Peter David's "Q-Squared" takes the position that Q did save Picard, or at least, establishes that the episode did in fact happen as we saw.
Granted, it's a novel and thus not canon, but I'm perfectly fine with the episode on its own either way. I kind of like the ambiguity of it all.
I have that book. I don't recall this being said. But it's been quite a while since I last read it.