Star Trek: Picard Boss Breaks Down That Devastating Jean-Luc and Beverly Scene: ‘It Should Feel Uncomfortable to Watch Your Space Parents Fight’
Warning: This post contains spoilers from Thursday’s Star Trek: Picard.
It was a scene twenty years in the making — and it was “the hardest scene I’ve ever worked on,” Star Trek: Picard showrunner Terry Matalas tells TVLine.
Early on in this week’s episode, the reality of Jean-Luc fathering a son he never knew with Beverly Crusher began to set in, and the two friends and former lovers stepped aside to have a frank conversation about why Beverly kept Jack’s existence a secret for so long. (Beverly insisted Jean-Luc was too dedicated to Starfleet and she didn’t want to endanger her child, while Jean-Luc wished he’d been given a chance to get to know his son.) It was raw and emotional, even difficult to watch at times… and it wasn’t any easier to write and film, either.
“It took two months to really hone and craft that scene, with many different writers,” Matalas reveals. “All of us contributed to it, including Patrick [Stewart] and Gates [McFadden] and Jonathan [Frakes, who directed the episode]. We rehearsed it many times. It was the most difficult scene of the season to get right.”
But it was important to get it right because it’s a pivotal scene for Jean-Luc and Beverly as characters, Matalas notes: “It needs to do quite a bit. You need to understand his point of view, which is, ‘My God, what have you done?’ And her point of view is, ‘What do you expect me to do?’ By the time she’s finished with the explanation, you need to truly understand why she would do that, and I think Gates’ performance is just phenomenal in that scene.”
It did get “emotional” on the set while filming the scene as well, Matalas recalls: “Both Patrick and Gates have strong feelings about their characters, and it’s not a traditional Star Trek: The Next Generation scene.” He says it’s “probably closer to something” Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer “would explore… It should feel uncomfortable to watch your space parents fight. But at the same time, you still want to love them and understand them and take them to new dramatic territory.” Matalas admits “we were sweating that out all the way through the edit,” but “once it came together in the editing room… we felt like it worked.”
Oh, and just for the record: When did this love connection actually happen in the Next Generation timeline? (Beverly said Jack was conceived during a shore leave visit to an idyllic waterfall planet a few months before she left the Enterprise.) “The way we timed it out was shortly after [the 2002 Star Trek film] Nemesis,” Matalas said. “There was some time on the Enterprise in which Beverly was still a doctor, and they gave their on-again, off-again romance a chance, and that’s the result.”
Drop your thoughts on that Jean-Luc and Beverly scene and Picard‘s final season so far in the comments.