Star Trek: The Next Generation


3 stars

Air date: 11/8/1993
Written by Nick Sagan
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The Enterprise arrives to open diplomatic relations with the bifurcated world of Kesprytt, which has petitioned for entry into the Federation. Correction: The Kes have applied for Federation membership; the isolated Prytt have not made any such request and, indeed, apparently do not even talk with the Kes government with which they share a planet. Picard and Crusher beam down to the planet to meet a Kes delegation but are intercepted by the Prytt and thrown into a holding cell and accused of being Kes spies. The Prytt install brain implants that are ostensibly used to obtain truthful information from the prisoners, but which have the side effect of telepathically linking Picard and Crusher so they can hear each other's thoughts.

From here emerges two story strands connecting the overall premise: Picard and Crusher escape their holding cell (with the help of some covert Kes operatives) and must deal with the consequences of being joined at the hip (the device doesn't allow them to move more than a few feet from each other) and privy to each other's thoughts, while Riker aboard the Enterprise attempts to open communications with the Prytt to negotiate their release. Riker does this with the help of Kes Ambassador Mauric (Robin Gammell), who offers such wonderfully useful insights as "We don't have any formal diplomatic relations with the Prytt."

Both of these stories work pretty well. What we have here is an effective and balanced episode of exploratory character work (Picard and Crusher), action-adventure (ditto), and a comedy of diplomatic frustration (Riker, Worf, and Mauric). While this is a story much more remembered (and rightly so) for its dialogue breaking down the previously unspoken history of Picard and Crusher, there's also plenty of entertainment to be found in the goings-on aboard the Enterprise, where Mauric reveals just how deeply the dysfunction runs on Kesprytt — and does so with a stunningly oblivious tone-deafness that borders on hilarious. For a world that wants Federation membership and should know to be on its best behavior, its utter failure via Mauric to put up a convincing front — even amid its deep divisions — speaks volumes.

This is played mostly for laughs of the situation's escalating frustration. Mauric is so paranoid of Kes spies that he insists on the highest of security for all discussions, and takes to combing through his quarters for listening devices. There's a running gag as his quarters fill up with big, flashy security scanners and gizmos that turn the room into what looks like a lab. The longer this goes on, the more and more absurdly paranoid Mauric becomes, until he's eventually accusing Riker of a labyrinthine scheme to join in an alliance with the Prytt.

Riker shows great restraint and professionalism in just continuing to even deal with the guy, but I got a good chuckle out of the scene where Mauric announces he's fed up and is leaving, and Riker says, good, and "Make sure you take all this junk with you." Even better is the scene where he lays out for Mauric and his Prytt counterpart exactly why he will be recommending Kesprytt be denied Federation membership. "Attached" may not be to Federation application scenarios as, say, "First Contact" was to first contact scenarios (which is to say definitive), but it does show one such scenario with a decent dose of entertainment value.

The emotional center of the episode is, of course, Picard and Crusher, and how the devices that have connected their thoughts now force them to say things that for many years have gone unsaid. While some of the early I-can-read-your-mind one-liners come across as obvious and hackneyed, the lengthy fireside discussion where Picard reveals that he was at one time, long ago, in love with Crusher (while she was still married to his best friend, no less), strikes the right notes of honest, revealing, and reluctantly confessional. Naturally, you can rarely go wrong with a Patrick Stewart soliloquy, but the dialogue manages to meet the assignment of offering new insights into the characters without running the risk of making grand changes to the status quo. (This is like the long-delayed episode for 'shippers that is written with the restraint and depth that makes it feel organic, rather than like fanfic.)

And there's the story's final scene that manages to (sort of) have its cake and eat it too. I suppose it would be too much to ask that these confessions and feelings open up a new chapter in the relationship between Picard and Crusher (and Picard even floats it as a possibility); the story here is non-committal in its ambiguity. It manages to be satisfying by acknowledging that these two are more than just friends (and the performances are very good), but still plays it safe by maintaining the status quo. For TNG, even in its final season, that feels like an appropriate choice.

Previous episode: Dark Page
Next episode: Force of Nature

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78 comments on this post

Sat, Oct 27, 2012, 8:54pm (UTC -6)
This is thankfully one of the few episodes of season 7 that doesn't involve high concept sci fi wackiness, technobabble, and/or family members from our hero's past. It's a simple story and it's a nice, subtle set up for one of the plot threads in the finale, "All Good Things..." And for this, I am grateful.
Sat, Oct 27, 2012, 11:11pm (UTC -6)
That review pretty much sums up the episode as I saw it. By no means great, but still a nice little hour that manages to combine insights into the characters with a look at how the Federation actually works in a diplomatic situation.

One little nitpick: "Mauric is so paranoid of Kes spies..." Shouldn't that be "Prytt spies"?
Sun, Oct 28, 2012, 5:06am (UTC -6)
This to me in the very opposite of "Dark Page." I found it horrendously contrived, with the mind-linkers having absolutely no purpose in the story whatsoever other than to force the Picard-Crusher relationship forward. When a technobabble gadget actually has a purpose in the story, I can suspend disbelief and go with it. This has no such quality.
Sun, Oct 28, 2012, 7:51pm (UTC -6)
I'd guess that this might be the most fun Jonathan Frakes has had directing himself...
Mon, Oct 29, 2012, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
This is one of the better mediocre season 7 offerings. But I always took issue with the fact that the away team consisted of only Picard and Crusher.

Riker, obviously, has strong feelings about letting the captain serve on dangerous away missions. And even if this mission wasn't considered dangerous, it's odd that someone else wouldn't on the away team. It would have been better if someone else (Data? Geordi) had planned to go, but the Enterprise had been able to prevent all but Crusher and Picard from being whisked away by the Prytt.

Otherwise, it's a decent episode that explains some of the Picard/Crusher backstory. Of course, the implication from some early episodes -- that Wesley might actually be Picard's son -- is undone here. That's probably OK, though.

Last point. Why would the Federation even consider the Kes for admission? Considering how hard it was for the Bajorans, why the Kes have even gotten a look?
Nick P.
Sun, Nov 4, 2012, 12:30am (UTC -6)
Paul, this episode made me think of DS9 also. and it makes me mad the the producers of the shows so obviously were trying to get the crappy bajorans to be members, when this episode and numerous other episodes show species with the exact same problems and Picards response is "sorry, never".

Why do the stupid bajorans get a starfleet contingent, when you could easily argue these races (or ten others from various episodes) deserve them far more.

AHHHHHH I hate bajorans!!!! Sorry, had to get that out of my system. I just love everything about DS9 so much except the horrible bajorans.
Mon, Nov 5, 2012, 11:39am (UTC -6)
@Nick P: I think we have different opinions here.

The Bajorans, by midway through DS9's run, appeared pretty stable. It made sense to approve them for membership in season 5 (they declined, but that's another story). Season 2? Not so much. But it still seemed that the Bajorans had a tougher time than the aliens here or others (like the goofy aliens in season 1).

Now, as far as stationing Sisko et. al at DS9, that was to get them ready for Federation membership because of the fallout from the Occupation. The Kesprytt probably didn't need that, so comparing Federation aid to Bajor with what the Federation didn't do here is apples and oranges.

BTW, I didn't dislike the Bajorans in total. Sure, they were annoying at times and a bit all over the place. They seemed both war weary and then generally OK with life at the same time. I never understood that.

I was fine when DS9 took the focus off Bajor in season 2. But it's too bad that they didn't ever get Bajor into the Federation. Even a throwaway line in the series finale (e.g. Nog tells Kira that they're planning on the Federation delegation to begin the acceptance proceedings) would have been nice.
Mon, Dec 31, 2012, 11:50pm (UTC -6)
The Kesprytt and Crusher/Picard stories did work well together. The fact that the Prytt brain implants allowed Crusher and Picard to read one another's thoughts helped bring the story along when Crusher finds out that Picard dislikes the complex breakfasts that they had been sharing together...or that Picard had had feelings for her even when Beverly was still married. Finding out about your compatriot's best kept secrets does make for stimulating conversation!

