Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Samaritan Snare"

2.5 stars

Air date: 5/15/1989
Written by Robert L. McCullough
Directed by Les Landau

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Wesley must complete his Starfleet Academy entrance exams and is booked by shuttle to travel to a nearby starbase. Picard goes along with him when Pulaski orders him to have heart surgery at the starbase's medical facility, for reasons Picard would like to keep as quiet as possible. With Riker in command, the Enterprise answers the distress call from a disabled ship of Pakleds, a race of humanoids that might best be described as ... slow. Riker agrees to send Geordi to repair their engines.

Our attention is flagged when Worf repeatedly urges caution in answering a call from a race the Enterprise knows nothing about. The Pakleds seem harmless, even stupid, but it might all be a ruse. Then again, maybe not. The fact that they feel confident (as Troi intuits) and not helpless might be beside the point when considering their intelligence. Riker finds himself managing a potentially deadly standoff when the Pakleds take Geordi's phaser and hold him hostage, demanding all of the data in the Enterprise's computer.

Even though the episode is always watchable, the problem is that the Pakleds should never have gotten the upper hand in the first place — not based on what we see of their intelligence. The standoff is created by the Enterprise's own shortsightedness: For example, why would they send Geordi over with a phaser just so it can be used against him? Besides, I find the plausibility of the Pakleds dubious. They're either too smart or too dumb to be behaving this way, and for a long time the episode doesn't know which. How could they have stolen so many others' technology using similar ruses? Somehow, I don't see the Klingons or Romulans caving in to a hostage standoff, or even being Good Samaritans that could become the victim of such a ruse in the first place. The Enterprise's solution to the problem is an elaborate con that proves my point: If the Pakleds are dumb enough to be taken in by such ham-handed trickery, they couldn't possibly be able to travel through space in the first place.

The subplot involving Wesley and Picard is actually pretty good, mostly because of the issue of Picard's image. He doesn't want to have surgery on the Enterprise — and, for that matter, his whole dilemma involving his artificial heart is established with a wonderfully told piece of backstory that brings a whole new dimension to his character.

Previous episode: Q Who
Next episode: Up the Long Ladder

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91 comments on this post

Tue, Oct 4, 2011, 11:19pm (UTC -6)
Samaritan Snare gets 2.5 stars? LOL! the Pakleds are the dumbest and most ridiculous species ever seen in Trek. "Down Syndrome" aliens, no? I would probably give it 2.5 stars, though, for the absolute hilarity. One of the funniest episodes I have ever seen. Our ship, it is broken!
Latex Zebra
Thu, Apr 19, 2012, 2:46am (UTC -6)
Another reviewer once described the Pakled's as 'The Forest Gump's of the Universe).
Love this episode and think this was a good choice after the rather ominous Q Who.
Amongst my friends and even my Wife, if we have car trouble someone will always say 'My ship is broke, can you make it go.' and if we're on Holiday someone will usually say 'We are far from home.'

As quatablity goes this is the Ron Burgundy of Star Trek.
Latex Zebra
Thu, Jul 12, 2012, 2:57am (UTC -6)
Just seen that Captain Thomas Halloway was original choice of Captain and designer of the Enterprise D. This only came out in the books though.
Got to love the authors of Trek novels, they do mine some obscurities.
Mike Caracappa
Mon, Sep 24, 2012, 4:04am (UTC -6)
Rikers command of the situation is a little confusing. For instance why does he not listen to his officers when they tell him it might be a trap? Of all people especially, why does Riker ignore Troi when she flat out tells him the aliens are deceiving them, especially since the two of them have a bond and a trust? Why does he not listen to her?
Sun, Nov 4, 2012, 11:48am (UTC -6)
Riker obviously knew just how hilarious seeing Geordi rag-dolled around with a phaser would be to watch so that's obviously the reason he ignored all the precautions and sent him alone and unnecesarily armed. I mean really, that phaser was just throwing Geordi around haha He'll be fine!
Tue, Nov 20, 2012, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
Wes didn't want the sandwich Picard offered, but he ate two afterall...
Tue, Dec 11, 2012, 1:24am (UTC -6)
This episode is a bit sloppy in the script department and as far as editing does but I do enjoy it immensely. It is quite absurd that Riker would be duped by the Pakleds and that they themselves could travel through space without being killing by an accident or ticking off the Romulans or Klingons.

I've got to agree with an earlier reviewer on the quotability front. My Trek friends and I all enjoy imitating the Pakleds. "It is broken!" "We are not strong." :-)

Although a stronger element to the show, I was a bit bothered by Picard's retelling of his incident getting stabbed in the heart. Suddenly he takes a new way of speaking "My mates and I..."

I suppose in all fairness 2.5 stars is a fair rating but as far as enjoyment I'd probably give it 4 stars, perhaps a bit more.
Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 12:35pm (UTC -6)
So whose space does this take place in...Federation space? I can't imagine there is "Pakled space" to speak of.
Tue, Mar 26, 2013, 8:37pm (UTC -6)
"We are smart"! The Pakleds are some hilariously stupid race, aren't they?

That part with them was the kind that's so bad it's good, and totally overshadowed the real good stuff with Picard and Wesley.

You said it guys, quotability is off the charts!
Mon, Dec 2, 2013, 7:39pm (UTC -6)
This race makes me want to slaughter them.
-> I cant stand idiot people in real life either.
: in that regard I may be a klingon where death and weak (and stupid IS weak) are the same word.

the star trek universe often is FAR to meak.
1 : why would I risk my captain for total strangers, what GAIN is there for the Terran Empire?
2 : seing how stupid they are, I most likely would have left them to rot (not worth that mercifull shot)
3 : even IF they offered me something of enough value to offer help (and that should be something worth a whole planet giving their race-not-worth-living) I would not send my CHIEF engineer, it was a simple problem, let ensign cannonfodder go.
4 : the second they attacked my crewman they were dead meat they and their race : you attack one of us, you attack all of us. Dumb AND decietfull : find their planet and sterilse their race.. show the galaxy thou shalth not mess with the Terran Empire.
-> drink bloodwine with our klingon allies afterwards.
Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 6:12am (UTC -6)
I enjoy this one. The Pakled are just so ridiculously stupid , you have no choice but to love them. I need to find a good situation where I can utter 'my (insert object here, computer, car, watch, etc) is broken. Can you make it go?'

The plot with Picard and Wes on the shuttle is indeed pretty good. I have only a few small gripes with it. And they're in the script and editing. First of all, the Klingons never joined the Federation! I guess they were still working out some of the finer details of the 24th century universe in the second season. Secondly, Picard eats that sandwich really quickly. He goes from one bite taken out of the sandwich in one shot, to one bite left, in just a few camera angles! The continuity editor was asleep at the wheel.

