Star Trek: The Next Generation


2.5 stars.

Air date: 5/2/1994
Written by Nick Sagan
Directed by Les Landau

Review Text

Picard receives a threatening out-of-left-field message from DaiMon Bok (Lee Arenberg), the Ferengi whose son Picard killed many years ago while defending the USS Stargazer from an unprovoked attack (the details of which were recounted in the first season episode, "The Battle"). Bok says he will have his revenge upon Picard by finding and killing Picard's son. Except, wait: Picard doesn't have a son — or does he?

The man who might be Picard's son is Jason Vigo (Ken Olandt) the son of a woman Picard had a brief whirlwind affair with three decades ago before he shipped off to be in the lengthy employ of Starfleet. This woman, who has been dead for some time, Picard fully believes could have raised a son without feeling the need to inform the father that the son existed (on the account of her unconventional and independent personality). So now you can add to the list of Season Seven Family Tree Theater: Picard's heretofore unknown love child. "Bloodlines" also fits into the trend of these last few episodes by telling a storyline that feels appropriate for a series winding toward closure — in this case going all the way back to the first season to bring back Bok as sort of a bookend, (although it's an oddly obscure choice).

Picard sets out on a mission to find Jason before Bok does, because, son or not, Jason is at the very least a target who now needs to be protected. Picard "rescues" Jason by beaming him off a rock face while he's in the middle of a recreational climb (which provides narrative shorthand for his adventurous risk-taking personality). DNA tests confirm Picard's paternity, and Jason is none too thrilled to learn that his unknown father has suddenly been revealed and now hopes to be part of his life. The character meat of the story, which is neither bad nor great but is reasonably decent, documents the gradual acceptance of Picard that Jason is able to reach. Meanwhile, Picard finds new emotional possibilities in realizing he's a father when he'd long assumed that fork in the road had been bypassed.

The problem with "Bloodlines" is, of course, its completely implausible plot surrounding Bok's convoluted plan for vengeance. If you think about it at all, it makes very little sense, especially once it's revealed that Picard's paternity was faked by Bok himself (who manipulated Jason's DNA) in order to concoct the "vengeance upon the child" scenario in the first place. I'm not an expert when it comes to blood-for-blood revenge, but somehow the idea of staging the creation of your enemy's son, then threatening to kill him, and then killing him (which Bok fails at, but let's suppose he had succeeded) seems like a really roundabout and, well, ineffective way of achieving satisfying revenge.

The final showdown between Bok and Picard has no juice (and lots of exposition), because Bok is so strategically outmatched and pathetic that it's hard to picture any legitimate menace here at all. Really, "Bloodlines" contains this plot only because it has to have something for the audience to latch onto besides some character moments that cannot carry the hour on their own, while building in a reset that undoes the notion of Picard actually having a son. The whole thing plays like a compromise.

Previous episode: Firstborn
Next episode: Emergence

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56 comments on this post

    The Captain with a full-grown son, at least until they learned he wasn't, who he thought he'd have to do some catching up with. An enemy who wants revenge for what happened 15 years earlier and the death of a loved one. This episode always reminded me of TWOK.

    "...going all the way back to the first season to bring back Bok as sort of a bookend, (although it's an oddly obscure choice)."

    For that matter, the Traveler's appearance in "Journey's End" counts as a first season bookend, too. But given the repressed memories of that godawful shakedown, any callbacks would have to be obscure. The only non-obscure callback I can think of is a payoff of the "Conspiracy" conspiracy. (And, of course, Q's trial of humanity.)

    What if TNG had committed to packing Season 7 with as many bookends as possible? We would have seen:
    -war between the Anticans and Selay
    -the Edo God dispensing justice against the Federation (by stepping on grass, or something)
    -the Tarellians, cured of their plague, settling on Aldea and displacing the sterile natives
    -Portal, lonely for his lost T'Kon Empire, using Dr. Manheim's time machine to visit the past, where he was responsible for the creation of Armus

    Instead, someone pinned "Bok returns" on the bulletin board in the writers' room, and that's what they went with.

    Of the three family episodes (Bloodlines, Firstborn and Journey's End) this is probably the strongest. The premise is goofy, but there's less out of left field and the acting is better.

    yeah, I like this one too. I don't know why, I guess it is just well acted, and I always kind of liked Daimon Bok. Yes, the plot is stupid and convoluted, but IMO it is done well, and that puts it above a number of the movies.

