Mostly, it’s Tapestry.
If you haven’t seen it, go and watch it. There’ll be no spoilers here.
The weight of it and the majesty of Stewart is what keeps me returning to it. Yes, you will have seen similar stories, It’s A Wonderful Life, Groundhog Day, A Matter Of Life And Death. This is a story we’ve been telling for a long time, probably as long as we’ve been capable of telling stories.
What is a person but the sum of her choices? Every day, every choice she makes, even the tiniest is a deviation from the current universe into another reality. One day, she takes up smoking, fifty years later she dies of emphysema. Another day, she gives up smoking and lives longer, avoiding painful hospital death. And then gets eaten by a shark on holiday with her dentist.
As an old man, years older than when I first saw this ep, there is an extra poignancy in accepting the uncaringly existential nature of life. Through my thirties, I had many regrets concerning my youth. Only as I grew older did I realise, as Picard does, that one cannot love now without loving then.
“There are many parts of my youth that I’m not proud of. There were… loose threads – untidy parts of me that I would like to remove. But when I… pulled on one of those threads – it unravelled the tapestry of my life.”