I watched "Inner Light" last night for the umpteenth time and cried like a baby the last 10 minutes. seemingly had no involvement in the probe's construction, and so the parts of Kataan that Picard-as-Kamin comes to love are not necessarily the same part of the civilization that decided on the probe itself. She liked seeing Worf and O'Brien at Farpoint. It’s not difficult to imagine Kataan, like us, valued other things above space travel. The way she smirks while saying it is really creepy, and I always read it as a sort of "haha it was all fake, you're not really my darling at all!" Picard answered the question in the episode, "can't something of this world be saved?" 13. The second is more difficult, but I think a lot of your enjoyment will depend on how many, if any, personal chords Kamin's life struck within you. Brilliant episode. This was the best TNG episode, I think the best Star Trek episode of all the series. People are so disappointing, always. Just look at the episodes this guy was involved with: Inner Light, In The Pale Moonlight, Necessary Evil, The Circle, Crossover. Hands down one of the top 5 episodes of all the Star Trek franchises. I think you're a bit mixed up Jeffery. My favorite episodes of St:TNG are "Yesterday's Enterprise", and this one. Episode Preview: The Inner Light. I just watched this episode for the first time. There is no dialogue where Riker states that he now understands of the probe's purpose and that he approves of it, and is sorry for having tried to stop it. "Now I don't see how I could live without them.". It's godlike to watch. "It's also hard to believe that it would have taken all this time between the nova and the Ent-D finding it for that one person to encounthr the probe. That's about it. Timothy W. Lynch's contemporaneous review of this episode has an interesting note: "Two things figure importantly in whether you'll like or dislike the show. One of my favorite bits of Trek trivia is that Margot Rose who played Eline in this episode would play the Agrathi Warden of the VR prison in DS9's "Hard Time"--which used the same compressed memory idea. While functionally and logically I'd say that putting all of Kataan's eggs in one basket is an awfully risky way of preserving that history, I will also say that it's somehow the perfect emotional note for this story. Maybe a quick death is preferable to a lifetime positive experience, but I very much don't personally think that's true in this case. Season five really delivered at the end with I Borg, The Next Phase and The Inner Light. Allow the shrieks of rage to follow, but I'd easily rather watch "Threshold," "Spock's Brain," "A Night and Sickbay" than this. I must have, because until this afternoon I've considered First Contact and Who Watches the Watchers? Shockingly... Had never seen this before until last night. The orchestral suite he composed around the flute theme is such a beautiful and moving piece of music. @Nick - I agree, while an excellent episode it's just great sci-fi, not great Trek. This episode won the 1993 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. button-operated doors in adobe buildings and a village with, apparently, a community phone...pre-warp (and apparently pre-industrial) society that can create a probe with mental manipulation powers like this...crazy tech mix going on here. It's such a clever, compelling episode that wraps up so well. Not to mention, it does not look remotely dated, even now..... over two decades later. And what's a year? Superb and affecting with an absolute acting masterclass from Patrick Stewart. I would be remiss to point out that if, as is suggested, Picard really returns at the end of this hour exactly as if it's been half a lifetime since he last was himself, then he should be a fundamentally different person forever. "The Inner Light" is a brilliant and contemplative sci-fi elegy, and one of Trek's finest hours. Oh and for everyone saying the technological disparity makes sense because we have smart phones but haven't been to the moon on 40 uears, I say use your brains. One of the best hours of television - ever. Emmy award material! A boring episode, and a dumb episode too. I actually DID start watching from Q Who. The probe was an act of faith and desperation, it's simplicity works as such. There is almost no sc-fi in it. "I thought I couldn't live with children," Picard says in the season of Eline's triumph. It can't be a coincidence that the episodes I find best are the ones that use treknobabble least. He took his job seriously, despite being on a scifi tv show that some might consider silly. Next episode: Time's Arrow, Part I. The Inner Light, in its simple, compelling way, challenges us to think about our own plight and mortality. Not afraid to admit I cry everytime I see this episode. There’s a moment in this episode where Picard is desperately trying to get back to his ship and he slowly sees the possibility of escape disappearing. I'm sure she'd like it, but perhaps it's not the best introduction to the universe, seeing as most of it is set outside the usual confines. No spinal column fracture would render someone paralyzed when you can regrow and reaatach nerves. But even more powerful, the commercial breaks themselves are a part of the experience. Always makes me cry; probably tied for water works with the episode where Data creates his daughter. You've pretty much said it all--I just wanted to point out that it is nice that in "Lessons," we get a bit of a suggestion about how much this experience meant to Picard. Story by Morgan Gendel In fact, Gendel thinks it is among his finest work, period, and not just on Star Trek. ), "The Inner Light" isn't simply about that moment of Kamin's final realization, but about how all the moments up to that point have created