the story: Picard must defend the ship against a gang of pirates.
similar to: "Macrocosm" (Voyager), "Acquisition" (Enterprise)
my thoughts: Picard's Die Hard moment and audition for his action-heavy appearances in the films is a fun little romp (say hello to Tim Russ's franchise debut; see you in a few years, Voyager!), repeated a couple of times (Janeway's commando turn in Voyager's "Macrocosm;" Enterprise's Ferengi episode, "Acquisition") for good effect (hey, it makes for good entertainment!), and features some fun character moments, both for Picard (remember that he's a horse-riding fan, because it'll come up again in the movies; also, he's most certainly not the barber!), and Data (his fascination with the tedious Hutchinson!).
Otherwise, this really is the throwaway little romp it appears to be. It's not a bad episode. It's also not hugely important. For Next Generation, you kind of wish they'd done something a little more substantial, especially with the cerebral Picard front and center. But apparently this is exactly what Patrick Stewart wanted. You don't say no to Picard, the real or the fake one. The baddies found out the hard way...
criteria analysis: franchise -