’Star Trek: Picard’s Gates McFadden on Beverly Crusher’s Season 3 Moral Dilemma
April 8, 2023
She also discusses how they didn’t want there to be a clear right or wrong answer to that Episode 3 moment between Picard and Crusher.
Star Trek: Picard is approaching its final two episodes after delivering one of the best seasons in the franchise’s long, storied history. Along with these new episodes has come a big storyline for Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) as she reaches out to Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) for the first time in over 20 years, revealing that she had his son and that they’re both in grave danger. Star Trek has never been afraid to broach complicated moral quandaries on screen, with some of the franchise’s most iconic episodes dealing with genocide, gender, and race. In Picard Season 3, we see Beverly and Jean-Luc facing some difficult decisions about their own morality as they make choices that they may not have made once upon a time in order to protect their son.
Collider’s own Samantha Coley recently sat down with McFadden to discuss the latest season of her podcast InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are? During their conversation, Coley asked McFadden about returning to play Beverly Crusher in Picard Season 3 and what it’s been like to work through some of these big emotional moments for her character. In Episode 7, Picard and Crusher contemplate killing Vadic because of her pure determination to capture Jack (Ed Speleers) and turn him over to whoever she works for. McFadden called it “a very tricky scene,” saying that she loves seeing Beverly at this point. “I love the fact that you see this woman who’s so vulnerable and exhausted by this. This has been going on for quite some time in her life, and she thinks it is because of this person,” she told Collider.
Her performance in Episode 7, and much of Season 3, is rooted in her own lived experience as a mother. McFadden explained Beverly’s point of view:
“I’ve always thought to myself, you see what people do, the horrible things humans can do to each other. And I’ve thought to myself, the only time I could ever see myself really just striking out and hurting someone or killing someone would be protecting my son, my family. So, I think she’s in that position, and if you’re exhausted, you look at in wartime and the exhaustion that must happen and the post-traumatic stress of things, I don’t think you are always in a state where you can control every emotion and reaction you’re feeling. You strive to. And I think that certainly everyone’s character is always striving to do that, do work for the greater good.
But she speaks honestly when she says, “I don’t know, I think I’m losing my moral compass.” She wants to hold on to that moral compass, but she’s at least aware that it might be slipping. So, I love the fact that they present it so that the audience is going to have to think about what they would do.”ng Balance Between Picard and Crusher
McFadden also spoke about crafting the big Picard/Crusher scene from Episode 3 and how she wanted to make sure that neither party was completely right nor completely wrong during that conversation. It’s easily one of the best moments of the season as Beverly explains that there was a very high probability that she wouldn’t be able to protect their child if she had told Picard before he was born, given that he’s often one of the most endangered men in the galaxy. After losing so many people that she loved to the tragedies of space, Crusher was unwilling to risk that happening with Jack too. Picard is naturally heartbroken that she made the decision for both of them, but you cannot fault Beverly’s logic either. Jonathan Frakes, who directed the episode, told Collider that he crafted the scene to have them visually work through this gap in their history. McFadden explained that finding that delicate balance was quite tricky. She said:
“With the third episode with the scene with Patrick [Stewart] and I, that one was the trickiest because I did not want one person or the other to have clearly made the wrong ethical choice, and I was worried about that the most. So, I fought for certain things. Certain things got taken out that I thought were more on Beverly’s side as an explanation, but I tried to play it as strongly as I could in the way it was written.”