I can't see the Romulans, Klingons, or Jarada falling for the Pakleds obvious trick.

But aside from a few gripes, it's quite a fun episode, due to the perhaps intentional, perhaps not, hilarity of the Pakleds.
Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 6:20am (UTC -6)
The Pakleds are as quotable as the episode 'Darmok'! (Sokath, his eyes uncovered!)

'We look for things'

'He is smart'

'We are far from home'

'Our ship is broken. Can you make it go?'
Andy's Friend
Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
@Adam: you're so right! I regularly quote this episode ― or have it quoted to me! :D

Whenever a couple of my friends and I lovingly want to tease one another when one of us is say, stating the obvious ― or actually says or does something useful for a change ― the line "He is smart!" is a classic! :D

In fact, all the lines you quote are. I cannot begin to count the times that I, when asked what I was looking for by my girlfriend, simply answered, goofily, of course: "I look for things. Things that make me go." :) And when ever I'm in need of something or something isn't working, I just have to say: "My [whatever] is broken. Can you make it go?" to see a smile on her face ;) It's a silly, great episode! :)
Andy's Friend
Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 8:26pm (UTC -6)
...reading the comments now, I see we're not alone, Adam :)

@Latex Zebra: I always suspected we were two of a kind :)
@Shane: same here (and what a great film "Shane" is, btw)
@Rikko: ditto

@DutchTrekkie: you have to start smiling a bit more, buddy. Come on, sing along:

"If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.
And... always look on the bright side of life..."

Have a Coke and a smile, DutchTrekkie ;)
Latex Zebra
Tue, Mar 18, 2014, 5:48am (UTC -6)
@Andy's Friend - Haha, got to love a kindred spirit. Especially in a place with as many opposing views as this.
Dave in NC
Wed, May 21, 2014, 11:29am (UTC -6)
An enjoyable, but badly written episode.

At the start of the episode, Worf (as Chief of Security) points out how stupid it is to send the Chief Engineer by himself over to ship of aliens and Riker dismisses his concern. Then he asks why they don't just GIVE the Pakleds the information and let them figure it out and Riker brushes him off.

Later, Troi runs on to the bridge and says point b;lank "The Pakleds are lying and Geordi is in danger" (right before the commercial break, cue the artificial drama). And of course, after the commercials, Riker brushes off her concerns. Riker should have received a reprimand for his actions.

And of course, Geordi is phasered multiple times by the Pakleds, but when he is beamed to the bridge, he acts fine and Dr. Pulaski doesn't pull out a tricorder to examine him. Guess she can diagnose people by glancing at them.

And don't even get me started on the silliness of the fact that we are told that Picard's operation is absolutely 100% routine, yet #1) he has to go to a Starbase for the operation and #2) only Dr.Pulaski can save him in the end. (and Wesley's idiotic question about why someone would have a faulty artificial heart installed).

Someone in the Production office should have given this script another look-see before it went into production. The entire episode revolved around the characters turning into idiots.
Dave in NC
Wed, May 21, 2014, 11:34am (UTC -6)
A final comment:

In retrospect, it's never wise to have a character point out the plot holes at the start of the episode. If Worf hadn't protested, I wouldn't have had it running through my head the whole time.

That's Script Writing #101.
Tue, Jan 20, 2015, 3:46am (UTC -6)
Around the turn of the year I was sick in bed for a few weeks, so I had time to rewatch a lot of TNG and spend way too much thoughts about it. In my mind, I came up with a personal category system for TNG episodes, in case I would ever come into a situation where I would "guide" a newcomer into the series. This is one of the episodes which fell into category C: not really worth watching, but includes some developments which will be important for the further course of the series. Episodes like this are not particularly enjoyable, but might be necessary to unterstand future episodes.

In the case of "Samaritan Snare", we get a really stupid A-plot with aliens who should in no way be able to fly a starship, and Riker taking the idiot ball and running away with it (no wonder he is not fit for his own command yet). But in the B-plot, Picard and Wesley receive some welcome character development, and the series will later come back to the events discussed between them. So, all in all it's a "watch at your own risk" episode.
Diamond Dave
Thu, Aug 27, 2015, 12:08pm (UTC -6)
I suppose there had to be come down from Q Who, and boy was this it. This would be all well and good if the Pakleds were played for laughs - but they're not. And if you're laughing at a story and not with it, that's never a good sign.

The B-story is decent enough, and it's fun to see Picard wrestle with his vanity. But the scenes in the shuttle are a bit of a struggle, and Picard getting stabbed through the heart by a Nausicaan seems a stretch. 1.5 stars.
Thu, Aug 27, 2015, 12:44pm (UTC -6)
@Dave - "Picard getting stabbed through the heart by a Nausicaan seems a stretch"

Are you watching the series for the first time by chance?

I really did like the reveal that the man that Wesley idolizes and wants to be like was absolutely NOTHING like him at his age. That was pretty fascinating.
Mon, Oct 19, 2015, 6:17pm (UTC -6)
If the Pakled story had been a B plot, sort of as an aside to a stronger episode, that might have been okay. To watch the entire episode focus on them made me want to scratch my eyes out.

And to all you dingbats up above quoting the Pakleds at every opportunity, I say-- The river Temarc, in winter! Zinda, his face black, his eyes red!


Mirab, with sails unfurled.
Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
This episode is an all time family favorite. The scene midway through I could watch over and over and over.

La Forge: The Pakleds seem pretty sincere.
Pakled Captain: We want what we want.
Riker: Our computer banks are non-negotiable.
Pakled Captain: We want them.
La Forge: Believe me, they're nothing if not persistent.
Pakled Captain: We want to be nothing if not persistent.
La Forge: Nobody ever said they were great conversationalists.
Andrew Taylor-Cairns
Wed, Feb 24, 2016, 9:26am (UTC -6)
What a weird episode. The Pakleds are kind of fin at first, but there isn't enough to them to have an entire plot dedicated to them. They're the kind of race that probably would never master space travel, so it's an oddity that they meet the Enterprise here.

The other plot where we learn about Picard and his heart is the most interesting, and is very intriguing.
Thu, May 5, 2016, 2:41pm (UTC -6)
Grwat...not one episodes but two with sonya gomez.
This story just felt set up - like Riker ignoring the crewmembers, Troi not being on the bridge to begin with.
Troi questioning Rikers command seems out of character to me, even for Troi...but thats the only scene I didnt like...
also, hard to believe the pakled captain was the same actor who played the klingon captain in a matter of honor.
Latex Zebra
Thu, Jul 21, 2016, 10:11am (UTC -6)
Our ship is the Mondor!

Well done Pakled's... You managed to make your ship sound dumb as well.

