This episode starts with a far-fetched idea and goes downhill from there. The Enterprise suddenly decides to reproduce. Data's explanation of an emergent property from a complex system is somewhat convincing, and the rest of the story should be dedicated to making it more believable. Instead, it devolves into a muddled mishmash of holodeck characters with poorly developed motivations and a catalog of ship malfunctions.
And when the ship does finish creating its offspring, that offspring is completely alien in form, function, and behavior. Then the ship returns to its normal state for no apparent reason. It would be like a bear who suddenly becomes intelligent, builds an android, and then goes back to being a bear again.
Obviously this episode was rushed. The storyline was never properly fleshed out, and the explanations for this incredible occurrence are paper-thin at best.