Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 43 (Samaritan Snare)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

“Samaritan Snare” was probably one of my favorite episodes, not because it was good but because it was so unforgettable. There are two stories. In one, Captain Picard and Wesley Crusher have to go to a starbase. Wesley has to take some tests for Starfleet Academy. Picard has to have an artificial heart replaced. In the other story, which is the main plot, the Enterprise responds to a distress call, which is actually a setup for a trap.

The Enterprise encounters a race called the Pakleds. The Packleds are what make the episode so memorable in a funny sort of way. They don’t seem too bright and thus give the impression of being harmless. Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge beams over to help them. While he’s over there, Counselor Deanna Troi rushes to the bridge and warns Commander Riker that he’s in grave danger. Riker dismisses it, thinking that the Pakleds aren’t capable of inflicting harm. The truth is that they steal technology and end up holding La Forge hostage in hopes of getting Federation technology. La Forge gets out of it by playing along with a ruse, which the dimwitted Pakleds fall for.

As for Picard and Wesley, the two of them have some time to bond. Picard has never been comfortable around children and Wesley is no exception. Picard shares how he got an artificial heart in the first place. He took on several Nausicans, which are very big, very strong aliens. (Imagine picking a fight with Mike Tyson.) One of the Nausicans stabbed Picard in the chest, injuring his heart. Had he not been on a starbase, he would have died. (This set up the later episode, “Tapestry”.)

The acting is above average, especially from Patrick Stewart and Wil Wheaton, who play Picard and Wesley, respectively. The story is average. What I liked about it was the Pakleds, who were funny at best. They are remembered by fans for often saying, “We look for things…Things that make us go.” The Pakleds were never featured in another episode, but they were mentioned at least once and if you look closely, you can see a few in later episodes of The Next Generation and during Deep Space Nine’s run.

This is a three-star episode. It’s good on many levels, but not extraordinary. While it’s not worth purchasing on VHS, it’s definitely worth watching if you get the DVD set. (This is why I’m giving it “not recommended”, since I am technically reviewing the VHS release of this episode.) I think you’ll find this episode to be as ‘memorable’ as I did.

IMDb page

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