The captain in this also played the Klingon Captain in A Matter of Honour... Who was also pretty stupid. Way to get typecast. ;o)
Mon, Oct 3, 2016, 4:44pm (UTC -6)
This was really bad. Not only the unbelievable handling of the situation by Riker (who is the dumb one now?). But also the operation of Picard: no trouble...but then: trouble! And ofcourse the Enterprise must come rushing in because there are just 2 doctors on the Starbase. And Picard just lies there. For everything that happens this episode is still very boring. Bad on all fronts.
Tue, Oct 4, 2016, 8:25am (UTC -6)
It does have the redeeming shuttle ride with Picard/Wesley... but that was it.
Tue, Oct 4, 2016, 2:45pm (UTC -6)
A more basic question - how far is the Enterprise from where Picard is having his procedure and how fast is Warp 9-point-whatever? They receive a message that Picard is near death, and somehow they have time to get LaForge back from the Pakleds and race off to the medical facility for Pulaski to finish the procedure? And there wasn't any other Starfleet medical officer closer to the starbase who could step in? If it was that close, why didn't the Enterprise just drop Picard and Wesley off by transporter in the first place?
Latex Zebra
Wed, Oct 5, 2016, 2:54am (UTC -6)
Did anyone see Trump's speech about the smart people.

I actually thought a Pakled had taken over the stage.
Wed, Oct 5, 2016, 1:27pm (UTC -6)
His campaign is broken. Can you make it go?
Mon, Nov 21, 2016, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
I guess the episode is good for the backstory on Picard and the Nausicaans which will later become important. As for the main plot point and the aliens du jour, all I can say is I felt great relief every time they switched back to the shuttle craft, and that despite knowing that Wesley would be waiting there!

Though the conclusion of that side plot, with the Enterprise recalled by Picard's bumbling heart surgeons so that Dr. Pulaski could save the day, was groan-worthy. Hurry back, Dr. Crusher.
Tue, May 16, 2017, 4:13pm (UTC -6)
Weird episode - not a great one by any stretch. The best part of it is Picard/Wesley in the shuttle and the character development there. But the main part about the Pakleds is ridiculous. Have to agree with Jammer about the unlikely fact that this species got to where they did by playing their ruse on Romulans/Klingons. And RIker looks like the big time idiot here for disregarding Worf/Troi.
It started to bug me with the Pakleds' stupid dialogue. In no way should Geordi or anybody go aboard their ship all alone. Somebody should accompany Geordi to protect him while he works. Just seems some basic security measures were not observed - making the Enterprise crew look stupid.
And the cliche of the routine heart surgery that goes wrong...come on man...
This episode gets 2 stars out of 4. It was dull, slow and had 2 unrelated plots just thrown together - not a good recipe. Another race should have blown the Pakleds out of existence years ago. Can't have such a stupid race be in space.
Wed, May 17, 2017, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
This episode plummets back down to the unacceptable.
Where should we start?
How about the crass offensive stereotyping of the dumb aliens who all have unfortunate resemblances to cliches of those with Down's?

There is the dodgy illogic of Troi's explanation of the alien's rationale.
They are impatient to evolve naturally into a more intelligent species.
The members of a cargo cult are no less intelligent than the donaters of the items they use-it is a matter of knowledge and experience not intelligence.

I agree with the other comments about the lack of credibility of the Pakleds as a species.

The better part of this was the backstory for Picard-we will see this episode from his past dramatised later in the show of course but ,unfortunately, it is then held up as a root cause of Picard's success.
Star Trek is at its worst really when it spews out faulty armchair psychology of this sort.

Pulaski has to be whisked in to save Picard's life-hospitals haven't got much better in three hundred years then.

2 wormholes from me.
Daniel Blumentritt
Sat, Jun 10, 2017, 2:28am (UTC -6)
The worst thing about this episode - it came out right after Q Who.

You JUST introduced the best tv show bad guys ever and you follow them up with these morons?

{ I can't see the Romulans, Klingons, or Jarada falling for the Pakleds obvious trick. }

No way could the Pakleds have communicated with the Jarada.
Thu, Jun 22, 2017, 7:22am (UTC -6)
Did anyone else catch Wesley ask "....was that before the Klingons joined the Federation...?", and Picard answer "yes"?!
Mon, Jul 17, 2017, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
These are some of the funniest reader comments in TNG!

Can we all agree that the Pakled's must be removed...from the White House?
Wed, Aug 30, 2017, 1:22pm (UTC -6)
What is the title of the book picard is reading? Thanks
Wed, Aug 30, 2017, 1:40pm (UTC -6)

Memoirs of Frederick Perthes, or Literary, Religious and Political Life in Germany from 1789 to 1843 (volume 2) by Clement Theodore Perthes

Just a little light reading...!
Derek D
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 12:41pm (UTC -6)
I am utterly amazed that this episode is not being universally condemned by everybody. The shuttlecraft trip where we learn more about Picard is the only redeeming part of this one (and i really did enjoy that part). But the bumbling way that Riker put Geordi's life in danger, one of the ONLY times that Troi had some advice to give that was not completely obvious and she is summarily ignored, the ridiculousness of this group of aliens being able to maintain space flight and integrate technology from other species....Reading Jammer's review I would have thought he'd have given this 1 1/2 stars which is what I give it
Sun, Nov 26, 2017, 5:20pm (UTC -6)
Oh man, the friggen Pakleds.... these guys are ridiculous. The concept behind them is sort of OK - they are essentially thieves who "seem" dumb, but are much more cunning beneath the surface. They reappeared again for a memorable part in the FMV Klingon video game that came out in the 90's.

Ha, I honestly enjoyed watching this episode, despite it's glaring holes/flaws.

For instance, why did they only send over Geordi to fix their ship? There's around 1000 people on the Enterprise and they send ONE guy to help resolve their issues? Worf rightly points out - "Sir, do we really need to send over our chief engineer to help with this simple issue?" and he is quickly hand waved off by Riker. Sigh. Just goes to show that the writer himself clearly knew this was shoddy writing.

And Picard travels all the way to a starbase for his cardiac surgery, but then when something goes wrong, nobody there is trained to handle it? Whaaaaatttttt....?? "We need to go help the captain!" Troi yells to Riker on the bridge. lol Just wow, this part really rubbed me the wrong way. So absurd.

Regardless of those cons, I really enjoyed the Wesley/Picard scenes - they serve as a good stepping stone for their growing relationship and it's great that Picard's Nausicaan story is revisited in "Tapestry".

