This Is Patrick Stewart's Favorite Episode Of Star Trek: The Next Generation

Ask any fan of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" what their favorite episode is, and you're bound to get a different answer. From the game-changing two-parter "The Best of Both Worlds" to "The Measure of a Man," there are no shortage of stories that cemented "The Next Generation" as a sci-fi classic. My personal favorite episode is "Tapestry," which reveals more of Jean-Luc Picard's history prior to joining Starfleet. Not only does it give out more backstory about Picard, it also happens to be an example of "The Next Generation" at its best: delivering a story that challenged its protagonists, and in turn its audience.

Series lead Patrick Stewart, who played Picard, has his own personal pick — and it's a good one. During an AMA ("ask me anything") session on Reddit, Patrick Stewart was asked about his favorite episode, and his choice happens to be a fan-favorite:

Well, the thing is, my favorite episode is "[The] Inner Light." It was a beautiful script, which for me was almost entirely located away from the Enterprise – and its crew! And because I was given the chance to perform what Picard would have been like if his life experience had been different.

In another time and place...

"The Inner Light" features Jean-Luc Picard encountering an alien probe from an ancient civilization, which teleports him into another life as the scientist Kamin. As Kamin, Picard learns that he also has a wife and two children — and that the planet he resides on is slowly dying from drought. As Picard regains his memories of his life at Starfleet, he teaches his daughter to carry on his work, which leads to the creation of the probe.

"The Inner Light" is one of the most emotionally resonant episodes of "The Next Generation", due to its singular focus on Picard. Stewart expresses a full range of emotions, ranging from joy when he's with his wife and children to sorrow when he re-enters reality; he spent a lifetime with his family as Kamin, and that loss still haunts him. It was a taste of things to come, as future episodes including "Tapestry" and the series finale "All Good Things..." put Picard front and center while addressing his age and regrets about the path he took. The ending of "The Inner Light," where Picard plays the flute he possessed as Kamin, remains one of the most hauntingly beautiful things I've heard.

Father on and off screen

During the Reddit AMA, Stewart also revealed another reason why "The Inner Light" is his favorite episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." One of Picard's sons in the episode was played by Daniel Stewart, who is the real-life son of the "Next Generation" star.

Throughout the series, it was revealed that Picard has placed his career in Starfleet over his personal life — a decision that would come to haunt in him during "Star Trek Generations". "The Inner Light" provides a look at what might have been had Picard taken a different path, and considering Stewart was acting alongside his actual son, the final scenes of Picard as Kamin have genuine emotional weight to them. Stewart has returned to the role of Picard in "Star Trek: Picard", and when that series reaches its endpoint hopefully there will be an episode or two that matches "The Inner Light" in terms of story and craft.