Star Trek: The Next Generation – Attached [7.8]

Picard and Dr. Crusher are taken prisoner during a delicate Federation negotiation.  They escape, but find that neural implants which were to serve as part of their interrogation have the side effect of allowing them to hear each other’s thoughts.  This leads to unprecedented openness and honestly between them, including an acknowledgment of Picard’s long-held romantic feelings.  They are eventually rescued and the implants removed, and decide to not directly pursue a romantic relationship.

Written by Nicholas Sagan. Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Previous Episode: Dark Page • Next Episode:  Force of Nature

Comments:
In the opinion of many, myself included, the seventh and final season of Next Generation was floundering a bit.  Some of the story ideas, while intended to be daring, came across more as desperate, as if the writers were casting around wildly for something new to do.  On top of this, there were less episodes that one could consider unmitigated successes, unlike the previous four seasons which all had a bunch of quality installments.  In fact, I can only remember a couple of these more “out of the box” efforts that I thought really worked.  And Attached was one of them.

Now, I’ve realized that I really enjoy Dr. Crusher as a character – this has been particularly evident to me as I have been rewatching the series.  And, looking back at this series from the vantage point of the future, after the full run of both Deep Space Nine and Voyager, both of which involved long-term romantic relationships amongst its main cast, I can’t help but to feel that developing this relationship would only have been a good thing.  I mean, what would have been lost, after all?  That strange Crusher-Ghost romance coming up in Sub Rosa sometime later this season, and maybe Picard’s romance with Anij in Insurrection, but really, that’s it.  Not too much to sacrifice, really.  You’d have to make some time in future episodes for it, of course, but maybe you could just sacrifice that whole Worf-Troi storyline.  That, and Masks.

The episode itself is overall a good one, with credible action sequences, an engaging look at Federation procedures, and some decent stuff for Riker to do in dealing with the representatives of the two factions.  But the weight and strength of it is really the fact that there is genuine emotional depth to the business with Picard and Beverly.  We have been watching these two for the better part of seven years, and to see them open up in the way they do is both justified by the plot and refreshing to watch.  Jonathan Frakes is generally a good director but in particular he brings a good touch to their interaction, particularly to the scene around the campfire.  And Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden both bring a sincerity to dialogue that could easily have been hokey.

Guest Cast:
• Lenore Kasdorf, who plays Lorin, played an ISN reporter for a few episodes of Babylon 5.

Shout Out to the Past:
Of course, there are many references to Jack Crusher, as well as Wesley.  There is also reference to Beverly’s grandmother, whom we have heard about before.

There is also reference to the tension between Picard and Beverly from back in the series opener, Encounter at Farpoint.

Setting Up the Future:
I guess you could say this episode is significant in setting up the development of Picard and Beverly’s relationship in the Series Finale.

Observations:
• Writer Nicholas Sagan is apparently the son of the famous astronomer Carl Sagan

• Picard and Crusher’s conversation about “Associate Membership” into the Federation is interesting, including the fact that usually every member of the Federation entered as a unified whole, and that that was an indicator of their cultural maturity.

• There is a world government on earth in 2150!  And Beverly picks Australia, my home nation, in her hypothetical question about what if one nation had refused to participate.

• A little odd that Worf walks away from the transporter without receiving confirmation that Picard and Beverly have arrived.  I guess the procedure is so routine that you don’t normally worry about it.  But still, this is the Captain.

• Geordi is not in this episode.

• Lorin’s arrival in the cell is almost only for plot exposition purposes – but she does fiddly faddle with her instrument to justify it.  Presumably it has to do with calibrating or checking the devices on Picard and Crusher’s necks.

• Picard basically states his worldview:  “There is a way out of every box, there is a solution to every puzzle.  It’s just a matter of finding it.”

• I like the way Picard and Crusher are slowly reading each other’s minds without realizing it.

• “I’m beginning to think negatively, Jean-Luc.”  Nice line.

• Robin Gammell’s performance as Mauric is quite good.  His paranoia about the room is a nice touch.

• The flame eruptions are not entirely convincing, but the idea works.

• When Riker is trying to contact the Prytt, there is no delay whatsoever between making the effort and receiving an answer – as is often the case on the show.

• What the heck is all that stuff in the ambassador’s room?  Ha ha – there’s a plasma lamp!  Was that still futuristic looking at that time?  Riker says, “I see you’ve done some redecorating.”  And later, when the Ambassador threatens to leave, “Fine. Make sure you take all this junk with you.”

• My daughter points out that Mauric wants to talk with Riker in a less open situation, but he won’t let Picard and Beverly rendezvouz with his people in a less open situation.

• Nice exchange between Picard and Crusher:  “One of us is hungry.”  “That would be me.”

• Great moment when Beverly talks about her shame over insulting that guy:  “I thought I was being cute, but I really hurt him.”

• Really nice as Picard and Beverly begin to really connect with each other.  “I love firelight,” they both say, together.  And Beverly interrupting her story because of Picard’s thoughts, that’s a powerful moment.

• Sometimes it seems that Picard and Crusher get further apart than they are supposed to be comfortable with.

• Why would Mr. Grumpy Ambassador be allowed to just wander around the Enterprise without there being any attendants or guards or anything?

• Riker’s dealings with the two planetary officials is pretty effective.  “They will also listen to the reports of the Captain of the Enterprise and his First Officer…..The Kes, while a friendly an democratic people, are driven by suspicion, deviousness, and paranoia.”  And so on.

• Nice moment when Crusher saves Picard during the climax.

• Cute when Crusher and Picard have a good laugh at Riker’s exepnse

• Picard and Cruisher on a dinner date at the end — Picard is in one of his less ridiculous pieces of casual wear, though still exotic.  I got confused by this scene, actually – I didn’t think it realistic that this was the same day that they were rescued.  It seems like they’d be more tired than that.  But if that’s the case, then why were Crusher and Picard talking about hearing each other’s thoughts during their last night’s sleep?  So that led me to think they had stayed a night on the Enterprise with the implants still in.  But then how did they do that if they get sick being too far apart from each other?  It was all getting pretty awkward before I realized it was supposed to be the same day.

• “Or perhaps we should be afraid.”  Huh? Wha? Um, not the episode’s best dialogue.

Dialogue High Point
My favorite line comes when Beverly realizes one of Picard’s secrets.

I mean, you’re acting like you know exactly which way to go, but you’re only guessing.  Do you do this all the time?

Previous Episode: Dark Page • Next Episode:  Force of Nature

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2 thoughts on “Star Trek: The Next Generation – Attached [7.8]

  1. I found this an OK episode. I didn’t much like the central conceit, though, of the two hearing each other’s thoughts. So I didn’t enjoy the episode as much as I could have.

  2. It’s interesting how much our personal preferences impact our response to an episode, right? I particularly like Dr. Crusher and the idea of her relationship with Picard, so this episode right away starts off with a few points in its favor. Not that I’d automatically like it regarding its quality, but it helps.

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