Image of Ed Speleers as Jack Crusher on 'Star Trek: Picard.' He is standing opposite Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard, who has his back to the camera. Jack is sitting at a bar holding up a glass of whiskey. He has short, light brown hair and is wearing a brown jacket. Jean-Luc is bald and wearing all black.

Things I Yelled at Jack Crusher During This Week’s ‘Star Trek: Picard’

Gendered double-standards are a "No Win Scenario"

Jack Crusher (Downton Abbey‘s Ed Speleers) has been bugging the crap out of me since he was introduced on this season of Star Trek: Picard. Since we knew very little about him at first, I had trouble putting my finger on why he bugged me. This week’s episode, “No Win Scenario,” told us more about him, his backstory, and his feelings about Jean-Luc, and that’s cleared things up!

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Season 1 of Star Trek: Picard was fine. I liked it, but didn’t love it. Season 2 I loved. The show stepped things up, and Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) formed a tight, loyal, found family around himself. That is, until several of them decided to live in the past, or join Wesley Crusher as a Traveler, or became Borg Queens. You know how it goes.

Season 3 reunites Picard with his first found family—his former crew on the U.S.S. Enterprise. That includes Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), his almost/sort-of love on The Next Generation, who ended up being his actual love for a hot minute off-screen in the 20 years between Star Trek: The Next Generation and Picard.

That relationship produced a child—one that Picard had no knowledge of until now. That child was given his father’s identity and the option to reach out to Picard, but didn’t take it. At the beginning of this season, Beverly is traveling with her son when she needs to send a distress call to Picard.

Their son’s name is Jack Crusher.

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Jack that goes beyond him being Picard’s son, and I’m sure we’ll be getting into all that as the season progresses. The problem I have with Jack has less to do with the problems his mystery brings, and more to do with his relationship with his parents.

“Oh, your MOM isn’t good enough??”

Ed Speleers as Jack Crusher and Gates McFadden as Beverly Crusher on 'Star Trek: Picard.' They are standing close to each other to the left of a bed in sickbay. They are both looking at something in the distance. Beverly is in the foreground  holding a tricorder. She's dressed all in navy blue and has long salt-and-pepper hair. Jack stands to her right. He has short, brown hair, and is wearing a brown jacket over a black shirt.

Jack is on the Titan with Picard, Riker (Jonathan Frakes, who directed this episode), Beverly, Seven (Jeri Ryan), and the Titan‘s crew. That crew is led by a real douche-canoe, Captain Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick). They’ve been attacked by ship called the Shrike, which is captained by someone named Vadic (Amanda Plummer), who might be a changeling. The Shrike overpowers the Titan significantly, and the Titan ends up getting stuck in the pull of a gravity well. Certain death seems imminent.

Riker encourages Picard to use the time they have left to get to know his son, so Picard simulates Guinan’s 10 Forward bar in L.A. on the holodeck and invites Jack to have a drink with him. Picard flat-out asks Jack why he never sought him out once he knew Picard was his father. Jack deflects and launches into an adventure story from his life.

Later, Jack tells Picard that if Picard thinks he “needs this,” he doesn’t. Because he’s “used to being alone.” He goes on and on about how “he’s always been alone.”

Then he says the thing that made me scream. Jack dismissively says, “I mean, I have my mother, but…” Then, “I’ve always been alone.”

WHAT?! So, your mother, who travels by your side every day, doesn’t count? You’re doing everything totally alone?

Patrick Stewart as Jean-luc Picard and Gates McFadden as Beverly Crusher in 'Star Trek: Picard.' They are in sickbay, and we see both of them from the thighs up. Picard is in profile as he talks to her. He is dressed in all black, and is bald. Beverly is leaning against a sickbay bed with her body turned toward the camera, but her head turned toward Picard. She's also dressed all in black. She has long, salt-and-pepper hair.
(Paramount +)

It bothers me that, more often than not, characters in film and TV have “daddy issues,” but never “mommy issues.” If someone does have “mommy issues,” that usually means they’re too close to their mother, which is unhealthy, obviously. Mothers are meant to be left or grown out of. A mother’s love is unconditional, so you don’t have to worry about it going away as you live your life. You can confidently take it for granted.

