This is a landmark episode about Data; but it's really a Picard episode, which gives both Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart a chance to shine. (Writer Melinda Snodgrass also cleverly works Riker into the story, and gives Guinan a break out moment that serves as a template for all future writers for understanding her niche on the show.) The JAG officer, who has a history with Picard, is perfectly played by Amanda McBroom. This installment raises the abstract, difficult, and timeless question of what sentience is, looks at it from every angle, and beautifully resolves the plot. In short, it does exactly what a science fiction show should, and is easily one of the best early season Star Trek TNG episodes. This is the one that really starts to define the introspective nature of the show and presents bigger concepts rather than better aliens. And it even introduces the poker motif to TNG. Definitely a must see for Star Trek fans.