Darmok


Darmok
"Darmok"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 2
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Teleplay by Joe Menosky
Story by Joe Menosky
Phillip LaZebnik
Featured music Jay Chattaway
Production code 202
Original air date September 30, 1991 (1991-09-30)
Guest stars
Episode chronology
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"Redemption, Part II"
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"Ensign Ro"
List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes

"Darmok" is an episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. The episode has an average rating of 4.5/5 on the official Star Trek website (as of 18 August 2009 (2009 -08-18)).[1]

Plot

The senior staff discusses their latest mission; to make contact with the Tamarian race who have been transmitting signals toward Federation space for weeks. The Enterprise makes contact with a Tamarian ship in orbit around the planet El-Adrel. Though the universal translator can translate their words, the Tamarians only communicate through allegory which baffles the Enterprise crew. Likewise, the Tamarians cannot understand Picard's straightforward use of language. Frustrated by their failure at communication, the Tamarian captain, Dathon, has himself and Picard transported to the planet's surface. The Tamarians then create a scattering field in the planetary atmosphere to prevent transport functions from being used on either captain. On the surface, Dathon utters the allegorical phrase "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" and tosses Picard a dagger. Picard mistakes this as a challenge to a duel and refuses. As night falls, Picard fails to make a fire. Captain Dathon shares his fire. The next morning, Dathon comes running and then Picard realizes that there is also a hostile predator in the area that is stalking them both. Picard finally begins to understand the way the other race communicates when he recites one of the metaphors and sees the meaning underneath it. The two attempt to fight the beast together, but due to the Enterprise's ultimately unsuccessful transporter attempt preventing Picard from participating in the battle, Dathon is mortally wounded.

On the Enterprise, Riker and the staff struggle to understand the alien's language and Riker has Data work with Troi in hopes of translating it. Worf, in the meantime, thinks that the Captain is being tested as a warrior and advocates an aggressive stance which Riker says he will take as a last option. Riker has Worf take a shuttlecraft to try to retrieve the Captain which fails when the aliens disable the craft and force it to return to the Enterprise. Geordi and Worf work on a way to disable the Tamarian's scattering field to beam up Picard, while Troi and Data work on deciphering the Tamarian language. They deduce that the Tamarian language is entirely based on metaphors from Tamarian folklore. They learn that Darmok was a hunter and Tanagra is an island, but nothing else. Without knowing the stories behind the metaphors, the Tamarian language remains indecipherable.

While tending to Dathon's wounds, Picard deduces that Darmok and Jalad were two warriors who met on an island called Tanagra, and had to cooperate to defeat a dangerous beast dwelling there, becoming friends in the process. Dathon tried to recreate this event between him and Picard on El-Adrel, hoping that their shared adversity would forge a friendship where words had failed. Picard recounts for Dathon the Epic of Gilgamesh, a human story that parallels the allegory of Darmok and Jalad's. Dathon succumbs to his wounds.

The Enterprise fires on the Tamarian ship, disabling the scattering field, and beams up Picard. Picard uses his newfound knowledge of Tamarian metaphors to communicate with the Tamarians and end the battle. Picard mourns Dathon, who sacrificed his life to open relations between their two cultures.

Notes

  • The episode contains a brief recounting of the epic of Gilgamesh, which is communicated by Picard to the Tamarian captain.
  • The episode also contains the debut acting performance of actress Ashley Judd, as Ensign Robin Lefler. She reprised the role four episodes later in "The Game".[2]

References

External links


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