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This week, one of the greatest Star Trek episodes of all time celebrates its 25th anniversary. On June 1st, 1992, a fifth season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called “The Inner Light” hit the airwaves, and instantly became one of the most beloved episodes of the series. In fact, as the years have gone on, “The Inner Light” has become hailed as one of the greatest episodes of any Star Trek series ever, not just TNG, and that’s saying a lot for an episode that features no space battles, no familiar alien bad guys, no time travel, nor any other Trekkie hallmarks.
In the episode, named after a song by the Beatles, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is struck unconscious by an energy beam from an alien probe. While only minutes pass for the Enterprise crew, the probe makes Picard experience 50 years of lifetime as Kamin, a scientist whose planet Kataan is threatened by the nova of its sun and the planet’s upcoming extinction. During this second life he marries, has children and grandchildren, and makes a whole new identity for himself.