I gave this episode such a high score because immediately I saw a massive improvement in the writing from season one. I was SO disappointed with pretty much all of season one, I thought the characters were undeveloped and the storylines were pretty weak - so much more could have been done with them. It is obvious from the outset that JAlba has been given a much-needed makeover and now looks pretty badass to go with her character, a definite improvement. Also, the introduction of Alec provides the "pretty boy" (their words, not mine) aspect which is never a bad thing. Joshua, the first recurring transgenic character that isn't an X-5 is great and provides good comedic moments. So altogether, I really enjoyed the onset of new characters, hoping this would herald better storylines.
This first episode sees the destruction of Manticore, thanks to Max, and her decision to release all of the transgenics kept there. This has repercussions later in the season but nevertheless provides a steady flow of new "bit-part" characters which are entertaining if nothing else. One of the things I enjoyed most about this episode was, as mentioned earlier, the improvement in the writing - this was really apparent in the dialogue. I LOVED the conversations between Max and Alec, they were both revealing yet funny, as well as executed perfectly by both actors. This continues throughout the season, which makes season two so good. Overall, this episode is an indication of the way the rest of the season plays out - great writing, much better acting and a great, twisting storyline. Enjoy!