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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old January 27 2015, 01:36 AM   #1
Trekker4747
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TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"



The Enterprise comes upon an unknown alien probe in space, while investigating it the probe fires a beam able to get through the ship's shields, almost immediately Picard collapses onto the bridge floor.

The vision of Riker looking over him blurs to that of a woman looking over Picard, calling to him by the name of Kamin, the woman, Eline -purporting to be his wife, tells Picard he's been suffering from a fever for a while and it had just recently broken. Picard doesn't recognize the woman and immediately begins calling for the computer, believing himself to be in a holodeck simulation.

Growing more and more aggravated and believing himself to be a captive he leaves the home he's in and explores his surroundings, running into his supposed best-friend on his way to go hiking through the nearby hills.

He returns to his home several hours later to Eline more convinced that he's not in a dream as he's hungry and feeling the fatigue from his long walk. Eline offers him some soup while she fields some unusual questions from him, mostly concerning where he is and the state of the civilization he's on.

He's on a planet called Kataan and it appears to be at the technological level of the mid-20th century on Earth, Eline is confused by Picard's questions concerning the planet's ability to reach or communicate with other worlds.

Back on the Enterprise Picard has *just* fainted and Riker commands for a medical team and for more investigations on the Probe.

On Ressik, for Picard the better part of 5-years has passed and Picard seems a bit more settled and accepting to his life, though through a telescope he studies the stars as well as trying to figure out the cause of drought the planet is in.

The episode jumps between the events on the Enterprise and the events on Ressik.

On Kataan, Picard lives the span of close to 50 years where he has the kind of life he denied himself back in reality, he has a wife eventually two children and eventually even a grandchild.

Over the this time Picard becomes more involved with the local community he is in which is suffering from a drought and eventually determines that the drought is being caused by their host star growing more intense, he figures the planet has only a short time to survive and implores with his community's governmental representative to work on a plan to save people. The leader says there's no way for them to do anything as their people has only recently began to launch small missiles. But a plan is in the works.

As Kamin Picard is far kinder and patient than he is in reality, he raises his daughter to be very strong minded and interested in science but his son seems to rebel against his father's rather disciplined ways as he's drifted in and out of careers, schools, and interests. But in spite of him wanting to drop out of school to focus on his music, Picard is supportive. Over time Picard loses his best friend and his own wife.

By the time Picard has a grandchild and himself is probably close to 90 years old he's grown somewhat senile and fairly hostile in an "old man" way. His now middle-aged daughter insists he comes outside, now a bright white daytime due the star's increased solar activity, to watch them launch a missile.

It's at this point Picard's daughter speaks to him as if he's Picard and not Kamin. The planet's star died a millennium ago and the inhabitants wanted to find a way to teach others of their civilization so they came up with the probe to help the person it encountered to give them the experience of living on the planet. Picard seems to start recalling these things -to him things that happened decades in his past- just as he comes to back on the Enterprise.

During this time, shipside, the crew has been working to disconnect Picard from the probe but an attempt to do so throws Picard into a life-threatening seizure. The ship uses a probe to find the origin of the probe.

As Picard comes to he's confused about where he is but things seems to slowly come to him as he starts recalling names and seeming to recognize things on the ship. Riker tells Picard he's only been on out for maybe 25 minutes.

That evening in his quarters, still trying to reacquaint himself with his life. Riker shows up saying the probe is now inactive but inside of it they found a small case which Riker presents to Picard. Inside the case is a flute, an instrument Picard learned to play, and loved to play, as Kamin. Alone in his quarters, Picard clutches the flute to his chest, taking in the memories he now has, before he begins to play a song he had played at his second child's naming ceremony.

This episode is probably the strongest, most powerful, episode of the series. Critically acclaimed, winner of awards and adds whole new levels of depth to Picard.

It truly is a very special episode.

In my younger years I was never a huge fan of it much because I found it too slow, and not enough dealing with the other characters. As an adult I'm able to look past much of that and truly see all of the specialness in this episode and it's an awful lot to wrap one's head around the notion that Picard lived the better part of probably 40 or 50 years inside 20 minutes or so.

Some great acting by Patrick Stewart here.

