In "Samaritan Snare," Pakleds "play dumb" in order that the Enterprise send over its Chief Engineer to help with repairs. Quite possibly the Pakleds were truly dimwitted, but it seems equally likely that it was just a ruse, in order that unwary, generous crews send over personnel to help---only to be tricked into a hostage situation.


You've hit the nail on the head. Based on Troi's perception that the Pakled are "insincere" and not really wanting technical assistance, we can reasonably assume that their malfunction was simply a ruse (a snare, if you like) to trap unwitting helpers (Samaritans) into lowering their defences.

As to whether they're actually dumb, the answer is a qualified yes. The official StarTrek.com page for the Pakled describes then as "slow-witted" but by no means as simple as they seem. The implication is that they make up for their lack of raw intelligence with ambition and deceitfulness:

A rotund, lethargic scavenger race who nonetheless are not as simple as they seem.  Their "found" technology has accelerated their abilities at a far faster rate than their understanding and maturity can apparently handle

The slow-witted traders often frequent Deep Space Nine but little is known about them in the Federation.  The Pakleds have met at least the Romulans, Klingons and Jarada.  They are so deceptive it is not clear if Sector 006 is truly "far from home" for them

The Star Trek Encyclopedia (considered fully canonical) goes even further, describing the Pakled Captain as intelligent, devious and possessed of considerable cunning.

enter image description here

  • Do we know for sure that the malfunction was a ruse? I believe the episode never implies anything beyond, being impressed by Jordi, they decide to take him. Not that the entire thing was designed to lure in helpful engineers? – Jonathon Sep 9 '14 at 2:15
  • @JonathonWisnoski- Based on the simple nature of the repairs ("any first year engineering intern" could fix the problem) and Troi's perception of the Pakled ("They are insincere... It is not our help they want") I would say that the malfunction was most likely their own deliberate sabotage of a non-vital part of the ship. – Valorum Sep 9 '14 at 7:40
  • But those data points can be interpreted differentially. Specifically, when you add the idea that they stole their tech and really do not know how to use it. They did break down, they simple do not have enough engineering knowledge to fake that, but they are continually looking to acquire more power. And, to the best of my knowledge, Jordi never says something like, this busted phase inverter looks like someone hit it with a hammer/shot it with a phaser. – Jonathon Sep 9 '14 at 13:25
  • @jonatonwisnoski - I don't see how you could re-interpret "It's not our help they want"... – Valorum Sep 9 '14 at 13:41
  • 1
    They do not want help, they want to steal technology and power. But the reason they currently really need to steal technology and power is a real one. – Jonathon Sep 9 '14 at 14:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy