09 December 2007

The Inner Light

Flipping through the channels this evening I saw the the G4 network was airing "The Inner Light", the finest episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Originally airing the end of May '92, I don't think I've seen it but twice, both in that same season, 15 long years ago. And still it lingers in my memory. In that the episode is a contemplation on life, love, death, and memory, it is fitting it should sit so deeply in mine.

The episode is as touching and wrenching today as it was in '92, a testament to some fine performances and the quality of the screenplay by Morgan Gendel and Peter Allan Fields (from a story by Gendel.) A very spare score, relying more on the mournful diegesis of a flute than the usual orchestral bombast of ST:TNG, sets the contemplative mood. I cried when I saw it back then, and I damn well cried again tonight when the probe launched, and at the episode's close while Picard played his flute one last time.

As the AMPTP shucks and jives and tries to kill its golden goose to save a few sous, I'm happy to be reminded that magic only happens because of writers. There's a reason this is the greatest of all ST:TNG episodes: the story.