I still think the episode has some slow moments and there's some stuff that's hard to fully "get" and it's hard to grasp that Picard spent so long inside the fantasy and how he basically turned his whole life around, had one he never had, only to be thrust back into this real, more lonely, existence.

On the nitpicking side, it's rather amazing that the these aliens, who were just starting to launch missiles and small spacecraft, managed to build a device that could overcome the Enterprise shields, invade an alien brain, and force-download several decades worth of memories into it inside 25 minutes.

The aliens' technology is odd and there's at least one line where it seems the writers worked too hard to make things sound "too alieny." At one point Picard asks for a means to speak to another community and rather than his wife saying "we use radios" she says something like "voice transit conductor."

The aliens also at some point decided the best way to open a door was to tap a panel on the wall next to it.

It makes me giggle a bit, but I loved the little alien crockpot that sits on a ledge in Kamin's home.

The improved special effects and matte shots in the remastered show look spectacular. The only thing that doesn't quite hold-up is some of the earlier stages of Picard's old-age makeup. Michael Westmore's makeup is overall fantastic and great (though 20-years older Picard looks a lot different than 20-years older Patrick Stewart does. ) But the higher quality of the HD makes some of the flaws in it show. When Picard is in the more advanced years it holds up well but in some it's very obvious Stewart is wearing a bald-wig, er... a balder wig.

But, really, just a great episode. I think it has more flaws than some are willing to admit but man of the flaws are overshadowed by how magical the episode really is.
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Old January 27 2015, 02:25 AM   #2
BillJ
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"



But then everyone knew that would be my opinion of the episode!
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Old January 27 2015, 02:40 AM   #3
Taelon
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

There are two ways to look at this episode. Depending on if you're in a good or bad mood.

1) A dying world sends out a beacon of memory to their civilization as a last desperate hope for their culture not to be lost to the abyss of time.

Or

2) A bunch of a-hole aliens brainrape Picard and keep him prisoner in some sick twisted little fantasy world for their own amusement. And then gloat about it right to his face.
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Old January 27 2015, 03:22 AM   #4
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

I liked the episode a lot, even though it features that over-the-top TNG old age makeup, which is probably my one true pet peeve in the series.

Oh, so you're playing an elderly person on TNG? They throw GOBS of Play-Doh in your face! (I can still remember poor Brent Spiner's face being held almost unmovable when he played Dr. Soong. Credit where due: Spiner is such a good actor that he could emote despite being encased in pancake batter.)

Inner Light is no exception. This time, it's as if Richard Dreyfuss was trying to build Devil's Tower on Patrick Stewart's head.

Anyway, I think the episode is a powerful one, but it does seem cruel that he lived a lifetime in his own mind that way. Still, I'm able to put that aside and enjoy the episode.
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Old January 27 2015, 03:26 AM   #5
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

BillJ wrote: View Post


But then everyone knew that would be my opinion of the episode!
Yeah, we fucking get it already. It's cool, weird alien mind control in TOS and early TNG, but an evil, vicious sexual assault here.

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
But, really, just a great episode. I think it has more flaws than some are willing to admit but man of the flaws are overshadowed by how magical the episode really is.
Agree it's a great episode. Flaws - perhaps there are some, but overall the tone and emotional resonance far overshadows any nitpicks imo. EDIT: you already said as much.
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Old January 27 2015, 04:33 AM   #6
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

Stewarts acting, and the emotion of the episode overcome any flaws for me.
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Old January 27 2015, 09:25 AM   #7
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

Meh.
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Old January 27 2015, 09:58 AM   #8
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

I don't like how the episode keeps cutting back to the Enterprise right before the comercials in order to create fake drama.

I fact, the episode should begin with Picard/Kamin waking up, and only at the end do we see the Enterprise. This would have made the sudden transition more jarring, intense and imersive, replicating, as close as possible, Picard's experience.

Also, people keep saying how this episode has such a great score. But 20 seconds of flute playing does not constitute a score. The rest of the episode, unfortunately, is nothing more than Chattaway wallpaper from late TNG.

