Mark Watches ‘The Next Generation’: S07E22 – Bloodlines

In the twenty-second episode of the seventh season of The Next Generation, this should not have turned out as entertaining as it did. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

Seriously, y’all. For the first half of “Bloodlines,” I kept wondering how such a basic and uncomplicated story was possibly going to last forty-five minutes. Until Nick Sagan’s script figures out what it’s doing, this was a listless, meandering story, one that was both unbelievable and bizarre. I’ll repeat what I said in the video for this episode: season seven of The Next Generation feels more and more like my terrible fanfiction AU where the writers have a whiteboard full of weird ideas that they use repeatedly for concepts. Someone suggested, “Picard has a secret son!!!” Then someone else wrote a whole story surrounding this, but threw in DaiMon Bok??? Who thought it was a good idea to harken back to the time when the Ferengi were supposed to be a violent and threatening species that we were meant to fear? WHO?

Thus, the first half of this episode is a relentless mess. I suppose the whole point of the “randomness” of the introduction of Jason Vigo was intentional. A fling on shore leave twenty-four years prior led to Jason’s conception, and his mother, Miranda, simply never reached out to Picard to tell him he had fathered a son. It’s a tired trope, isn’t it? Not to say it doesn’t happen, but when the entire focus is on the father and not the mother who had to raise a son (AND, APPARENTLY, LIKE 40 OTHER CHILDREN WHO WERE ALL ORPHANS OR REFUGEES) solo, it’s just… I dunno, not that interesting? Look, as soon as Jason finally told us what Miranda was like and why she chose to live on such a hostile planet, I wished I’d gotten an entire episode about her. SHE SOUNDED SO AMAZING.

While it was interesting to see Patrick Stewart play Picard in an awkward, complicated predicament, there was absolutely no chemistry between him and the actor playing Jason. Jason is SO BORING THE WHOLE EPISODE, with one exception. (I’ll get to that in a bit.) He may understandably be cold to Picard because he has no reason to feel any affection towards him, but he doesn’t seem to offer the episode anything else that felt dynamic. He climbs mountains! He steals! And he… Um. Well. He is mad sometimes? And he has hair. And…well, there’s….there’s the whole…um. Yeah. I can’t even find a way to describe him outside of his interactions with Picard. He’s about as bland as they come, which is such a shock because Picard and Miranda are so goddamn interesting! How did those two people create a son who is so plain?

So, we’ve got a bland son who couldn’t grab my attention, and then there’s DaiMon Bok, who is about as intimidating as – shit, as a Ferengi. He’s not scary, and his constant teasing of Picard is rendered largely nonsensical when we discover that Bok could have just beamed Jason off the ship in the first place. Did he honestly think that the people on the Enterprise wouldn’t discover what he’d done? Granted, the huge plot twist at the end of “Bloodlines” is one of the most interesting parts of the whole story. JASON ISN’T ACTUALLY PICARD’S SON. By resequencing Jason’s DNA in order to make it look like he was PICARD’S son (HOW DID HE GET PICARD’S DNA, I DON’T UNDERSTAND), he unknowingly gave Jason a rare disease.

Yet even though this unraveled his whole plan, it did give us the one truly fantastic scene in “Bloodlines.” That conversation that Jason and Picard have in the Holodeck is INCREDIBLE. That’s partly because it’s the first chance for us to finally learn more about Miranda Vigo, and her story is a billion times more fascinating than Jason’s backstory. But it also felt like the first time that Picard and Jason were honest with each other with the awkward pretense we’d seen prior to this. That’s especially the case with Jason, who finally drops his guard to sadly state that Picard wouldn’t even want a son like him if he knew what a failure he was. It’s a great scene that shows us how fantastic Picard would have been like a father. Given that we’re at the end of the season, I’m certain Jason won’t show up again, but I liked the idea that Picard could be a father figure to this guy at some point.

If this episode had appeared earlier in the show’s run, maybe Jason could have become an iconic character. Maybe??? I don’t even know. It’s not my favorite by any means, but I was surprised how much it improved in the second half.

The video for “Bloodlines” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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