This episode is just brilliant. An officer exchange program – where we learn about the benzine culture and a lot about Klingon culture. This episode sets the foundation of future Klingon episodes exploring their culture.
There is so much to love about this episode, how it clearly shows that cultures can be very alien and foreign. There are values that transcend cultures and can create bridges of understanding.
There is so much to love about Riker in every scene he is in. Instead of portraying him as just beaming over to the other ship, you actually can see him prepare for his assignment. How he gets further insights by talking to Worf, about Klingon culture and even tries to eat food he may encounter on the Klingon ship.
While there is only so much he can prepare, and in reality, things are slightly different. Like that Gach is served alive and not dead as he prepared for.
In the end there is a great cultural understanding, and Riker has to take control over the Bird of Prey to prevent the destruction of the Enterprise. But what happens after that is just purely brilliant. The captain of the bird of prey was wrong and dishonored, Riker rightfully took command. So the captain can restore his honor and respect of his crew – Riker lets the captain to hit him. – Showing a great understanding and respect for the Klingon culture.