But if you don’t have a dad. Holy sh!t. That’s the worst fate that can ever befall you. You’d better chase that love down at any cost, or else feel terrible about it for the rest of your life. Not having a father’s love will mess you up precisely because it can’t be counted on. It’s rare. Precious. Fathers don’t get left, they get to leave.

It is the 25th goddamn century. Yet here we are, still discounting mothers because we just … expect them to be there.

And here’s Jack, identifying as a “loner” because his father wasn’t in his life. He can’t connect to people, because he never had his dad to show him how, or something. And connecting to his mother doesn’t count. *grumble*

Keep in mind that this is also a show where a different mother character, Raffi (Michelle Hurd), has been rebuffed by her son and is kept from seeing her grandchild, because she became estranged from her family by getting too caught up in her job before the events of Picard S1. She became depressed and developed a substance abuse problem. This is used as another cudgel to keep her away, though she often tries to make amends and connect. She is the parent that left, and the show is punishing her for it.

On a human level, I understand why Raffi’s son might not want her in his life anymore. What bugs me is that mothers in fiction (and sometimes IRL) are rarely forgiven when they are absent or screw up. Whereas with dads, a child might be angry, but they always secretly hope that their father will be back in their lives.

”He’s in a room full of Starfleet cadets! ON FRONTIER DAY!”

Image of Patrick Stewart as Jean-luc Picard on 'Star Trek: Picard.' He is seated in a booth at a bar with a plate of food and a glass of wine in front of him. It's a dark room, but there's a bright light at the table. He is trying to put his napkin in his lap as he looks up at someone talking to him. He's wearing a dark grey blazer and is bald.
(Paramount +)

In a flashback from five years ago, Picard is in a booth at the real 10 Forward. He’s trying to eat lunch when he is approached by a group of eager Starfleet cadets. It’s Frontier Day, and they’re hoping to glean some words of wisdom from one of their heroes. Though initially reluctant, Picard starts holding court, telling stories and answering questions as his lunch gets cold.

Jack is also there, seated at the bar just within earshot. As Picard says that Starfleet is like family to him, Jack leans into the conversation and asks him if he’s ever wanted a “real family.”

For a moment, there’s a faraway look in Picard’s eyes. Then, he looks around at the cadets that have gathered and says, “Starfleet’s the only family I need.” As the cadets applaud, Jack looks disappointed and forlorn.

Except that he knows Picard doesn’t know who he is, or even that he exists! It would be one thing if Picard knew he was a father and made no effort to connect with Jack. It’s another thing entirely for a man who believes he’s never been a father to be put on the spot in front of eager, young Starfleet cadets and pressed about whether or not Starfleet is enough. Of course he’s going to say that Starfleet is the only family he needs under those circumstances.

This is what puts Jack off of telling Picard he’s a father, and it was completely unnecessary. It’s as if Jack was looking for excuses not to connect with his dad.

I get it. Jack grew up without a dad. But that wasn’t Picard’s fault. In fact, I don’t know why Jack hasn’t gotten angrier at Beverly for keeping it from him as long as she did.

So, all of this “I’m so alone” nonsense is drama he brought on himself. When given the option to change his circumstances, he was too—what? Scared? Angry? Stupid? He was too something to take action like an adult. It’s as if he manufactured his own trauma and is now forcing other people to deal with the fallout.

Maybe the way he’s behaving ties into whatever secret, changeling-related stuff is going on with him, but it’s annoying to watch.

What do you think? What’s your take on Jack Crusher and the “daddy issues” evoked in Picard S3? Comment below!

(Featured image: Paramount +)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.