Star Trek: The Next Generation


3 stars.

Air date: 4/5/1993
Written by Ronald Wilkerson & Jean Louise Matthias
Directed by Robert Wiemer

Review Text

Picard meets the ship's new head of stellar science, Lt. Commander Nella Daren (Wendy Hughes), a smart, strong-willed woman and talented piano player, and he slowly learns that he enjoys spending time with her. They have deep conversations. They enjoy playing music together. Picard realizes he might want to have a real relationship with this woman — a member of the crew — which is not something he takes lightly. He tiptoes around it for a while before realizing that it might be something he wants to seriously pursue.

"Lessons" succeeds where so many TNG would-be romances have failed because it considers the romance as a serious and realistic piece of business and not as a hopelessly arbitrary and unconvincing afterthought of the plot ("Aquiel," "Birthright, Part II"). Here is the Starfleet equivalent of an office romance; Picard and Daren must proceed cautiously, because he's the captain, she is a member of his crew, appearances matter, and there are plenty of people who could potentially be made uncomfortable with the situation, even if no one does anything wrong. (Riker has such a moment where he questions whether his objectivity is being affected with regard to Daren in light of her relationship with Picard.)

Also important is how the story spends the necessary time setting up the relationship to give it legitimacy. Daren and Picard share an interest in music, which leads to a number of nice scenes featuring classical music, including one in the ship's most acoustically perfect location. The music lessons take on even more meaning when Picard explains to Daren the story behind the flute he plays, which serves as a welcome callback to "The Inner Light" and lends a lot of credence to the story's emotional center.

Ultimately, this story's lesson covers familiar territory similarly mined in "The Perfect Mate" — Picard cannot avoid a life of solitude because he will always have to choose duty over companionship. This theme reveals itself in the closing acts, where a crisis arises and Daren must be sent on a dangerous mission where she nearly perishes, forcing them both to confront the reality they both probably knew was already there. Naturally, Picard is not about to stop being the captain of the Enterprise, and TNG is not about to take on a permanent girlfriend for him. But "Lessons" presents a one-off romance with solid execution, believable situations, good performances from Wendy Hughes and (naturally) Patrick Stewart, and a genuine emotional core.

Previous episode: Starship Mine
Next episode: The Chase

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110 comments on this post

    I liked this episode, but I think it's another example of where TNG started to run out of steam. So many of the episodes in the sixth and seventh seasons revolve around Picard -- and not just Picard making decisions, but Picard in action. That was something that rarely happened in the first five seasons. Patrick Stewart is the best actor in the cast, so he can usually carry episodes. But TNG becomes more Picard/Data focused to its detriment in the later seasons (and movies).

    I've always liked this one, but unfortunately it's hamstrung from the very start by the need for a "reset". This is where Star Trek in all its forms falls short by not really having week-to-week consequences. That said, it's still a solid package of an episode and well told. I do love the reference to the Inner Light for the very reason that it goes against what I've come to expect from series continuity; the events of that episode would have had such an impact on Picard's life that to ignore completely it would be a betrayal of what had come before (I'm looking at you DS9 Hard Time and VOY Latent Image!)

    Picard's flute playing hands amused me, and had me reaching for rewind and google.

    This episode is one of the few times on TNG that a (non-medical) blueshirt actually does some science. For a ship of exploration, the scientists seen passing in the corridors hardly ever have work to do. "Pen Pals" is the only other time they're used.

    Come to think of it, who was the chief science officer on 1701-D? Not Data; he was the operations manager. If the producers hadn't been worried about direct comparison with Spock, Data would've worn a blue uniform from the beginning, representing the scientific mission of the ship (and the show).

    Ironically, Deep Space Nine had a blue-shirted science officer even though the original mission (quietly orbiting Bajor before the wormhole was discovered) would not have required one.

    I'm a romantic at heart, so I love this one. Not only is Nella a "perfect mate" for Picard, but I thought their chemistry was great and both actors really committed to the roles.

    I loved her standoff with Riker, too.

    I also thought it was great because I really thought they were going to kill her off--so was on the edge of my seat during the action parts. The look on Picard's face when she returns is priceless.

    Wish they had revisited her in the finale--she'd have been such a better wife for Picard than that doctor.

    @Grumpy: Data was the science officer, though it's never explained why he wears a gold uniform.

    @ grumpy_otter: "that doctor"? You mean Dr Beverly Crusher, the show's CMO and long- long-term friend and confidant of Picard? okay...

    Actually, I really enjoy Wendy Hughes' performance as Nella. I can't help liking this episode simply because most of the time we're in the presence of Hughes and Stewart. It's almost enough to look past the episode's flaws, but not quite enough.

    Picard's relationship with Daren is what it is; we won't see her again, we know how they feel, it's fine. More crucial to Picard is his relationship with Crusher--her feelings about him are on display and there's a reasonable parallel between them and Troi/Riker as an unrequited pair. Crusher is all but tossed aside though and this theme is never revisited.

    The music is a mixed blessing: while its general presence is refreshing (if for no other reason than to hear *good* music in Season 6) and carries the episode through thematically (although not as well as VOY's "Counterpoint"). The ridiculousness of what they do and say (changing a harmony in a Chopin piano trio huh? Picard's flute is so obviously a penny worked okay in "Inner Light" because Picard's experience of the alien culture was filtered through his human perspective [hence why the aliens appeared human]) undermines the genuineness of the scenes.

    There are a number of good pieces here, but I think Jammer's comment from "Birthright: Part I" applies: it "contains interesting issues worth exploring but is a failure at turning those issues into compelling drama."

    2.5 stars from me.

    Interesting sidenote: Nella's roll-out piano became the inspiration to a real-life practice tool that keyboardists use when they travel and don't have access to a piano. It's like cell-phones all over again!

    Data may have been referred to as 1701-D's science officer once or twice, but I never had the impression that he led the department. LaForge, Worf, and Crusher were definitely in charge of other personnel. But can you imagine Data as Darren's boss? Did he butt in the way Worf did when Data (Worf's superior officer, mind you) dated a woman in the security department?

    TNG didn't portray the starship as a workplace very often, but on those few ocassions, the detail made the setting more realistic, which heightened the drama. I wish they had done it more.

    This episode marks the point where Patrick Stewart got to kiss two women named Wendy.

    One was Wendy Hughes, actress, and the other would be Star Trek producer Wendy Neuss, whom he'd eventually marry, and then divorce.

    Nice episode. One of the few episodes from the last few seasons that I thought was solidly acted, and in character. Picard actually stayed on the Bridge, and Riker went to the planet.

    Very nice... realistic reactions from Riker, Bev, and others have said, nice continuity with The Inner Light. Plus as others have also said, a good match for Picard. Shame she didn't become a regular, would have been a nice shake up for the remaining episodes

    I did think that the justification for ending the relationship was a little weak and hurried though.

    I like this one a lot, and I think that the elements that represent a sequel to "The Inner Light" are more than surface-deep. At the beginning of the series, Picard was pretty sure that he had no room in his life for children or a relationship. At most, he couild hope for someone like Vash to shake his life up in an obviously ephemeral way. Season five started to turn things around, with Kamala being a breakthrough for him in some respects by showing to him what the Ideal Relationship could be, and how a relationship could complement and strengthen his identity rather than detract from it. But really, it's "The Inner Light" that changes everything, on some level, because suddenly he is shown a genuine, honest-to-goodness alternate life in which he has a home life, a family, children, and a loving wife. It's not just an abstract idea of what could have been like Kamala, but something he lives through. All he has left, as he says here, is the flute, and the flute comes to represent an entire part of Picard's life and potential life that he lacks on the Enterprise, and is now aware is something he misses. I think this awareness that he could have another life *and enjoyed it* is part of what informs, in ways big and small, a lot of material in the last couple seasons, from young-Picard wondering if he could start a new life in "Rascals" to his consideration in the episode that follows whether he should have become an archaeologist to the wistfulness of "All Good Things" and Generations about either the future that disappoints or the future that will never happened. But this one is the one that is particularly about "The Inner Light," and is about His Music, and what that means to him. By "making beautiful music together" with Nella, Picard finds a way to bring his "The Inner Light"-life into the present, and perhaps find a way to express that dormant part of himself through something other than just he music itself. In other words, can he have the family life that he had as Kamin in the present, in a way that is real rather than imaginary? For a time, it seems as if he could.

    Picard saying, at the episode's end, that he realized that he could never enjoy his music again if Nella died, means a lot, I think, and explains why Nella's departure from the ship is necessary. In some ways, if Picard and Nella had started a relationship before The Inner Light -- well, Picard probably would not have gone for a real relationship before TIL, but bear with me -- I think he'd be able to bear the idea of losing her, on some level. But Picard has *already* lost that entire life -- he's already lost Eline, and his children, and an entire planet, and all he has left is his music and his memories. He can't go through that loss again, and, more to the point, he can't bear to lose *his music* because that is the only connection he has to a whole part of himself. The use of the music as a symbol for his experience there is poignant; there is something of a widower realizing that he can't remarry because if his new wife died, he would not be able to bear the memory of his previous wife, in all this. (It also reminds me of one of the most touching elements of the M*A*S*H finale.) I do wish that Nella had stayed on the ship, actually, because I love the Stewart and Hughes chemistry, I love seeing Stewart play smitten, and I love having a smart, headstrong science officer on the ship. But I think it makes sense that she had to leave, and the episode's relatively quiet tone makes the tragedy seem bearable rather than mawkish. The episode veers a little close to sentimentality at times, but I think it largely avoids it. Probably a high 3/low 3.5 from me.

