THE PERFORMERS | Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden
THE SHOW | Star Trek: Picard
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…
HONORABLE MENTION: David Eigenberg
David Eigenberg, how dare you! The Chicago Fire actor completely destroyed us during this week’s episode as his character, Christopher Herrmann, struggled to watch his wife Cindy go through chemotherapy. The normally gruff demeanor that Eigenberg brings to Herrmann was replaced with worry, tenderness and an aching vulnerability while the firefighter tended to a sick Cindy and desperately tried to keep his tears at bay. But the weight of everything finally caught up to Herrmann, who broke down in Ritter’s arms in the firehouse. Eigenberg’s emotional sobs were powerful, but so was the quiet strength that the actor brought in the episode’s final scene, in which Herrmann reassured his children that it’s OK to not be OK.
HONORABLE MENTION: Harrison Ford
It’s no surprise that Harrison Ford exudes charm and charisma, and Shrinking‘s seventh episode gave him the stage to unleash every ounce of his talent. His character never failed to deliver laughs, especially as he reveled in the accidental discovery of Jimmy and Gaby’s drunken hook-up. Even the actor’s quietest quips and deliveries led to satisfying payoffs. But once his daughter Meg arrived to help him with his Parkinson’s disease, Ford easily pivoted to dramatics. After Paul turned down the offer to move in with her, their already distant relationship became strained even further. When Meg barked that he was never there for her, Ford nearly choked on his words. Then, when she stormed out, his body froze up (a symptom of his condition), causing him to yell out in anger and pain that we felt through the screen.
HONORABLE MENTION: David Giuntoli
We weren’t expecting a dead-bird plot in Wednesday’s A Million Little Things’ to move us like it did, but thanks to David Giuntoli, here we are. As it became clear that Theo’s emotions over an injured sparrow were really about Jon’s death by suicide at the start of the series, Giuntoli’s Eddie found himself both comforting his son and realizing how a comment made in grief had caused the boy so much anxiety. Giuntoli exuded warmth, tinged by guilt, as he softened his voice and launched into an age-appropriate explanation of depression. And while Theo’s well-being was clearly top of mind, Giuntoli’s anguished mannerisms — all blunted as much as possible for his child’s benefit — did an admirable job of reminding us that Eddie still is, and likely will always be, deeply affected by the loss of his friend.
Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!