This episode has one of my favorite Riker quotes which I've taken as a sort of personal motto.
It's Riker's line to Thomas during the poker game.
"I know what I want and I know what I've got. And you'd be lucky to do so well, Lieutenant." I usually leave off that last part, but the beginning is a good message about taking stock of your life and identifying the things that are important to you, rather than holding onto the things that others expect of you.
As for the story and character interaction, it's been a long time since I've seen that episode, but I don't remember it feeling all that forced. If anything, I thought Troi might have fell too easily for Thomas, though he was laying it on pretty thick. It sort of came off to me as trying to date twin siblings, or brothers, which I guess they were in a way. You've dated one and then the other becomes available and they're so much like the twin/brother you dated first, that you can't help but fall for them. I'm not sure I buy that logic and it made her seem a bit foolish to me. Perhaps it's one of those things that can be written off as, the heart wanting what the heart wants. I'm not sure really.
I do think though had I been in Riker's place and seen my clone/twin, seducing the woman I still cared for, it would have definitely put a damper on my acceptance of Thomas. Perhaps that should have been the angle they played up more, though that's treading dangerously close to a soap opera style over triangle, and no body wants that.
Which of course is the cue for at least one fan to comment, saying they would like to have seen that. lol