    Actually, to elaborate a bit: I think that the portrayal of office relationships is good, but slightly overdone, in that I don't think that Riker's discomfort should be as big as it is. What this really shows, though, is how deep Picard's emotional disconnect from his crew and best friends really runs, which helps set up why Picard's joining the poker game in "All Good Things" is such a momentous moment. Picard as father figure, mentor, teacher, boss, even friend: yes. Picard as someone who is personally open with his crew is really off limits, which is something that "QPid" is also good for (though I know Jammer is not exactly on board with that as a good episode to demonstrate that :) ). And I think we see, too, that Picard no longer *wants* this to be the case. Picard used to want to maintain the emotional distance he did, but now he has changed and wants to be emotionally open; see, for example, his wanting to go fencing with Riker, which itself seems to Riker to be uncomfortable and odd. But, and I think this is very realistic and well-observed, Picard has built his life so carefully around this professionalism and emotional detachment that he is not quite prepared for what it means when he lets these walls come down. Beverly's discomfort with Picard dating hints at the problems that can come, too; Picard's...special relationship with Beverly, which is somewhere between coworkers, friends and almost-lovers, can only exist as long as Picard is single and as long as the attraction and deep bond between them goes mostly unspoken. This is also, of course, why being able to read each other's mind in "Attached" represents a potential change in their dynamic, unless of course they choose, as Beverly does at the episode's end, to just ignore what they've just realized. I don't think this is a huge tragedy, and as the poker game in "All Good Things" suggests, it never is too late to try to make changes to parts of yourself where you realize you had been mistaken. And yet, these shows do still demonstrate that Picard's focus on his duty and rejection of personal relationships have, over time, made it extraordinarily difficult to make even small steps. Picard is among the most incredible, perfect characters in the Star Trek canon, and this one flaw of his -- his difficulty dealing with interpersonal emotional relationships -- is part of what makes him human, believable and touching.

    In the list of season six episodes about Picard questioning his life choices, I obviously meant to add "Tapestry," and I think his attempt to start a relationship with Marta was his way of nipping his emotional disaffection in the bud. It seems to me as if young Picard's womanizing ways was (as it is with Kirk and Riker) a way of keeping people at an emotional distance while having the thrill and pleasure of sex, and once he decided to become a more serious person after his injury this got largely left behind, too (and it takes someone like Vash to reawaken that side of him). If he started dating Marta way back when, maybe he'd be able to be a guy who could have a real chance at love, now that he knows (from "TIL") that it's possible to do so and for him to like it. But of course, 'twas not to be.

    William B, let me say I really enjoy your write-ups on this site; very thorough and insightful. The way you connect Picard's experiences in The Inner Light with several later episodes is something I haven't considered before.

    On a more shallow note, this episode suggests Picard has his share of "If you need me, I'll be in holodeck 4" moments:

    Daren: "You're not used to playing with anyone, are you?"
    Picard: "Just the computer."
    Daren: "Hm, well, I may not be as precise as a computer, but I think you'll enjoy it more..."
    Picard: *stares*


    Another boring "soap opera in space" episode. This one pushed and green-lit by Jeri Taylor. There can be relationship stories on trek...but they should have a sci-fi twist. The story was too one-dimensional...and the banter over relationship politics was so drivel. Who cares. Felt like a contrived episode. Like the idea of incorporating music in the story...but it needs a fun sci-fi twist which this didn't have.

    Just saw this episode for what I think is the first time. I watched TNG in the 90s, and then on Netflix, but I guess I missed this one. And that's a shame because it was very well done—a quiet, but deep episode. I loved the references to The Inner Light and how it deepens Picard's character.

    I also have to give praise for the writing of Nella's character. Usually one-time guest characters with a major role in their one-time appearance are so lazily written, that you don't care about them because you know you'll never see them again. But at the end of the episode I realized I would miss Nella, and that's such a testament to Wendy Hughes, and her work portraying such a likable character. A fitting way to remember her after her passing yesterday. May she rest in peace.

    I like this episode. But I have to laugh when the writers force some kind of sophisticated musical observation. Picard says "I noticed you chose to use fminor instead of dminor on your second arpeggio" or words to that effect. REALLY??!! Who counts the arpeggios that the piano plays?? They play so many during typical pieces. The script is just forced. I expect that kind of talk in the technobabble, but not real music. How about instead "I enjoyed the embellisments you made in the second movement" Bear in mind that Chopin wrote what he wrote. Performers shouldn't be "choosing" unexpected notes. That's called "making mistakes"

    Somebody earlier made a comment likening this to Birthright, and I agree. Unfortunately, I find 'office romance' less compelling of an idea compared to 'regaining lost culture'. The execution here is a bit better, but only because of better acting. There's almost nothing for me to chew on here that isn't just piggybacking off of the Inner Light. It just doesn't feel like there's any inventiveness in the writing (compare with the ideas floating around in "Perfect Mate"), and the overall story and directing feel stale. I'm beginning to see why people say season 6 is where the show starts to feel 'tired'. I'm a bit harsher on the scale than Jammer; I'd probably hand this a low 2 or a high 1.5 stars. Whereas Birthright as a whole I'd feel okay with giving 2.5 stars.

    It's a good episode but as a pianist, I was spending a good deal of time trying to figure out how Daren was playing that foldout piano of hers. There's no tactile feedback and the keys are all flat. That would drive me crazy.

    What is up with Jonathan Frakes in this episode? His facial expression and posture is slightly off in all his scenes. Had me thinking he might have been drunk on set.

    Really liked this one.

    Watching this show a decade and a half later shows how much *I've* probably grown. As a kid, I probably preferred "Starship Mine" to this outing, but now I barely tolerated "Starship Mine" and greatly enjoyed this one. Season 6 and on is where I'm more iffy with episodes since I caught more early-series re-runs than latter, so I was surprised and pleased to see a semi-sequel to "The Inner Light".

    Great work all around. One of the very, very few 40-minute romances that has ever worked on Trek (the other, for me, is another Picard show: "The Perfect Mate" - makes me think this Stewart fellow can sell pretty much anything). There's also some genuine tension about the fate of Lt. Commander Daren on the away mission. Even though I'd seen this (but mostly forgot it), I still wasn't sure if she'd make it back. I was legitimately pleased when she beamed back up, and I think sparing her life was probably the better writing decision.

    A high 3 stars for me. Season 6 is quickly becoming one of my favourite TNG seasons. A pleasant surprise, that's for sure. After the first 7 or 8 episodes, I'd thought the magic that Season 5's final third brought had vanished completely. Season 6 doesn't have as many Trek masterpieces as other seasons, but it keeps up a high batting average with a significant stock of very solid episodes.

    I love the scene where Picard is blowing into a flute that is clearly being held (and played) by some guy on his back out of frame. Didn't notice at first, but cannot be unseen once seen. Really funny.

    3-1/2 stars for me, always liked it. Especially playing from the center of the ship and the kiss.
    It does work off of Inner Light's coattails, but those are great coattails to follow.
    I agree with grumpyotter, it would have been nice to have her appear in another episode, the finale, movie or something. Especially since they didn't break up, though it is likely she moved on.

    My issue with this episode was that Darren is AWFUL as a member of the crew. We see her do basically three things in this episode before the crisis starts. Fist she shuts down replication, communications and the library for 7 hours and feels no need to inform the captain. Second she comes to get more time on the deflector dish and is told "No" by Riker because another department booked it (something she clearly should have been aware of) and then tries to argue that her department deserves it more after being told that "hey, engineering is also kind of important Darren". And third she goes to Riker about a personnel change, is flat out told she failed to follow appropriate procedure and basically writes it off as "well I didn't. So don't worry about it and besides, that department's overstaffed anyways" and when Picard asks Riker if she acted appropriately I was completely expecting him to say "No. She's not" because oh my god she wasn't.

    She seems to not understand that other people besides her department are on this ship and need it's resources and she isn't the most important person there.

    Anything else about this episode is basically lost on me because I can't get over the fact that this woman should not be a department head and doesn't have any understanding of how this ship works and her dating the captain is such a huge issue because of it because she DOES make unreasonable requests and ask for special treatment constantly.

    @Easter - To put simply... in life there are people like this and they often get what they want. It's possibly she's only a mediocre department head, but has always seemed to be better than that because she's been able to successfully bully the XO into giving her department the best people/special favors. So her department always performs really well.

    @Robert - Oh absolutely. I'm not saying she's an unrealistic character I'm saying that she's not a likable character I can emotionally connect to or one who should have gotten away with it because the question is directly asked to Riker "Were her actions appropriate?" after he had just finished explaining to her that they in fact were not. Riker was the one I had trouble accepting as realistically written in this scenario. The problem with her character was that they then tried to cast her in a sympathetic light as a likable romantic lead when the only meaningful characterization she had received so far was negative and it just doesn't work for me because I can't get positively emotionally invested in a romance with a side character I dislike.


    Thank you very much for your comment, which gave me a point of view I hadn’t considered at all. A comment on what you wrote:

    You have to remember that Star Trek only has about 42 minutes to tell a story. As a result of that, personality traits are often exaggerated, so that the audience can get the picture early and the story can progress.

    As such, Darren is portrayed as the ambitious, driven, and above all, passionate department head.

    And as such, she is the perfect department head.

    I work at a major European university, and we see the exact same thing going on. Faculties competing for ressources. And within each faculty―Humanities, in my case―various departments competing ferociously over the allocation of ressources.

    This is what Darren basically represents. In the case of universities, and except for the very, very top universities, which will have very good departments across the board, most universities tend to specialize and have one elite department, so to speak. A typical case in the US―I presume you’re American―is Texas A&M University, a somewhat undistinguished university, which however has one of the best nautical archaeology departments in the world (I’m a historian of the Ancien Regime, and particularly of navies and empires in the age of sail).

    Again: all this is what that facet of the Darren character you are discussing is about. Darren is that department head who, in my world, will tell the faculty dean that her department has a good shot at entering the “Top5 in the World” with the allocation of a few more ressources that will allow say, snatching two great scholars she’s been having talks with from other universities, and that strengthening her department further surely is worth more for the university than investing in some obscure other department.

    And I have to tell you: this is what any good department head will do. Deep down, any good department head must feel that his department is more deserving of ressources than any other, and fight for them, and for the bettering of the department. If he doesn’t, he is merely a bureaucrat, an administrator.