2.5 stars is generous for this episode, it really feels more like a 2 at times, but it's a pretty watchable 2 star episode in my book.
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 11:24pm (UTC -6)
Worf proves to be much more sensible than Riker in this episode. He is absolutely correct in pointing that they know little or nothing about the Pakleds. He asks a very sensible question: Why do they have to send their Chief Engineer over to their ship? Doesn't Geordi have an engineering team? I know Geordi volunteers but any technician probably could have done the job.
Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 7:40am (UTC -6)
It's a shame that the stuff surrounding the Picard subplot is so poorly written and/or acted. Patrick Stewart acts the hell out of that "eatting a sandwich" scene, and the episode's core idea - a captain's vanity and refusal to seem less than invincible - is great material.

Thanks to artemis above for telling us what Picard is reading in this episode (Memoirs of Frederick Perthes, or Literary, Religious and Political Life in Germany from 1789 to 1843 (volume 2) by Clement Theodore Perthes). So hilarious.
Peter Swinkels
Mon, Mar 19, 2018, 10:28am (UTC -6)
Some weird acting and implausible aliens. Amusing but not very good.
Mon, Mar 19, 2018, 8:10pm (UTC -6)
WESLEY: Why would anyone use a faulty replacement?

This guy's supposed to be a boy genius?
Prince of Space
Thu, May 17, 2018, 12:17am (UTC -6)
Ha! Ha! Ha!

Look, everyone! A couple of commenters made political references using the Pakleds! Ha! Ha!

That’s so edgy and clever. I bet they’re really smart.

I want to be smart.

*rolls eyes*
Sat, May 26, 2018, 7:05am (UTC -6)
Mr Potato Head and his brothers kidnap Geordi so he can make them go. Picard lies on a table so some grown ups can play Operation. (Careful, don't touch the sides.....B)
Hasbro must have paid a fortune for product placement. Their most popular toy and game took center stage.
Well, we got the Borg last time so i'll give them a pass
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
Picard all alone in a shuttlecraft with a twinky teen. Is that why they remind us in the dialogue "he doesn't like kids"?
Cesar Gonzalez
Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
Terrible episode. Troi CLEARLY tells Ryker that Geordi is in mortal danger and he just ignores her and let's Geordi stay, Er.... okay...
Tue, Aug 28, 2018, 11:33pm (UTC -6)
oh my god they done it again! Another doctor goes bats and cannot finish the operation.............the other one was Worf having a spinal column put in. What is wrong with Starfleet for having inept surgeons on the "payroll" even if money is not involved????????? Hey! Picard would have died before Pulaski ever got there.

I had a lot of laughs at the expense of the Pakleds.

Now, the actress who played Pulaski was in every episode of every nightly program in the 1960's and 1970's. Then she was in 2 TOS eps. By the way, there were only three t.v. channels back then. I had a tough time watching season 2 of TNG because I did not care for Pulaski actress and never knew what had happened to Gates McFadden until this year...2018. Probably the same crap that happened to Jennifer Lien of Voyager.
Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 11:09pm (UTC -6)
Watching in 2018 reminded me of The Orville. Its obvious thr Pakladds are meant to be a humorous race in the vein of Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. Unfortunately they never find quite the right tone or enough action for them. Still, pretty watchable overall.
George Monet
Sat, Jan 5, 2019, 8:12pm (UTC -6)
The Pakleds are too stupid to exist. They are too stupid to have developed ANY level of space travel, too stupid to domesticate animals, too stupid to learn how to farm, too stupid to avoid predators, too stupid to make tools. There is absolutely no way that a bunch of slow down syndromed bipeds could evolve and exist. Their entire species would have been destroyed faster by a group of predators than a single cat once destroyed an entire species of flightless birds.

Also Riker's decisions in this episode make zero sense. Why does he send over his CHIEF ENGINEER all alone? Why does he send Geordi over at all? You send a red shirt and maybe some security officers. Nothing about the Pakled works or make a lick of sense. This episode is way too full of constant deus ex machina INCLUDING no doctor on an ENTIRE station being able to install a simple implant? WTF? That makes no sense! The doctors in Star Trek aren't performing open heart surgery using scalpels and rib splitters. This is routine surgery that any doctor of that time period could handle including handling any complications that could arise of which no complications should occur because what complications could possibly occur?
George Monet
Sat, Jan 5, 2019, 8:20pm (UTC -6)
Just to add, this episode was so bad I came here instead of watching more of the episode. This is one of the worst episodes in all of Star Trek because of the Pakled plot AND the Pulaski plot. I cannot stand Pulaski. She is a passive aggressive bitch.
Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 11:41pm (UTC -6)
The surgical technobabble is stilted and painful.
Crayton Caswell
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 4:28pm (UTC -6)
This was obviously meant to be a ethical parable: be compassionate, but keep your guard up, because even dumb people can be dangerous and 'clever' when they learn they can get something by force. There is a legitimate point about ethics to be made here.

Of course it's unlikely such a species would exist. And of course it's not a good way to make that point. But the comments here are weird, like the writers understood the downside of certain ethical systems which laymen don't. Star Trek features risk for the sake of humanism all the time; of course this tendency to rush in and help at risk to yourself needs to be deconstructed a bit, and no one here has the least bit of curiosity about it.
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 10:37pm (UTC -6)
The Wesley story was good as it continues to show his development and he wasn't an ass.

Picard's bit in it as well. Its good to show his ego and that ego being a frailty of his.

Riker showed himself to be a pompous ass in not following any kind of security. This episode was good to show that the Federation officers could be arrogant to their peril. I have to admit that I always chuckled at the Paklids. However I didn't like Riker being snide with them or derogatory. I think this whole premise was a good one but needed some finessing.
For some reason their surrender seemed a bit off.

Matt B
Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
Definitely a weird episode. To follow up on the other Matt’s comment: why did they have to use all the technobabble for a heard replacement? It’s like they wanted to be futuristic but there is no need for that. Just makes those scenes painful.

And the way they Paklids surrender seems weird. A better ending is having Geordi overwealm their power, taking down the shields, and just being beamed off.
Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 10:19am (UTC -6)
I never liked this episode and I liked it less after listened to an interview with the screenwriter as part of the podcast The Trek Files. He describes Patrick Stewart being a jerk to him at the table read for "The Icarus Factor" and writing this episode to get revenge on him... which is a bit odd, considering that Picard actually has a pretty interesting part here. He also pats himself on the back for showing how "autistic people aren't stupid." (!?!?!)
Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 10:35am (UTC -6)

That's pretty interesting to hear. Ironically, this episode was so hated that it inspired other writers to come forward and pitch scripts. There's a snippet about that in Tin Man's production notes:

"The point at which we became serious about trying to write a script for the show was about five minutes after watching 'Samaritan Snare,' which in my personal opinion was the most abysmal piece of Star Trek ever filmed. My objections to it were that it always resorted to idiot plotting to make the story work, and that offended me a great deal worse than some of the awful shows which were done on the original series. I thought the way in which it was plotted and the way it was dealt with was an insult to the intelligence of the people who watched the show and the actors and characters in the show. None of the plot could have happened if all of the characters hadn't suddenly became morons that week."

