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Star Trek: Asterisk "The Arsenal of Freedom"

Vital Information
Series: The Next Generation
Episode: S01E21
Air Date: April 11, 1988
Written by: Richard Manning and Hans Beimler and
Maurice Hurley and Robert Lewin and a partridge in a pear tree
Directed by: Les Landau

Premise
The most advanced weapons-maker in the galaxy is destroyed by their own weapons and now the Enterprise has to come along and turn them off.

Review
The planet Minos! Long ago, there was a Federation ship that headed over to this planet to check out what had happened to it. It was, apparently, a huge weapons producer during a war, and the U.S.S. Drake was supposed to see why there had been no contact from them. I'll give you two guesses why. In any case, search and rescue is the Enterprise's mission this time. When they arrive at the planet, they find no intelligent life signs, and then they're hailed by a recording of John Lovits trying to sell them weapons. And then when Riker gets down to the planet with a small team of just Data and Yar, the missions seems to be going pretty easily. Seems to be.

Riker finds the Drake's captain easily. But Captain Rice seems to be acting really strange, asking odd questions. Picard calls down from the ship and says that they still haven't found any intelligent life down on the planet, so whatever it is he's talking to isn't real. So, as if to confirm Picard's readings, Riker begins to try and throw Rice off by saying he's from the good ship, Lollipop, and it has a weapons compliment of ten. When Rice gets confused, then Riker is sure that he's fake and Rice turns into an upside-down floating scorpion and freezes Riker in a force field.
Preserving the meat.
Data reports that he doesn't know if Riker survived the force field, but by the time the commercials roll and Picard decides to come down, he's figured out that the force field is meant to preserve Riker until later. Oh, yeah, that's right, Picard is on the planet now with Beverly and he left Geordi in charge upstairs. So, while they're trying to get Riker out of the force field, the weapon comes back and attacks. It learned from its previous experience and Yar has to actually pull out some tactics to destroy it. In the confusion, Picard and Crusher fall through the ground into a cavern and Crusher breaks a couple bones.

Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, a weapon goes after the ship, but this one is invisible. So with the shields up to protect against the weapon, they can't beam up the away team, but they can't stick around and take a beating for so much longer. The chief engineer, Logan, glares his dead eyes at Geordi and says "Hey! We gotta get out of here!" But Geordi's like, "NO! We have to be there for the captain and I'm gonna take your job one day!"
"How can you be an engineer if you're blind? HA!"
So, there we have it, three things going on here: Yar and Riker trying to fight off weapons on the planet surface, Picard and Crusher trying to survive in the cavern below and Geordi trying to keep from punching Logan in the face. Data eventually gets Riker free and the jumps down into the cavern to help Picard. Crusher helps Picard find a root that clots her blood. Yar and Riker fight off more weapons. Geordi runs away for a while and tells Logan to take control of the saucer section while he goes back with the stardrive section to kick some superweapon ass.

Also, Picard found a view screen down in the cavern and activated a hologram. It's John Lovits again! He goes on his sales pitch and then Data comes down and sees what he can do to help. After looking at the weapons specifications, they try to divert its course or blow itself up, and nothing works, and the Crusher tells them to just shut it off! Picard tells John Lovits that he'll buy the weapons and John Lovits says "Great! Lemme just shut down the demonstration for ya." And all on the surface is saved.
You just outsmarted an android and a Starfleet captain.
You win this time, doctor.
Up on the stardrive section of the ship, Geordi leads a crew of rookies back to the planet and gets attacked by the weapon again. But he has a plan. Encouraging the rookies all the way, giving them strength, he dips the starship down into the atmosphere of the planet. The ship starts burning up, but so does the invisible weapon. Now that they can see the flames, they shoot toward them and the weapon is destroyed. After a brief celebration, they beam the away team back up and Picard says "Mr. LaForge, I believe when I gave you my ship it was in one piece! Put it back together before I slap you!" Geordi smiles, takes his place in the captain's chair and heads off into the proverbial sunset.

Overall Thoughts
The story in this episode was kind of messy, but it wasn't terrible. I think the greatest part of this episode was something that was pushed back to a B plot, and that was Geordi taking command. We could have really seen what Geordi was made of if we spent a little more time with him, but instead we were forced to live on the planet for most of the time. I appreciate what they did give us, though, including a bit of friction between him and the person in charge of his future position. If this was a full-on Geordi story, it would have been great. As it was, with Picard and Riker and Data and Beverly and a little bit of Yar thrown into the mix, it was only mediocre.