    Of course, the Enterprise is a slightly different case: it’s a large vessel (the flagship of the Federation!), out where no man has gone before, and it has to run like a smooth engine: there is little room for the sort of fights over ressources―time, money, technology, people―I’m talking about out in some distant sector of space. But if you focus on that, and the usual exaggeration of character traits we see on Star Trek, you’re missing the main point that the story is trying to tell us about Darren: that she is, above all, very passionate about what she does. Which of course is why Picard likes her.

    Of course, no department head in her actual situation, on a vessel in deep space (and the flagship of the Federation at that!), would ever run such a critical, seven-hour experiment without notifying other departments. It's an absurd idea; but it's the way the writers try to tell us something important about the Darren character. As usual on Star Trek, we have to look a little bit further that what we see on screen, and avoid a literal reading.

    I find her an extremely competent and likable person, and would hire her on the spot to run a department, anywhere.

    But again, thank you for your comment. It’s funny how we can be so used to our own way of thinking that we miss alternate ways of viewing things completely.

    @Andy's Friend - Interesting. I similarly hadn't considered that viewpoint. Most of my experience (I'm Canadian and mostly work for smaller teams with larger client bases btw) with managing things tends to put me in a position where I'm find myself having to create systems in order to make sure everyone is treated fairly and the loudest person can't just get everything they want and where resources are limited enough that straight up snatching other people's without asking is incredibly rude so for me a person who is overtly ignoring protocols for their own benefits, ignoring the needs of their peers and trying to take their rightfully allocated resources is a huge problem and immediately makes me dislike that person.

    I have no actual experience with working in a multi-faculty setting or one with an excessive budget and the idea that this was relatively normal (if exaggerated) behaviour was one that hadn't even occurred to me. Thanks for the insight on how that might work.

    I still PERSONALLY can't get into this episode because I actively dislike Darren and even understanding her motivations doesn't change the fact that she comes across as a type of person I automatically dislike and root against even when justified so *I* can't emotionally invest in the character and by extension, the episode, but I can better understand how other people can see her as more of a motivated go getter type fighting for her department and connect with her.

    I gotcha. You thought Riker was acting out of character. I'll have to keep that in mind the next time I see this one :)

    I think it's interesting that Cmdr Daren has more than a passing resemblance to Dr Crusher.

    In regards to a few points made by others above, Data wore gold because, as the show was being developed, of the various makeup tests they did they liked the gold makeup on Spiner the best, but it looked horrible with a blue uniform. Similarly Stewart and Frakes looked best in red, and together this resulted in the red/gold switch between TOS and TNG. They then ginned up the job of Operations Manager to explain his gold uniform.

    Since Data filled the story role of Spock despite not being the science officer, TNG never established a generalist science officer among the senior staff. High-ranking officers like Daren presumably headed up the different science departments on TNG. Given the ship's status as a giant traveling science station, I think this makes sense.

    I've heard more than once that Data is explicitly referred to as science officer once or twice on TNG. I can't find an instance where this happens, but there is one case where he is recording a log and refers to himself as "second" officer but the audio isn't great and I think people are mistakenly hearing it as "science" officer.

    From one episode to the next we go from "step-in-the-right-direction" Picard back to stodgy, bookish Picard. We get yet another romance-of-the-week. We end up with what is, essentially, a sequel to "The Inner Light." Usually, that would be be three strikes you're out territory for me, but, despite all of that, "Lessons" has its charm.

    Almost all of the credit for this episode falls squarely on Patrick Stewart's shoulders. Look, I'm sorry, but I really don't enjoy watching stuff like Picard playing music or having long, in-depth conversations with people about stuff like stellar cartography and the like. I find it boring! But, Stewart, being the artist that he is, still manages to infuse the story with some warmth and character. I particularly loved how he played the scene of Picard alone in his quarters after he thinks Daren is dead. A lesser actor would probably have chewed the scenery to death in that scene (shades of Avery Brooks in "Far Beyond the Stars" come to my mind). But Stewart plays it remarkably restrained. He knows that we, as an audience, are fully capable of emotionally connecting with the character without any wild gestures or over-the-top emoting. Even in the rather dull and plodding music scenes between him and Wendy Hughes he manages to infuse it with some kind of charisma. He's not capable of making the scenes riveting or anything, but at least they're watchable. Again, in the hands of a lesser actor, those scenes would have been dramatic death. Even the shots of him playing that damn flute and of him recounting the events of "The Inner Light" are passable because he's so good at his craft. But, given that Stewart's acting was about the only thing I liked about "The Inner Light," it really doesn't surprise me that his recounting of it is also good.

    However, when you get right down to the bare-bones of it, "Lessons" is nothing more than another romance-of-the-week story. And I simply can't stand these stories because 1.) they're so damn over-done and 2.) they're so predictable. Everybody, and I mean everyone - let's not kid ourselves here, knew right from the get-go that this relationship wouldn't last and that it would somehow end by the time the end credits rolled. As a result, like all other Trek romances-of-the-week, it carries virtually no emotional punch for me. Why should it? Why should I bother to emotionally invest in something I 100% know isn't going to last? I'm more emotional invested in the Picard/Crusher relationship because they've at least been teasing that for a good long while now. But what really bothers me is that stories of this sort just smack of lazy writing. It's like the writers really want to have the characters have some romance but aren't willing to actually put in the work necessary for that romance to be believable. I'm also really tired of seeing a constant stream of characters put their careers before their relationships. It's why Picard and Daren can't be together. It's why Riker and Troi can't be together. It's why Picard and Crusher never get together. It's why Kirk never settled down. It's why the O'Briens have so many martial problems on DS9. Can't we just once get a relationship where someone says "no, my love for you comes first, before even my career"?

    Still, I will give "Lessons" credit for doing something that is rather rare for romances-of-the-week - it's not a love at first sight story. It does take at least some time to develop the relationship instead of simply having Picard and Daren instantly fall head over heels in love after knowing each other for five minutes. This and DS9's "A Simple Investigation" are probably the only ones that even attempt do to so. Now, I believe that love at first sight exists, but it's a rarity (not the norm) and should be treated as such. "Lessons" really rubs against that grain, so I can't bring myself to dislike it.


    Boy meets girl. Boy is duty bound to put girl in harm's way. Boy and girl break up. Fin.

    As others have noted, this is unusual in relationship episode terms because it gives the romance room to breathe. Yes, it still seems quick, but at least not ridiculously so. The only trouble is, taking the time to develop the story does make for a rather slow and plodding hour.

    It is saved to a degree by the call back to The Inner Light, which adds a depth and resonance that helps ground the story line in something that feels real. And at last it doesn't kill Daren off at the end... 2.5 stars.

    I pretty much agree with the last two reviews. I'm just not a romantic and I found the constant musical scenes boring. I knew how this was going to end before it did, although I will give it thumbs up for being somewhat unpredictable by not killing off Darren, but I found myself disliking her from the start and was glad to see her go one way or another. I didn't find her to be likeable at all. She seemed like a stick in the mud to me and the way she spoke and carried on just rubbed me the wrong way. This is not a person I'd want to be around, work with or have to deal with. I thought Picard came off quite well and enjoyed the reference to "The Inner Light" but was glad to see Darren go. BTW, in later Trek lore Crusher and Picard get together and I like that happening very much.

    This episodes got mired in stupid early on, with the ridiculousness that ships communications, ships library and ships replicators would be shut down for some stellar cartography experiment. Really, were 1000 people, including people with children or even babies to feed, being denied all of these systems for three hours? And what, exactly, does one have to do with the other? It clearly was contrived just to set up the meeting of the two eventual lovebirds, but that dumb opening left me rather disinterested in all that came after.

    @Jack - Yes, it was difficult to believe that Daren appeared to think everyone else on the ship would be tucked up in bed at 0400.

    The highlight of the episode was Picard's excitement at seeing Daren's chunky roll-up keyboard. If someone replaced his ready room console with an iPad Pro his head would explode.

    moj: "If someone replaced his ready room console with an iPad Pro his head would explode."


    As for Jack's point, I don't find it unreasonable that a starship's systems might interfere with a stellar cartography (or, as normal people call it, astronomy) observation. But Jack is right that the scene was basically an index card with "They Meet" and no thought given to how a starship might actually operate. Now, that's probably a safe trade-off; more viewers care about the character drama than the tech. But I wish the writers could've relied on Sternbach & Okuda for more than plausible-sounding words to pad the dialogue.

    Now I realize my comment is similar in spirit to one I made about this episode, above. Almost 4 years ago.

    I like most of the TNG romance episodes but this one felt just OK to me, the main problems were that it felt like there was too forceful an attempt, but more by telling, to get the audience to like Daren, it didn't actually succeed, and the outcome felt kind of inevitable.

    This has to get my award as Most Overrated Star Trek Episode Of All Time. The plot of Picard falling is love through music is incredibly dull, and Picard is such a boring romantic that he could make Scarlett Johansson seem mundane. The mediocre woman he falls for seems completely uninteresting and therefore his emotions seem totally misplaced to me. Even Vash is less tiresome.

    Picard and Some Woman play music together. And stare at each other for what seems like half the episode. For some unknown reason they fall in love, then at the end of this dreadful tripe they part company, thank god.

    I have no idea what anyone sees in "Lessons". Zero stars. Or maybe a half-star for the bit right at the beginning where the episode looked to be going somewhere. Before he met that woman.

    @ Jez-

    If I had to guess, I think the fact that there's any continuity with "The Inner Light" is probably the main factor this is rated as high as it usually is with people. Myself, I wouldn't call it a classic by any stretch however it's far more enjoyable than something like "Aquiel", "Genesis", or "Cost of Living".

    It's easy to think this episode is merely a follow-up to "The Inner Light" (which is already welcome) but one may miss that it also takes place after "Tapestry". What's the tie-in? Better question: what is it about Neela that's special to Picard? This is a bottle episode about two people and what they have in common. So what is that?

