- Growing the Beard: This episode marks the the point where, for many fans, the show really started growing into its own, moving from rehashes of TOS scripts with different characters to a new Cast Calculus that serves its characters much better.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Data attempts to speedrun through the first mystery while Geordi argues the virtues of a good old-fashioned longplay.
- Geordi suggests going on a sailing program in the holodeck. In Star Trek: Generations, the Enterprise crew is introduced in a similar program.
- Magnificent Bastard: The hologram of Professor Moriarty, created to be an opponent capable of defeating Data at Holodeck games accesses the computer to learn of his past and the ship, Enterprise, then kidnaps Dr. Pulski, revealing he is self aware, and taking control of the ship's computer. Sealed away until the crew finds a way to free him after making an agreement with Picard, Moriarty returns years later in "Ship in a Bottle" when he's accidentally released. Angry at the crew's failure to free him, Moriarty demands to be released along with his beloved, Countess Regina Barthalomew. Taking control of the ship when Picard refuses, Moriarty threatens to crash it unless he and his loved one are set free. Although Picard wrestles back control of the ship, Moriarty traps Data and Barclay in an illusion on the Holodeck, before accessing Picard's access codes to the real ship, willing to die alongside everyone on board unless his dreams are granted. Although eventually trapped in virtual reality with the countess, Picard had to compromise by allowing Moriarty to live in the bliss of exactly what he wanted to save his crew from the brilliant criminal.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
- At the beginning Geordi expresses an interest in sailing on an old fashioned ship before going to the holodeck to enact Data's fantasies. Sailor Geordi and Data on the high seas could have been its own story but was never followed up on.
- Despite this story being kicked off by Pulaski's skepticism of Data being anything more than a walking computer, her opinion of whether Moriarty is sentient or even his very nature is curiously absent, despite Moriarty grossly exceeding what Data can do. For that matter, it's also not explicitly revisited if she has changed her mind on Data (although she does face her prejudices as of "Unnatural Selection" and takes a more respectful attitude toward him thereafter).
YMMV / Star Trek: The Next Generation S2E3 "Elementary, Dear Data"