Captain Picard. Who is he? Other than the Captain of the Enterprise little is really known so far in the series about this enigmatic man. In this episode, we get a little glimpse behind the curtain of what makes this man tick. Literally and figuratively.
Originally airing on May 15, 1989, this is Samaritan Snare.
Stardate 42779.1:Samaritan Snare
Picard must undergo a major surgery while Wesley leaves for additional Starfleet exams. Meanwhile The Enterprise deals with some Pakled traders who are intent on stealing Federation technology.
After leaving on the shuttlecraft Einstein, Captain Picard and Wesley Crusher head toward Starbase 515. Wesley is going to take additional starfleet exams while Picard must leave to undergo a required medical procedure. (we’ll get back to their story after we discuss the main part)
Meanwhile the Enterprise receives a distress call that takes them away from Picard’s shuttlecraft, much to the dismay of commander Riker. The Enterprise arrives to find a Pakled trader ship, the Mondor, in distress. The Pakled’s seem…a little derpy…and Riker send Geordi over to their ship to elicit repairs.
Just as Geordi begins repairs, Troi rushes to the Bridge and tells Riker that the Pakleds are not what they seem, she senses that they have ulterior motives and that LaForge is in danger aboard their ship. The contact Geordi and, as soon as his repairs are completed, the Pakled’s ship loses power.
Once Geordi repairs the ship, Riker demands his return only for the Pakleds to attack and stun LaForge. Raising their shields, the Pakled Ship blocks all attempts to rescue Geordi and Riker prepares for assault.
Geordi awakens and the Pakleds demand that he make them weapons with their replicator. It is soon discovered that the entire reason for their SOS was to lure someone aboard to use as a bargaining chip to steal the Enterprises data. Riker holds a senior staff meeting and determines that they must use force to deal with the Pakled crew. It seems that the Pakleds are not satisfied with their natural progress so they steal technology from other species in order to further themselves.
After enduring multiple stuns from the Pakleds, Geordi insists on contacting the Enterprise to obtain what they need. During the conversation, the bridge crew of the Enterprise send him a secret message that will result in damage to the Pakled ship.
Geordi ‘fixes’ their weapons and in doing so fools the Pakleds into a fight with the Enterprise. Fooling the Pakleds with a ‘Crimson Forcefield’ they rescue LaForge and leave to respond to an emergency call from Starbase 515.
As all of this is going on, Picard and Wesley are traveling to the Starbase. As they travel Picard and Wesley bond due to their isolation on the shuttle. Picard tells Wesley about his past and, upon arrival, Picard goes to his procedure. While under the knife, Picard’s surgery takes a bad turn and they must find someone who can save him. That someone? Katherine Pulaski of course. This is why the Enterprise is called to the starbase as she is the only qualified surgeon nearby that can complete the procedure. The irony is that she had suggested he remain on the Enterprise to go through the procedure.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
It’s not the best but it certainly isn’t the worst. This is one that allows for some additional character development for two more crew members, this time for Picard and, to a lesser degree Wesley. Each are on opposite ends of the Starfleet spectrum. Picard is in the prime of his career, a starfleet captain in command of the flagship vessel while Wesley is literally at the start of a possible Starfleet Career. In this episode we really get to know more about Picard’s past, if he has been married, his reckless youth and more.
We also got to have a little more action for Geordi in this episode as he gets beaten up a bit while only trying to help the Pakleds. Regardless, it was nice to see him get a little more to do this time around.
In addition, we get to see Riker in full command and, let’s be honest, the man is more that ready for his own ship. Honestly, THAT would have made a tremendous spinoff series.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
We learn that Picard has never married and it is mostly due to his career. You get the sense that it is a regret of his but that thread will not be addressed until later in the series.
We learn that Picard has an Artificial heart due to an altercation with a trio of Nausicaans. This fight ended with Picard having a serrated blade through his heart and only survived due to a nearby medical facility. This single event set him on the path to become who he has become. We get a chance to see that very event later in the series.
In a conversation between Wesley and Picard, It is revealed that The Klingons have joined the Federation sometime in the last 30-40 years as they had yet to join when Picard was a young Ensign. However, this isn’t really true as it is established that while The Federation and the Klingons are at peace and are considered Allies, they have NOT in fact joined the Federation. So someone messed up a bit there.
This is the first time we see the Starfleet Surgical uniforms which are bright red. I always found this interesting and wondered if it was to hide blood. Not entirely sure though.
We get to see Ensign Gomez again as she helps to save Geordi. Sadly this is the last time she appears on the show. I was just starting to like her too!
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Up the Long Ladder
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Late To The Game 7/14/2019 (Originally published 4/6/2018)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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