the story: Picard finds himself falling for a member of his crew.
similar to: "Fair Haven" (Voyager)
my thoughts: "Lessons" is at once an unexpected follow-up to "The Inner Light" (Picard plays the flute again!) and the object-lesson in why romance is so difficult for starship captains (unless you're Kirk, although I guess that kind of goes double for him). It's both odd and appropriate that this particular lesson is learned by Picard, who stretched out a romance with Crusher across a whole series, four movies, their backstories, and never found any actual resolution...
In Voyager's "Fair Haven," Janeway is so hard-up for love she considers romance with a hologram. That's how tough it can be. Sisko had it easy! All he had to do was get past his suspicions that his girl was a Maquis rebel. (She wasn't.) For Picard, it means walking through the perils of supervising (every workplace warns you about this) your love interest, his being in the unfortunate position of determining whether or not she goes on dangerous away missions, and fretting the whole time if she does go on one (and of course she does).
For me, and maybe a lot of other viewers, "Lessons" is best remembered for the literal music Picard makes with his lover. Music has always been a part of the franchise, whether Uhura's singing or Riker's trombone playing. When Picard experienced someone else's lifetime ("The Inner Light"), he unexpectedly acquired a new skill, which was playing the flute. "Lessons" is where he discovers he still has plenty left to learn about it, and his improvisations ("Frere Jacques" never sounded so good!) are every bit worth watching the episode to hear.
That's about it. "Lessons" is an episode worth watching as a fan, but I'm pretty sure the uninitiated will get it, too.
criteria analysis: franchise -