When the Bough Breaks


So I was watching the "When the Bough Breaks" episode of Star Trek:TNG the other day. For those of you who don't remember (or don't want to click the link below), it's the one where the Enterprise meets up with a dying, advanced alien civilization called Aldea. The Aldeans then proceed to kidnap all the children on board in order to repopulate their civilization as somehow all the Aldeans had been rendered sterile.

Eventually, they figure out that environmental damage caused by the technology that hid and protected the Aldeans was what rendered them sterile and that the damage would have the same effect on the kidnapped children. Okay, it was a bit preachy, but that was par for the era the episode was created. It's not this preachiness that bugged me about this episode upon re-viewing it recently.

What did bug me was the premise of kidnapping the children and how Picard and co. tried to resolve the problem. Okay, I'll let it slide that maybe the Aldeans were acting out of desperation and didn't fully think through the whole kidnapping plan. However, the fact all Picard ever did was basically argue that it was wrong to kidnap the children without offering any alternatives was what really bugged me, especially since there was an obvious alternative that would've been a win-win situation for all. Orphans exist even in the future. Heck, Worf himself was an orphan who was adopted by a human family. Presumably, even in the future, not every orphan would be able to find an adoptive family and even though the Federation presumably had excellent social services for its orphans, I'm sure the general policy would be to try to get them into a proper family if possible. Picard could've simply told that Aldeans that while the Enterprise wanted its children back, they could allow them to adopt from the pool of Federation orphans looking for loving families. Heck, combine that with requiring routine medical checkups for the adoptive children and you'd also find out the cause of the sterility and everyone ends up winning in the end.

Of course, such a simple solution wouldn't be as dramatic... but still...

Oh well, it was still a better episode than Voyager's "Threshold."

When the Bough Breaks on Memory Alpha

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