But it's an interesting episode for sure.
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Old January 27 2015, 12:46 PM   #9
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

Praetorian wrote: View Post
I don't like how the episode keeps cutting back to the Enterprise right before the comercials in order to create fake drama.

I fact, the episode should begin with Picard/Kamin waking up, and only at the end do we see the Enterprise. This would have made the sudden transition more jarring, intense and imersive, replicating, as close as possible, Picard's experience.

Also, people keep saying how this episode has such a great score. But 20 seconds of flute playing does not constitute a score. The rest of the episode, unfortunately, is nothing more than Chattaway wallpaper from late TNG.

But it's an interesting episode for sure.
Well, the cuts to the ship hide the time-jumps for Picard.
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Old January 27 2015, 12:51 PM   #10
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
Praetorian wrote: View Post
I don't like how the episode keeps cutting back to the Enterprise right before the comercials in order to create fake drama.

I fact, the episode should begin with Picard/Kamin waking up, and only at the end do we see the Enterprise. This would have made the sudden transition more jarring, intense and imersive, replicating, as close as possible, Picard's experience.

Also, people keep saying how this episode has such a great score. But 20 seconds of flute playing does not constitute a score. The rest of the episode, unfortunately, is nothing more than Chattaway wallpaper from late TNG.

But it's an interesting episode for sure.
Well, the cuts to the ship hide the time-jumps for Picard.
True, but the comercials themselves could have achieved that, I think.
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Old January 27 2015, 01:05 PM   #11
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I'm not really a fan of this episode. Can't quite put my finger on why, but not one of my faves.
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Old January 27 2015, 01:09 PM   #12
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

Praetorian wrote: View Post
Also, people keep saying how this episode has such a great score. But 20 seconds of flute playing does not constitute a score. The rest of the episode, unfortunately, is nothing more than Chattaway wallpaper from late TNG.
That really is open to interpretation though. When the single piece of music that you use is so memorable that it stands out atop pretty much all but a couple other themes in the history of a 7 year show, that constitutes an excellent piece of scoring

The film Castaway, which is primarily without music or just sprinklings of pop tracks in the opening & finale, has only one 60-100 second theme of scored music from composer Alan Silvestri & it's only used 3 times in the entire film. However it's impact is unforgettable. How long it is or how much of it is used throughout is not at all as important as the impact it has on the production

The Inner Light "Theme" is so touching that it gets revisited in another episode
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Old January 27 2015, 01:13 PM   #13
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

Praetorian wrote: View Post
Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
Praetorian wrote: View Post
I don't like how the episode keeps cutting back to the Enterprise right before the comercials in order to create fake drama.

I fact, the episode should begin with Picard/Kamin waking up, and only at the end do we see the Enterprise. This would have made the sudden transition more jarring, intense and imersive, replicating, as close as possible, Picard's experience.

Also, people keep saying how this episode has such a great score. But 20 seconds of flute playing does not constitute a score. The rest of the episode, unfortunately, is nothing more than Chattaway wallpaper from late TNG.

But it's an interesting episode for sure.
Well, the cuts to the ship hide the time-jumps for Picard.
True, but the comercials themselves could have achieved that, I think.
Yeah, but then they may not have gotten all of the time periods they wanted. Instead of jumping back and forth as needed they'd me limited to whatever number of commercial breaks they got. It also sort-of helps to see what the crew was doing while Picard was out instead of seeing him just laying there and them not trying anything.
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Old January 27 2015, 02:17 PM   #14
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

I like it. It's definitely better than that Captain's Holidays episode with Grodénchik playing an even dumber ferengi than he does on DS9 (if that was even imaginable) or that stupid alien archive turns starships into rocks, swamps ans snakes episode... I mean, talk about a prank!

At least this episode doesn't look like something someone pulled out of his a... rchive.
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Old January 27 2015, 07:16 PM   #15
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Re: TNG Rewatch: 5x25 - "The Inner Light"

Ghrakh wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post


But then everyone knew that would be my opinion of the episode!
Yeah, we fucking get it already. It's cool, weird alien mind control in TOS and early TNG, but an evil, vicious sexual assault here.
Well, it is the "rewatch" thread. Not the "only comment if you like it thread".
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