This review contains spoilers.
This story gets a mixed response from fans â€" some like it, some don't. And 'mixed' is generally how I would sum it up â€" on the whole, I like the plot, but there are certain elements that donâ€™t completely work for me.
Being a two-parter (the second of only two stories originally shown in two-part format, after 'Echoes of the Mind' at the start of the season), the pacing is noticeably much slower than normal (even the opening trailer is much longer than the norm), and this really slows the story down; as much as I liked the added 'depth', at a couple of points I was thinking "come on, get on with it".
This would have worked better as a more compact standard-length episode in opinion, but deciding factors, such as budget, probably deemed that this one was worked into a two-parter.
One thing I did notice, particularly in the (overlong) bar scene, was the stock covers of various songs used (such as Jimi Hendrix), in an era when standard TV episode budgets used song covers instead of the originals to save money. And these covers are HORRIBLE sounding; I'm glad it's a practice that has generally faded away in more recent times.
Once the story does finally hit its stride, we have the great action sequence of the ambush on the gangâ€™s boat; in a season where real action has been missing for a number of episodes, it is a welcome inclusion â€" even if it does feel like it drifts into 'The A-Team' territory at times (and I say that as a fan of 'The A-Team'!).
The scene of Higgins giving the injured Rick a blood transfusion via a bamboo shoot is enough to make me feel queasy.
As the story requires a number of ethnic actors, old MPI guest star stalwarts such as Seth Sakai and Clyde Kusatsu are called into play yet again â€" those guys must have made a packet from all of their guest appearances!
All-in-all, this is a reasonable opener to this two-parter, and certainly better than some of the weak stories of the fifth season. Although it is dragged out in places, it does build up well to Part II.