"Someone must have been aware of how hokey it was, because they wrote obvious questions into the script which they chose not to answer. For instance, before Geordi beams over, Worf says explicitly to Riker, 'Do we have to send them our chief engineer because they have a little problem?' and it's never answered. If you don't want to answer it, don't bring it up. Another thing that is stupid is Deanna Troi comes on the bridge and says to Riker, 'I don't sense fear or confusion. Geordi is in danger. Bring him back,' and no one even responds to that. They simply act as if it wasn't said. On the trip over to the starbase, where Picard and Wesley have this long heart to heart talk, Wesley says why would anyone use a defective heart transplant. That's a minor point. A major piece of stupidity is they send him to a medical facility where it turned out that no one was qualified to handle the operation if it went at all wrong. I can't believe they expect viewers to be so stupid as to not ask about that. The fact that the routine was repeatedly said, throughout the show, to be an absolutely routine procedure and when it went wrong, it went wrong for no reason that was mentioned, except that it had to go wrong to have the climax. Then it turns out they have to call the Enterprise to bring Pulaski over to do the operation because she's more qualified and the people there weren't." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)"
Peter G.
Fri, Aug 2, 2019, 4:17pm (UTC -6)
You know, for a horrible episode there's so much in here that's interesting. I'm hearing some lines and realizing there's much more depth implied in this one than really comes across given how clunky the plot is.

Item 1: Picard refuses treatment from Pulaski, and although he sort of acknowledges it's about his "image" (as invulnerable) there seems to be something personal involved.

Item 2: Picard says that "my heart was...injured...and a replacement was necessary. That would have been it, except the replacement is *faulty*."

Item 3:
TROI: It's not our help they want.
RIKER: Well our help is all they're going to get. They can't force us into anything, can they?

Item 4: Wesley tells Picard it's obvious he doesn't like 'kids' (although we get the feelings it may be about Wesley specifically).
WESLEY: Everyone knows, you don't like kids. That's too bad. You would've made a good father.
PICARD: (pause) Thank you.
WESLEY: (pause) Didn't you ever wish you had kids of your own?
PICARD: Wishing for a thing does not make it so.

Item 5:
WESLEY: Where women are concerned, I'm in complete control.
PICARD: Really? Hm. I always rather had to work at that.

Item 6: Picard explains to Wesley that with an eye towards history, art, philosophy, "all of this" might mean something (i.e. technology & civlization)

Item 7: The doctor about to operate on Picard is obnoxiously arrogant about how easy the heart transplant will be, obviously before failing miserably.

Item 8: Finally, the Pakled.
PAKLED 1: We are smart.
PAKLED 2: We need their computer things.

I may be reaching, but let's see if we can link all of these points together. The Pakleds appear weak, because they appear to lack technical knowledge. Riker called them "throwbacks". The idea is that being "smart" is equated with technology. Picard insists that without 'humanity' (art, philosophy) all of that is for nothing. However, he also says that his heart was 'broken', and that the replacement is 'faulty'. We also see that he has a bone to pick with Pulaski, and then with Wesley. Picard also makes mention that he always had a problem keeping his feelings for women in check. And Wesley says he's made a good father; and Picard even says he did want that. We also get the idea that Picard's claim that career comes first may not be the whole story there.

Shall I venture out and suggest that all of this is about Picard's heart being broken over Beverly when his best friend married her, and again when his friend's death put him in the position of not being to be a father-figure to Wesley because that would mean betraying Jack's memory and taking his widow. The broken heart seems like a metaphor for the fact that he uses his technological way of life and career as a way of trying to replace the heart that was broken, except that this method is 'faulty'. That is, it just doesn't work like that. He hopes that all of this can be made to mean something through art and philosophy, but I think even he doesn't quite believe it; lost love can't be replaced even by that. And the product of that lost love sits right in front of him in the shuttle. Picard has a problem with kids; but I think the root of it is Wesley. And then there's the fact that the doctor wanting to fix his heart is a replacement for the woman he actually cares for. Picard is especially surly in this episode as well, suggesting that his brave, cold front is an image he wants to uphold even though he secretly needs more.

The Pakleds come into it because they represent that primitive-seeming part of us that the intellectual side is prone to mock; the heart, the drive (to 'make us go'). The crew mocks them, and the reason why Riker doesn't bring Geordi back is because tactically he decides they are no match for the Enterprise. And yet the threat wasn't against their technology but rather their engineer; the one who makes them go, the heart of the ship if you will. They didn't stop to think that it was the heart at risk rather than the brain (technology). The Pakleds in turn are a mockery-version of a sci-fi future, of a people who think having tech makes you superior. But what they really lacked was 'humanity'. They thought they needed "computer things", and it's funny that it was put this way because really that's all they really are as far as our heart is concerned. The part of you that makes you care is unconcerned with the difference between a dilithium crystal and a computer core, even though your intellect tells you that it's the most important thing to know.

So maybe the "samaritan snare" is the notion that you can fix problems with technology that really have their roots in emotional and human development. It's a prominent Trek message, that the human side (which includes the 'primite' parts of us) needs as much development as the technological. Picard trying to hide behind his job when it's his heart hurting is, at least here, presented as the reason for his cold exterior and gruff composure.

And of course there's the entire description of the incident with the Nausicaans, down to the last detail as they replay it later in Tapestry. That's some enjoyment for longtime fans. The one wrinkle in my ideas above is that the 'broken heart' happened long ago, and there's no mention that his friends in that incident were Jack and Beverly. But shouldn't they have been? Jack was his best friend, after all, and so it's a bit weird that later in Tapestry his best friend is someone else. I would call that an error on their part. How many best friends in Starfleet has Picard had, anyhow? So here's my head canon: he fought the Nausicaans to impress Beverly, even though she was going to end up with Jack in the end. His heart was broken because he fight was for nothing and ended up wounded as a result, but maintained the friendship with both over the years, even though it meant he had to make due with a faulty heart replacement: his job, over his love.
William B
Wed, Aug 7, 2019, 11:40am (UTC -6)
@Peter, this is a very intriguing analysis (and one that almost makes me want to rewatch this episode -- which I maybe even will, despite its...problems). What is it that "makes us go" but our hearts, in their literal function of pumping blood in our bodies?

On the Beverly question, I think I disagree a bit that it's a problem in Tapestry. Picard and Beverly *are* different ages -- at the very least, the actors are nine years apart in age, which would be significant at the time Picard was a cadet. This difference could have been shortened in order to provide the story you suggest. But I'm not sure that it's necessary that it was literally Beverly that Picard was stabbed for. We could rather see Picard's losing his heart due to his hotheaded decisions in his youth, and having to make do with a mechanical replacement (which he keeps deeply under wraps, to the point he wants to leave the ship), as being a determining factor that caused him to refrain from expressing his feelings to Beverly later on.

