WARNING: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard season 3, episode 1 – “The Next Generation”The Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) that audiences meet in Star Trek: Picard season 3 is a considerable improvement on the original version of the character as seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Gates McFadden famously left the role of Dr. Crusher after TNG season 1 because of the poor development of her character compared to the version that had been outlined to her by creator Gene Roddenberry. An early biography of the character revealed that Crusher resented Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) for his part in the death of her husband, Jack, which allowed her to challenge him in a way that the USS Enterprise-D bridge crew would not.
Apart from their interactions in the TNG pilot, and select episodes from the show’s seven-season run, Picard and Crusher’s conflict was never developed in a meaningful way. It appears that Star Trek: Picard season 3 is finally exploring the dynamic between both characters, beyond the romantic tension that TNG often fell back on in its storytelling. The season 3 premiere reveals that two decades prior to her distress signal, Beverly Crusher cut off all contact with her former Enterprise crew mates. This mystery adds the depth to Beverly Crusher that the character has sorely been lacking in many of her Star Trek appearances.
Why Picard’s Dr. Crusher Is The Beverly We’ve Been Waiting For
Although Beverly’s distress signal is what kicks off Star Trek: Picard season 3’s plot, she’s not a damsel in distress. It’s clear from the opening action sequence, in which Beverly kills Vadic’s boarding party using a phaser rifle and a bit of ingenuity, that she’s exhausted every other option. It’s only when she’s mortally wounded, unable to protect her son, Ed Speelers’ new Picard character, that she calls Jean-Luc for help. This is in stark contrast to an episode like “Chain of Command”, when she joins a covert mission into Cardassian space, only to seduce a Ferengi and then roll her ankle when the firefight begins.
The resourceful action hero that begins Picard season 3 is the more authoritative Beverly Crusher that Roddenberry had promised Gates McFadden back at TNG‘s genesis. The season 3 trailers also reveal that there will be conflict between Beverly and Jean-Luc in future episodes, paying off Roddenberry’s original wish that Crusher stands up to Picard. As Beverly Crusher faded into the background of Star Trek: Insurrection and the hated Star Trek: Nemesis, it’s thrilling to see her at the heart of the TNG reunion’s story.
Why Did Beverly Keep Her Son A Secret From Picard?
Captain Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Picard were shocked when they learned Beverly has another son besides Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton). As she’d cut herself off from the Enterprise crew for over 20 years, it’s clear that she didn’t broadcast the news of her pregnancy. It’s possible that her pregnancy was behind her decision to cease contact with her former friends. This suggests that Jean-Luc Picard is possibly the father of her son. Picard’s DNA has been at the heart of both Ferengi and Romulan plots in the TNG episode “Bloodlines” and Nemesis respectively, so it would make sense for Beverly to keep the existence of a Picard descendant secret.
The only stumbling block for this is that Beverly and Picard’s romance was never properly pursued on-screen, so there could be another reason. The Crushers are being hunted, and Beverly has told Jean-Luc not to trust anyone. Whatever the reason for Beverly and her son being on the run, it seems that Starfleet has some involvement. Due to Picard’s dedication to Starfleet, Beverly may have felt that she could never reach out to him for help because he couldn’t help but involve the institution. Surely, answers from Beverly will be forthcoming as Star Trek: Picard season 3 continues.
NEXT: The Entire TNG Crew Should Survive Picard Season
Star Trek: Picard Season 3 streams Thursdays on Paramount+.