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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

Samantha M. Quinn spends most of her time in front of a computer typing away at one thing or another; when she has free time, she enjoys pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy-related.


  1. 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.

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

  3. Speaking of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, this episode also reminds me of one of the few often-quoted Douglas Adams lines that I've never really liked:

    There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

    There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

    Reading the first part, my imagination is telling me 'this probably happened countless times already'. The second part then disappointingly undoes a lot of the coolness of the whole idea.

    Getting back to this episode, the weapons demonstration gave the impression of being an intelligent, adaptive system, constantly analysing the enemy and endlessly coming up with new weapons to counter their tactics. The line about 'the fourth and final projectile' then similarly takes a lot of the coolness of this weapons system away.

  4. Have to largely agree again; the weapon plot wasn't great, but the main cast were mostly excellent here, especially Geordi. The show still feels like it's trying to gain its footing here, and is still fumbling, but is getting there.

    Never knew about the fleas, that stinks. I had to bug bomb an old house for that, as we had to abandon the place for a time thanks to a gasoline tank leak nearby, so my cat at the time (Lara) had to go with me and she picked them up somewhere along the line. When she was the vet to deal with that and other issues, they started bugging me since I was the only there, and that was not great to put it mildly.


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