141 – Tapestry

Grade: B+

Tapestry (1993) on IMDb


Captain Picard has been shot and is critically injured. His artificial heart is malfunctioning, and he’s dying on the operating table in sickbay. Suddenly, he sees a bright white light and Q appears. Then he tells him he’s dead. But, he’ll give him a second chance to make a different decision on that fateful day when a Nausicaan almost killed him.


This is often mentioned as one of the best episodes that this series ever produced. In fact, for many people, it’s their favorite Star Trek episode in the entire franchise. I agree it’s a very good episode, but personally, I think there are other episodes I like better.

By far, the best thing about this episode is its moral – that our past experiences shaped the person we have become. If we take those past experiences away, we would be very different people. Maybe we won’t like that new person. Picard would not have been the same person later in life if he hadn’t made a really stupid mistake as a 22 year old graduate of Starfleet Academy. I know I can relate, because I’ve done some stupid things myself. But I like the point of the story – that after you learn from your experience and make up your mind to not be so careless in the future, it’s OK to move on and forget about it.

It’s a very well acted episode, and the character development could not have been any better. It’s also one of the most memorable episodes in the entire Star Trek franchise. I definitely think this is one of the few episodes you can show anyone – even people who are totally unfamiliar with the series – and they’re likely to enjoy it as well.

But on the other hand, it’s not one of my favorites. At the time when I first saw this episode, I was really grossed out by the scene when Picard gets stabbed through the back. Even though I’m much older now, and I’ve seen far worse on some of those cops and lawyers shows, I still find it to be a very unpleasant scene. Something else has always bothered me, but I’ll get to that in the “notes” section. For now, I’ll just say I really wish they had shown a certain scene from someone else’s perspective rather than Picard’s so that the younger actor could have been used instead.

But I also have another problem with the storyline. I honestly can’t figure out why Q would get involved in this event at all. There’s absolutely no reason for him to be there. Why would he not only keep Picard alive, and then also allow him to change something in his past, simply to teach him a lesson? I don’t get it at all. This doesn’t sound anything at all like the Q we’ve come to know. How much of this story was his idea? Were the aliens who shot Picard also part of Q’s scheme, or did Q just happen to arrive at the right time? In my mind, there are just too many unanswered questions, and it makes the whole episode fall apart, in my opinion. Sorry to be over analytical, but the moral of the story can’t be the only thing that keeps it together. A good story has to make sense, and it can’t make sense if the characters’ motivations are left unexplained.

So it all adds up in my opinion to a solid B+. It’s a great effort, but it just falls a little short in some very important places. Definitely worth a look, though.

Of Note

One thing just creeps me out. It’s the scene when Picard and Marta are kissing. According to IMDB, the actress playing Marta was all of 17 years and 2 months old when this episode aired. Which means she very well could have been only 16 when it was filmed. Patrick Stewart was 53 years old at the time. Literally he was almost old enough to be her grandfather. Yeah, they really should have had a 20 year old play his part as an ensign instead of him.