Monday, June 10, 2019

Let's Talk About A 27 Year Old Star Trek Episode

John and I've been re-watching old Star Trek: TNG episodes during lunch lately, and it turns out - to my utter delight - that he hasn't seen them all.  

On Thursday we watched The Inner Light, easily one of the top 10 TNG episodes of all time, and which I could almost recite from memory. (It's the one with the flute, if that helps.)


About 20 minutes in John asked, "Wait, he's aging? HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN?" and I got the biggest grin, realizing he was about to experience this story for the first time. (Isn't that the best feeling?)

After the show was over, John spluttered for several minutes. It was glorious. What finally came out was, "So... so... this is the best Star Trek episode of all time, right? This is it? This has to be it!"

I told him it was definitely in the Top Ten, but that did get me wondering what the all-time best episode is. I'm sure there are plenty of Buzzfeed-style lists out there, and everyone's mileage will vary, but what springs to mind for you guys?

I've been pondering this all morning, and even though it's been decades since I've seen most of these episodes, I have so many particular moments that spring to mind: Q with the Mariachi band. That single tear running down Locutus' face. Troi as a "cellular peptide cake." Data's daughter Lal, pounding her chest as she feels for the first time. The ship's kids celebrating"Picard Day." Worf and his "warrier's drink." Lwaxana Troi doing ANYTHING. Oof, so many good, gut-punching, hilarious moments. 

(I know, I still haven't picked my top episode! This clearly needs more research.)

Speaking of the heir to the holy rings of Betazed, while it's not from a TNG episode, the moment when Lwaxana handed Odo her wig in the turbolift at DS9 is one of the best in all of Trekdom for me. I love that scene.
Also while I was looking for an episode photo for The Inner Light I discovered there's a commemorative plate for it. Whaaaat. Remember when we had commemorative plates for everything? Ha!


Now, don't get me wrong, the art is lovely... but how is it that Picard's kids - who are in the episode for maybe five minutes - made the cut, but not HIS WIFE who is in the entire thing?! I need to speak to someone's manager.

I vividly remember my best friend Chris having a TNG plate like this on his bedroom wall, btw. Ahh, the 90s.

I also found this gem of a factoid on Wikipedia - you'll have to embiggen it to read:


They made the classic blunder! NEVER underestimate the "emotional fury" of devoted fans when screen-used PROPS are on the line! NYAHAHAAAAA.

That inspired me to go see if there's any other Inner Light merch out there, and would you believe there is?

 You can buy an official probe necklace replica for way too much money on Amazon, ha.

Or for a free option (at least for those with Amazon Prime): I've been listening to this orchestral arrangement of Picard's flute melody while writing this, and it's absolutely gorgeous! Reminds me of the Shire theme from Lord of the Rings.

Now quick, tell me which TNG episodes John and I should watch next. (We're not watching in any particular order; just picking random seasons and watching a few in a row.) Yesterday we watched the two-parter where they time travel back and meet Mark Twain, which is another great one. Love me some Guinan being mysterious. :D


******


Oh hey, if you're not into overpriced probe necklaces {snerk}, but are still itching to shop, I have lots of fun nerdy suggestions in my Amazon lists:



I've linked all kinds of goodies, from Harry Potter and Disney to my favorite toys and puzzles, plus more mundane stuff like cat gear and the clothes I wear. I've left comments on everything I actually own, which is most of it, so look for the comment bubbles above each item to read my reviews.

As with all my Amazon links, if you purchase any of these John & I will receive a small percentage, but it doesn't cost you anything. So you get to shop, we get to feed the cats, EVERYBODY WINS. 

Thanks, gang. Live long and prosper.

71 comments:

  1. In the DS9 turbolift scene (assuming it's the same as the one I'm thinking of), wasn't it her skirt she offered as a bucket, and not her wig? Or is yours a different scene? It was amazing. I'm not that big fan of Lwaxana, but that was amazing!!!! (Yes, lots of exclamation points, but that scene was worth it.)
    Sandra

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    1. She did offer her skirt, yes - that's the same episode! - but before that she took off her wig, to make him feel more comfortable. It's a really sweet gesture and scene.

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  2. I agree-- The Inner Light is easily in the top ten, or even five. I don't think I could pick an absolute favorite though. I still think about that one. Not TNG, but Voyager, where they get trapped just within visual range of a planet where time goes super fast compared to the rest of the universe, so the people down below go from stone age to modern space-faring civilization with the over-arching goal of finding out what the heck that thing is up there... Love that one. I still think about that one too!