I also liked the fact that Commander Riker faced down the uncooperative Prytt minister and told her that unless her forces returned Picard and Crusher to the safety of the Enterprise, there would be a whole slew of Federation ships visiting the Prytt world and beaming down their crews to ask uncomfortable questions about the missing duo. It certainly made the Prytt minister squirm--and decide to turn over the captured Picard over to the Enterprise as soon as possible. Crusher was alraedy safely in Kes territory by the end of the story.
Wed, Jan 9, 2013, 5:13am (UTC -6)
3 1/2 Stars from me, they should have gone forward and have Picard hook up with the Doctor. Last season what is the harm, the chemistry between the actors sold the episode.
Wed, Mar 13, 2013, 9:48pm (UTC -6)
"It certainly made the Prytt minister squirm--and decide to turn over the captured Picard over to the Enterprise as soon as possible. Crusher was alraedy safely in Kes territory by the end of the story."

That's not the way I remember it. I think Picard and Crusher were in Pryttland, running for the border to cross into Kes World. They used some kind of tricorder wackiness to open a hole in the force field, and when Picard was looking the other way and Crusher saw the Bad Guys coming for them, she shoved Picard through the hole and then got nabbed. I believe when the Prytt minister was contacted by the Bad Guys, they told her, "We have the female. The male is in Kes territory."
Sat, Jun 1, 2013, 9:24pm (UTC -6)
"the lengthy fireside discussion where Picard reveals that he was at one time, long ago, in love with Crusher"

I think this wording, while technically correct, is misleading, as it suggests that Picard explicitly revealed his feelings for Crusher. Actually, she found out by reading his thoughts, and he implicitly confirmed it.
Wed, Jan 29, 2014, 9:15am (UTC -6)
A good title for this episode would have been "The Great Big Copout!' I recall calling the episode in which Picard fell in love with a musician , something like pointless drivel. The idea that Picard cannot have an onboard romance is just stupid to me. Yeah people will talk but they'll lose interest. Wasting an entire episode to come to that conclusion is ludacris.
At least there were other elements in this episode to find entertaining but it was still another colossal waste of time to say the same thing you said before.
I mean how many times do we have to go through all this build up only to have the same outcome.
See what I did there?
Mon, Feb 3, 2014, 4:32pm (UTC -6)
Liked this quite a lot.

But: why on earth did Beverly and Picard not end up together at the end of TNG?? They should have been the ones to get married, not Riker and Troi. I sense very little chemistry between Riker and Troi ;-)

SciFi writers and relationships. Sigh. One of Star Trek's common problems. That, and obviously studios messing things up (see, Antonia, Generations). Quite frustrating at times, when you know just how much better things could have been, as far as relationships go.
Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 9:42am (UTC -6)
Really an episode with two stories. Picard/Crusher and Riker/Prytt/Kess. The Riker story was a tad simplistic and trek cliche...but entertaining and fun.

The Picard/Crusher angle was just awful. So Picard and Crusher have feelings for each oher. Who cares? Trek is about science fiction and abstraction. Not a soap opera in space. The egos are boring and souless. They are only useful to the extent they paint bigger pictures. What was there beyond Crusher/Picard? Nothing. Boring, simple and slow paced.

This was part of a "wrapping up the threads" campaign by Piller and Jeri Taylor for season 7. These writers are "character" zealots and don't understand that characters don't drive good stories but are the byproduct of them. Contrast and metaphor tell good stories...not character conflict.
Thu, Mar 6, 2014, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
Also, midway through the episode, the Kes guy suddenly starts thinking that the Enterprise is working with the Prytt, but then at the end, he still says he wants into the he think the Enterprise has gone rogue from the Federation then? Logically, this episode was a hot mess.
Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 6:13pm (UTC -6)

I don't see the tricorder as being contrived, but it was a huge stroke of good luck.
Sun, Aug 24, 2014, 3:51pm (UTC -6)
I can't speak for anyone else, but to me this episode seemed like an awful lot of effort just for one minute of dialogue. We had an incredibly contrived setup (why was Bev the one to beam down with Picard? Isn't it usually Troi?) with incredibly contrived technology (we are downloading your brainwaves which, coincidentally, will allow you to hear each other's thoughts). And all of that just to get Picard to admit he used to have feelings for Bev. Was that really worth all that effort?

I don't think so. While the Kesprytt were fun to watch, their plot just kinda served to fill time until we could move back to our designated couple. And that's basically what it feels like. The show set Bev and Picard as having a past acquaintance, they were the older members of the crew, and they were brought together as friends throughout the series. So of course the fans are going to try to pair them up romantically. This episode just feels like the writers felt they had to acknowledge this possibility, and so put the whole episode together just to comment on it. And our 7 year payoff is simply to say that there was an attraction in the past, but not anymore. Well, that was worth the wait.

I'm not actually complaining about that being the final resolution. After all, they did work together for quite a while (ignoring season 2), and other than The Naked Now (ugh) and Allegiance (which wasn't the real Picard), there was no sense of a romantic relationship forming between them at all. While TNG tended to play up their relationship whenever Picard had another girl (QPid, Perfect Mate, Lessons), it wasn't really jealousy. Likewise, I don't remember jealousy from Picard in The Host. And given their close relationship, why wouldn't either of them try to start it up if they had any feelings?

I guess the more interesting question then becomes, as they said, what happens now? All Good Things suggests that the feelings aren't entirely dormant. But that's the only time it ever came up again. They certainly seem to suggest that the door is closed, but so be it.

Which means, well, why is there an entire episode about it? Couldn't it have come up in a more organic way? Did we really need magic technology just to get this little piece of revelation? It feels like a bit of a cheap way of doing things. Not

Two more random comments:
- More continuity! We got to see Crusher's fear of heights again! Given that that was the first thing I thought of when we saw that situation in the cave, I'm glad they remembered.
- While most of the Kesprytt storyline was fluff, it was fun to see Riker dressing them both down at the end. I've been harping on the fall of Riker's character for a while, but he is much better here. Maybe Frakes just needs to be directed by Frakes in order to succeed.
Mon, Dec 8, 2014, 12:04am (UTC -6)
I'd rate this episode two stars at best. It's okay, but very dull. The aliens just aren't that interesting. The only thing I like is the bit at the end, and even that would be better if Beverly and Picard actually started dating.
Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 11:29pm (UTC -6)
I think my favorite aspect of this ep was watching Riker give both sides a talking to, jabbing them both in the places where it hurt the most (especially threatening to pester the xenophobic, isolationist Prytt with all of Starfleet's resources as invasively as possible). Very Kirk-like of him, I felt.
sticky steve
Thu, May 21, 2015, 7:31pm (UTC -6)
what an utter bore captain picard is. 1 and 2 season of tng is true star trek, the remainder is commercial filler. That is all.
Fri, Jul 3, 2015, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
I agree with the 3 star rating on this one. I always found Crusher very attractive (guess I have Picard's taste), but it was a shame to see their relationship was basically just a tease. I guess one of those stars is just for the prominent role Bev plays. I frankly found the neck gadgets quite contrived, and even more so when they don't even let the two apart from each other.

