Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 21

The Arsenal Of Freedom

Aired Unknown Apr 11, 1988 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
238 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Stardate: 41798.2 While searching for any signs of the U.S.S. Drake, which was last reported orbiting the planet Minos, the Enterprise receives a strange communication from the planet surface. What makes the message even more troubling is that the Drake had been sent in to investigate the report that all signs of life had vanished from the planet.moreless

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  • While investigating the disappearance of a starship, the Enterprise is threatened by a planet's automated weapons system.

    "The Arsenal of Freedom" has a great story but not enough budget to pull it off. The overused planet set looks more like a stage than ever, and the special effects are embarrassing even for the time period. But unlike many of the first season episodes, this one has two stories (an A story on the planet and a B story on the ship) that engage the viewer throughout the duration of the 60 minutes (or 45 if you're watching without commercials.) It would have been better had this episode been made in the fifth or sixth season when they could have spent real money on it. Or it would have made a good episode for The Animated Series. Still, it's not a bad first season episode, and it's very reminiscent of the Original Series.moreless
  • WMDs found?

    A good episode. Not a great plot, but plenty of action, phaser fire, enemies being blown up, Ryker being trapped, the Enterprise attacker by an undetectable foe and having to split in two, Bevs being hurt all make for some great TNG action.

    Its still gets a lot better, but this is one of the earlier episodes that shows the direction of the combat oriented episodes. Dialogue matches the quickfire pace of the action.

    Main highlight is Ryker being disabled by a forcefield and Jordi having to command the Enterprise while both Picard and Ryker are on the planet. He also takes control of the battlebridge in a last gasp attempt to save the away team.

    This is classic StarTrek, if only early TNG!moreless
  • Pure Star Trek adventure....

    Investigating the disappearance of the USS Drake, the Enterprise goes to the planet Minos where Cpt. Picard and Dr. Crusher become trapped and both an away team and the Enterprise encounter an adaptable weapons system. "The Arsenal Of Freedom" is one of the better episodes of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation but it is not perfect. The special effects are bad even for late 1980s television - "bad" as in: the kind you cannot help but laugh at. Also, the Lieutenant Logan guest character is a complete waste of time and is a frustrating bum of a character - included in the episode only to force tension where tension already exists.

    Still, even though the effects are cheesy as all get-out, "The Arsenal Of Freedom" remains very fun. Although not nearly to the extent that the rest of the series would see, the action in this episode is thrilling and fun (Data in particular is put to great use in the action scenes). Also, Picard and Dr. Crusher share some great scenes (where Gates McFadden, who gives some of the worst performances of season one, particularly shines) and it is fun to see Geordie command the Enterprise while Picard, Riker, and Data are on the planet. A familiar face in Hollywood, Vincent Schiavelli also gives a very funny and memorable supporting role. "The Arsenal Of Freedom" is not perfect nor one of the great Next Generation episodes of Season One but it is fun and one of the more worthwhile episodes of the series first season.moreless
  • A very good action-packed episode, with some humor and quality Picard-Crusher time to boot.

    As one of the other reviewers points out, the premise driving this episode is a clever one (as is the title) and the episode does not fail to deliver.

    Unlike many other 1st season episodes, the amount of filler material on this one is relatively low. The action sequences on the planet are packed with tension and excitement. There's plenty of humor, whether in the planet's hologram salesman (the writers had a lot of fun here) or in Riker's description of the good ship Lollipop. The lengthy Picard-Crusher sequences add a little bit of calm and respite to the action on the planet's surface. And cheesy-looking, low-budget backdrops on the planet contribute to this episode's charm.

    The only minus is the Geordi plotline -- his aw-shucks personality is annoying here, and his rival (the chief engineer) is even worse. This aspect of the story generates excitement, but I wish it could've been done better.

    Nevertheless, one of a handful of 1st season episodes I would wholeheartedly recommend watching.

    edit: I forgot to metnion -- when the flying robots first attack the away team, there is an absolutely hilarious sequence where Data chucks Tasha into the bushes like a sack of potatoes.moreless
  • A refreshing change of pace: an exciting, undemanding action-oriented romp that gives the series a shot in the arm.

    'The Arsenal of Freedom' is clearly one of the strongest episodes of the first season and works nicely as an action-adventure that throws the characters into a set of pretty nasty circumstances and watches them flail.

    I liked the idea behind the premise - that a planet of arms merchants were inadvertantly wiped out by their own creations. I'm not sure exactly what happened to cause this and it's never satisfactorily explained, but it's a nifty idea nonetheless and thankfully the writers don't feel the need to bludgeon us over the head with the moral (unlike many other first season episodes, including the following episode 'Symbiosis').

    It's not an episode that has aged terribly well: the planet set wouldn't have been out of place in the Original Series and the special effects are pretty cheesy-looking. But that aside it's well-paced and nicely executed. It's also nice to see Geordi get a decent sub-plot, but the chief engineer Logan is a horribly, horribly obnoxious git - and what's with the horrendous staff turnover in the engineering department during the first season? Good though!moreless
Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

Denise Crosby

Denise Crosby

Tasha Yar

Vincent Schiavelli

Vincent Schiavelli


Guest Star

Marco Rodriguez

Marco Rodriguez

Capt. Paul Rice

Guest Star

Vyto Ruginis

Vyto Ruginis

Chief Engineer Logan

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When Riker told Lt. LaForge to increase speed to warp 6, he replies, "Aye sir, full impulse."

    • Worf says, "I'm picking up an object off the port bow. It's firing." In the next scene we see a beam of energy coming from directly in front of the Enterprise.

    • After tending to Crusher's injuries, Picard explores and wipes the dust off a flashing panel. Then they cut to a new shot and the panel is dirty and he wipes it off again.

    • When the cloaked drone first appears, it shows to port but Worf fires straight ahead.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Data: No signs of intelligent life-forms. Vegetation and animal life only.
      Deanna: What happened to all the people?
      Worf: War?
      Data: Disease?
      Geordi: A dissatisfied customer?

    • 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.

    • Peddler: The early bird that hesitates...gets wormed!

  • NOTES (3)

    • Riker encounters a surveillance drone which pretends to be Paul Rice, captain of the Drake, and tries to collect information from him. Riker then gets a communication from the ship and responds "Understood." In "All Good Things" (the last episode of the series) when Picard in the past contacts Riker on Farpoint Station to tell him they won't be picking him up, they clipped this scene and displayed it on Picard's desk display. They apparently couldn't get Rice out of the picture entirely.

    • This is the second of three appearances of the USS Enterprise-D Battle Bridge, and the final appearance of the battle bridge in its original configuration. (Its very last appearance would be in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II.") This is also the second time (out of four) that the Enterprise performs a saucer separation maneuver. The last time would be in Star Trek: Generations.

    • Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) does not appear in this episode.


    • Song: "On the Good Ship Lollipop"
      Riker tells "Paul Rice" that he is stationed on a ship called "Lollipop." In his next line he says, "It's a good ship." A reference to the song "On the Good Ship Lollipop," most famously sung by Shirley Temple.

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