- 30-second episode preview (AVI, 2Mb)
- Picar--reliving the life of Kamin--plays with his grandson.
After a mysterious accident, Picard wakes up living the life of another person on a faraway planet.
An unsophisticated alien probe assumes a relative position, holding steady with the U.S.S. Enterprise, and releases a nucleonic particle stream that penetrates the ship's shields. Focusing solely on Picard, the beam knocks him unconscious. When he wakes up, Picard finds himself in unfamiliar surroundings, being cared for by an attractive woman. The woman,
Eline, tells him his name is "Kamin," and he is her husband of three years. She also tells him that he has been sick and must be experiencing a memory loss. Picard soon learns that he lives on the planet
Kataan, where he works as a simple iron weaver. His confusion is compounded when he notices that Eline wears an exact replica of the alien probe as jewelry. She tells Picard he gave her the necklace as a gift.
On the Enterprise, the crew is unable to revive Picard. Realizing the particle emission that has attached itself to him may control his life, they are afraid to destroy the beam. Only a few moments have passed, but on
Kataan, it is already five years later, and Picard is settling into his life. He comes up with a solution to the drought that is destroying the planet, but his advanced ideas are laughed at by leaders of the primitive society. However, his life is not without its pleasures. Picard kisses
Eline, an act that causes his pulse to rise back on the Enterprise. Worf insists they must destroy the beam since their Captain is under attack.
They do so, and Picard's pulse drops dramatically. On
Kataan, where seven more years have passed, he falls to the floor. Acting quickly, the crew restores the beam. Back on
Kataan, another 12 years have passed, and Picard has two children. The drought continues to worsen, and Picard's teenage daughter realizes their planet is doomed. At the same time, Geordi and Data are able to chart the probe's radiation to
Kataan, a planet that was destroyed in a supernova explosion over a thousand years ago.
Kataan, the years continue to fly by. Picard continues his quest to get something done about the drought, but his suggestions fall on deaf ears. Later, Eline dies, as does Picard's best friend
Batai, and his first grandchild is born.
The elapsed time on the Enterprise is still only a few minutes. However, Beverly becomes alarmed when she realizes that Picard's metabolic rates match those of an 80-year-old man. In fact, Picard is actually 85 years old on
Kataan, where the drought has almost completely destroyed the planet. His children and grandchild convince the unwilling old man to accompany them to a missile launching - an event they are all very excited about. Picard doesn't understand the point, knowing the missile will do nothing to save the planet or its people. However, as the missile takes off, his family, with the help of Eline's spirit, explain to Picard that they are launching a probe into the future to find a person who will bring them immortality by telling others about their planet after it is destroyed. Picard realizes the missile is actually the probe that brought him to Kataan over 30 years ago. As this happens, he wakes up aboard the Enterprise and is amazed to learn he has only been unconscious for 25 minutes, in which time he lived a third of a lifetime.
Timothy Lynch's Star Trek: The Next Generation
Review Date: 5/30/92
WARNING: The following article contains hosts of spoiler information
regarding this week's TNG offering, "The Inner Light." Those not
have said light shone on them at the moment are advised to remain clear.
That was one of the most...interesting and heartfelt shows I've seen from
TNG in a long time. I'm still not sure what I can say.
Fortunately, before I have to say anything, I can synopsize to my heart's
content. :-) Maestro:
The Enterprise encounters an object; a probe of unknown and fairly
design, which quickly begins matching their course and speed. It
seems nonthreatening, but soon emits a beam of nucleons. The shields go
but it manages to break through the shields in a very narrow region, and
Picard suddenly faints. He blearily sees Riker holding him...and then
dissolves into a youngish woman with a careworn look on her face, who asks
Picard if he's feeling better, referring to him as "Kamin".
believes he's stuck in a holodeck program and attempts to leave, but to no
avail. Feeling trapped, he paces. "What is this
place?" "This...is your
home, of course."
