I like a lot of season 7. While there was a decline in quality, I've never really got why anyone would act that the decline was anywhere close to bringing season 7 down to season 1 levels of awfulness, or even season 2 levels of "meh to really good".
Really, when I think of much maligned episodes, it's hard to think of many outside of s1 and s2. I have been rewatching season 1 lately because I have rewatched the later seasons so often that it's almost interesting to watch season 1 as a completely different show.
I am old enough that I watched most of these episodes as a kid, and for some reason even though Arsenal of Freedom is a pretty meh episode, for some reason it strikes the nostalgia cords just right and I love it every time I watch it.
Also, I think Symbiosis is a really good episode(not just as a personal favorite, but as an overall episode). I have heard it take some flack for being an after school special with Tasha and Wesley's scene about drug abuse. But I also thought it had a nice twist with the disease turning out to be drug addiction. But best of all, it was probably the most nuanced handling of the Prime Directive in the first season with Picard finding a creative, but not perfect, solution to helping the Ornarans.
I think the scene with Picard and Crusher in the turbolift really established that the Prime Directive in TNG wasn't just a dusty old frustrating plot impediment that kept keeping the crew from doing what seemed immediately "right". It was something that Picard believed in, and for good reason.
"... Beverly, the Prime Directive is not just a set of rules; it is a philosophy... and a very correct one. History has proved again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous."