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Lessons (episode)

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(written from a Production point of view)

Picard falls in love with one of his subordinates, but he can't deal with having to order her into dangerous situations.

Summary Edit

Captain Picard goes to stellar cartography to find out why the department has ordered the shutdown of several systems he wishes to use, such as communications, the library computer and even the replicator. He meets the new head of the department, Lieutenant Commander Nella Daren: she is very strong-willed and he instantly takes a liking to her. He brings her up to Doctor Crusher at one of their dinners. Later, at Commander Data's musical performance, Picard is surprised to find Commander Daren playing piano. They have a brief discussion about her performance during which she discovers that he is an amateur musician. Daren comes to Picard's quarters as he is working on Bach's Third Brandenburg Concerto. She asks him about the Ressikan flute he plays, and entices him to join her in duet while she plays along with a portable piano.

Daren and Picard duet

Picard's duet with Nella Daren

The two begin playing duets on a regular basis, and Daren brings Picard to the fourth intersect in Jefferies tube 25, which she says is the most acoustically perfect spot on the ship. Picard shares with her the folk melody he learned during life as Kamin on the planet Kataan, but does not tell her its origin. The two begin playing a duet of the melody, which could be heard in main engineering by Geordi La Forge who, confused, enters the Jefferies tube junction to try and work out where it is coming from. However, when Data enters the junction too, the music has stopped, because back in the tube, Picard and Daren are sharing a passionate kiss.

Later, Picard and Daren ride in a turbolift when another crew member enters. Picard immediately stops their personal conversation and changes his demeanor to professional. In the meantime, The Federation outpost at Bersallis III reports a period of fire storms beginning and the Enterprise goes to study the phenomenon.

In hs ready room, Picard asks Counselor Troi about his relationship with Daren, expressing his concerns that becoming involved with a subordinate could compromise his objectivity. Troi reassures him, and he goes to stellar cartography to talk to Daren. He apologizes for his behavior in the turbolift, and assures her that he is just inexperienced with this type of relationship. He also assures her that he is not given to casual relationships. He takes her to his quarters and explains to her the story of his time as Kamin, and the significance of his music to him.

Daren asks Commander Riker to have Cabot transfer to her department from quantum mechanics. He doesn't want to grant the request, but feels uncomfortable due to her relationship with Captain Picard. He discusses this with Picard who assures him that he is free to do his job as usual. Picard shares the experience with Daren and explains that they need to be aware of other people's perceptions.

The firestorms on Bersallis III change their speed and heading and begin to head towards the outpost, and there will not be enough time to evacuate. In a meeting about the situation, Daren suggests using thermal deflector units that she used to study a plasma geyser on Melnos IV to create a "firewall" to block the storms temporarily. The units require personnel to operate. Commander Daren is assigned to lead that team. Picard is concerned, but Daren reminds him that they agreed not to let the relationship get in the way of their work.

The storm gains speed and the ionization from the storm slows down the evacuation efforts. All of the colonists are evacuated, but the storm reaches the perimeter before the last two perimeter teams, including Daren's, cannot be retrieved.

Worried that something might have happened to her, Picard reflects on the situation in his quarters when he is informed by Worf that survivors have been discovered. He goes to the transporter room, but does not find Daren among them. As he is about to leave, Daren is beamed aboard with another survivor, Deng. Eight crew members ultimately lose their lives.

Later, Daren explains to Picard how they managed to survive by modifying their phasers to create pockets of safety. She and Deng survived but they lost Richardson. Picard tells her about the moment in his quarters when he thought that she was dead. He tells her that he has lost people under his command, people who were very dear to him, but never someone he has been in love with. And when he believed that she was dead, he began to shut down: he did not want to think or feel. That was when he retreated and felt that the only thing remaining to him was his music, and how it would never again give him joy.

Picard and Daren realize that they can never have a relationship while she is under his command where he is responsible for putting her life in jeopardy in the line of duty. They discuss whether one of them could give up their career and follow the other, but immediately realize that this would not be satisfactory. Hence, Daren decides to apply for transfer. Picard suggests that they coordinate their shore leaves together, but both know that their relationship will never be the same again. The two share one last kiss and she asks Picard to promise her that he will not give up his music.

Memorable quotes Edit

"Whoever you are, you just ruined four hours of work."
"You might have taken the simple precaution of locking the door."

- Nella Daren to Picard after he accidentally destroyed a delicate experiment Stellar Cartography was running

"Well, you're new on the Enterprise. You'll have to learn to expect the unexpected."

- Picard, to Daren

"I noticed that the applause this evening exceeded average decibel levels."
"I guess that means they enjoyed themselves."
"I think that much was obvious."

- Data, Nella Daren and Picard after the concert

"Well captain, now that I'm on your ship maybe you should start expecting the unexpected."

- Nella Daren, to Picard

"Excellent. Now perhaps you can tell me what was so important that it required depriving the captain of his cup of Earl Grey."

- Picard, to Daren

"I can assure you that I am not given to casual relationships."

- Picard, to Daren

"Do you know where we are?"
"Yes, this the the fourth intersect in Jefferies tube twenty five."
"No – this is the most acoustically perfect spot on this ship."

- Nella Daren and Jean-Luc Picard

Background information Edit

Production Edit

  • First UK airdate: 15 November 1995

Sets and props Edit

Video and DVD releases Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Special guest star Edit

Co-star Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stand-ins Edit


arpeggio; Bach, Johann Sebastian; Beck; Bersallin sun; Bersallis III; Bersallis system; Borgolis Nebula; Cabot; Celsius; Chopin, Frédéric; chord; Crusher, Wesley; Daren herbal tea blend number three; duet; Earl Grey tea; Federation; fire storm; Frère Jacques; Havana; herbal tea; Jefferies tube; Kataan; Kataan probe; Kerelian; kiss; Landris II; Mataline II; Mataline II piano; Melnos IV; Mowray; Number one; nurse; obstetrics specialist; piano; plasma geyser; quantum mechanics; Ressik; Ressikan flute; shore leave; Starbase 218; stellar cartography; stellar cartography department; tenor; Thelka IV; thermal deflector unit; Third Brandenburg Concerto; Trio in G minor; turbolift

External links Edit

Previous episode:
"Starship Mine"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 6
Next episode:
"The Chase"

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