This is one of my favorites from season four. I always thought TNG excelled at these sorts of sci-fi mystery stories(The Survivors, Remember Me, Night Terrors, Cause and Effect etc).
I love mysteries and this was really a good one. I liked how the episode started out as another routine survey until the camera pans out to see everyone unconscious. Very effective teaser. It definitely piqued my curiosity as to what was really going on.
I also liked how the show continued for a while as nothing was wrong with the crew returning to their duties. Once again Beverly, like in "Remember Me" and "Cause and Effect", is the first to suspect something is amiss. The gradual discovery of unexplained clues(the moss, Troi's fright, Worf's wrist) made for several intriguing and unsettling moments.
I was totally taken aback by the revelation it was Picard had ordered Data to lie to him. I did not see that coming and floored me. Brilliant.
This was an episode that effectively employed the flashback technique. I liked the way the story used flashbacks towards the end to pull the fragmented clues together and show us an interesting replay of what really occurred in that missing day--sort of like LOST where our initial impression of the situation was not quite what it appeared.
The crew looked good in this episode as well whether taking smart sensible steps to confirm their suspicions such as Beverly checking the biological cycle of the crewmen to Geordi examining the ship's chronometer. Loved the writers remembering the little and easily overlooked details such as the beard growth which would have slipped my mind were it not raised by the characters. Sharp writing.
The idea of a stalemate was a fresh idea. Brent did a good job with Data steering the crew away from what really happened. And other miscellaneous stuff in this episode's favor--the Data/LaForge interaction, the cute little teaser with Guinan as Gloria from Cleeeveland, seeing Alyssa, the VFX.
Once again I pretty much disagree entirely with MEG. She can't seem to see the forest from the trees.