Jean-Luc Picard is hardly a romantic.
If the Starfleet captain is not lecturing on the Prime Directive or arguing about questionable customs on other planets, he’s telling someone to beam down to a strange world or power up the warp drive. Even the way he requests his tea (Earl Grey, hot) from the replicator sounds like a serious order. Who would know that someone who can be easily imagined giving orders in his sleep actually has the ability to feel—and is crushing on medical officer Beverly Crusher?
Picard and Crusher can go from approaching each other with the awkwardness of teens at prom to arguing like a couple married for ages. While they have been shipped countless times in fan fiction and were supposedly married and divorced in an alternate universe, what Trekkies were thirsting to see for seven seasons of Star Trek: the Next Generation kind of happened and kind of didn’t.
While there have been many Crusher and Picard scenes that hint at more than just a professional relationship, there are some that virtually scream these two need to be an item. Make it so.
When Crusher is Infected by the Lust Bug
Season 1 Episode 3: The Naked Now
This doesn’t exactly start out setting the mood. With an infection going around the Enterprise, a furious Picard storms into Crusher’s office. The response? She suggestively sits on the edge of the table and slips her robe off, all hot and bothered, purring “I think I’ve become infected myself, Captain.”
The way Crusher responds to a stoic Picard when he asks what having this infection is like verges on hilarious. She admits that it is like a form of intoxication that rids you of better judgment, and comes right out with telling him how she finds him extremely attractive (at least for now). He doesn’t seem to get the hint even when she starts unbuttoning her collar.
When Crusher gives Picard a suggestive goodbye in the doorway, he waves her off with an attitude better reserved for Lwaxana Troi (if you know you know).
That Holodeck Simulation Right Out of a ‘40s Romance
Season 1 Episode 12: The Big Goodbye
This is what happens when you enter a simulation that invites seduction. Take that and intensify the situation with malfunctioning holodecks, and you’ve got a nearly speechless captain and the doctor he lusts after stuck in 1941, with him looking like Dick Tracy and her giving off serious Old Hollywood vibes. Picard seems to forget the part about being held hostage by gangsters when he catches sight of her after his interrogation. It’s as if nothing and no one else is in the room.
Crusher also teases him like an ingénue in a vintage movie, slowly and seductively taking off her sunglasses as she stares deep into his eyes from behind a veiled hat. Picard’s response? “I must say you wear it well.” When she continues to tease about taking a tour of his office, you know it’s not for the machinery.
That Time They Both Fell Through a Pit in an Alien Jungle
Season 1 Episode 21: The Arsenal of Freedom
When Crusher tries to free Riker from some sort of trance induced by hostile extraterrestrials, she and Picard are fired at and end up tumbling into a pit and trapped in a jungle on the planet Minos.
Picard suddenly goes into protection mode even though he’s hardly the reassuring type. While Jean-Luc Picard and emotion generally don’t mix, there is an element of something more than just concern when he reassures the doctor who has now found herself in a medical emergency. Of course, she still has to deal with this curmudgeon giving her actual orders to stay awake, but even with him acting the captain in this situation, he sometimes lets go of that persona.
The way they gaze into each other’s eyes speaks much louder than anything they say. Too bad the spell breaks when he realizes a view screen is hiding in the bushes.
Date Night with a Seductive Picard Imposter
Season 3 Episode 18: Allegiance
This one technically shouldn’t count, because in this episode, Picard is kidnapped by aliens and held captive on their ship while an evil imposter morphs into his doppelgänger. You know something is off with the captain when asks Crusher to have dinner in his quarters, almost like he’s giving an order.
While handing out orders is hardly unusual for Picard, he tends to distance himself from anything having to do with relationships and emotions in general, but this time, he literally isn’t himself. Crusher seems just on the edge giving in to a torrid affair as the conversation heats up. The suspense is excruciating. While she does allow for a kiss when Picard switches on what can only be described as vaguely romantic elevator music, she then officially calls it a night.
Sigh, the things we do in the name of professionalism.
That Time Picard Got All Emotional After a Bar Fight
Season 3 Episode 23: Sarek
This episode features a rare sighting of Picard actually showing emotion. After a bar fight ignited by Vulcan violence in Ten Forward, there is so much irony in how he and Crusher discuss the overflow of Vulcan emotions when they are repressing their own. This is obvious in how their hands are almost, but not quite, touching on the table. Then the captain just explodes with everything he’s kept locked up in his ribcage for most of his life.
In typical Picard fashion, he soon reverts back into his characteristic denial of having human feelings. In non-typical Picard fashion, he breaks down crying and confesses he wants to feel. He even tells Crusher he loves her with tears streaming down his face—and she holds him. You know things are about to get real when they ditch the titles and call each other Beverly and Jean-Luc.