    Like Picard, she has a passion for artistic expression, and after "The Inner Light", for music in Picard's case. Prior to that ep Picard was still prone to play Shakespeare with Data on the holodeck and the read poetry. She has a passion for her work which supersedes mere dedication to Starfleet as a duty. She is competent and even-handed, and very intelligent. She has particular ways of doing things, and knows details of parts of the ship no one else does, like Picard. So why does this make her so special? She is the Picard that might have been as shown in "Tapestry", with all the passion and care but without his reckless ambition. She literally has the job and position he had in that alternate reality, and even the temperament in a sense. I see the two of them as being very much alike, especially at this later part of Picard's life.

    I personally think this is a beautiful episode about why exactly Picard has to be alone in his life. Everyone knows he keeps to himself, but this is why. All the questions of why he and Crusher can't just admit their feelings for each other - explained in large part right here. He couldn't live with the guilt and worry again like he did after Jack's death. All of this, combined with a calm tone until the brief crisis, makes it something of a unique episode, and as a brief departure from TNG's standard pace, quite welcome.

    @Peter, excellent point about the connection to "Tapestry." I think maybe we could also say that Neela is a more optimistic version of the alternate Picard in that episode. Picard was Assistant Astrophysics officer rather than stellar cartography department head, and lower rank. However, Neela seems to have no command ambitions and is comfortable with her choice to eschew this. There is some criticism of "Tapestry" for the implication that life as a scientist would be *so bad* for Picard. In some ways, this episode addresses that point -- though I presume that it was not directly the plan. What's important to remember is that "Tapestry" was ultimately didactic, and this is not (IMO) a flaw in the episode but a function of the fact that Q himself was being deliberately didactic, to teach Picard something in particular about his reckless streak. However, with Neela, Picard gets to see an alternate version who really did *choose* that alternate life rather than drifting into it, the way alternate Picard was presented as having done by Q.

    So the difference between Picard and Neela is not as stark as it is between the two Picards, but it is probably still there: Picard gives the orders for her to hold, and Neela has to hold. Neela does her job, even bravely, but I think the exchange at the end says quite a bit:

    NEELA: At first, when you told us to hold our positions, I didn't question it. Of course we would. That was our job. But when I saw that storm coming toward us.
    PICARD: Part of you must have blamed me.
    NEELA: A small part, maybe. But in the end, I was more afraid that you would blame yourself if I died. Would you have?
    PICARD: I've lost people under my command. People who were very dear to me. But never someone I've been in love with. And when I believed that you were dead, I just began to shut down. I didn't want to think or feel. I was here in my quarters, and the only thing I could focus on was my music, and how it would never again give me any joy. Then I saw you standing on the transporter pad and I knew that I could never again put your life in jeopardy.

    I think Neela wants to be a scientist and an artist, and is willing to be a leader in the scientific sphere the better to do her research, but she mostly would prefer to let other people make the kinds of life-and-death decisions we see at the end of the episode. And Picard does not want to offload them. His guilt over Jack is because he refuses to abdicate personal responsibility. To some extent, Neela is willing to defer to Picard, and interpret her own life-and-death struggle in terms of what he would think of it. The trade-off we see is that Neela is mostly able to live with this arrangement, and seems to be a mostly happier person, whereas Picard cannot divest himself from responsibility and guilt for each of his choices, even if they were the right ones. This is perhaps part of what makes the recklessness of young Picard so important -- that awareness that every moment in life is a choice comes partly from that Nausicaan attack but also generally his early rebellious recognition that one cannot just trust in convention to guide ones actions. This also ties in with "The Inner Light," where part of Picard's ability to accept life as Kamin depended on his eventually coming to a place where he accepted first that he was not going to find a way back to the Enterprise, and then that he was not going to be able to save the planet from extinction, and chose to focus on his personal life instead.

    I was a music major in college and have played saxophone for 30 years, as such I tend to get really annoyed by faking instruments, etc. in films and television. That said I understand it's something that just has to be done, you can't always cast a piano virtuoso for the role of Darren. That said she does an acceptable job in faking the piano, not over playing her body and facial expressions. Picard also does an acceptable job with his penny whistle flute, again not over doing it. The same goes for Data who as always does a great job at faking the violin. What does really bug me about Lessons is the total gibberish Picard says to Darren after the concert. "during the second arpeggio in the first movement, I noticed that you played an F minor chord instead of a diminished D" - what? For the non-musicians reading this that's just a bunch of musical words crammed into a sentence. First as a classically trained pianist she wouldn't be improvising in a piece like that, you'd be playing it exactly as written. The only place you'd be taking some personal liberties would be with the tempo and emotion of the piece. Then for Picard to hear the difference in a single minor and diminished cord is laughable. Had Darren made that kind of substitution each time she played an F minor cord maybe he's notice that, maybe. Again for the non-musicians there is but a single note difference between the two cords, in fact it's not even a full note/tone - it's a half tone as an F minor chord would have an A as it's third where a D diminished would have an Ab (A flat) as it's 5th - so in simple terms the difference in sound of those two chords 1 time in a piece would be absolutely indistinguishable to any human ear.

    What really bugs me the most about things like this is just ask a damn musician to not only review your line of dialogue but to help you write it. There are many things that Darren could have done with the piece that Picard could have commented on in a believable way. "Your phrasing after the coda was great", "the dynamic range in your playing was very elegant", etc. Finally the worst part of something like this is Riker IS a musician! He's played trombone since school, when we see him play trombone he really is playing trombone (save for the time he's playing with a quartet and his birthday party but that's simply for technical reasons - he does a fine job faking it as he really plays). Why the writers would have run that past Frakes and/or he (Frakes) wouldn't chime in during the episode to say "Uh, that's stupid dialogue, try this instead".

    I'm sure I'm in the minority that gets bugged by this, it's just so avoidable a mistake that I've never understood it since it's so damn easy to prevent it.

    @Ross Carlson

    That's really fascinating, and definatly something I wouldn't have thought about.

    There is one point I think I can argue, though. It might be just as ridiculous as the episode's problems are for you though. Namely, I think at this point it's been established that Picard suffered from some future!disease that gave him a very sensitive ear. In Innsurrection for example, he hears a misalignment in the engines from the bridge, amazing Geordie. Couse that was partly due to what was happening in rhe movie, but the way Picard reacts, it's not an uncommon occurance.

    @ Ross Carlson,

    Ugh, why have you made me do this. But here we go:

    "Again for the non-musicians there is but a single note difference between the two cords, in fact it's not even a full note/tone - it's a half tone as an F minor chord would have an A as it's third where a D diminished would have an Ab (A flat) as it's 5th - so in simple terms the difference in sound of those two chords 1 time in a piece would be absolutely indistinguishable to any human ear."

    You are incorrect about the structure of these chords.

    Here is F minor: F - Ab - C. With an A-natural, as you suggested, it would be F major.

    Here is D diminished: D - F - Ab.

    So according to the dialogue what Darren did was substitute the D natural for a C natural. And yes, a trained musician would definitely hear the difference if they knew the piece. There is a zero percent chance I would miss a minor chord substituting for a diminished one in a piece I knew very well. It would very likely make me raise my eyebrows and sit up straight in a big hurry. And my ear training is only so-so compared with some people. Some conductors can hear one instrument make an error of one semitone in a 100 piece ensemble. I work with choirs a lot and can certainly pick out a wrong semitone by one person in a choir of 20-30 people. Darren's note change is a full tone, though, and frankly if Picard *didn't* notice it that would likely mean he didn't know the piece all that well in the first place.

    As to whether a classical pianist would improvise in a performance, of course they would, even today. Adding ornamentation to Baroque or classical repertoire is quite standard, and while rewriting the piece on the fly would be odd, changing one note in one chord (especially as an ornamental gesture) is not really a big deal depending on the venue. I hear organists mess around with harmonization all the time. That being said the episode takes place more than 300 years in the future, so criticizing someone's performance practice in that era using today's standards would be very strange indeed!

    This is all theoretical, so I just went and listened to the musical piece in question. To be honest I'm not 100% sure what Picard means when he says the "second arpeggio", since in the first arpeggio section there are two of them in a row, the second of which is a diminished chord. Shortly after that there is another arpeggio section which does end with an odd-sounding minor chord. Assuming for the moment Picard's comment is accurate I suppose he therefore meant the final arpeggiated chord of the second section. While I incidentally think the minor chord there sounds kind of bad, nevertheless it would mean the comments made are logical and fit what was played. No doubt Dennis McCarthy, the composer, is the one who told the writers what to have Picard say, so in that sense it would probably be unreasonable in and of itself to assume that the composer himself doesn't know what he's talking about with regard to his own piece.

    Conclusion: the dialogue makes perfect sense, even though I disagree with Picard's appraisal of the chord choice.

    Hi Ross!

    I'm a musician as well (bassist for 24 years, drummer on the side if you consider that a musician lol).. Anyhow I always pay close attention to actors on TV when they're supposed to be playing an instrument and seeing if they really know how or not. Good example of faking it: Terrance Howard on acoustic guitar on an episode of "Empire". Horrible example of faking it: Any of the Zack Attack band members minus Slater on "Saved By the Bell" lol.

    Thanks for the insight on this episode though. I'm not classically trained and have learned everything I know by ear / myself so this is cool insight.

    I struggled to stay immersed in this one because of Wendy Hughes' hybrid Aussie/Yank accent. I don't blame the actress for not mastering an American drawl, but since "nationality" is basically a completely irrelevant concept in the 24th Century why couldn't they just let her speak with her native Australian accent? If on the other hand the producers were terrified that American audiences would somehow be unable to comprehend the weird and exotic tones emanating from the mouth of an Antipodean actress, why didn't they just cast a generic American? I assume there wasn't a shortage in the nineties?


    There is no one behind Patrick Stewart "playing" the flute; he did the finger motions himself. But I saw him explain in an interview once that the flute made no noise when he "played" it--the sound was added later.

