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Bloodlines (episode)

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(written from a Production point of view)
"Bloodlines"
TNG, Episode 7x22
Production number: 40277-274
First aired: 2 May 1994
173rd of 176 produced in TNG
173rd of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
321st of 728 released in all
Jason Vigo
Written By
Nicholas Sagan

Directed By
Les Landau
47829.1 (2370)
Arc: Bok's revenge against Picard (2 of 2)  
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DaiMon Bok threatens the life of a son Picard never knew he had.

Summary

Teaser

The USS Enterprise-D encounters an unmanned probe, unarmed, which hails Captain Jean-Luc Picard by name. The probe projects a holographic image of Bok, the Ferengi who tried to kill Picard six years ago. He still wants revenge for the murder of his son, so he tells the captain he will murder his own son, Jason Vigo, to settle the score.

Act One

Picard is stunned. He manages to put a tractor beam on the probe, and has Commander Data start searching for Jason, starting with Miranda Vigo. He also has Commander William T. Riker find out why Bok is wearing a DaiMon's uniform. Riker soon reports the Ferengi government is busy debating, and that Data found Jason. He is now 23, and he and his mother settled on Camor V. Riker does not ask, but Picard answers the question: yes, he was involved with his mother in a short, but very romantic relationship. She never said anything about being pregnant.

Once in orbit of the Camor system, Data can find no more information; their records are scattered at best. He scans for Human life signs on the southern continent, and finds eight Humans, including a male below the surface between 20 and 30 years old. When Commander Worf detects seismic activity, Picard has him beam the boy out of there. When he meets Captain Picard, he doesn't know who he is, and doesn't recognize him. After confirming he is in fact Jason Vigo, Picard slowly explains the situation, and Jason submits to a genetic test. Indeed, Captain Picard is his father.

Act Two

Picard tries to talk to him like a father, but Jason does not seem interested in having one. He considers Picard to be annoying, and is somewhat resentful. He doesn't want to get to know his father.

Data, meanwhile, has been analyzing the probe. It has encrypted systems, making them unable to determine where it came from. Fortunately, with the help of Geordi La Forge, they have determined several environmental conditions its hull has been exposed to. This still leaves a wide range of trajectories, but they continue to work on it.

A transmission from DaiMon Birta on the Ferengi homeworld soon arrives, and Birta explains that Bok was relieved of command for being too unstable, and was sent to prison, from which he bought his way out two years ago. The last they knew, he was somewhere in the Dorias Cluster, an area of more than twenty star systems. Fortunately, given the conditions the probe suffered, La Forge and Data manage to plot its trajectory to the Xendi Sabu system. Picard sets a course immediately.

While en route, he talks with Doctor Beverly Crusher about the walls Jason is putting up. He doesn't want to force anything on him. She does believe it's possible, but he can't just leave Jason alone. At the same time, Counselor Deanna Troi talks to Jason, but it is clear he is more interested in her than the subject of his father. It is a very short discussion, but Jason would rather flirt with her than just talk to her.

When the Enterprise drops out of warp, Picard is awakened by Bok's voice. He suddenly opens his eyes to find Bok standing in front of him. After repeating his threat, Picard calls security, but Bok is gone a split second later.

Act Three

La Forge and Worf don't find anything at first. They can tell it's not a hologram because there was no generator, and he probably wasn't being mind controlled again. Soon after, Data informs Picard of Jason's criminal record: dozens of minor crimes related to his rock climbing activities.

In Ten Forward, Jason asks the guards to back off, and hides a sudden tremor. Picard soon arrives, and tries to get Jason interested with rock climbing, but Jason pushes him away. He says he will leave after Bok has been caught, and he sees no point in them getting acquainted.

"Captain's Log, stardate 47829.1. We've been in the Xendi Sabu system for over three hours and still no sign of Bok."

That's when Worf detects another probe. Soon, it explodes, causing no damage since the shields are up. As part of the explosion, there is a particular series of flashes, which Data sees is a message in B'Zal, a Ferengi code. It says "My revenge is at hand."

Picard returns to his ready room, quite agitated, and soon Bok appears. Picard tries to negotiate with him, saying he didn't know he was in Ferengi space. But Bok simply wants payment for his son's life; his feelings about the matter are none of his concern.

Just then, security calls Dr. Crusher to Jason's quarters, where she finds him experiencing a seizure without warning.

Act Four

She examines him, and finds it is Forrester-Trent Syndrome, a rare neurological condition. The best she can do is halt the degeneration. She also plans to run a microcellular scan in case it was caused by a random mutation.

After he left, Picard admits he was right; he convinced himself that Jason didn't want to reach out to him. But he wishes he was part of his life, and Jason might not have a criminal record if he were there. Dr. Crusher simply advises him the best tool of a parent is patience, and that he should use the time he has well.

