Season Seven, Episode 8
Written by Nicholas Sagan 
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Main Cast:
Patrick Stewart as Capt Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes as Cmdr William Riker
LeVar Burton as Lt Cmdr Geordi LaForge
Michael Dorn as Lt Worf
Gates McFadden as Dr Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis as Counsellor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner as Lt Cmdr Data

Guest Cast:
Robin Gammell as Mouric
Lenore Kasdorf as Lorin
J.C. Stevens as Kes aide

"Penny for your thoughts."
-- Beverly Crusher

The Enterprise is sent to evaluate planet Kes-Prytt III for Federation membership when Picard and Crusher are abducted during transport by the xenophobic Prytt, who oppose the planet's other ruling body, the Kes and their application for Federation membership. Picard and Crusher are telepathically linked but, thanks to a Kes spy, manage to escape their captors. On the run, Picard and Crusher are forced to confront their true feelings for each other. Riker goes to extreme lengths to force both the Kes and Prytt to negotiate for their release. He tells the Prytt that they need not fear their planet joining the Federation because due to all their internal strife they are not an eligible contender. He manages to secure the release of Picard and Beverly who now have a new understanding of each other, although are unsure as to whether they should explore the feelings they have discovered for each other.


Although I've never considered myself a die-hard Picard/Crusher afficionado, I've long admired the chemistry shared by the actors and enjoyed their characters' interaction. Throughout TNG's run, fans clamoured for more exploration of the Picard/Crusher dynamic. Attached finally provides a little insight into their relationship. It's just a pity they couldn't have come up with a better way of doing so.

During negotiations with the planet Kes-Prytt, Picard and Crusher are abducted by the xenophobic Prytt and are given neural implants, presumably to probe their minds. So far, so good. They soon escape only find that the implants are transmitting each other's thoughts. Exactly why is a complete mystery and the whole thing comes across as utterly ridiculous. For instance, whenever they put distance between themselves they get unbearably nauseous. Of course, this is merely a contrived device to get them to explore their feelings toward each other. Why the writers had to resort to such hokey contrivances instead of <gasp!> crafting proper drama is beyond me. This mental link is sold on the pretense that it supposedly gets to the heart of the characters. I'm sorry, but it doesn't. The revelations that Picard occasionally puts on a false air of confidence or that Beverly used to offend people with sarcastic comments does NOT, in my view, make for riveting, probing characterisation.

The episode does greatly benefit from the sure hand of Jonathan Frakes, one of the show's best directors. He keeps the pace lively and makes the most of some the location work which provides a refreshing change from the usual sets. Coupled with a stand-out score by Dennis McCarthy and the uniformly strong performances and you have an engaging, enjoyable episode.

Jean-Luc and Bev finally get down to the nitty-gritty of things around the camp fire. The scene in question was beautifully-shot, well-acted and the revelation that Picard was in love with Beverly had untold potential. Sadly, the writers take it nowhere. Instead they seem content to focus on the over-simplistic Kes/Prytt shenanigans. Perhaps someone should have reminded them that the heart of the story (and indeed the whole point of the exercise) was not silly political bickering, but exploring the relationship of two principal characters. Despite having brought up the subject themselves, The Powers That Be clearly had no intention of doing anything with this relationship. Cue a hastily tacked-on coda where, having established that there is indeed a lot more to their relationship than they might have previously acknowledged, the pair resolve to boldy go...nowhere with it. 

It's clear that they do have feelings for each other and both actors are able to convey so much more in a mere glance than any dialogue the script has to offer. "Perhaps we should not be afraid to explore these feelings," Picard tells her. "Or perhaps we should be afraid," responds Beverly -- but it's not her that's speaking, it's the writers. And fans across the land scream "COP OUT!!" in sheer dismay. I'm not saying the pair of them had to get together, but we at least deserved to know why Beverly opted out. Could it have been because she didn't want to ruin their friendship? Perhaps, but we really needed to address that. Where's the soul-searching? How did she come to this decision and how does she actually feel about Jean-Luc? 

Attached is an episode that goes to extreme, sometimes quite ridiculous lengths, to set up something that turns out to be much ado about nothing. Despite the obvious implications, the events of this episode would seem to have zero impact on their relationship either here or in future episodes. And that, in my opinion, makes the whole thing seem pretty darn pointless.

Rating: 6

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