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The Inner Light

June 14, 2010
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One of my, and apparently the world’s, favorite Star Trek: TNG episodes is “The Inner Light”.  It is the beautiful, heart-breaking episode where Picard imagines living a lifetime among a doomed population.

This is not an uncommon trope in fic or pop culture (the kids from Narnia, poor Captain Picard, that stupid ep of Smallville), living a whole other usually VERY HAPPY life–induced by magic or Ancient tech or time travel–and then waking up to find yourself back in the past (though I can’t find it exactly at tvtropes.org).  When I come across these stories I can’t help but think, how awful, your whole life ( in Picard’s case, children and family) gone and there is no one else to remember it and mourn with you.  I would be in bed for months and need medication.

Though most things that happen in ST have little emotional continuity, Picard’s turn as husband and father is carried forward in later episodes and movies, represented as the flute he learned to play while hallucinating.  Here he is playing the beautiful theme song at the end of “The Inner Light:

Most touching, I think, is the way they use the emotional story in the episode “Lessons” when Picard is falling in love:

You can also listen to or download the mp3 of the duet here.

Another completely awesome way to listen to “The Inner Light”‘s completely awesome theme: the iPhone’s ocarina!

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