There's a whole unexplored political element to this episode as well. It is hinted at in the first scene, when Picard posits that any non-unified planet should not be admitted to the Federation. I personally don't believe that a world government would be a good thing...Just too much chance of unrepresentative politicians and bureaucrats trampling over individual rights. We actually see that hinted at here, on a planet that is ALMOST unified in that they are down to only two governments. One of them is paranoid and obsessed with spying and the other is fine with kidnapping and false imprisonment without trial, not to mention that even their Prime Minister all but panics when he finds himself speaking with an outside party (the Enterprise) without prior clearance from the security folks. The whole planet seems like it's out of the Orwel's 1984. And then there's the forcefield border fence -- surely an orgasmic dream of every xenophobic nativist. I agree the episode's best moment comes when Riker reveals his opinion of Kesprytt.
Mon, Aug 3, 2015, 9:57am (UTC -6)
I liked this episode but it did lose a bit in the rewatch (slipping from 3-1/2 down to 3) I thought a divided planet was an interesting idea. Maybe a different episode where a planet in synchronous orbit around its star, so the dark worlders and light worlders are very different, but contrary to this episode NOT at war, they just don't have anything in common. Two different worlds on one world.
I also liked the telepathic link. Yes, the away time in contrived to get the skinny on this potential couple, but it is interesting. I also liked how the Dr. finds out Picard assumes a mantle of authority and confidence to be an effective captain. This is also well projected in Patrick Stewart's acting of Picard. I thought it was interesting that it was written by Carl Sagan's son Nick Sagan, I thought I heard some buzz about that, so I'm glad I noticed it in the credits.
Sat, Sep 19, 2015, 11:14am (UTC -6)
It was a little myopic that the defense minister was the beginning and the end of contract with the Prytt. Don't they have a prime minister? Leaders of countries are usually at least nominally less suspicious and xenophobic than the others, particular the one that heads the military. If nothing else, it should have been the prime minister that Riker stealthbeamed to the Enterprise at the end.

The notion that if aliens came to visit early in the first decade of the 21st century, that America's representative to them would have been Donald Rumsfeld is rather terrifying.
Wed, Oct 14, 2015, 7:44pm (UTC -6)
One thing that strikes me about Trek is how entire civilizations are represented by a handful of people. Yes, the ambassador was paranoid, but it's hard to imagine a functional society where everybody shares that paranoia.

I've come to think of the portrayal of alien races as simply representing a single facet of the human psyche pushed to an extreme as the most egregious conceit of TNG.
Thu, Oct 15, 2015, 8:46am (UTC -6)
Exactly, JMT, exactly. That's one of the huge problems with "Attached." Yes, the ambassador may be paranoid bordering on delusional, but it can't be possible that everyone in his country shares that paranoia. TNG has always had a problem with Planets of Hats, but this is probably its most unforgivable use. The entirety of the Kes society is represented by a single person? The entirety of the Prytt society is represented by one other person (two if you count the low-level functionary Riker and Data manage to contact)? Good grief, how about a little variety?

You know, I actually came to this episode for this re-watch with some found memories, mostly because I'm a Picard/Crusher shipper (yeah, I'll admit it :P) and I was happy that they finally spent some time on this relationship. But having watched it anew, it's nowhere as good as I remember. The ship-board plot with the Kes and Prytt is pretty atrocious and the Picard/Crusher story is rather underdeveloped.

First, the truly bad part - the Kes/Prytt story. Not only does it revolve around the problem of the Planet (or Nations in this case) of Hats, but it's one more example of TNG pushing the concept of world government. You know, I'm starting to think that TNG's writers must be dumbfounded that the real world operates the way it does. So, Kesprytt III has two rival nations on it instead of one, unified world government. And that, apparently, is all we need to know to show that these people have a highly dysfunctional society. Before we even introduced to the Kes ambassador and his paranoia or the Prytt minister and her xenophobia, we get the discussion between Picard and Crusher over breakfast detailing how this world simply isn't ready for entrance into the sterling, perfect Federation. They haven't put their differences aside so they're not ready to join the larger interstellar community? Well, just going to point this out, but the Federation hasn't been able to put aside its differences with several alien species, namely the Romulans and Cardassians. They aren't in full-scale political union so I guess they live in a state of total chaos with those races, right? Of course not. Let's use a few real-world examples.... As of right now (October 2015), the United States, alone, is one of 196 separate countries (I think) on Earth. The U.S. has absolutely no diplomatic relations (another example given of the dysfunction in Kesprytt socity) with four different nations (Iran, North Korea, Syria and Bhutan). There are four other countries the U.S. has troubled diplomatic relations with (Belarus, Libya, Sudan and Yemen). And there are a whopping 26 nations that have formal relations with the U.S. but who receive no U.S. Ambassador. And, yet, life somehow manages to go on. You don't need a world government to have a healthy and functioning society; and I'm really tired of TNG trying to shove that message down the audience's throats. It's so bad that they even say without that overarching world government you'll descend into either paranoia and/or xenophobia. Yeah, because definitely summarizes the relationship between the United States and Canada, or between Switzerland and the European Union, doesn't it?!

But that's not the only problem with this plot. There's also the fact that there are shades of Season One arrogance and smug douchebaggery on display from Riker and Worf. Thankfully it never descends to that level of annoyance, but there are definitely shades of it. It's exemplified in the scene when Riker declares "make sure you take all this junk with you." Unlike Jammer, I didn't find that scene endearing at all! It all starts out with the ambassador making what appears to be fairly reasonable security requests and yet Riker and Worf act almost offended by them all. Oh, the enemy has hacked into your communication gird and managed to redirect our transporter beam, thereby kidnapping our officers? Why would you ever want to set up a secure command base on the Enterprise?! That's absurd! Why the hell would you want to secure your quarters?! Stop being so asinine!! It's only after the paranoia literally comes to the forefront (with the quarters almost consumed by anti-eavesdropping equipment and accusations of extremely convoluted conspiracies) that that arrogance could even slightly be justified. But what is Riker's ultimate solution to the problem? To basically say "you're an ass so I'll be an ass to you; that will teach you not to be an ass!". Then he bullies and forces his way to a solution with the ambassador and minister. Groan, that's something Season One Riker would have done. I thought Season Seven Riker would have been a little more mature.

But let's get on to the "emotional core" of the episode - the Picard/Crusher storyline. SkepticalMI said it best - "this episode seemed like an awful lot of effort just for one minute of dialogue." Exactly. Everything in this plot was nothing but window dressing for the remarkably short scene around the campfire where "All is Revealed!" and the final scene in Picard's quarters. And, my oh my, do those two scenes go by awfully fast! Nothing in the campfire scene feels natural or organic in any way what-so-ever. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden's acting ability, but here it just felt like they were going through the motions and putting no heart into the material. It's like they were just quoting speeches at each other or (let's get a little meta here :P) like they were just reading per-prepared lines. This was the payoff to all the teasing we've had to the Picard/Crusher "romance" over the years? And let's not kid ourselves - this has been teased ever since "Encounter at Farpoint," from literally the first time Stewart and McFadden shared screen-time together. We've seen hints of it in numerous episodes ("The Naked Now," "We'll Always Have Paris," "QPid," "The Host" and "Lessons" to name just a few). And this is the payoff? One scene of unconvincing dialogue rattled off at warp speed? Were they kidding?! And, of course, there's the final scene in Picard's quarters, where they just had to slam down on the Reset Button with the force of ten thousand angry gods. So, both Picard and Crusher have those feeling for each other and they both know it, but they aren't going to pursue a relationship?! Good grief. But then, that would require the writers to actually write a romance that isn't just a "Romance of the Week." And apparently they couldn't have that, could they?! *facepalm* I can appreciate that their hearts were, somewhat, in the right place in giving us Picard/Crusher shippers something to chew on, but the execution of it is just so dreadful.

So, my rose-colored glasses have definitely fallen off for this episode.

Some minor nitpicks....
1.) Worf transports Picard and Crusher to the planet. First, why is Worf operating the transporter? And he just beams them down and decides to walk away without verifying that they arrived? You better stick to Tactical there, buddy!
2.) TROI: "Surely you must have some means of communication in case of a planetary emergency." Umm, why? Maybe they're perfectly content to manage their own affairs and let the Prytt do the same. Maybe neither side wants Big Daddy World Government managing their lives. Variety, people! It's the spice of life!
3.) Picard straight up lies to Crusher in the campfire scene, saying that he no longer has "those feelings." But the implants don't allow Crusher to realize that. That's convenient.
4.) Why do so many alien races in TNG refer to their planets with numbers? Kesprytt III? We don't say Sol III, we say Earth.
5.) Kesprytt III? Really? The name of the planet is just the names of the two remaining nations joined together? That's like Earth being called something like Amerorussia III. LOL!!