    BTW, I agree with this critiscm of making callbacks to so-so episodes from season 1, considering there were so many good ones. Why not bring back the Bynars, or Dixon Hill, of Minna, or the aliens from Conspiracy, or Admiral Quinn, or farpoint, or anything from a good episode? Why these middling ones? Or why not go further, why not good episodes from TOS, like the guardian on forever, or the doomsday machine, something that would be fun, and us trekkies would LOVE.

    I found the scenes between Jason and Picard moving myself - but I suppose Patrick Stewart can carry almost any script and make it seem awesome. I too agree, of the recent family episodes, this was the strongest one. I agree the revenge was rather convoluted, but who said Bok wasn't insane, anyways? He could have just transported a bomb to Picard's ready room it seems, to get his revenge, but apparently Bok was too tricky for his own good.

    I also liked some of the humor in this episode. It was also interesting to see Troi be told off by Jason, that rarely happens to her in the show.

    I agree with others for the Edo, the Ligonians, and the Bringloidi, there's really no one I wanted to see again less than Bok. Another appearance by "Kevin Uxbridge" would have been more interesting.

    I give this episode credit for Picard making a bald joke about himself. Other than that, I always thought it was a pretty hokey plot.

    I actually like the idea of revisiting Bok, but the convenient long-lost son angle is so tedious. I particularly dislike DNA evidence being given as proof that we have to grudgingly accept this kid as Picard's son, and then find out no, Bok just rubbed some of Picard's DNA on the kid and no one could tell the difference.

    So we had bookend appearances by Q & Tomalak, Wesley & the Traveler... and Bok. Here are 10 villains who deserved a last hurrah more than Bok:

    *the Conspiracy bluegills - naturally.
    *Sela Yar - her story was not finished.
    *Kivas Fajo - plug him into the spec script for "Gambit" and it's automatically more interesting than plain ol' pirates. Either Fajo or...
    *"Ardra" - regardless of merit, "Devil's Due" was the highest-rated TNG episode to date. That's supposed to guarantee a sequel.
    *The nanites - four-plus years after Picard casually deposited them on a planet, they must have evolved superpowers like Voyager's "Drone."
    *The Ux-Mal prisoners - all it would take is a passing Pakled ship to fall for their trick and suddenly the Enterprise is a target for vengeful ghosts.
    *Lore/Maddox/Adm. Haftel - after "Descent part 2," Starfleet finally possesses a Soong android whose rights nobody is defending.
    and finally...
    *Dr. Pulaski - maybe they invited her back for "Parallels" but it didn't work out.

    Some of these are undoubtedly covered by novels; I wouldn't know. But they were ripe to become canonical episodes. Don't tell me the writers were out of gas. They took the effort for a Bok comeback, and these would've been much easier. They practically write themselves, they're so obvious (of course, it took me 20 years to think of them).

    @Grumpy, I know Pulaski is not always well-liked, but I'm not sure I'd call her a "villain." ;) Definitely I would have liked to see Pulaski in s7, in "Parallels" if nowhere else.

    The season also lacks Guinan -- I get that Whoopi Goldberg is hard to get, but it's a shame that her last episode appearance is "Suspicions."

    "...DNA tests confirm Picard's paternity..."

    Perhaps the writers were lampooning all of their Fun with DNA[tm] episodes. Everyone standing around anxiously waiting for the results like an episode of Jerry Springer. As if in a universe where Genesis happened not 5 episodes ago a DNA test means anything. Ha! The writers sure are funny.

    Well, if "Lessons" was the post-"The Inner Light" episode in which Picard seriously considers a real relationship, "Bloodlines" is the post-TIL episode in which Picard seriously considers fatherhood, though really fatherhood is thrust on him. I think Jammer describes the episode's problems pretty well. Half the episode is devoted to justifying this story existing in the first place, how to give Picard a son (whom he believes to be his biological son) without actually giving him one. The other half is Picard and Jason gradually coming to terms with each other, in a story that is always going to be a bit of a non-starter since it gets reset at the end.

    I like Lord Garth's point that this is kind of a remake of TWOK, or at least Bok tries pretty hard to make it into one. As in "The Battle," I almost wish Bok's case against Picard were stronger, so that we could view his attack on Picard as being more justifiable from Bok's POV and, more to the point, so that Bok's vendetta against Picard would say more about Picard. There is the hint of some fault on Picard's side -- he was in Ferengi space, though he didn't know so at the time -- and I guess we can view that as one of the risks inherent in choosing a career in Starfleet, that somehow, even if you try to avoid it, you will have responsibility for others' deaths.