a fully formed life full of joy, family, wisdom, sorrow, and ultimately the acceptance of one's mortality. I'm looking forward to watching season 6 and 7. The usage of The Inner Light is under discussion, see Talk:The Inner Light (song)-- 23:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC) This is why wikipedia can't get people to write for them. Gendel said that originally “it was going to affect [Captain Picard, Commander Riker, and Ensign Ro], they were all going to be mutually in this thing, and at one point there was even a romantic triangle. And, I don't think that "Q Who?" but other than that this was just top notch. This one’s more interested in showing us the wonders of the past lost. Gendel eventually turned his proposed episode into a fan-fiction graphic novel. You need to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5, Episode 25 "The Inner Light". But he, himself, didn't pull the trigger, so to speak; the Borg did. You think about stories like The Matrix and The Truman Show or even Generations with the Nexus, about simulated realities and people struggling to find truth even in circumstances where the fantasy may be pleasant and truth may be painful. How did they know how much time passed between when the civilization ended and when the Enterprise found their probe? While this is definitely watchable, I can't say it totally captivates me. He said himself that it was the most challenging piece of acting he had to do in the entire seven seasons. This episode is a masterpiece, and a great character episode for Picard. Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Inner Light” aired 25 years ago Thursday, on June 1, 1992. “But my youngest daughter was about to turn 2 years old. This melody is from one of my favourite episodes from Next Generation: "The Inner Light". It was a message meant for an audience of one, who now is the sole carrier of the dead civilization's history. And that wasn't the last/oldest scene either. We might have been robbed of a proper sequel, but a quarter century on, “The Inner Light” is still very powerful television, and not just for Star Trek, for any show. Toward the end of Kamin’s “lifetime,” Picard — who never forgets his real life in Starfleet  — learns the purpose of the probe and the five decades of virtual life that was given to him: to keep alive the memory of Kamin’s race long after the death of their civilization. Of course, none of this would be possible without Patrick Stewart's fine performance. It's understandably a bit studio-ish, but it's not overly precious like so often happens in other "rural simplicity" stories. Allow me to explain: A grief worse than losing a career, a parent, a spouse, a child: I am gonna be honest, I absolutely hate this episode. Basically, everything before this episode took place more than 30 years ago from his perspective, and there should be psychological consequences to his life as Kamin. An absolutely magnificent episode. etc. Brilliant stuff. I'm pretty "meh" on this episode for one reason: In the end nothing in this episode really mattered to the series. Interesting thought. Although I do generally agree with Sean on character driven episodes tedious and extremely pointless on a sci-fi premise (this goes for books even more so), i thought here it was done brilliantly. It is a beautiful, intense hour of story-telling. How did they do that? We all want our lives to have had meaning, we all want to see our loved ones again when we die and discover that our life had some kind of purpose, was part of some grand plan. In reality there is no warp drive. That’s just one example of how technology can progress one way and not the other. He eventually returns to the lonely captain's chair after a full and rich life that is woven into a song on a flute that he learned to play while "living" there. It's about living in the shadow of death -- of the individual, of the planet! Since then we’ve had a lot of theater of the mind movies, like The Matrix, but at the time there wasn’t a whole lot of that.”, In early pitches it was not just Picard who went to live a life on Kataan. Izayah Byrd ... Oxbrite's Best Dual Head 4 Lamp Ultra Brite Book Light Includes USB Cable for Computer Use, or Unplug for Cordless Use. Images from the first three generations of Star Trek. the narrative is hardly compelling (if this was a TV series itself, it wouldn't survive a single episode), but most of all, the premise is totally absurd. (I found some of the old-age makeup to be less than convincing at times, but never Stewart's ability to inhabit it.). Some might say the main theme is about survival, but to me, the theme is about endings, how all things must pass, and how, even in the darkest hour, there is a hope for new life. But the way in which Kamin's family are "good people" is personal, local -- rather than on a larger scale of the Kataan civilization. ****Disclaimer - I honestly thought about not posting this review and have spent several days now debating with myself whether or not to do so. An interesting consequence of the kataans having this kind of technology is being able to offer to anyone a life experience in just 25 minutes. I'm rewatching after not seeing TNG since it first aired. not just some kind of hallucination), and he clutches it to his breast with both hands as if it's the dearest object in the universe. Where does everyone get the "30 years" number from? John de Lancie's Q is a recurring pain in the arse for the crew of the Enterprise, but no one can say he isn't any fun. I was a freelancer pitching it, and I had to go back and pitch it five times, because they didn’t buy it from me right away, and it kept getting better and better each time I’d pitch it,” says Gendel. Women at Warp's episode on it was largely negative. 