Star Trek The Next Generation: The Arsenal of Freedom

"That's a heck of a sales pitch."

This is not a great episode, but it does have a few things going for it. Mainly, the characters all behave like they are supposed to for once.

I'd argue that this is really Geordi's episode. He had the biggest arc and the most important character moments. All of the things he experienced were a touch forced, but compelling nonetheless. His leadership style is very different from Picard's and Riker's. He doesn't command, as much as he guides. He pushes when he needs to, demands when it is required, but ultimately he trusts his subordinates to do what is right. Geordi in fact comes across more as a team leader than the sole voice of command. That's not a negative thing, I thought he did a great job as the captain, and so did Picard and Riker.

Riker and the away team didn't have a ton to do, except the action beats. I thought Riker probably had the best lines of the season when he was lying to the illusion of his old friend about the good ship Lollipop. The rest? Well, I thought Tasha finally started acting like a security chief, but Data didn't have much to do except be the science mumbo-jumbo mouthpiece.

Picard had his own kind of adventure, taking care of an injured Beverly. Picard clearly hates being out of control, and in this situation he is totally helpless. He has no contact with his ship or the rest of the away team, and he has to play caretaker to someone who could die at any moment. It's probably the greatest test of character Picard has suffered through so far, because it goes against his personality in practically every way, and that makes his actions stand out. He is attentive and cautious about Beverly and acts intelligently about her injuries. He does what he can to investigate, and even finds the answer to the riddle of the planet. All in all, it was a good Picard episode, too.

Now for the plot. Talk about absurd. Not even the late great Vincent Schiavelli can pull this one out of the mud. Not only is the plot very original series like, it is also illogical on every level. If Picard can reason that the hologram just wants to make a sale, why didn't the people that designed it come up with that solution? Okay, so it then wants to make a sale. Why would it then try to kill the people it is trying to sell too? I get wanting to demonstrate the product, but wouldn't it have holographic simulations to show? Or even other captured humanoids that failed to buy? Wouldn't that be just as intriguing a moral dilemma?


Stardate: 41798.2. Location: The planet Minos.

The weapon design was kinda bizarre and slightly creepy looking.

Whole beer for the saucer separation.

Deanna gave good advice for once. Is that what her job is supposed to be?

It only takes twelve minutes to construct one of those devices. What kind of bothers me is why they didn't just show the fully upgraded one first? Isn't that what all salesmen do? Show what it can do right up front, then take away features you don't need to lower the price?

Yet another chief engineer. How many has it been so far? This time we get the arrogant Lt. Logan who tries to take command from Geordi.

Interesting technical detail, when Data has to match the frequency of his phaser to disrupt the force field to free Riker.

Apparently this was the episode where the relationship between Picard and Beverly was supposed to start, or at the very least Beverly was supposed to reveal her feelings for Picard. Roddenberry nixed the idea.

Small behind the scenes detail: the sand that Beverly was covered in was full of fleas. So not only did that scene look horrible to film, it actually was horrible.


Deanna: "What happened to all the people?"
Worf: "War?"
Data: "Disease?"
Geordi: "A dissatisfied customer?"

Rice: "Tell me about your ship, Riker. It's the Enterprise, isn't it?"
Riker: "No, the name of my ship is the... Lollipop."
Rice: "I have no knowledge of that ship."
Riker: "It's just been commissioned. It's a good ship."

2 out of 4 Vaguely disturbing looking autonomous weapons that upgrade every twelve minutes

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.


drnanamom said...

I agree that the plot for this one was thin and illogical but like you I enjoyed Geordi taking on command as well as some new faces at the helm. I always wonder what everyone is doing on the computers at the the back of the bridge. I'm sure it's something vital and important.

Juliette said...

I vaguely remember not minding this one, but it always makes me want to watch/listen to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy