Dr. Crusher is abducted by terrorists while delivering medical supplies on Rutia IV. The "separatists rebels" are using an unknown form of teleportation that the Rutian government cannot track, and therefore they cannot rescue Dr. Crusher. Meanwhile, Dr. Crusher develops some sympathies for her captors - who then attempt to blow up the Enterprise with her son on it. They cannot blow up the Enterprise, but manage to abduct Picard instead. This abduction, however, allows the Enterprise crew to locate the rebel base and overwhelm the rebels with superior fire power.
This episode gets major Soap Opera Points, and I say that with glee. Remember how excited I was when Dr. Crusher came back on the show? This is one of the major reasons why, because I was hoping to see more of this. I like the conflict of the best friend falling in love with the widow, and Picard and Beverly are both so professional that it adds another layer of conflict and a bit of realism to explain why they haven't gotten together already. Imagine poor Dr. Crusher trying to explain that one to Wesley. "Wesley, Picard and I are getting married." Woah! Woah. Ok, so, we didn't even get to hear "I love you"... but the implication is there!
Dr. Crusher and the Captain aren't the only thing emotionally charged in this episode. The plot goes beyond moral ambiguity and hits close to home by referencing then-current politics, saying that, according to Star Trek's history books, the UK will be united by 2024. Yeesh, but it gets complicated trying to work out the verb tenses in a sentence like that. The UK will have been united? Ha. Anyway, Data's little mention of this "fact" was so controversial that the episode was censored in the UK [see here]. It was probably not so much the "united" part that bothered them, but more the idea that the unification would occur due to a successful terrorist attack. Are terrorists always the bad guys? Probably not in the clear-cut way we tend to think of them. Us-versus-them thinking helps us preserve that "us" that "they" are against, because otherwise we develop things like Stockholm Syndrome, which you can see how much good that did Dr. Crusher, seeing as her kid almost died any way. But you know how the saying goes, that in the end it's the winners who write the history books. There's some truth to that. Just ask the Confederate South what the US Civil War was all about, and then ask a middle school student.