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The experience that Picard had at death bed in "Tapestry" have always intrigued me, when battling death, did the events of Picard being given an opportunity by Q to relive his past an correct his mistakes a reality? Or were they just hallucinations or near death experience effects, like a dream or something? In this page, I found this paragraph to suggest that it was actually true, am I mistaken ?

"Picard and Riker speculate afterward that the near-death experience was merely another test by Q, but do not speculate whether or not the injury was Q's work. Picard states that whatever it was, he needs to thank Q for showing him how important his decisions in life were"

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Back in Samaritan Snare, Picard's heart problem was established. Also during that episode, he confides in Wesley that as a youth he got into a fight with some Nausicaans which caused the damage to his heart. So the scenario that Tapestry revolves around was previously-established as actual history.

Looking at the rest of the episode, it certainly fits into Q's MO. Q frequently uses his powers to setup alternate realities, which he then forces the Enterprise crew to inhabit to learn some lesson. Q's power certainly enables him to play with time travel and alternate timelines, at least his frequent boasts suggest as much.

Between the Nausicaan fight being already established as part of Picard's history, Q's ability to send Picard back in time, and Q's tendency to put the crew through similar trials, I would say that Q really did show up and send Picard back in time.

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I've always understood Q to have actually done a bit of time-twisting in the episode. As Q said after replaying the fight near the beginning of the episode, that laughter was very uncharacteristic of Picard, "especially about getting stabbed through the back".

But near the end of the episode, when adult-Picard was reliving ensign-Picard's fight, his laughter after the stabbing was in relief that he's put his life back on track. Relief that he would become the person he wanted to be, despite his death. And that type of laughter is not out of character for adult-Picard at all - he was still laughing when he woke up on in sick bay.

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    So you are suggesting that Picard's laugh when he was stabbed as a young adult was in fact because he knew that he set things in course back again to live his life as it was. Sounds like some sort of time paradox and quite confusing. If it was so, this means that young Picard was aware of what is happening, and of Q. But later he forgot all about it, or was it also Q's doing that he forgets about it? !! Jan 30, 2013 at 4:10
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    @TheByzantine Something like that. I didn't put it in the answer because I can't recall when this was (or even if I made it up), but I half a half-memory of Picard telling Wesley about the stabbing, and telling him that he doesn't know why he laughed - prior to this episode.
    – Izkata
    Jan 30, 2013 at 11:26
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    @TheByzantine And thanks to Keen, Samaritan Snare was indeed when Picard mentions he laughed. However, neither he nor Wesley comments on the laugh itself. Picard said, "Curious sensation, actually. Not much pain. Shock, certainly, at the sight of, uh, serrated metal, sticking through my chest. Certain giddy warmth - in fact, I do actually remember, I laughed out loud. Well it pierced my heart, of course. But if we had not been so near a medical facility I would surely would have died."
    – Izkata
    Jan 31, 2013 at 0:40
  • @Izkata I'd just happened to have recently rewatched Samaritan Snare while watching random TNG episodes. I was amazed they later called back to it in Tapestry.
    – user1027
    Feb 2, 2013 at 22:22

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