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TNG 7-22

TNG 7x22

Original airdate: 5/2/1994
Rewatch date: 1/4/2013

DaiMon Bok returns to exact vengeance on Picard by killing a son the captain didn't know he had.

Spoiler-free notes:

I like that they're revisiting a villain from Season One--it's another example of the last few episodes trying to tie themselves into the first few to give TNG a kind of symmetry--and I like how they quickly explain who Bok is for those who haven't seen (or don't remember) "The Battle." It's a shame they couldn't get the same actor, though.

The use of a possible unknown son of Picard's makes sense as a way for Bok to mess with Picard's head and get the vengeance he so desires, but it's problematic for three reasons: (1) Season 7 has way too much family-we-didn't-know-about plots; (2) it already happened to Worf in "Reunion"; and (3) more importantly, it is much too similar to the reveal of Kirk's son in Star Trek II. It makes more sense from Kirk, who is known to have difficulty with his pants, but it seems a little more awkward coming from Picard.

It would have been better if Jason had been the son of Marta Batanides, one of Picard's friends in the Academy with whom he slept in "Tapestry." By the way Picard acts, it seems like the only time Picard ever slept with her was in the alternate past that Q put him through, which would make this even more of a head trip for Picard. It would also bring the audience in a little bit more, as they would already know Marta from the previous episode. It would also make sense, narratively, that Picard wouldn't have known if Marta got pregnant, since they parted ways the day after they had sex.

Did they have to hire somebody who looks like a Backstreet Boy? This is supposed to be a young man who has been forged and tempered on a hostile planet known for famine, poverty, and bad climate. He's a repeat petty criminal and spends most of his time deep underground, climbing rocks. I have a hard time believing he'd be so clean-cut, well-fed, and well-shaven, with excellent posture, unblotched skin, a perfect haircut, good teeth, and an overinflated sense of his own charm. This is a good example of terrible casting.

I love that Picard calls Bok a "creature" without even hesitating.

The unstable, impractical transporter technology that the crew can trace once they know about it has already been seen before, in "The High Ground."

I know O'Brien's not on the ship anymore, but there should still be a Transporter Chief. Where is he/she when Picard does his extremely risky subspace transport?

It is my understanding that this episode came about from a conversation Jeri Taylor had with Patrick Stewart in which Stewart talked about wanting to revisit Bok. This, in and of itself, is not a bad idea, but the rest of the episode is hindered by a lack of originality. Stewart does a good job with his acting--most notably when Picard opens up about his relationship with his own father--but that's overshadowed by the bad casting decision for Jason Vigo (the actor himself isn't bad; he just doesn't fit the role) and the fact that Worf has undergone almost the exact same emotional progression with Alexander over multiple episodes. Additionally, the twist that Jason isn't Picard's son totally rips any meaning the episode might have had right out from under it. Instead, it cheapens the entire narrative, makes Picard seem a little bit too gullible, and makes the whole thing just feel like a waste of time.

TNG 7x21
Star Trek: The Next Generation
TNG 7x23
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