The "Enterprise" is en route to Kesprytt. On Kesprytt they will be visiting with the Kes government who want to join the federation. Picard and Beverly beam down to Kesprytt. They attempt to reach the Kes, but instead are beam down to a holding cell in Prytt territory. Picard and Beverly are charged with conspiring with the enemy and are being held as prisoners. They have thought emitters implanted on the back of their neck. Imagine being able to hear each others thoughts. Riker is angry and demands Picard and Beverly to be returned at once.
Finally, after six long years, Picard and Crusher finally get the opportunity to discuss openly their complicated and covert relationship. And how nice that their intimacy doesn't end with the two of them tumbling into each other's arms. They build their relationship while remaining true to their characters. Their intimacy continues to build on an adult level, and not with a torrid scene. And their communication with each other remains consistent -- verbal fencing, unspoken communication as important as the words.
Contrasting this is the childish squabbling of the planets inhabitants. This part of the story wasn't thought through very well. Picard indicates at the beginning of the episode how odd it would be to admit part of a world into the Federation -- it's never been done before. That being the case, it's difficult to believe that the Federation would not have attempted communication with the rest of the world's population before getting this far in negotiations.
Also, if the Kes were this paranoid and prone to conspiracy theories, it's difficult to believe that this wouldn't have come to light before negotiations got this far along.
On the other hand, the idea of a planet with such suspicions of each other and squabbling so paranoid that they haven't spoken for 100 years, well, it must be what Congress is like at the moment.
This episode is a pleasant surprise. The unfulfilled romance between Crusher and Picard has been mentioned so many times that by this point we practically ignore it. But here it's tackled head-on, and in a satisfying fashion.
The "action" planetside is rather banal, but that's not a problem; it just offers a background for Crusher and Picard to discover each other better. Those scenes together are great, a reminder of what great chemistry those two characters had together (and that Gates McFadden was easily best female actress on TNG).
Back on the Enterprise, there is a lightweight but entertaining subplot as Riker plays with two childish alien races. This is the kind of stuff that would be weak as a primary plot, but doesn't come off too bad in condensed form.
The long teased, somewhat complicated Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher relationship is finally put front and center in this character-driven episode... to a somewhat disappointing result. The "escape from prison" story (with a sci fi twist) plods along without the spark you'd expect from two characters (and actors) so used to working together and seems to serve simply as a vehicle to tie up their feelings for each other before the end of the series.
The B story, with Commander Riker having to deal with the silly aliens from the planet that abducted the Captain and the Doctor, includes a great deal of humor to keep it interesting but doesn't amount to much more than filler.
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