Star Trek: The Next Generation: Bloodlines   Rewatch 
November 29, 2021 10:10 AM - Season 7, Episode 22 - Subscribe

DaiMon Bok threatens the life of a son Picard never knew he had.

Trust me, if you knew anything about Memory Alpha, you wouldn't be trying so hard.

Story and production
  • 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". He commented, "It's always fascinated me that there is this creature running around the universe even now who despises me." Taylor gave the idea to Nick Sagan to flesh out. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • Sagan recalled, "I remembered [Bok] and I liked the kind of twisted, nasty villain he was and remembered thinking it was one of the few cool episodes first season...I figured Bok would try to get revenge against Picard's son and who would that be? Is Picard's son the ship? No, Kirk's son is the Enterprise. I decided to make it a genetically engineered pseudo son." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • Sagan noted that the original premise ("Fugue") was a lot darker than the aired episode. "The idea was that Bok had genetically engineered this kid from birth and advanced his growth and had been giving him memories of Picard abandoning him on the Stargazer. Then Bok was using one of the mind balls to give Picard these vague flashes of false memories, making him think that it was possible he had this sort of fugue-like experience where he basically abandoned his son on the Stargazer and blocked it out of his mind. I don't know if it would have ever worked or not, but it was kind of a really interesting, dark aspect and it gave you a sense of abandonment and trying to recapture this sense of a son he never had. Then it turns out that it's not that at all." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • Sagan had originally named the boy "Cristof", which was changed to "Daniel" by Echevarria. However, Stewart requested the name be changed to avoid using the name of his own son, who had previously appeared in "The Inner Light". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (? ed., p. ?))
  • This episode is a sequel of sorts to the first season episode "The Battle".
  • Lee Arenberg takes over the role of Bok from Frank Corsentino in this episode. He previously played the Ferengi Gral in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Nagus" and later played Tellarite ambassador Gral in several episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • Not all of the writers were enthused at Bok's return. Ronald D. Moore commented, "I wondered if the world knew or cared if DaiMon Bok came back again. I wasn't a big fan of that or 'The Battle' and I didn't see the point of repeating "Suddenly Human" where we really nailed an interesting arc with Picard having a sort of father/son relationship." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • Sagan felt that while "Bloodlines" was an interesting episode, it wasn't as good as his previous effort, "Attached". He agreed that this one did not provide as much closure, which was important to do in a show's final season. Sagan added, "I think that "Bloodlines" is also hurt by the fact that it seemed like in the seventh season there were a lot of relatives of characters trotted's like 'Oh no, who's next? Is it Guinan's third cousin?'"
  • However, Taylor argued that, "Patrick gives probably the most vulnerable performance of his career. He opened himself to this young man in a way that I have not seen him do. He was absolutely raw and open and hurting. I think by the power of his performance he brings this to another level of emotional intensity that takes it away from any of those other episodes." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
Poster's Log:

"Let's revisit someone we haven't seen since season one" isn't always a good well to go to, but the writers do a good enough job here giving us context clues to something that (on original release) we hadn't thought about in 6 years.

I love that Picard goes to Beverley for parenting advice literally two weeks after we watched her struggle with Wesley's annoyed return.

Amy Pietz, seen here as security lieutenant Sandra Rhodes, would get a huge career break the year after this episode aired. She co-starred for four years on the NBC sit-com "Caroline in the City" opposite Lea Thompson.

Picard's talk with Jason in the holodeck hits me really differently than it originally did, both as a father now to a 23-year-old and as a son who's gone through years of therapy to investigate his own relationship with his father.
posted by hanov3r (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'll agree with Jeri Taylor that Patrick Stewart really sells it here. You can see his guilt and his disappointment that his fakeson seems like a failson warring it out on his face. There are some parallels to Kirk finding out about David Marcus in STII, but at least David was an accomplished scientist, albeit one that accidentally created a weapon of mass destruction. (Perhaps Picard is also seeing what he himself might have become if he'd gone the other direction that was hinted at in "Tapestry" and become a ne'er-do-well.)

As for Bok, I wasn't exactly dying to see him again, but the continued obsession with getting revenge for his son was an appropriate counterpoint. At least he didn't just go and market his subspace transporter, which could have made for a scarily effective weapon. I was also glad that they avoided "disposing" of Jason by having his condition be terminal. (glances in the general direction of Shinzon)
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:46 AM on November 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Cards of the episode in the Star Trek CCG:

Life-form Scan would be a lot more useful if the game was more interactive, STCCG First Ed has a certain solitaireish quality.