    That there is a dark side to Starfleet in general, and Picard in particular, which comes to haunt his younger proteges/children is an element of both "Journey's End" and "Preemptive Strike," and so this episode is of a piece with them to some degree. In both those episodes, Picard's duty to Starfleet alienates him from his protege -- though the alienation is more permanent in Ro's case than in Wesley's -- and here, during the time when it seemed as if Jason was Picard's son, it seemed as if a) Picard was not told about Jason because Miranda Vigo didn't want the Starfleet man involved in her son's life, and b) Jason's life was in jeopardy due to the consequences of even being an honourable man in Starfleet -- that you will naturally make enemies, who will at some point come after one's loved ones. When it turns out that Jason is not really Picard's son, that this was just a deception created by Bok, in some ways Bok's revenge still takes hold -- because Picard still gets the experience of "gaining" and "losing" a son, though in a much less traumatic way than the way that Bok had attempted to do. And the fact that Picard *could have*, were it not for his full dedication to Starfleet, had a child sinks in further. Back in season one, Picard was certain that he did not want children and did not really regret his prioritizing his career over having a family, but by this point Picard's a little more uncertain about this. (And we know, from Sisko e.g., that it is not impossible to be both a Starfleet captain and father, even if Picard viewed it as impossible for him.) The story still goes to showing how Picard's career interfered with a personal life, by showing Picard a son he could have had.

    That's all very well, and the scenes between Picard and Jason in which they gradually overcome their estrangement work in some ways, mostly due to Patrick Stewart's fine performance. But Jason himself is pretty dull and a cliche, and so is Bok, and...I don't know, I'm running out of energy just talking about it. Not bad, especially by season seven standards, but it's not a particularly worthwhile outing. I'd probably say 2 stars, though the "hairline" line almost makes me want to bump it up to 2.5.

    With the free sex attitude of the Trekkian future you'd think they'd have come up with some sort of birth control to protect yourself in these casual encounters. Picard appears to have dodged a bullet but a little safe sex would have prevented this ruse.
    Nice little vengeance plot but you have to wonder if the Ferengi crew were just deaf or stupid. For some reason they were still expecting ransom money after Bok made it clear that he wanted Picard to see his dead son's corpse.

    @Paul :

    I think the third ret-con family episode this season is "Inheritance" not "Journey's End"

    I think the satisfaction would come out of picard thinking his son died, not that an actual son of his would die. Then again, I doubt picard is even slightly attached to his faked son.

    I enjoyed this episode and agree it's the strongest of the family tree ones that I've seen so far.

    But one quibble I had was with the revelation that Bok had somehow engineered Jason's DNA to make him appear to be Picard's son, and, in doing so, caused him to develop a degenerative neurological condition. From the viewpoint of the story, I get it that if Picard doesn't have a kid, Bok wanted to create one for him so that he could take his revenge, but why could the writers not simply permit Picard to actually be Jason's father? Was there some moral argument that postulated that Picard wouldn't be someone who would have a child out of wedlock? I didn't see what ostensibly happened as a moral failure of Picard's. The script even makes it clear that he and Miranda tried to keep in touch for a while after their romance, and also emphasizes Miranda never even revealed her pregnancy to Picard.

    Also, at what point did Bok re-jigger Jason's DNA to make him appear to be Picard's child anyway? Jason is older than the incident in which Bok's son was killed, so we have to presume Jason was born with a different father's DNA and at some point in the fairly recent past, Bok altered the young man's genetic code. How did Bok do that from a distance, without being noticed, and without it having any immediately noticeable effect on Jason? Assuming that the man who actually was Jason's father was not nearly a doppelganger for Picard, wouldn't at least some of Jason's characteristics have changed when basically half of his chromosomes were swapped out? I realize that this is a fictional procedure to begin with, but I would expect that if I woke up one morning with a different set of genes, I would be shocked at my suddenly changed appearance.

    I also had a hard time believing that Bok, who had recently paid his way out of prison, managed to not only gain access to a Ferengi ship and small crew, but also managed to use very advanced and esoteric transporter and genetic engineering technology to set his plot in motion, all while convincing the crew that it's just a simple kidnapping for ransom plot.

