Star Trek The Next Generation: Attached

"Penny for your thoughts."

Finally! But how dare they end it that way?

One thing I have always found frustrating about Star Trek is the unresolved sexual tension between all of those good-looking single people. I totally understand that it was a decision by the Powers That Be not to act on it, to focus on the science fiction, but it wasn't believable. It often made Star Trek seem like a Heinlein juvenile.

After seven seasons of undercurrent, "Attached" finally addressed the romantic tension between Picard and Crusher. It was done beautifully, too. After being beamed into a dank prison and then escaping and going on the run on an alien planet, the telepathic devices they had been fitted with by the Prytt kept them in close physical proximity and transmitted their thoughts to each other. The forced intimacy brought down barriers between them.

It started with simple things – thirst, fear of heights – moved on to the realization that they had some crossed wires about breakfast, and then it got to the heavy stuff. As in, Crusher "hearing" that Picard had been in love with her when her husband Jack was alive, but never acted on it because she was his best friend's wife. That after Jack died, acting on his feelings would have felt like a betrayal to Picard. And that, after all these years serving together on the Enterprise, Picard's feelings had changed and quieted. (Oddly, Picard and Crusher never really discussed her feelings for him.)



After their inevitable rescue, breakfast graduated to a dinner date, and I must add how gorgeous their outfits were in this scene, and how beautifully performed it was. Picard suggested that they finally act on their feelings… and Crusher said no.

How frustrating.

I have never shipped Picard and Crusher, but there has been something between them since the series began, and it made sense to address it in Next Gen's final season. But what was the point of this episode if it very convincingly brought the two of them to the brink, only to stop them from jumping off? Apparently, the reason they pulled back was practical – with movies in the works, they didn't want to eliminate the possibility of another romantic interest for Picard.

So instead of giving us an emotional love scene as the culmination of all of this perfect, beautifully acted set-up, the writers said, "Oops. Never mind." Turkeys.

The B-plot was a lot of fun, as Riker's diplomatic talents were tested by an entire planet full of prickly, paranoid conspiracy theorists. It was an interesting situation. The Kes, applying for Federation membership, represented most of their planet, but not all; there was also the Prytt, a nation of xenophobic mimes who kidnapped Picard and Crusher to throw a spanner in the membership works.



Riker did give diplomacy the old college try as he doggedly attempted to locate and retrieve Picard and Crusher, eventually forcing a confrontation between the two ambassadors, and losing his temper with both of them. Kesprytt III is clearly not ready for membership in the Federation.

And how did the world get a name like that when the two peoples hate each other so much? It sounded more like a name assigned by Starfleet, possibly because the Kes and the Prytt couldn't agree on what to call their planet. This sort of plot element always reminds me that we basically call our own planet "dirt." We really should have some sort of world convention to come up with a better name than "Earth," shouldn't we?

Bits:

— Stardate 47304.2. Kesprytt III.

— Earth's world government was established in 2150. Did we know that?

— The strange surveillance equipment that kept appearing in Mauric's guest quarters was laugh out loud funny.

— The Prytt cell door had no food slot. Not very practical.

— Picard dropped his gorgeous jacket in the exploding gas cave and left it behind. Nooooo!

— Coffee and croissants. Why aren't we more direct and honest with our peeps about what we want?

— A couple of episodes ago in "Gambit, Part 1," they gave us phasers that were actually transporters. This time, they gave us a transporter combined with a tractor beam.

— Sleeping by the campfire was sweet. But I'd keep my hair a little further away from the fire there, Beverly.

Quotes, all Picard and Crusher:

"I think our link is getting stronger."
"Maybe if we put some distance between us, that might weaken it. Not that I'm growing tired of hearing your most intimate thoughts."

"Last night I couldn't sleep. I was awake for several hours, and thanks to the implants, I got to hear some very interesting dreams of yours."
"A man cannot be held responsible for what his mind does while he's asleep."
"What about when he's awake?"

"This way."
"You don't really know, do you?"
"What?"
"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?"
"No, but there are times when it is necessary for a captain to give the appearance of confidence."
Laugh out loud.

Despite an unsatisfactory ending, this was a good one. Three out of four croissants,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

3 comments:

Victoria Grossack said...

I agree the ending was odd too. Why accept the dinner date invitation, dress so beautifully, and then say no?

Anonymous said...

A very underrated episode... the one were they FINALLY grew the balls to talk about Picard and Crusher, and in the end they totally fucked it.

How much even better could TNG had been if they had developed the relationship from the beginning instead of pressing the reset button every goddamn week?.

But I want DS9 in TNG, and that was impossible with Idiot Berman at the helm (god, I sound like Trump).

Still, this was an appetizer of what could have been. What a shame.

Victoria Grossack said...

I agree with Anonymous. The big problem with TNG is that usually pushed the reset button. And that's a large part of why I prefer DS9.