“Samaritan Snare” is the 17th episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the 43rd episode overall. It was first released on 15 May 1989, in broadcast syndication.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, while Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) heads to a nearby Starbase to undergo surgery on his artificial heart, Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) is in command of the Enterprise. The crew must deal with a Pakled starship, which kidnaps Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), and demands advanced technology in exchange for his safe return.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) refuses to have a medical operation on his artificial heart on board the Enterprise by Doctor Katherine Pulaski (Diana Muldaur) as he is concerned about his image with the crew. He instead heads to a nearby Starbase for the operation, travelling by shuttlecraft. Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) accompanies him, as he is due to undergo his Starfleet Academy entrance exams. Though initially rebuffing Wesley’s attempts to make conversation, Picard eventually softens, and talks of his past, including why he needs an artificial heart.
Meanwhile, the Enterprise encounters the Mondor, a Pakled ship. The aliens request help to fix their vessel. Based on the Pakleds’ rudimentary communication skills and apparent lack of understanding of the basic operations of their ship, Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) judges them to be inept and harmless, and agrees to send Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) to assist them. After boarding the Pakled ship, La Forge repairs the navigational system, when main power fails. On the Enterprise, Counsellor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), an empath, warns Riker that La Forge is in danger, but Riker dismisses her concerns. Upon finally completing the repairs, La Forge prepares to leave, but a Pakled incapacitates him with his own phaser, and raises the ship’s shields. Lt Commander Data (Brent Spiner) determines that the Pakleds have acquired advanced technology from other races, and the ship’s malfunctions were a ruse. Riker demands they return La Forge, but the Pakleds refuse, and stun him again with his phaser. Riker and Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn) develop a ruse of their own, which they communicate to La Forge in code.
At the Starbase, complications arise during Picard’s transplant, and the doctors realise that unless they can locate an expert with the necessary expertise, he will die. As Riker sets up the ruse, Worf receives a message from the Starbase that Picard is close to death. The Pakleds seek to attack the Enterprise, but La Forge convinces the Pakleds to delay firing until a specific range. In response, the Enterprise generates a spectacular but harmless pyrotechnic display, and La Forge simultaneously disables their weapon systems. The Pakleds, convinced they have been defeated, back down and allow La Forge’s return and the Enterprise races to the Starbase. Picard is dismayed upon waking up to find that Pulaski has completed his procedure. While Pulaski assures him she will keep his secret, he returns to the Enterprise’s bridge to applause, which he quickly silences.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Les Landau.
- Writer(s): Robert L. McCullough.
- Release Date: 15 May 1989.
- Running Time: 50 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.