The TVLine Performers of the Week: Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden

THE PERFORMERS | Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden

THE SHOW | Star Trek: Picard

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THE EPISODE | “Seventeen Seconds” (March 2, 2023)

THE PERFORMANCES | It’s been a thrill to see Stewart reunite with his Next Generation castmates in Picard‘s final season… but the reunion hasn’t been all warm hugs and old stories. The surprise revelation that Jean-Luc and Beverly Crusher have a son together was like a photon torpedo to the former Enterprise captain’s heart, and this week, Jean-Luc confronted Beverly about why she kept Jack a secret from him. In a scene that will stand as one of the most emotionally devastating moments in Trek history, Stewart and McFadden were simply brilliant, drawing on their years sharing the screen together to take each other to new heights.

Jean-Luc pulled Beverly aside for a private chat, and Stewart and McFadden hardly needed to say a word, his eyes flashing with anger and hers welling up with guilt. Beverly explained that Jack was conceived just before she left the Enterprise, and she thought their relationship had run its course: “We both knew we were at the end.” Jean-Luc’s mournful reply: “I didn’t.” Stewart’s voice quaked with hurt as Jean-Luc struggled to understand why Beverly cut off all contact with him. McFadden passionately fired back, with Beverly listing off all the times Jean-Luc’s life was constantly in danger. Both actors raised their voices, and Stewart displayed a fury we rarely see from Jean-Luc as he condemned Beverly for using his own unhappy upbringing as justification for keeping Jack away from him. But McFadden lashed out like a mama bear, arguing that she couldn’t bear to lose Jack “to the same stars that own you,” just like she had lost her husband and other son.

Stewart did some of his best work ever as Jean-Luc in those moments, and McFadden matched him beat for emotional beat. It was difficult to watch two characters we’ve loved for so long fight like that, but it was a completely mesmerizing scene nonetheless, plumbing depths that Trek shows rarely attempt to reach. We’re happy to see our Next Generation favorites together again, but we’re also happy to see them get such rich material and knock it out of the park.

Scroll down to see who scored Honorable Mention shout-outs this week…

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