Wildly uneven episode. Playing the diplomatic issues between the two alien races as nearly comedic steals away all the emotional impact of an otherwise interesting story line with Picard and Crusher. It’s never felt like a secret that Picard’s and Crusher’s feelings for each other run deeper than friendship, so it was nice to see that explored here, though they went too far – the episode should have just taken them to the verge of admitting feelings and then pulled back. Regardless, the other story line would have been good had the aliens not come off as dopey conspiracy minded dopes. There was a very good story hiding in all this mess that feels like it never got past a first draft and a looming schedule to meet. Too bad; this episode was a serious missed opportunity.