What stands out most from this episode is the interplay between all the characters. Sean Whalen finally was given more screen time and wasted it, he did not. Sean had a chance to play opposite Carl in an online video game tournament similar to Quake. Originally, the two started out just having fun while Sean was in it to be the world champion. He could not defeat the reigning champion and Carl defeated that champ in record time. Stunned Sean and Carl placed a bet that Carl could not top Seans overall score before the end of the tournament. Fittingly Carl defeated him, won the bet and concluded their side story with "What rhymes with loser, um ... nothing!" The two played very well off each other and developed a relationship between the two. As in previous episodes, they were rarely in the same scene with each other.
Michael Landes turned out another excellent performance as a man looking for something real, never finding it. Then the second he thinks he found something real with a normal woman, he discovers that it was something that was far from real. In keeping true to his character, at the end Nick says he just fine on an emotional level from what Alice did to him. She used him, she lied to him and she tried to kill him all because she did not want her spider colony to find competition in another colony. Nick raised his shields at the end, putting him back in a safer place so he will not let himself get hurt again and not show how he was really feeling. Michael Landes was very effective in staying true to his character's personality and letting his eyes do the talking of the pain, he was feeling. He did not have to say a word; Kate and the audience could read his eyes to know his heart was broken.
Beyond the terrific performances, this episode featured some clever and intelligent writing and art direction. For me when an episode can pull you and take away your sense of time it really brings a smile to my face. Getting so involved sets up the twists very effectively, I was so much into the episode I thought it was over when Nick blew up the house. We went to commercial and since I had not been paying attention to the time, I assumed it was over. I had a double take, checked the time on my vcr, and realized it wasnt over. Now most critics would say that, that is not effective writing or something. A show is special when is delivers a time dislocation, like thinking you've only been watching for ten minutes when it really was an hour. The story was well drawn out and gave us answers to questions to what was going on at the right times. The ability to pull that off and still not answer some of the big questions and leaving the viewer to want more and watch the episode again to pick up the details missed is something that is an update on a classic theme from The Prisoner.
An intelligent show makes you think about what is going on and why, but also what is happening with the characters and Special Unit 2. That is what brings the fans of Special Unit 2 and the casual fans into tuning in for the next episode. While the ending was much different and much darker than previous episodes, it kept the main theme about what the personal lives are like and how being used really affects a person. In the end, this was an effective use of the human condition to ground the show on. Evan Katz and UPN have a show they can be proud of, be sure to check it out every Wednesday at 8:00 Pm EST.