Writer Rene Echevarria's script (with shades of "Gambit") is full of heart, but the penultimate TNG episode hinges on the guest star performance of the actor playing Macias, Ro's surrogate father figure. Without a cunning, powerful, and likeable character on the same level as Picard, it doesn't matter what guest star Michelle Forbes (Ro) does in her final Trek appearance, there is no believable drama of a woman torn between her two mentors. Fortunately, by its seventh season, TNG was such an established ratings hit, the producers were able to find actors like John Franklyn-Robbins, who, with his charm and boyish grin, brings such warmth and innocence to Macias, the pieces to the drama fall right into place, making Patrick Stewart's final directorial outing a breeze.
A word of warning: the plot of this episode is part of a greater story that threads its way through TNG, DS9, and Voyager. The story opens with TNG's "Journey's End" before continuing with DS9's two parter "The Maquis", and continuing here.