**** (4 stars out of 5)
While the ship is in the shop, it's old home week at Earth.
Sergey & Helena Rozhenko, Worf's adopted parents, stop in from Bobriusk. They are demonstrative humans who embarrass their reserved son. O'Brien's dad is also embarrassing: he visited once and chased a nurse. "But it's always SOMETHING with parents, isn't it?"
Sergey was a Chief Petty Officer, and somehow recognizes O'Brien as a fellow CPO despite what I understand to be two glaringly obvious lieutenant's pips on the guy's collar. Just like Officer Worf's collar! But finally the Chief has a full name: Miles Edward O'Brien.
The Rozhenkos may not understand Worf's discommendation from the Klingons, but they don't have to. In all that he suffers, they are proud of him and they love him. Mom promises to mail him some rokeg blood pie. (Now, is that the sort of pie that will spoil, or just congeal? Who cares, pie is pie!)
Bev opens a case of Jack R. Crusher's effects from storage. Jack made a holographic message for baby Wesley, to hear when he turned 18. Jack spoke of his devotion to Starfleet, to Wes' mom, and to his son.
Picard goes to his home village of Labarre, France for the first time in 20 years. He meets his nephew Rene, his sister-in-law Marie, and reunites with the old vineyard's old winemaker: his cantankerous brother Robert. Their father was devoted to keeping the place traditional. Traditional cooking, traditional vines, traditional English accents...?
"In my view," gripes Robert, "Life is already too convenient."
Jean-Luc was a scholastic and athletic hero, Robert was the responsible one, but also a jealous bully sometimes. Robert and Jean-Luc get sloshed on the '47 and get into a fist fight in the mud.
The Captain opens up to his brother with racking sobs. "They used me to kill and destroy and I couldn't stop them... I tried so hard. But I wasn't strong enough. I wasn't good enough."
"So.. my brother is a human being after all..."
It's not the FUN kind of mud wrestling. With old, bald brothers, I mean. But in the end, they forgive. They even hug. And the Captain's life in space calls him onward.
"Family" is all character and heart. It probably wouldn't have been possible in The Original Series to get away with only a minimal fist fight in the midst of all this yammering and hugging. But, damn it all, these characters became more genuine in episodes like this one. They could be heroes and still be people you wanted to know.