Its interesting how often my choosing a "random" episode brings me back to this one.
This episode has marvelous guest stars. One is Marc Lawrence who is killed by Yuta at the meeting of The Gatherers, 50 years earlier he was usually playing the bad guy in many WW2 era films. I really enjoy the performance of Nancy Parsons, her Sovereign Maruk is both regal and overbearing with a nasty temper but she clearly wants to make this treaty work. Stephen Lee makes a great counterpart to the Parent role of Maruk, playing the childish and petulant Chorgon, who actually succeeds in bringing some good lines out of Wesley, no easy task.
Yuta and Riker share some interesting conversations, I like where they decide that Riker would make a lousy Monarch and Riker happily agrees. His "Parthos a la Yuta" was a good line, too bad he only ate a bite of it. This is the sort of thing the show should have referred back to as it progressed, with Riker ordering some Parthos from his personal replicator "favorites" now and again.
Naturally the ending remains controversial. Yuta still carries the killer virus and is trying to kill the remaining clan member. Its reasonable that Riker would have to stop that, and we know what he does. Zzzzzzzap!
Was that needed? Unfortunately I don't think it holds up, all through the episode we are told that the killer virus is engineered to only attack the members of a specific clan. Its not like Yuta has explosives in her undies, nobody at that table other than Chorgon is in any danger and Riker could simply walk over and get in the way so she couldn't touch him. Just push her out of the way. Tell Chorgon to move to the other side of the room. Beam Chorgon or Yuta up to the ship instead of beaming Riker down. Nope...
Its almost like at the last minute they wanted to make the whole script more serious or "adult" by using this ending. We're supposed to feel with Riker over his choice, and if it was his only choice that would be fine, but it wasn't. Also, Data solving the whole puzzle based on being able to see Yutas obscured face in an old photo is a bit convenient.