Joshua Howard wrote:
"Lessons" is way up there among my favorites, and I think I may be alone in my particular appreciation of it. Anyway, I think everybody tends to rush in and quote some of the really notorious episodes like "The Defector", but some of the best Trek moments really did happen in the more quiet episodes. "Data's Day" is another one that I like.
and Data's Day
are excellent episodes, and I agree that some of the best Trek moments happened in less hyped episodes. Picard's announcement of Ensign Sito's loss and his comments about her at the end of Lower Deck's
makes me cry every time, especially given her context and back story and the dressing down Picard gave her earlier in the episode.
Another wonderful moment is in Galaxy's Child
on the bridge when they stumble upon the space-borne life form and data says there's nothing like it on record. They come back in the next scene and identify it as a life form. This right here is Star Trek -- new life and new civilizations - a new life form living in space -- as Picard mentions soon after, it's the reason they're out there. The build up from the moment they find this thing was so perfect. The procedures the bridge officer's followed was by the book, and they tried every thing they could to protect the ship, and avoid provoking or harming the life form...
..until the moment when I heard the computer say "Lethal Exposure in 1 minute" and Picard realized he had no choice of what to do next .. and you could tell after Picard agonized internally over his next order, even Worf didn't want to fire the phasers. That build up, that scene, and the reactions of everyone on the bridge after Data pronounced the life form dead is one of the most emotionally powerful scenes in Star Trek and that puts this episode way up there. I can't watch it without crying.
It's hard to pick a best TNG episode ever because there are so many great moments in TNG that push an episode over the top.