The Enterprise is led to a hidden planet analogous to Atlantis, Aldea. The natives lower their planet's cloak and invite them planet-side, then reveal that they have no children and would like the Enterprise's. Riker, of course, says no, so they return the crew to the ship and steal the children using their superior transporter technology. The children are immediately assigned to families and given cool toys to play with. Because Wesley is one of the children stolen, Picard takes Dr. Crusher on the negotiations with the ?. With Wesley's help, Crusher obtains scans of the aliens which eventually allows her to develop a cure for the sterility and other health problems which are caused by their planet's shield. Meanwhile, Wesley leads the children on a food strike that upsets their new parents. Riker discovers how to beam down to the planet through a weakness in their shield, and he and Data disable the planet's mega-computer to give Picard and Crusher time to convince the aliens that their sterility is from radiation poisoning. Dr. Crusher cures their sterility and the children are returned to the Enterprise.
Is it wrong that my favorite part of this episode is Wesley and him leading the kids on a strike?
Wesley fandom aside, I really liked this episode because the antagonists weren't really enemies of the Enterprise. They were arrogant and desperate, but they weren't going to kill anyone even if the Enterprise told them no. Knowing this, Picard tread carefully and did a lot of stalling to give his crew time to find a peaceful solution. Sure, the Enterprise could have blustered and tried something more violent, but such an attempt was doomed to failure because of the planet's superior defensive technology. So, what I'm saying is that Picard and the rest of the crew were smart, and I like to see that they deserve to run a star ship.
And Wesley deserves to be leader of all the children. Seriously, he didn't break down into tears even when he saw his mother after the kidnapping. He knew how to talk to the younger children and how to talk for them. If I were five, I'd want someone like that watching out for me if my parents couldn't.
I also liked seeing all the parents in the meeting room with the crew. It's only fair to include and inform them as much as possible in that kind of situation.
The only thing off the top of my head that we could have seen more of is Dr. Crusher worrying. I mean, the ultimate solution rested on her head and she knew it. She was much calmer than in "Haven," though in Haven Wesley was threatened with death and the natives were barely willing to talk about it. Or maybe she was calmer this time because she now believes that Picard would do anything in his power to get her child back. That an go a long way. Still, there might have been some more wringing of hands on her part.
It's hard to hate anyone in this episode. All the characters behaved smartly and even the bad guys weren't so bad. I think we'll need some more Q or Lore to make the universe feel dangerous again!