sounds like a challenge!
tomk: OK. Here’s a milkshake and a swiss army knife with no straw attachments or spoons. Knock yourself out.
tomk: Jimmy, quit screwing around or you’ll have to play racquetball with Joey Jono Junior.
tomk: They still have poker.
jimmy: I like poker.
tomk: There’s probably also Klingon Arm Wrestling.
So, at one point did you think Picard, Crusher, and Troi might have been wrong to push Jono to be more human?
jimmy: I was going to bring that up as well. Outside of the potential abuse allegations, is it right to take him away from the only family he can really remember and raised him with love?
tomk: And the abuse thing is common in that culture.
jimmy: Was it? He described the injuries as kids being kids.
tomk: They are a rough people.
jimmy: Rough and abusive are different things.
tomk: It may look similar for a more fragile species.
jimmy: They’d probably get along well with Klingons.
tomk: Again, should have been a Worf episode. But then we miss out on the arrogance of Starfleet.
jimmy: Like the call from Admiral Grandma?
tomk: Like Crusher assuming that he was better off with humans.
jimmy: In fairness, she was mostly worried (I think) from the abuse angle.
tomk: In fairness.
But it wasn’t until the end of the episode where Picard realized that they never asked the kid what he really wanted.
jimmy: Not directly, but Stockholm Syndrome did come up.
tomk: After how many years?
tomk: Close enough.
jimmy: Which does seem a bit silly unless you are sure he is only answering out of fear and distress. Especially after his father visits the Enterprise and their care for each other seems genuine.
tomk: Once again, Picard is exposed as a Space Racist.
jimmy: I thought that was Wesley?
tomk: Where do you think Wesley learned it from?
jimmy: “I learned it from watching you, ok?!?”
tomk: The difference is Picard at least is learning to be better.
jimmy: Wes got along fine with the “alien” in this one…but really, he was human.
tomk: Everybody likes it when something splats Wesley in the face.
jimmy: Even Wesley apparently.
tomk: That’s just playing along as he sets up his next evil plan.
jimmy: “Laugh at me for getting a banana split splashed in my face will they??? Well, I’m going to make the biggest banana split the universe has ever scene and splash all their faces! Then who’ll be the one laughing?!? Mwahahahaha!”
tomk: Meanwhile, he’s teaching Jono his devious ways to bring down Jono’s adopted culture the same way Wes is for the Federation.
jimmy: So evil.
tomk: Now you get it. Have an evil slice of cake. Devil’s food cake!
jimmy: The evilest of all cakes!
tomk: It’s not a temptation if it isn’t delicious.
jimmy: That’s true.
tomk: Well, if we are done discussing cake, do you have anything else to add there?
jimmy: Hmm. I guess not. Well, one thing, do you think Jono was actually trying to kill Picard?
Hard to say. Picard messed that kid up good.
What do you think?
jimmy: I dunno. When watching it I never really thought any differently, but on reflection…he had formed a relationship of such with Picard who was a superior office. He really only needed the attempt to kill Picard to set up his “suicide”. As you said, he was messed up by that point and confused and looking for a way out. Especially considering it looked like he would be taken from the only home he really ever knew.
tomk: Yeah. It’s really hard to see the crew being in the right on this one, including Picard. Arguably Crusher and Troi were the worst but no one really objected to what they were doing until Picard realized what he’d done and he had to get stabbed to realize it.
Granted, I suspect a lot of other sci-fi shows would have had Jono opt to stay in the end, so there’s that.
jimmy: Stay on the show you mean?
tomk: Go back to his grandma.
jimmy: Ah. Mayhaps.
That said, there might be an opening on the Enterprise for a rambunctious teenager type.
tomk: There might be a whole lot of openings soon.
tomk: Does that make you curious?
jimmy: Like George.
tomk: But not like Homer.
jimmy: Was he curious?
tomk: He ultimately didn’t go in for those backdoor shenanigans.
tomk: Ready to move on? Maybe Dr. Crusher will get what’s coming to her after this one.
jimmy: Let’s fine out.