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Star Trek TNG - Season 1 - Episode 21

Star Trek TNG - 1x21 - The Arsenal of Freedom

Originally Aired: 1988-4-11

The crew investigates the disappearance of the U.S.S. Drake. [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 6.01

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- What was holding commander Riker in place? Something had to be actively generating that energy field. Yet they never tried to find the power source.
- Just after Data frees Riker and they're looking for the rest of the away team, another weapon attacks. When Data throws Yar out of danger, Brent Spiner has quite obviously been replaced by a stunt double.
- First Logan bitches about staying, then he bitches about leaving? WTF? OK maybe this isn't a "problem" because lots of people in real life act this hypocritical but it is still however annoying. Why didn't Geordi point out his hypocrisy? Because he was afraid of Logan's superior rank? Who cares about that Geordi, you were in command! Make him look like a fool!
- We have to assume that the Drake was lost with all hands because they never tell us what happens. Not a problem, but definitely a loose thread which the episode should have tied up.

- This is the first of many episodes in which Riker refuses a command (or talks about a refused command) and that refusal incidentally saves his life. Hmm!

Remarkable Scenes
- Riker: "No. The name of my ship is the Lollipop." Paul: "I have no knowledge of that ship." Riker: "It's just been commissioned. It's a good ship." The entire scene is remarkable.
- Notice how the second Riker is incapacitated, Picard takes the opportunity to plunge himself into immediate danger on the planet? Something Riker would certainly object to? The counselor objects, but PIcard doesn't seem to care.
- I liked the scenes with Geordi and Chief Engineer Logan. At first it seemed shallow but it grew on me.
- The scenes with the Doctor coaching Picard on on-the-fly medicine were extremely well done.
- Geordi and Troi's scene together is also well done.
- Riker regarding Data jumping: "Data, it's over ten meters!" Data: "11.75, commander." Yar: "Data, you may be sturdy, but not indestructible!"
- Geordi: "Relinquishing command, captain." Picard: "As you were, lieutenant." Geordi: "Sir?" Picard: "Mr. LaForge, when I left this ship it was in one piece. I would appreciate your returning it to me in the same condition. Do you concur number one?" Riker: "Absolutely, sir."

My Review
Excellent character development of Beverly and Geordi. Excellent performances by everyone. Every character had a good showing and a worthwhile purpose. Even the guests were great except for maybe Chief Engineer Logan. But he was only slightly annoying. (See problems.) One of the best of the first season. I don't like the premise nor the plot so much as I like the execution. This episode is a great example of how a mediocre idea can be made great by a good implementation. A pity that other episodes of this season with great premises couldn't have been better implemented and so exciting.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-04 at 1:36am:
    - After Data removes Riker from the force field, Data mentions that they need to find Picard and Crusher. Since he was encased in the force field, Riker didn't even know Picard was on the planet, let alone lost. Given his belief that captains should stay on their ships, shouldn't Riker be really ticked off when he learns that Picard is on the surface?
    - Picard saves the day when he agrees to buy the weapons system. The demonstration ends and the fourth pod evaporates. So why is La Forge still fighting the pod in orbit? Shouldn't it have evaporated as soon as the demonstration ended?
    - Immediately after destroying the pod, La Forge drops the shields so they can beam the away team back. Isn't the star drive section still flying through the atmosphere? Aren't the shields the only thing keeping the ship from burning up?
  • From djb on 2008-03-17 at 3:14pm:
    I really enjoyed the battle sequence towards the end of this episode. The combination of the action with the music is very effective, and the tension is further increased by Geordi's mixed feelings about commanding the ship. Even though the actual "battle" was not very complicated, it was still quite expertly done, and made for one of the more memorable episodes from Season 1.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-08 at 8:39pm:
    Picard's decision to go to the planet is very odd. Normally I don't mind when the captain leads the away time, it is just one of those things you accept about Star Trek. But here my suspension of disbelief was really tested. Picard is told that the situation down on the planet is actively dangerous, and nothing seems to require his personal presence. If there is any time he should stay on the ship, this is it. Yet he beams down without even a security team. The worst part is that Troi reminds us he isn't supposed to be doing this! Yet we never even get an explanation for his actions. Maybe he had a precognitive vision that he needed to beam down and fall in a hole in order to complete the mission.

    Something about the general plotting of the episode wasn't very appealing to me. But you are right, many of the individual scenes are well executed. I love the Lollipop dialogue.
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-20 at 10:08am:
    The weapons were hilariously hokey and poorly done. The shooting was so obviously contrived to hide the booms that were moving them. Realizing this is before CGI, but still. Some of TNG special effects were quite innovative and effective. This episode does not show that, unfortunately. The other issue was that Geordi tolerates far too much from Logan. Its irritating. I have been around the military for much of my life. Logan's behavior was contemptible and would not have been tolerated.
  • From mattymjp on 2013-07-16 at 9:18am:
    First of all, great website! Am really enjoying reading your reviews, I've decided to start watching TNG from the beginning and your site is helping me to decide which dud episodes to miss (of which there are a few in the first couple of seasons especially)

    Rewatching the first season has been a bit painful so far, it has dated and I'm looking forward to getting onto Season 3 onwards. Some of the acting is awful, although Patrick Steward is ALWAYS good, with Levar Burton and Brent Spiner the other stand-out actors in my opinion. Johnny Frakes does improve as time goes by though.

    I wasn't a fan of this particular episode. Thought it was cheesy and left too many unanswered questions at the end. And they used the exact same shots for the saucer section separating as in Encounter at Farpoint. But it was a good Geordi episode.

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