40. The Romulans Are Back
Episode: The Neutral Zone (1×26)
Season one did not have a lot of bright moments, even for Picard, with whom the show would have been likely cancelled without. He was frequently loud, temperamental, and impatient. But he showed flashes of the great captain he became, including this moment, the Federation’s first meeting with the Romulans in decades. The Ferengi bombed just as quickly as they were introduced, and the show desperately needed a villain. Bringing back one from the original series could have been mishandled, but the writers managed to do well here. Not only that, they kind-of sort-of introduce the Borg threat that would get explored further in season two.
39. Picard and Crusher Finally Talk
Episode: Attached (7×08)
The second episode of the series saw Picard and Crusher drunkenly flirt with one another, but nothing ever came of it despite Crusher’s repeated attempts at trying to profess her feelings for him in the midst of imminent disasters. This episode forced them to be open with each other, as they were implanted with devices that made them able to read each other’s thoughts. It’s a very touching scene, as we see two adults let down their guard and face a fear they’ve been unwilling to face for a decade. Nothing comes of it still, but it’s a fine resolution to a long dangling thread.