the story: Picard becomes involved in the search for the intergalactic ancestor species.
similar to: "The Jihad" (Animated Series)
my thoughts: The last Picard-heavy episode of the season (seriously! count among them: "Time's Arrow, Part 2," "Chain of Command, Part 2," "Tapestry," "Starship Mine," and "Lessons," which covers about as broad a portrait of a Star Trek character in any season, any series, as you'll ever see) features the good captain indulging his love of archeology when his mentor dies, passing along his greatest discovery to his most famous pupil.
(If you're looking for ways the mature Picard developed, other than "Tapestry," you can count the influence of Professor Galen along with Groundskeeper Boothby's.)
This is like the franchise equivalent of Raiders of the Lost Ark, or The Da Vinci Code, the big mystery thriller that's about as Next Generation as it can get, bogged down in inter-species relations that never really degenerate past cultural differences, and everyone gets to share in the discovery, where Star Trek meets Salome Jens (the Female Founder in Deep Space Nine) for the first time, and gets to hear how her species populated the galaxy. It's a very '90s explanation, one Ridley Scott later picked up for his Aliens prequel, Prometheus. Really, given all the ancient artifacts that populate the franchise, it's about as likely an explanation as Star Trek will ever give.
Aliens working together was also the theme of The Animated Series' "The Jihad" (not to mention the bedrock of the United Federation of Planets). If ever Next Generation came close to resolving all the conflicts of the Star Trek world, this was it. But of course, as Deep Space made clear, that didn't really happen. You could also consider "The Chase" the episodic equivalent of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
But it's kind of soft-shoe for the deeper stories from the season, and series in general, so I wouldn't get too worked up about it.
criteria analysis: franchise -