Diamond Dave
Mon, Nov 2, 2015, 7:38am (UTC -6)
The TNG soap opera continues as Picard's long suppressed feelings for Crusher are brought into the open. However, this is a long running plot thread that needed some closure as we near the end of the series - it's just that we don't get any. The campfire scene is probably one of my favourites in all of TNG, but the conclusion just seems a cop out after leading us down that path. Picard backing out - credible. Crusher - less so. Just seemed like a strange choice to me.

It's a shame the rest of the episode also doesn't really hang together. The Kes/Prytt B-story is more frustrating than engaging - although Riker's head-banging resolution is fun. As noted above, it's a lot of episode to get through for 1 minute of excellence. 2 stars.
Tue, Mar 22, 2016, 7:14am (UTC -6)
During that whole scene with Picard and Crusher in the caves, the only thing I could think of was: "Whoever wrote this episode should die!"
Tue, Mar 22, 2016, 7:14am (UTC -6)
That's a Galaxy Quest reference, by the way.
Sat, Apr 16, 2016, 5:07pm (UTC -6)
Picard and Crusher were definitely involved in a physical relationship for years up to this point, I opine. Rewatching the whole series as an adult, it's apparent the writers and directors wanted us to infer something to this effect with their breakfasts together the morning after, among other details. The most obvious was when Vash came aboard and she and Crusher went off talking together comparing notes about Picard's lovemaking abilities (I presume), the worst nightmare of any Don Juan (or Dom Jean!).

Therefore what I take from this episode is that, while Crusher and Picard were friends who occasionally engaged in physical intimacy, they had always kept their feelings of true love from each other, for all the reasons they stated by the camp fire. Interpreting the episode in this light, it remains consistent, and even better -- for at the end, these friends with benefits might end up one of three ways: there will be no mutual interest in pursuing a real romantic relationship from his side, or from her side, or it is mutual. I have experienced all three of these scenarios, and many of you may have also, and can relate to the ending, as I interpret it: Picard wants to move from friends with benefits to becoming a couple, and she's not ready. In fact, since he breeched that surface, it cannot be undone, and she doesn't want to deal with the complicated emotions that would follow. Hence her evasiveness in the last scene before he pops the question: "Jean-Luc, I don't know what you mean." Hey Johnny, that's girl-code for, "Dude, don't ruin what we've got here by getting mushy on me."

And hey, don't Starfleet officers learn in evasion school that it's dumb to light a fire in enemy territory?

To Kesprytt not being inducted, I say that it's nothing like Bajor. Bajor is like Lithuania, suddenly unoccupied by the Russians, and in a very important strategic location; their path into NATO was accelerated -- and the Bajorans themselves aren't all put together yet, but the Federation benefits greatly from their influence only 5 light years from Cardassia Prime. It's worth the trouble. Kesprytt is not.
Fri, Dec 2, 2016, 11:18pm (UTC -6)
Nice story device to have the first breakfast conversation with Picard and Beverly chuckling over the fact that he had not been listening to her (so familiar to long married couples), with the rest of the story about how they can't stop hearing each other's thoughts. Good commentary in the end about the intimacy that produces.
Sun, Dec 18, 2016, 10:45pm (UTC -6)
Kidnapping high ranking officials of an advanced civilization is sure to cause that entity to swarm in to retrieve them, so it's about a stupidest thing a supposedly xenophobic culture could do.
Wed, Jan 4, 2017, 11:05am (UTC -6)
It's not saying much, but maybe this is the best treatment of telepathy in the whole series? I mean, they actually explore the social implications of having someone else in your head all the time, and whether/how people should be held accountable for their thoughts. Tellingly, they've had Troi around to facilitate these explorations for 6 years, but when they finally get around to it, she's nowhere to be found. They *really* don't know what to do with her.

This episode further confirms for me that there's no way I would ever step on a transporter pad: apparently the technology exists (among a relatively primitive society, no less) to *redirect an in-flight transporter beam* !!?!!! So, you know, next time you get transported, just hope nobody who dislikes you is in the general vicinity, or you might end up encased in solid rock...
Thu, May 18, 2017, 11:16pm (UTC -6)
I don't know if it's just because it's been so long since we've gotten an episode where they go planet-side instead of having drama onboard the Enterprise, but for me this was a step up from the last two episodes. And that's in spite of it being a Beverly and Picard episode.

I felt bad for the Kes. They were doing their best to save Picard and Bev and Riker was completely ungrateful. Sure their planet may not be perfect but if the other side insists on no contact whatsoever what do you want them to do, force it anyway? I can't see that going too well.
Thu, Jun 22, 2017, 5:38pm (UTC -6)
Two stars at most. Indeed the whole thing to get Picard and Crusher running across a planet was very far-fetched. They couldn't deliver their communicaters with the tricorders so they could be beamed out? When they escape, there is no security around the prison they escaped from? Why are aliens always also in pursuit on foot? No cars or planes? And then the climax is... Nothing. All this time together should have been a buildup to a romance. Then it might at least have had some consequence. Also, the aliens were so over the top. The 'comic relief' with the paranoia seemed too childish for my taste.
Tue, Aug 29, 2017, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
This dull, contrivances-saturated episode features absolutely needless character "development", plus pointless "aliens". The Kesprytt girl is millions of light years from Earth, but in reality she's just an American wearing a Teletubbies hoodie onesie.

And, Luke (October 2015): sheer-genius comment!!
Tue, Nov 21, 2017, 11:02pm (UTC -6)
⭐️ ⭐️ 💫

2.5 stars

Everything but the Picard/Crusher sucked. The. kespritt were annoying. I’m not big on trek romances but the only ones I enjoyed were Sisko/Yates in the later years, Riker/Troi and Picard/Crusher. They had a genuine chemistry and I always rooted for them.
Derek D
Tue, Feb 6, 2018, 8:27pm (UTC -6)
Seems i'm in the minority here, but i really liked this one. 3 1/2 stars for me.
Peter G.
Tue, Feb 6, 2018, 8:36pm (UTC -6)
@ Derek D,

No, I'm with you. I wouldn't quite rate it that high but it's a consistently good episode to watch and never a skipper. One of the things I like best about it is that even when sharing each other's deepest thoughts TNG makes absolutely sure to keep the banter between these two professional. I'm not sure this is a series decision (not wanting anything to get too personal) or a character decision (each of them knows they simply cannot be together and serve on the same ship, and they want to see each other, so therefore it must be as friends until Picard finally accepts a promotion). That none of this is stated overtly could be seen by some as avoiding the issue, but to me it *is* the entire issue. They can't even talk about this too much without destabilizing what they've got already.
Thu, Mar 29, 2018, 5:35am (UTC -6)
Going up to 3.5 for this one, because the fireside scene and the final scene earn it. Great dialog, characterization and performances, a really good study of the Picard/Crusher relationship - sensitively written, natural and human. While the scenario of Jean-Luc and Beverly having their thoughts linked may be forced, the interactions that result from it never are. The aliens aren't compelling, though the way Riker ultimately deals with them is.
Sat, May 26, 2018, 7:44pm (UTC -6)
A flawless episode - 4 stars out of 4.
Wed, Jul 11, 2018, 5:41pm (UTC -6)
Man, this is one to watch baked. You can see the Picard-Crusher relationship so clearly. Amazing stuff, 3/4 indeed.
Fri, Sep 7, 2018, 12:16pm (UTC -6)
Man this was slow going. I dont recall seeing it before, but the best part was all the contraptions the kes had in there quarters on the Enterprise which seemed to increase every time Riker visited, only for him to be checked for bugs or somthing each time. Beverly has a permanent dancers gait whether shes walking, running, or half falling down a mountain side, and the two alien races seemed somewhat laughable, seemingly only paranoid about everything. How did the federation think it was a good idea for half this lot but not the other to join up? Silly alien uniforms also for the Prytt. Think she was quite hot but we never had chance to find out. Shame.
Thu, Sep 20, 2018, 11:17pm (UTC -6)
This is really about the hidden feelings between Picard and Crusher -- 2 characters we care deeply about and so the back-story between them is meaningful. However, there can't be a change in their relationship as long as they're both on the Enterprise (like "Lessons" with Picard/Daren) and so it's mostly a tease. Good character episodes for both the captain and the doctor to get it out in the open while Riker has to play diplomat with 2 hard-headed idiot aliens in the B-plot.

