** (2 stars out of 5)
Finally! An episode that dares to ask: what if we were attacked by Special Needs Klingons?
Take a slow shuttle to scenic Starbase 515. Wes has exams to take! Picard's heart surgery proves he has one! Pulaski blackmailed Picard into getting the old ticker a badly needed tune-up.
Wes needs those exams badly, too: he calls their shuttle 'Shuttle #2', but it has '01' on the side.
While the Captain's away, Enterprise meets a shipload of overweight, balding stumblebums who can almost string sentences together.
"Do you need help?" Riker asks of the truculent aliens.
"We are Pakleds," the man answers. This turns out to be a 'yes'.
"We look for things" is their motto. "Things to make us go." And there's a good chance they mean diuretics.
Worf doesn't trust the Pakleds borrowing their Chief Engineer, and as usual, Worf is right. Riker ignores him. La Forge beams over. Too late, Troi rushes in and says the Pakleds are up to no good. Riker ignores her. The head goomba decides they need Geordi to make their ship full of stolen parts go. He snatches Geordi's phaser and shoots him repeatedly.
I'm starting to see why Picard was reluctant to take a day off.
After all the awkwardness, Wes and Picard end up having a real conversation. "Where women are concerned, I am in complete control," Wes declares.
"Really? I always had to work at that." Picard relates a tale of his cocky youth before the Klingons joined the Federation. Back when a head of cabbage cost a nickel. He was on leave at Starbase Earhart and picked a fight with three Nausicaans. When he was stabbed through the heart he seems to have learned a little something about discipline.
He encourages Wes to read more. "Open your mind to the past: art, history, philosophy- and all this may mean something."
I'm sure he's right, except possibly for the Pakleds. Laughing behind their stolen Romulan shields, they will kill La Forge if Riker doesn't hand over more weapons. Instead, Riker & Geordi trick them into believing a harmless hydrogen light show is a Crimson Forcefield. Remembering that Pakleds are very stupid, can this really be called a victory?
And I'm not sure the medicine makes much sense either. It looks cool, though.
"We'll need sharper focus on the thoracic polychromatics." Doctor, are you actually giving an order to 'shine the multi-coloured chest light'? With a straight face?
Well, light shows for everyone and the day is saved. And we draw closer every post to episodes that are blessedly Pulaski-free.
Exactly how did Pakleds outsmart Romulans and live? Romulans are hardly good samaritans.
I thought "Samaritan Snare" was better. I was not smart. I need to go.