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    1. Whoa, I don't remember that one! Clearly I need to go watch some more Voyager eps!

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    2. If you want to talk Voyager, two must sees are "The 37s" and "Tattoo".

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    3. That Voyager episode is great! And Daniel Dae Kim plays the astronaut that comes to Voyager. Also The 37s is one of the best!

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  3. An awesome but depressing episode was "The Drumhead." Also, one of my all-time favorites is still "Darmok."

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    1. Darmok is among my top favoritest episodes every also.

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    2. I love Darmok, but I always thought that it took everybody waaaaay to long to get it.

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    3. I tell me kids they speak Darmok. All this Meme speak where you have to know the history and connotations of a GIF just to have a conversation. And they do it fluently. It's Darmok.

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    4. Holy cow! I've never made that connection before, but you are right! It is Darmok!

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    5. Yes! I came here to say Darmok!

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  4. Leah in WilliamsburgJune 10, 2019 at 2:48 PM

    In case you don't know it already, Fashion It So is a fun blog critiquing the fashion/costuming in ST:TNG. They have humorous summaries of many of the episodes.

    As for great episodes, I like "Frame of Mind," the one where Riker is in a mental institution. "Rascals," in which some of the crew turn into kids because of a transporter accident, is a funny one.

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    1. Omigosh, I love Fashion It So!! I need to go dive back in over there, it's been too long.

      And yes to both of those! Kid Guinan was my favorite.

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  5. The Inner Light was one of two ST:TNG episodes to win Hugo awards (the other was the finale). It's definitely a contender for best episode.

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  6. I recall a countdown of the top five favorite fan stories, hosted by Jonathan Frakes, as a prelude to the series finale. Well it turned out to be only four stories, and they were "Relics" (#4), "The Inner Light" (#3), "Yesterday's Enterprise" (#2), and "The Best of Both Worlds" parts 1 and 2 (hence only four stories) at the top. In that august company, "The Inner Light" is the only one not to feature any returning characters. Yes, even back when the show was still on the air, "The Inner Light" had a good following, and fans knew it was something pretty special.

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  7. I'm watching Star Trek for the first time. At least the older series. I'm in s6 of TNG now. But only just. I've recently seen both The Inner Light and Time's Arrow (that's the Mark Twain ones).

    My favourites so far are probably Disaster (where Troi is temporary Captain), and Darmok (the storytelling ftw). Actually a lot of s5 is excellent. Let's see what s6 brings me.

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  8. I remember what I had thought was a Worf episode "The Icarus Factor", but it turns out that it was a Riker episode, and I really don't remember the main story line, but the Worf part is definitely worth it.

    In a little bit of side info, do you know who had the third highest rank in the original series? It was Uhura. So, technically, all of those times that Kirk and Spock were off ship she should have been in charge.

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    1. Ohhh what I wouldn't give to see THAT episode. Granted, Uhura was already a ground-breaking character for the time, but can you imagine her calling the shots in the Captain's chair?? I'm swooning just thinking about it.

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    2. There's an episode of The Animated Series where Uhura has to assume command! I believe it's "The Lorelei Signal." TAS is, um, inconsistent in quality but that one's fun.

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  9. I didn't get the wedding I wanted but inner light was going to be the song I came down the aisle to ��

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  10. I love Chain of Command Parts 1 and 2. There are Four Lights!!!

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  11. The one with The Game!
    Any episode with Q
    The Crystalline Entity - I find this one gut wrenching every time

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  12. Measure of a Man, Yesterday's Enterprise, everything with Q, Darmok, Chain of Command 1 and 2, Best of Both Worlds 1 and 2, and Family (which needs to be watched after Best of Both Worlds).

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  13. Inner Light IS my favorite episode. I haven't seen it in years but still think of it often.

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  14. How could there be music when the flute “cannot actually be played” I ask you???

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  15. I adored this episode as well!
    One of the ones I think was most interesting was the one in season 2 (don’t remember which one, though, sorry) where the doctor who isn’t Beverly Crusher talks with Worf about a few traditions of his and uses a hypospray on herself so she can participate in the poison drink ceremony with him since he needed someone to do it with.

    Oooh, thanks for the reminder about your Amazon lists! I’m currently sitting in the garage with a Blossom at my side and she’s got morning breath in the evening. Hmm. Time to find some dental sticks! XD

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  16. So many good episodes already mentioned. Hubby reminded me of the "I, Borg" episode, the one with Hugh. So good. There's also a good one with Wesley at the academy, "The First Duty," where he has to deal with a tragic accident.

