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The Inner Light
 Previous episodeNext episode Season 5 S05E25
 (10)


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The series' best?
By kimmy on March 7, 2019
 (10/10)

What an episode! This is certainly another fan-favorite and an emotional roller-coaster. Another Picard-focused episode, this one has you guessing for a long while where Picard has been transported and whether the Enterprise will show up to save him. But the episode goes on, and on, and on. Picard adapts to his new life as Kamin, becoming an important member of his community and father to a scientist and an artist — a perfect couple of descendants wouldn’t you say? (The son is played by no other than Patrick Stewart‘s own son, Daniel!) From some point onward, the quick returns to what’s going on on the Enterprise are rather counter-productive and I could easily have done without them: they take away from the emotional engagement with Picard’s story and sort of spoil the ending, hinting that this is all happening in Picard’s head.

Ultimately, this is a whole civilization’s cry not to be forgotten. Cosmic chance had it that they did not survive to colonize the stars like humans did, and this jewel-shaped probe is all that survived. Remember us! This is the mark we leave in the universe! This is a themes that comes up in several science fiction stories, from Icehenge to Interstellar, and even in the real world, from the Pioneer/Voyager probes to the Long Now clock and the mysterious Georgia Guidestones. This in itself is already a very emotional message to convey, and this episode manages to turn this abstract concept more relatable by making it Picard’s personal story. The difference with this time capsule is that instead of objects or recordings of the lost civilization, it allows the receiver to experience that life in that civilization!

At the end of this episode, Picard has lived a full life to its very end of old age, and is returned into a body in its fifties with still many years of life ahead of him. This should certainly have a strong long-term psychological impact on him, similar to his experience with the Borg, and as much as I know that the next episode will have a reset button I hope that some future episode will mention it. After all, he knows plenty of things about agriculture and drought, and can now play the flute!

A word of congratulations to the wardrobe department: similar to Season 4’s Family, the dresses here are very tasteful and could come from a less technologically advanced society as well as from a society advanced enough that it can hide its technology in the background and showcase its aesthetics.

Such a memorable episode, and it was written by a newcomer to TNG and one writer with just two other credits to his name, both did very little else! An all-time classic, this episode will have you whistling flute tunes!

The quote:
Eline (to Picard/Kamin): “Now we live in you. Tell them of us… my darling.”

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