(Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break.)
Picard, who resolved last week’s plot by proving he was not too closed-minded and stubbornly prideful to admit he needs help from Q, sets this week’s plot in motion by demonstrating he is too closed-minded and stubbornly prideful to admit he needs help from his own chief medical officer.
While the title refers to the B-plot (helping the sad-puppy Pakleds with their broken ship), this episode is most memorable for a long, awkward shuttle ride where Picard passes the time by telling Wesley the story of a bar fight from his youth.
I was surprised that Ensign Gomez turns up again in this episode, confirming my suspicion she was intended to be a recurring character. (I checked — she never appears again.)
“We look for things,” one of the Pakleds says, in an intentionally awkward moment that I remembered well enough to be able to recite along with the scene: “Things we need… Things to make us go.”
After LaForge beams over, Troi’s too-late and too-vague warnings are perfectly useless: “Those aliens. What they feel is not helplessness!” And of course, nobody asks her, “Well, what *do* they feel?”
I was rolling my eyes at the lines the writers gave Wesley and losing patience with a silly mishmash episode, when Picard launched into the cautionary tale about his youthful bravado. The whole scene is a treat. (I remember later being a little disappointed when the “It’s a Wonderful Life” homage episode fully dramatized this encounter.)