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  17. This is easily one of my favorites! "I, Borg" is also sooo good, and Darmok. I have a serious Picard Crush so I'm also gonna throw in "Starship Mine" and "Risa" for non-plot reasons.

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  18. “Eyes in the dark. One moon circles.” (Night Terrors)
    “I assure you, Commander, the cards are sufficiently randomized.” (Cause and Effect)
    So many good ones! Just skip anything with Pukelaski. :)

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  19. Cause and Effect. Love the concept of a time loop that resets when the Enterprise blows up.

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  20. That was one of my favorite episodes! Re watch “Unification” Parts 1 and 2. Does anyone know of a Star Trek craft group??

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  21. It cannot possibly be 27 years! Can it? Jen, I agree with everything you wrote. I LOVED that episode of DS9 with those two in the elevator. Well, lift. I cannot possibly pick my top episodes of TNG without some sort of cheat sheet in front of me. Thanks for posting this. Oh - Darmok and Jalard of course.
    Maureen S

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  22. I *love* this episode and I don't believe my husband has watched it either! I'm really excited to show it to him.

    On an Amazon note, I bought that cotton dress from your list (it's green in the photo here) and it is ahhhhmazing! I even bought two more afterward, in different colors. Thank you so much for the recommend. I'm thinking of adding pockets to them...might be a disaster, but worth a shot!

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  23. Another vote for both "Darmok&Jalad" and "Chain of Command".

    [50+ years a Trekker/Trekkie (anyone else old enough to remember when people were careful to distinguish between the "serious" trekkers who were proper Science Fiction Fen vs the more "frivolous" trekkies who were just run-of-the-mill media fans? And speaking of feeling old, I'll note that Wil Wheaton is now older than Patrick Stewart was when he started in TNG.]

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    1. Over here - the one who made her own Vulcan ears out of aluminum foil, masking tape, and acrylic paints when I attended my first Con in 1972. I remember when that distinction was oh-so-important.

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    2. Oh gosh yes. I was a Trekkie (still am) and proud of it! I shook Leonard Nimoy's hand at an Autorama (a car show) at the Seattle Center in probably '76 or '77. Star Trek Conventions weren't much of a thing yet, and it was still a few years away from any of the movies. Jimmie Walker and Leonard Nimoy were there to attract people to the "car show." Two friends and I (Trekkies) only went to see and "fan girl" over Leonard/Spock.

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  24. For comedy, "A Fistful of Datas"

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  25. How and when did "embiggen" and "merch" become acceptable words?

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    1. Ah, for the beauty of neologisms. "Embiggen" has been used in various scientific papers since the Simpsons made it popular in 1996. There is even evidence of the word having first "officially" been used in 1884. "Merch" on the other hand is just like people saying "auto" instead of "automobile", or "app" for "application". Personally, I first encoutered that one somewhere in the 1990s, when you still had to order your merch through honest-to-goodness print catalogs *shudder*. Language is a fluid thing, and very nicely so, don't you think?

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  26. Inner Light is definitely the best, challenged only by All Good Things. (Which is an unfair comparison anyway, since that's a series finale.) Tapestry is also an amazing episode that looks into the inner workings of Picard's life and what makes a man who he is. My personal two favorites are The Next Phase and Rascals.

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  27. Yes, the Inner Light is definitely an all-time favourite! I, Borg, as mentioned above is also a great one. But my all-time favourite will always be Descent. I've always had a soft spot for evil twins, and Lore is definitely one of my favourite. Also shows that Brent Spiner can hold his own, acting-wise.

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  28. Jen,
    Inner Light is one of my and my guy friend's favorite episodes also. Just checked your Amazon link and am interested in the Womens Casual Fit and Flare Floral Sleeveless Party Evening Cocktail Dress on your list. I'm worried about my cleavage showing in it (38D). A number of customer pics show little to a lot of cleavage. Can the dress be pulled up and stay to cover the cleavage? -SM3

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  29. Qpid. The whole thing is just hilarious.

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  30. Dark Page- Season 7, just watched it last night. Troi's mother has a collapse and Troi discovers a dark time from her life (I really felt that Majel Barrett was awesome in that role). I actually cried. I also loved Rascals as well.

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  31. Favourite scene- Data- "Tell him he is a pretty cat, and a good cat." Worf- "I will feed him."

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  32. I forgot "Lower Decks". One of my faves, with a character that you can't help but love.

