12 user 6 critic
When Captain Picard's artificial heart fails, he is offered the rare opportunity to go back in time and set right the mistake that led to his demise.


Les Landau


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Ronald D. Moore | 2 more credits »




Episode complete credited cast:
Patrick Stewart ... Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes ... Cmdr. William Riker
LeVar Burton ... Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge (voice)
Michael Dorn ... Lt. Worf
Gates McFadden ... Dr. Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis ... Counselor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner ... Lt. Cmdr. Data
Ned Vaughn ... Ensign Cortan 'Corey' Zweller
J.C. Brandy ... Ensign Marta Batanides
Clint Carmichael ... Nausicaan #1
Rende Rae Norman ... Penny Muroc (as Rae Norman)
John de Lancie ... Q
Clive Church Clive Church ... Maurice Picard
Marcus Nash ... Young Jean-Luc Picard
Majel Barrett ... Enterprise Computer (voice)


Captain Picard incurs serious wounds in a fight, even his artificial heart is gravely damaged. While Dr. Crusher wrestles with the medical consequences, his mind meets Q, who presents him to a parade of people who fell victim to Picard's actions and neglects, from his father and fellow cadets to himself, and offers him the possibility to have a 'second chance' without causing disaster by upsetting time. After Picard's initial refusal claim to have no regrets, Q forces him to acknowledge he made stupid mistakes and fix at least the adolescent one that got him stabbed and slapped in the face as an Academy graduate, or die and be stuck with Q for eternity. His error had been to help fellow Ensign Corey return the cheating at a pool game to a Naussicaan, a strong, badly tempered race, while ruining a friendship by having an affair. This time he stops Corey fighting and dying, but is deemed a coward, losing both friendships, and returned to the Enterprise an an inconspicuous Junior Grade ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

13 February 1993 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This takes place in 2327 and 2369. See more »


After Picard talks to Riker and Troi about his career, La Forge calls him for a statistical analysis he's supposed to bring him, the analysis he was holding when he entered that reality. However, when Picard is walking to the Turbolift, despite asking to go to Engineering, he's not holding the analysis. See more »


Q: Flowers! Is there a John Luck Pickurd here?
See more »


References Logan's Run (1976) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Q becomes the Ghost of Starfleet Past, Present and Future in this one!
29 November 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This is one of my favorite Q episodes--and it's among my favorites of the series. Part of this is because of the excellent continuity with an earlier episode ("Samaritan's Snare") and part of it is because the show clearly shows that Q IS a friend to Picard and is clearly helping him.

When the show begins, Picard is dying as a result of some sneak attack. His fake heart has given out and the Doctor is trying desperately to keep him alive. Then, suddenly, Picard awakens and he's in what could be Heaven...that is until he sees that the part of God is being played by Q! Here Q is welcoming him to the afterlife, but Picard naturally believes that this is one of Q's tricks once again.

Over the course of the show, Q allows Picard to time travel back to his impulsive period just after he's graduated from Starfleet Academy. This is because this is a HUGE regret for Picard--when he got his original heart destroyed in a foolish fight with some Nausicaans (which was alluded to in the prior episode). Picard always felt ashamed of this incident and his stupid youth--yet through the course of many flashbacks to his past and present, Picard comes to realize that his mistakes actually made him a better man and better leader.

As I mention in the summary, this episode is highly reminiscent to Dickens' "A Christmas Carole" with Picard seeing alternate paths for his life. It ends much differently and has many wonderful moments (the best is when Picard awakens after a night of hot sex--you just have to see that one!). All in all, very memorable and a great episode about who the Captain really is down deep.

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