Picard returns to his ready room to find Data and La Forge scanning it. They have found that a chair Bok sat in on his last visit now resonates with a particular subspace signature. They believe it is from a subspace transporter, a technology considered too unreliable and energy-intensive by the Federation. Data believes that they can trace the transporter signal if Bok uses it again, but Picard is more interested in Bok's ability to kidnap Jason. La Forge hypothesizes that they could hold Jason here by tying the transporters to the subspace field coils, and he tells them to make it so.

Once they are gone he decides to check up on Jason. He finds him in the holodeck, rock-climbing. After telling security to wait outside, he climbs up onto the same ledge Jason is on. On the rocks, they start having a better conversation. Picard asks what happened to Jason's mother, and he tells him about orphans left there from the Cardassian war, and how she taught them all. She was attacked by two men in the street one day, for the food she was carrying, and since she wouldn't give it up, they killed her. He is obviously shaken up by the story. Picard asks how he can be a father to him, since he and his own father were estranged. Jason still doesn't want to be his son, and tries to push him away with his bad behavior. It doesn't work. Eventually, Jason seems to be willing to accept him. That's when Dr. Crusher calls him to sickbay with some news about Jason.

Meanwhile, on the bridge, a signal has been detected; Bok is using his transporter again. He locks on to Jason, and La Forge puts up a fight with Enterprise's transporter, but before the captain can rescue Jason, Bok reestablishes his lock, and Jason disappears.

Act Five

Bok then beams another probe to their location, and sends the message that he has Jason. Fortunately, Data traces the location of his ship, 300 billion kilometers away. It would take twenty minutes at warp 9 to reach them.

Picard asks Data if the modified transporter could create the same effect of Bok's transporters. He says yes, but it would be inadvisable to use that method of travel. That's good enough for Picard. He has La Forge transport him over there.

As Jason is negotiating for his life, Picard appears. He has the other Ferengi put down their weapons, and tells Bok it's not his son. He knows Bok resequenced Jason's DNA, but it gave him a neurological disorder. When one of the other Ferengi complains about not getting the ransom, Picard says there never was one; it was only for revenge. Since the Enterprise is on its way, their only hope is to give Bok (who is not a DaiMon) over to them. They agree as they turn on Bok and release Jason.

"Captain's Log, stardate 47831.8. At the request of Jason Vigo, the Enterprise has returned to Camor V."

Jason has decided he will return to Camor V to straighten out his life. As a farewell present, he receives a Gorlan prayer stick from Picard and suggests that Picard look him up any time he was in the area.

Memorable Quotes

"Look, Jason. I just want to talk to you because I'm the ship's counselor. If you don't want to talk to me that way, then I should leave. You're welcome to make an appointment in my office whenever you're ready."
"I'll do just that."

- Deanna Troi and Jason Vigo


"He was charged three times for petty theft, twice for disorderly conduct. He was also charged several dozen times for trespassing."
"How is all this related?"
"The charges were related to his climbing activities."

- Data and Jean-Luc Picard about Jason Vigo's criminal record


"Let me tell you something that I've never told anyone before. I've been into a lot of trouble since I was a teenager. I lie, I steal, I use people. I'm a criminal, that's what your son is."

- Jason Vigo, to Jean-Luc Picard


"Like it or not, I'm your father. I don't know what that means, I know that means something, has some connection. But one thing is clear: you'll never look at your hairline again in the same way."

- Jean-Luc Picard, to Jason Vigo


"Would you care to stay on the Enterprise for a few more days?"
"No, thank you. I have a life back on Camor. It's a mess but I'd like to go back there and straighten things out."
"I understand."

- Jason Vigo and Jean-Luc Picard


"Lower your weapons, or Bok is dead."
"Lower yours or your son dies!"
"You know as well as I do Bok, he is not my son."

- Picard explaining to Bok that he knows

Background Information

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)
  • The episode received an uncredited polish by René Echevarria. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
  • 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)
  • The Next Generation Companion notes that before Bok's plot is revealed, Picard and Jason's relationship is similar to that of Kirk and David Marcus in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Nick Sagan recalled drawing on his own once estranged relationship with his father as inspiration.
  • "Bloodlines" was filmed between Thursday 10 February 1994 and Thursday 17 February 1994 on Paramount Stage 8 and 9.
  • According to the Companion, many of the names in this episode are in-jokes:
  • First UK airdate: 5 June 1996

Sets and props

Continuity

Reception

  • 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 much 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 out...it's like 'Oh no, who's next? Is it Guinan's third cousin?'" [1]
  • 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)

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Guest stars

Co-stars

Uncredited co-stars

Stunt doubles

Stand-ins

References

Archaeology; artifact; B'Zal; bioscan; Bok's Marauder; botanist; Camor V; carrier wave; DaiMon; Dorias Cluster; Earl Grey tea; Earth; Federation; Ferengi probe; Gorlan prayer stick; holodeck; Kurlan naiskos; painting; Picard, Maurice; quantum flux; red alert; rock climbing; Rog Prison; Silvan glyph stone; Stargazer, USS; statue; subspace transporter; Vigo, Miranda; Xendi Kabu system


Previous episode:
"Firstborn"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 7
Next episode:
"Emergence"

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