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  33. Spaceship Mine (aka Die Hard Picard), any episode with characters from the original series, and the one where Beverly and Jean Luc can hear each others' thoughts.

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  34. "Measure of a Man" is my favorite, and "The Inner Light" makes me cry every time. My favorite actiony episode is "Conundrum," where the crew loses their memories because aliens. I also like all the episodes with Q.

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  35. I really wish that they had made under light as a film length episode.

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  36. Ah, inner light. We named a dog after his friend, Batai. She was a good dog for around a dozen years.

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  37. We've been re-watching them, too. My husband and I love "The Perfect Mate" from Season 5 and "I, Borg" just two episodes later. So many great ones to choose from.

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  38. I am way late to this party, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents! We have recently begun a rewatch of every episode of ST:TNG with our kids, so it has been interesting watching them all over again with a 14-year-old and an 8-year-old. We are still in 1st season, which I really don't remember that well, so I am looking forward to getting into later seasons with them.

    As for Inner Light, fantastic episode, although the time loop one has to be my favorite! (Cause and Effect, maybe? The one with the poker game....) I can also recommend an episode of the 4400, which at the time I watched it had to be my favorite episode of anything ever, where two characters live an entire life in the span of a few moments. It is touching and heart-wrenching and completely upends the plot of one of the main characters, and I was in awe when it was over. Very much reminded my of Inner Light.

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  39. Alllllll of TNG! Okay, maybe more like most of TNG! My favourites to rewatch are Rascals, The Inner Light, Darmok and Starship Mine. Rascals is my ultimate favourite because of the "He's my number one dad!" scene...and the look on their faces! Bwahahaha!! Slays me every single time! :D

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  40. Deja Q...I mean, DATA LAUGHS!!!! And the look on Worf's face when he suggests that Q should die...

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  41. I loved SO many of these ... and Captain's Holiday has me laughing with Riker's joke on Picard. First appearance of Vash, a potential romantic interest, plus Q !

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  42. I can't help but think of Captain's Holiday. Funny Q moments are always good. Another I love is Data centric, Thine Own Self. Data loses his memory in a medieval similar culture, introduces some radioactive metal fragments, becomes friends with a little girl, talks scientific differences with a teacher about the four elements, and (spoiler ahead...) cures the populace of radiation sickness as he's attacked by townsfolk.

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  43. One of my favorites is "Genesis" (Season 7, Episode 19)

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  44. I'm too lazy to look up the names of the episodes, but my favorites are the one where the crew devolves into primordial creatures, and the one where, for some reason (maybe on the holodeck?) some of the crew become Robin Hood, et. al. (Worf: "I am NOT a merry man!")

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  45. Can we talk about Data being a phone holder? Cracks me up every time! LOL

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  46. Agree with so many of these already listed, but Tapestry also deserves a mention. Although I generally dislike any episodes with Q in them (sorry!), I found this one profound. It illustrates how we are who we are because of the choices we make, even if those choices are "wrong," and that even "wrong" choices are important to who we are today. Self acceptance. Preach.

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  47. "Yesterday's Enterprise" is probably my favorite TNG episode.

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  48. And the flute from "Inner Light" returns in "Lessons" - with a sad story as well...

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  49. 'Inner Light' is a brilliant hour of television. An underrated TNG episode that I've always loved is the one when Wesley's screwing around with the fabric of space/time...again...and Dr. Crusher gets sucked into a bubble of theoretical freak-out. People keep vanishing, and no one remembers they ever existed. The way she keeps her cool and works the problem with intelligence and bravery, instead of losing her mind is such a great moment for female characters in science fiction.

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  50. I've been listening for some time to The Greatest Generation podcast. It irreverently reviews in detail each TNG episode. They are now working their way through DS9; I haven't seen a swath of episodes of this show, so it's discovering it for the first time.

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  51. The Inner Light is my favorite TNG episode. I think most of the other ones I love/like a lot have been named already, but I'm shocked that no one else mentioned the two with James Moriarty: "Elementary, Dear Data" and "Ship in a Bottle"! [His character was actually the inspiration for The Doctor on Voyager.] Not only did I already adore Sherlock Holmes stories when I first saw these episodes, but Daniel Davis is wonderful in the role.

    Though I should mention that I would NEVER suggest anyone skip around, even with a mostly-episodic show like this -- you have to start at the beginning and watch them in order so you can really get a feel for the characters and their growth, and so you don't miss references to the past. But that's me, lol.

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