In many ways, this is a better "movie" than of the 4 TNG films that appeared in theatres. Michael Piller, who wrote this episode, did an expert job - primarily in part 1 - of introducing many different ideas in 45 minutes and weaving them all together. The away team on the decimated planet, Shelby and Riker's sparring, the low-key conversation between Picard and Guinan, and the stunning conclusion - it's tough to believe how much they managed to pack in!
It's tough to find anything to criticize in this episode. Probably the best two-parter in the history of TNG, though Chain of Command from season 6 comes close.