Most of this episode is filler. It's clear the writers wanted to do a story about Troi losing her empathic abilities, a very good idea, but then couldn't figure out how to make it work. It's always pretty lame when the main story is supported by some cop-out side story just to make things work, such as in the previous episode "Final Mission" with the garbage ship. However, the difference is that usually the side story is just a minute here and there, not the majority of the episode. Then, after all that, they barely even explained how Troi lost her powers. I guess a plot device just came and snatched them, then gave them back. The only way the resolution could have been any worse is if it had all been a dream. I think the lesson here is if you have a good idea but can't find a way to incorporate it into an interesting story, just throw it away.
The episode is still watchable thanks to the chemistry between Riker and Troi, and it had a couple of high points. I like when Riker points out to Troi that she's on equal footing with everyone now. I also like Mirina Sirtis. I realize I'm pretty much alone on that one. She has a very distinct style of acting, and it's the kind of thing you either love or hate. I think both she and Wil Wheaton did the best they could with some pretty crappy material from the writers. Troi is the eye candy of the ship, with her special cleavage-cut suits. It's unfair to her character, because the way they dress her and just use her as a backdrop in most episodes, when she has an episode of her own it's hard for her to make herself more three-dimensional. It's like the writers wanted a bimbo AND an empathic ship's counselor, and combined them into one character. One day they want her to stand there and look pretty, the next day they want her to suddenly have depth. As an actor, how is she supposed to work with that? I'd much rather they would have developed her character more and ditched the cleavage.
There was one part of this episode that made me cringe: When the blonde ensign said "Cosmic... string?" UGH. It takes effort to be that bad at saying two words.