Picard is taken aback; is he a prisoner? Of course he's not, as she
clear; he's been feverish for over a week. She says he's still very weak
asks him not to go outside, which he promptly does. He finds himself in
middle of a small village, where a large and happy man has just finished
planting a sapling in the courtyard, as an "affirmation of life" and a
of hope, despite the devastating drought. As the crowd moves on,
accosts this man, who also welcomes "Kamin" back to the land of the
Upon hearing Picard's questions, however, he comes to believe that Picard
has amnesia. Picard, realizing he needs answers, decides to play along
this. He discovers that his name is Kamin; that the man with him is
friend and Council leader Batai; that the woman is his wife Eline; and
they're in the community of Ressic on the planet Kataan. He takes a walk,
"reacquaint himself with the surroundings", and wanders for hours,
gleaming city far away.
He returns home to Eline, who tells him she's been worried sick. As she
him some dinner ("It's delicious." "You always say
that."), he asks her a
number of questions. First, he intends to send a message the next
though he's not sure to where. Then, with a little prompting, he
asking about them. "We're...married?" "Three years
ago. The happiest day
of my life was the day we got married." He discovers that he's
ironweaver, though he prefers to play his flute (poorly). He thanks her
her help, and she takes his hand and asks him to come to bed. He demurs
attempts to make excuses, but she is insistent. He begins to rise, and
sees the charm she wears, which is identical in shape to the probe they
encountered. When he demands to know where she got it, however, he
discovers that it's the first gift he ever gave her. He watches it
twirl...and Riker, on the bridge, calls to Sickbay for help, as Picard's
slips into a coma.
Bev arrives and does some scans, finding incredible neurotransmitter
activity. They reason that the probe has somehow connected itself to
like a tether, and find that the beam is nigh unto unblockable at
They can destroy the probe, but Bev strongly urges against that. They
Five years pass on Kataan. Picard is looking through a telescope of his
construction, charting the sun's path to attempt to find the cause of the
drought. Eline, however, believes he's still looking for that ship of
and hurtly upbraids him for not paying attention to the life he has
When, she asks, will she get him back? When will they start a family?
Batai interrupts to take "Kamin" to the Administrator's visit.
Administrator is somewhat unsympathetic and unctuous, but Picard seems to
impress him somewhat. Regardless, his idea to build atmospheric
is quickly dismissed as costly and unworkable, and the Administrator
with no firm plan of action in hand (or even in mind). Picard broods,
Batai notes that it's the first time in years he's heard "Kamin" speak
true member of the community again. They return to Picard's house
Later that evening, Picard and Batai sit while Picard plays the flute.
gently tells Batai that it's time he went home, and then chides "Kamin"
leaving his shoes everywhere. The conversation quickly turns more
with Picard acknowledging her points of that day and apologizing for not
being a better husband to her. He asks her permission to build
else. She points out that he didn't need her permission to build the
telescope, or the laboratory, and he doesn't need it now, but he insists.
wants to build a nursery. "Really?" "Unless, of
course, if you would prefer
a porch; it would be much easier to build, and I could start on it right
away--" He gets no further.
Meanwhile, on the bridge, Geordi launches a probe to follow the
traces of the alien probe back to their source. Data has figured out
likely way to disrupt the beam, and despite Bev's misgivings about the
Riker decides to do so.
Several years pass on Kataan. Kamin and Eline are holding the naming
ceremony for their second child, named Batai for their late friend.
the formalities are concluded, they look at their daughter Meribor and
how fast she's grown. (Eline notes that she's accompanying Kamin all
the place, and is surely her father's daughter.) Kamin remarks that he
thought he never needed children, but that now he can't imagine life
them. Suddenly, he turns pale, shudders, and collapses. Eline calls
--and Bev and Ogawa try frantically to stabilize Picard, but to no
With no choice, Data hastily manages to reestablish the beam, and Picard
Ten years or so later on Kataan, Meribor is in her late teens, and is
into quite the scientist herself. She's continued her father's work on
drought, and has discovered that the soil is simply dead. She tries to
the unspoken conclusion of her work, but Kamin tries to avoid it and
the subject. Eventually, however, she voices what he already knew:
planet is dying. He is saddened that she must bear this knowledge as
but she bears it well. "I think I should marry Danek sooner rather
later, don't you?" "Seize the day, Meribor. Live now; make
*now* always the
most precious time. Now will never come again."