The situation with the Kes and Prytt having bad relations is standard TNG cliche -- they don't like each other so we just have to accept that. The Kes ambassador and his paranoia was annoying - not entertaining - as it had no intelligence to it. Same can be said for the xenophobic Prytt. Not much needs to be said about the B-plot although it was good when Riker got tough with them.

Plenty of time for Picard and Crusher to explore each other through telepathy -- so the episode is really a big contrivance to get at the relationship between these 2. I guess such an exposition has been in the background for some time. Interesting that Picard suggests exploring those feelings -- wouldn't that be unprofessional? Crusher is right to reject him - but she does it in a classy and amicable way to maintain the status quo. It's well acted by both.

2 stars for "Attached" -- basically Picard and Crusher get seriously honest with each other with some filler crap from 2 annoying alien races that we can't care about. It's a big contrivance with some adventure thrown in for Picard and Crusher to explore their thoughts for each other -- not very compelling stuff for me but not bad either given these are 2 important and well-developed characters.
Sat, Sep 22, 2018, 6:29pm (UTC -6)
Hard to understand why Crusher doesn't want a relationship with Picard. Never got that.

In the final scene we get a continuity error, they hold hands, first Bev's left, then right.

Interesting comment above about friends with benefits, that would explain their breakfasts and kiss at the end (they've done that before).

Still Picard is warned off by Bev 'What do you mean?' But decides to risk it. Big gamble. However Bev looks regretful on leaving. (Can she walk anywhere without making it look like a dance?)
Mon, May 13, 2019, 9:21am (UTC -6)
ok. I was suspicious almost right from the start of the so called good guys The Kes. Lets see if that plays out...

(its funny that I don't remember this episode or the previous one. So many episodes I remember after 30 years even if its just a small element that causes a glimmer on the rest of the episode; although that empath glaring in the last episode was familiar, perhaps it was just to the previous pervy mind rapist)

Once again Riker reacts angrily and defensively with the Kes ambassador even though all he had to do would be to be assertive and explain why he wants to contact the Prytt. The ambassador was calm so why not Riker? Riker is such a joke of a non leader. I feel sorry for him though with his shit childhood. ...wait he's not a real person! ha ha.

Why is Picard prattling at full volume as they try and escape and are outdoors...?

Oh no Crusher has found out the secret of men: guess and pretend you know what you are doing. Picard I hereby kick you out of men's club for revealing our greatest secret!

It is good to see Crusher acknowledge her nitwit behaviour.

Its funny to see the Kes take control of the rescue and even on the ship they are in control. Riker leadership again. You would at least ask to have an operative join your reception team at the village. If you control the village. And why wouldn't you just give them the badges so they can beam up from the village? they don't need to go to the Kes land.

I actually cant believe Picard is in love with Crusher. He likes adventurous women like Vash. Crusher is intelligent but vapid in her own way.Is she interesting at all?

It was a touching scene by the fire though. And Stewart masterful as usual. I'm sorry though, I just don't like the two of them together. But love is fickle right?

Jamie Mann
Tue, Oct 29, 2019, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
A pretty weak episode partially redeemed by some strong scenes between Picard and Crusher.

As other people have noted, the entire episode is pretty contrived, not least when it comes to the one-dimensional presentation of the two nations. This was some thirty years after TOS and it's simplistic representations of alien species, and after so much work had been done to build out the Klingons and Romulans, it's a shame that the writers resorted to such basic characterizations.

Still, as with several other episodes in season 7, this episode is to be praised for not opting for a simple happy ending, but instead went for something far more ambiguous.
Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 5:23am (UTC -6)
Oh my goodness-Picard and Crusher have feelings for each other-yes we know-this is hammered into us from Season 1 with brilliant observations from Wesley like 'You knew my father' and continues with garbage like The Naked Now.
If it takes Picard and Crusher a contrived mind link device to hold hands after twenty years they can't be that keen on each other.
Anyhoo, as someone above observes, who cares?
This is supposed to be science fiction a genre label that continues to be misapplied to kindergarten social drama like this forgettable episode to this day.
Sun, Apr 26, 2020, 3:24am (UTC -6)
Loved it. Well written, fun alien story and that long overdue view of what these two think of each other. The movies dropped this storyline altogether, but I'm hopeful we can see Gates again and get some resolution in season 2 of Picard!
Picard Maneuver
Wed, Apr 29, 2020, 2:49am (UTC -6)
The Federation requiring the elimination of all uncooperative assholes before joining must have produced some rather undesired results by this point. It'd be a problem especially when the "assholes" are 33% of the population and the other 67% want "unification". Add futuristic weaponry to the mix and it just gets worse. It's not even an illogical course of action. Access to the Federation or similar entity would increase a planet's prosperity multiple fold. It'd be an easy decision for an ambitious leader to make "the future" happen by any means necessary. We don't even need a crystal ball to know this.

I feel like the nerfing of Worf continues. Now he's filling in for Chief O'Brien. It's hard to believe such a low position is possible! He's not very good at the job, either. You'd think it would be standard procedure to verify the transport but Worf figures, eh, it probably worked, and walks away in the middle.

I like how Picard just chucks his coat the moment it temporarily gets hot. Things like that are pretty handy in survivalist situations. Even if not for him, surely the skinny, middle-aged doctor might get cold at night.

So Picard and Crusher can suddenly communicate telepathically and Troi is nowhere to be found.

Every episode the music merges more with DS9's.

They turned Crusher into a real cocktease in this episode. There are the increasingly extravagant breakfast dates (that aren't really dates). She plays coy when Picard lays out his feelings (at her insistence!) and then admits, oh yeah, I guess I did notice you were pining over me for two decades. In the final scene she dresses sexy (by Trek standards) and eggs Picard on some more with the "Penny for your thoughts". Picard finally takes the bait after so much prodding and lays out a full confession. Then she rejects him and flees his quarters. LOL! I guess they wanted to keep the will-they-won't-they alive but to do it they turned Crusher into the kind of manipulative, soul-crushing woman that men are warned about.
Wed, Apr 29, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -6)
@ Picard Manoeuvre

“ they turned Crusher into the kind of manipulative, soul-crushing woman that men are warned about.”

Wed, Apr 29, 2020, 10:53am (UTC -6)
Ignore it. That guy obviously has issues. I read two or three of his posts. It is often profane and worse. After that I didn't bother anymore.
Peter G.
Wed, Apr 29, 2020, 8:45pm (UTC -6)
@ Picard Maneuver,

I actually do think you have a point about Crusher's behavior. My guess is maybe there was a conflict between production design and character consistency. In a "this is a TV show" kind of logic, I can see them thinking "yeah yeah let's give her some sex appeal here!" and then maybe a bit of "yeah and let's tease a romance!" From McFadden's perspective as a performer I can see the "finally I get to do some meaty acting, let's go to town!!" logic in play. Why would she downplay a potentially sexy scene when she finally gets her turn? Except for one thing: I do agree it harms her character, to be so coquettish (I'd have to watch it again to be sure) and just leave it at that. If the actress, just for instance, had asked "penny for your thoughts" after having NOT been dressed nicely, and after having really not wanting him to know her feelings, she could have played it as embarassed, feeling bad for him, trying to fix the damage done; any of those. Pushing the romance angle does make her suspect in the sense of her teasing a romance along with the show designers. She might have been taking her cues right from the director, I suppose, but her inkling might have come from any number of sources, and personally I would have appreciated some weight added on her part (assuming she could muster it) for what Picard must have been going through. And hey, it would be fine to learn she's going through something too, other than enjoying the tantalizing breakfasts.
Picard Maneuver
Wed, Apr 29, 2020, 11:22pm (UTC -6)
I definitely agree that the characterization was likely ad hoc. There is also this phenomenon with late stage TV shows to start romantically pairing characters together, often out of the blue.

