Monday, November 20, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 174 (Bloodlines)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

One of the problems with continuity is that it’s sometimes a stretch. In the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, we learned that Captain Picard had commanded a ship called the Stargazer long before taking command of the Enterprise and while commanding the Stargazer, Captain Picard ordered the destruction a Ferengi ship. Picard claims it was in self-defense, but the destroyed ship’s daimon (the Ferengi equivalent of a captain) had a father (also a daimon) who wanted revenge. After a failed attempt to get his revenge, he was stripped of his command own command and sent to prison.

That brings us to this episode. Apparently, Bok bought his way out of prison and is trying once again to get revenge. He’s using a holographic representation of himself to tell Picard that he knows about Picard’s son. Picard is somewhat mystified since he has no children. After some thinking, Picard realizes that the child that Bok referred to might be the result of a relationship he had with a woman about 28 years ago. She did have a child, Jason Vigo, who is about 27 now. Picard tracks him down and has him beamed aboard the Enterprise. Unfortunately, the mother died a few years ago and only told Jason that his father was in Starfleet.

Dr. Crusher performs a test, which reveals that the two really are father and son. Picard has to figure out how to protect someone that seems resistant to that help. Mostly, Jason is resistant to Picard. He grew up not knowing his father and seems to resent the intrusion now. He doesn’t want to be held on the Enterprise and doesn’t like having security guards follow him everywhere. Then, there’s the issue of how Bok is performing his tricks. He can seem to appear and disappear at will. Obviously, this presents a very big hole in security.

In the end, it turns out that Bok had actually manipulated Jason’s DNA to make it look like he was Picard’s son. It was all an attempt to make Picard feel the pain of losing a son. It’s obvious that Jason’s mother had another relationship. (Whether or not he was in Starfleet is up for debate.) I had to wonder if Picard was mistaken about the timeline or if Jason’s mother had two relationships within a few months of each other. The exact dates were never mentioned.

This was one of the better episodes. One of the major issues that comes up throughout the series is the balance between family and career. A lot of the episode deals with Picard getting to know a son he never knew he had. It’s not easy to meet your father and find out that someone’s out to kill you at the same time. I think what I like best is that it didn’t really rely too much on Bok. Another character could have just as easily been used. However, there are those that don’t give up.

I think that this episode was well placed near the end of the series. With the show nearing its end, I don’t think the writers could have a story that looked to the future. 

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