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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 »

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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 ... Eline
Richard Riehle ... Batai
Scott Jaeck ... Administrator
Jennifer Nash ... Meribor
Patti Yasutake ... Nurse Alyssa Ogawa
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


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site



Release Date:

30 May 1992 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Marina Sirtis doesn't appear in this episode. 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 »


Capt. Picard: A good scientist doesn't function by conjecture.
Meribor: A good scientist functions by hypothesizing and then proving or disproving that hypothesis. That's what I did.
Capt. Picard: Hey, why don't you spend more time with that young man Dannick?
Meribor: You are changing the subject.
Capt. Picard: No, I'm not. I'm just hypothesizing... that he's in love with you.
See more »


Referenced in Star Trek Generations (1994) See more »


No Man's Land
Written by Eric Bogle
Performed by Patrick Stewart
See more »

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User Reviews

The Inner Light Reflects Reality
4 September 2009 | by jenkins_samSee 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.

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