    This one is well acted, but implausible and poorly written. The Bok character wasn't a compelling one and this retraces the earlier episode too closely. Maybe an original draft had Jason as Picard's son, but that would have been the better route. The twist didn't work for me, seemed like poor writing to me.
    2-1/4 stars (the extra 1/4 star for Picard's hair line joke)
    I like some of the ideas in the comments for book end episodes. Sadly season 7 is awash with poor ideas and scripts. What a wasted opportunity.

    I didn't mind Bok returning (he made a good villain/story for both seasons 1 and 7 and for a TNG Ferengi) but I didn't like how he was defeated (essentially the same as the first time, convincing his crew his quest was unprofitable). The Picard/Jason Vigo story had moments but felt a bit too cliched and forced.

    Wow! This has to be one the most contrived set-ups I've ever seen in Trek.

    Let's examine Bok's plan here. For it work....
    1.) Bok must discover if a woman Picard had once been with later had a kid.
    2.) That kid would have to have been born almost immediately after the break-up.
    3.) Picard has to have no knowledge of this child.
    4.) The woman in question has to have never told her child about his father.
    5.) Said woman must now be dead, to avoid having her destroy the plan just by saying "You're not the father."
    6.) Bok must then locate this child.
    7.) Bok must then, somehow, clandestinely alter his DNA without him being aware of it.
    8.) Bok must then acquire super-advanced and hard-to-find/use technology (the subspace transporter).
    9.) Bok must then somehow convince a Ferengi crew that he is a DaiMon in good standing.
    10.) Bok must then lie to them about a possible ransom in order to ensure their cooperation.
    11.) Finally, Bok must go through all the motions of putting Picard in fear and then kidnapping his "son" off the Enterprise.

    Not only is that one truly, and needlessly, convoluted plan, but why does Bok go through all of this rigmarole in the first place? If his plan is to finally get revenge on Picard, why isn't he just trying to kill Picard again? Once he has the subspace transporter he could easily transport Picard off the Enterprise virtually at will and murder him. There would be nothing the Enterprise could do in order to stop him. Just pay a bunch of renegades to help you and boom problem solved. Instead, he wants to go through all this trouble to set up a scenario where Picard will feel bad for losing the "son" he never knew about anyway. Um, okay.

    Despite all of that, however, "Bloodlines" is actually pretty good once you get past the absurd set-up. It's got some wonderful character work for Picard, especially in his desire to be a better father to Jason than his father was to him. I also loved how Picard reacted to Jason's past criminal record - it didn't matter, he was still he's son. Just imagine how Worf would react to something like that from Alexander. He once exploded just because Alexander told a little lie. But Picard does the right thing. He's upset about the situation but doesn't let it come between the two of them or further damage the relationship, in fact he uses it to try to build a better relationship. Wonderfully done.

    There's also the wonderful use of the Ferengi. This is easily the best use of the Ferengi that TNG gives us, ever. That's because they finally are not presented as bumbling, incompetent fools. Bok, despite the ludicrous nature of his plan, is not a moron. Yes, he's borderline insane in his obsessive need for revenge. But, he's resourceful; he's intelligent; he's determined; he's not someone to be taken lightly. He's a force to be reckoned with. He also manages to be somewhat intimidating - owed no doubt to the actor delivering a rather nice performance. Even the other Ferengi characters aren't caricatures anymore. The member of the Ferengi government they finally manage to get ahold of isn't stupid either; he's a jerk, but not stupid. The three Ferengi on Bok's bridge aren't morons either. Yes, they were easily deceived by Bok, but when confronted with evidence to the contrary, they do the logical/rational thing. Hmm, two episodes in a row now that have featured good Ferengi characters (Quark on "Firstborn" and these ones). Now, if we can just scrub any memory of most of the Ferengi "comedy" episodes from DS9 from our minds, we'll be in good shape.

    Finally, I'm giving "Bloodlines" a +1 bonus to the score. I did this with a lot of Season Four episodes and it's only fair that I do it here as well. They brought back a Season One character/concept and actually put it to good use. Granted, Bok and his desire for vengeance is a rather odd choice, especially so very close to the end of the series (even if "The Battle" was among the best of Season One episodes). But, even now they were making an effort to fix past mistakes and I appreciate that. They gave Bok a better actor and the concept a better script and a better story and it paid off.


    @Luke - I knew it was convoluted, but my brain was happy enough to turn off for the most part. I think that this just ruined it for me though :P

    I never needed to consider this episode on that level....

    As noted above, a heck of a convoluted way of going about doing a "what if...?" episode. Bottom line is that this would probably have worked a whole lot better if Jason HAD been Picard's son - the hoops that have to be jumped through to make that not be the case after having established the premise are so extensive as to negate the very point of doing it in the first place.

