Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Finally Lets Dr. Crusher Get In On The Action

This post contains spoilers for "Star Trek: Picard" season 3, episode 1, "The Next Generation."

The premiere of "Picard" season 3 reestablishes that Beverly Crusher is, or was, a doctor, "and a good one." Being the chief medical officer of the starship Enterprise isn't all it's cracked to be, though, or at least it wasn't for Gates McFadden, who played Dr. Crusher across four movies and seven seasons of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Just last month, McFadden spoke about how "The Next Generation" somewhat neutered her character, making her more "matronly" and less action-oriented when she returned to the show after sitting out its second season back in the late 1980s.

In its first episode, "Picard" season 3 immediately rectifies this by throwing Crusher into a full-on phaser battle, where she delivers "cool, efficient" kill shots, as if to show the untapped potential of her fierce surname. (Yes, crush them.)

There was a "Deep Space Nine" episode once called "Hippocratic Oath," but Crusher isn't bound by such oaths when she's pinned down by alien intruders in beaky masks. She disintegrates them after they board her ship — "She'd only do that defensively," we're assured — before firing off a distress call to her old flame, Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). "Trust no one," she warns him, and all at once, the days of Crusher sitting around sickbay while everyone else is off on exciting away missions have given way to something like a conspiracy thriller in space, with her at the center.

Crusher on ice

The only downside to Beverly Crusher's newfound action heroism is that she's soon injured and sidelined for the rest of "Picard" season 3, episode 1, before showing up on ice at the end. The premiere turns into more of an interstellar buddy movie (not that we're complaining) with Picard and William Riker (Jonathan Frakes), with some Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) mixed in, and a subplot involving Rafaella (Michelle Hurd), one of the few returning faces who isn't a legacy character.

Even when she's not onscreen, however, there's a layer of mystery to what happened with Crusher, who for some reason, cut off all contact with everyone so that she hasn't spoken to Picard, Riker, or any of her old friends in 20 years. That may have something to do with the other occupant of her ship...

One Crusher who isn't getting in on the action this season, despite his guest appearance last season as a Traveler, is Beverly's son, Wesley (Wil Wheaton). In his place, the "Picard" season 3 premiere drops a bombshell on us with the revelation that Beverly has another son, played by "Outlander" actor Edward Speleers. I can only speculate, given his age and the timing of Beverly's disappearance, that this third Crusher, who we'll have to call #NotWesley for now, might be Jean-Luc's son?

Let's just hope they don't keep Beverly Crusher on ice too long, because she's got some explaining to do. New episodes of "Picard" stream every Thursday on Paramount+.