Doug Otte wrote:
and there's some genuinely touching moments like the death of the girl
How exactly was that touching? Riker deliberately chose not to save the girl and the crew gave him a pat on the back for it. For a series that depicts humanity that's still trying to develop new ways to heal people, the moment when one has the power to bring a dead child back to life is shunned upon. Why is letting this girl die a good thing? Should we go to every hospital and tell doctors to stop trying to revive patients the moment they flat line?
You know what I call characters who willingly let children die and feel good about it at the end? The bad guys.
The child already died in the accident. The point was, it's not wise to use powers imposed by another being to reverse the natural course of events.
I admit, it is a fine line compared to your example of today's patients who have flatlined.
It would be different if Riker was a physician and had the medical/technological tools at hand to try to revive the girl.
It was touching because Riker was devastated that he didn't revive the girl, but based upon the circumstances, I think he did the right thing.
The story may have been better served if he saved the girl, and that escalated his powers, corrupting him even more. Or, if you prefer he doesn't save the girl, at least have to confront her family and show the drama and despair inherent in that.