'Star Trek: The Next Generation': The Top 10 Episodes

Image credit: Robbie Robinson

4. TAPESTRY

LOG ENTRY While on an away mission, Picard catches a weapons blast in the chest that fries his artificial heart. As he lies on the operating table, he gets a visit from the puckish ''Q,'' who shows us how he lost his heart in the first place. Now we're back with young, dashing, womanizing Ensign Picard, just before his first assignment. But Jean-Luc plays his cards differently this time, avoiding the risks he courted in his youth — and keeping his real heart. Only when Q shows him the life such safety would bring — an aging science officer who would never have a shot at a command — does Picard realize that he's the result of his mistakes.

CRITIQUE The all-powerful Q has been almost as big a crutch for TNG storytelling as the holodeck (and you'll notice no holodeck episodes here). But ''Tapestry'' allowed Q to show us Picard's wonderful life. It's as Twilight Zone-y as the show got — and that's a high compliment indeed.

TRIVIA John de Lancie owned a company that produced dramatic adaptations of classic sci-fi texts. His partner: Leonard Nimoy. — Marc Bernardin

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