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July 13 2024


An archive of Star Trek News

Remember Me

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at November 21, 2008 - 10:17 PM GMT

See Also: 'Remember Me' Episode Guide

Plot Summary: Beverly Crusher welcomes her elderly mentor Dr. Quaice aboard the Enterprise and is sad to hear of his loneliness after the death of his wife. Thinking of her own late husband, she goes to visit her son in Engineering and arrives just in time to see an odd burst of light caused by Wesley's warp bubble experiment. Not long after, she goes to visit Quaice and learns that he is no longer on the ship. Picard and Worf tell her that there is no evidence he ever came on board, and O'Brien cannot remember Quaice's arrival, though he was working the transporter controls at the time. At first suspecting a conspiracy centered on Quaice, Crusher then learns that her medical staff has disappeared and that the crew is shrinking - and no one else remembers any of those people being on board in the first place. When a violent vortex begins to appear on the ship, Crusher is convinced that Wesley's experiment must be connected to it, though LaForge can find no evidence of any sort of disruption. Worse, Wesley disappears in the middle of a discussion about whether the Traveler might be able to help with Wesley's equations. People continue to disappear around her until Picard - the last remaining crewmember - tells her that he can give her no answers about why he and Crusher have been sent out alone to study the cosmos. Then he disappears as well. Meanwhile, a full crew minus Crusher tries to figure out how the doctor became trapped in Wesley's warp bubble. The Traveler arrives to assist them, saying that Crusher is trapped in a reality based on her own thoughts and they must retrieve her before the warp bubble collapses. Crusher is able to determine from the ship's computer that she must be caught in the warp bubble and heads to engineering, guessing correctly that the vortex is a way out. She leaps through it as the bubble collapses, eradicating her private universe, and finds herself in a properly crowded engineering section.

Analysis: People I know who love Beverly Crusher, and in particular Picard/Crusher romance, adore this episode. I like Beverly well enough, though I sometimes thinks she tends to over-dramatize, and her "Jean-Luc, I have something to tell you..." moments are some of my least favorites of the entire series. I like Beverly too much to get much gleeful pleasure out of her growing discomfort when the crew starts looking at her like she's lost her mind - the look on her face when she finds out no one has ever heard of Worf is priceless, and her belief that O'Brien must be part of a conspiracy is pretty funny too - but I don't like Beverly nearly enough to enjoy her overacted descriptions of what she likes about each member of the bridge crew, let alone her moments of tearful self-pity before she pulls herself together and starts working with the computer to find a way out.

In fact, "Remember Me" is quite telling about Crusher's flaws as a character - and I do mean as a character, the way she's written, rather than as a human being. We know there must be other doctors on the Enterprise, people she supervises, and a whole staff of nurses and technicians who know her well, but we never see them or see her interacting with them; at this point she doesn't even have a Nurse Chapel. So when these people disappear, we don't have any emotional investment in them or in her role as their department head, leader and mentor; whether we believe in her distress depends entirely on our perceptions of what's important to Crusher. And what's important to Crusher, in a nutshell, are her son and her captain...not necessarily in that order. When Beverly gets lonely, she goes looking for Wesley, and when she realizes that people are vanishing, she races down to Engineering to make sure he's still there, yet the last person in her universe is Jean-Luc Picard, and the last thing she starts to say to another human being is what we all known to be the long-delayed speech she's started many times before about her true feelings for him.

I have a definite sense in hindsight that a Picard/Crusher romance was a bad idea all around. First there was the long tease, making them both look less than professional at times and hindering their abilities to form relationships with other people, which set off such horrible scenes as Crusher ranting to Troi about Jenice in "We'll Always Have Paris." This all eventually culminates in the woeful episode "Attached," in which we get told that it's not Crusher but Picard with the deep unresolved feelings about his onetime best friend's wife, and Crusher all but flees from them; and then, in the weakest aspect of the generally terrific series finale "All Good Things..." we get told in hindsight that Picard and Crusher get married and divorced! No wonder Wesley's long since fled the known universe. And really, shouldn't Crusher at this point know things about Worf and Data and Riker beyond the things that every viewer knows? We only see the big highlights of the mission, but she should be dealing with all these people on a regular basis, and have lots of little stories and observations beyond what's written in the show's main character descriptions.

It's obvious in the final minutes of "Remember Me" that Crusher is capable of being so much more than doctor/mother/lover, but she doesn't even try until first her staff, then her son, then her captain have all been taken away from her, forcing her to drop all those roles and think for herself. Once she's alone with the ship's computer, she isn't tearful or angry or panicked; she asks all the right questions, she maintains a sense of humor, she puts all the pieces together very quickly and understands what she needs to do to save herself - something she can't do entirely on her own, but at least now she can recognize the real lifeline from the phantoms. How come she didn't start acting like a scientist sooner? The answer, of course, is to drag out the storyline, which is detrimental to the episode's pacing as well as to Crusher's dilemma. If only there had been a B plot...if only the warp bubble hadn't been a science experiment gone awry, but something with a hint of menace or scientific breakthrough. Wesley learning to transcend time and space with the Traveler really isn't much payoff, especially when the visual manifestation is two guys standing around typing with one of them appearing and disappearing via special effects.

The structure of the episode is sound, sticking with Crusher's point of view so that we're as confused as she is until it becomes necessary to reveal that the crew is out there attempting to bring her back. But we've had so many family-based episodes in a row now that this one seems to need something more of a climax than "There's no place like home." Given how little character development there is even though it's a character-driven story, I wonder if I would have liked it better had the crisis happened to Troi - Riker would have been just as worried about her as Wesley is about his mother - or Picard - like Kirk in "The Mark of Gideon," a captain without a crew...nah, that episode was awful by comparison with almost everything on Next Gen!

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Michelle Erica Green is a former news writer for TrekToday. An archive of her reviews can be found at The Little Review.

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