Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Doctor Beverly Crusher’s relationship is the ultimate “the one who got away” story. Though they had deep feelings for each other for decades, they never ended up together. Well, not in the Prime timeline at least.
Here’s a look back at the almost love story of Crusher and Picard.
Before Picard and Crusher ever met, she fell madly in love with the man who would become her husband, Jack Crusher. The two met while they were at Starfleet Academy, and married a few years later. Within a year of their nuptials, Crusher gave birth to their son, Wesley.
Jack Crusher was assigned to the USS Stargazer, where Picard was the captain. Both Crushers developed a very close friendship with Picard. They both considered him family. He regarded them as such as well.
The two got much closer during this time period, but Crusher was still far too in love with her late husband to see anyone else. Additionally, Picard was too devoted to the memory of his friend to acknowledge the feelings he was developing for Crusher. So, they remained best friends for several years.
When Picard took command of Starfleet’s flagship, the Enterprise-D, Crusher was assigned as the Chief Medical Officer for the ship. Picard didn’t know if he wanted to have Crusher, his very close friend, under his command. However, Crusher insisted that she didn’t have an issue with taking orders from him and that their friendship wouldn’t have any impact on their working relationship.
However, their closeness did have a big impact on the way they worked together. Crusher was often the only person who was comfortable enough to speak frankly with Picard, though she was careful never to do so in front of the crew. Whenever he lost perspective or started making questionable decisions, Crusher was always willing to call him out and get him back on track.
Crusher was also the only member of the crew with whom Picard frequently dined. The two often had breakfast together in the captain’s quarters, something he didn’t do with any other crew members. Though he occasionally had meals with other members of the senior staff in his quarters, Picard only invited Crusher for breakfast. They made a habit of trying new foods together.
The attraction between Crusher and Picard was evident several times during their years together on the Enterprise. When the crew was infected with a virus that mimicked intoxication, Crusher got extremely flirtatious with Picard. Not long after that, Crusher joined Picard in his Dixon Hill holodeck program. They seemed quite taken with each other’s alternate personalities.
On two different occasions, when it seemed like they might not make it out of trouble and when Crusher thought she might be losing Picard, she came close to professing her feelings. However, both times her confessions were interrupted. Picard remained close-lipped about his feelings for Crusher, though they were apparent in the way he looked at her and the way he relaxed when she was around.
Though they wouldn’t admit how they felt to each other or anyone else, their reactions when other love interests were involved said more than words could. Whenever either of them met someone and made a connection, the other was noticeably jealous and skeptical of the prospective partner.
The Truth Comes Out
Neither Picard nor Crusher ever got brave enough to say how they felt for each other out loud. However, they both learned the truth at the same time, in a peculiar way. After being captured by a group of non-humans on a strange planet, Picard and Crusher were given implants that connected their minds, allowing them to hear each other’s thoughts. At first, they were fairly guarded, trying to hide their thoughts from each other.
However, as they became more comfortable with being in each other’s minds, they opened up, sharing things they could never say to each other. Finally, Picard admitted that he’d been in love with Crusher for a long time. He said he didn’t want to act on it because he’d cared so much for her husband and he didn’t want to disrespect him. When Crusher asked if that’s why he’d been so reluctant to have her on his ship, he admitted that it was. Crusher confessed that she had feelings for him as well. She acknowledged that she also didn’t know how to approach the situation given how close Picard had been with her husband.
When they got back to the ship, Picard indicated that he wanted to see where their relationship would go. However, Crusher said that she valued their friendship too much to change anything. They agreed to cherish the time they’d had while they were linked and try to go back to their normal relationship.
A Glimpse of What Could Have Been
As far as fans know, Picard and Crusher never got together. There was no mention of an intimate relationship in the movies that came after the events of The Next Generation (TNG). Season one of Picard didn’t indicate that they’d gotten together either.
However, an alternate timeline did provide a glimpse of what might have been. In the series finale of TNG, Picard started moving through time, re-experiencing the past one moment and living in the future the next moment. Though it was not apparent at first, the future that he was shifting into was actually an alternate timeline future.
In that alternate future, Picard encountered Admiral Beverly Picard. He discovered that at some point in the future, he and Crusher got married. They’d stayed together for a long time but eventually divorced. She kept his name anyway. Their relationship seemed amicable even though they weren’t together anymore.
Of course, there’s no way of knowing whether that’s how a romantic relationship between Picard and Crusher would have played out. Just because they divorced in one timeline doesn’t mean it would have gone the same way in the Prime timeline. In fact, in the Star Trek universe, things are usually drastically different from one timeline to the next.
Unless Crusher makes an appearance in Picard season two, fans will never know what became of Picard and Crusher’s almost love story.