Star Trek 209: Darmok

209. Darmok

FORMULA: Devil in the Dark + The Enemy

WHY WE LIKE IT: A wonderful concept for an alien race.

WHY WE DON'T: Picard's a bit thick.

REVIEW: I have a very special place in my heart for Darmok. Where Kirk is remembered as a fighter, Picard is a diplomat, a communicator. And this episode's dilemma is really about communication. As with the Jarada in The Big Goodbye, it's extremely refreshing to see the universal translator not smooth over how difficult it would actually be to understand another culture. The Children of Tama have an evocative culture too, not only with their highly metaphorical language, but in their postures, mannerisms, connection to objects... It's all quite fascinating. Subtleties about even on repeat viewing.

The late Paul Winfield is very effective as Captain Dathon, to the point of being touching in his last scenes. Picard's choice of a Babylonian myth is novel and a unexpected, but creates a narrative that relates directly to the action, as serves as a fitting eulogy for Dathon. It's unfortunate that Picard has to reason things out out loud, because it makes him appear quite a bit thick, but I suppose we need to understand what he's thinking. On repeat viewings, this is tedious however.

Up aboard ship, it's gratifying to see Troi actually be useful, like a crew member trained in the social sciences could be. Note Ashley Judd in her first tv role ever as Robin Lefler - she'll turn up again later with a bigger part. I like how they're seeding characters for later appearances, giving us a better sense of an actual crew. Also new this season: Picard's velvet jacket and gray "Away Team" shirt. It looks good, and if Kirk could wear that green shirt when he wanted, I say Picard can have a jacket.

LESSON: A whole new dictionary.

REWATCHABILITY - High: Intellectually AND emotionally rewarding, Darmok bears repeat viewing. You can eventually understand both sides of the conversation!

7 comments:

Hunter M said...

Was there an in-continuity explanation for why Picard sometimes wore that jacket?

Siskoid said...

Not that I remember...

Wax Frog said...

A minor quibble perhaps, but I was always bothered by the idea that a society using metaphoric language could develop high tech. Perhaps they had another 'undocumented' mode of communication?

Siskoid said...

If they thought in the abstract, perhaps they had advanced mathematics. But I imagine sending lists of primes wouldn't help you say much more than "hi, I'm here!"

Alain Degrace said...

Top 5 episode for me. Understand your point about Picard, but I find myself thinking that in the same position, I would also think out loud to help me make sense of the new way of communication.

Siskoid said...

Probably because you were raised on TV shows ;-).

Alain Degrace said...

Touché !

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine