52 user 7 critic

The Inner Light 

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.


Peter Lauritson


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Morgan Gendel (teleplay by) | 2 more credits »




Episode complete credited cast:
Patrick Stewart ... Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes ... Cmdr. William Riker
LeVar Burton ... Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn ... Lt. Worf
Gates McFadden ... Dr. Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis ... Counselor Deanna Troi (credit only)
Brent Spiner ... Lt. Commander Data
Margot Rose Margot Rose ... Eline
Richard Riehle ... Batai
Scott Jaeck ... Administrator
Jennifer Nash ... Meribor
Patti Yasutake ... Nurse Alyssa Ogawa
Daniel Stewart Daniel Stewart ... Young Batai


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



Official Sites:

Official site



Release Date:

30 May 1992 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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 »


Near the end, when Picard suggests evacuating at least some people so that the planet's culture can survive, he's told that the planet is barely capable of sending a missile into space. But immediately thereafter, he's told that something is in the works, which turns out to be a probe that is capable of taking over the nervous system of and transmitting, all in believable time passage, a lifetime of interactive experience to an alien (Picard)! Even allowing for artistic license, a culture barely able to attain space travel would not have the kind of advanced neuro-psychological technology necessary to pull off a stunt like that. 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.
See more »


Referenced in After Trek: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad (2017) See more »


Frère Jacques
Traditional French folk song
Performed by Patrick Stewart
See more »

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User Reviews

The Best Trek Ever
20 August 2013 | by thirteenprimeSee all my reviews

It's been almost twenty years now since I first saw "The Inner Light," and I still think it's the best episode of any Star Trek series. The writing, acting and direction are nothing short of brilliant. I was sitting there on 8 Sep 1966 for the premiere of what we now call Trek Classic, and I have never seen them do better than "The Inner Light." Hence, it gets a perfect 10 from me. Whoever called it TNG's "City on the Edge of Forever" was not mistaken, although I think the edge for "best ever episode" goes to "The Inner Light."

It seems odd, really, that the best episodes of Classic and TNG are more or less Star Trek in name only. The Trekkish trappings are all there at the top and bottom of both episodes, but in the middle we get a wonderful story about these characters, who in each case are far removed from their normal time, place and circumstance.

What an achievement this episode was. Writing about this has made me miss the series all over again.

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