Star Trek: The Next Generation (1989) – Samaritan Snare, and Up the Long Ladder

Captain’s log: stardate 42779.1

Samaritan’s Snare written by Robert McCullough, first aired on 15 May, 1989. It’s not the best episode of the season by any standards, but it’s a fair sight better than the following one.

While Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Wesley (Wil Wheaton) head to Starbase 515 in a shuttlecraft – Wesley for some Academy testing, and Picard for a ‘routine’ medical operation, Riker (Jonathan Frakes) assumes command.

Shortly into the episode, they receive a bit of a distress call from a race of beings known as the Pakleds, who can’t make their ship ‘go.’ Geordi (LeVar Burton) beams aboard, and tries to help out, seeing his skills, the Pakleds (not the brightest race of beings) decide to keep him. As the plot continues, there is some fum moments when Riker comes up with a ruse to help rescue Geordi, but for the most part, the A-story of this episode is rather boring. In fact both stories feel like B-stories, and both should have been melded to stronger stories.

We do get a piece of Picard continuity when we learn about his heart replacement, following an incident with some Nausicaans that happened when he was just out of the Academy, something that would be revisited in a future episode.

The stuff with Geordi, the Pakleds and the Enterprise begins to wear a little thin after the first few minutes, but the interactions with Picard and Wesley actually help to fill out both characters rather nicely.

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Captain’s log: stardate 42823.2

Up the Long Ladder. Sigh. Written by Melinda M. Snodgrass, this episode debuted on 22 May, 1989.

The Enterprise responds to a distress beacon from a long lost colony ship, the Mariposa. It seems the civilisation, which seems like a lot of stereotypical Irish folk, are in danger from solar flares from their nearby star.

Informing the Starfleet crew of another colonist party from the same ship, they discover a nearby planet that is based entirely on clones, and are degrading…

Obviously the answer is to put them together, despite the fact that the clones consider the Irish crude, and they consider the clones elitist and snobby.

The B-story follows Worf (Michael Dorn) who, after he collapses on the bridge is discovered by Doctor Pulaski (Diana Muldaur) to have contracted the Klingon form of measles.

Again, these both feel like B-stories, and the stuff with the Mariposa colonists is just ridiculous, and made worse by one of them, Brenna Odell (Rosalyn Landor) seducing Riker.

Brenna doesn’t fare well in this episode, as her father (Barrie Ingham) is such an appalling Irish stereotype to be practically offensive!

I’m glad this episode is now behind me, and we can focus on the end of the season, which we’ll tackle next week as the Human Adventure continues…

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