Enlightenment > Star Trek > TNG
TNG 6-15

TNG 6x15

Original airdate: 2/15/1993
Rewatch date: 9/4/2012

Picard has a near-death experience in which Q takes him back to a moment from his youth and offers him a chance to change things.

Spoiler-free notes:

Right at the beginning, there is another reference to Dr. Selar, from "The Schizoid Man."

I rarely comment on costume design, but whoever designed Q's robe is a genius. The way the thick seam on his shoulders frames his body against the white background is perfect.

I find it hard to believe that medical science would still use artificial hearts in the 24th Century. You'd think they could replicate a replacement heart using a transporter trace or stem cells or something.

The actor who plays young Picard looks nothing like Patrick Stewart.

The central backstory here--with Picard, the Nausicaans, and the artifical heart--was first told by Picard to Wesley in "Samaritan Snare."

In the end, Picard is given a chance to fight the Nausicaans and set right what he screwed up, but what about Marta? The fact that he slept with one of his best friends doesn't have any repercussions into his future?

The bar feels really close to the Star Wars cantina.

Q has a few Puckish moments here and there--having Picard wake up in bed with him and such--but for the most part, he is pretty subdued in this episode.

When "Lieutenant" Picard heads to Engineering to deliver his report to La Forge, he doesn't appear to be carrying it anymore.

It's possible to take the exact wrong message from this story. You could argue that the lesson here is that, by being a moral and cautious younger person, you completely destroy your future. Therefore, if you are young, feel free to have casual sex and commit wanton violence in order to get noticed. I'm pretty sure that's not what the writers were going for here, but...

The best Q episodes--such as this one and "Q Who"--involve Q making an intellectual bet with Picard, challenging Picard's ideals and beliefs, and turning out to be right. Divorced of Q and the sci-fi elements, "Tapestry" is a timeless parable, equal parts It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, but that only serves to make it stronger. I have a hard time identifying many episodes that have actually had an impact on who I am, but this is one that I must admit I reflect on quite a bit. I look back at the person I was at 21 and, like Picard, there are things I wish I could "tidy up a bit." The point of this episode, though, gives me comfort when I start to feel regret, because if I were to change those things about myself, I would alter what makes me who I am.

TNG 6x14
"Face of the Enemy"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
TNG 6x16
"Birthright, Part I"
Copyright 2012 e. magill. All rights reserved.