I don't hold Gates McFadden responsible. Even if her input did affect the character it's up to the show runners to keep things on track. I have a feeling she just did what the script told her to, but I dunno. I don't know why they didn't do what they will do with Worf and Troi and just have Picard break out some of his brother's champagne and have Crusher not refuse the invitation.
Thu, Apr 30, 2020, 2:35am (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.
"I actually do think you have a point about Crusher's behavior."
Maneuver says that in the final scene Crusher dresses sexy. Both wear casual clothing but even so do you think that women have a sexual obligation towards men if they dress appealing? She isn't even wearing a revealing V-neck or something. Should she have worn a hijab?

In the fireside scene before their final encounter she clearly states that she never knew that he actually loved her and he tells her that he isn't in love with her anymore. Considering that they can literally read each others minds it must have been true.

"turned Crusher into the kind of manipulative, soul-crushing woman that men are warned about."
You agree with this?
I rewatched it and she just asks him what he thinks to which he says that they could start exploring their feelings/rekindle them which she does not want. They share a friendly kiss and she leaves.
What was she supposed to do? Have pity sex?
Jesus Christ!
Thu, Apr 30, 2020, 2:45am (UTC -6)
and just to mention it. Picard is wearing form fitting pants and a pretty deep V-neck. But I guess that doesn't matter
Andy's Friend
Thu, Apr 30, 2020, 6:00am (UTC -6)
@Booming, Peter G., Picard Maneuver

Interesting talk. I have to agree with Booming here, without the indignant tone and final exclamation.

Granted, Peter says that he would have to watch it again to be sure; and so would I. But I certainly don't remember this as 'coquettish' behaviour by Crusher, in the way I understand the term, anyway.

The way I remember it, Crusher has arrived at that stage in which one is flirting with the very tought of perhaps beginning to flirt with someone while entertaining the thought of building a lasting relationship with that someone. There is no 'teasing' whatsoever in entertaining such thoughts.

Furthermore, in this particular case that someone is a man she has known for decades and has the utmost respect for. There is no way Crusher would ever 'tease' Picard, in the way I understand the term anyway, period.

This reminds me of an online discussion I had years ago, one of the very best I have ever had, on the nature of Rick's and Ilsa's relationship in 'Casablanca' (1942). What really transpired between the two, that final last night in Casablanca? 'Against' me were some who believed the two had slept together. They failed to realise that this goes against everything that both characters stand for at that point in the film: they entertain the thought of it, yes, they greatly desire it, even; but the nobility in their sacrifice is refraining from doing what they both desire. Rick not only respects Ilsa, but importantly, he also respects Laszlo—and he is finally beginning to respect himself, also.

Respect is paramount when we are dealing with more than two strangers who barely know each other and some passing infatuation or mere physical attraction. Crusher has profound respect for Picard, whereas the notion of 'teasing' almost by definition presupposes a lack of respect by the teaser for the teased.

Flirting with the thought of perhaps letting an old friendship evolve to more than that is daunting. It may prove to be awkward, or otherwise difficult to carry out, and it is certainly dangerous, putting a friendship that may have existed for many years at risk. There is no shame in entertaining such thoughts and yet ultimately choose to back down. This may be considered timid, perhaps, but it can never be considered 'teasing'. As I remember it, that is the emotion that Gates McFadden quite convincingly portrays.
Thu, Apr 30, 2020, 6:41am (UTC -6)
@Andy's friend
" without the indignant tone and final exclamation."
It evolved from insulting, to angry, to indignant.
There are a reasons why there are far less women here. One of them is this adolescent language. Would you come back if you read things like cocktease and that other stuff. Accusing a women because she isn't running around in a potato sack is pretty shitty. That's why I brought up Picard's clothing. But of course heterosexual men don't notice that Picard dresses like a total vaginatease.

"It may prove to be awkward, or otherwise difficult to carry out, and it is certainly dangerous, putting a friendship that may have existed for many years at risk."
That is one thing but there are actually far more consequences. Obviously one of the two had to leave the ship and Crusher knows that Picard always put his career first. Probably Crusher would lose the position as chief medical officer on the flagship of the Federation and would have to commit to a long distance relationship to a guy who during the run of the show is portrayed as being non committal when it comes to relations.
Thu, Apr 30, 2020, 8:19am (UTC -6)
Very much with Booming on this one. The whole point of the last scene was for both of them to see if the attraction they now know for sure they both feel could justify pursuing a relationship. They were *trying* to have a date, hence the dress (for both of them). On what dystopian planet is Crusher under some obligation to boink Picard?
Peter G.
Thu, Apr 30, 2020, 9:35am (UTC -6)
I'll hold further comments until I rewatch, because too much comes down to tone. For example:

"In the fireside scene before their final encounter she clearly states that she never knew that he actually loved her and he tells her that he isn't in love with her anymore. Considering that they can literally read each others minds it must have been true."

This scene pretty clearly is meant to be understood as him *obviously* still being in love with her, but for some reason he won't say it even though he knows she can read his mind. So there are his real feelings, but then his *decision* is to tell her no. Does that mean he loves her but doesn't want a relationship yet? Or ever? Or does he, but he's too much of a coward to say it out loud because then he'd have to do something about it? All of these are possible, but what is not really possible is that his statement is true. This, as with the following scenes, ride on tone and what we know about them. So I'll have to watch again before answering anything else.
Peter G.
Tue, May 5, 2020, 1:43pm (UTC -6)
Alright, I finally had a chance to watch the episode again, and here's what I see. The episode is about two factions on a planet that have been apart for some time. At first we think that just one side is suspicious and fearful, while the other is reasonable, but we learn quickly that in fact both are equally paranoid and suspicious of each other. The thing is, they are "attached" and despite their pretending that they have nothing to do with each other, they are connected in more ways than they want to admit. At first Mauric claims to Riker that no contact had been made with the Prytt in over a century; but then we learn that, oh yeah, he actually has an operative inside the Prytt security. And then a bit later, that oh yeah, they actually have a very active spy network and keep tabs on the Prytt; and oh yeah, they actually have agents in a Prytt town where Picard and Crusher are supposed to go; but wait, actually they pretty much control the entire town. Except they don't, really. So all of this "we are apart from each other" nonsense is a best a pretense; they are attached at the hip, as Crusher put it, and just don't want to admit it.

And this brings us to Picard and Crusher, who likewise realize they're been attached for years and just didn't want to admit it. The issue here isn't so much 'will they get together', as that they already are even though they've kept up the pretense of distance. But each has 'spies' in the others' towns; they are always watching each other; and they know much more than they let on. I would even suggest that they may be suspicious of each other, like those on Kesprytt are, insofar as they worry about the other person's intentions, or receptivity, to their secret feelings. Picard at the fireside mentions that the feelings went away, and although there's no visual read given by the actors here, my impression is still that this is patently untrue. However the actors don't give us much here; Stewart delivers the line as a blank piece of dialogue, and Crusher offer no reaction as if to say she hears from his thoughts that this is true, or untrue, or not entirely true. She offers no point of view and so all we have is the line itself, which to me is poppycock. So there is something between them.

We also know from the episode that Crusher apparently always has an acerbic retort on the tip of her tongue, which she generally squashes. Later in the episode, after they're back on the Enterprise she mentions that phrase, that she's glad they're not attached at the hip any more. Now this phrase is really a modern reference to marriage, and it's no accident in the writing that she employs this double meaning; it almost sounds like she means they got a divorce. Is this perhaps another acerbic line to hide her real feelings? Because if neurological detachment is a divorce, that means that what they had was a marriage, as in, a union. Now in this episode it was technological, but the Kesprytt analogy tells us that they had had that connection all along. And why joke about a divorce unless you were in some manner of speaking, a couple? Which brings us to the scene of contention.