When Picard Was Caught Having Breakfast with Another Woman
Season 4 Episode 20: Qpid
Jealousy can betray hidden feelings like nothing else. Crusher may keep her cool most of the time, but she nearly loses it when she stops by Picard’s quarters only to see his one time fling Vash having breakfast with him. The way her eyes flash from Vash to Picard and back is all you need to know.
The captain is also somewhat rattled. He stammers “This is Beverly … Dr. Beverly … Dr. Beverly Crusher” in what is an extremely uncomfortable love triangle moment. Crusher kills him with her comeback, and she only gets more savage from there. She just casually mentions that she and the captain often have a morning cup of (definitely Earl Grey) tea together and lets Picard’s guilt do the rest. It’s not often the captain of the starship Enterprise is ashamed of anything. Pause the episode at exactly 6:20, because the look on his face is everything.
By the way, this is the same episode where the crew is thrown into a Robin Hood situation and Worf (in tights) declares “I am not a merry man!” It’s the medieval sci-fi crossover you never knew you needed.
When Crusher’s Affair with an Alien Made Picard Jealous
Season 4 Episode 23: The Host
There must be some serious karma going around the Enterprise, because not long after the whole Vash incident, it’s Crusher’s turn to get entangled with someone other than Picard. That someone is a humanoid alien ambassador.
Soon, the passion burns out after Crusher finds out that she has really fallen for a parasite who is just using her lover’s body as a vessel to survive. Enter Picard. When this parasite sinks its teeth into Riker’s flesh, Crusher confides in the captain, who is surprisingly understanding, but the way he gazes deep into her eyes betrays more than sympathy. He obviously has some knowledge of what was going on with Crusher’s alien encounter in the bedroom, because he actually finds the nerve to tell her “Whatever else I may be to you, I’m your friend.”
Captain, you have been friendzoned.
Picard’s Arranged Marriage That Came Out of Nowhere
Season 5 Episode 21: The Perfect Mate
Sometimes, the most telling thing about two people who are into each other and refuse to admit it is when they fight like a stereotypical old married couple.
Don’t get Picard started on the Prime Directive. Of course, this is exactly what Crusher does in a situation where she and the captain are butting heads over a woman from an alien civilization who is offered to Picard in marriage to end centuries of strife. Crusher argues this is human trafficking while Picard insists aliens have a right to their customs. There are undertones of jealousy, even as they discuss political correctness on another planet. She leaves a defeated Picard sitting alone and chewing on a croissant.
You can only wonder whether Crusher would be so incensed by Picard’s arranged marriage, regardless of the Prime Directive, if she had no feelings for him.
Just About Every Picard and Crusher Scene in “Attached”
Season 7 Episode 8: Attached
When you’re suddenly able to know what someone else is thinking because you’ve both been abducted by aliens who surgically upgraded you with mind-reading implants, things can get uncomfortable—and steamy.
There is no other way Picard would ever admit to falling for Beverly even when she was still married to his (late) best friend. Guilty. As he spills his guts, he finally reveals why he’s constantly on and off with Beverly, besides the fact that showing emotion is not something usually associated with Picard. He swore to himself that he would never tell Crusher how he felt because it would be as if he was betraying her husband even in death. He obviously wasn’t thinking about that when he kissed Crusher on the lips after the implants were removed, though it didn’t last long. How very un-Picard of him.
The Confrontation Between Picard and Crusher’s Ghostly Lover
Season 7 Episode 14: Sub Rosa
Never mind the unsettling weirdness of this entire episode, which boldly goes where sci-fi horror has never gone before (who knew you could still be haunted in outer space and seduced by a ghost infiltrating your body).
The ghost that calls himself Ronan is passed on to Crusher like a family heirloom when her grandmother dies, and after she lets Picard in on some of grandma’s journals that read more like erotica, he makes a not-so-subtle quip about a genetic predisposition to a high libido. Unfortunately, the captain soon finds himself in a jealous rage over this phantasmal entity which is really something referred to as an anaphasic life-form. He demands an exhumation of Grandma to destroy Ronan’s source of energy, Beverly is against it until the thing from beyond threatens Picard’s life—and she turns on Ronan.
When the Thing Everyone Was Waiting for Finally Happened
Season 7 Episode 25-26: All Good Things
By the last episode of The Next Generation, enough of the fandom had been shipping Picard and Crusher to the point that the writers must have gotten the hint.
The scene everyone was waiting for in 1994 is almost like a roleplay scenario where Crusher and Picard switch positions. Now she’s the one giving him orders in the form of a “prescription” of warm milk and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, teasing that she will have him relieved and sedated if he doesn’t get some rest already. Things get almost as hot as the captain’s usual Earl Grey tea. There is the classic awkward silence usually reserved for teenagers, followed by the nervous touching of hands, until finally, finally, the kiss everyone waited seven seasons for happens. It doesn’t last.
Whatever could have transpired between these two next was only left to the imagination for decades…but maybe they will finally give in to the tension between them in season 3 of Picard.