The Rewatch 176: Darmok

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 5.2 Darmok
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/34

Notable Guest Stars:
 Richard Allen (Tamarian First Officer) – This is a reappearance of Allen, who played Kentor in “Ensigns of Command.”  He has since done guest work and voice work.

Paul Winfield (Dathon)- Winfield was an actor with accolades for his portrayals on both film and screen. He appeared in Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan as well.

Ashley Judd (Robin Lefler)- Ashley Judd has had a pretty good career, staring in movies such as Where the Heart Is, with her role as Robin Lefler her first major role.  She is also well known for her performing family, Naomi and Wionna Judd.

Review:

 This is probably one of the most quoted episodes of TNG.  It’s become its own meme even.  Its actually a pretty good episode with a simple theme:

What happens if the universal translator can translate words, but not their meaning.  The Crew can understand the Tamarians, but their statements make no sense as they are talking in metaphors.

Finally, the Tamarian captain has had too much, and despite his first officer’s complaints about the plan (The first officer is a lot like Riker in that regard) he has them send Picard and himself down to the planet. He figures putting them in danger might help convey language issues better.

Meanwhile Riker is perturbed, Data is drowning in research and Deanna yet again appears to be the senior diplomatic officer on board.  SURELY THERE IS A TEAM?!?

Overall I love this episode, and its really had to review because its one of those episodes where you want to go ‘Just go watch it.”

Interesting Notes:

  • Written Joe Menosky and Phillip LaZebnik
  • Directed by Patrick Stewart
  •  The Epic of Gilgamesh is an Ancient Mesopotamian epic, in particular the are of Sumeria.  There are several stories in this collection that are pieced together from various texts across the area and across the centuries.  You can read it here and here.
  • This episode took a long time between initial pitch and the final cut.  The pitch has little to do with the final episode, but in all honestly, that is a good thing.
  • Many people consider this one of TNG’s finest episodes.

Pros

  •  Stunning episode for Patrick Stewart, and the characterizations of Picard, Deanna, and to a lesser extent Riker (who really has a short temper in this episode)

Cons:

  •  Doesn’t speaking in metaphor hamper speech in a way?
  • Again, Deanna seems to be the sole member of the diplomatic team onboard Enterprise, which considering its main goals are finding new words and new friends (and studying things along the way), you would think would be well staffed.
  •  

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

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