This Picard episode begins with promise: it serves as a sequel to "The Inner Light", with the Captain developing a relationship with a woman through their common love of music. The adult romance is well handled, and it's fun to see Picard share an interest with someone where (for once) the starship captain has much to learn, and the woman knows what she's doing. (Contrast this with the Original Series where Captain Kirk treats almost every beautiful woman like she's four.) Unfortunately, once the episode gets the foundation of the romance in place, it turns into a study of the pitfalls of workplace relationships which isn't quite what sci fi fans expect from TNG. (The idea probably would have worked better as a B story or a recurring storyline spanning several episodes.) To make matters worse, it quickly becomes apparent that Captain Picard is especially lousy at handling a relationship with his "coworker", and it becomes quite painful to watch him suffer. That said, Wendy Hughes plays the love interest well, and the episode moves along quickly enough to makes its sins somewhat forgivable.
Well, this one was going pretty well until the very end, when Picard's new love interest gets in trouble on an away mission and they decide to break it off. I just really felt like they needed an excuse to write her out by the end of the episode.
But the music element was brilliant. They definitely needed a follow-up to "Inner Light," and while certainly not even CLOSE to as good, this is decent. I really wish Patrick Stewart had shown a bit more emotion in this episode. For him to open up to another woman after he's been through is HUGE. Hell, as he said, for him to even play music with someone else is a big step. All in all, a little disappointing that they didn't leave it more open-ended like Vash in "Captain's Holiday" (and later, "Q-pid").
This isn't Picard's first romance - he had a vacation fling ("Captain's Holiday", "Q Pid"), "The Perfect Mate", and a marriage on another planet ("The Inner Light"). And let's not forget the repressed lust for Dr. Crusher! But this relationship is different because it's ordinary - Picard falls in love with another crew member.
That ordinariness keeps this episode from standing out. The richness of Picard's relationships in those other episodes made them exciting. Here, well, it's just another middle-aged couple.
The relationship itself was perfectly plausible, and the chemistry between the two actors genuine, but much of the story was rather slow. The "sending Darren on a dangerous mission" turn was pretty predictable, as was Riker's discomfort at commanding Picard's girlfriend.
That said, the sequence in which Picard asks Troi for permission was amusing. And the few minutes in which Picard believes Darren is gone forever were pretty emotionally intense - the best part of the episode.
This was a nice romantic episode for the captain. Usually Piccard is the steadfast, resilient leader who has so much to do that he can't have time for himself. In this episode, he manages to get in a relationship with someone on board. I, like many other fans of the show, want the captain to be happy, and it seemed that he would finally be happy for about half the show. Neela, the science officer (and lieutenant commander), is musically talented, smart and seems like a good match for the captain. Even Dr. Beverly Crusher is a little jealous. That was entertaining to see the two women interact for that short scene. Obviously Crusher is crushing on Piccard herself. When Neela had to go on that dangerous mission, I was like "What?! She could die!" I was shocked when the solar thing happened and when Neela didn't respond when Piccard was trying to contact her. I was sure she and some of her crew were dead. I was so relieved when she made it, and heartbroken for the couple when they called it quits. They looked good together. All in all, it was a nice episode.
The Picard is up late working on a few things. He needs to use communications, but stellar cartography has locked it out. He requests the computer to display ship library, again stellar cartography is using that, also. How about a cup of Earl Grey tea?
The Picard is up late working on a few things. He needs to use communications, but stellar cartography has locked it out. He requests the computer to display ship library, again stellar cartography is using that, also. How about a cup of Earl Grey tea? You guessed it. Stellar cartography has shut off the replicators. So Picard visits stellar cartography and ask what is so important that the Captain is to be deprived of his favorite tea. While there he becomes acquainted with Lieutenant Commander Nella Daren. I think the Captain is in love. I hope this all goes well.
Another great story from season 6. Combines an emotionally heavy main plot w/ Picard as the main protaganist and frames it within the setting of life aboard the Enterprise, focusing on the issues of relationships with workmates.
Overall, action is replaced with what otherwise would have been some very ordinary scenes. Most of the story's scenes are borne of the realms of emotion and love between two like-minded people. These scenes of bonding are well interspersed with scenes of tension, turmoil and friction as issues with fellow crew members demonstrate problems likely to exist in any type of workplace. Narrative does a fine job on every level of the screenplay.
The writers have done an excellent job of growing the intesity in all aspects of the plot, so you don't feel at any time that the story or onscreen developments are lagging. Which stops you getting anywhere near bored. Right up until the final act, when the crew is called into action to help an outpost in danger and Picard becomes conflicted with the potential danger he is placing his love in. Its this final act, containing some truly emotionally pendulum swinging events, that gives this episode knockout ending it really needs. Though the story of the growing love is the mainstay of this episode, it is the performances of Picard and Hughes' character - Lt. Darren that establish a believeable bond on screen and really convey the morals of this episode on screen. And its these performances that add an additional point to my review score.
Well worth a watch if your preference isn't for entirely action oriented.
This was a good episode, where Captain Picard actually falls in love with Lieutenant Commander Darren. It is a rare moment when we really get to feel what Picard is feeling. Picard is depicted as a really isolated, private person. It isn't often that they have an episode focusing on the Captains emotions. It is a very bittersweet episode. They form a good relationship, Picard is in love with her but Picard is afraid that he will have to put her life in danger again under his command. In the episode Darren almost died, the Captain said when he thought she was dead he began to shut down he didn't want to feel, he knew he would never be able to enjoy his music again. At the end they decide it best for her to transfer ships so the captain will never be able to put her life in danger again.
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