Picard must learn to communicate with a race that speaks in metaphor under a difficult set of circumstances.



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Episode cast overview:
... Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
... Cmdr. William Riker
... Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
... Lt. Worf
... Dr. Beverly Crusher
... Counselor Deanna Troi
... Lt. Commander Data
Richard Allen ... Tamarian First Officer
... Chief Miles O'Brien
... Captain Dathon
... Ensign Robin Lefler
... Enterprise Computer (voice)


The Enterprise approaches the uninhabited Eladrel solar system, near the territory of the enigmatic, presumably pacific race known as the Children of Tamar, which is now establishing contact. Picard expected fairly easy diplomacy, but the Tamarians first have a row at their side, then transport Picard and their own captain Dathon down to the nearest planet surface, which they make impenetrable behind a particle shield, to pit them for a duel, which Picard is unwilling to engage. Both the captain and his crew on the bridge desperately study the Tamarian language, which they find to be unusually focused on mythical narrative, notably the epic of Darmac, which holds the key to its metaphorical 'code', and thus to the whole situation. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

28 September 1991 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode marks the first appearance of Ensign Robin Lefler, who later played an important part in discovering the Ktarian game conspiracy with Wesley Crusher in the episode "The Game". See more »


As Picard shivers in the cold, watching the sleeping Captain Dathon by the campfire, a strong wind can be heard whistling and howling in the background, yet the trees, bushes, etc., all remain perfectly still. See more »


[first lines]
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Captain's log, stardate 45047.2 - The Enterprise is en route to the uninhabited El-Adrel system. Its location is near the territory occupied by an enigmatic race known as 'The Children of Tama'.
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Referenced in Star Trek Timelines (2016) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

A More Realistic Episode
31 August 2014 | by See all my reviews

There are some things on TV that are worth viewing many times. For me, this is one of them. Paul Winfield plays an alien, a Tamarian, that comes from a culture whose language has evolved into metaphor. Without some sort of Rosetta Stone, for more conventional speakers, this is incomprehensible. This wouldn't be a huge problem if other alien races weren't fearful of these people. If they are seen as threatening, the ability to circumvent a confrontation is diminished. The Enterprise finds itself in this situation, not knowing if they have encountered a friendly or bellicose force. Picard and Dathon, the Tamarian commander, find themselves in survival mode on the planet, having been beamed to the planet. They begin trying to communicate and are really frustrated with one another. They are also attacked by a creature that fades from corporeality to invisibility. This creature becomes critical in the entire scope of the episode. The efforts made by the two men to aid each other and to come to some sort connection lead to one of the most interesting relationships this series ever saw. On board the Enterprise, the crew goes into war mode because they feel the Captain is in mortal danger (which is true but for different reasons). Aside from the plot itself is the language that defines the Tamarians. This is one of the most creative pieces of science fiction I've encountered (and I have read voluminously). See this if you haven't already.

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