    It's not helped by the fact that the episode never really seems to commit to the father/son relationship. There are a couple of OK scenes as the two talk but nothing that really excels. The rest of the episode is workmanlike at best.

    "You’ll never look at your hairline again in the same way" indeed. 2.5 stars.

    I would have liked this episode much more if Jason Vigo had actually been the love child between Picard and his female friend from Tapestry. There is a woman from his past with whom he had a liaison in that Q manipulated timeline. The benefit of this is that it would prove that the events of Tapestry *really* did happen! I never liked the way it was just dismissed as a Q fantasy. It would have given much greater meaning to both episodes.

    The whole set up is pretty implausible. That Ferengi guy really went to the trouble of making a fake son for his enemy?

    I thought Picard was sterile? Didn't he tell Wesley that having children wasn't possible for him or something along those lines? I guess not, given this episode, but that just makes some of his previous comments lose any weight they had. He does know men can have children up into the later years, making all his "that bridge is burned" statements false, right? He chose his career, but we've seen other captains with children.

    As much of a cop-out as it was, I'm relieved the guy wasnt actually his son. I can't really see Picard truly having a secret love child out there. Sure, Kirk might have a handful, Riker dozens... But Picard? Nah, just doesn't seem like him.

    Agree with the comments above... why introduce a Picard son, only to reveal in the end he isn't really a son afterall?

    I think the episode would have had more emotional heft if there had been that tie, but that Jason, understandably, wasn't ready to cuddle up to his life-long absentee dad and just wanted to be on his way. Kind of a "don't call me. I'll call you moment."

    We already know from Tapestry that young Jean-Luc was pretty impulsive, so sowing a wild oat or two wouldn't have been completely out of character. Oh well.

    Happy Father's Day 2017.

    It seemed to me that at the very end, Picard was sad he never had a family. Just look at his face as soon as Vigo is transported down.

    1.5 stars

    By this point in the series I had lost all interest in the show and was just ready for it to end since it was just phoning in the scripts and clearly everyone had already mentally moved onto Generations, VOY and DS9. That was a hard admission as a huge TNG fan but the show had been downhill all season

    A pretty decent hour of Trek until you give it more scrutiny and then it loses some lustre. Would have been much better had Jason actually been Picard's son --
    why does Picard give Jason the rare artifact at the end and then they act like they are father/son?

    So this episode is a major head-scratcher despite having a good premise and intriguing plot (aside from the subspace transporter that Bok came up with and that the Enterprise then replicates in a pinch -- that was a a technobabble stretch).

    Really, the best part of the episode is Picard realizing he's a father and trying to get to know Jason -- good thing the guest actor did a convincing job as a rebellious son, but one who is genuine. Some good heart-to-heart stuff after rock-climbing in the holodeck. Quality dialog on being a parent between Picard and Beverly too -- being patient etc. Overall a good acting episode for Patrick Stewart.

    As for Bok and the Ferengi, here they are a convincing threat and not the joke of a race I generally consider them to be portrayed as. It works in that the series is wrapping up and they bring up an old nemesis -- but Bok's plan is extremely far-fetched (fooling the other Ferengi to think he's a DaiMon, altering Jason's DNA, subspace transporter etc.) I guess when somebody wants revenge, they go through an obstacle course to try to exact it according to their specifications!

    A high 2.5 stars nevertheless for its entertainment value and quality family dialog. A lot of the criticisms can be swept under the rug. In the end, it's probably better that Picard doesn't have a lovechild. Also had the typical TNG problem solving to figure out Bok's game. Overall a decent hour of TNG -- a good idea with some flaws.

    Thank Patrick Stewart for this one. When the writing staff were out of ideas, they asked him if there was any story he felt needed to be told. He pulled DaiMon Bok out of his backside, saying it was intriguing that there was a man out in the universe who hated him (Picard) so much.

    Star Trek deserved a better send off.

    Jammer said: "I'm not an expert when it comes to blood-for-blood revenge, but somehow the idea of staging the creation of your enemy's son, then threatening to kill him, and then killing him, seems like a really roundabout way of achieving satisfying revenge."

