Star Trek: The Next Generation
Original Air Date: February 13, 1993
Teleplay by Ronald Moore
Directed by Les Landau
Captain Picard is gravely injured in a fight and apparently dies for a brief time. Q is on the other side to greet him and ridicule him for his weak, mechanical heart that was destroyed in the fight.
This time, Picard, knowing what's coming, avoids the fight and it costs him the respect of his friends. Q flashes him forward many years and he's aboard the Enterprise -- as a low level scientist. He's not respected, but considered adequate at his job.
Then Picard awakens in sick bay. He is alive with Dr. Crusher having pulled him through -- again. He reflects on his youth and decides that even though he may have been reckless and brash, those experiences had value.
Let's call this, It's a Wonderful Life, Star Trek style. Riffs on and spoofs of the Capra Christmas classic were all the rage in the 1990s for Christmas specials. Although this episode aired in February, it was all the worst cliches of flashback episodes rolled into one.
There was no original take on the flashback. Like every television character who is allowed to go back in time to change some misdeed or misadventure, Picard finds it to his detriment.
I'm not fond of episodes involving Q. The overt smugness is tiresome after a while. Although Q's appearance in this episode was limited, it was the worst of a bad lot.