TNG: “The Arsenal of Freedom” and “Symbiosis”

Date: March 5, 2020

Season 1, Episodes 20 and 21

Setting the Stage: I watched both episodes, via Netflix, though half of “The Arsenal of Freedom” was watched yesterday before my brain was too fried to finish it. The usual company was in the room where it happens tonight. Sloppy joes and sweet potato & cauliflower tots were had for dinner and it was just what I needed, though we should have had more vegetables I’m sure. Just one more day of work and then it’s “Spring Break” for the University. Unfortunately I still have to work, but the plan is to work from NY and NJ for a few days so I can visit with friends and family. Tonight’s writing music is a mix by Ben Böhmer.

Just 5 more days of plugging Bad Ass Moms, help them meet some stretch goals! http://kck.st/2SimbnD.

Favorite Quote from “The Arsenal of Freedom”:

La Forge: Relinquishing command, Captain.

Picard: As you were, Lieutenant.

La Forge: Sir?

Picard: Mr. La Forge when I left this ship, it was in one piece. I would appreciate your returning it in the same condition. Do you concur, Number One?

Riker: Absolutely, sir.

A good humor moment near the end of the episode

“The Arsenal of Freedom” has the Enterprise checking out Minos where all of the intelligent life has suddenly disappeared. As they approach the planet they are being hailed and scanned and then they are shown a pre-recorded message with the universe’s most slimy salesman.

Danny Devito as a car salseman, from Matilda
For just 3 easy payments of 49.99, you too can own this hunk of junk (image from thenewswheel.com)

The away team of Yar, Riker, and Data is assembled and they head down to investigate. Riker runs into Rice, an old buddy from the academy, but there’s no life sign other than the away team and it turns out Rice was really a drone image. As they prepare to beam up Riker is encased in an energy field, so Picard and Dr. Crusher beam down. Another drone comes to attack the party and Picard and Dr. Crusher find themselves down a hole. Dr. Crusher is injured and everyone’s communicators are down. Data finally frees Riker but the Enterprise is fired upon – by an unseen enemy – so they can’t beam up the away team.

La Forge and chief engineer-of-the-episode Logan fight over what to do. Back on the planet the drone keeps upgrading and following the crew. Picard administers first aid and tries to keep Dr. Crusher awake. After one last round of being fired upon, La Forge leaves orbit and leaves Logan in command of the saucer section and they prepare to separate. Troi gives LaForge some advice and I am so stoked she’s actually using her psychology background! Picard finds a view screen and that actives the automated salesman, who appears and explains that this is basically The Incredibles. Picard neutralizes the system on planet and La Forge and the rest of the battle bridge are able to shoot out the other ship and beam in the away team.

Omnidroid v. 09
The Omnidroid from The Incredibles (image from: pintrest.com)

This is a very similar plot to The Incredibles where someone builds a technology that winds up being smarter than anticipated and causes a lot of trouble. In this episode the people who build the technology are war profiteers, like Tony Stark before he was Iron Man, except that they’ll sell to anyone who has money. It makes sense that they would want to demonstrate the power of their technology but you always need a fail safe or twelve. Clearly Star Trek did it earlier but Frozone did it better. I really liked how there were three separate things going on. We had Picard and Dr. Crusher were trying to keep her alive and Picard obviously not wanting to be her blanket. Yar, Data, and sort-of Riker made up another team that didn’t do a whole lot except destroy two of the drones and show off Data’s jumping skills. The big highlight for me was seeing La Forge stretch his captain legs and Troi actually acting as the damn counselor rather than just looking like she’s going to cry. I genuinely enjoyed this trip although it was much more about character development rather than story progression. I give this episode a 7 character password that has to include one lowercase letter, one uppercase letter, one number, one special character, a hieroglyph, and your eye color.

Favorite Quote from “Symbiosis”:

Data: Fascinating. Your society is dedicated exclusively to the production of a single product.

Picard: A product for which you have no use, but which the Ornarans can’t live without.

Langor: One of the little ironies of life, Captain.

Sobi: But one we’d be fools not to take advantage of. It’s mutually beneficial.

Langor: The Ornarans provide us with the necessities of life, and we provide them with the necessities of living. It is a fair exchange.

Picard: Interesting relationship.

Data uses the word “fascinating” and I giggle every time. Picard was certainly using sarcasm in his last line. I can hear it all the way from space.

“Symbiosis” sees the Enterprise approaching a magnetic storm and it is messing with computer systems. They intercept a distress signal from a nearby freighter and do several things to try to assist but eventually have to beam everyone over before their ship is going to disintegrate. The people on the ship beam over the cargo instead of themselves and Yar tries one more time and is able to beam up 4 of the 6 people, but they are all only concerned about the cargo. The two groups argue over the cargo and then try to electrocute each other. The cargo turns out to be medicine that one planet needs desperately. Dr. Crusher examines everyone but cannot find the cause of the disease and she is suspicious about the medicine as it is their only source of income.

a whole bunch of orange tic tacs
The medicine looks like orange tic tacs, which are the WORST flavor of tic tac ever invented and you cannot change my mind. (image from: madcattvapors.com)

Dr. Crusher figures out that the “medicine” is actually a narcotic and everyone is just a drug addict. She feels so strongly about it that her and Picard fight about what to do. Picard cannot violate the prime directive and feels that telling them this information would do so. The Brekkians decide to give the “medicine” to the Ornarans for free because they’ve realized the Federation has figured it out and if they all die, there will be no more customers. Picard refuses to give them the coils to fix the freighters citing the prime directive but hoping it will help the Ornarans become less dependent on the drug and become a more independent peoples.

Drug test? what kind of drugs are we testing?
Drugs are bad, stay in school kids! (from monroeblvd.com)

I was a bit taken back by Picard’s disdain and demeanor toward the other captain when the freighter was in crisis. He was so upset by the incompetence and he’s usually so gracious with his own crew. However he sticks to his guns about the prime directive even it is against his own personal moral code and against the quite forceful Dr. Crusher’s advice. I think she’s much more outraged by the exploitation than the suffering, but it’s a close call. I’m also super confused by both groups of aliens being able to electrocute others with their bare hands as it’s never really brought up or plays a really big role in the episode. I get it… drugs are bad and so is exploiting those who are addicted. Addiction is nothing to mess around with and I wish everyone saw it the way Wesley did:

Wesley: What I can’t understand is why anyone would voluntarily become dependent on a chemical.

Yar: Wesley, no one wants to become dependent. That happens later.

Wesley: But it does happen. So why do people start?

Yar: On my home planet, there was so much poverty and violence, that for some the only escape was through drugs.

Wesley: How can a chemical substance can provide an escape?

Yar: It doesn’t, but it makes you think it does. You have to understand, drugs can make you feel good. They make you feel on top of the world. You’re happy, sure of yourself, in control.

Wesley: But it’s artificial.

Yes Wes, it is.

Overall this was a very “meh” episode and I think it earns itself 4 imperfectly rolled joints. That being said, I leave you with this gem:

“Smoke Two Joints” by Sublime. RIP Bradley Nowell

TA Out!

Published by njdevil12

I'm just a big city girl living in a not so big city with my fur children and partner.

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