Along with The Wounded, this episode informed DS9 by establishing the Bajoran religion and underscores how the show could have been even better with Ro instead of Kira.
This episode has some delicious treachery by Romulans, a unique science fiction premise, and both great action AND humor. While it doesn’t explore any “bigger themes” like space racism or, uh, more space racism, it shows that Star Trek is best when it isn’t about heavy-handed allegories and instead just tells good stories about the real bigger themes: life, death, love, friendship, humor.
There’s a scene in the sub-par Pre-emptive Strike where they could have called back to this episode, with Ro asking Riker what he was going to say about her at the funeral, but didn’t. (DS9 or Babylon 5 would have alley-ooped that one.) Geordai’s closing line “… if we can teach Ro Laren humility, we can do anything” is a terrific conclusion to a great character piece between the two most human characters on the show.