And the idea of doubles is made manifest in a really unique and powerful way here. This story moves very successfully, both externally and internally, through a whole number of interesting angles on this phenomenon, and it explores most of them in highly satisfactory fashion.
Jerry O'Connell is once more playing two roles here, and he does it brilliantly as usual, keeping both Quinns true to themselves, yet highly and entertainingly different from each other. To the viewer, it looks effortless by now, because we've gotten used to it, but this is a time to take stock of what we may have taken for granted. O'Connell is one of the driving forces behind the success of this show, and it shows in this episode. I really like the examination of Quinn's character in this story, which is exceptionally rich.
I think we also really have to acknowledge Rose Portillo - the guest actress playing both versions of the nun that we meet. She takes the fantastic words on the page and emotes them onto the screen with depth and power, putting fantastic perspective and meaning into the idea of what a double from another universe can or might mean - and then she's humble enough about it to say everyone can find their own interpretation and it might be more profound than hers. That would be a tough act to follow, but anyone is welcome to try.
The opening may fool you into thinking that they just want to do the wormhole effect on the cheap.... but they've actually found an equally clever way of transitioning from one universe to another, and highlighting how similar each one is to the next. Plus, we definitely get plenty of full-on style wormhole effects later on... and then some. This episode definitely keeps the good stuff coming, and coming, and coming.... always moving on and finding new elements of interest as it goes. Excellent.
I do kind of like the final antagonist of this piece. His presence is nicely surprising, and he makes a change from what we usually see on this show - especially recently. Throwing in a little short-lived capture routine? Well, why not make it interesting by filling the room with priceless artefacts? Bonus! By the time we've picked our jaws up off the floor from looking at all the design eye-candy, the story has moved on to something more interesting once again. Nice!
It's kind of a fun little running gag to count the number of times Maggie is disarmed in this story. Sometimes they talk her down, sometimes they just have to take the rifle out of her hands. She's just never happy. It's kind of funny to see it as a recurring theme.
The episode only really moves towards action near the end, and by the time it comes around, we are completely invested in all the characters involved and their reasons for getting into the conflict. This is how it should be done. I'm liking this one big time.
Other stand-alone episodes in the series' past have been this good, but rarely have they fit as well into a long-term arc at the same time. This one lets you know exactly why the team hasn't yet found Quinn's brother, gives them the missing pieces, and tells you exactly where they're headed next episode. "Gilligan's Island", eat your heart out! This is perfectly how the post-finding-home stories should be linking themselves together. Excellent. While we're at it, I think we should also give some Kudos to the Sci-Fi channel for not messing with the episode order the way Fox did, and allowing these stories to remain in the sequence envisioned by the writers. The stories mean more and can easily command longer audience attention-spans this way. Nice!
The main sci-fi device in this story looks like it could have been a candidate for the Kromagg-repelling weapon our heroes are searching for. Although none of the characters actually think to mention it, it seems that sufficient reason why this can't be repeated anytime soon seems to be implied. If anything could be improved, perhaps it is the story's title, which sounds far too violent for the thought-provoking, heartfelt episode that was actually delivered.
This story has become available on DVD. Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you for pricing and availability:
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