Image: Paramount Pictures
1 – The Inner Light
“The Inner Light” is not just one of Picard’s best episodes nor one of The Next Generation‘s best episodes. Simply put it is one of the best episodes of Star Trek ever made.
In “The Inner Light” a probe contacts the Enterprise and Picard is whisked away to the plant Kataan where he steps into the life of Kamin. Picard would go on to spend the next 42 years as Kamin, have children, grandchildren, and suffer the loss of friends and loved ones. Eventually Picard/Kamin would come to the conclusion that the planet is doomed and then watch the launch of the probe that would eventually make contact with the Enterprise a thousand years later.
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It would turn out that what was over 40 years for Picard was actually only 30 minutes. And other than his abduction by the Borg in “The Best of Both Worlds” there were few events in the series than had as profound an impact on the character as this. The Ressikan flute he taught himself to play would show up in the series several times before the show came to an end.
Much like “Family” this episode was light on action and adventure and more concerned with character and emotion. By the time the credits roll you deeply feel for what Picard lost even though none of it was real. Watching him grasp his flute that they find in the probe like if he just holds it tight enough he can get it all back.
Picard finally got the loving family he always wanted only to discover none of it was real. Incredibly powerful stuff. And a moment in Picard’s life that should not be missed.
Star Trek: Picard should arrive sometime later in 2019 on CBS All Access. We can only hope it will be as good as some of these episodes that shaped and defined Captain Jean-Luc Picard.