145 – Lessons

Grade: A-

Lessons (1993) on IMDb


Around 3am, Captain Picard finds out that he can’t order tea, can’t send a message, or use his computer inside his office. Apparently, Stellar Cartography has requested the use of all the available resources for some experiments. So he goes to the lab and meets Nella Daren, the new department head for Stellar Sciences. He soon finds out they have a mutual love of music.


I know not everyone will like this episode. If you only like the typical Star Trek episode when they meet a new alien and have to fire their photons and there’s action and all kinds of special effects, then you won’t like this episode.

Personally, though, I love this episode. It’s one of the very best character-based episodes that this series ever produced. There are many wonderful scenes where we see sides of Picard’s character that we’ve never seen before. Up to this point in the series, we’ve seen Picard as an accomplished diplomat, as an able negotiator, a competent leader, and a confident starship captain. We don’t see him in social situations very often, and it’s wonderful to see him struggle here with his first romantic relationship since The Inner Light.

The supporting cast was also excellent – especially Wendy Hughes, Gates McFadden, Jonathan Frakes, and even Marina Sirtis. Aside from Hughes, who plays Nella, the rest of the cast has very small roles, but they’re all very good in them. The acting is very strong – much better than we’re used to.

One scene that was really powerful was when they showed Picard in his room, waiting for the news about Lt Cmdr Daren. It is wonderfully filmed, and when Picard talks about it later, that he just “shut down” when he wasn’t sure if she was still alive, it really added to the depth of this scene. It is excellently filmed and acted.

But I do have a minor complaint, which is the main reason why I dropped this down to an A-. I didn’t like the ending very much. I’m glad that they avoided killing off the character, but in all reality, it wouldn’t have made much difference in the storyline. We never see or hear of Daren again, as far as I’m aware. I wish the series didn’t play with our emotions like this. If Daren appeared in future episodes, it would be easier for us to accept storylines like this in the future. But the whole time I watched this, I knew that by the end of the story, she would either be dead, or serving on another ship. I really wish they could have found a way to let this relationship continue. Maybe serving on a ship does not allow for long-term relationships, but I think that would make most officers pretty lonely.

But overall, this is a very good story. If you like character dramas, this is one episode you need to see.

Of Note

They play Frere Jacques in this episode yet again. I’ve heard that particular music far too many times in this series, and I wish they could have found a different stereotypical French tune to play instead.

Speaking of which, I know Picard is supposed to be French, but despite the overly used tune, I don’t see him as particularly French at all. He definitely acts British.