I know it probably wasn't but it seems as if this episode was affected by the writers' strike. It felt different somehow from the previous episodes. The most striking character difference was in Ming. It seems they really wanted to emphasize his 'merciless' side in this episode and made him cut off a finger to start with and them moved on to killing a man in plan sight of his daughter.
This approach might have worked if it hadn't been for the previous episodes. Now it simply seemed totally out of character.
Another minor difference was Rankol's headpiece, it's suddenly partially transparent when I'm almost certain it was just plain black before. Zarkov also acted differently, but at least that had a good reason. I've got a feeling we will be seeing more of that female Dr.