...And on the bridge, Geordi's managed to trace the probe's path back to
origin, a system called Kataan. Unfortunately, there are no
planets there; the sun went nova and all life in that system died roughly
thousand years ago.
Several more years pass on Kataan. Eline comes out to see a very
Kamin, still working on his telescope, and who urges Eline to lie down
her recent surgery. When they hear Batai playing the flute, she
Kamin talk to him, hinting that there are things that need to be said.
comes out to talk to them, and tells Kamin that he's leaving school to
concentrate on his music. "*This* is the life I want to
lead." Kamin is
initially aghast at this, but eventually comes around, telling Batai that
they will "discuss" it later. He explains to a surprised Eline
doesn't think he should stand in his son's way; and besides, he may not
much longer to lead his life anyway. Kamin notes that he'll be talking
the Administrator tomorrow and will possibly be expelled from the Council
The next morning, he and the Administrator argue. At first, the
Administrator simply refuses to listen, but he eventually tells Kamin in
confidence that their scientists found the same conclusions roughly two
ago, but have kept it quiet to avoid starting a panic. A plan is
underway to save *some* facet of the civilization, but more cannot be said
Suddenly, Batai comes running to Kamin; it's Eline. Kamin rushes home,
there's nothing that can be done. She asks Batai for a moment alone
Kamin, and is relieved to hear that he won't be thrown off the
"Remember...put your shoes away." "I promise."
Eline dies, and a heartsick
Kamin grieves over the body.
Years afterward, an extremely old Kamin is chasing after his
Meribor and Batai come to take both of them to see "the
launching." Kamin is
initially not interested, but is talked into it. They head out to
courtyard, where Kamin sits on a bench at the outskirts. "What is it
"You know it, father. You've already seen it."
"Seen it? What are you talking about? I haven't seen any
"Yes, you have, old friend. Don't you remember?"
Kamin turns, awestruck, to see his friend Batai again, as hale and hearty
he was in the prime of life.
"You saw it just before you came here. We hoped our probe would
someone in the future--someone who could be a teacher, someone who could
the others about us."
"Oh...oh, it's me...isn't it? I'm the someone. I'm the one it
That's what this launching is--a probe that finds me in the future!"
"Yes, my love." This comes from Eline, now alive again and flush
beauty of youth. "The rest of us have been gone a thousand
years. If you
rmember what we were, and how we lived, then we'll have found life again."
"Eline..." He watches the missile lift off.
"Now, we live in you. Tell them of us...my darling..."
...and Picard wakes up on the bridge of the Enterprise as the probe
breaks contact and shuts down. He's initially very disoriented, but
reacquires at least a cursory knowledge of the situation. He
that he's only been unconscious for 20 or 25 minutes, and accompanies Bev
Some time later, Riker visits Picard in his ready room. As Picard
used to the fact that this is once again his home, Riker hands him a small
box they found inside the probe after they examined it. He leaves,
Picard opens the box, to find his flute. He cradles it to his breast,
softly plays it, as we see the ship fading off towards the stars.
Whew. Yep, another long one. Ah, well. Time for me to come up
commentary now, I suppose...
First, a note of caution. As you can already tell (from the synop,
nothing else; I tend to run on a lot longer and get much more flowery in
phrasing if it's a really good piece :-) ), I loved the show; but I'd
right now that this will not be for everyone. It's an extremely,
atypical piece so far as Trek is concerned, and that's going to turn some
people off, no question. Just so you're warned; of course, if you are
off by something like this, you've probably discovered a ways back that
tastes don't mix.