What's interesting is this also suggests the ways in which he relates to Wesley: Picard might actually *want* to take a more active fatherly role in Wesley's life, both because he loves Beverly and because he was Jack's best friend, but he feels restricted to only providing career-mentorship, which is, in the end, not really what Wesley wants from him either. The main lesson that the Traveler seems to teach Wesley is that he should try to interact with the physical, mechanical world from an intuitive, even emotional place, and that's where Wesley's genius lies; it seems that in following Picard Wesley internalizes some of the necessity of cutting himself off from his emotions in order to prioritize his career, which seems to be some of what leads him astray (deriving meaning in his life from Nova Squadron, e.g.). At the very least, the moral self-discipline required to live Picard's life seems to be greater than what most people can manage (apparently including Wesley), which is maybe a sign that we should not seek to emulate this aspect of Picard (his emotional detachment) *too* closely, if we can avoid it (which Picard arguably cannot).
Peter G.
Wed, Aug 7, 2019, 12:41pm (UTC -6)
Thanks, William. I'm not really saying that Tapestry messed up or anything, especially as it's one of my favorite episodes. Just that the extraneous 'other best friends' doesn't really add anything to my understanding of Picard, and since the Jack/Beverly friendship goes *so* unspoken of in the series I Iike to imagine that his whole 'heart-trauma' stemmed from that triangle.

I like your points about Wesley perhaps taking the wrong lesson from Picard's career-minded attitude, and it also brings into relief why Riker *does* need it so much. Riker is filled with other great qualities that are good for him, but if anything his 'weakness' is that he doesn't seem able to get over choosing Starfleet over Troi. Maybe we're supposed to understand that Picard didn't 'really' get over his choices either, but in Riker's case the question seems open about whether the Captaincy is really for him, or whether he'd rather seek more of a compromise between career and family.

As far as you rewatching the episode goes, it has a lot more in it that's interesting than I ever rememebered. Back in S1-2 they were very concerned about character development in a way that was perhaps more clunky and random than in S3-7, but also often more illuminating. The themes in S3-7 tend to be very cleanly written but also super-focused into the plot, like Worf in Ethics or Data in The Most Toys. In these earlier episodes we see 'Picard stuff' littered around the episode without spelling out for us exactly why it's in the story, which at least gives us something to watch other than the main plot. I wouldn't say the shuttle scenes are riveting, but I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would this time around.
Fri, Sep 6, 2019, 5:04am (UTC -6)
Watching and commenting:

--Love the way Pulaski handles Picard. Their scenes together are always so good. Yes, Picard has an ego. Worried about his image. He leaves with Wes to a Starbase for a medical procedure.

--The Enterprise gets a call for help. Given the name of this ep, I'm guessing this is a trap. No confusion for me about what the title means this time, I'm thinking.

--Worf is the only one with common sense. "We need more information!!"

--Wes and the Captain are aboard a shuttle. Picard's heart was injured and replaced by a faulty fake. The replacement needs replacement. This mechanical-heart imagery is perfect for the ultra-reserved Picard.

--My viewing is interrupted by a power outage just as the power goes out on the goofy Pakled aliens' ship. I've never felt so much a part of the proceedings!

--And now the power is back. Wes and Picard talking about kids. Wes is innocently trying to get the usually impersonal Picard to loosen up a bit. And it sorta works.

--Patrick Stewart makes that coffee and sandwich looks so good. Love, love, love the way he tells this wild story of losing his heart.

--Expectations vs reality. Things seem a certain way, but they're not. The Pakleds seem harmless-Riker is sure they can handle them; Picard thought he had the Nausicans under control - at first; the surgery seems simple-the doc is sure they'll be done in no time. The Pakleds are sure they have the power.

Overconfidence, ego.

--Lots of technobabble nonsense. The Pakled story is truly lame.

--Muldaur and Stewart - perfection.

What makes you weak, what makes you strong - how the outer image you try to project can be the polar opposite of what you really are.
Thu, Oct 17, 2019, 10:00pm (UTC -6)
The Pakleds are the only species the Borg decided not to assimilate.
Nukey Shay
Fri, Oct 18, 2019, 3:48am (UTC -6)
@Peter & William
There's nothing so deep in this episode. The whole cast knew it was a dumb excuse to have two completely avoidable crisis situations going on simultaneously. Besides, it was already established in Conspiracy that Picard didn't know Beverley at the academy (one of the initial questions to prove he's not an imposter) at least they didn't later try to recon that into the brilliant Tapestry story. A cookie for trying tho...which showed more effort than McCullough put in.

Wheaton or Stewart shared a bit of trivia about filming this travesty. They did a little adlib when they arrive at Starbase Whocares...just for kicks. When they go up to the door, Wesley glances at Picard when the conventional door doesn't open automatically. Annoyingly, Picard opens it for him. Like Crosby's wave goodbye to the audience in the final scene of Symbiosis, you can't unsee it now.

"Our door is broken...can you make it go?"
Sun, Nov 10, 2019, 11:10am (UTC -6)
We have power!

We are smart.

We are strong now. We have better weapons.

We are a force now. We will have respect.

Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 5:48pm (UTC -6)
So I don't understand what the writers were thinking with that ruse at the end. The Enterprise crew tricks the Pakleds into believing Geordi is a weapons expert; that's fine, but what did Geordi actually give them? He said their existing weapons sucked, and he could maybe cobble something together with some slightly improved antimatter yield. A quick scene with Riker, Data, and Sonya Gomez suggests that the Pakleds have "weapons potential", whatever that means.

Anyway, after turning some knobs and pushing some buttons, Geordi tells the two Packleds "you have photon torpedos, you are strong!" The Enterprise then detects photon torpedos and they start their final showdown with the 24-second counter. Geordi rushes around the Pakled ship disabling their weapons before the Enterprise blows its hydrogen out the bussard collectors, making it look like the "crimson forcefield" neutralized the Pakled's new photon torpedos.

What. The. Actual. Hell.

On the Enterprise they acted like Geordi needed to get their "hidden" message and timing was of the essence. After he beams back, Riker asks "were you able to disable the photons?" Geordi responds, "just in time, that's why you're still here." What? We're supposed to believe he somehow actually made photon torpedos, or upgraded some existing weapons of theirs, armed them, and then had to disable them at the last minute? Then after all that, just left them there so the Pakleds can bumble around with them and maybe get them working after running into another Federation ship or who knows who else?

Geordi could so easily have just faked the whole thing. Since he (apparently) didn't leave that one room, how would the Pakleds know if he was able to make their torpedos stronger? Then just tell them "yup, they're totally ready, you can fire now," even though he totally disabled the crappy weapons they already had. It does not make sense. None of this makes sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit!

