Monday, May 6, 2019


TNG Season 5 Episode 2
Air Date: September 30th, 1991

"Darmock and Jalad at Tanagra."

The Enterprise is sent by Starfleet to meet with a Tamarian ship which has been broadcasting signals towards the Federation. In the past all contact with the Tamarian had failed as there was a communication barrier that even the universal translators could not overcome. When they arrive, the Captain of the Tamarian ship transports down to the planet below bringing Captain Picard with him. Then the Tamarian ship puts up some kind of interference radiation that prevents any further transport.

At first Captain Picard thinks the Tamarian wants to fight him, but after surviving the cold night, Picard realizes that he is trying to create a common experience where they can learn how to speak to each other. There is a creature that lives on the planet that can only be seen for a few seconds and the two captains have to fight it. In the end the Tamarian captain dies, but the Enterprise is able to take down the interference by attacking the Tamarians and beams Picard back up.

Picard hurries to the bridge and is able to communicate with the Tamarian ship using what he had learned. The final scene shows Captain Picard holding the knife he got from the Tamarian captain and he touches the blade with his fingers and then his forehead, as the Tamarian crew did when they learned of their captain's death.

This episode is commonly considered one of the best Star Trek episodes, usually only pushed down by Best of Both Worlds and The Inner Light in a future season. It is also the episode that is Ashley Judd's break out role. Normally I have a quote section but I feel that the best part of this episode is the quotes that make no sense and what they really mean. The Tamarians talk in metaphors using examples to describe things. If you don't know the context of the metaphor, you could easily not understand it's significance.

"Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra." - Two people who meet on an island called Tanagra and become friends fighting a beast

"Shaka, when the walls fell." - failure

"Temba, his arms wide" - To give

"Sokath, his eyes uncovered!" - To understand

"Darmok on the ocean." - To be alone

"Uzani, his army with fists closed." - In combat stand close together

"Uzani, his army with fists open" - In combat stand apart

"The river Temarc in winter." - be quiet

"The beast of Tanagra. Uzani, his army. Shaka, when the walls fell" - The beast on the planet below killed your captain.

Here is a video of the ending where Picard uses what he had learned.

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