9 months ago. I mean, Tapestry maybe, but eighteen people die in Q Who. Secondly, that they would consider a mind probe to be the most effective way of proving the existence of their civilization. But mostly the problem for me was that there's this plot hole type thing which has always bothered me. I don't know if I can say it's the all around best episode of TNG, but it's a hell of a candidate. This seemed like a fitting entry to post this on. Conundrum was insanely over the top though. It is a sentimental love story rather than the usual sci-fi adventure that I assume most ST fans tune in for. An indignant Worf proclaiming, \"I am not a merry man!\" If you are not a current Alpha, “…My concept was an ancient, yet futuristic, version of the Fuji Blimp, that could essentially advertise TV commercials right into your brain…”, “Michael Piller jumped on that idea, just giving Jean-Luc Picard the family life he had never known.”, “…the real reason [the lack of references] bothered me is that I pitched a sequel idea to this episode that was pretty smart.”, The Emerald Chain Is a Welcome Change for STAR TREK Villainy, This Video Calculates How Huge STAR TREK’s Enterprise-D Is, How STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Evolves the Vulcans and Romulans, This Light-Up STAR TREK Tree Topper Is Truly Far Out, Fancasting a Potential STAR TREK: TNG Movie Reboot, This Video Calculates How Huge STAR TREK's Enterprise-D Is, Watch Young Tom Hardy's STAR TREK Screen Test, How STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Reflects Our Current Moment, Wilson Cruz Talks Trauma and Healing on STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, Stacey Abrams Shares How STAR TREK Shaped Her, STAR TREK DISCOVERY's Newest Star Is a Cat Named Grudge. I feel like this episode deserves an extra half star. And there is nothing of value out there even when we do expend the incredibly huge amount of resources to do so. I sure as hell wouldn't want to wake up in another life and have to live it until the end. Not to mention, it does not look remotely dated, even now..... over two decades later. Tha launch of the probe and Picard's realization that he was the one it'll find. I sometimes get my DVD set out just for this episode, it's probably one of my fav Trek and hard to not love. The only thing that kinda irked me about this episode (aside from the long-term ramifications for Picard, which have been discussed to death already) is the way the resurrected Eline says "my darling" at the very end. The only thing that really bothered me (and I know I'm nerding hard here), is that I don't think a civilization that is incapable of space travel, and has apparently just built their 'first missile' would be capable of launching such an advanced probe, capable of moving at a very high speed. Part of the subtlety of this incredible episode comes from the seeming ability of what must be computer-generated characters to be aware of their fate. With Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn. Insufferable. I didn't see it mentioned in the review or commentary but I think it received a Hugo Award that year. I’ll take Hot Boiling Oil for $1000, Alex. He has a good friend named Batai (Richard Riehle). I'm not so sure that we are expected to think the Kataanian probe-makers are unquestionably good guys. EXCELLENT episode !!! Jean-Luc becomes a living time capsule. "has anyone else wondered how or why Geordi called the planet Kataan when he plotted the trajectory of the probe to its origin?". So before the civilization collapsed, they could have lived for centuries! I was too young to comprehend exactly what was going on, I didn't know the characters that well yet (I had only started watching partway through TNG) and I thought all the character-based stuff was boring and nothing was happening. Why can’t they all be like this? It barely has science fiction elements, it doesn't have exploration, etc. Yeah, I mean “Hard Time” deconstructs the same as Sci-Fi concept introduced here. In a lot of ways this is the perfect example of a fantastic Star Trek episode. These are moments I'll never live again; watching TNG for the first time. “It kept crawling up the ladder over the years. The incongruity of the differing levels of technology are forgivable because the story is so powerful and emotive. pviateur said: "The question is: what good does it do the extinct race to be remembered at all? The episode is consistently named among the very best episodes of Star Trek (not just TNG) ever produced. There is a quote going around - it might be from Fields himself or from Michael Piller - that "the writing wasn't to par". I LOVE LOVE LOVE L O V E City On The Edge Of Forever. @Racker and @Jay -- The seeming incongruity of the society's level of technology and the sophistication of the memory probe scratched at me the whole time, too. If anyone ever wants to see how far TNG progressed from a campy 80s carry-over from TOS to a sophisticated 90s science fiction-based drama watch season 2's "Shades of Grey" and "The Inner Light" back-to-back. Try this on for size: The Inner Light is better than City On The Edge Of Forever. When he woke up "back" on the enterprise after all those years, did he have the whole lifetime of memories from his mental time there...or did he just live through/remember the snippets that WE saw? It's such good acting that I could even ignore the bad old-age makeup. Voyager's "Memorial" would do something similar, writ larger. How about that! By … Taken at face value, it does deliver a very moving story. Given the choice between death and a lifetime forced on you, I'd gladly chose the lifetime of experience. Probably the episode relies on cliches to get to its final outcome but it doesn't really detract from the episode for me, at least because