The Rewatch 98: The Arsenal of Freedom

Series: Star Trek The Next Generation
Episode: 1.21 Arsenal of Freedom (04-11-88)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/3

Notable Guest Stars:
Vincent Schiavelli – “The Peddler”. Poor Hologram doesn’t get a name. The Actor though you may recognize from various TV and film productions. He was also a writer.
Marco Rodriguez – Captain Paul Rice. He most recently was seen in Veronica Mars. He will appear a few seasons from now as another character
Vyto Ruginis – Lt. Logan. I recognized him from Angel, but he has appeared in many television series and is still active.

Review:

This episode is probably not the highlight of the first season, but its middle ground in quality. I don’t hate it, nor do I especially love it. The script writer saw it as commentary on the sale of Tom-cats to Iran. I suppose, as I was only a baby at this time that the current event commentaries are a little lost on me. I do see it as a commentary on trying to seek more and more powerful weapons.

This episode does a lot to showcase most of the cast. Wesley for once does not appear on screen so I’m guessing he’s doing normal teenage stuff.

Geordi gets development as we actually see him in command. Usually we don’t see much of his command style, since the story is more focused on the Captain and the others on the away team. But we get to see him dealing with the stress of command. He doesn’t do too badly though he has issues leaving the nerviousness out of his voice at times. I can understand that. (I would not be a good person to put in command of a Starship for that reason and many others)

We get to learn that Beverly grew up on a colony planet that was nearly killed and her grandmother taught her how to use herbs and plants to heal people. This connects to later episodes.

Riker has probably the most interesting tidbit. Deanna was pretty emphatic that the thing that Riker wanted more then anything was to be a Captain. In this episode we learn he turned down the Drake to continue as an XO on the Enterprise. I wonder what she thought about that, considering her deep held belief.

We have a new Chief Engineer (I believe this is #3) named Logan. He’s a Lt. so I’m guessing that Picard is starting to promote from within since they are going through Engineers so fast. Wonder why so many are resigning?

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Maurice Hurley (series producer) and Robert Lewin (Story by Richard Manning and Hans Beimler)
  • Directed by Les Landau
  • Originally this episode was meant to have Crusher admit her feelings for Picard, but Gene Roddenberry objected to writing a love story. Landau suggested the roles be switched (originally Picard was the injured party) to add an element of out-of-place for the characters. I’m not sure I agree with Roddenberry’s objection, but I think Landau had an excellent idea.

Pros:

  • Riker backstory
  • Crusher backstory
  • Geordi development
  • Troi Development
  • I find it interesting that they made a prop out of a shampoo bottle and a pantyhose container. Then again, I believe that Geordi’s viser was designed from two hairbands put together.

Cons:

  • We never found out what happened to the Drake.

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