“Lessons” is the 19th episode of the sixth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and was originally aired in the United States on 05 April 1993, in broadcast syndication.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, Captain Picard’s (Patrick Stewart) shared love of music with Lt. Commander Nella Daren (Wendy Hughes) leads to romance, resulting in conflicting emotions on his behalf. After incorrectly believing her to have died, he realises that he is incapable of carrying out a relationship with someone under his command.
The episode was directed by Robert Wiemer, the episode was written by Ron Wilkerson and Jean Louise Matthias, with some uncredited revisions by René Echevarria. Stand-ins were used to perform the pieces by Picard and Daren, which required the use of close-up camera angles by the director. The episode was received warmly by critics reviewing it after the end of the series, who praised the performances of Hughes and Stewart.
Picard is irritated that the stellar cartography department has shut down several systems on the Enterprise, and visits the section to discover what is going on. He meets the head of the department, Lt. Commander Nella Daren, who makes an impression on Picard. It is a meeting memorable enough to later discuss with Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). At a musical recital by Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner), Picard is surprised to see Daren, once again, playing the piano. The two discuss music, and later meet in Picard’s quarters and participate in a duet. Daren plays a portable piano and Picard performs on his Ressikan flute.
The two meet more often; even in a Jefferies tube, which Daren claims has the best acoustics on the ship. In this private setting, their attraction for one another is expressed in a kiss. The moment of intimacy is fleeting, however. When they enter a turbolift, and are joined by another crewmember, Picard resumes the professional demeanour of Captain. The Enterprise is diverted from its mission, when it is directed to investigate a report of firestorms at a Federation outpost. While in transit, Picard consults Counsellor Troi (Marina Sirtis) about pursuing a relationship with Daren. Picard then goes to Daren to apologise and to explain. He recounts the experience shown in the episode “The Inner Light” in which he had a wife and family, became a grandfather, grew old, and learned to play the flute. The experience imparted to Picard a deep appreciation for music, and he is pleased to have someone to share it with.
Daren speaks to Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) requesting a transfer for another crew member to stellar cartography. Riker says he will consider the request. Afterwards, he speaks with Picard, explaining that Picard and Daren’s relationship makes the decision complicated. After determining from Riker that Daren’s request is not unusual or taking advantages, Picard assures Riker that he will support any decision he makes. Later at dinner, Picard relates to Daren his talk with Riker, saying that they need to be careful about anyone else misunderstanding their relationship.
The Enterprise arrives at the Federation outpost to find that firestorms are heading toward the facility. Daren suggests a means of deflecting the storms, but the equipment requires trained personnel on the ground to operate it. Daren is assigned to the surface team, along with a number of other crewmembers. The outpost is evacuated during the dangerous mission, leaving only the Enterprise away team on surface. The firestorms overwhelm the position that Daren’s team occupies before they can be retrieved. Believing Daren to be dead, Picard sits contemplating his decision in his quarters. He then hears that survivors are being transported aboard, and heads to the transporter room. Daren is not among the initial group of survivors, but is later transported to the ship. Eight members of the team have died.
Afterwards, Picard and Daren discuss their relationship. They conclude that it cannot continue, as Picard could not bear to put her in danger once more. They discuss giving up their Starfleet careers to be together. Daren realises that Picard, although still cherishing the family life he experienced as Kamin, has nonetheless chosen duty, career, and loneliness. They both know that Daren must transfer off the Enterprise. They kiss once more, and Daren makes Picard promise not to give up music.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Robert Wiemer.
- Writer(s): Ron Wilkinson and Jean Louise Matthias.
- Release Date: 05 April 1993.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.