any cliches in this episode are still to me representations of recognizably real kinds of people and problems. This particular episode has numerous credits that would apply: I'd seen this one once, before, but I'd forgotten how mind-scaldingly brilliant it is. Doesn't matter how many times I watch this, every time Meribor bends down and says, "You know about it father. If you hate Star Trek so much, why watch and post on it. Yet at the end...he is forcibly brainwashed in reverse by ostracizing him. I got curious and asked my partner exactly why it didn't make an impact on him. :). So, okay, that part of my argument is not so solid -- Kamin's family, within the probe's simulated universe, presumably approved of the probe. After seeing "Inception", the concept of waking up from a 30 year dream takes on a whole new meaning. It's a great episode and amazingly simple. Don't worry. Excellent review of the episode! I think that scene captures the aspect of Picard as a victim and we really are supposed to feel sorry for him, at first. This is with good reason. Hello! I thought about just skipping it outright or simply posting my score and hoping it would slip by unnoticed because I'm probably go to stir up some ruckus with this one. Like imagine if you could experience a life during the Pax Romana and keep that life with you and still live your current life. Couldn't they at least have put a pillow under Picard's head while he laid there on the floor of the bridge? Still, Q wasn't directly responsible for those deaths. I know I am in a minority of one on that one, but I really do. I warned her that if she got bored we would start skipping the clunkers though. That sounds like an amazing opportunity to me, and generally I think it’s a great concept. That's our clue -- each time we come back from commercial (or fadeout, in the case of DVD), Picard is 5 years older. Ha Alexandra kudos for your contrarian rant against one of Trek's sacred cows. What gets me every time and makes me tear up is after Will leaves Picard's quarters. I'm just gonna come out and say it, I never loved this episode as much as everyone else seems to. For example, when Picard is first transferred to Eline from Ryker, she says, "well, Finally!" The probe was their interactive time capsule meant to deliver the history of their world to one person, via the very specific experience of becoming one of them and living a life among them. @RandomThoughts: Thanks! Another small but bang-on part is the "administrator" deafly listening to Batai's explanation of their tree and then hollowly saying, "Perhaps I shall recommend a symbolic tree in all my communities." I'll throw my hat in the ring: I feel there may be *some* merit to the thought of different levels of appreciation being a gendered thing, but that's never the be-all and end-all. For the emotions to be percieved in the proper context, both the artifical memories and the face memories must co-exist safely. It could only work once. And then, of course, there's Jay Chattaway's haunting Ressikan flute solo from "The Inner Light," an episode from Season 5 of The Next Generation that is a reliable mainstay of Top 10 lists across the board. Jean Luc's awareness is pulled into the virtual reality of a simulated yet very real world. "I always believed that I didn't need children to complete my life. I gotta agree with everyone here on the last scene where Picard clutches the flute as being an instant tear-jerking scene. Air date: 6/1/1992 The best science fiction creates realistic future or alien worlds which challenge the understanding of our own world and circumstances. Interestingly, we are given all the information necessary to solve this puzzle well before the story's true moment of epiphany where Kamin/Picard himself realizes the nature of his existence on Kataan after 30 years with them. In this 1993 Hugo-winning episode, TNG has indeed reached its maturity. Whoa. “It happened kind of gradually. It's still a brilliant hour of TV, one of the greatest moments in TNG, Trek, and science fiction in general. I enjoy your reviews so much, thanks for this! To get it out of the way: yes, an absolutely great episode. The term set designer and production designer are used rather interchangeably, with set designer tending to be used a bit more in theater rather than in TV or film. In other words, his wife Eline, who was played wonderfully by Margot Rose, she’s actually a real person. Ah, okay, I just realized one flaw in my first paragraph -- the family (sans Eline and Batai Sr.) were going to "the launching" excitedly and so presumably knew what was being launched. Floods of tears. The Inner Light Lately I've been thinking after rewatching the Inner Light. It would be amazing in a fantasy show but does not work in a sceince fiction setting because the writer flagrantly refused to acknowledge the setting. I hated it when it first came out and I hate it just as much today. The wonderfully hopeful and heartbreaking, recursively paradoxical moment of epiphany comes at the end of the probe's program, where Kamin realizes that he, who once was Picard 30 years ago in a long-forgotten life, is the very person who will receive this message — because Kamin was Picard, and now Picard is Kamin. Turns out it touched most folks the same way. Patrick Stewart should have won an Emmy for his performance here. "The Inner Light" was the first television program to be so honored since the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" won in 1968. The guy who says that they do have a plan is the commissioner fellow that Kamin has a somewhat chilly, distant relationship with. * The episodic nature of TNG proves here to be both a blessing and a curse. The is the best Star Trek ever made. 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