Bok is one of those early Non-Aligned Ferengi cards, here it kinda makes sense since he's been disavowed by the Ferengi state. 2 Classifications and 2 more skills, not bad early in the game.

Incidentally, the card game dealt with the two Grals played by the same actor by dubbing the Ferengi Gral and the Tellarite Ambassador Gral, in case you were wondering.

Birta and Tol provide some skill filler for the proper Ferengi affiliation.

Subspace Transporter isn't that great for a Ferengi player, but say you want to 'donate' an infiltrator to your opponent's ship in flight then you might use it.

Second Edition gives us Birta, "Helpful" DaiMon with a drop of extra draw control, not bad.
posted by StarkRoads at 11:55 AM on November 29, 2021

I didn't remember the previous Bok episode at all, but it was refreshing to see a Ferengi who had some sort of actual motivation instead of just being a weird greedy idiot. Ken Olandt didn't really sell his role for me, but Stewart is great at picking up the slack.

Also, wow, I feel like Troi's been having a super tough season vis a vis her crewmates, right? How've you been, Troi? Oh. One of your fellow officers stabbed you, another Kobyashi Maru'd you, and another... bit you. Like, on the face? Wow, that's rough. I hope at least today was... your boss's son made a pass at you? Have you talked to HR about any of this? Oh, you are HR. Huh. Well, uh, good luck.
posted by phooky at 12:07 PM on November 29, 2021 [4 favorites]

I always thought that “Bloodlines” and “Firstborn” should’ve swapped titles. They make more sense applied to the other episode.
posted by Servo5678 at 12:23 PM on November 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

With Friday's ep and this one, it's like they're trying to make me dislike the show so much I won't miss it. Fakeson's actor reminded me so much of James Marsden it was weird. Also, return of the dreaded jumpsuit that comes across so awfully in HD (like, when you can tell which direction the actor dresses, it's hard to focus on anything else); they must have eradicated the need to pee by then because just imagine having to shimmy out of those every time you have to relieve yourself of any bodily function.

It feels like they just reached into the desperation grab-bag: son you never knew about + reVENge plot from first season episode no one remembers. They are lucky they had a talent like Patrick Stewart to sell it.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 12:48 PM on November 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

The funny thing is while I'm sure I would remember if I started watching it, just reading the post and comments does nothing to conjure up any image of this episode in my mind. I can't even remember the Greatest Generation episode about this episode. I'm drawing a complete blank.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:53 PM on November 29, 2021

Also! "No one goes that deep underground unless..." "They're taken against their will." (not a direct quote)

... I just. What.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 1:46 PM on November 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Fans of The Office U.S. may also recognize Amy Pietz as Donna.

As a story concept, it's one of those TV cliches I could've done without. But evaluated on its own merits, it's a much better ep than I remembered: decent casting on Jason, nice mature writing, and committed performances. Bok's entire scheme strains plausibility, but meh, ya never know with Ferengi.

I always thought that “Bloodlines” and “Firstborn” should’ve swapped titles. They make more sense applied to the other episode.

I KNOW RIGHT. I really thought this one was that one.

Fakeson's actor reminded me so much of James Marsden it was weird.

Weirder still: his voice sounds eeeeeerily similar to Tom Cruise's. Seriously, close your eyes while he's talking and it really could be him.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:41 PM on November 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Have you talked to HR about any of this? Oh, you are HR.

The paperwork for that must seriously suck; everything goes under "other" or "misc."

they must have eradicated the need to pee by then because just imagine having to shimmy out of those every time you have to relieve yourself of any bodily function.

see also: Seven of Nine (literally every time Jeri Ryan had to use the restroom during filming with the original catsuit, she had to be cut out of it and resewn back into it).
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:53 PM on November 29, 2021

Why do the 'oh one of the characters has a kid oh actually no they don't' cop out with like two episodes left?
posted by StarkRoads at 4:39 PM on November 29, 2021

Ken Olandt (Jason) was 36 when this episode aired. I thought he was a bit older than the 23 he's supposed to be, but the casting wasn't too egregious.
posted by porpoise at 7:13 PM on November 29, 2021

It was hard to believe Ken Olandt as Picard's son, because I remembered him from so many bit parts in the late 80's and 90's, including the completely unremarkable Super Force, which I watched at least a couple of episodes of, because what else was I going to do with my youth?
posted by skewed at 8:25 AM on December 1, 2021

Oh, and young Ken Olandt bears a striking resemblance to Jim Carey, while his more current pictures on IMBD make him a lookaline for Timothy Olyphant, which is a pretty good career progression.
posted by skewed at 8:27 AM on December 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

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