"The Inner Light" is one of those episodes that separates Next Generation
from the original series. (And I mean that in a good way).
An alien artifact connects with Captain Picard, causing him to live out the lifetime of an ordinary man from a long-dead civilization. In the course of about an hour out of his life, Picard is given a lifetime of experience and memories from a civilization that knew they were dying and wanted to find a way to preserve their history.
It's not a story that has a lot of action and suspense, though the script does try at points when we cut back to Picard, unconcious on the bridge. Instead, it's a quiet, well told story of a lifetime on love, memories and allowing a civilizatin to live on through the memories downloaded to Picard.
It's an acting showcase for Patrick Stewart, who always did well in his portrayal of Picard. But here he gets to not only showcase Picard, but the man whose life he's living. We watch him age and even though early on he's not sure what's happening, trying to find a way back to the future, we see the slow acceptance of what is happenign. The make-up artists do a nice job of aging Picard through the various stages in life and the ending where he realizes what's happening and why, when all the various players in his life appear again is one of those quiet, lump in your throat type of moments.
About the only complaint you can lodge with this episode is that for having this profound experience, it shows little or no lingering affects on Picard. Yes, he occasionally pulls out the flute he learned to play during his lifetime on the world, but you'd sort of hope this might have some bigger change beyond the "hey, I can play a cool new instrument."
So that keeps it from being in the top five, but it's still a strong episode and if you like to see a great actor at work, it's a must-see.
Labels: Star Trek The Next Generation 20th Anniversary
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/18/2007 11:33:00 AM