I do agree with Elliott that they are dressed for a date; this is not their normal attire. There's one detail in the scene which I think is visually confusing, and may have affect Picard Maneuver's interpretation, which is that Crusher is wearing 'come hither' makeup, while Picard sports an open shirt. I think they intended this to be roughly equal in intention, but the fact of the matter is that on a technical level the makeup is much more eye-catching because we're mostly watching their faces and she's really made up. It's an asymmetry in how male and female actors are prepared for scenes, I think, and it does sort of make it look like she's being more alluring. Actually this is probably a modern cultural thing, where the female is put in that position. Anyhow, Picard Maneuver took issue with "Penny for your thoughts", which doesn't come across to me at all as flirtatious in a teasing way. But what does is what comes after:

PICARD: I was just thinking that as distracting as it was, I was beginning to get used to hearing your thoughts and I find that I miss it.
CRUSHER: So do I. It was very intimate. You know, last night I couldn't sleep.
CRUSHER: I was awake for several hours. And thanks to the implants, I got to hear some very interesting dreams of yours.
PICARD: A man can't be held responsible for what his mind does while he's asleep.
CRUSHER: What about when he's awake?

So this settles the "did Picard mean it" issue discussed earlier. He did not. And the way Crusher says it here, it all but sounds like she's about to jump him. Then this happens:

PICARD: So now that we've had this unique experience, what do we do?
CRUSHER: What do you mean?
PICARD: You know exactly what I mean.
CRUSHER: No, I don't. The implant's been removed, remember?
PICARD: Now that we know how each of us feels, perhaps we should not be afraid to explore those feelings.
(she kisses his cheek)
CRUSHER: Or perhaps we should be afraid. I think I should be going now.

She seemed to sort of be the aggressor, and then Picard the Captain comes in with "so what's the plan", which is not only to the point, but sounds like it must involve a formal decision. This is almost vaguely Worf-like on his part, like "so do mean you mean we should be mates now?" I think this is meant to scare her off, because she realizes it can't be just a romance that develops of its own steam, but because of who she and Picard are, is going to either be a total commitment or else nothing at all. The script has her play coy and deny the obvious, but McFadden delivers the lines straight. I think this was supposed to be another acerbic moment, but the actress missed the cue. since only a dolt would actually not know what he meant. Then he proposes to just go for it, and her words say a lot: maybe they should be a afraid. This brings us back to the Kes and the Prytt. The fact of the matter is they've both been afraid to go there, because of what might happen (or not happen). Picard is also feeling guilty, and Crusher probably is also. Yet it seems that they are so serious about each other that they don't want to mess it up. When she says "afraid" I think that's supposed to be serious. But McFadden says it sort of blankly, maybe vaguely tongue in cheek or something. I don't know why she would do that, other than the director didn't bother to tell her otherwise.

Because of how she acted those lines, the scene is disjointed and it really does look like she was about to jump Picard, with come hither looks and an alluring invitation, and then when he says he wants to go for it she smiles, backs away, and leaves. It's not absurd to read that as her toying with him, but I think this was the actress messing up the scene, because the script seems to me to say that she really does want it but is still too afraid to go through with it. We should be feeling bad for both of them, but the way the show actually plays she walks out mysteriously and it feels more like the audience is being teases, more than Picard. So I think an acting error is what's leading to the confusion here. My conclusion is that Crusher is not meant to be portrayed as leading Picard on or teasing him, but the direction of the scene got muddled and didn't quite come off correctly. After all, the situation on Kesprytt is that they're still too scared to talk to each other, and because of this the planet is not ready for Federation membership (read: unity). They need to work through this fear first, and we're meant to understand the same about Picard and Crusher; except we don't due to lack of paying close enough attention to the script.
Tue, May 5, 2020, 5:26pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G

"It's not absurd to read that as her toying with him, but I think this was the actress messing up the scene, because the script seems to me to say that she really does want it but is still too afraid to go through with it."

Except, you know, she *told* him she didn't want to go through with it. Your theories as to why are perfectly sound, but at the end of the day, no matter how she was dressed or how flirtatious she may have seemed (and whether or not this stems from a miscommunication on the set), there is no justification for “they turned Crusher into the kind of manipulative, soul-crushing woman that men are warned about," which is where this thread started.
Peter G.
Tue, May 5, 2020, 11:20pm (UTC -6)
@ Elliott,

I don't think you'll get any argument from me that "soul-crushing" is a hyperbolic term, and I took it more as an indication of the feeling such a move can generate in the guy, more so than actually saying she's the epitome of evil. I think the strong language is meant to communicate the emotional impact of it, not that the woman is *that* bad. But I'm guessing a bit, maybe Picard Maneuver wants to specify more. However where I was originally agreeing (having not remembered it that well) and where I now sympathize at least, is on the grounds that Crusher seems to both offer and then take away the thing, only changing her mind when Picard takes her up on it. If what you're talking about is her right, then of course it's her right; but man that sucks for the guy if that's what's happening. That being said, I only thing it may perhaps appear that way here because I think McFadden somewhat misplayed it. I'm not actually taking this position, but it is entirely coherent to suggest that she was toying with him and then changed her mind; and the fact that she finally says no doesn't mean a viewer can't be upset about it. She has the right to choose, but not the right to control others' reaction to it.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Jun 19, 2020, 7:31pm (UTC -6)
I do like this episode, but some of the plot contrivances are a bit beyond the pale. Like the Kes operative giving Picard and Crusher a map and codes to escape the jail, a jail with no security personnel apparently. They just wandered out and nobody was the wiser. Plus, I find it odd that the Kes and the Prytt can be so at odds that they don't have any formal means of communication, while at the same time they have operatives controlling entire cities and infiltrating high security prisons.

I guess the rampant paranoia and subterfuge just validates Picard's concerns from the teaser. Being so divided and hostile, neither society is ready for admission to the Federation. Nevertheless, the questions that arise about a divided planet are ripe for exploration, which they don't bother with here.

Picard and crusher running through the caves with the fire bursts reminded me of the "chompers" scene in Galaxy Quest. Mark beat me to it, but we can't be the only ones to notice the similarities.

The brain implants are the sort of throwaway plot element (device?) that should be making significant waves in society after its discovery. Imagine the possibilities, yet it's never mentioned again. I guess it's super secret Prytt technology that can't be reverse engineered. Yeah let's go with that.
Wed, Jun 24, 2020, 11:55pm (UTC -6)
Near the end, when they bring the Abassador back to the ship, try to call the Minister again, she terminates the communication. About six seconds later, the same Minister is waiting for them in the Conference Room. Did Riker just record an earlier transmission and then have Worf pop it in the VCR for the Ambassador to watch? Did he try to communicate with her, get hung up on and then have her beamed up? Not clear at all
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -6)
@P'kard, yes they beamed her directly to the Observation Lounge after she hung up. Riker set up that with Worf before calling:

LORIN [on viewscreen]: Enterprise, I have warned you about these unauthorised communications.
RIKER: Yes, I know, but I think it's about time we all sat down together and tried to work this out. I have Ambassador Mauric here...
LORIN [on viewscreen]: That is your misfortune. We have nothing to say to either of you.
(transmission ends)
MAURIC: Commander, you're working with the Prytt. Putting on this little show for my benefit does neither of us any good.
RIKER: We'll see. Mister Worf.
(Worf works his panel)
RIKER: I believe there's someone waiting for us in the Observation Lounge.
James G
Sat, Nov 21, 2020, 10:03am (UTC -6)
Well - I liked this one. A bit. It reminded me of a TOS episode, with the Enterprise visiting a dysfunctional planet with two hostile factions, except of course that Kirk would have restored diplomatic relations there in about half an hour.

Really quite an effective portrait of a paranoid society, I thought. Obviously inspired by cold-war era Earth, although why the planet has to be named after its two opposing societies I don't know. Imagine if we lived in a world called AmericaSovietUnion, or EastWest.