I really liked the Picard/Wesley scenes. We went from rude grumpy season-1 Picard to nuanced backstoried human season-4 Picard in barely a half hour. Kudos for that.
Zuriel Seven
Sun, Aug 16, 2020, 5:43pm (UTC -6)
Correct me if I missed someone's comment on this but I just wanted to point out the impact of the shuttlecraft story summary as well as a missing line which should have been in the script:

PICARD: "... one of his chums drew his weapon and impaled me through the back. curious sensation actually. Not much pain... Shock, certainly, at the sight of serrated metal sticking through my chest. A certain giddy warmth. In fact, I do remember that I laughed out loud."

WESLEY: *grows paler and paler still*

PICARD: "Well it pierced my heart, of course. Well if we'd not been so near to a medical facility, I would surely have died."

WESLEY: "Then what happened?"

PICARD: "Nothing. I was no hero, Wesley. I was an undisciplined lout-mouthed opinionated young man who was way out of his league. I learned a very hard, very painful lesson that day - but I learned it well. I hope you never have to learn it the same way."

WESLEY: *swallows deeply and takes a breath*


WESLEY: "I got stabbed through the back by a bayonet in the TENTH episode of this show, sir. Way to bring up a painful near-death traumatic memory for your teen ward."
Wed, Mar 3, 2021, 5:05pm (UTC -6)
Loved the idea of what they tried to do with Picard but not the execution. Showing Picard having flaws and insecurity is great but this came out of nowhere and, honestly, was pretty nonsensical given the times.

They've shown that most physical maladies are easily resolved by their advanced technology. The whole idea of being afraid to admit sickness is steeped in our own culture's past (and in some cases present) inability to cure a lot of problems. So you had things like male characters on the show Deadwood often taking great pains to hide just how bad things were both to prevent others from seeing their fears and perceiving them as weak.

When technological advancement solves these sorts of problems society tends to shift in terms of how these problems are viewed. Being able to hop in a car and drive 200 miles away in an afternoon means nobody really gives a crap if you could ride a horse the same distance or not.

The other issue with Picard's storyline is that it was an overly obvious way to introduce a time pressure with resolving Geordi being kidnapped.

As for the Geordi storyline the Pakleds are one of the worst bits of writing on this show and that's really saying something. I really wish I understood how anyone could think that we could believe in the idea of a species that stupid being out and about looking for salvage and kidnapping Starfleet officers.

I could believe it if the Pakleds were, say, a primitive species that had been kidnapped but then took over the ship from a more advanced species but were now essentially adrift as the ship took care of their basic survival needs but they had no understanding of anything other than how to ask the computer for meat and water.

Just an absolutely awful, abysmal antagonist species. I'd rather watch 10 hours of the horrendous drunk Irish people episode than endure one more insultingly stupid bit of 'We want things make us go.' dialogue.
Wed, Mar 3, 2021, 5:11pm (UTC -6)
Oh - and did I miss it or was there never a mea culpa moment from Riker for disregarding Worf's concerns and not even really taking Troi's warnings seriously?

And how the hell does Starfleet have a procedure where they just transport a solo member of personnel over onto the ship of a newly encountered species? For that matter even if they had diplomatic relations?! Even in our time ambassadors in our country will have guards. LaForge should have had a cadre of Tactical officers with him but honestly someone much lower on the Engineering totem pole should have been the one to go over.

Another nit that needs picking - the idea that phasers can be grabbed by anyone and fired? Phasers should either be biometrically restricted to the person to whom they were issued or, at the very least, require that the person about to fire it has a Starfleet badge.

Good gravy. I'd rather spend a night getting pain sticked that watch this episode again.
Wed, Mar 3, 2021, 7:46pm (UTC -6)
>the idea that phasers can be grabbed by anyone and fired? Phasers should either be biometrically restricted to the person to whom they were issued or, at the very least, require that the person about to fire it has a Starfleet badge.

Agreed, did you get that from Judge Dread? I would go a step further and say that the phaser's firing pattern should be unique to each user so we know who shot someone. Odo would love it.
Sat, Mar 6, 2021, 12:06pm (UTC -6)

I had forgotten about that.

I got that idea because I have to drag my greasy thumb across a button that reads my finger print and then put in my password then open my 2FA app and input a code so I can see how much money I owe on my credit card from buying Warhammer figures and Onlyfans subscriptions.
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 9:30am (UTC -6)
@dutchtrekkie is a very aggressive Pakled.
Sun, Apr 11, 2021, 11:33pm (UTC -6)
I wonder if the writers' strike affected this script? It's not just a plot hole in this episode that Riker blithely ignores very strong and specific advice from two senior officers, it's more like a series wide plot hole.

First, Worf is alarmed they are sending their chief engineer.

Then Troi, in one of her most accurate empathic roles, tells Riker exactly what is going on. And her line is spot on and rather damning: "You think they are weak."

Riker looks like a blithering idiot here.

Aside from all that, the "are the Pakleds as dumb as they look/sound" issue isn't really handled well. It just doesn't seem consistent that they could be so stupid as to fall for Geordi's obvious ruse, while having set up their own effective ruse to begin with.

Though I suppose Riker being an idiot was the only reason their plan worked to begin with.
Sat, May 15, 2021, 10:40am (UTC -6)
Mediocre episode, all the faults have already been pointed out.

But what I still don't understand and maybe someone can explain: What is the ruse they want to use to free Geordi? What does it have to do with the number 24? Did anyone actually understand it or was it just some made-up techno babble?
Dave in MN
Sun, May 16, 2021, 10:40am (UTC -6)
@ Gion

The episode is built like a season of Picard and Discovery.

The characters behave like idiots guided by their emotions. The antagonists are so one-dimensional as to be unbelievable. The resolution to the drama is implausible and anti-climactic.

None of it makes any sense when you start to analyze it.

It's one of the worst episodes of TNG, in my humble opinion.
Wed, May 19, 2021, 3:58pm (UTC -6)
Any crewmember that has something important to say they never seem to want to use their communicator.
S. D. Martino
Tue, Jun 8, 2021, 7:16pm (UTC -6)
Picard is meant to be French. Instead Stewart makes zero effort to not portray himself as some pompous Brit git. You're French pal, French don't quote crapspeare, don't drink Earl Grey tea, and don't sound like inbred British "royalty". Irritating acting.
Wed, Jun 9, 2021, 12:56am (UTC -6)
@S. D. Martino
Well, Patrick Stewart didn't write the scripts. You can hold him responsible for not even attempting a French accent, but not for references to Shakespeare and Early Grey tea. That's about writing, not acting.