    Loved this episode. The music was beautiful, and the romance. Seems to me the "folk tune" Picard played was a lovely reworking of the "Skye Boat Song", the old Scottish classic.

    A believable romance for Picard, and while a bit cheesy, especially seeing him being all smitten like a little kid, it was fun seeing them crawling into the Jeffries tubes. Gotta wonder how many shifts Data is working though, he apparently covers the night shift as well as manning the helm during the day and sometimes working down in engineering with Geordi. When does he find the time to feed his cat and pursue his various hobbies?

    Man, I thought this episode was so boring. Nothing happens, the foldout keyboard is so laughable en the way she talks to grinning Picard while playing Frere Jacques was really annoying. And they chickened out by not killing her on the surface. Could have given some extra dimension to Picard. Two stars at most for me. *yawn*

    This episode has one of my favorite Trek moments... the music in the junction. After the episode, I made it my goal to find an acoustically pleasant part of the stairwell in my apartment building in Charleston SC and play the tune on my Irish penny whistle.

    I still enjoy playing the song today.

    Back when I was a kid, I religiously watched reruns of TOS as I was really too young to watch the first run episodes. One day I was pleasantly surprised to run across an episode I had never seen before (Operation - Annihilate!). Well we have watched the entire TNG series in first run and have also purchased and are watching the entire series on DVD. Imagine my shock and surprise to realize that I had never ever before seen "Lessons"! None of it came back to me as we watched it, making it a "lost" episode for me.
    And needless to say, I thought it a very well done and thought out episode. I loved that Capt. Picard could have even for short time, a ship board romance. I also agree with the writers decision to have Darren simply leave the ship and not be killed off.

    Ultimately a decent episode that touches on the office romance theme and handles it well and believably. The first half was a bit tedious as the romance builds up and one wonders where the episode is going with it. But the meaning of it was real. Nice to have the reference to Picard's experiences in "The Inner Light".

    Picard's acting is great here -- his expressions just before he sees Daren beam down to the planet and then thinks Daren has been killed were perfect. The Daren character was well acted and a good fit for Picard.

    I thought Daren would be killed but that would probably have been too obvious. Of course, Picard can't have a girlfriend as a crew member over the long-term so Daren puts in for a transfer conveniently. But it's all handled well. There have been enough clunky romances in TNG, but here it's done credibly. That's nice for a change.

    2.5 stars for "Lessons" -- good treatment of the captain having a romance both for the effects on the rest of the crew and for the captain himself. Not the most exciting of episodes but a good character piece for Picard -- with a decent ending.

    2 stars

    This one was kinda boring. Lots of space in this episode and slow. I do applaud the casting of an age appropriate love interest in Darren but this kinda spin it’s wheels

    2.5 stars

    Wow, an episode that actually has direct references to another episode (the Inner Light). For the most part, this is an entertaining one to watch. The high-point is Picard sitting in his quarters by himself not knowing if his girlfriend is going to survive. That moment is ruined a little later when he is talking to her again and reveals to her what he was thinking during that moment in his quarters. It sounds a lot less emotional when described in words.

    Then we have the fast breakup at the end, as we've seen many, many times on TNG. Heaven forbid we have a long term relationship on the show. Well, I guess we have Riker and Troi, but still.

    This was a very good episode I thought (and the flute makes a triumphant return!) A pretty realistic approach to the captain having a relationship, weird that "his music" wasn't really ever brought up again that I can remember. These quieter episodes are what STD needs to look into- Trek needs more substance, even like this.

    P.S: And props to casting for Lt. Daren- A woman who ALMOST looks like ol' Bev but 20x better!

    Not at all just a piggy-back on The Inner Light. Many delightful and touching scenes in this one. 3.25 stars

    I thought this was an excellent little episode, and one of the few times Trek wrote a decent romance. What I like best, though, is how the episode sketches the Enterprise as a mundane but bustling workplace; we see stellar cartography, finally get to see some blue shirts doing work, hang out at Ten Forward, watch Riker juggle department heads, watch different departments bureaucratically fight for ship's resources, and get to explore the ship's catacombs and Jefferies tubes. I like when TNG takes this approach, something which only a few episodes do (Data's Day and Lower Decks come to mind, any others?).

    This episode also inspired the "musical duet" episodes in Voyager and DS9, one of the few times TNG invented a Trek sub-genre which would be parroted by subsequent Trek series (TNG mostly elaborated upon TOS formulas).

    One thing no one else has mentioned: One of Picard's final lines here is "I've lost people under my command. People who were very dear to me. But never someone I've been in love with." He chooses his words very carefully. He doesn't say "someone I love", but "I've been in love with", a kind of implied, brutally pragmatic, past tense.

    @ Ross Carlton

    I agree with all of your points. But an Fminor does not contain an A, it has an Aflat. The difference between an Fminor and a diminished D is, in fact, a whole tone ~ from Cnatural to Dnatural; from the 5th of the Fminor to the root of the Ddiminished.

    Good, Star Trek did not only have one of the earliest interracial kisses , and a black officer (Uhura). They did also have roles for Normal aged women. Stewart was around 54 and Huges around 42. Still a significant differences but she is a mature woman.

    I liked the story. My memory was the she died in the storm but this was defensively a better and logical ending. Star Trek is unrealistic, what I do not like is when the characters are behaving unrealistic. Here the love storey, although being quite fast, comes over realistically. Good script and good acting from Stewart and Huges.

    It is a high quality non action episode. I like these.

    Great Episode.

    I always liked that one, i like Patrick Stewart in the role and as Troi
    said it, it was very pleasing to see him truly happy.

    I also really liked Riker here. I thought he handled the whole Situation
    very professional. Also a good Performance by Frakes.

    The Scene with Picard finger-fencing with him was great! The look on his face.

    What to say about Nella and the Romance......hmmm....great chemistry,
    good acting, one of the best scenes in all of TNG (Jeffereys Tube scene)

    No complaints there...would have been a clear 4Star Episode for me but
    that is my personal view and in now way meant as critique to the review.

    Have to add that this website really enhances my experience on rewatches,
    great work even if there are some reviews where i have to object but thats
    the point of a review. It`s always personal. Yes if someone does this
    often then there should be continuity.

    But ask yourself guys. This reviews are often years old.
    If you had rated those years ago?
    Would the rating be the same as you gave today?


    I have to add one thing* wich i really caught for the first time now.

    I first watched all of this as a Teenager, not every Episode in order, but over the
    years on reruns i think i got all Episodes at least once.

    Then some years ago i bought the whole 7 Season Set.
    Then a friend gifted me the Set with the 2-Part Episodes....
    I'm thankfull of it anyway but it was a bit superflous. :)

    To topic:

    *The scene where Picard puts his Flute away after thinking Cmd. Darren (Nella)
    is dead. Again it is Patrick Stewarts ability to convey emotions wich sells the scene.*

    Wow.....this really touched me.

    This Episode always makes me a little is lifting your spirit all the time
    and then you are faced with a hard but necessary reality.
    (i too doubt the necessitiy of this...i think for the last 1,5 seasons
    they could/should have taken the brave step of including her to the cast.)

    I can't stop to praise Stewart in this Episode, there are some Episodes i
    watch only for him.

    This is a lost opportunity for a really fullfilling relationship for both of them,
    but they are both taking something with them, wich will be there for all
    their life. And this is the great thing about that Episode.

    It shows you that even a relationship you really were invested in(love?),
    but wich didn't come to pass, can give you something good wich you take
    with you for life.

    I like that one!


    "(i too doubt the necessitiy of this...i think for the last 1,5 seasons
    they could/should have taken the brave step of including her to the cast.) "

    I don't think there was ever a chance this was happening. I mean physically-speaking Darren is a better-looking Bev. By this point in the show I think they were trying to milk the crap out of any sexual tension Picard and Crusher had anyhow.


    Yes, you are right, there was never a real chance for that given TNG's format but
    i really would have liked to see it happen. The outlook of having Picard
    deal with this for a few Episodes would have been great, but as i knew the series
    beforehand i knew it would not happen. Just would have liked it.

    I have to disagree a bit on the Crusher thing, most of the time i liked the
    subdued tension there. It was there in "Attached" and that was one of the
    2 things that Episode got right. Also i find both good looking. McFadden is a bit
    cold, but maybe thats her giving her that much.

    Anyway it is true there was never a chance for this to go forth.

    The network would never have allowed a new regular character; they'd never want to blow the money on that. Anyhow the rest of the cast would probably have had their agents battle the studio if they tried.

    "McFadden is a bit cold, but maybe thats her giving her that much. "

    No, I think it's just her. She was fired after S1 for basically bringing very little to the table in terms of charisma or acting chops. She was only brought back due to fan appeals, and due to the fact that the guy responsible for the sacking...was sacked.

    @Peter G.

    Not arguing, but i think bringing her back due to "fan appeals" is somewhat telling.

    I am really no Crusher supporter, i just found the mention of the actress of Nella Daren, being a better looking Crusher, not fair.

    First of all it is subjective, second it is not the broad opinion, yes Crusher is no
    fan favorit, but i think that is not the Actress fault. defending but i am
    generally not comfortable with calling out other peoples looks.
    Beverly Crusher on the TNG Run was annoying, bad written, but in no way unattractive. As i said i too found her cold and a little to much "to-business" but that is the Character not the Person playing it.

    (But....if you ask me personally....i am also smitten by the Nella Daren Actress.
    Maybe cause i love Dark hair but she is such a great Person to Partner Picard.)

    On this board, i really often have a hard time telling apart peoples opinion
    of an Actor to that of an Character. Sometimes it is specified but most often
    it goes without mention who is being meant. (Character or Actor)

    But, that is Star Trek and this is why we love it. Sink right in and forget.
    I often take the stance of some Character as well and i think this is what
    makes a great series.


