Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 5 Episode 25

The Inner Light

Aired Unknown Jun 01, 1992 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (27)

Write A Review
out of 10
371 votes
  • Beautifully conceived, beautifully written, beautifully acted.

    Despite developing some arcs and continuity, TNG was largely a static show. Characters didn't change much once their identities were settled early on, and what happened to them in one episode did not affect them in later ones. The two main exceptions were Worf and Picard. Picard, in particular, was subjected to some events that impacted his life so drastically that the writers simply couldn't pretend they never happened.

    Thus it's interesting that near the end of TNG's 5th season, the producers chose to include a trilogy that collectively offer a very rich study of Picard's character. "The Perfect Mate" explored Picard's lonely life and his desire for a relationship, setting up "The Inner Light". "I, Borg" provided emotional closure for his shattering experience with the Borg, clearing the way for another life-changing event. And "The Inner Light" completes the trilogy.

    Picard's experience with the dying civilization of Kataan is so richly portrayed that we find it completely convincing. Picard's inner life seems as real to us as to him; as Kataan heads toward its doom, we become sad, despite the fact that we have never heard of it before. It almost feels like this episode could have stretched out over 90 minutes and more of Kataan's story could have been told, but the 45 minute span forces a discipline that keeps the episode running perfectly the whole way through. The ending of the episode - first, his reunions with the ones he loved on Kataan, then the return to the Enterprise, and finally the flute scene - is full of emotional power. It's not surprising that other reviewers mention shedding a tear. Patrick Stewart gives an exceptional performance, but the supporting cast offers a great assist. The woman playing Eline did a superb job in the role.

    Essential viewing.