Star Trek The Next Generation: Bloodlines

"You don't have any choice. I insist on being paid."

When an angry Ferengi, Bok, comes back from the first season looking for revenge after Picard destroys his ship, he threatens to destroy the most precious thing that Picard didn't know he had – a son.

So Picard had lots of dalliances in his life, this time with Miranda Vigo, and he's not exactly surprised that he's a father. Picard's had an interesting history with fatherhood, hasn't he? He took on somewhat the role of a father for Wesley Crusher, without really sealing the deal. In a way this episode tries to take us back to that beginning – the first season with DaiMon Bok, with Picard trying to find ways to connect to Wesley as a father. I guess Picard's lucky Jason is an adult – if he'd been under 18, this might have been a very different episode.

Picard's guilt at not being there for Jason is palpable and based on Picard's history as someone estranged from his family. He blames himself for Jason's criminal record and life problems. On the other hand, he's been completely separated from Jason and has had no idea Jason existed. Essentially this is a story which turns into nothing, as Jason isn't really Picard's son. What's interesting about this episode is Picard's attempt to learn to be a father, to learn to connect with another individual, and the impact it seemed to have on the character. He had a family in "The Inner Light" as well, in an induced hallucination, and when I think about his history I think: this is Patrick Stewart building a character history, and doing it well, and by the end of the episode when Jason and Picard realize they aren't truly related, but now have a relationship thanks to the Bok drama, you can see Picard's sense of loss and internal disquiet.

But the Bok drama turns the entire process into kind of a joke. Is he insane? There is zero profit in trying to get revenge on someone by killing a son they don't have. In the end the episode wraps up like many a Shakespeare play: the bad guy is easily overcome, turned on by his own people, and Jason takes off back to Camor Five. Everything's wrapped up neatly and easily. Picard gives him an artifact as a memoir, and we never see Jason again.

Seen in the Scene

DaiMon Bok is played by Lee Arenberg in this episode. He's notable for two things: sharing my birthday, and appearing on four Trek franchises: Voyager, Enterprise, TNG and DS9.

Jason arrives in mid-climb, and tries to get back into position to be beamed back.

Troi is weird in this episode. She walks in randomly to meet Jason and play counselor, but reacts disgustedly and walks quickly away when he turns out to be lecherously interested. And then we never see her again.

Crusher giving Picard parent advice is fun.

What are the revisions being made to the Rules of Acquisition?

Read in the Captions

Picard: I've found out that Jason has a criminal record. It's nothing very serious, it's only petty theft and so forth, but I can't help feeling that if I had been part of his life then he wouldn't be so troubled now.
Crusher: Maybe, but why waste time blaming yourself for not having been there? Just be here for him now.
Picard: And be patient.
Crusher: And be patient.

Overall

A lukewarm one-off with some interesting moments. Three out of five bottles of Saurian brandy.

4 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Joseph, an excellent review of a lukewarm episode. I really do wish the guy had actually been Picard's son. It would have been much riskier and much more interesting. Why didn't they just do it? The series is almost over.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that they didn't want to make major changes to the characters like giving Picard a son or having Picard and Crusher get together because they wanted to leave things open for the movies.

Billie Doux said...

Anonymous, that makes sense.

JRS said...

Maybe he'll come back in the new Picard series!