    Jammer said it all really. The episode's central idea is very contrived. It's a shame, because Picard and Jason's scenes were beautifully acted - you saw real longing and regret in Picard's wounded face - and this episode gives us TNG's best Ferrengi, some of whom have dementedly funny lines of dialogue ("You can pay me with your son's life!", "I insist on being paid", "There is no profit in this!").

    mephyve said: "With the free sex attitude of the Trekkian future you'd think they'd have come up with some sort of birth control to protect yourself in these casual encounters."

    Several above have argued that Jason should really have been Picard's son. Others say they are happy that Picard remains without child (this, supposedly, "fits" his character better; Picard does, after all, come across as a kind of celibate Renaissance man). But I like your take better: have Picard militantly argue against, and be skeptical of, his paternal links. I mean, this is the 24th century. Contraceptives are super futuristic and Picard's a meticulous and careful guy, presumably also with regards to his semen.

    Just like the episode prior, “Firstborn”, this is a potentially great episode that is greatly harmed by its terrible ending.

    I think Bok's plan makes more sense if you assume he initially thought Jason was Picard's son, and only resorted to fakery when he discovered he wasn't.

    Penultimate episode to the series...we get this.

    S.7 was one family tree story after another. Usually a yawnfest; of course "Beverly banged by a ghost and dead grandma comes to life" is wacksville watchable.

    Oops, there were a couple episodes after this before the finale. I watched 3 in a row, and got them mixed up...or just forgot the others, as they were so stupid.

    The hairline comment. A brilliant, fourth-wall breaking end to lighten the mood of a serious moment. Love TNG!

    Look how the Ferengi have improved over the years of TNG. No longer cartoonish in the same way, they start to approach Quark and company as believable. Its funny that all we saw on DS9, to my recollection, is the commerce side of the Ferengi and not the military, scientists etc that we saw on TNG.

    OMG Jason is a perfect Jack Nicholson. Why doesn't Picard show him the Holodeck. I bet there are great climbing programs in it...oops there it is

    This was a nice calm look at Jason and Picard navigating their new relationship..not fake instant connection or forcing it. This was a nice arc for Picard and well acted by both him and Jason.


    . I am not sure what to think of the Ferengi finding superior technology but it makes sense since they are wealthy and travel and trade far....its funny how Bok turns his knife around and safely gives the knife handle to his comrade when he billionth rule of acquisition .....never run with scissors.

    Guy who plays Vigo is just laughably inept. Its like his mom told him he was handsome as a child, he believed it and all he can do is do his best "Tom Cruise" smile. However, any serious acting is beyond him.

    Terrible writing as well. Why would Picard waste his time on this jerk off? Bok wants him dead so Picard should have sent him to Bok via a depressurized airlock. .5/5.0 stars.

    Obviously Bok had found Vigo's mother by posing as Picard in an intergalactic lonely hearts column, or whatever the subspace romance on line dating equivalent would be !

    Well - I quite liked this one. Quite engaging and interesting, I thought. The guy who plays Picard's pseudo-offspring reminds me of a cheesy and annoying Jim Carrey, but I guess he's supposed to be like that. I was relieved that he wasn't banging a holographic Deanna in Holodeck 4, when Picard turned up.

    He looks a bit older than 23, and it turns out the guy who played him was ten years older than that.

    Anyway .. a couple of things wrong with this episode. Firstly, the idea that the Enterprise is so easily vulnerable to an attack by a rogue Ferengi. And secondly - Picard performing his own one-man special forces away mission with a phaser.

    Still - not bad.

    Honestly it would of been interesting if Picard did indeed have an illegitimate son and the episode simply focused on Picard and Jason coming to grips with that, it would of made for a strong season 7 episode.

    The whole Bok thing was just a distraction , they had to make him pathetic because hey ....we had a season 1 tng Ferengi that we now have to integrate into a DS9 Ferengi template. They went from these space raiders to space businessman

    LOL! They didn't have the guts to give Picard a real son, so they set him up with a poseur who's part of a Ferengi's vendetta with Picard. A real son turning up would have stretched the writers' tiny minds plot wise: to send him away at the end or keep him on. That would have tested Picard's human skills big time. Hell, he goes to Beverley for parental advice! But he's free at the end courtesy of genetics -what a convenience DNA is to every ST writer stuck with writer's block!- to back to being married to the Enterprise.

    I've tried to figure out what about season 7 makes so much of it so blah. I think this one points to it.

    1) Picard goes to Beverly's office to talk and he sits down. It's all serious and dramatic, but tells us nothing. Cut away then cut back and he's still sitting there. So much screen time is given, you get the impression she's unloaded quite a lot of info, but she really didn't.
    2) Picard and his apparent son have lengthy banal conversations. Frankly, I could scarcely care less if the kid was his.

