Episode #78: Suddenly Human

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Episode #78: Suddenly Human

Post  BoG on Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:46 pm

SUDDENLY HUMAN - episode #4 of 4th season / Air Date: 10/28/90
written by John Whelpley, Jeri Taylor, story by Ralph Phillips; Directed by Gabrielle Beaumont

This is a familiar story about a human boy who was raised by aliens. Why is it familiar? Well, it reminds of often told stories of American Indians, as one example, raising a white boy which they find among the slain (a comical/ironical version was the famous Little Big Man, both a book and a film). The boy in this TNG story, Jono, is found in a damaged vessel. His birth parents had been killed when he was taken in by a Talarian (Sherman Howard), when he was but 3 years old, but his real grandmother is still alive - a Starfleet admiral.

It seems straight and easy, at first: though the boy (Chad Allen) had been raised in a strict, alien machismo (patriarchal is the polite term) culture, he was born a human and, in the view of Picard and the crew, should be returned to human society. And, it appears as if Jono's brief time away from the Talarians has already caused him to start adopting human behavior (he even stops that dreadful wailing, a Talarian form of mourning, similar to the Klingon shout at the afterlife; Talarians resemble Klingons, both in behavior and appearance - the head ridges).

But, in this as in real life, things do not fall neatly into place. For one thing, Jono's adoptive father will not let him go; he is willing to start a war over the boy. Jono is caught between two worlds - an often-used theme in Star Trek. Picard, meanwhile, must also struggle with being a father figure to the boy, a role he feels unsuited for - his lament to Troi about this is amusing and it's also funny when he encounters the futuristic equivalent of rock 'n roll in his cabin. But, this was mostly serious - an interesting social study of human nature and alien attitudes. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10

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