    Hi Spot81,

    Actually I think McFadden was rather attractive, more so than Sirtis. Although I do have to agree that a permanent Neela Darren would have been awesome. But that being said the writers for these shows usually get their cues from the actors involved. If what they see is exciting they'll want to write about it; it's pretty much as simple as that. It's a given that the star of the show will get a lot of episodes, but for the rest of the cast in a way the casting process is ongoing and they have to sell themselves each show so that the writers have something to work with. Sure, the character bibles and story writing would have been all there to work with prior to filming the first few episodes, but once it started airing regularly script submissions would be based on what they saw in the performance.

    You can check out Voyager for a really good example of cast members that set themselves apart and those that didn't, because those that didn't basically wrote themselves out of the show. The exception is probably Tuvok, who got written out solely because of Seven's introduction, so he really got screwed there. But overall it should come as no surprise that Harry and Chakotay got benched, while Doc ended up the de facto star of the show along with Seven.

    McFadden had plenty of chance to shine even despite crappy scripting but as you mention plays every scene as just business and inserted nothing of her own. Sure, some great writer could just make up stuff for her to say that obliges her to show some character, but most writers will work with what's already there. If you don't give them much they won't come up with much for you. You can look at Garak from DS9 as well to see an actor that inspired the writers to bring him back. The original intention was for it to be a one-time appearance, and - on an unrelated series - the same is true of the Bester character on Babylon 5.

    Re: fans asking for her back, I don't dislike her my any means, and am quite fond of Remember Me, but that being said I think back then the fans were going to latch on the original cast as being "it" regardless of their merits or demerits. Let's face it: Denise Crosby wasn't much good on the show, but that didn't stop fans from deifying her departure. This was in an age before "Eh, I wish they'd kill her off already" was a thing. So I wouldn't take a fan's attachment to the cast as an untouchable sacred thing to necessarily be a reflection on what each cast member was really bringing to the table.

    Hi, Peter G.

    (this is getting long....)
    Most of this i can sign without a second thought.

    Some things i would like to point out:

    The Voyager cast for example, those where hit or miss.
    Some of them made the most memorable Star Trek
    portrayals. Tuvok as you said is one of my favourites too.
    Tbh i think him the best Vulcan ever but i have to admit i never
    watched TOS....i just cant stand is too cheesy....too bad
    production values even if i tell myself it is old.
    (And from the bits i have seen from TOS i am not a Spock fan either.....)
    I mean he (Spock) defined what a Vulcan has to be (from what he got from the writers) this is unfair from the start.

    Everyone else had the chance to build of what he did.....but born to late to love Spock sry....just can't get into TOS. I feel deeply ashamed. :)

    I really would like to elaborate on Tuvok but i think it is suffice to say that i
    would have made him main baddy in "Starship Mine".

    May have prevented him from playing Tuvok later, so maybe the writers made the right choice. :) Tim Russ really is a great addition to the ST Universe.

    Doc really confirms your Theory, he definetly made main (and i mean main....sry restofcast) because of his Performance. Just the same as Picard, just having an Episode with him as the main character makes for a great watch. And i also
    heard he is a great guy at Conventions. :) Can not say much of that from Germany but i always liked those people who do not despise their
    career-making Characters.....just think of yourself....despise the company
    that helped you get succesful...thats not good manners...that is unprofessional.

    Stop on that, new topic. :)

    It is true, that most people (me included), have a totally distorted view at how those series are produced. On rewatches i always try to take it in as an objective
    observer but that often fails. It is very intriguing to hear those things about the cast battling for Screentime and importance. I can very well imagine that.

    Your Garak comparison is really a great example. That Character really made me like him over a couple seasons. But i think this would have been possible with
    some of TNG's characters as well...sometimes they just don't get something
    to work with.

    Tasha, never liked her...never missed her, never was thrilled by her
    reappearance. Hard to blame that on anyone...there is just nothing to
    talk about.....maybe just the writers never gave her something to shine.

    Nice discussion by the way, not used to such polite disagreements on the
    internet. :-)

    Wow, no respect for Nimoy’s depiction of Spock in two live TV shows and eight films? I can’t imagine the Vulcans ever staying on the franchise without him.

    Can fully understand that. I just did not get the chance to get into
    TOS in due time, first time i watched it must be like >2000.

    And sorry...i dont mind old if my favourite movies is
    "12 angry men" but i just cant stand old TOS+TOS movies.

    And it was not the thing in Germany that it was in the US.
    So i simply find it cheap. Not much more to say...i tried to
    watch TOS but i cant bring myself to like it.

    I did not say anything about Nimoys depiction that is not true!
    I think most of the Star Trek Actors did a great and underrated job.
    Science fiction has a hard time attracting good

    I consider this a beautiful episode with tremendous acting performances by Patrick Stewart and the very likeable Wendy Hughes. I was pleasantly surprised that there was no throwaway "B" subplot to throw red meat to those who expect action in every episode, and for that I give the writers a lot of credit. Also for daring to have multiple lengthy scenes where the characters do no more then play music and react to one another, mostly non-verbally. Perhaps it helps to be of a certain age to appreciate the nuances. Picard showed a fragility here, especially when he smiled at Neela's encouragement during the lessons, that really sold the romance.

    Of course Neela wasn't going to last more than one episode but it was handled as well as could be expected. At least she wasn't killed off. I'd give this a solid 3.5 stars.

    4/4. The two main leads did not put a foot wrong. This was an excellent example of TNG at its best.

    I like this episode, more or less, but I have to subtract a few points for the character of Nella Daren, whom I found extremely annoying. I don't know if that's the actress's natural persona or if she was directed to play the character that way, but she annoyed me. Most of the time she seemed haughty, and what was up with her saying to Crusher, "I guess the captain and I overdid it last night"? It seemed like a juvenile (at best) attempt to brag about her relationship with Picard. (And no, I'm not inferring any sexual innuendo in that remark.)

    Due to Stewart's terrific acting, this romance episode was entirely engaging until near the end when rescue away teams were sent to set up thermal deflectors to temporarily protect a remote base from an approaching firestorm. Why were they only wearing on board uniforms instead of thermally protective space suits? Eight of the team died because the deflectors could not cross-connect automatically, requiring the away team to stay in place to make manual adjustments until all of the colonists were evacuated.
    Spiner, as Data mimicing a small talk master in the previous episode shows that he is another terrific actor in this series.

    I rewatched this the other day on Netflix (I hadn't watched it in HD, it's always nice to rewatch a TNG ep in HD that you haven't seen it before). I love this episode for many reasons. First Wendy Hughes: as an Aussie I was a fan of hers and so I was thrilled to see her on TNG. She didn't change her accent at all, so it was a thrill to have an Australian, a classy Australian (not some red neck yobbo) on my favourite show. The chemistry between her and Patrick Stewart was palpable. The show was well written but you can't write chemistry, between another two actors this could have been a dreadful bore but thankfully it wasn't.

    I guess the part that sticks with me is when Picard explains the significance of his Flute, something which is obviously difficult for him to talk about. I love the scene very much. I love "The Inner Light" and although I wouldn't technically call this a sequel, it's still nice to get it referenced in a major way which is relevant to the plot.

    I can't help but think that if TNG were made these days it would be a very different show with complex story arcs that require lots of focus and attention. Essentially with most episodes (or two parters) are pretty much self contained and apart from some storylines (eg Worf's discommendation, Picard being assimilated etc) there aren't that many story arcs. I wonder if they ever remade TNG (and it's probably inevitable, recasting the characters) how different it might be.

    Loved the bits with the inner light theme, brought a tear or two. The tear then disappeared when the kiss scene happened. Stewart has two weaknesses - fighting, and kissing, but that's it.

    An aside - I really wish people would put frickin spoiler warnings here if they are going to reference episodes after the one in question. I've had parts of the season finale ruined twice now. Just because its an old series, doesn't mean everyone has seen it.

    @Bobbington Mc Bob -- it seems a bit preposterous to crow about spoilers for an episode that is TWENTY-FIVE freaking years old, no? ;-)

    I just have to chime in and say this is such a fantastic episode, and I normally enjoy the mindless episodes like Starship Mine and Genesis. Darren is such a great character, she has more depth in one episode than Yar/Troi/Crusher ever get. I would've like to see more of her, although understand why that didn't happen.

    Riker was also good here, and I agree with the other comments about how it's nice to see more of the normal day-to-day startship operations.

    4/4 stars for me.

    Overall a so so look at the captain's continuing isolation. It was done in a clunky manner. Picard sends lots of people to risky away missions. But lets say he can't handle this one.

    I think a lot of the leadup was unnecessary and I have some nitpicks:

    I enjoyed the romance at the start. So good to see the Captain dating someone else accomplished and passionate about life like Vash. However, I noticed in their interactions at the beginning they were all encyclopedic in nature: no personal experiences or feelings were shared at all, only factual things. This doomed them as a couple as it meant no real intimacy was being created as is created by the sharing of difficult or sensitive thoughts or experiences. Yes its true they played instruments together.

    It's funny there are no regulations on affairs between officers. Its funny how the captain's concern is that his objectivity be compromised. There is no harassment concern at all. This always make me think that the writers are too isolated and limited in their life experiences and have never worked in an enterprise(no pun intended) where these things have been thought through and the perils and remedies identified. And no this isn't just because this is 1993 or whenever. And Troi gives her permission as "cutting off emotions can have serious consequences". Troi pack up your things. You are officially useless.

    Its funny that Nella asks Picard why he is sharing his experience with the planet probe. IT was a HUGE experience. Imagine not sharing that. So Picard reaches out with some real intimacy. And Nella's response? hmmmm

    Then the episode continues as if workplace relationships have never been experienced anywhere in the galaxy and they are truly being exploratory once again....

    then wow Picard jokes about firing her if she doesn't remain effective. yes it was done lightheartedly but seriously..

    overall I did enjoy the romance for Picard which was the point afterall… at least it wasn't a minuet type character.