    Haha, I guess I still haven't found a way to identify the overall issue. I do think not much happens and Stewart phones in a lot of episodes this season.

    I think programs it might be Jeri Taylor being showrunner for season 7. The lengthy Picard/Beverly meeting (in my impression) isn't actually "wrong", it just feels weird to me. It actually reminds me of Interface, where something just seems off, like it's almost a different show. A new showrunner could certainly result in that.

    It's obviously an artistic choice. I think in an earlier season Picard would not have still been sitting there after cutting away. And, again like Interface, this one feels more realistic than typical TNG. One may like or dislike, but it's definitely a change.

    @Silly, I commented about the "season 7-ness" of Aquiel, even though it's a season 6 episode. I pasted it below. I'd also add that the departure of Ron Jones and the subsequent sterilizing of the musical score by Rick Berman in season 4 doesn't help matters either. It's kind of like season 7 is more like a stage play, one of Beverly's stage plays even. You don't have the music, the cast, or the location, so it always feels a little off.


    I'm always surprised when this one [Aquiel] shows up because it feels like such a season 7 episode, similar in scope and pacing to Eye of the Beholder. I think the reasons is because season 7 has a sort of sterility that's hard to quantify. It kind of parallels the downturn of Mythbusters in its later seasons, even before it became the Adam and Jamie cinematographer wank fest following the dismissal of the build team.

    The first season of Mythbusters was also just Adam and Jamie, but they brought in random helpers as needed, and they had interviews with experts. They also documented the difficulties of tracking down the materials and supplies they needed. In the shop, there'd be random people milling about in the background working on other things, and overall there was an active bustling atmosphere about everything. By later seasons, it was much more focused on only the hosts and special guests, and I noticed that the hustle and bustle was gone. It felt less like filming some guys in their workshop, and more like filming two TV stars on a set. They stopped documenting most of their acquisition process too because, frankly, they could call up anyone and get just about anything they wanted by then. Adam even commented once that while driving down the highway with a bunch of pig carcasses in the bed of his truck someone looked over quizzically until they realized "oh, it's the Mythbusters guy."

    TNG seems to have gone down a similar path. The early seasons seemed much more active, lived-in, and experimental. There were more people milling about on the Enterprise (especially notable in season 1), they visited planets with more than just three or four high-level government officials, and random characters would get a little bit of screen time, if not some lines. By late season 6 and season 7 though, it all seems much quieter. In a way there's more bottle (or near bottle) shows. That in and of itself isn't necessarily a problem, but it seems like there's nobody around except the people directly part of the story. Yes there's always some extras manning the rear stations on the bridge or lounging in ten-forward, but it still feels strangely empty. It's as if their budget was cut and they couldn't get enough extras to properly populate the sets. On the other hand, after 6+ years, the production crew had built up plenty of sets, props, and construction experience, so they could bang out some nice sets with less resources.

    Of course there's exceptions through to the end of each series, but the overall pattern seems to be pretty evident. Aquiel feels very much in this late-stage mold to me.

    Was writing Jason as such a smug jackass intentional or was that just how the writers were trying to show him as being a "bad ass edgy alpha male?"
    I hate this episode because Jason is such a little punk and I can't focus on it because I keep thinking about how badly i want to cut his stupid little cowlick off

    What a cop out. Why not just have the guy ACTUALLY be Picard's son? That would have given the episode some actual weight. But with the reveal, nope, this is just another minor event that will never be mentioned again.

    I can totally buy that Picard would have a son he didn't know about. Tapestry reveals that Jean-Luc was quite the womanizer in his youth, and he's obviously matured and changed quite a bit over the last 25 years. It's completely believable that he could have gotten a woman pregnant in his 20s and never found out about it.

    Now, is Jason the son we would all want him to have? No, of course not. He's clearly not the son Picard himself would want to have, either. But that's how life goes sometimes, and finding out that he had a screwup for a son could have created some very interesting storytelling opportunities for Picard.

    But oh well never mind DNA shenanigans.


    Journey’s End, First-Born, and Bloodlines are a trio of end-of-series episodes all linked by a parental theme. Crusher’s was good, Worf’s I skipped through the first half of in 5 minutes before realising how bored I am by stories about Klingons, and this one was also pretty poor.

    - seismic activity requiring emergency transport within 5 minutes of arriving at K-Mart?

    - security details that hang about in a wooden way within elbow reach of their subject?

