Picard awakes to find himself living in a small village where he is a well-known member of the community who is suffering from a delusion of being a starship captain.



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Episode cast overview:
Counselor Deanna Troi (credit only)


Not long after the Enterprise approaches an unknown buoy or satellite, Captain Picard falls unconscious on the bridge. He awakens in a village where he is married but also something of a village eccentric who thinks he is a spaceship captain by the name of Picard. His wife Eline tries to soothe him and his good friend Batai does not judge him. He lives a full life, has children and grows old. The planet he is on is dying however, suffering from a long and seemingly permanent drought. On board the Enterprise, the crew does its best to revive their unconscious captain but to no avail. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Release Date:

30 May 1992 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Star Trek producer Ronald D. Moore commented: "I've always felt that the experience in Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Inner Light (1992) would have been the most profound thing in Picard's life and changed him irrevocably. But that wasn't our intention when we created the episode. We were after a good hour of TV. The larger implications of how this could really screw somebody up didn't hit home with us until later. That's sometimes a danger in TV-you're so focused on getting the show made every week that sometimes you suffer from the "can't see the forest from the trees" syndrome. We never intended it to completely upend Picard's character and force a radical change in the series, so we contented ourselves with a single follow-up in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Lessons (1993)." See more »


Picard is shown looking down into the valley of Ressik holding a straw hat in his left hand. In the next shot, taken from the front, the hat is missing. See more »


Eline: The rest of us have been gone a thousand years. If you remember what we were, and how we lived, then we'll have found life again.
Capt. Picard: Eline...
[the probe is launched]
Eline: Now we live in you. Tell them of us... my darling.
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Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Fistful of Datas (1992) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

The Inner Light Reflects Reality
4 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was caught by surprise with this episode one day while faithfully watching TNG. It sucked me in and spit me out into another dimension of reality. I have seen life differently every since. This episode reflects the eastern philosophy that this life experience is really a dream and not reality at all. To live a lifetime in 25 minutes rings a strangely familiar chord. Think about it. Dreams seem like they transpire over a much longer period time than they really do, maybe just a few minutes. You awake to find yourself somewhat displaced. My bet is that when you end this life experience, the Inner Light will be your reality. I challenge you to see this life as a Lucid Dream, and actively participate in its outcome. I can't watch this episode without experiencing the same feeling every time. It's either genius in writing or a message from the higher reality, like the scene from Total Recall where Quaid is being coaxed to wake up.

17 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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