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How Gates McFadden Really Feels About This Classic Star Trek Episode - Exclusive

"Star Trek: The Next Generation" has a ton of classic episodes, whether they're dedicated to ethical questions like the Season 2 classic, "Measure of a Man," what-if scenarios like "Yesterday's Enterprise," or just explorations of legendary villains like The Borg in "The Best of Both Worlds." But the episodes people tend to love most are the ones dedicated to specific characters. The android Data's (Brent Spiner) exploration of fatherhood in "Offspring" gave us new insights into how we cope with the loss of a child; "The Pegasus" forced Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) to confront his own sense of duty, and, of course, "The Inner Light" is Captain Jean-Luc Picard's (Patrick Stewart) magnum opus about the road (and life) less traveled.

But what is Doctor Beverly Crusher's (Gates McFadden) most iconic episode? What is the one that most defines her as an officer, as a doctor, as a mother, and as a human being living in the 24th century? Looper sat down with Gates McFadden for an exclusive interview and asked her about arguably the most character-defining episode — "Remember Me."

Remember Me is a heroic episode for Crusher

The Lee Sheldon-penned script for the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode "Remember Me" is a simple mystery with a deep meaning. After Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates MCFadden) has a conversation with a visiting friend, Doctor Dalen Quaice (Bill Erwin), about losing loved ones as you get older, Crusher suddenly discovers that everyone on board the Enterprise is disappearing. Not only is everyone disappearing, but no one seems to even remember the lost crew members existing in the first place but her. It's a lovely, albeit unsettling, bit of storytelling about what it means to get older and suddenly find yourself the only one left. What do memories mean when you're the only one left to recall them? 

"I thought it was a really, really, beautiful episode," McFadden says. She's not only fond of the episode, but of one specific element — how Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) reacts to Crusher's concern throughout the episode. "Some woman wrote, 'It's interesting and wonderful that even though [Beverly] was saying, 'Wait a minute, this whole other group were here and these people are gone,' Picard never doubted [her]. He always believed her, whatever she said. He would go, 'No, I think we are the only two people on the ship, but let's run another diagnosis.” I think that showed how women were respected, which was a great thing."

"I thought of it as a very strong, heroic episode for Crusher, because she was alone," McFadden says. "And rather than going into any panic, she was staying very scientific about it. And it never really got talked about, but I thought there was a connection almost happening between she and Wesley, that there's two minds. These minds that had been forged, growing together when they were young, that wasn't really dealt with."

You can find more insights from Gates McFadden on her new podcast series, "InvestiGates," in which she speaks with a number of her fellow "Star Trek" alumni about everything from childhood and music to the stars in the heavens above.