A highlight from the Star Trek: Picard episode “Disengage” was Jack Crusher’s (Ed Speleers) claim that he inherited his talent for breaking the law from none other than the dancing doctor herself, Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). This admission earned surprise and even disbelief from Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart). Picard has known Beverly for decades, and he saw how she conducted herself on the Enterprise-D. Why does this surprise him? But hasn’t she always been Beverly Crusher: Intergalactic Rule Breaker?
Throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation, Beverly Crusher proved to be many things. A skilled physician, a caring mother, a devoted friend, a cunning strategist, and one heck of a dancer. One thing that she has never been, however, is a rule follower. There are countless instances throughout TNG’s run where Beverly’s penchant for breaking the rules is on full display. Oftentimes, her ability to think outside the box and federation rules is the very thing that saves the day.
No Time for Captain’s Orders
No one talks to Jean-Luc Picard like Beverly Crusher does. She is often the first person to publicly oppose his calls, much to the dismay of Picard himself. An excellent example of this is the classic TNG season 3 episode, “The High Ground”.
When an explosion on the planet Rutia IV leaves several wounded, Dr. Crusher jumps to action without a second thought. Initially, she ignores the pleas of Data (Brent Spiner) and Worf (Michael Dorn). She subsequently refuses to even let Picard finish his sentence before declaring that she will be staying on the planet, whether he likes it or not.
Ultimately, Picard realizes it’s not worth the doctor’s potential rath to risk pulling rank and defying her. Beverly has always had a strong moral compass. Undoubtedly, she doesn’t let pomp and circumstance get in the way of what she thinks is right. All in all, she doesn’t care who is telling her what to do. Ultimately, if it doesn’t align with her values, it’s going to take a lot more than an order for her to do it.
She Who Laughs in the Face of the Prime Directive
Similar to her penchant for defying orders, Beverly Crusher has a knack for challenging the prime directive. Dr. Crusher’s commitment to saving lives and providing accessible health care to all is one of her greatest qualities. She isn’t about to let Starfleet interfere with that.
Firstly, Beverly hadn’t even been on the Enterprise-D for a year when she confronts Picard about his refusal to help the Onarans in TNG’s season one episode Symbiosis. She deduces what’s going on between the Onarans and the Brekkians in no time at all. Dr. Crusher immediately comes up with a proposed solution, the only problem being it directly violates Starfleet’s number one rule. Beverly openly challenges the captain and the prime directive in front of the very people she wants to stop, angering the Brekkians and Picard in the process.
Throughout her time on the Enterprise-D, Beverly voiced her frustration with the prime directive several more times. In the TNG season five episode I Borg, it’s essentially Dr. Crusher against the rest of Enterprise-D’s senior staff. Everyone else wants to kill the borg drone now known as Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco). It is Beverly’s determination and ability to think beyond the rigid prime directive that saves his life.
With Dr. Crusher’s frustration with the strict regulations governing Starfleet, it is no wonder that Star Trek: Picard sees her working on the fringes, far away from Starfleet’s reach. She found a way to provide care without having to answer to a higher authority.
Crusher = Chaos
One cannot mention Dr. Crusher’s history of sticking it to the man without talking about the underrated TNG season six episode Suspicions. In just 45 minutes of quality television, the chief medical officer of Starfleet’s flagship vessel manages to perform an illegal autopsy, steal a shuttle, and roundhouse kick an alien in the chest.
This episode does a magnificent job of illustrating Beverly Crusher’s most prominent character trait: She does what she wants. Despite many efforts from the crew, however, nothing is able to stop Beverly from doing what she thinks is right. Not the prime directive, not her friends and colleagues, and certainly not the threat of being fired. Just like her future son, her first duty is to her patients. Beverly Crusher: Intergalactic Rule Breaker!
Above all, Jack Crusher’s criminal background shouldn’t surprise anyone when his mother is none other than the infamous Beverly Crusher. Let’s not forget that Beverly’s idea of a good time in ST: TNG’s The Big Goodbye was getting interrogated.
Without a doubt, Dr. Crusher has never had any time for following the rules. She’s devoted her life to helping others, and she’s demonstrated on numerous occasions that there’s not much she wouldn’t do to accomplish this. In conclusion, not only should Admiral Picard not have been shocked by Jack’s genetic predisposition to crime, he should have been expecting it. That is the history of Beverly Crusher: Intergalactic Rule Breaker!
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