Star Trek 160: The Bonding

160. The Bonding

FORMULA: The Icarus Factor + Charlie X

WHY WE LIKE IT: A couple of touching moments concerning the late Jack Crusher.

WHY WE DON'T: Again with the psycho-therapy!

REVIEW: TNG's reliance on family issues and psychobabble tends to bore me, and while there are good character moments in The Bonding, they do so here. The kid, Jeremy, does a good enough job of acting isolated, but one gets the sense he was told not to do too much. I think it would've been hard for a child actor to emote more than this anyway. But perhaps it's all over too soon, with one big therapy session in which even Picard takes part, solving everything. The episode then commits a major sin by having Jeremy become part of Worf's family, a family that would become prominent through 2 Star Trek series, and then promptly having the kid walk off stage never to be seen or heard from again.

And then there's the required science-fiction element: An alien takes the place of Jeremy's mother and causes problems for the Enterprise by attempting to kidnap the kid and raise him. It's ok, but again, a little dull and repetitive. It's a frequent problem when the creators want us to care about what happens to a guest-star at the expense of the main cast. Ronald D. Moore's first script isn't quite on par with what he would later accomplish.

The Bonding's one redeeming value is that Jeremy's situation mirrors Wesley's, and though this ends up being dealt with in therapy, it does gives us a rather touching scene between Wes and Beverly, MacFadden very engaging and underplaying it here. The confrontation between Wesley and Picard is ok, but doesn't amount to much, I'm afraid.

LESSON: In the future, children will be mature enough to stay in their quarters alone after they lose their parents.

REWATCHABILITY - Low: Not bad per se, but pretty irrelevant. Skipping to the good parts leaves you with a 2-minute episode at most.

2 comments:

De said...

Supposedly this episode was hampered by the Great Bird himself as Ron Moore tells it. Roddenberry insisted that people wouldn't grieve in the future, not even children. Moore, of course, thought it was ludicrous but was the new kid in town and didn't want to rock the boat.

Siskoid said...

Roddenberry's view of the future often clashed with what was dramatically appropriate for a tv series.

I don't think a series like DS9 could have existed under his watchful eye.

 

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