Of course, the very fact that a British actor got the role is the result of casting, rather than acting. I imagine that if, for example, René Auberjonois had been cast in the role, Jean Luc Picard might have come across as at least French enough for American viewers.

Hmm. Shall we try to imagine who might then have played Odo?
Wed, Jun 9, 2021, 12:59am (UTC -6)
Um, I do realize it's Earl Grey tea, not Early Grey.

My fingers, apparently, do not.
Thu, Jul 15, 2021, 3:04am (UTC -6)
There are things to like about this episode. The gradual thaw in relations between Picard and Wesley during the shuttle journey is a nice touch in character development, and Wesley is more than tolerable here as “just a kid” rather than the usual “superbrat”. However, why the hell was a 6 hour shuttle journey necessary in the first place? The Enterprise could have dropped them both off at the Starbase in just a few minutes at warp speed. We should have been told why not - I’m sure they could have thought of something.

The Paklids are hilarious! “We look for things. Things to make us go.” Surely, a few laxatives would have done the trick?

But in the end, it wasn’t one of TNG’s finest though certainly watchable and good in parts. Gomez (she’s tiny!) made a welcome reappearance. The medicobabble made me laugh almost as much as the Paklids: “I can’t stop the heterocyclic declination. FUSE. AGAIN. “!!

I suppose you could say it was a light-hearted interlude after Q Who. 2.5 stars seems about right.
Thu, Aug 12, 2021, 3:25pm (UTC -6)
The episode has it's issues, but I think a lot of people are underappreciating the importance of this episode not only in Picard's character arc, but also in Stewart's performance. Picard starts this series with such and enormous stick up his ass that he is not likeable enough to be the lead of this series. Over the course the first season and into the second, they slowly work that stick out. To me this was the moment when he finally fully removed it. He wasn't a dismissive asshole to Wesley and he actually shares what is the moment he is most ashamed of with him. After this episode Stewart always plays him as the warm Picard we all grew to love. He will still have his issues, but he is never the "shut up Wesley" prick again after this. This is a part of a series of very significant improvements in the way most of the characters are portrayed by this point.

As for Gomez, I think they were testing the character out for a more permanent role on the show.
Sat, Dec 4, 2021, 4:33am (UTC -6)
With reference to the previous comment, I felt that Picard behaved like an absolute d*ck in this ep. He's obnoxious to everyone who interacts with him, especially Pulaski. His first words upon waking : "what in the hell are you doing here ?". What a charming chap.

I'm making my way through TNG for the first time, and I think this may be the worst episode yet. I'm starting if the writer might have a bit of Pakled in his/her own family tree. How else do you explain world-class dialog like this :

Pulaski : "Is Geordie all right ?"
Worf : "He's already been hit my multiple phaser stuns"
Pulaski : "He could need medical attention !" (she actually says this)
Riker : "Thanks for that contribution doctor, your input is extremely valuable. And I'm being totally sincere when I say that. Really insightful. Let's give a big hand for the Chief Medical Officer, everyone. Round of applause for Doctor Obvious. Dr Pulaski, could you maybe step outside and fetch us all some cookies ?"
Troi : "Will, I also sense that Geordie may be feeling slight anxious".
Riker : "Oh FFS"

OK, I made half of that up, but come on. It's excruciating.

The best bit is in the shuttle, when it emerges that the routine heart replacement op has a "very low" mortality rate of 2.4% - "Those are pretty good odds!" says Wesley. More than 1 in 50 people who have this procedure will die on the operating table ! There are actually modern-day NHS hospitals in the UK who have better outcomes for major heart surgery. Picard's acting like he's going to have an ingrown toenail removed, and the idea that he wouldn't inform Riker of his condition is absurd.

It's not all bad. Dressing the surgeons in red is definitely a smart move, because it means you can't see all the blood stains and they can probably get away with doing the laundry less frequently. I'm less sure about the lush green carpet on the operating-room floor, but this is the future after all.

"My script is broke, can you make it go ? We are far from competence"
Fri, Apr 15, 2022, 5:16am (UTC -6)
Boy, that little Latin chiquita is just cute as a button!

Beyond that, Riker sending the Enterprise's chief engineer to an unknown vessel, contrary to the perfectly valid misgivings from Worf (who spoke immense sense, to my great and pleasant surprise!)? And then he contacts Geordie to relay Troi's warnings, in full earshot of the aliens? What a total, utter dipstick.

Where's that meme of him and Picard doing a simultaneous facepalm!
Tue, May 17, 2022, 5:14pm (UTC -6)
I love "assorted bunch of galactic riffraft." There are some great lines in this episode,
Thu, May 19, 2022, 8:57pm (UTC -6)
I've always found this episode to be entertaining. It may not be great, but its always entertaining. I do enjoy that we get Picard backstory in this one. Some good character development for him, and for his relationship with Wesley.
Sat, Jun 18, 2022, 10:40am (UTC -6)
I find it hard to believe that the Pakleds could have ever stolen anything from the Romulans, Klingons, etc. At least not without getting slaughtered for the attempt. How did they ever meet a Romulan in the first place? They are way too stupid to have ever developed any sort of space travel and I can't imagine why the Romulans would ever have ever visited their moronic planet.

I still don't understand what his problem with Pulaski was. This episode made it seem like they had some kind of past history but it was made clear that he had never met her before she joined the crew. His behavior made no sense at all; this was just really poor writing.
Tue, Dec 13, 2022, 8:12pm (UTC -6)
We like power.
Mon, Apr 3, 2023, 9:36am (UTC -6)
The overblown drama, led by an overacting Frakes, tanks it, though I am sure it is the writers' and directors' fault. Even the swaggering into to Picard's office making none-too-subtle demands is annoying, especially for a man who just turned down his own command.

Corny, hammy, and ridiculous for all of the reasons said by many above.

The brief segments involving Picard and Wesley earn the 2,5 stars.
Wed, Apr 19, 2023, 1:08am (UTC -6)
BTW, Sonya's role...

There's some question about why she was dropped. Something perhaps about the actress getting a haircut between reshoots.

Something perhaps about the actress's notorious "3 of 9" role in Total Recall. :)

Probably just didn't really fit. Geordi didn't need a side kick.
Wed, May 24, 2023, 5:09pm (UTC -6)
This episode is so bad. The dialog is bad and so is the acting. The plot was unbelievably stupid and the way Riker reacted to those aliens was just inept.
Mon, Sep 4, 2023, 6:48am (UTC -6)
Another thing that bothers me, which nobody seems to point out: The Pakleds actually believed Geordi would just side with them against his old crewmates after they had just betrayed him and phasered him twice. They didn't even object when he started tinkering with their systems.

To everyone asking why we never saw Sonya Gomez after this episode, you can now hear the story from her own mouth:

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