First an overview of the episode itself: PROS - a nice twist on the TOS "Arena" concept, towards a different outcome - viewers got to learn Tamarian right along with the characters - pretty good FX throughout - good acting, including the Tamarian roles - an excellent source of great Trek memes - another look at the idea of advanced technology coexisting alongside ritual & custom and perhaps religious belief CONS - Riker gave up on the shuttle options way too easily. He could have positioned the Enterprise between the shuttle and the Tamarian ship to shield it (like in "Yesterday's Enterprise"). And a shuttle could have made its descent ANYWHERE in the atmosphere to eventually reach Picard, it didn't have to be right where the Tamarian ship was at, within their weapons range - it doesn't make sense that the Enterprise would have any information on Tamarian mythology on-file if they didn't know anything about the Tamarians and couldn't understand any of their language - all of Data & Troi's research and revelations were completely redundant with regards to Picard's. "These are pronouns, these are place names, need to learn the story..." Picard was having the exact same conversation on the planet, so Data & Troi's scenes are ultimately filler material for the episode, and they don't move the plot along with regards to what actions are taken or not taken - but really, why did Picard show up to this historic encounter in his business-casual outfit? It was so nice of Picard to give the Tamarians the personal log of their captain. But was it a strategically sound action? What would Dathon’s personal log say? Perhaps something along these lines… DAY 1 This Starfleet man just threw my favorite knife down on the ground. He dares to start with such an insult? Surely he wants war. But when Electo-Beast-That-Was-Minding-Its-Own-Business-Until-We-Came-Along comes along, the 2 of us are going to be so shaka’d if this human doesn’t fight by my side. On top of that, he also showed up to our first-contact wearing his business-casual uniform. Who does that? The insults are endless. His uniform also isn’t bedazzled at all the way mine is. Nor does he know how to make a fire! How did these creatures achieve space travel? I arranged some of my amulets around my campsite to ward off his dumbness. Jalad and Darmok must be spinning in their graves right about now. DAY 2 I lured Electro-Beast to our campsite. Human promptly beamed out with sails unfurled. After Electro-Beast tore me to shreds, human came back and tried killing me himself by nearly boring me to death with some Earth tale. I politely laughed and said “Gilgamesh” while my guts were nearly spilling out of me. Then I closed my eyes so he’d think I’d died, in order to bring an end to his nonsensical ramblings. It is the recommendation of this captain that we should attack Starfleet. They will throw their weapons upon the ground. They will beam out in a vain attempt to escape. Victory will be assured. They are so shaka’d. ____________________ It would probably also be enlightening if we could read a log entry from Electro-Beast: I recommend all-out war against the Federation-Tamarian alliance. They came at me with intent to kill. But all they fight with is knives, and victory will be ours. They don’t care at all about first-contact with our people, but next-contact will be the last for them. Commence all-out offensives immediately. So yeah, it was a nice gesture on Picard’s part, but was it the smartest?