    - a “long lost son” never before suspected?

    - Troi persisting in her ineffective “counselling” while being overtly hit on?

    - Picard diverting the Enterprise to K-Mart based on a mere rumour with no authorisation from Starfleet?

    I did finally make it to the end but not with much enjoyment. The show limps towards its end with some forgettable episodes. 1.5 stars.


    Agreed, why not make him Picard's son? And/or even kill the kid?

    Why play it so reset button safe at almost the very end of the series?

    Considering how far back this reaches into early season one, I bet this story had been sitting in the dusty "meh" pile for quite some time.

    Who even remembered Bok? I was super into TNG first run but couldn't remember what this was based on because the original was rather weak. And Bok wasn't the strength of The Battle. I far more remembered the Stargazer, the Picard maneuver and the surprisingly effective "first officer to first officer" banter.

    Nope, Stewart brought it up.

    Memory Alpha:

    "The idea for this episode resulted from a conversation Jeri Taylor had with Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart on set during the filming of "Masks". Taylor asked Stewart if there were any aspects of his character that he felt were unexplored. Stewart noted the unsatisfied vengeance of DaiMon Bok from the first season episode "The Battle"."

    @ Silly,

    That's a hilariously appropriate example of how Patrick Stewart is a wonderful performer but has zero judgement about show content. Everything he ever asked for on TNG was conceptually stupid (although admittedly I like Captain's Holiday).

    When we first meet Jason Vigo, he turns out to be pretty much a dick, and more so as the episode progresses. Later he and Picard sort of bond over the fact that he's impressed that Picard can climb and make jokes about his being bald, and Jason is sort of redeemed. Later still, Picard saves Jason's life, and at the end the two seem to be on more-or-less good terms as they’re walking toward the transporter room. Finally, Picard gives Jason that Gorlan prayer stick thing as a present, and he doesn’t even say thank you. Dick.

    They’ve cured cancer by the twenty-fourth century. They can’t create a 100 percent effective contraceptive?

    Maybe Jason's mother wanted to get pregnant.

    When it was revealed that Picard kinda sorta had a son whose existence he was unaware of, I too thought the mother would turn out to be Marta Batanides, the fellow ensign he slept with in "Tapestry."

    This was surprisingly good, in my view.

    I'd ordinarily fast-forward or outright skip episodes about old family ties and personal drama but this one kept me semi-glued to the screen from start to finish. It was clear from the go that there was more to it all than meets the eye and there was enough "science" in the sci-fi mix to keep things interesting for me.

    Agree with Jammer's score.

    "Jean-Luc, you are not the father."

    *high fives all around*

    "Sorry your mom was such a whore, kid."

    Bok's plan never made any sense, Picard had no idea this "son" of his existed until now. He never raised him, he had no attachment to him whatsoever. Surely he could have tracked down one of Picard's actual family members, someone he was really close to, instead of this convoluted plot to invent a son for him. Also this subspace transporter technology seems to work pretty well for something Star Fleet decided to just give up on. Uses too much energy? Come on...

    This should have been called "Much ado about nothing". (Spoilers below, but then you just read the review, so...)

    1. A Ferengi turns up acting as if this is still season 1 and DS9 hasn't spent two or three years trying to rebuild the Ferengi into a believable race with convincing motives.

    2. Ferengi aren't murderers or kidnappers. I'm sure there are plenty who actually are or who would want to be if they could, but there's more profit in selling guns than going round shooting people or holding grudges.

    Note re these points: the Picard season 3 writers also clearly failed to understand the Ferengi.

    3. The whole episode is moot because the bloke Bok is after isn't even Picard's son - the whole thing has been weirdly engineered (presumably at vast expense) as a hostage crisis, except that Bok is about to kill the hostage anyway and the Federation doesn't actually use money or negotiate with terrorists, so good plan lads.

    4. The bloke Picard thinks might be his son is written as a complete dickhead who nobody even likes.

    5. We all know it's not gonna be Picard's son - why introduce him this late and make him an utter knob, or add backstory about a past relationship we've never heard of with a woman who doesn't even turn up in the episode? So why do this episode at all?

    It wasn't completely horrible - the parts with Bok using unknown, advanced technology to stalk Picard was really interesting, it was good to see the E-D crew being totally mystified by it. If they'd had maybe a Nausicaan instead of a Ferengi, it wouldn't have seemed this odd.

    Still, it's a 2 out of 5 episode and not one iota more.

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