Two things figure importantly in whether you'll like or dislike the
The first is the respect and liking (or lack thereof) you have for Patrick
Stewart's acting, as this was very definitely a showpiece for him. I
most people 'round here tend to like his work a great deal, but there are
always exceptions. The second is more difficult, but I think a lot of
enjoyment will depend on how many, if any, personal chords Kamin's life
struck within you. To some extent, a personal connection to an
character is always important, of course; but I think it's far more so here.
For my part, I fit both bills a lot. My love for Stewart's acting is
probably close to legendary (or at least folkloric :-) ) by now, and this
up among his best work, no question. (As an aside, I think that the
slightly-aged Kamin physically looks almost exactly as I would picture
Stewart playing Scrooge with makeup and costuming if he ever changes the
format of his one-man "A Christmas Carol".) As for the second
this was a deeply introspective show, so you're going to have to pardon me
while I get a little introspective myself here.
At least three things struck resounding chords with me as Kamin's life
unfolded before our eyes. The first was the manner in which he told Eline
about building the nursery; as Mike Shappe alluded to once, long ago (but
wrong :-) ), I proposed to my wife a few years ago by saying "I had
present in mind...but I thought I should check with you first before I got
it." "Oh?" "Something about this
big...gold...with a diamond in it." I
knew there was a reason I've connected so well with Picard's character.
The second was Kamin's conversation with his son Batai about Batai's
Having recently been in the situation of informing family and friends
my own decision to leave school and go into science teaching, I can
*readily* sympathize with the soul-searching that must have gone into Batai's
choice there, and Kamin's reaction is exactly the sort of thing I'd like
The third was more depressing, but still strongly connected. Kamin's
phase of life, the heavily aged man, reminded me very strongly of my
recently-late grandfather...especially when he had on that old straw
Another week, another year, this might not have hit very strongly; but
that his memorial service was a scant ten days ago, the parallel was very
strong just now.
Hmm. You see why I said this might not be for everyone? Everything I
kept reinforcing itself not only within the context of the show, but
my *life*; and that's too rare not to be something to cherish.
Anyway. Now that I've bored you with details of my personal life, onwards
a few more general comments. :-)
Stewart's performance, as I said, was superb, from the initial disbelief
suspicion, to the eventual acceptance, to the slow passing of age, to the
final revelations as Kamin, down to his touching flute solo at the
(I'd be obliged, by the way, if a flautist could let me know whether it
looked like Stewart was *actually* playing the flute himself. I tend
doubt it, but it looked convincing enough to me.) I saw touches of a lot
different things as Kamin aged over 35 years or more (including a
here in the department; the "Hey, that's my hobby, go find your own!"
easily have sprung from his lips :-) ), and I can't remember a single
offputting scene in the lot. Wondrous.
The rest of the regulars were fine for what they had to do, which was
exceedingly little. No problems, and at least one plus: Gates
reaction to Picard's near-death midway through was one of the most
reactions from her I've seen in a while (and I like her in general, too).
Now to the guest stars. I can't say I've a lot of complaints here
All were wonderfully written (in fact, character-wise, I can't think of
*anything* poorly written, honest), and pretty much all were well
Margot Rose's Eline took a little while to grow on me, but I was quite
attached to her by show's end; and I also think she looked *just* enough
"The Perfect Mate"'s Kamala to throw Picard that much more off
Richard Riehle's Batai was just fine; initially, I have to say, I was as
suspicious of him as Picard was. That turned out to be unfounded,
and he did turn into a good friend in what we saw of him. Scott Jaeck's
Administrator was properly sleazy (hey, I calls 'em as I sees 'em, and I
think Jaeck almost *always* plays pretty sleazy people :-) ), which is
all that was really needed.
