When Next Generation started, there was a big thing made about the saucer section being able to go off on its own away from the lower portion of the Enterprise.
They only pull that trick like three or four times. Jimmy and Tom have some thoughts on the second episode where that happens.
“The Arsenal of Freedom”
While investigating the disappearance of another starship, the Enterprise and an Away Team come under attack from advanced weaponry.
jimmy: The first of many episodes in the continuing adventures of Ensign T’Su and Lt. Solis.
tomk: Your favorite characters and mine!
Which ones are they again?
jimmy: I think that’s Geordi’s nicknames for the battle bridge and saucer section. Or maybe one of them is the head of engineering we’ve never seen before nor will again. It’s hard to keep straight.
tomk: Ah the battle bridge…a potentially cool idea I think they use only three or four times.
jimmy: You’d think they’d use it more regularly as that separation sequence was clearly recycled footage.
tomk: And it was something the old Enterprise couldn’t do.
jimmy: Well, it is supposed to be only for emergencies.
tomk: Yeah, and they never have those on this show. Everything is always running just fine.
jimmy: Except when your doctor has fallen and can’t get up.
tomk: Or your First Officer is caught in a trap, he can’t walk out.
jimmy: Lol. Nice one.
tomk: You told me you had the Canadian one-hit wonders. I guess that means I get the American superstars.
jimmy: Sounds right.
tomk: Besides, if Riker is frozen, that means there’s nothing to stop Picard from beaming down.
jimmy: Not even a stern frowning from Troi.
tomk: She had to give Geordi advice. Advice that wasn’t, “What the hell are you doing in the Captain’s Ready Room when he isn’t here?”
jimmy: Being in charge he can go wherever he wants.
tomk: And still have people tell him off to his face.
jimmy: So, you might be more familiar with the chain of command than me, but if Engineering Guy outranks Geordi, could he not have legitimately taken over?
tomk: I dunno. Picard didn’t put him in charge.
Then again, Roddenberry apparently believed before season one that the ship was so advanced that they didn’t even need an Engineer. The ship would repair itself or something.
jimmy: Explains why the Engineers are like Spinal Tap drummers.
tomk: For now.
jimmy: That Geordi guy seems to know what he’s at.
tomk: Not bad for a blind guy.
jimmy: I feel like Geordi has shown the most organic growth as a character so far. I think that’s help by Levar Burton being a good actor and very likable.
tomk: And still not having an episode focused on him.
jimmy: Hence it doesn’t feel forced.
tomk: Which actually makes it sadder considering all the characters who did have episodes of their own (Troi, Data, Worf, etc), and we still don’t know stuff about them, like what Worf’s actual job is.
jimmy: Same job as those two guys standing around on the bridge doing nothing this episode.
tomk: That’s Tasha’s usual job.
jimmy: She was busy getting saved by Data’s stunt double.
tomk: Or telling people where to shoot.
jimmy: Data could never figure that out.
tomk: He was looking for frequencies and practicing how to drop straight down.
jimmy: I mentioned before that on the Blu-Rays I always watch the episode promo prior to the episode. When I watched this one…oh man, did this episode look bad. But it ended up being ok. The Geordi storyline particularly.
jimmy: They were one of my concerns after the promo.
tomk: Well, there were only a couple of them.
jimmy: And a giant one that Geordi outsmarted.
tomk: Without really seeing it.
And I mean anybody not just the blind guy.
jimmy: After the hype last episode you’d think Geordi could see something that was cloaked.
tomk: Only when it flies nearby.
Well, Geordi earned his paycheck…assuming they even get paid in Starfleet…but then we had Picard and Crusher on the planet’s surface. Crusher’s Nana taught her about roots. I wonder if this is the same Nana who later had sex with the space ghost that seduced Crusher in a much later season.
jimmy: That sounds…I don’t even know how that sounds. An “Ewww” sound maybe?
tomk: We can cover that when we get to it.
jimmy: And I’m sure it could easily happen, but Beverly was pretty banged up after taking the same fall as Picard who’s biggest complaint was some dust on his uniform.
tomk: Nobody knows how to land like Picard.
He even taught Data how to stick the landing.
That, or Picard landed on top of Beverly.
tomk: Not in this scenario.
jimmy: Yeah, probably not sexy to take advantage of someone with a broken arm and concussion.
tomk: Especially if you caused those injuries.
jimmy: How could Picard know they couldn’t drop down like Data?
tomk: He knew not to land on the hard, hard ground.
jimmy: Beverly…not so much.
tomk: They didn’t cover that at medical school or in her Nana’s Roots’n’Chutes classes.
jimmy: Apparently they covered the IT Support classic of “just unplug it”.
tomk: And, when you need to, just buy the stuff off the virtual Vincent Schiavelli.
jimmy: How can you not? He’s virtually awesome.
tomk: And I told you we’d get a guest star you’d recognize.
jimmy: And you were correct.
tomk: He sure was proud of his merchandise despite the fact it surely killed him.
jimmy: And Riker’s buddy.
tomk: And maybe all sense of hope for a Tasha-focused episode that isn’t full of racist stereotypes.
jimmy: At least they gave her something to do.
tomk: Yes. She let Riker get zapped into suspended animation and almost got blasted a couple times by a flying coffee maker.
Though I do have one final comment on this episode. Apparently, the infamous Maurice Hurley wanted Crusher to tell Picard how she felt about him in this episode, and Roddenberry himself wouldn’t allow it.
jimmy: Gotta keep that sexual tension going. When that get resolved it always kills shows.
tomk: Yeah. That’s why I watch this show: the simmering tension between Bev and J-L.
jimmy: See? Exactly.
tomk: Well, you win again. Anything else,Jimmy, or do we move on to the anti-drug episode?
jimmy: Anti-drug episode? That’s so Roddenberry.
tomk: Well, yes. Shall we?
jimmy: We shall.