Anyway .. there are some problems with this episode. Imagine two high-profile prisoners being kept under maximum security at some prison in the US, or China, or anywhere. All they have to do to escape completely is get the code, or the key to their cell door. I don't think so.

And the gas explosions in the tunnel - what a cheap bit of script fluff.

The telepathic implants are a nice idea. Will the federation exploit this technology for some useful purpose? Or is it just a throwaway plot device that will get forgotten about?

There's a bit of sonic screwdrivery when Beverley defeats a forcefield with a tricorder. I enjoyed the idea of the electronic map on the hand-held device. In the early '90s when this episode was shown that would have seemed as futuristic as phasers, now it's called Google Maps.

Why can't the Enterprise find Picard and Beverley on the planet's surface using sensors? Perhaps I missed something. Usually there'd be some ridiculous technobollocks excuse. And normally Riker would have sorted out an Away Team in about 3 minutes so I'm not sure why that wasn't considered.

I could have done without the sentimental cheese between Picard and Beverley at the end.

Didn't like it much. Didn't dislike it much.
Frake's nightmare
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 5:01pm (UTC -6)
If the Prytt put you in jail you can be sure the charges will stick!
And how did they light that fire ?
Mon, Jan 18, 2021, 8:53am (UTC -6)
LOL! They've known each other for ages and they needed an alien brain implant to work out they had feelings for each other? Picard is the unsexiest male bore of all, and Crusher is so gangly and bow legged. A match made on TNG.
Bok R'Mor
Mon, May 3, 2021, 3:03pm (UTC -6)
Quite alarming to see Picard settle down for an ostensibly good night's sleep with his bare pate only a few centimetres away from a raging campfire.
Sun, Sep 12, 2021, 3:42am (UTC -6)
This is one of my favourite episodes. I thought it dealt with what would happen if you could hear other people's thoughts much better than any representation of empaths on the show.

At the end, Crusher says the implant was still there during the previous night. What night was this? The campfire? Or was that after they got on the ship? If the latter, they would have slept in the same room less than 2 meters apart. In the fire scene, Crusher lays down first. But in the conversation after they're on the ship, she mentions she fell asleep last implying these were separate nights. We can't really be sure though.

So they got it removed during the day at some point before they're having a late night lunch. It's not clear if this is the same day they beamed back up or if it's the next day. I'm assuming it's the next day and they actually did sleep together. Otherwise Crusher's dialogue doesn't really make sense. Especially the line "what about when he's awake?" Earlier, we got the line "I'm glad we're not joined at the hip any longer." Double entendre? All the lines from the very start of the lunch could be interpreted as double entendres. When Picard asks about what to do after this "unique experience", maybe he's not talking about the implant. This is why Crusher is asking him to clarify. Otherwise, what's the confusion about?

Listen to the dialogue again but with the assumption they slept together. It makes more sense. And the man fell asleep first (TNG would have no problem injecting this into the show... and during the fire scene, it's implied Picard fell asleep last. He may have found out hidden feelings from Crusher). The show's producers likely wanted it to remain somewhat ambiguous (that something happened and when). Problem is the way the lines were delivered made it seem like Crusher was toying with Picard (if nothing happened). The other way around, she's just messing with Picard (teasing him) on how much he enjoyed himself. At the end though, she doesn't see how it would work and decides against a long term relationship. Maybe with the implant, the emotions and "intimacy" she described were overwhelming. But now that it's gone, she's reassessed the situation. Maybe Picard still has guilt about being with his best friend's wife and she doesn't believe Picard can move beyond that.

If nothing happened, Crusher's lines at the end are really bad.

Perhaps I'm wrong in all this, but I don't think the possibility should be dismissed so easily.

Also, never leave a lit fire unattended. That still bugs me. lol
Top Hat
Sun, Sep 12, 2021, 2:26pm (UTC -6)
I always assumed the same thing about that closing conversation, and am surprised that more people haven't noticed this.
Peter G.
Fri, Sep 17, 2021, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
Ok, I just watched the whole episode to see if that last scene plays differently if I pretend they've just slept together, and I don't see it. I suppose it's possible the writer thought he was leaving the door open for us to interpret it however we wanted, but based on the direction and the acting what I actually see is Picard and Crusher dressing up for a date for the first time to see if something happens. The apprehension suggests to me they don't know how it will go, whereas if they had just slept together you'd think they would be more relaxed about this point. And if you look at Crusher's last line, it makes it pretty clear to me that they don't have the nerve or the will to cross that threshold after all. To me this goes beyond ambiguity, to the point where I am for my part sure they did not do anything special offscreen. And why should we need to think they did? What they experienced was already far more intimate for them than sex would have been anyhow.

Regarding "attached at the hip", this has more of a connotation to me of marriage than of sex. I've never heard the expression used to imply having sex, but it certainly means being together all the time and inseparable. And I think the implication of "we're not attached at the hip anymore", beyond being a reference to the plot, is maybe saying something like they've been on this ship for seven years for reasons never clear to either of them, and now that things are out in the open they may have to actively decide to remain even in their current relationship, to say nothing of advancing it somewhere. They certainly can't just stay side by side on the ship as they have been without some kind of understanding of where they are going (if anywhere).
Thu, Oct 28, 2021, 2:09pm (UTC -6)
Personally, I think Picard put himself out there and Crusher chickened out at the last minute. That's why she couldn't get out of there fast enough. It's true that McFadden didn't do the best job delivering that line, but her acting abilities are rather limited. The director (Frakes!) may not have given her much direction there.
Peter G.
Thu, Oct 28, 2021, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
This didn't play out on screen, but it's possible that in McFadden's head it was Picard's move since he was always the one reluctant on account of his guilt over Jack. So if Picard wasn't going to make the first move it wasn't going to happen. It that's what they had in mind it would have been appropriate to show her actively cueing him, and him just sitting there, for her to then realize it was still not time.
Wed, Nov 17, 2021, 2:45am (UTC -6)
PRODUCER 1: Let’s make a story about Picard and Crusher - it’s been lurking in the background for far too long.
PRODUCER 2: Yes! Yes! I have an idea for a show…

…that’s absolutely ridiculous. The one good thing about it - the central theme - is Picard and Crusher being ‘linked together’, and that does make the episode memorable and worthwhile. The back story unfolding via telepathic communication is emotional and strong, and is the only thing I remember from seeing the episode once before, years ago.

Unfortunately, the rest of it is total garbage, summed up by the usual slight forehead ridges that are meant to indicate an alien race. (Yeah right. In a vast galaxy, we are meant to believe that human-like species evolve on planets many light years apart? Oh please. This is something Star Wars does so much better…) As for the squabbling paranoia exhibited by both races, one of which is supposed to be ready to join the Federation, I just sighed with frustration at how poor it all was. You could almost envisage the wet Wednesday afternoon with the writers sitting around a table unable to come up with anything halfway decent, and thrashing out a series of compromises that could be stitched together into a script.

3 stars for the Picard / Crusher story, 1 star for the rest. 2 stars overall.
Tue, Jun 28, 2022, 2:32pm (UTC -6)
I loved this episode.

The intrigue, action, and suspense were all engaging and I kept wondering if Picard and Crusher would make it.

The two nations' dynamic and intercourse were also interesting.

As for Picard and Crusher's mind-melds and other personal stuff, ordinarily I'd recoil from such content but I guess I either care enough about them or that subplot wasn't too obtrusive for me to have minded its inclusion in the overall arc.

Three stars is about right, maybe 3-1/2.
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 9:46pm (UTC -6)
@Paamelllaa Why do you say Gates McFadden acting abilities are limited? I see her as very versatile and don't see that.
Sat, Oct 7, 2023, 10:04am (UTC -6)
It may have been a little hamfisted but it also could have worked to have Beverly somehow reference Nella/the events of "Lessons" at the end, maybe also at least briefly earlier, to explain more why she still is weary of rushing into a romance, thinks it could be damaging to both of them and their current relationship.

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