Jennifer Nash's Meribor was extremely good. What she lacked in terms of
_physical_ resemblance to Stewart (after all, she is s'posed to be his
daughter), she more than made up for in force of personality. Her
to truth and adeptness at conversation and debate were passed very true
father to daughter, and that's the sort of thing that's tough to fake.
rather admired her, in fact.
And then there's Daniel Stewart as the younger Batai. Well, he's not his
in terms of ability, but he's also two or three decades behind him; give 'im
time. He did just fine for what he had to do (namely, exhibit a lot of
fire), and he certainly *did* have the physical resemblance to Stewart
to make things convincing. (Between the two Stewarts and the facial
that are prominent in my family, I'm starting to wonder if the purest
heredity of all is preserved in the nose. My nose goes back four
generations. :-) )
Let's see...oh, the plot. Well, the Kamin-related plot was very simple,
very straightforward, and almost in the background, as I believe it should
in cases like these. There is one suspension of disbelief you need to
probably (namely, that a planet with enough primitive patches like those
the technology to build a probe that can do what it did to Picard), but
perfectly willing to do that. (Hell, if I can swallow
"Conundrum", this is
nothing. :-) ) There's not a lot of plot to play with, but there
need to be in this case.
Peter Lauritson directed, which was a surprise; he's been an associate
producer or producer on TNG since the pilot, but has never directed
And while he's not quite up on the Rob Bowman/Jonathan Frakes tier of TNG
directors, he's awfully nice, especially for a rookie. A few shots
particular really struck me:
--the changeover from Riker to Eline in the teaser
--the slow shot of Eline's charm spinning
--the pan around Picard as he plays the flute at the close
--and most of all, the series of cuts as the old Kamin turns to see first
Batai and then Eline. This one, in particular, reminded me of some of
end of "2001: A Space Odyssey", with Dave Bowman seeing
himself...and himself, and let's face it, being reminded of Stanley Kubrick
is not exactly a major problem in this business. :-) (Add to that
that Stewart's final makeup job as Kamin made him virtually unrecognizable
and things got even more surreal.)
All in all, nice work there.
Finally, a word on the music. With all the flute, I knew early on that
Chattaway had to be the one who handled this one, and I was right; but he
came back up to "Darmok" level here, I think. Best music I've
heard in a
long, long, *long* time on TNG, particularly in the use of the flute.
being a musician, I don't have particularly eloquent or specific ways to
describe it, but I know what I like, and I liked this.
Well, that should about do it. This was in some ways a rather
review; but then, in many more ways it was a pretty unorthodox episode.
going to be one of my favorites in a few years' time, I bet; and it's
good from the start. Bravo, I say. Bravo.
Oh...numbers? If you hadn't guessed, you can put in 10's for everything
time. First time I've been able to do that in quite a while (at least
"Cause and Effect", and that for very different reasons). :-)
NEXT WEEK: Another rerun, this time of "The Masterpiece
Society". Catch you
in two weeks for the season finale.
Tim Lynch (Cornell's first Astronomy B.A.; one of many Caltech grad students)
"Now we live in you. Tell them of us...my darling."
Copyright 1992, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to
This article is explicitly prohibited from being used in any off-net
compilation without due attribution and *express written consent of the
author*. Walnut Creek and other CD-ROM distributors, take note.
to Watch - Local channels and airtimes.
VHS, Laserdisc and DVD availability.
Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes as William Thomas Riker
Brent Spiner as Data
LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn as Worf
Gates McFadden as Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi
Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan
Patti Yasutake as Ogawa
Margot Rose as Eline
Richard Riehle as Batai
Scott Jaeck as Administrator
Jennifer Nash as Meribor
Daniel Stewart as Young Batai
Director: Peter Lauritson
Story By: Morgan Gendel
Teleplay By: Morgan Gendel and Peter Allan Fields