After the confidence of the previous two years, however, year 5 often disappointed by not seeing a good idea through to the end. Denise Crosby was swept back under the carpet in the Klingon soap opener ("Redemption, Part II"). No one could make the prospect of Deep Space Nine attractive enough to Michelle Forbes, so her fantastic performance as Ensign Ro seems wasted in retrospect. And no one could reschedule Robin Williams to guest star, so we had Matt Frewer instead ("A Matter of Time"). Of all stories to use Leonard Nimoy in, "Unification" wallowed in Romulan politics instead of anything emotionally engaging. Gene Roddenberry wanted to introduce a gay character, but mere months after his death all we got was the trite "The Outcast." This was inarguably where the series weakened, without the Great Bird overseeing what was going on. Worst of all, his hard-as-nails bad guys the Borg were given a touchy-feely side in "I, Borg." Fans and critics now appreciate that the behind-the-scenes focus had shifted from The Next Generation to the next spinoff, and it would never fully return.
When Yar was killed off, the show was left without a tough female character, so this season brings on the excellent Michelle Forbes as Ensign Ro Laren, a Bajoran officer with a troubled past and whose own personal history helps lay the foundations for the next saga, Deep Space Nine.
Ro's arrival comes in aptly titled "Ensign Ro", which remains one of the best episodes of the season. Other highlights include "Cause And Effect" in which the Enterprise becomes caught in a timeloop, destined to be destroyed over and over again, "The Inner Light", "The Game", "The Next Phase", "Disaster", "Darmok" and a guest appearance from Famke Jansenn (in what must be one of her earliest roles) in "The Perfect Mate".
However, the best episode(s) is the two part "Unification" in which Trek veteran Leonard Nimoy reprises his role as Spock from the original show. Suspecting that Spock has defected to the Romulans, Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Data (Brent Spiner) are sent undercover to unearth the truth, and results in one of the show's most classic of episodes.
All in all, season five is defiantly a season worth owning.