Nicely, the story also actually takes time to reacquaint viewers with the concept of doubles, since it hasn't featured too heavily lately, and we will want to build on the concept. Excellent.
Colin is used well in this episode, particularly in having good active relationships with the rest of the team, and getting some things to do on his own and a unique perspective to add to the discussions. Maggie is also fairly busy and useful during this episode, pretty much leading the team in Quinn's absence. Rembrandt also has his share of helpful things to do, most of which surprisingly are off-screen. We're still liking Remmy, but this isn't his strongest showing.
Of course, Jerry O'Connell has three roles to play in this episode, and he makes them all real and interesting to watch. The clone is probably the most difficult one to write for, since so much guesswork is involved in what a person with his history would be like. Perhaps he changes too much during the episode, and develops too quickly. Either way, he is still highly interesting.
Interestingly, it looks like the latest double of Quinn's father now resembles the new one that has been a part of season four's new mythology, and this is the first time that the actor, John Walcutt, actually gets a significantly big part in the present time. The character is by far the most interesting antagonistic role in this story, with the biggest acting challenge, and Walcutt does good work with it. Perhaps his turn around at the end goes a bit too far too fast to remain believable, but if there is sufficient support for it in the episode, the biggest part is definitely the one line he gets where he admits, nearly in tears, that his whole world has collapsed in the past few days, implying that he feels the need to build a new one for himself. Add that to a bit of Stockholm syndrome, and his journey makes sense, even if it occurs a bit too quickly. Further improvement might be to demonstrate exactly what his world is leading up to the opening of the story, as in exactly how he manages to sleep at nights considering what he does. Still, this is definitely one of the most fascinating roles of the story.
We also get Malcolm Jamal Warner, previously of "The Cosby Show", playing a significant guest role here, and it's a nice dramatic change of pace for Warner from sitcom material. Warner's got some really nice speeches in this one expounding on the story's main theme, and he puts a lot of good emotion into it, driving the points home. As a complete character though, it is sad to see victimhood and passive-aggressive syndrome consume him. Though I can see the point of having such a character arc in the story, it seems to be too common a dramatic rut specifically for coloured characters on television and film (as so eloquently expressed by Cuba Gooding Jr.'s on-screen wife in "Jerry Maguire").
The concluding maneuvers fuel a bit of anticipation for being dull and not working so well, simply because such exchanges have been so problematic and unsatisfying before, as seen at the end of "Love Gods", "Time Again and World", "Greatfellas", etc. But although not 100% ideal, this one works better than most others I can remember. There is more depth and philosophical power on display here than just two-sided one-dimensional posturing, and the situation has some believable surprises in it. Plus, they picked a fabulous location to shoot this in, one that looks gorgeous and enhances the feel of what is being attempted here. Nice.
I'm wondering though if all episodes of the season have the same assistant director shooting empty location plates for the wormhole effects shots.... because we continually get ridiculous angles pointing up into the air. The effect itself seems to be a cheaper standard blue whirlpool superimposed on top, instead of something more integrated with its surroundings like we had back in season one. A better angle really would help sell this thing. I will say though, I think the footage for shots traveling inside the vortex itself have improved greatly, and are now much more believable and cool.
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