Well, I certainly never found Richards to be annoying. Awkward, trying to find her place, trying to prove herself... but not annoying. I think the world of her!
I must re-watch the episode. You guys lost me a little bit there. I understand why the Garrovick / Richards scene, the "chat over chili" scene, was cut back some, but I found the longer version to be quite amazing too.
Just seems, however you cut it, it really is a GREAT episode. Just heard Dennis at the Phase II forum suggest something interesting... http://forums.startreknewvoyages.com....msg129879#new