TNG: “The Next Phase” and “The Inner Light”

Date: May 6, 2020

Season 5, Episodes 24 and 25

Musical Accompaniment: Halidon Music presents peaceful, relaxing classical piano music

Interstellar News: I submitted 41 grades today and tomorrow I will have to plow through 327 more.

Favorite Quote from “The Next Phase”:

La Forge: Wait a minute. What are you saying, that we’re some sort of spirits?

Ro: Spirits, souls. My people used to call them borhyas. Whatever term you want to use, we’re it.

La Forge: But my uniform, my visor. Are you saying I’m some blind ghost with clothes?

Ro: I don’t have all the answers. I’ve never been dead before.

La Forge asking a good question and Ro giving a very honest answer.

“The Next Phase” has Ro, La Forge, Riker, and Worf beaming over to a Romulan ship that’s in distress. La Forge, Ro, and a piece of equipment need to get back to the Enterprise but are lost during transporter transmission. This prompts two questions: WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN WITH THE ROMULANS and why does this always happen when O’Brien isn’t working the transporter? Riker, Worf, and Data are able to help them eject the core and avoid the ship imploding.

Brick Tamlong "whew, that was close..."

As Picard heads to sick bay, Ro is waking up but she realizes no one can hear or see her. She finds La Forge in engineering and laments about being dead, while La Forge believes something else must have happened. They head over to the Romulan vessel as the crew of the Enterprise is still helping with repairs and La Forge figures out that the Romulans were testing phasing and royally messed up. They also overhear what the Romulans are up to and and that they, of course, are planning to be tricksy bastards, especially because one of them is phased too! All three head back to the Enterprise.

"fool me once, shame on you. fool me 8 or more times, shame on me".
Newsflash… the Romulans will very likely never change. But you keep trying Picard, with your heart of gold.

La Forge keeps trying to get Data’s attention and Ro runs into the Romulan. There’s a fun scene that reminds me of the Juggernaut from X-Men 3 and Ro eventually kicks the Romulan out into space. The Romulans are up and running and head out, so everyone goes to the memorial service where Ro and La Forge do their best to make as much disturbance as possible so hopefully someone will see them, Ro even shoots a phaser through Riker’s head. Their plan works and the celebration of life now gets to be a welcome back from the dead party. La Forge chows down while Ro laments about the afterlife, and it makes me think of the end of The Avengers.

Ro and La Forge make a great team once Ro realizes they’re not dead and it was an accident. The best scenes, however, belong to Data and Worf. Worf has a great exchange with Riker about the security of Federation computers and you can tell Riker is just humoring Worf, but it’s so refreshing to see someone so committed to their job as Worf is. Data does his “I have android strength” thing at the beginning and then he is super adorable when he calls La Forge his best friend. When he is planning the memorial service he does very thorough research, as always, and a celebration of life is almost always a good call.

Ro shooting a laser through Riker's head
Oh I’m sorry, I don’t like that song.

My favorite scene was when Data and Worf are discussing the service and Worf explains how happy he is for La Forge, to die in battle and to go beyond. Riker had a few good lines as well, especially when he made sure no one forgot Ro was also lost to them. I genuinely liked this episode, it had a lot of good parts to it. I will say one downside is a technical question. How come they can walk through walls but don’t fall down the floor? How is it that the Romulan was able to sit in a chair, but they can easily move through a chair or a person? Oh yes it’s likely because the script called for it, but it’s a piece that’s gnawed on me since I watched the episode. 8 phasers to Riker’s head, only in another phase or dimension of course!

Favorite Quote from “The Inner Light”:

Dr. Crusher: If somebody gets stabbed, you don’t necessarily pull the knife out right away. It might do more harm than leaving it there.

Worf: The Captain is under attack. We must act.

Riker: I’m inclined to agree. Doctor, monitor him closely. Mr. Data, prepare to disrupt the beam. We’re going to try to cut this cord.

Crusher being cautious, Worf being Worf, and Riker taking command like a good first officer.

“The Inner Light” begins with the Enterprise encountering a probe that latches onto Picard and he passes out on the bridge only to wake up to a woman calling him “Kamin” and being super excited he’s not sick anymore. He leaves the house and heads into town where he encounters Batai, his friend, who fills in some of Kamin’s memory gaps. After several hours he heads back to Eline, his wife, who feeds him soup, fills in some more gaps, and has a necklace that looks exactly like the probe – curiouser and curiouser.

Eline looks at Kamin playing his flute
Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques

Back on the Enterprise, Dr. Crusher is evaluating Picard’s body and explaining to the rest of the bridge what she thinks is happening. Back in Picard’s head, it’s now five years later and he’s still Kamin. Eline wants to know when they’ll start a family as he plays the flute and agrees to build a nursery, it’s been long enough that he longs for his other life. There are a few more flash forwards where we see that they have two children, a happy life, but a dying planet. Each time Sir Patrick Stewart is made to look older and older, as are the others in his vision. Eventually the whole town gathers to send a missile to outer space and it’s revealed that it’s the probe and its whole purpose was for someone to remember the people of Ressik on Kataan. Data fills the bridge in that Kataan’s sun exploded almost 1000 years ago. The probe deactivates, Picard comes to, and Riker tells him he’s only been passed out for 25 minutes. The episode ends with Picard reacquainting himself with his room and Riker bringing him his flute, which was the only other thing on the probe.

Eline, the two children, and the one grandchild
Sunhats are totally the fashion this year

At first, I thought it was another “Future Imperfect” scenario or maybe one of the many alien species who were trying to see how long it would take for a prisoner to accept their new reality. I was very pleased with how it ended, as all of the little clues finally made sense. It gave me more feels than “The Paradise Syndrome” because Picard remembered everything about his former life and eventually chose to live out the life he was presented with. He also got to have a lot more time with Eline and see the birth of his children, but she was never really alive so it truly wasn’t as heartbreaking as when Kirk has his wife die.

surprised old man Picard face in his sun hat
Surprised Pikachu face is still, only slightly better

As a Picard-centric episode, it was quite good. We get to see what kind of husband and father he would be, what life was like for a society that was no longer able to speak for itself, and what happens when people don’t listen to scientists (I’m totally looking at you, Krypton and Earth). There were some good choices to not play music at certain times. I would have liked to see a little more of Picard after he came out of his vision, to see what he told the rest of the crew about his experience. The ending was quite somber, similar to the season opener of “Darmok“, so I think it was an appropriate way to end the last regular season episode. 9 lives for Kamin and Eline.

I will end season 5 and begin season 6 tomorrow with the two-parter of “Time’s Arrow”.

TA Out!

Published by njdevil12

I'm just a big city girl living in a not so big city with my fur children and partner.

6 thoughts on “TNG: “The Next Phase” and “The Inner Light”

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