    I just feel that the solution was a little rushed and showed a real weakness in Picard. The people on his ship put themselves in danger all the time and would have it no other way. He allows his own fear to interfere in Nella's life. Now they have no relationship AND she is off the flagship.


    Dreary,predictable, unengaging.
    If I wanted a romantic story I'd read Jane Austen.

    “Dreary,predictable, unengaging“

    One could say the same about your reviews. ;-)

    I love this episode. But I love it for the music, and I can see how if you don't get into the music, it may look different. I'll just gush about the recital scene here:

    When I saw violin, cello, piano on stage, I was thinking violin and cello concerto with piano accompaniment. But then they launch into almost a piano concerto with violin and cello accompaniment. It's Chopin, so it highlights the pianist, lets her be romantic and show off her technical chops. It says a lot about her character. Nice choice Darren :).

    I love how the actors approach their instruments, and the camera-angle tricks which are so understated you almost wonder why they even bothered to do them. But they did, and knowing that they really cared about this scene makes it that much more fun to watch.

    My theory on Picard's remark after the recital: maybe she just flubbed a note. A flub's not a big deal, and in most circumstances no one would have ever noticed. But Picard notices? It says something about his character; he's probably been listening to recordings of this piece alone on the computer in his room to "prepare" for the recital. And he's probably missing the social context of live performance, so he doesn't recognize a flub for what it is. He assumes it's an artistic choice. It then says something about Darren's character that a half second later they've forgotten all about it and are making plans to play together. So smooth, Darren :).

    Inner Light the prequel is on almost every top 10 list of STNG episodes - and to see this story resurface is poignant. The role of Nella, the casting is near perfect - a 100% believable Picard romantic interest (she is European in fact and does a great job of hiding her accent and RIP died of cancer in 2014). Back to the episode - I will never forget Picard's line (paraphrasing) - I wanted you to know what my music means to me - and what it means to be able to share it with someone and then she touches his face so tenderly with understanding as Nella is a serious musical person. And then at the end - Picard saying how it was like 'the day the music died' when he thought she was dead - the risk of merging yourself - and not being able to take that risk again. A great episode on its own - and cannot be appreciated or really understood without seeing the epic Inner Light first - enjoy both!

    Good camerawork in this episode. Regarding Riker's posture, Jonathan Frakes suffers from a back injury. It's possible it was bothering him more than usual during filming.

    When Picard and Crusher left their meal in a hurry to attend the concert, I wondered if there is mold in the future. It seems plausible their environmental systems would filter it out. When Troi sat behind Picard at the concert, I half expected her to say, "Captain, I sense you are quite randy."

    I was amused when Picard was impressed by the technology of a novelty rollup piano that might have existed by this episode's filming. Its invention wouldn't have been far off otherwise; those things have been around for a long time.

    It's fun to pretend that Picard is actually crazy when he's telling the story of his probe life. In reality, his date would be scoping the closest exit. Maybe Geordi can help Picard recreate his girlfriend on the holodeck and then have her find out about it the following season.

    "I was amused when Picard was impressed by the technology of a novelty rollup piano that might have existed by this episode's filming. Its invention wouldn't have been far off otherwise; those things have been around for a long time."

    It's a 31-key keyboard that somehow manages to produce the full range of pitches of an actual 88-key piano.

    I would be impressed too. ;-)

    @Del_Duio: You're entitled to your opinion even when it is wrong. Dr. Crusher is definitely better looking.

    First, I really liked this episode, and that it was tied to The Inner Light, my favorite was a bonus.

    It ended exactly as he should. Would had been a real downer if Nella died on the planet. Picard didn't need a wifey. He already had one in Crusher. But for me, I couldn't have that deep of a platonic relationship with a woman. Close female friends were friends with benefits. Of course everytime we had an understanding, the woman would mess it up by falling in love, saying they can't help it. I get enough seeing Miles going home to his wife in a few episodes. It wouldn't be Trek if Picard went on an away mission, and turned down some strange that was thrown his way because Nella was waiting with dinner as soon as he got back, and he better not be late. "It's Good to be the King".

    I know this was an episode from 1993, but 15 years later, that roll up keyboard is common place. And if you want to call that flute playing music, well ok. It sounded just like the plastic flutes we played when I was in the 5th grade. I was so happy when in the 6th grade you could take band class and get a real instrument to play. I chose the Trumpet.

    As for Riker getting all miffed when Nella made an offer to a crew member. It looked like that was the only job he had on the ship, and she took away the hard decision to allow a crew member to move to a new section on the ship from him. "It was my job!!"

    Not sure why the crew would care who the captain hooked up with. As long as they aren't making out in public, who cares? Picard never had a problem with people seeing him hanging out with Crusher all the time. And she visited his cabin on the regular for talk and tea. There would be speculation in what they did behind closed doors. He definitely never pretended he didn't know her in the turbolift. They were close buddies. Nella was a Commander, so why couldn't they also be friends without him being all up tight about it? How many times has Troi been in his Ready Room? Never saw him leave the door propped open for appearances sake while she did some "counseling" . The writers write these episodes thinking people hadn't seen all the other episodes.

    At least Riker didn't have a problem marrying some chick he met in a holosuite in the episode where the little boy made him believe he was married with a kid while the boy catfished him. Just like the advice the Lt. Rasczak gave Johnny Rico in Starship Troopers, "Never pass up a good thing".

    I was never impressed with Gates McFadden as an actor, and therefore, as a love interest for Picard. Wendy Hughes was an excellent actor, taken much too young, and was a stellar (no pun) love interest for Picard. RIP Wendy Hughes.

    I found this one quite slow and dull, until the last 20 minutes or so, and then I was won over. The tension builds quite powerfully toward the conclusion, with the storm approaching over the planet's surface - and I was as affected by the tension over the potential consequences to Picard's relationship, as to the lives of the colonists and the perimeter teams.

    And the ending is beautifully acted, and poignant. That it's the end of their relationship doesn't need to be spoken.

    I enjoyed the reference to The Inner Light. I thought we were going to make do with just the flute and a brief mention of where it came from, so I was pleased that Picard explained it in detail.

    Picard states that there are no regulations about relationships with other officers, but surely there would be a rule against having a relationship with someone in your line of command. Even in an investment firm, where no-one is likely to send anyone else into lethal danger, it's impossible to have a partner in the same reporting chain. It's impossible for anyone whose boss is further up the food chain to get a salary increase or promotion without it causing resentment among their colleagues.

    I don't really get how someone as talented and committed a pianist as Daren obviously is would have time for Starfleet and stellar cartography.

    The foldout piano is quite cute, but I don't think a proper pianist would put up with a touch keyboard for long. It's about a bit more than just hitting the right notes. I do believe you can actually buy those, now.

    Good one.

    We know she's gonna get away in the end, because captains are, well, married to their ships. And the man doesn't give up his career to follow the woman in hers.
    Patrick Stewart's funny looks and mediocre acting subvert the notion of him as a romantic character.
    Fortunately, the legendary Aussie actress Wendy Hughes, who died in 2014 at only 61 years, has looks, screen charisma and acting chops to save the entire enterprise (pedestrian pun fully intended!). A performance among any top list one would care to compile.
    Despite the ludicrous hairdo, she achieves stature and dignity in her role that's a master class in every respect.
    Vale, Wendy. You've rocked it all the way!

    I am reading a few lukewarm responses to "Lessons," and I have to disagree.

    I also think this episode deserves another half-star, simple in the light of it being possibly the most heart-felt and believable romance story I have ever seen in a single episode of a television series.

    Shows can cheat with time; there is the time frame that the episode gives you, and the time frame the episode can *appear* to entail. I think that the time frame over which these events happen (in this episode) is kept deliberately vague. That's an extremely smart writing choice, for a single-episode romance story; hey, what if they were dating for some several months, and this episode just 'forgot' to say so? The story still functions as well as it would have, if it were only over the course of 3 days. This kind of writing in Star Trek is *chef kiss* bravissimo.

    Add into that that Wendy Hughes *sells* the performance. Famke Jannsen has gone on to movie stardom in retrospect, but I find Ms. Hughes to be far more believable as an officer and as a person, and as a musician (I am also one and she is delightful, I'd love to play a jam session with Lt.Cmdr. Darren).

    To go further on that point, the scene in Picard's quarters where she teaches him that he can improvise is, by far, the single most realistic depiction of music performance that I have seen committed to celluloid, bar none, for the rest of eternity. Shows tend to fake this and this one is no exception, but the dialogue about music that intersperses their actual playing is top-shelf. Whoever wrote this has a background in improvisational playing, and that is super cool to me.

    I do think the reset-button-antics of the episode tend to hurt the overall story, but they were also unavoidable as anyone familiar with television production knows. But this balancing act is difficult even for a show that doesn't have to whip up firestorms to get the episode out of the way. ST:TNG managed to make me sad that Picard and Darren's relationship had to be sidelined, and I mean honestly sad. She seems like a good fit for Picard. I hope she's still around and would consider doing some episodes of Picard Season 2, to be honest. I want Nella Darren back. This was a moment where Star Trek seemed like it was really doing stories, just for the sake of doing the story, and it's something that I feel like the franchise has let lay fallow for too long.

    What’s with the weird expression on Riker’s face in his first scene, right after the credits? I thought that was going to pay off but it didn’t.

    Honestly, I think they separated becaus the writers did not know tho handle her in future episodes and the producers would like to spend the money for another qualified actor.

    They where the perfect couple. So far we have not heard so very much from atrophysics. Enterprice is a ship for exploration. Picard is the captain of the ship and its operations. Astrophysics is the Sciences part. Under normal cirumstances the intrests of Astraphysics would not interfere with operations of Enterprise.

    But I am glad that they parted. Having to go throug Picard's marriage problems every now and then , no thanks.

    By the way. I really liked the Episode and the acting.

    [I started this episode in January, then saved it to watch with my piano-playing daughter and only got back to it just now, which is why I have the short comment about the beginning just upthread and a much longer comment now.]

