The writers had several cliches they liked to pile on Troi's character. They liked to throw her in a victim's role ("Violations", "The Loss") and also stick her in unlikely romantic situations ("The Masterpiece Society", "Haven", "Loud as a Whisper", "The Price"). This episode combines the two and generates a decent outcome.
The concept is actually a clever one. I'm not sure if the drabness has to do with Troi's character, which was never the most interesting one on the show, or with the guy playing the ambassador, who exudes very little charisma. There's a certain hohum-ness that never allows the story to take off. But either way, this episode is much better than the TV.com rating suggests.