The first 20 minutes or so felt so surreal, like i was watching the characters acting a play. But then, oh the hottness. It’s bad that i totally read the show as if my non-canon pairing is real, always in the background informing the actions of the two characters involved (and of course i mental adding in sex between scenes as i watch). I was asquee more for that than for the actual plot. I actually really enjoyed the plot because i couldn’t call all the plot points, because there were wheels within wheels and everyone (audience included) only knew pieces but not in that way that makes me wanna smack people for behaving in ways that seem so stupid if only they knew the whole story... but i kept feeling like i’d seen pieces of it before on TNG, so the squee was primarily for the dynamic between those two characters. [Though by the end of the second part i realized that i had in fact seen the episode before, which made me feel rather silly about not being able to call all the plot points. Oh, but the deja vu feelings were from other episodes, not from my previous viewing of this one.]
Data as captain is weird. He hasn’t filled that role long enough in any previous episode for me to really notice it, but it definitely weirds me out and i rather dislike it. And then there was Data’s reprimand of Worf, and i kept noticing how Data’s eyes didn’t move at all, and i was impressed by Brent Spiner’s acting capabilities (though it may at least in part be the contacts) and then the ending of the scene with the friendship talk i was all asquee with the cute (not even in a shippery way, just so cute). Plus at the very end he straightens his shirt and i read it as a subtle indication of his discomfort in the whole necessary role he has to play, plus there’s the continuity of the shirt straightening as such a Captain Picard thing (i noticed Riker do it early in Part 1 -- though admittedly i have seen Riker do it a couple times in previous episodes).
And then the reconciliation of sorts with the “Health and Safety Inspection”! And the look on Data’s face at the close of that scene :)
“Aye, Captain.” Oh how good it must have felt to hear that again :)