Yes, they are as good as I remember.
Perhaps the reason for the quality split in the episodes is that they weren't written together; IIRC the first part was written just as TNG was taking off with huge success and when they took a break between seasons the writers/producers weren't even considering what to do for part 2 until the fourth season began. So they might have painted themselves into a corner in terms of writing their way out. I agree the conclusion could have been a bit more exciting than putting them to sleep.
I also want to add that re-watching TBOBW should also include "Family" as the third part. Although no where near the amount of action/excitement than the two previous, it's good because it humanizes Picard totally after such an emotional ordeal.