    I absolutely loved this episode. I approached it with trepidation, because I had loved "Inner Light" so much and was worried this wouldn't be able to stand in its shadow--or worse, might even tarnish the earlier episode in retrospect. So I was actually shocked by how great this is. I don't know if I can say it's actually as good as "Inner Light", but it's one of the very few episodes of Trek that comes close.

    4 stars.

    @grumpy otter: "I really thought they were going to kill her off--so was on the edge of my seat during the action parts."

    Me too! Incredibly tense. And a really nice way to put a scientist in believable peril that involved risking a smaller number of crewmembers to save a larger number of colonists, without there being any kind of evil alien monsters or anything like that.

    @Joseph S.: I was shocked to hear that Wendy Hughes had died in 2014. Much too young!

    @CPUFP: "What is up with Jonathan Frakes in this episode? His facial expression and posture is slightly off in all his scenes. Had me thinking he might have been drunk on set."

    I obviously wondered about that too. It was strange for sure. But I didn't think it was in all of his scenes. In the ones where he kind of butted heads with Daren over ship's resources, and when he went to talk to the captain, he was fine. But he definitely had a few scenes where he had a really goofy look about him.

    @Trent: "What I like best, though, is how the episode sketches the Enterprise as a mundane but bustling workplace; we see stellar cartography, finally get to see some blue shirts doing work, hang out at Ten Forward, watch Riker juggle department heads, watch different departments bureaucratically fight for ship's resources, and get to explore the ship's catacombs and Jefferies tubes."

    Yes! This was a really cool aspect of the episode for sure. Good call.

    @Maq: "It is a high quality non action episode. I like these."

    There was no combat, and I like that as well, but I found the struggle to survive against the firestorm to qualify as action--and very tense action at that!

    @Bobbington McBob: "I really wish people would put frickin spoiler warnings here if they are going to reference episodes after the one in question. I've had parts of the season finale ruined twice now. Just because its an old series, doesn't mean everyone has seen it."

    Cosigned. Actually, the older a series is, the more likely people *haven't* seen it and maybe weren't even alive when it aired! If they are going through it now, they should be able to go along with comment sections without seeing un-warned spoilers for later episodes.

    @Justin: "it seems a bit preposterous to crow about spoilers for an episode that is TWENTY-FIVE freaking years old, no?"

    Again, not at all! I am showing my kids these series and none of them were alive when it aired. It's weird that people think the older a show or movie is, the less spoiler alerts are needed. I heard a podcast host mock the idea of giving a spoiler alert for "a 70-year-old movie". Like some 25 or 30 year old listening is automatically going to have seen it? Or even someone of any age? (It wasn't a famous movie--in fact I'd never heard of it.)

    I would say that although you should always give spoiler warnings, the time when it is least needed is within a year or so after something that's really a huge, blockbuster-famous type movie or show has come out. Everyone has had a chance to see it, they should definitely know about it, and it hasn't been so long that they were too young to catch it when it came out.

    You and I do agree on the rating for this wonderful episode though. :-)

    @The_Man: "You're entitled to your opinion even when it is wrong. Dr. Crusher is definitely better looking."

    To me, it's you who is wrong and Nella is clearly more attractive. De gustibus.

    @MidshipmanNorris: "possibly the most heart-felt and believable romance story I have ever seen in a single episode of a television series"

    In a single episode? You might be right!

    In anything other than TNG I would have loved this. In fact, expanded more and fleshed out, it might have made a good romantic movie.

    Unfortunately, for a 45-minute episode of a sci-fi series, it was dull as ditchwater. The only surprise was that Nella didn’t die, which seemed to be flagged earlier. Series like Star Trek shouldn’t really do soap opera.

    2 stars for earnest attempt to “do” romance, but it didn’t really succeed. P.S. I liked the musical bits…

    Ordinarily, I'd readily agree with Tidd's comment above but, for some reason, Picard and the science broad pulled it off in that it was not boring to watch or follow.

    What made NO sense was for this to be a self-contained 45-minute episode, after which life goes back to the way it was at its opening scene as if nothing ever happened. Love, of all feelings, does not work that way. You do not go through the butterlies-in-the-stomach, will-she-won't-she courtship, learning about each other, discovering commonalities, creating memories, fearing losing the other, and what-next? phases only to say "well, that was something, never mind, see ya around" in 75 seconds. Just ridiculous.

    Also ridiculous is the captain hooking (shacking?) up with a crewman under his command. Workplace romances are generally "frowned upon" and usually subject to strict protocols but in what is effectively a military institution such as Starfleet they'd be almost certainly banned. For Picard not have realized that AND for Troi to have given the relationship her imprimatur beggars belief.

    Still, a neat enough episode...

    3.5 stars. This was a beautiful story, beautiful music, and excellent acting by all involved.

    \I really like the attention paid to Riker's actual duties. Those of us who never served on any kind of naval vessel, it gives you a sense that there's a lot more to his job than just being with the captain on the bridge and leading away missions. He has to navigate staffing and equipment/sensors/main deflector demands for types of departments (not real names but types of names) Atmospherics, Stellar Cartography, Quantum Mechanics, probably a number of others, all climbing over each other to get the resources they want. Jonathan Frakes played it well too, showing frustration in saying quantum-whatever-doesn't-want-to-give-him-upin and giving you a sense his character has gone through this type of request numerous times.

    That's a really good observation, Dark Kirk. It reminds me on DS9 when they're reading the criminal activities report. It makes it feel like there are people living there and it's more than just the scenes you see in the episode.

    My nits. First, Riker. As mentioned before, it was nice for the series to show him as actually having responsibilities. That said, I don't think he should have gone to Picard and voiced how uncomfortable he was with admonishing Nella because of Picard's involvement with her. First, Riker didn't get to be Number 1 by whining to Picard when "he feels uncomfortable". I liked Picard's responses to him, more or less telling him to "deal with it"

    Second, I find this the height of hypocrisy. Who wouldn't be uncomfortable unloading to the ship's counselor when it's known she's diddled around with Number 1 off and on for years and anything said could go right to the big guy? If Riker and Troi thought no one was on to their little interludes, they are hugely kidding themselves.

    Third, I don't fault Nella for doing things her way. I have worked for directors, who for years, encouraged employees to "think outside the box", only to completely change their tune when their subordinates actually "thought outside the box". As we never saw Riker ever hold a staff meeting with any of his department heads, I suspect Nella may not have known that she was violating some honored tradition by trying to nab a talented crewman for her department without going to Riker.

    I generally like Riker, but in this case, I found him extremely annoying.

    I just watched this episode, and it was as though I was seeing it for the first time. I enjoyed it. In my opinion, it was one of the few Star Trek episodes that handled a starship romance very well, and yet.......

    Previously mentioned, this seemed to be just the relationship for Picard, yet, as also previously mentioned, we all knew it was going to come to an end. I keep wondering why it is that a Captain cannot have a romantic relationship with a crewman, but also be allowed to take it to a permanent level, like marriage.

    I adore this episode. Yeah, sure, it's a romance-of-the-week, but she's a pretty awesome and cultured woman and there's a great connection to The Inner Light. It's one of those simple, character-driven, wholesome episodes that makes TNG one of the greatest shows of all time.

    I found it interesting that Daren actually did play an F minor chord in place of a diminshed chord in the Chopin. The stuffy classical musician attitudes of course are on full display in various comment sections including this one. I love performing the music but have distanced myself from the scene quite gladly over the last few years for this reason among others.
    I'm just pleased such detail actually went into the performance! Yes the chords are written as rolled chords on the score (bars 4 and 8) so a debate over nomenclature considering rolled chords are essentially arpeggios/arpeggiated chords ends up being tiresome.
    Secondly the attitude of "you don't change Chopin" is so ridiculously pompous and goes against the spirit of art and music everywhere on the planet (aside from 20th/21st Century classical performance apparently). Not only would performers ornament and improvise "classical" music back in its day but the idea that a futuristic Utopian society would still have the same modern day hangups over altering a 'Classical' score is ridiculous. Don't impose your pretentious modern rules on a fictional, developed future!
    As for my own take, the bar 8 chord is a semitone lower than the bar 4 dim chord which works structurally as the piece descends and feels darker over bars 5-8. Playing F minor instead is a subtle change but it does make the chord feel more bold, creating a bolder sound for the introduction. I think it's nice and worthy of performance.
    Would Picard pick up on that though? If he's already particularly familiar with the piece and has a solid ear, yes. Considering what (little) we know of him as an accomplished musician from previous episodes though, I feel it's a stretch.

    One of TNG's better episodes, but what I really love about it is the poignant musical callback to The Inner Light.

    I know I'm several years late to the discussion, but I think the reason there is no central "Science Officer" shown on the Enterprise D is because there is no central science department.

    On the original Enterprise, the ship was much smaller and hypothetically all of the science officers had to multitask a lot more. One relatively small team of scientists had to fill whatever roll was asked of them for whatever they encountered out in space, and that team all reported to the head science officer. Spock.

    In the case of the Enterprise D, it's made blatantly clear that the ship is a lot bigger, almost the size of a small town. They have multiple specialized scientific departments with dedicated teams. Stellar Cartography is one of those departments. It wouldn't be practical for one individual to directly oversee that many scientific teams so instead of having one single science officer, each specialized team has it's own department head. Those department heads aren't bridge officers but they do report to bridge officers, such as Data or Riker.

    In the case of DS9, the whole setup was small enough (probably less staff than the original Enterprise) so having a single dedicated science officer made sense in that case.

    @ JonR,

    I don't think a generalist would be incapable of heading up different departments. I do think the real issue on TNG is that Data is the resident Vulcan, and you can't have two technically-minded people on the bridge. It's just too redundant. So while Data's job is Ops, he is functionally the science officer. And listen to most of his dialogue on the bridge - he's talking science stuff and solving mysteries. Rarely do we see him just operating ships systems, and in fact many of the functions I would assume the Ops officer would do seem to be given to Tactical for story purposes (launching probes, etc).

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